Top 5 Best Comics of April 2010

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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.

-Bruce Castle

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9 thoughts on “Top 5 Best Comics of April 2010

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Read/Rant lists Ameican VAmpire #2 as a best of the month: -- Topsy.com

  2. So I love Cliff Chiang art as well and I also thought JMS script was frustrating. I don’t understand how you could list this in your top five. Do you really belief Chiang can catapult the whole comic into top 5 territory? I mean if that was the case why not the FLash? Manapaul’s art is flawless and Johns script is much more acceptable than JMS.

  3. Sure, I do. It’s a done-in-one, it has a novel concept, and it’s definitely memorable.

    It’s one of the best looking comics of the year and, if you don’t actually read the thing, you can probably make up a pretty good narrative.

  4. I agree, Chiang’s art is phenomenal. How does the writing go against Diana and Zatanna?
    As a Barbara fan it was pretty emotional (yep, you were right) and I enjoyed the premise, but it still would have been better without the latter half. We all know what’s going to happen, so why bring it up and take away from Batgirl as she was? But I guess that can’t be helped, and I definitely prefer this over Stephanie.

  5. Whoa! It’s been like a year since you’ve commented here!

    Diana and Zatanna aren’t the characters to just give up. They’d do everything in their power to stop what was coming, consequences be damned!

    But, to go and show Babs how great it is to have legs? That’s a bit cold. The cliff notes version of Oracle at Delphi? That’s some clumsy writing.

    And, as I said, that last line was a bit offensive. “I remember how beautiful I used to be?” Crippled people can be beautiful, too, damn it!

    But, I figured if anyone would love this issue, it’d be you. Hope you liked it.

    • Haha I know! I’ll be commenting more as I’m now reading more comics, but I also want to return the favor for all of the comments you’ve given me.

      Hm, that’s an interesting point. The fact that D and Z don’t try to stop it seems to make the Joker’s actions more like destiny and less like pure evil.

      Doesn’t Dick propose to Babs after she’s in the wheelchair? If that’s not saying you’re still beautiful than I don’t know what is. Yeah, I enjoyed it and I’m glad I bought it, at least for the first part; but Batgirl Year One is still better, even with its Oracle foreshadowing.

      • JMS didn’t write that scene with Dick. My point is that, in this issue, JMS implied that Babs, and really all crippled people, can’t be beautiful.

        I doubt that was his intention, but with his clumsy writing, that’s what we got.

        I’m glad I bought it, too, but mostly because of the purty pictures.

  6. Its funny the more you write about this book the more my active indifference turns into straight up vitriol. Yeah I don’t think Chang’s art can redeems JMS awful writing.

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