We’ve got 26 titles to look over this week. Who made the top of the list?
As always, remember that accessibility is key in these rankings. Quality and personal taste also matter, but the top books will be the ones you’re most able to pick up and enjoy and that are also the best of the week. With that in mind, our No. 1 is…
1. Harrow County #2
Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook follow up a great first issue in their literary horror story with an equally smart and engaging second. Emmy makes a great horror protagonist simply because she’s a young woman. She’s not an FBI agent or a magic ninja, she’s a normal, relatable person facing some truly horrific circumstances. It’s some terrific, thrilling horror, especially with Crook’s cleverly done art, and an absolute must-read.
2. Unity #19
Matt Kindt kicks off a new arc, introducing a new villain, the Warmonger, in a way best left for you to discover for yourself. Suffice to say the ending packs a real surprise, and Warmonger herself is a fascinatingly done character. Well worth picking up, especially if you’re looking to get into Valiant.
3. Insufferable #2
Mark Waid and Peter Krause continue their story of an arrogant, press-hungry Robin parody and his bitter squabble with his Batman-esque father. A nice touch is that while our hero, Jarod, is kind of a dick, he’s not incompetent; the flashy press theatrics draw attention and the swarms of adoring fans help him do his job. It’s got plenty of clever twists, but it’s careful to keep the plot driving the action. Easily one of the best reads on the stands this week, and one you need to pick up.
4. Rebels #3
Brian Wood and Andrea Mutti deliver more of their story of the gritty, ugly side of the American Revolution. This story is focused less on the war, though, and more on the personal costs of its soldiers. Mercy, the wife of our nominal hero, is the real focus of this story, and it’s as much about the emotional failures of a boy who has no idea what he’s doing as about the birth of America. It’s a unique, clever read, and one that should really be on your sub list.
5. Lantern City #2
Matthew Daley and Carlos Magno continue their steampunk rebellion story, and while it may feel familiar in the broad strokes, the details are what makes it work. Our hero isn’t some tough rebel, but a family man shoved into insanely dangerous situations with threats all around him. And the book just keeps throwing complications at him, making it a clever, and compelling, read.
6. The Fox #3
The Fox has every supervillain in the Dark Circle universe after his skin, and this is the worst time for his son to be going around as the Ghost Fox. So guess what his son’s up to? Dean Haspiel is having enormous fun with this book, especially the gory Madame Satan, and if you want lighthearted superheroics with some heart, this is your book.
7. Gotham Academy #7
Damian Wayne and Maps are forced to team up in what’s easily the most adorable book on the stands this week. Really, you need to give this book a read; it’s quite wonderful in how it comes together, and this issue in particular is a great place to start, with its literary jokes and Maps serving as the central character.
8. Captain Marvel and The Carol Corps #1
On one level, yes, this is more or less pandering to Carol Danvers’ fanbase, essentially turning the Lumberjanes into the Blackhawks. But it’s well written; I tend to admire Kelly Sue DeConnick’s work more than I like it, but while this isn’t breaking any new plot ground, it’s a zippy book, helped considerably by the dynamic David Lopez on art. More for Carol fans than casual readers, but a solid read nonetheless.
9. Starve #1
Gavin Cruikshank was once the biggest celebrity chef on TV. Then the bottom dropped out of the world, he came out to his wife, and he pissed off to the other side of the planet to get high and do nothing. In the meantime, though, his show Starve become an enormous hit, mutating into a celebration of excess in a world without it. Brian Wood tries to lean heavy on the shock value here and to be quite honest it doesn’t quite click; it’s not quite darkly funny enough or quite grim enough to really work, and the closing pages just feel mildly distasteful, especially with the thick, woodcut-esque inking, instead of the edginess they were clearly going for. Still, the characterization is strong and the concept is clever, if in need of some depth, so it may be a book worth following.
