I read 17 comics in March, and these were the best.
5. Joe the Barbarian #3
While not as impressive as the issues that preceded it, Joe still deserves a spot on the list. Murphy continues to shine, but Morrison takes more of a conventional route here, highlighting villains and whimsy. It’s still great, of course, but Joe is kept at arm’s length, instead of front and center.
4. UC: New Ultimates #1
Yeah, that’s right. Jeph Loeb’s comic is better than both of Morrison’s. Has hell frozen over? Probably! Frank Cho has been slaving over this comic for months, and it shows. The gargantuan cover is worth the price of admission alone. Loeb smartly writes to Cho’s strengths, making this comic a career highlight for him. Loeb himself impresses on many scales. From paying homage to both Ultimate and 616 continuity, to drawing from his personal experiences, adding to the depth of a character’s plight, Loeb produces a memorable and exciting comic, leaving us hungering for more.
3. Secret Warriors #14
It’s clear that Hickman has about as much interest writing episodically as he does appealing to new readers. Secret Warriors is a literary comic, and it’s difficult to judge it from issue to issue. However, this issue is impossible to ignore. Sunny Gho has been experimenting with his colors for awhile now, and I think he’s finally found the right tone. Its beautiful oil paint style makes Caselli’s work look better than ever. This issue also features enough twists, payoffs, and emotional connection to remind us why Secret Warriors is one of the best comics being published.
2. American Vampire #1
If you were one of those “I’d buy it if it were a dollar” assholes, now’s the time to correct your mistake. The entire team, King, Snyder, and Albuquerque, are fairly new to comics, but their output here is pure professional, apart from a few minor mistakes. This is an oversized comic, featuring two tales at about 16 pages each. Albuquerque is at the top of his game, not only rendering everything wonderfully, but also developing a distinct visual style for both stories. With the theme of this comic being vampires through the ages, I look forward to seeing Albuquerque’s limits put to the test. I’m sure he’s up for it. And as for the stories, Snyder’s riffs on the glamorous vampire while providing many easter eggs for film buffs, while King’s operates at the awesome-super-kickass-Sam-Peckinpah level. This looks to be one reliable, great comic.
1. Punisher MAX #5
And so ends the brief period when the Punisher lived in Ennis’ shadow. Well, that’s not entirely true, as indeed this story, and Aaron’s career as a whole, owes much to Garth Ennis. However, Aaron’s strong, authorial voice shines through the Ennis influence. As a note, I’ve vowed to mention Ennis in every sentence. With this arc, Ennis’ famed partner, Steve Dillon, further cements his standing as the best Punisher artist of all time. “Kingpin” concludes here; its themes and plot culminate, packing one helluva wallop…Ennis!