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This Week’s Comics Of Note, Ranked, For May 20

We’ve got everything from lighthearted mystery to Mad Max this week… so who took No. 1 in our estimation?

1. Bloodshot Reborn #2

Jeff Lemire gets grim and darkly funny in his spin on Valiant’s anti-hero. Bloodshot has lost his nanites and is just a normal guy, now. A normal guy who sees a cartoon parody of himself called Bloodsquirt and a woman who died because he failed. Oh, also, people are dressing up like Bloodshot, possessed by the nanites formerly in his system, and committing random acts of violence. Like I said, grim, but it’s a gripping thriller and a superb read.

2. Insufferable #1

Mark Waid and Peter Krause ask what would happen if Robin told Batman to eat it, revealed his identity, and went on to become a celebrity. And it’s compelling as heck; Krause hides little touches all over the comic to reinforce Waid’s story of a father and son playing out an argument on a dozen different levels. Engaging and highly recommended.

3. Mad Max: Fury Road #1

If you’re wondering how Nux and Immortan Joe became the… individuals they are, this comic will fill in a few of the gaps. Essentially it’s two stories, the first a tale of how Nux became a War Boy, and the second a much longer story about how Immortan Joe created a network of tribes out of a few resources. It’s not exactly a deep read, but it’s a fun one and it offers some great backstory to one of this year’s best movies.

4. Archie vs. Predator #2

Yeah, you know how you thought this book was ridiculous? You haven’t seen anything yet. Packed full of dark humor from Alex de Campi and with a gleefully violent yet straight-faced take on the Archie house style, this book is decidedly not for kids and decidedly funny as hell. An absolute must-read.

5. Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery #1

This contemplative set of miniseries takes an odd, English cozy kind of twist as our hero, an alien trapped on Earth and working as a doctor, discovers his favorite thriller author was a mysterious resident of the town where he lives. Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse approach this book with a unique sense of humor and it’s an oddly lighthearted turn for this series… but all the more welcome for it.

6. Valhalla Mad #1

Three Asgardians in the Jack Kirby mold land in New York… in order to go bar-hopping. Joe Casey has a lot of fun ripping on the wordiness of old Marvel comics, and Paul Maybury is pretty smart with his contrasts between our modern world and the weirdos who’ve just arrived. Still, this doesn’t quite click; the plot’s a little too slow and there’s so, so much purple dialogue to wade through. Funny, and a good read, but it could stand to be tightened up.

7. Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #1

Or “Cullen Bunn mocks the ever-loving heck out of pretentious crossovers.” Essentially, he reimagines 1984’s Secret Wars with Deadpool, and that goes about as well as it sounds. This ridiculous retconning is a hoot, albeit one you might get a bit more out of if you know your way around Marvel continuity.

8. The Goon: Once Upon A Hard Time #3

How far can you push a man, any man, before he breaks? That’s what this rather serious issue is all about. And while it’s a bit grim for a book that’s supposed to be about gangsters punching zombies, it shows off Eric Powell’s skill as both artist and writer, and is well worth picking up just for that.

9. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency #1

Trying to replace Douglas Adams is a rather tall order to fill, and honestly, Chris Ryall doesn’t. Really, you kinda wonder if anybody involved in this had even bothered to read the books. That said, if your taste for quirkiness is fairly high, this book has a few laughs to it, and it’s got a pleasing mid-’90s faux-Vertigo vibe I liked. Ignore the title and give the book itself a shot.

10. Convergence: Swamp Thing #2

It’s Swamp Thing fighting alongside a vampiric Batman to kill other vampires, written and drawn by horror masters Len Wein and Kelley Jones. You’ve probably already bought this, but if you haven’t, it’s a heck of a lot of fun, and you don’t need to read the first issue. Grab it and have some fun.

11. A-Force #1

The all-female Avengers debut and it’s… well, it’s a pretty typical team book! Which is both good and bad considering the concept could be inherently gimmicky; the team avoids that on this book. Introducing it during Secret Wars may not have been the best idea; with that going on in the background it’s hard to get a bead on this book. It’s interesting, just perhaps a book that needs to stand on its own.

12. Ninjak #3

It’s the origin story that makes this book stand out, as a young Ninjak takes on his abusive caretaker. It’s a solid action book, otherwise, and a lot of fun, just perhaps a bit more about the origin would be in order.

13. Planet Hulk #1

Where do you send a whole lotta Hulks? Greenland, of course! And who do you send to destabilize a government run entirely by Hulks? Why… actually you need to discover that for yourself, but suffice to say it’s really, really funny. Give this a read if you’re a Marvel fan, you won’t be disappointed.

14. Convergence: Wonder Woman #2

Nobody’s pulling any punches in a fight between Wondy and a vampire Joker, but what makes this book a great read from Larry Hama is that Wonder Woman isn’t OK with what she has to do. It’s a nice, thoughtful approach that underlines what makes Wondy great, and well worth a read.

15. Spider-Verse #1

Yep, all the Spider-people are back, and in one city this time, for a revival of Marvel’s Spidey-centric crossover. Really, it’s worth reading just for the plot twist, which we won’t ruin here except to say that it’s… memorable.

16. UFOlogy #2

After a low-key but solid first issue, this second issue is pretty much all about the set-up and the slow burn. One teen has a weird tattoo, another is finding weird stuff in the woods, so on and so forth. It’s not a bad thing, per se, but you’ll definitely need the first issue handy to get up on it.

17. Convergence: The Adventures of Superman #2

Talking apes, Superman being an uncomplicated nice guy, and Supergirl suffering from angst; yep, this is a ’60s Superman tale all right. Fun for fans, and surprisingly well-written while simultaneously keeping everything that makes the original comics a hoot, but pretty much entirely for DC nerds.

18. Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes #2

This leans a little heavily on nostalgia for the old-school Legion for my tastes, but it’s a smartly written book nonetheless about making hard choices and how if you spend enough time with bad choices, you start to see everything as kill or be killed. It’s a clever twist on a silly concept with the Atomic Knights, but might be a little continuity heavy for new readers.

19. Convergence #7

Hey, the title of this book is more than a fun vocab word, as this issue proves. A lot of fun for DC fans, especially for the early ’90s shoutout, but pretty much only for fans.

20. Oh, Killstrike #1

I wasn’t a fan of the talky, condescending Evil Empire, but Max Bemis’ Oh, Killstrike! has a hilarious premise; Killstrike, star of the dumbest, grimdarkest, most Liefeldesque ’90s comic ever created, comes to life to torture a smug comics nerd. So of course the book opens with our nominal hero lecturing his wife about the comics industry in the ’90s, and Bemis spends a page telling us what a snob this guy is. Which is tied to his daddy issues, and why he spends most of the book treating his wife like crap. The writing stops at the concept, in other words, and the concept needed stronger writing to fully work. Logan Faerber’s cartooning is top notch and often the funniest thing on the page, but it’s not enough to salvage this book.

This Week’s Full Retail List, Courtesy of Comiclist

ABRAMS
Block City Incredible Minecraft Worlds SC, $22.50

ABRAMS COMICARTS
Out Of Line The Art Of Jules Feiffer HC, $40.00

ACTION LAB – DANGER ZONE
Zombie Tramp #11 (TMChu Regular Cover), $3.99
Zombie Tramp #11 (Dan Mendoza Variant Cover), $4.99
Zombie Tramp #11 (TMChu Risque Variant Cover), $4.99
Zombie Tramp #11 (Winston Young Vampblade Variant Cover), $4.99

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