By Zack Quaintance — Phew, well well well, we’re back! I spent the past three weeks and change relocating from Sacramento, Calif. To Washington, D.C….which is obviously a pretty massive move. In between, my wife and I did a mammoth 12-day road trip, where we stopped off and saw as many friends and as many national parks along the way as possible (check out some of it on the site’s Instagram feed!).
It’s all been very exciting, but ho boy does it feel great to be back writing for the site once again. With all our stuff out of boxes and our new home coming right along in terms of setup. It’s a great feeling. Also great? The Top Comics to Buy for June 19, 2019! It’s a huge week for Image Comics, which means it’s a week I thoroughly enjoyed. But more about that below.
Anyway, on to this week’s best comics!
Top Comics to Buy for June 19, 2019
*PICK OF THE WEEK*
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Sana Takeda
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics
Maika is finally close to getting all the answers she ever wanted-but at what price?
Why It’s Cool: I’ve written a lot about this in recent reviews, but Monstress somehow just keeps getting better and better. This issue is no exception. Monstress is a great fantasy story, and like all great fantasy stories, part of the appeal here is the depth of the cast. In this issue, writer Marjorie Liu and Sana Takedo go heavier on some of their excellent side characters than they have in recent issues, and the result is a quick and thorough reminder of what makes those characters so likable (and by extension this story). In a wider sense, it really feels like Monstress is building toward something special, a penultimate (?) arc finale, perhaps. And we’re loving every panel of it. Side note: these solicits are now hitting Saga levels of vaguery!
Assassin Nation #4
Writer: Kyle Starks
Artist: Erica Henderson
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Publisher: Image Comics
In this issue, all our surviving hitmen-turned-bodyguards have to do is storm the tower fortress of a rival crime syndicate, defeat their literal army of sword-wielding maniac teenagers, and kill their leader. Wait. Was that an army of sword-wielding maniacs? Yikes.
Why It’s Cool: I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again—this comic has a character named F*ck Tarkington. That is to say, this is one of the funniest modern comics in recent memory, with the only other contender that comes to my mind being writer Kyle Starks own Rock Candy Mountain. Like a lot of Starks work, though, this book also has a deep and rewarding heart being masked by all that humor. Combine that with the kinetic and cartoon-style Erica Henderson artwork that keeps things humming right along, and Assassin Nation is one of the most compulsively readable comics on stands today.
Guardians of the Galaxy #6
Writer: Donny Caters
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Guardians of the Galaxy vs. the Dark Guardians vs. Hela and the Black Order! It's all out chaos, and it's about to get a whole lot worse...with the resurrection of Thanos!
Why It’s Cool: We always knew Thanos was going to return from the dead following Marvel’s recent Infinity Something-or-Other event. We knew this for a couple reasons: A. Comics; and B. Thanos being resurrected is essentially the premise of this new run of Guardians of the Galaxy. In storytelling terms, his oft-discussed death-defiance is the MacGuffin pushing forward both our heroic team of Guardians and their opposite crew of evil Dark Guardians. Well folks, it looks now in this issue (the end of the first arc), Thanos is back. That’s not the only reason this comic is cool, though. It also marks what seems like the end of artist Geoff Shaw’s run on the book. Through the first five issues, Shaw and writer Donny Cates (who also collaborated on the new-classic creator-owned book, God Country) have established truly special creative alchemy. So, while we’re sad that Shaw is departing, we’re also beyond excited to see what sort of note he’s going out on.
Little Bird #4
Writer: Darcy Van Poelgeest
Artist: Ian Bertram
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Image Comics
Held captive at New Vatican, Little Bird endures endless medical examinations to procure the "resurrection gene" for Bishop's dying son. If Little Bird wants to escape this nightmare and save her people, she'll first have to confront a dark family secret. The penultimate issue of the LITTLE BIRD saga contains 30 pages of story, and a pin-up gallery by a variety of artists.
Why It’s Cool: Through four issues, Little Bird has proven itself to be a true sci-fi epic if ever there was one, drawing on a diverse range of future-looking themes to really land some poignant themes and thoughts about our modern times. It’s also a true comic book epic, in not only are writer Darcy Van Poelgeest and artist Ian Bertram telling a story that really utilizes the graphic sequential medium, but you can also practically feel them doing their best to reward us hardcore readers of monthly comics. This is in the way that each issue is over-sized and sort of thematically contained. It’s a huge sweeping story, of course, but I’ve come away from every chapter so far incredibly satisfied with the incremental reading experience. It happened again in Little Bird #4, and it’s just all too rare in comics these days.
Writer: Vita Ayala
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
The masterminds behind the Psiot Security and Education Program uncovered!
Can Livewire save Phoebe and avoid being captured?
Phoebe's backstory is revealed!
Why It’s Cool: We are now (relatively) deep into the Valiant character Livewire’s first solo ongoing coming, and writer Vita Ayala and team continue to make this book not only fitting of that status but also one of the overall best superhero books in all of comics. What I’ve come to like most about this run of Livewire is its complexity. This is a sophisticated comic, both in what it has to say about culture at large and in the way it plays out its character’s growth and lessons. You don’t have to engage with this sophistication—it reads perfectly well as a rip-roaring action0-heavy superhero affair—but for those who really immerse themselves in the story, there are so many wonderful layers in play here, placing Livewire once again among my favorite comics of the week.
New #1 Comics and One-Shots
Hellboy and the BPRD: Beast of Vargu One-Shot
Lab Raider #1
Trout: Hollowest Knock #1
Usagi Yojimbo #1
Warlord of Mars Attacks #1
Others Receiving Votes
A Walk Through Hell #11
Barbarella / Dejah Thoris #4
Captain America #11
Gideon Falls #14
Invisible Kingdom #4
Port of Earth #11
Red Sonja #5
Teen Titans #31
War of the Realms: War Scrolls #3
Check the site later this week for reviews of Superman: Year One, Guardians of the Galaxy #6, 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.