Comics publishers are delivering a lot of Christmas goodies this month, but only one comic could take the top spot. Which was it?
1) The Violent #1
Ed Brisson and Adam Gorham start up the story of Mason and Becky, two ex-cons who are trying to stay clean, keep it together for their kid, and put their mistakes behind them in Vancouver. The book works so well because the challenges they’re struggling with aren’t epic threats: They’re depressed, they’re broke, and the struggle is about not falling back into bad habits. An excellent start to a new Image noir, and a must-read.
2) The Twilight Children #3
Gilbert Hernandez and Darwyn Cooke once again deliver an off-kilter and often very funny take on a Mexican village suffering a strange alien invasion. It’s as much about how these people deal with adversity, or don’t deal, as it is about strange women and glowing bubbles, and it makes for a fun, rich read.
3) Star Wars Annual #1
Marvel takes an unusually gutsy step here by taking the focus off the core cast of the original movies and focusing instead on a Rebel spy on Coruscant. Kieron Gillen and Angel Unzueta deliver a smart, dark and ultimately melancholy story about how spies do important work… but ultimately, they’re not heroes.
4) Lantern City #8
This book abandons its oddball twist from last issue to focus back on the messy political realities and moral greys that make it stand out as a steampunk society begins to collapse with a fascist rising from below and a madman ruling from above. If you haven’t been reading, it’s a smart, complex drama as much about how there’s a difference between revolution and a simple changing of the guard as it is about the family drama. A lot of fun, and a superb book.
5) Scarlet Witch #1
In the first issue of the new Scarlet Witch, Wanda Maximoff is living life as a bit of a recluse in a moldering castle in New York (I guess they have those in this timeline). A part of the Avengers, but still separate for her past misuse of magic, James Robinson sets the stage for a redemption arc for one superhuman who hasn’t always handled her power with grace. When magic itself appears to be broken, Wanda sets off on a quest to fix it, because who doesn’t love a good quest? The art alone makes it worth picking up. Vanesa Del Rey’s old fashioned style matches the noir vibe of the series, and makes this one to pick up. — Alyssa Fikse