It’s Wednesday, and once again we pull out 30 comics worth reading from the multitude on the stands. What made No. 1 this week?
1) The Omega Men #4
DC’s complicated, intrigue-heavy story of terrorists in space continues to be morally complex, courtesy of Tom King. This issue has art from Toby Cypress, and it’s all about explaining why Kyle Rayner is trying to broker peace in the Vega system… and what a mess the princess introduced in the last issue. Cypress’ abstract layouts and angular, moody style really create an atmosphere, and honestly, this clever take on a hoary old team just keeps getting more impressive. Highly recommended.
2) Plutona #1
Jeff Lemire and Emi Lenox deliver an unexpected look at the day-to-day life of teenagers in a world of superheroes. Turns out, it’s pretty quiet; none of these teens are necessarily bad kids, but they’re all kind of a mess in their own way. At least until they find Plutona. Smart, surprisingly insightful and gentle, and well-worth picking up.
3) Bob’s Burgers #3
Once again, this anthology book nails the show, especially the opening Tina story, a parody of Bond that’s simply perfect, and Gene’s… off-kilter take on Cinderella. If you’re a fan of the show, or just need a laugh, this is ideal.
4) Dark Corridor #2
Rich Tommaso’s New Yorker-esque style oddly fits well with his stories of losers, assassins, and bad choices in the fictional city of Red Circle. A definite treat for noir fans.
5) Daredevil #18
Mark Waid and Chris Samnee wrap up their superb run on Daredevil with a corker of a final issue, offering everything from catharsis to more than a few tears. I’m sad to see it go, but what a wonderful book while it lasted.
6) Midnighter #4
Dick Grayson and Midnighter team up to beat the crap out of douchebros and faux vampires. Stephen Mooney takes over art chores here, so it’s clean and pretty to boot. Superhero books don’t get much better than this: Pick it up.
7) Jem and The Holograms #6
It’s still kind of amazing to me how Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell have taken a, let’s face it, awful ’80s cartoon and turned it into such a great book. Campbell strikes a perfect balance between realism and the cartoon look of the show and fills the book with detail, while Thompson manages to cram the book with 12 different characters and give every last one a personality. Yeah, this may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s a damn good book.
8) Jupiter’s Circle #6
Mark Millar and Wilfredo Torres continue a book that builds on the idea of superheroes from the ’60s as real, messy people. Millar shows a rare restraint here that demonstrates he’s a hell of a writer when he’s not gunning for shock value, and Torres’ precise drafting gives the book a clean, detailed feel that’s a pleasure to read. Definitely worth a look for fans of offbeat takes on superheroes.
9) Silver Surfer #14
Dan Slott and Michael Allred deliver a slyly thoughtful look at having universe-altering, or restoring, power. What should you bring back? What should you make right? Can you make anything right? Heavy? Sure, but Allred’s unique sculptured art and Slott’s light touch make for a smart comic.
10) Imperium #8
Joshua Dysart layers on the intrigue, but most interesting is this story is about power, and how to use it. Toyo Harada tries to control Divinity in this issue, and can’t understand why Divinity isn’t fixing the world. Tellingly, the answer why is found elsewhere, and it’s a smart piece of business. Well-written, action heavy, and well-done overall, this is definitely a book you should be reading.
11) John Flood #2
After a somewhat slow first issue, Justin Jordan and Jorge Coelho kick this book up a notch, as we see what Flood’s strange, connection-obsessed brain does in… finding a lost cat. But there is, of course, a bit more to it, and it’s worth reading this oddball detective story to find out just what.
12) The Dying and The Dead #3
Well, you can’t fault Jonathan Hickman and Ryan Bodenheim for a lack of audacity. Why, precisely, I can’t reveal without a spoiler, but suffice to say there will be a lot of talk about this book over the next few weeks. Definitely nothing else like it on the stands.
13) We Stand on Guard #3
To be honest, any citizen of a country that elected Stephen Harper probably shouldn’t be making jokes about climate change or the metric system. Still, this is a well-done book from Bryan K. Vaughan and Steve Skroce, and a thought-out take on what might happen when things go very, very wrong between American and Canada.
14) Green Lantern #44
Robert Venditti, Billy Tan, Martin Coccolo, and Mark Irwin have a great idea for a goofy one-off in this book: It’s essentially Rio Bravo with space aliens. Honestly, this breather was just what the book needed; it’s a straight action piece easy for new readers to pick up while stepping away from Grunge Hal’s brooding for a little bit. Worth picking up for GL fans.
15) Deadpool vs. Thanos #1
Really, the title says it all. Tim Seeley delivers a pretty funny take on the Merc with a Mouth and the Titan with the Multiple Chin Clefts, and manages to have it make sense. Well, as much sense as Deadpool ever makes. Great for Marvel fans.
16) X-O Manowar #40
So it turns out the Vine invasion waaaay back in this book isn’t entirely gone. And now that the Vine have no homeworld… that’s going to be a problem. This book has taken some clever direction in its new arc, forcing Aric to be both spymaster and diplomat, neither of which are roles for which he’s well suited. But he’s gonna have to learn quick, and it’s a hoot seeing it come together.
