By Zack Quaintance — So, I don’t mean to spend this Top Comics to Buy for May 22 intro space on Game of Thrones, but, actually, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. The finale was last night, and people have...strong feelings. I get being disappointed. What I maybe don’t get is being devastated, furious, moved to action, or otherwise made unhappy in any lasting sort of way. This is, after all, something we’re all congregating around because at some point it made us feel very good. We’re engaged here for entertainment, ideally saving any lasting discomfort for, oh, I don’t know, thinking about real life politics, or our work, or just the struggle that is daily life...you know?
With movies and TV and comics, we don’t have to be there for that. Disappointment happens, but we can all make a conscious choice to not let it be upsetting, certainly not to the point of fighting each other within the social media echo chamber/void, and without question not to the point of signing a petition demanding it be changed. Again, save those petition signatures for climate change, not Game of Thrones. C’mon now.
End misplaced rant. And now, on to this week’s comics!
Top Comics to Buy for May 22, 2019
*PICK OF THE WEEK*
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Sana Takeda
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics
Maika is forced to rethink her entire past and future when she finds herself in the center of a dangerous conspiracy against the Known World.
Why It’s Cool: Getting back to our intro (I know, and I’m sorry!), the complaint I think about most with season 8 of Game of Thrones is the show lost its attention to detail (to be fair, this started throughout the wire thing season 7 and probably even a little bit during season 6). In a fantasy story, the world is often as important as those who move within it, and disregarding the meticulous detail that brings it alive is a quick way to engender a whole bunch of scoffing, even if some of those displeased struggled to articulate that. This is all a wordy way of saying that Monstress, now on its 22nd chapter, has disregarded none of its own consideration for detail, and it remains of the most thoughtful, dense, and downright riveting fantasy stories being told in any medium. That’s what has earned it the title of PICK OF THE WEEK.
Action Comics #1011
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Steve Epting
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Josh Reed
Publisher: DC Comics
Leviathan wins! After the destruction of anyone and everyone who could stand in its way-from Lois Lane's military father, Sam Lane, to agencies such as Spyral and Checkmate-the newly reorganized and amped-up evil organization stands ready to topple even the Man of Steel! With a shocking conclusion that'll affect the entire DC Universe over the summer, don't miss the epic and unexpected conclusion to "Leviathan Rising."
Why It’s Cool: I’ve been absolutely loving all things Leviathan since Brian Michael Bendis started seeding the upcoming event story way back in issue #1006. Now, this feels like The Big One, at least within this current Leviathan Rising arc. It’s wrapping up the introductory stage of Leviathan, just in time for the Superman Leviathan Rising Special, which is coming May 29. Simply put, this is a comic that stands to be both revelatory and consequential. This issue also marks the last on the title for artist Steve Epting, whose moody linework (armed with Brad Anderson colors) has been an absolutely ideal fit for this shadowy story of espionage and back alley machinations.
Assassin Nation #3
Writer: Kyle Starks
Artist: Erica Henderson
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Publisher: Image Comics
Our surviving hitmen go into full-on kill mode as they try to take down the leader of the Merda Morra gang and maybe finally put this whole thing to bed. Though, you know, it IS a whole gang they'll have to fight, and they WILL have to take down current No. 1 hitman Taipan to get the job done. Want to take bets on how many get out of this issue alive?
Why It’s Cool: This is quite possibly the funniest book in all of comics, rich as it is with one-liners and visual gags. This issue is also really suspenseful and heavy on well-realized action visuals. I knew this creative team could bring the jokes. I didn’t know that they’d be making comics like this that have some of the best shootouts and standoffs and high-stakes emotional battle sequences of any book I’ve seen in some time. There’s still two issues left before this one wraps, and I can’t wait to see where this is all going. Also, for those who have forgotten this book still has a character named Fuck Tarkington.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
WAR OF THE REALMS TIE-IN!
Avengers Mountain is under siege as the last stronghold of Earth's heroes is the subject of an all-out assault by the forces of Malekith!
Why It’s Cool: So, Marvel recently had a 50 percent off digital sale that applied to even its new books, and what that meant was that I was able to finally catch up on every last War of the Realms tie-in...for better or worse. Let’s talk about the better. Avengers #18 was probably my favorite tie-in title so far, a story in which the Squadron Supreme of America fulfills its nationalistic purpose and protects the United States but only the United States from the frost giant invasion, not even so much as going over the border to Canada to help there. This was sort of a one-and-done issue in the context of this event (although look for ramifications in this Avengers title when the WOTR fighting clears up), and I don’t expect Avengers #19 to build on it. I do, however, expect it to be as interesting and thoughtful and well-executed as this book as been from the start, looking instead to another theater of the war...what’s happening to rest of the team holed up at Avengers Mountain. A new era of Avengers is here and Jason Aaron et. al are telling stories that own it. It’s a great thing to follow.
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Maria Llovet
Letterer: AndWorld Design
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Faith is drawn into a new world when she attends a party at the home of world renown artist Louis Thorn. It's a world of opulence, excess, and sensuality-and something darker that she can't put her finger on. There is something... curious about these people, a darkness or shadow just at the edge of reason... and maybe it is exactly what Faith is looking for.
Why It’s Cool: Quite honestly, I don’t really know. I don’t really know, in fact, what to make of this comic, but I know that it feels like there is something urgent and honest driving this title, which is billed on its own cover as An erotic depiction of faith, sex, and the devil in the tradition of the divine comedy. I...guess that’s right? I certainly can’t say it’s wrong. Really when it comes down to it, Maria Llovet is doing phenomenal things with the artwork, stylish and searing things that will linger with you long after you’ve finished reading this title.
Top New #1s and One-Shots
Clue: Candlestick #1
Drawing Blood #1
Road of Bones #1
Star Wars Age of Rebellion: Jabba the Hutt #1
War of the Realms Strikeforce: Land of Giants #1
Others Receiving Votes
Detective Comics #1004
Dial H for Hero #3
Ghost Tree #2
The Goon #2
Justice League Dark #11
Martian Manhunter #5
Marvel Comics Presents #5
Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter #2
Tony Stark: Iron Man #11
War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #2
Check the site later this week for reviews of Monstress #22, Road of Bones #1, and more!
Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.