I read 25 comics this month, and these were the best.
5. Brave and the Bold #33
Ok, so here’s the thing. I don’t like JMS. At. All. But I bought this issue anyway, why? Cliff Chiang, that’s why. And guess what? I found the art to be amazing and the writing to be mediocre, at best. It’s admittedly an interesting concept, tying into a major DC event the way it does. But, the execution is so clumsy. It’s telegraphed early on. It goes against the characters of Diana and Zatanna. And the ending is typical JMS, overly melodramatic, and even a bit insulting. Crippled people can’t be beautiful, JMS? I don’t like JMS, but others feel differently. I’m here for Cliff Chaing’s art, and boy is it beautiful. His greatness transcends the shackles of the script. His characters have grace, charm, and personality. And, if I felt emotional at all in this issue, it was because of Chiang’s work.
4. American Vampire #2
I actually reviewed this thing. So, look for my reasons why this issue is so great there. This series continues to impress, with Stephen King, Scott Snyder, and Rafael Albuquerque performing in top form.
3. Secret Warriors #15
I originally felt compelled to put the first issue of Hickman’s new series, SHIELD, on here, but why should I? Sure, it had those mind-bending Hickman ideas, but so does Secret Warriors. What this issue has over that one are characters that we care about. Hickman’s been criticized for being an idea man, but with Secret Warriors he does it right, creating the perfect marriage between ideas and characters. This issue in particular had strong moments between Fury and Contessa, Daisy and James Taylor, and the often overlooked villainess, Viper.
2. Ultimate Comics: X #2
When it comes to buying comics monthly, the best episodic comic wins the day. Writing for the trade is fine and all, but you have to produce a compelling monthly offering, and it’s here that Loeb’s new comic truly succeeds. I think it’s Loeb’s work in TV that helped him with this. Both issues of this new comic work both as an overarching narrative, as well as a self-contained singular issue. I’ve seen people criticize Loeb’s use of narrative captions, but they add depth. By the end of this issue, we feel as if we know Dave, and it’s critical that we do know him, or else the story loses its emotional impact. Besides Loeb’s good work, there is of course is artist partner, the great Arthur Adams. Adams can pack so much detail into the page, while still rendering a distinct and powerful image. It’s good stuff.
1. Captain America: Who Won’t Wield The Shield?
We conclude that episodic theme with this month’s best comic. Though it is merely a one-shot, and could even be dismissed as being humorous fluff, the creators involved are just too great for such dismissal. Jason Aaron writes the framing story, throwing in as many nods to the online community as he can. If you know a bit about both the comics and personal life of Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction, Brian Michael Bendis, and Ed Brubaker, you’ll be in for a treat. The underrated Joe Quinones also renders a truly entertaining Deadpool comic, making the most of his cartoony style. But, really, it’s the pure magic, and I do mean magic, of Matt Fraction and Brendan McCarthy, that make this comic truly special. It’s just a simple six page story, but it’s pure, unhindered Fraction and McCarthy at the height of their powers. Honestly, for me, this is probably the best comic Marvel’s produced this year.