Best New #1 Comics of November 2018

By Zack Quaintance — There are plenty of surprises among our Best New #1 Comics of November 2018, including a type of comic that we don’t usually feature. I’m talking specifically here of licensed books. Their inclusion, however, is a trend carrying over from October. Indeed, once again we liked some new comic interpretations of properties associated with other mediums, including Firefly, James Bond, and Go-Bots. What can we say? Good comics are (obviously) good comics.

In this month’s top five, we also have some usual suspects with a trio of new #1 comics from Image. Perhaps more notably, this month we’re also featuring a duo of books from DC Comics, which has maybe needed some new series for a while. And oh how they got them in November! Both new DC titles are fairly psychedelic in concept and aesthetic, refreshing for a publisher as traditionally straight-laced as DC.

Anyway, on to the comics!

Quick Hits


Ironheart #1 is a solid start for Riri Williams first solo book, with the artwork from the team of Kevin Libranda and Luciana Vecchio standing out for its clean lines and polished aesthetic. Ewing also writes teen chatting between the characters well.

The Sideways Annual #1 was delightfully Grant Morrisoned out. This title is set to end soon, and I’ll miss it.

Writer/artist Tom Scioli’s Go-Bots #1 came out this month, and you can read more about why we liked it in contributing writer d. emerson eddy’s Comic of the Week.

Greg Pak was a busy writer this month, helping to a launch a pair of new #1 licensed comics with Firefly #1 for BOOM! Studios and James Bond 007 #1 for Dynamite.

Bryan Hill and Leandro Fernandez keep the Vertigo rebirth going with American Carnage #1, an uncomfortably real-feeling story in which a disgraced FBI agent goes undercover in a white supremacist movement to investigate the murder of a former colleague. This is going to get a whole lot worse before its end...

The new age of Valiant heroes begins with Bloodshot: Rising Spirit #1. This book was strong, but the real headliner of the new line is next month’s Livewire #1 (advanced review here).

Donny Cates’ Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1 is the second auxiliary one-shot for his sinister Venom run, and it sets up the central character’s long-time foil Carnage to make a terrifying return soon. I dug it.

Speaking of Cates, he also wrote Marvel Knights 20th #1, the amnesiatic start of a six-part series honoring that bygone imprint. This comic was confusing but in the right ways.

As for Uncanny X-Men #1, this weekly book sets a tone for an unbound and intricately odd new era of X-Men, maybe? A lot remains to be seen.

Top 5 Best New #1 Comics of November 2018

Bitter Root #1
David F. Walker and Chuck Brown
Artist: Sanford Greene
Colorist: Rico Renzi and Sanford Greene
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
I’ve maybe written this two dozen times by now, but I loved David F. Walker and Sanford Greene’s collaboration on Marvel’s Power Man and Iron Fist from back in 2016, which was tragically cancelled before its time. I was pretty bummed out when that news came down. It was, however, tapered shortly thereafter with the announcement of Bitter Root, a monster hunter comic set during the 1920s Harlem Renaissance that aims to take on issues of race. I’ve had high expectations for the book, and, now that it’s here, I’m happy to report the comic meets and exceeds them.

Bitter Root is a sharp and kinetic book, powered in large part by Green’s singular artwork and the attention to detail he lends each character and every panel. As I wrote in my review, there’s been a plethora of new monster comics launched this year but none as confident as Bitter Root. The past collaboration between creators is evident, as this book arrives fully formed, wielding great strength right out of the gate. This is one of those Image Comics built to run for a long while, and you’ll want to make sure you’re there from its start.

Electric Warriors #1
Steve Orlando
Artist: Travel Foreman
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: DC Comics
Steve Orlando is a favorite writer here, owing to the gravitas and thought he applies to all his superhero work. Orlando also has a keen interest in exploring DC’s vast continuity, and, to our minds, this often makes for comics wherein characters talk and act in compelling ways while moving through stories unique to the shared universe they inhabit. This is all a means of saying that Orlando is perhaps the perfect writer for this comic, which is set in an era following Jack Kirby’s Great Disaster, not all that far (relatively) from the start of the Legion of Superheroes (which we’d also like to eventually see Orlando write, but that’s a story for another day…).

