By Zack Quaintance — This is a nice week for new comics, one in which the releases are mercifully a bit smaller in volume. This can perhaps be attributed to Free Comic Book Day taking place on Saturday. Publishers wisely got as much of their product as they could on shelves last week, so the hordes of FCBD attendees could scope it out and (hopefully) buy it.
Nevertheless! There are plenty of great choices for our Top Comics to Buy for May 8, 2019. This week’s group is headlined by the latest issue in Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Black Hammer main book, one that sort of takes us back closer to the core concept that we’ve been in a while with emotional results. I know I felt moved as I read it, the character work is that strong. It’s also a Vault Comics week, in which one of our favorite rising publishers has not one but two new comics, both very much worth checking out.
With all that in mind, let’s get to the comics!
Top Comics to Buy for May 8, 2019
*PICK OF THE WEEK*
Black Hammer: Age of Doom #10
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dean Ormston
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Todd Klein
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
The Eisner Award-winning superhero saga returns!
With the team coming together, Black Hammer, Abe, and company try to figure out what's happened to throw their lives upside down. Lucy, however, receives a call from an unexpected hero, which thrusts their plan into chaos.
Why It’s Cool: Black Hammer is in that rarefied comics space where it’s been so good for so long now that I think we as readers and writers and critics have come to take it a bit for granted. It makes sense, too. Periodicals as a medium rely upon the new and surprising, with buzz favoring books that continue to top what came before. Black Hammer, however, feels more subdued than all that, a sustained exploration into the continued draw of superhero stories. I’m not going to give away any plot here (obviously), but I will say that I think this issue finds deeper emotional space by pulling its characters back to its core stakes and concept. It’s an affecting read, one that reminds why I’ve long been grateful to follow this unspooling epic in real time.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Pencillers: Bryan Hitch
Inkers: Andrew Currie, Norm Rapmund, and Scott Hanna
Colorist: Jeremiah Skipper
Letterers: Starkings & Comicraft
Publisher: DC Comics
With the battlefield split, Carter and his past lives put together a last-ditch plan to stop the Deathbringers once and for all, but if it should fail, Earth will be doomed and the universe will fall into the hands of the Deathbringers forever!
Why It’s Cool: Every issue of one of DC’s best and most accessible comics in ages has been leading to this, the finale of the massive Hawkman story arc by writer Robert Venditti and artist Bryan Hitch. In it, Hawkmen from across space and time manifest in a battle on earth, against an army of Deathbringers that our protagonist used to lead. As their long ago leader, he carried out so many atrocities that he has (somewhat unbeknownst to him until as of late) spent multiple lifetimes atoning for. Now, his atonement efforts take shape as all of his past selves face the engines of his sins. It’s powerful stuff, played out to visual perfection in this chapter by Venditti’s scripting and Hitch’s pencils, inked as he is here by a trio of able inkers. And while this is an ending for the book as currently constructed, Venditti will continue on next month with a new artist, and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here. Here’s hoping we get some involvement from Hawkgirl!
Ice Cream Man #12
Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: Martín Morazzo
Colorist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Good Old Neon
Publisher: Image Comics
"HOPSCOTCH MÉLANGE," Part Four
A long time from now, Captain Noah Smith floats through space aboard his Archival Recivilization Capsule, searching for a fertile planet upon which to rebuild Earth. But out there in the dark vacuum, he finds... something else. This is the final, sugary story of Noah's A.R.C.
Why It’s Cool: Once again, I am absolutely in awe of the storytelling on display here from writer W. Maxwell Prince, artist Martín Morazzo, colorist Chris O’Halloran, and letterer Good Old Neon. It’s another compelling standalone story (with some unifying threads that have been scattered throughout the series) that charges headlong into sheer terror and outright cynicism, before pulling readers back from the brink with just enough to keep us hopeful. I have no idea how a book can remain at once so bleak and so intriguing. Each issue, I brace myself for utter devastation (because I know it’s coming), yet still doubt it’s going to happen until it does. Really well done comicbooking here.
These Savage Shores #4
Writer: Ram V.
Artist: Sumit Kumar
Colorist: Vittorio Astone
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Vault Comics
The shadow of war is cast over the land, where people and promises are broken alike. The smell of blood calls to beasts. Now is the time of monsters. Along these savage shores, where hope is folly, and fortune is the lie of a cruel whim.
Why It’s Cool: Can I just say everything? It’s maybe not the most useful description, but pretty much everything in this book just works so damn well, starting with the phenomenally creepy look on the vampire’s face on the cover, which extends right on through to a gruesome first page in which artist Sumit Kumar and colorist Vittorio Astone use perspective to guide us right on through to one of the best splash pages in recent memory. Read this comic now, or risk having to play catch up when this becomes a widely revered classic.
Wasted Space #9
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Colorist: Jason Wordie
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Vault Comics
Strap into your seats, because it's all about to get wild as the penultimate issue of Wasted Space's second arc comes in hot! Rich jerks! A pesky nuke! Cute, furry aliens! It's all here!
Why It’s Cool: Since the start of its run last year, Wasted Space has been seering smart and funny, hitting readers with a mix of big ideas, pithy one liners, and high space opera adventure. It’s now entered the second phase of its existence, one in which the book is comfortable being even more audacious and at times even meta. Simply put, this is a book that knows exactly what it is and is operating with earned and massive confidence. Sit back and enjoy this ride—Wasted Space just keeps getting better.
Top New #1 Comics and One-Shots
Batman and the Outsiders #1
Eve Stranger #1
Gears of War: Hivebusters #1
MetalShark Bro #1
Red Sonja / Betty and Veronica #1
Samurai Jack: Lost Worlds #1
War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1
Others Receiving Votes
Batman Who Laughs #5
Bronze Age Boogie #2
By Night #11
Captain America #10
Detective Comics #1003
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #6
Infinite Dark #6
Murder Falcon #8
She Could Fly: Lost Pilot #2
Check back to the site later this week for reviews of Eve Stranger #1, Excellence #1, and the new Vault Comics releases...plus a list of our favorite comics from April 2019!
Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.