17) Mockingbird #1
Basically a backdoor pitch for that second Marvel series ABC keeps talking about, but Chelsea Cain can write a superhero murder mystery quite well, and Joelle Jones is one of the best artists working. Slight, but worth reading.
18) Broken World #4
Frank Barbiere doesn’t quite pay off the superb idea of his premise, wherein most of humanity flees Earth, and those left behind have to make the planet functional again. But it’s still a good read, and hopefully more will be explored with this concept.
19) Detective Comics #44
Brian Buccellato brings the organized crime arc in this book to something of an end, which is unfortunate, not least because the focus on Bullock and Montoya in this issue give the book a snap it needs. A fun read, but hopefully one that keeps Batman in the background more.
20) Green Arrow #44
Aaaand we’re back to this book’s quasi-mysticism. But Benjamin Percy at least focuses it around Ollie’s weird new dog, which is an oddly compelling angle. It helps that Patrick Zircher and Fabrizio Fiorentino deliver some sharp, vivid art. In all, I’m not sure how I feel about the direction this book is taking, but at least it’s making an effort to put a new spin on Ollie.
21) Toil and Trouble #1
Macbeth, told from the perspective of the witches, sounds like a great concept, but Mairghread Scott’s script is a little too text heavy and Kelly & Nichole Matthews are talented yet a little too lighthearted as artists to quite pull off the atmosphere. Still promising, though, and thus it gets a ranking.
22) Bat-Mite #4
Nerds, reboots, and nostalgia all get a beatdown courtesy of Dan Jurgens and Corin Howell. This is really the first time the book has clicked, thanks partially to Booster Gold’s rather amusing take on the sprite at its center and the book settling on a message; namely, that comics change… and that’s okay. Perhaps not a subtle book in some respects, but one with some thoughtfulness about comics and their evolution.
23) Groot #4
Okay, I admit it, this book has gotten more charming as it has gone along. It’s still a bit shticky in places, but the jokes generally land and it’s a funny take on Marvel’s cosmic books.
24) Adam.3 #2
Scott Kolins’ mashup of Lensman and Tarzan continues apace. It’s a solid pulp action book, but it could stand to be a little clearer in, you know, the plot. Still quite a fun read, though, and worth picking up for pulp fans.
25) The Shadow Vol.2 #2
Cullen Bunn has an appropriately pulpy script for this new volume of the Shadow’s adventures, but while Giovanni Timpano is a capable artist, he can’t quite nail the atmosphere. Everything a little too bright and a little too stiff to fully come to life. Still, if you’re a pulp fan, you’ll like find something you enjoy here.
26) Batman Beyond #4
Tim Drake screwed up, and now he needs to keep Brother Eye out of Gotham. Turns out, there’s a certain controversial change in the DCU that might wind up helping… It’s a solid war story, especially thanks to Bernard Chang’s nimble artwork and Marcelo Maiolo’s red-heavy palette, and the ending twist is worth a chuckle.
27) Aliens vs. Vampirella #1
Well, credit where it’s due: Corinna Bechko and Javier Garcia-Miranda don’t mess around. That said, a lot of this book is setting up what we already know, about the Xenomorphs and Vampi, so it does drag a little bit. Still, the payoff to this first issue is promising, even if Garcia-Miranda is clearly more interested in vampires and aliens than humans.
28) Lobo #10
Finally, this book picks up some steam, with Lobo hunting the various other Lanterns. That said, it’s somewhat undone by what’s clearly a scheduling issue; the book has three different inkers on Robson Rocha’s pencils, and looks it. Still, it’s nice to see this actually doing something with its concept.
29) Uncanny Season Two #6
This book wraps up its second arc in fairly entertaining cable-drama style. If you enjoy Syfy-esque programs with a little more gore and profanity, this story of hidden superheroes and ancient secrets will fit the bill.
30) Justice, Inc.: The Avenger #4
Ronilson Freire and Mark Waid get creatively gruesome in this arc’s finale, a pulpy good time starring the largely-forgotten Avenger, a hero with a dead face and a thirst for justice. Not terribly groundbreaking, but a fun read for pulp fans.
And the rest:
Cluster #7: This SF war book delivers some excitement, but could use some moral greys to go with its two-fisted action.
This Damned Band #2: Tony Parker’s art is gorgeous and he uses the documentary conceit well, but Paul Cornell’s script remains too unfocused to give this book any momentum.
The Woods #16: James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas continue their weird fantasy of a high school trapped on an alien world, but it could stand to dial back the Warhammer-esque aspects a little bit.
Masks 2 #6: Fun, but the sheer pileup of plotlines detracts from the whole of the book.
Barb Wire #3: Man, why even bring this book back if you’re not going to do anything with it?
Danger Girl: Renegade #1: Well, at least the art’s good, even if the book opens with a cheesy Egypt straight out of Indiana Jones and doesn’t improve from there.
Swords of Sorrow: Miss Fury and Lady Rawhide: Poor coloring and inking give this crossover one-shot an amateurish feel.