I read 20 comics in February, and these were the best.
5. Hellboy: The Sleeping and the Dead #2
Obviously, this comic is strong stuff. Mignola’s gotten his little past Hellboy tales down to a sharp concoction of quality. Scott Hampton makes for a good artistic choice, though admittedly weak among the likes of Richard Corben and Duncan Fegredo. That said, this comic never should’ve been two issues. It just feels like a cash grab, and the pacing is all wrong. The entire first issue was suspense building, making it feel unnecessary when all that suspense dissipates over the month of waiting. In the future, I hope Migola either makes these stories long enough to justify a mini, or short enough to pack into one over-sized comic.
4. American Vampire #12
You can find my full thoughts here. This is the first of hopefully many done-in-ones from this series, and it’s pretty darn good. As far as Vertigo pinch hitters go, Danijel Zezelj is a good choice. His work here is even stronger than the issue of Scalped he recently rendered.
3. Deadpool MAX #5
I think this comic’s made it to this list every single issue, excluding the third. Yep, it’s pretty great. All of you good people who usually avoid Deadpool like the plague should really come aboard. Lapham’s firing on all cylinders, even revealing a grander scheme in this issue, and Kyle Baker’s rendering some of the best mainstream comic work.
2. Casanova: Gula #2
Like Deadpool MAX, you should all know my thoughts on this comic by now. You’re all getting a second chance at reading the best comic of Matt Fraction’s career. Gula’s better than Luxuria, and that begins to become apparent in this issue. Any comic that’s central reference is Fellini’s “81/2 ” is welcome in my home. Likewise, Chris Peter’s lush coloring and Dustin Harbin’s hand lettering over Fabio Moon’s brushwork is a sight to behold.
1. Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #5
With this, it comes to an end. No more Astonishing X-Men comics from Warren Ellis, but it ends on a high note, naturally. All three of Ellis’ arc conclusions have been strong. Xenogenesis’ may be the weakest, but the overall quality of the arc could be the best of the three. With Ghost Boxes and Exogenetic, their codas kicked you square in the taint. This issue, however, ends more naturally, with an elegiacal tone that summarizes the core thesis of this series. I’m happy that Frank D’Armata dialed down his garish coloring for Kaare Andrews’ linework, as this series possibly marks his largest of body of work to date, and it looks lovely. Top work from two industry greats.