It’s a great time to be a comics fan. There are so many amazing comics being published that even though I read 25-30 titles each week there are still great books that I miss. Which had me thinking: If it is hard for me, a hard-core veteran comics geek with 30 years experience, to keep up with all of the awesomeness out there, how much harder myst it be for the casual fan ?
Which leads me to this. A new series where I let you know what I considered to be the five best comics released each fortnight. These comics are the ones that had the most witty dialogue, amazing art, clever plot twists and plain old “AW YEAH !” moments and are therefore the comics to which I give my highest possible recommendation. So, if you only buy five comics from the last fortnight, these are ones to grab !
Oh, and since comics are released in US comic shops and digitally every Wednesday, my fortnights will run from Wednesday to the Tuesday a couple of weeks away.
So, without further ado, here are my five favourites for the fortnight 7th-19th August 2014:
- Earth 2 #26
This issue is the climax to the epic story Aussie creators tom Taylor and Nicola Scott have been weaving for about 12 issues. So, it is probably not a great jumping on point, but then again you should be going back and reading this book from the start anyway ! So many great scenes in this book: Val Zod defeating the evil Superman while remaining a steadfast pacifist, Flash and Aquawoman kicking major ass, and the reveal of just what is going on with evil Superman. As always, there was clever writing from Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us, and launching Superior Iron Man soon) and beautifully detailed clean-line artwork from the ever incredible Nicola Scott (Wonder Woman, Secret Six). You MUST read this book !!
- Archer & Armstrong #23
When it’s witty dialogue and hilarious situations I crave I pick up anything written by Fred Van Lente (Incredible Hercules, The Mocking Dead). His brilliant sense of humour is unbound in Archer & Armstrong, as an odd couple uncover all manner of kooky conspiracies. In this issue, the titular pair confront The Lizard King (yep, it is Jim Morrison), who is set to use the fan-worship of a Justin Bieber analogue to change the world. Amongst the humour is a very clever plot which takes us across centuries to reveal the pair are more proficient at combatting megalomaniacal rock stars than would seem at first glance. This again is the last issue of a story arc, but once again it is well worth picking up the earlier issues to fully understand what is happening. There is enough story here and a decent recap, though, so jump in with this story. When you enjoy the hell out of it, then go back and grab the early issues !
- Mars Attacks First Born #3
This is one beautiful, beautiful book. Sam Kieth (of Maxx fame), pencils and colours this book in pencil, and then inks various character’s outlines with a broad stroke to give them definition. As a result of this and his cartoony figures, the book looks as if it is being drawn by a 12-year child (albeit one with incredible artistic talent). As if that were not enough, the story in this issue sees dramatic character development as two characters see the light in an elegiac sequence. This book is the welcome flip-side to the usual large scale destruction and violence of the Mars Attacks, a small story about families trying to survive the destruction of their peace. A beautiful story with beautiful art.
If you do not want to hunt for back issues now, the trade paperback is being released in November. Go to your local comic shop to pre-order it today !
- Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #1
Usagi Yojimbo (Japanese for “Rabbit Bodyguard”) has been appearing in comics now for 30 years, and during that time he has fought numerous enemies, gathered a handful of allies, and served as the springboard for incredible stories about Japanese Edo-period culture. All that said, the best thing about Senso #1 is that you do not need to know any of that history going in – the comic tells you everything you need to know as it weaves an awesome story. Usagi is helping his friend Lord Noriyuki defeat the manipulative rebel Hikwi once and for all when the battle field is invaded by another force entirely. This is an element which harkens back to one of the earliest Usagi Yojimbo series, and is a welcome change to the norm. I will not reveal the surprise here (even if the back cover does), but whether you are a long-time fan of the rabbit ronin or new to his adventures it will delight.
Oh yeah, all of the characters are anthropomorphised animals, but to be honest I forget that when I am reading Usagi, such is the skill Stan Sakai has in writing and illustrating characters who seem real. Still, if you find “funny animals” annoying, this may throw you a bit at first.
- The Legendary Star Lord (man !) #2
If you are one of the estimated 457, 826 people who enjoyed Chris Pratt’s performance as Peter Quill in the Guardians of the Galaxy film, then this is the comic for you ! (NB: Above figure may not be entirely accurate). This comic cleverly showcases the Star Lord’s power of persuasion and charm, his ability to plan and improvise when the plan inevitably goes wrong. The script is full of witty lines and the artwork conveys the action perfectly. There is even a bit of pathos developed, as Star Lord explains to his newly discovered sister just why it is he is partying so hard across the galaxy. Buy two copies of this comic – one for you and one for the female Star Lord fan in your life. She will love you for doing so !
What were your favourite comics from the last fortnight ?
Please let me know in the comments below !