Top Comics to Buy for July 17, 2019: Jimmy Olsen, Assassin Nation, Little Bird, and more!

By Zack Quaintance — So, some good news: my backlog of comics for 2019 is down to only 62. This is a minor miracle, considering that at one point immediately after my move (Sacramento -> Washington, D.C.), I found myself with a (figurative) pile in the triple digits. Now, I’m going to enjoy this, but only briefly—going to San Diego Wednesday through Sunday is sure to push it right back up. 

Anyway, a whole bunch of new comics are here for this week, and the goods is...they’re good! What I was especially impressed with among this bunch was the crop of comics from creator-owned publishers. Vault, Image, AfterShock, IDW, and BOOM! Studios are putting out some mightily impressive work, both in terms of craft and diversity of intricate concepts. It just makes weeks like this one—in which the superhero stuff is also very strong—even more fun to be involved with this hobby.

Let’s check out our picks! 

Top Comics to Buy for July 17, 2019

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen
Matt Fraction
Artist: Steve Lieber
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Jimmy Olsen must die! Wait, we're getting ahead of ourselves. Jimmy Olsen lives! Superman's best friend and Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen tours the bizarre underbelly of the DC Universe in this new miniseries featuring death, destruction, giant turtles and more! It's a centuries-spanning whirlwind of weird that starts in Metropolis and ends in Gotham City. And then we kill Jimmy.
Why It’s Cool: I wrote about this issue in-depth last month for ComicsBeat, but just to recap briefly: this comic is hilarious in a really smart way unique to the comics medium, using a mix of continuity and visual gags to craft its humor. Both writer Matt Fraction and artist Steve Lieber are among the sharpest creative and comic minds in comics, and early indications are that this series is really going to be something special. The first issue hasn’t officially come out yet and there are still 11 more left, but I’m already sad that it has to even have an ending. It’s that good.

Aquaman #50
Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Robson Rocha and Eduardo Pansica
Inkers: Daniel Henriques and Julio Ferreira
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99
As Aquaman settles the Old Gods of Unspoken Water into their new lives in Amnesty Bay, Jackson Hyde, a.k.a. Aqua-lad, seeks out Aquaman to be his new mentor! Back in Atlantis, Mera makes a move that shocks the Widowhood. Meanwhile, Black Manta, recently kicked out of the Legion of Doom, prepares to make his next move against his greatest nemesis...but Lex Luthor is about to make him an offer he can't refuse. Don't miss our landmark 50th issue and the start of a brand-new story!
Why It’s Cool: Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick’s first arc on Aquaman was a well-done and very ethereal nigh-deconstruction of the Aquaman character, mixing up an amnesiac Arthur with heretofore unseen gods of the deep that essentially put him on a road of trials to slowly realize who he was and why it mattered. Last issue, we saw a revived Arthur return to his love, Queen Mera, and now in the oversized Aquaman #50, the cover is teasing yet another return: this time it’s Aquaman’s cinematic foe, Black Manta. And we are—as those online youngsters say—very much there for it. Last issue was the best of the run so far, and it left readers with a sense of real momentum. Look for this one to keep building on that.  

Assassin Nation #5
Kyle Starks
Artist: Erica Henderson 
Deron Bennett
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
MINISERIES FINALE! What can you expect in this pulse-pounding finale? A bandolier of grenades, an unexpected enemy, a quick-draw showdown, hella people getting shot... and the power of friendship. Is it going to be a violent roller-coaster ride of bullet wounds, fisticuffs, danger, and mayhem? Absolutely.
Why It’s Cool: This is one of the funniest and best executed (sorry!) comics on the stand today. Why is it cool? This is reductive and presumably not what anyone reading a comics sight would ever want to hear, but this comic is cool because it’s good. This series from start to finish really just has been a joy to read, which feels like an odd thing to say about a story entirely predicated on mass amounts of bloodshed, but also, hey, I like what I like and everything is done tastefully. It’s a book called Assassination Nation, after all, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it land on a whole lot of best of lists at the end of 2019.

Immortal Hulk #21
Al Ewing
Artist: Joe Bennett
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
As the smoke from last issue clears, General Fortean makes a fateful decision. There can be no more half measure. No weapon is off the table. Force must be met with equal force. This is a war without rules... and SHADOW BASE is going to win.
Why It’s Cool: Speaking of dominating best of lists, now we get to Immortal Hulk, a book that lands in this space pretty much any time it releases a new issue. Marvel’s single best run since Hickman’s saga ended, Immortal Hulk shows few signs of slowing down any time soon. I’ve probably type this more than a few times in the past, but last issue was the most absurd and disturbing (yet soooo true to the character!) issue yet. And the tease at the end could mean yet another horrific return of an old Hulk cast-member in the very near future.

Little Bird #5
Darcy Van Poelgeest
Artist: Ian Bertram
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
MINISERIES FINALE! An unexpected alliance could turn the tide for Little Bird's people and put an end to the long war between the Canadian Resistance and Bishop's theocratic regime. But will it be enough? Find out in the epic conclusion of one of this year's hottest books!
Why It’s Cool: This book has really just been a tour de force, and now in its finale issue, the creators do not let up. I’ve heaped praise upon Little Bird, and there’s a good reason why—this is a rare story that feels like it might only be possible within the comics medium. Special effects have gotten pretty impressive these days, but artist Ian Bertram (with Matt Hollingsworth colors) is just doing so much with the visuals in every last panel. Writer Darcy Van Poelgeest, meanwhile, has layered ideas about the nature of society that give the artists plenty of ammunition. This is, quite simply, one hell of a comic, and it’s been an absolute joy to consume. 

New #1s and One Shots

  • Age of X-Man: Omega #1

  • Blade Runner 2019 #1

  • Collapser #1

  • Loki #1

  • Orville #1

  • Punisher: Annual #1

  • Quiet Kind One Shot

  • Ragnarok: Breaking of Helheim #1

  • Resonant #1

  • Secret Warps: Ghost Panther #1

  • Sera and the Royal Stars #1

  • Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1

  • Vampirella #1

  • Wonder Woman: Come Back to Me #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • Black Badge #12

  • Daredevil #8

  • Excellence #3

  • Faithless #4

  • Gideon Falls #15

  • Infinite Dark #8

  • Justice League #28

  • Life and Death of Toyo Harada #5

  • Pearl #11

  • Port of Earth #12

  • Road of Bones #3

  • Silver Surfer: Black #2

  • Teen Titans #32

  • Uncanny X-Men #22

  • The Warning #9

See our past top comics to buy here, and check out our reviews archive here.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.