10. Suicide Squad #9
DC’s supervillain team-up book returns grittier than ever as Deadshot, Boomerang, and Manta have to infiltrate an offshoot of the League of Assassins. Let’s say you can guess how well that goes from the plot summary. It’s a good jumping-on point, and a better setup.
11. Batman #41
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have a tough job here: Explaining what would possess Jim Gordon to climb into a set of power armor and play superhero. And it turns out, they do an excellent job of explaining it; Gordon volunteers for good reasons that make sense and actually make you root for him. It’s almost a shame the book ends the way it does, but I’m interested to see how Snyder and Capullo pay it off.
12. Constantine: The Hellblazer #1
Ming Doyle, James Tynion IV, and Riley Rossmo take Constantine back to his roots. This book’s a little darker and edgier than its predecessor, although not quite the Vertigo stories, and will be ideal for fans hoping to see more of a magnificent bastard in the trenchcoat, or those who just want to see what DC’s nastiest warlock is all about.
13. Batman/Superman #21
Greg Pak’s story is less about the heroes at the center and more about the people around them trying to figure it out. Luthor’s reaction is by far the funniest, but it’s an interesting approach to a newly depowered, and newly humanized, Superman, and definitely worth picking up.
14. Midnight Society: The Black Lake #1
Monster hunters hit Loch Ness, and promptly disappear, so our heroine Matilda is sent to save them. It’s a sturdy, if unoriginal, concept, but it’s a bit too slowly paced for a first issue and it suffers a bit from tonal issues. Drew Edward Johnson can’t decide if it’s a two-fisted pulp adventure book or a modern horror book, and tries to split the difference. Lizzy John’s art is technically accomplished, but a bit too polished and feels a bit like a host of other books on the stands. This could be a promising start, but it’s not really standing out yet.
15. Earth 2: Society #1
An alternate reality of DC heroes has to rebuild Earth from scratch. Suffice to say… it’s not going well, at least as Daniel Wilson and Jorge Jimenez imagine it. It’s a good place to pick up this book, and interesting not least for how it builds off the previous books but without any background truly needed. Worth getting in on the ground floor for, if you like alternate takes on superheroes.
16. All-Star Section Eight #1
Garth Ennis and John McCrea return to the DC Universe to offer their usual tasteful shenanigans, featuring the backup cast from their beloved Hitman. McCrea is actually the best reason to pick up this book; he gives the book a style not unlike an even more warped Jack Davis. It’s crude, it’s tasteless and it’s arguably unique. I give it six issues, but they’ll likely be six good ones.
17. Long Distance #1
This romance comic is definitely cute, and it’s surprisingly engaging for a comic that’s entirely people standing around chatting. That said, it’s a bit long in the page numbers and could stand to pick up the pace. Still, as a change from superheroes, it’s a good read, and it’s quite a lot of fun.
18. Catwoman #41
Selina’s manipulation of the Gotham mob continues. Honestly, this isn’t much of a change from the usual for this book, and it feels a bit like a continuation of a story rather than a new arc. But the overall story is a nice change of pace, and it’s worth getting into this Mob drama if you want something different.
19. Batman: Detective Comics #41
The lead on this book is indeed a detective. Namely, Detective Harvey Bullock. Bullock isn’t entirely sold on the new Batman, but he’s willing to hop on his team… with, of course, a condition or two. The Bullock focus is a nice change of pace, especially for who it brings back, and the book overall will remind you a bit of Gotham Central. Not shaking things up, but well done regardless.
20. Starfire #1
I have to admit, I’m still not a fan of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s scripts, but at least the ditz routine works better with a naive space alien than it does with Harley Quinn. Although I do wish the talented Emanuela Lupacchino was given something a bit more challenging that just Kori playing dress-up or running around nude; the script is just too wordy and too heavy on exposition to really let this book take off, but Kori’s literal translations of metaphors are cute, at least.
21. X-O Manowar 25th Anniversary Special #1
Before Aric of Dacia put on the armor, it was just Shanhara, object of worship among an alien species. Shanhara, though, turns out to be much more than just a religious object, as this origin story lays out. It’s a bit conventional, but still fascinating and often surprisingly engaging. If you’re looking to get into Valiant, this is worth a read.
