Dean’s Picks

Best From The Past Week: The Unwritten: Apocalypse #1 – It was very close between this and Batman #27.  In the end, the tie-breaker has to go to the story that tackles the more difficult subject matter and once  you consider that, it isn’t really close.  Batman was an exquisite issue, but you just can’t tackle Unwritten-style material in a mainstream superhero comic.  What made Unwritten so glorious is that it is a return to the themes that made it one of the most though-provoking comics on the market.  If you missed the first volume, I think you’d be fine to jump in here and I urge you to do so.  I’ve spent a LOT of time thinking on the concepts in The Unwritten and have yet to uncover everything or find a piece that didn’t really fit.

Most Anticipated:

1. Black Science #3 – The first issue was just SMOKING HOT.  I liked the second issue, but it had a few worrying signs when it came to characterization as the story sagged into stereotypes.  So, I’m very, very eager to see how this third issue turns out.  Is this just a case of “acceptable story + incredible art” or can Rick Remender raise his game to match Matteo Scalera?

2. Saga #18 – This is a comic that defies the typical perception of time.  On one hand, I can’t understand HOW this comic is already up to issue #18.  On the other hand, I feel like I’ve known the Saga characters for years now.  Marko, Alana and Gang are all so vivid.  Heck…..I even care about the CAT and I don’t even like cats.  If you haven’t been following Saga, you are going to have a blast when you catch up.

3. East of West #9 – To be honest, I’m losing the plot on this one.  It’s like listening to a drunk person tell a story….but its a story you ENJOY.

4. Guardians of the Galaxy #11 – I’m actually looking forward to this issue.  Usually I hate it when Marvel drags me into a crossover involving series that I don’t typically read, but I feel differently about this one because (a) I have really enjoyed All New X-Men, (b) I typically enjoy Bendis as a writer, (c) I fondly remember the GotG characters from the Abnett/Lanning run and (d) it’s only for a few issues.

5. Uber #9 – It’s a light week, so Uber sneaks onto the Top 5.  Uber isn’t a great comic (mostly because the art isn’t good enough to be great), but it remains interesting because it is really a war comic.  Even though it involves super-powered beings, it is more interested in the war than “Nazi Captain America”.  I highly recommend it for any comic fan/history buff.

Hugo’s Pick

Best From The Past Week: FF #16 – There were some very good title released this week, to be sure, but the one that stood out to me was the very fun finale of FF. With a very tight conclusion that managed to be both entertaining and exciting, combined with the always excellent art of Michael Allred, this was just superb. While the actual FF title is now gone, the characters are supposed to live on in the next volume of Fantastic Four. Here’s looking at you, James Robinson, as you have a lot to live up to.

Most anticipated this week: I don’t know which deity or demon I should be thankful to for this absurdly great week in terms of releases, but this is just splendid. Many favourites are lining up, which makes the end of the first month of 2014 something that should be particularly satisfying if all those titles can maintain the level of quality they are known for.

1. East of West #9 – This is supposed to be the big showdown between Death and the Ranger. Two big characters with some big mythos behind them, locked in a duel. I have no idea how this can go, but I really want to find out as Hickman and Dragotta continue to unveil the weird, yet fascinating world they have built in this title.

2. Saga #18 – The way the latest issue ended makes my wait for this issue difficult to stomach. Whatever will happen next considering the situation all of those characters are now in? No matter what happens, the masterful suspense and the resolution of everything should make this comic as entertaining and well-made as always.

3. Black Science #3 – The first issue was amazing, the second one pretty good. I hope this is not becoming a trend, but I suppose we’ll see in this issue if Rick Remender can stay the course in terms of quality. I really want for a consistently awesome comic talking about weird dimension and obscure sciences and this comic definitely has the potential to be just that.

4. TMNT #30 – This comic is the amalgamation of so much that is both right and wrong with this concept, yet it is one of the title I am always eager to open a new issue of. Combining a lot of elements from earlier incarnations, this comic is simply good, with usually great art and actually very interesting development and character work. With a bit of a breather due to the huge events of City Fall, I am curious to see how those beloved ninjutsu-practicing reptiles shall fare after all the drama they have been the subject of.

5. X-Men Legacy #23 – The end of this title is coming soon, as many of the subplots and plot threads combine to make sure the confrontation between David and Blindfold, which has been hinted at throughout the entire series, finally happens. I have no idea where this is going, yet if this manage to be as heartfelt and well-written as it always has been, this should be a good issue as always.