Orlando isn’t the only great fit on this book, though. Artist Travel Foreman is one of superhero comics’ real visionaries, and he’s in full control of his powers here, creating a distant future steeped in psychedelic neon with designs that carve it out as at once separate from the modern DCU yet linked in logical ways. Add on an airtight plot with heavy themes like duty, family roles, and global coherence, and the result is one of the most intriguing and original DC comics in some time.

The Green Lantern #1
Grant Morrison
Artist: Liam Sharp
Colorist: Steve Oliff
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Publisher: DC Comics
I feel like the creative team sort of explains this choice. Grant Morrison is one of our favorite writers at DC, and in recent years, Liam Sharp has established himself as one of the publisher’s best artists, specifically doing so with his work on Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman Rebirth run and the recent miniseries, Brave and the Bold, which starred Batman and Wonder Woman. What the duo is setting out to do here is somehow small scale yet cosmically ambitious.

The Green Lantern #1 seeks to reorient Hal Jordan as less of a military man and more of a beat cop, taking on galactic no-goodniks at an almost micro level before their villainy can flower into a threat with the potential to upend planets. Sharp’s artwork is trippy and complex, as psychedelic and imaginative as the other DC book on this month’s list, Electric Warriors. Oh, and this first issue does something I always like in superhero comics: it ends with a spread filled with snippets of what’s coming in future issues, including most notably for my tastes a renewed team up between Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen.

Middlewest #1
Writers: Skottie Young
Artist: Jorge Corona
Colorist: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letterer: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Publisher: Image Comics
Skottie Young and Jorge Corona had me at forlorn Midwestern coming-of-age comic that features magic and a talking fox. Okay, so that’s a mouthful, but my point stands. I was intrigued by the construction of this comic from the moment I first became aware of it, moreso because I know Young is from rural Illinois, which is where I went to college and also worked my first professional newspaper jobs and internships (once again, more on that is best saved for another time…).

I knew the veteran creator Young had the chops to deliver on this premise, but what comes as more of a surprise is Jorge Corona’s artwork. Corona was previously unknown to me, yet his work here is simultaneously evocative of Young’s general aesthetic while also distinctly his own. He also captures both the lonely feel of life in a flat state and the sense of magic Young’s script seeks to imbue it with. This, like Bitter Root, is a new Image comic that begs to be collected and followed from its beginning.

Outer Darkness #1
Writer: John Layman
Artist: Afu Chan
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Publisher: Image Comics
Finally, we end this month’s list with John Layman’s and Afu Chan’s new ghost story in space, Outer Darkness. As I wrote in my review of the first issue, John Layman describes Outer Darkness as the distillation of what I love the most. Science fiction, horror and weird shit. Well, I like those things too, so sign me up to journey into space with this one. The first issue was a fantastic read, and there’s every reason to believe that level of quality will continue.

Check out more of our many monthly lists here.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase. He also writes comics and is currently working hard to complete one.

Thirsty Thursdays: November's Hottest Comics Art

By Allison Senecal — Superhero comic art has evolved at a really impressive rate in recent much so that sometimes it can be a lot to handle. First there’s excitement, obviously, but then that excitement turns into something else...which is why each month we’re running our Thirsty Thursday rankings, a new and different way to look at our favorite comic art. Welcome to a sporadic examination of (as the kids say) the month’s thirstiest comics.


The Thirstiest Comics of November 2018

Thor #7 – I mean, Odinson obviously, but have you met my new beefy Viking girlfriend, Erika the Red? SHE’S TALLER THAN HE IS. I LOVE(D) HER. The Moore/Rauch team killed it on this. Everyone looked extra…oh no my tablet is autocorrecting “likable” to “lickable”…maybe I’ll just leave it. ANYWAY… 💦💦💦💦💦 out of 5

Rarely is a new character so instantly lickable (I should maybe do something about this autocorrect, I guess).

X-23 #6 – Laura? Undercover as a gym teacher? Marvel, did I ask you for this? Ms. Tamaki, did I ask you for this? Oh, and really all the X-artists (Duarte/O’Halloran here) are really nailing clothing right now. 💦💦💦💦💦 out of 5

Yes, ma’am.

Shatterstar #2 – Hot and making me emotional? In this economy? *mouths* Thank you. This series is just so smouldery, from the Yasmine Putri covers to the cheesecakey interiors by Villa, Sandoval, and Lopez.  💦💦💦💦💦 out of 5

The only thing getting shattered in this book is my heart.

