It’s a bit light this New Comic Book Day, but there’s plenty of great books on the stands. What took No. 1?
1) The Sheriff of Babylon #4
Tom King and Mitch Gerads continue to add to the moral complexity of their Iraq War drama. What’s great about this book is how carefully it undermines stereotypes. The Iraqis are just that: Iraqis, people of a different country and culture struggling through a series of disasters so brutal it seems impossible to recover. Christopher, our nominal hero, is little more than an observer to their struggles, a tourist who will eventually leave. But they’ll still be there.
2) The Violent #3
Ed Brisson and Adam Gorham’s hard-luck, hard-edged noir delivers some of the best crime stories on the stands right now. The story of Mason and Becky, two people who screwed up and are trying just to put it back together, works so well, not least because neither of them are villains. Screw-ups, sure. Capable of bad choices, absolutely. But in the end, they’re parents who want a chance to raise their daughter, and more and more, that looks like it’s not going to happen. A smart, tough read and a great noir.
3) Unfollow #5
Rob Williams and Michael Dowling zig when you expect them to zag here; you think they’re setting up Battle Royale when, instead, they’re up to something much different. We won’t ruin it here, except to say that Williams appears to be playing on a much more expansive canvas, and Dowling smartly grounds the weirder aspects of the book, like a talking jaguar, with careful realistic art. The result is a thoughtful, unnerving thriller you need to be reading.
4) Black Widow #1
Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, fresh off their brilliant run on Daredevil, start Black Widow’s relaunch with a massive fight and chase that puts the Widow’s cinematic adventures to shame. And yes, we know that’s not easy, but this book is pure action right down to the intriguing final splash panel. We have no idea where this book might be headed next, but it’s such a great ride we’ll go wherever it takes us.
5) Omega Men #9
Kyle Rayner, confronted with the horror of the Citadel, attempts to find a third way between the Omega Men and a political machine willing to murder seven billion people for leverage over other planets. Guess how that works out! The brilliant thing about Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda’s work here is that King commits to his characters; the Omega Men were never going to accept a “third way,” and Bagenda’s art both delivers gorgeous space opera and intimate emotions in equal measure. As usual, it’s a superb read, and one of DC’s best books.