Top Comics to Buy for August 28, 2019: X-Men, Ascender, and more!

By Zack Quaintance — All hail the week in which we get six new releases from the best indie comics publisher in the game, Vault. This is seriously an amazing week to be a reader of high-concept fantasy and sci-fi comics. Of those Vault entries, we get continuations of complex stories like Test, The Resonant, She Said Destroy (which was also the name of the screamo band I almost started in high school), and Sera and the Royal Stars.

Meanwhile, in our Top Comics to Buy for August 28, 2019 we also get a pair of new titles...with the absolutely incredible The Mall and the incredibly accessible continuation of Songs for the Dead, which has been retitled, The Necromancer’s Map. Oh yes, and we get even more of Jonathan Hickman’s stellar run on X-Men. It’s a good good week to be reading comics. Check back next week when we say the same damn thing because we’ll be getting more X-Men, new Legion of Superheroes, and the oft-delayed-yet-always-incredible Doomsday Clock.

Now on to the books!

Top Comics to Buy for August 28, 2019

House of X #3
Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colorist: Marte Garcia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $4.99
Learn the truth about one of the X-Men's closest allies...and then begin the fight for the future of mutantkind! Superstar writer Jonathan Hickman (AVENGERS, SECRET WARS, FANTASTIC FOUR) continues reshaping the X-Men's world with Marvel Young Gun artist Pepe Larraz (EXTERMINATION, AVENGERS)!
Why It’s Cool: The entire Hickman X-Men run has just been absolute fire, to the point that it’s kind of become penciled in as this site’s PICK OF THE WEEK. But the issues under the House of X banner have both been a cut above the lofty heights of the rest of the series. The first one gave us the new status quo for the X-Men, which the rest of these comics have set about re-contextualizing, and the second gave us one of the classic superhero comic book issues of our time, a story featuring a major revelation about Moira X. We can’t even speculate about what House of X #3 has in store for us, but we expect it to be yet another issue that begs to immediately be read again.

Ascender #5
Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: Image Comics 
Price: $3.99
END OF STORY ARC! "THE HAUNTED GALAXY," Conclusion: The first arc of the hit fantasy series comes to a pulse-pounding conclusion! The evil vampire witch Mother discovers that the planet Sampson may hold the secrets to her undoing. While on Sampson, Andy, Mila, and Bandit reunite with an old frenemy fans of DESCENDER will be thrilled to see!
Why It’s Cool: Ascender has been such a welcome extension of the storytelling alchemy between writer Jeff Lemire and artist Dustin Nguyen that took old in the book’s predecessor, Descender. It’s also been an interesting companion piece, in that it goes hard sword and socery fantasy, where the other volume went hard sci-fi. Anyway, in Ascender #5 we get the crescendo of the new volume’s first arc, and — hoo boy is this a doozy. Get ready to feel things while enjoying Nguyen’s incredible knack for watercolor illustration and character design. 

Dial H For Hero #6
Sam Humphries
Artist: Joe Quinones
Additional Inks: Scott Hanna
Colorist: Jordan Gibson
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: DC Comics / Wonder Comics
Price: $3.99
Just as Miguel and Summer learn the stunning truth of his identity, Mr. Thunderbolt launches his most devastating attack yet-by using the H-Dial on everyone in Metropolis! As chaos ensues throughout the city, Miguel and Summer seek out a certain Big Blue Boy Scout for help...but is it too late? Has Mr. Thunderbolt already won?
Why It’s Cool: This series has flown a bit under the radar at DC Comics. It doesn’t (directly) use any of the publisher’s iconic properties, and as such, unlike ⅔ of the line or whatever, it doesn’t have Batman in its title. But this book has been sneakily good, especially the next level illustration being done by the towering talent that is illustrator Joe Quinones. I don’t want to give any of the plot away, but Quinones puts forth his most impressive art yet in this issue, which is really saying something. I love this comic, and can’t wait for it to pick back up again soon.

Ice Cream Man #14
W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: Martin Morazzo
Colorist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Good Old Neon
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
"DOWN AND ACROSS": Solve this crossword puzzle and you just might save a man's life.
Why It’s Cool: Speaking of comics I love (but for very very different reasons), our next selection for this week is Ice Cream Man #14. This issue really encapsulates the appeal of what for my money is one of the single best comics on the market: it’s a formulist experiment that dives fearlessly into cynicism, trauma, and the fears of simply living life...emerging on the other end with plenty of horror but just enough hope to keep you moving forward, both with your day and with how often you stand to contemplate this book. Like every other chapter of this (mostly) anthology series to date, this one is incredibly smart, incredibly well done, and absolutely not to be missed.

The Resonant #2
David Andry
Artist: Alejandro Aragon
Colorist: Jason Wordie
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Publisher: Vault Comics
Price: $3.99
In the aftermath of a Wave, Paxton continues his journey in search of medical assistance for his sick son. Left to fend for themselves at the family cabin, the kids are visited by a mysterious stranger. Meanwhile, Paxton, joined by a welcome companion on the road, reaches the settlement of Hospitality-only to find the welcome less than hospitable.
Why It’s Cool: The Resonant had one of the single best debut issues of 2019 (which is increasingly a trend for publisher Vault Comics; see The Plot #1, also The Mall #1...which would be up here if we didn’t have a whole other section for new #1 issues, btw), and now its back with a followup that’s equally as honest, chilling, and engaging. The concept that writer David Andry and artist Alejandro Aragon have developed here is just so rife for world-building, without really deviating from the world we know. Instead, this is a comic that creates a new reality by delving into the dark impulses we all feel flashes of at times, and the result is, again, chilling. Still, the greatest concept can land kind of limp without narrative tension and character building, both of which The Resonant #2 continues to accomplish with impressive confidence and precision. READ THIS COMIC.

New #1s and One-Shots

  • Absolute Carnage Miles Morales #1

  • Batman Superman #1

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chosen Ones #1

  • Doctor Mirage #1

  • Fantastic Four Yancy Street #1

  • The Mall #1

  • Marvel Monsters #1

  • Mountainhead #1

  • Necromancer’s Map #1

  • Power Pack Grow Up #1

  • She Hulk Annual #1

  • Spider-Man Velocity #1

  • Star Wars: Age of Resistance General Hux #1

  • Star Wars: Age of Resistance Poe Dameron #1

  • Tommy Gun Wizards #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • Action Comics #1014

  • Absolute Carnage #2

  • Avengers #23

  • Captain America #13

  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #11

  • GLOW #4

  • Martian Manhunter #8

  • Sera and the Royal Stars #2

  • She Said Destroy #4

  • Superman #14

  • Terrifics #19

  • Test #3

  • Thanos #5

  • Thor #16

  • Wonder Woman #77

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 Comics Bookcase.