And the Summer’s over! Really? That…went fast. I had fun, though. Hope you all did, too. Back to school, kiddies! I read 20 comics in August, and these were the best.
5. Invincible Iron Man #16
Matt Fraction’s writing is absolutely top-notch. Yes, this story will read better as a whole, but our connection to Tony, Pepper, and Maria is so strong, it hardly matters. The only thing that brings this issue, and the entire series, down, is Salvador Larroca’s Greg Land-esque art.
4. Ultimate Comics: Avengers #1
Speaking of Summer, you like those blockbusters that accompany the season, right? Well then, this is the comic for you! Just some awesome-kickass, supercool fun! Mark Millar gives it to ya, and Carlos Pacheco makes it look pretty. This opening salvo features a bombastic helicopter fight and a terrifying new villain.
3. Secret Six #12
Like my previous selection, this too is filled with action and good times, only with more twisted villainy. But this comic also has character and soul, and that counts for a lot. This is Jeannette’s issue to shine, and I think she blinded me. Carlos Pacheco’s beautiful interiors certainly contribute to UCA’s placement, but you know what? I’d put Nicola Scott up against Carlos Pacheco any day. Yeah, you read that right.
2. Batman and Robin #3
Holy hell, Batman! This series just gets better and better! The first and second issue topped my list in their respective months, and it’s only by some Marvel miracle that this one didn’t. Since I don’t have a proper review of this issue, I want to go over a few things:
Professor Pyg’s “sexy disco hot.” Who else had this song in their head?
Any guesses on who was watching Alfred? Could it be the same person who spied on Bruce & Jezebel all those issues ago?
Awhile ago, DC said, “Scarlet isn’t who you think she is.” That was a damn lie, and I’m pretty sure Red Hood is who you think he is too.
1. Daredevil #500
A phenomenal conclusion to what turned out to be a great run. Brubaker did DD proud, and definitely cast away Bendis’ shadow. On top of that, you get a great short story and a reprint of possibly the best Daredevil comic ever! Yeah, I’m pretty sure that this isn’t just the best comic in August, it’s the best Marvel comic of the year.
Brubaker’s run concludes, and delivers on the promise to shake things up. Bendis’ run ended with Murdock in jail, and while I won’t directly spoil the new status quo, I’m pretty sure you can guess from this upcoming Daredevil cover that Marvel released before this issue. It’s a satisfying change, and while it may not be the most original, it has the potential to provide some great stories from new Daredevil scribe, Andy Diggle. Speaking of Diggle, one of this issue’s special features is a preview of Diggle’s first DD issue, The List, the upcoming Dark Reign special. It’s underwhelming, but mostly because of Billy Tan, and going from Michael Lark to Billy Tan just exacerbates the problem.
Michael Lark produces some stunning work, as he always does. Whether it’s the opening, tender shots of Matt and his tortured wife, Milla, or the electrifying showdown between Daredevil, Lady Bullseye, and the Kingpin, Lark hits all the right notes. Matt Hollingsworth, the colorist, also does a fantastic job, and it should be noted that Andy Diggle isn’t the only one with big shoes to fill. I hope Roberto De La Torre will step up to the challenge, and from what I’ve seen, it looks like he will.
The first special feature of this anniversary issue is the aforementioned List preview. After that, former Daredevil scribe, Ann Nocenti, provides the story, 3 Jacks. Nocenti was known for her controversially preachy storytelling, but she’s a better writer now, and the subtext is subtler. Nocenti is also smart enough to give her collaborator, the brilliant David Aja, a bone-crunching fight scene to render. I don’t think I’ve ever been more impressed with a back-story. I’ve longed for more Aja output for awhile, but now, I want more Nocenti too.
After that, we get a wonderful pinup gallery rendered by a variety of artists from Brian Michael Bendis to Patrick Zircher. The standout is the one you see above you, from the Brazilian artist, Rafael Grampá. He’s pretty new to America, but he’s already won an Eisner, and after seeing that Daredevil, I think he’s going to go far. Check out his Batman and Robin!
Rounding out the extras is a reprint of one of, if not the best, single issue from Frank Miller’s run, Daredevil #191. Remember when Matt plays Russian roulette with a paralyzed Bullseye? Yeah, that one.
You put that all together and you get one of the best comics from Marvel all year! Brubaker concludes everything, and leaves his mark on Daredevil, giving him a bright future ripe with possibilities.