When I decided to get back into comics, I did a lot of research. I wanted to figure out what was good before I started buying. I didn’t want to just show up at my local comic shop and start throwing $5.00 darts at the racks, if you know what I mean.
So, after reading a lot of reviews, and previews for upcoming arcs, I picked up some X-books, some Bat-books, and a smattering of other things from smaller publishers. After about 7 or 8 months back in the game, I’ve come to some conclusions. Jason Aaron can’t write dialogue. Greg Capullo can draw. I could not care less about 3D lenticular covers. And Image is the new Vertigo. That’s what I’ve learned. I’ve also found a few great series this year. This is the best stuff I’ve read:
I came to this series late, but was able to score a few back issues at my local comics shop. This is, without a doubt, my favourite X-book. If you haven’t heard, the general conceit is that Beast traveled back in time to bring the original five X-Men to the twenty-first century in order to… inspire the modern X-men, who have lost their way… or something… that part is a little hazy. The execution, however, is awesome. Brian Michael Bendis is a great writer. His dialogue is crisp and funny. Young Iceman is one of the most hilarious characters in comics. We get a young Jean Grey who finds out that she’s destined to become Dark Phoenix, and a young Hank McCoy who looks his blue-furry future right in the face. The time-displaced heroes are aware that they are at once founding fathers of the whole X-Men enterprise, and rank amateurs next to battle-hardened heroes like Wolverine, Kitty Pryde and Storm. It’s a really wonderful book.
I picked up this book purely because of the rave reviews it was getting. It hasn’t disappointed. It’s always one of the first things I read every month. Imagine X-Files crossed with Indiana Jones crossed with a good buddy cop movie: that’s Archer & Armstrong. Archer is a twenty-something polymath assassin who was adopted and raised by a fundamentalist Christian cult with designs on world domination. Archer is a Dionysian immortal who frequently finds himself at the cross-hairs of history. The book is wildly imaginative and often very funny. It occasionally gets a bit silly, but for the most part it reads like a great adventure story. Lots of originality here from Valiant.
This is a brand new comic. We’re only two issues in, but Chris Digness and Matthew Roberts have a real winner on their hands. After reading the first issue, my speculative impulses drew me back to the comic store. It was only a day or two after I bought issue #1, but the cupboards were already bare. This one has real potential on the aftermarket. The gist of the book is that Lewis & Clark have been tasked with mapping out the American frontier, and with documenting and subduing any monsters they happen to find there. Spoiler alert: they find some monsters! The story is fast paced and engaging. Can’t wait to read the next issue.
I didn’t know who Scott Snyder was seven months ago. I’m now reading his Batman, his Superman Unchained, and The Wake. His superhero stuff is fine, but The Wake is something special. Snyder does a great job of playing with the standard sci-fi horror movie conventions. His underwater setting is creepy and claustrophobic. The book features a rag-tag band of scientists and shady government-military types fighting a long-lost species of man-eating mer-people. What’s not to like? Also a cliffhanger at the end of issue #5 suggests the series is about to go in a radically different direction. The series has been very good so far; depending on how the second half goes, we might be looking at a modern classic.
Copper and Chrome