22. Ghost Racers #1
Really, it’s all in the title; the various incarnations of Ghost Rider race each other. Unfortunately, Arcade is running things so it’s a bit… uglier than you might think. But Felipe Smith and Juan Gedeon deliver a tight, engaging comic with a race at its core that feels dynamic and easy to engage with. Even if Danny Ketch was robbed.
23. Death Sentence: London #1
This book has a hell of a concept, where a virus gives you superpowers but cacks you within a year. And it’s brisk with excellent art. Still, there’s a preachy undercurrent to the book that doesn’t entirely click; with millions dead, thousands homeless, an unknown weapon detonated in the center of London, and God knows what else, the book acts like the mayor of London is the real villain for declaring martial law. It’s just not developed well enough for that to be an ominous idea, honestly. Fun, but it’s not as thoughtful as it thinks it is.
24. Weirdworld #1
Every strange idea Marvel has ever had has been dumped on a floating island by Doctor Doom. Your tour guide? This guy. This book is an automatic sale because Mike Del Mundo is on art, but Jason Aaron does some digging through the stranger parts of Marvel and finds a little comedy gold. Worth a read, if you’re a fan of Marvel’s stranger twists and turns.
25. 21st Century Tank Girl #1
You know, considering the title, you’d think they’d, you know, update Tank Girl. Nope, this is still the underground comic you’ll either love or wonder why it hasn’t changed in twenty years. Good for fans and underground readers, but really only for them.
26. Red Hood/Arsenal #1
The somewhat grim and mystical take of this book’s previous incarnation is set aside for… well, for a superhero buddy comedy. It’s not exactly new territory, but it’s a fun diversion if you need an action book.
The Full Retail List, Courtesy of ComicList
Rachel Rising #34, $3.99
Rock And Roll Biographies #1 (Mats Engesten 2nd Printing Variant Cover)(not verified by Diamond), $3.50
ACTION LAB ENTERTAINMENT
Adventures Of Aero-Girl #2 (Of 4)(Axur Eneas & Juan Paul Reibeling Regular Cover), $3.99
Adventures Of Aero-Girl #2 (Of 4)(Jose Garcia Variant Cover), $4.99
Hero Cats #6, $3.99
Nutmeg Volume 1 Early Fall Taste Buddies TP, $11.99
Stray Who Killed The Doberman TP, $14.99
SkyStorm Origins #2, $3.99
Caterer #1 (One Shot), $4.95
Island Of Memory Volume 1 GN, $11.95
It Will All Hurt #1, $8.00
Secret Voice #2, $8.00
Titan #1, $4.95
Metallic Silence #1 (Of 2), $3.99
Metallic Silence #2 (Of 2), $3.99
Batman Files SC (not verified by Diamond), $45.00
Gold Digger #222, $3.99
Rod Espinosa’s Steampunk Snow Queen #2 (Of 3), $3.99
Darkham Vale GN (not verified by Diamond), $24.95
ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
Afterlife With Archie #8 (Francesco Francavilla 2nd Printing Variant Cover), $3.99
Archie Giant Comics Collection TP, $7.99
Fox #3 (Chris Samnee Prowling Variant Cover), $3.99
Fox #3 (Dean Haspiel Regular Cover), $3.99
Fox #3 (Steve Rude Fox Hunted Variant Cover), $3.99
Fox #3 (T.Rex Hunter & Prey Variant Cover), $3.99
Jughead And Archie Comics Double Digest #13, $4.99
Sonic Super Digest #12, $6.99
Sonic The Hedgehog #273 (Ben Bates Epic Connecting Poster Part 3 Variant Cover), $3.99
Sonic The Hedgehog #273 (Patrick Spaziante Regular Cover), $3.99
Sonic The Hedgehog #273 (T.Rex Villain Variant Cover), $3.99