Uncanny X-Men #2 – This series has been a lot for me to process. Jean and Ororo on a coffee date. Jean and Betsy holding hands (you don’t need context, just imagine them holding hands). All three of them in the cutest and most comfy-looking casual wear money (or this art team of Silva/Di Benedetto/Rosenberg) can buy. X-Men who? 💦💦💦💦💦 out of 5

Can this scene go on for 457 more pages? Thanks.

Bitter Root #1 – All I ask of indie comics is that they give me badass new comic book girlfriends and OH MY GOODNESS, I am already in love with Blink. Stay tuned for David Mack’s cover featuring her in February because WOWZA.  💦💦💦💦💦 out of 5

I’ll just put it this way: I’m looking forward to more of this character.

Justice League #12 – I admittedly didn’t read the Drowned Earth event in its entirety but I heard “Frazer Irving” and “Mera” and came running, which is why I’m so sweaty. I swear!  💦💦💦💦💦 out of 5

All I heard was unlike the rest, strange, and powerful. But please, tell me more…

Daughters of the Dragon #1 – MISTY AND COLLEEN, Y’ALL. My favorite girlfriends, but not girlfriends, are back and oh my god. Oh. My. God. This series has the biggest energy. Misty in a SUIT. Colleen bringing back her tracksuit wardrobe. You’re just gonna have to read it, since there are too many stunning pages from Foreman, Gibson, and Delgado (whose letters really MADE THIS TRULY SEXY). 🐉 💦💦💦💦💦 🐉 out of 5

That’s an actual picture of my face on the bottom right.

If November was Gay Anxiety Month, December is Cosmic Gay Anxiety Month. I already know Angela is going to be in here twice. Of course, there's also the Extermination finale, and hopefully some spicy Namor content in those new Defenders one shots, so maybe the men will be back next month. Anyway, see you then!

Check out The Thirstiest Comics of October.

Allison buys books professionally and comics unprofessionally. You can find her chaotic neutral Twitter feed at @maliciousglee.

REVIEW: Bitter Root #1 is a complex and fearless debut

Bitter Root #1 is out 11/14.

By Zack Quaintance — There’s a roadmap for success in creator-owned comics that’s becoming standard: a writer and artist collaborate at Marvel or DC, they build a fanbase, and they go on to drop a new series at Image, one that as a result of their past work together arrives fully-formed. It’s happened this year with Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s Gideon Falls, and it’s happening again this week with David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene’s Bitter Root #1.

Walker and Greene last teamed on 2016’s Power Man and Iron Fist, which despite being one of the major highlights of Marvel’s All New, All Different publishing initiative, was tragically cancelled before reaching 20 issues, apparently because higher ups at the company decided Luke and Danny needed to be separated. To me this remains a silly move, but I digress...

We’re here to talk about Bitter Root #1, a debut comic that, simply put, knows exactly how good it is. It’s a confident book built for a lengthy run, and, as such, its first issue is mostly interested in orienting readers within its world (the Harlem Renaissance era), introducing them to characters (a family of monster hunters with rigidly-defined roles), hinting at a central conflict (a rift in said monster-hunting family), and planting seeds for future developments. First issues can sometimes fall into a sensationalistic trap wherein the creators push copious or excessive twists into the story, coming off as a bit desperate to bring readers back for #2.

Not so with Bitter Root, an immersive comic that relies on strong art and storytelling more than narrative tricks. It’s also as thoughtful a new title as we’ve seen this year (and it’s been a strong year for thoughtful titles). Like Walker’s work on books like Nighthawk, oppression and abuse of power loom large in Bitter Root. WARNING POTENTIAL SPOILERS: The story being historical lets this issue draw a connection between institutionalized racism and injustices that continue today. In one scene, a jumpy police officer opens fire on black characters in a park (having his bullets deflected by the story’s imaginative steampunk monster-hunting tech) before a monster rips him to pieces. In the next, we cut to Mississippi the same night...where another character is saved by similar tech from a lynching by the KKK.

The placement of these scenes in Bitter Root’s first issue to me seems to hint at the story’s aspirations: to interweave family, duty, monsters, and systemic racism, thereby creating an imaginative and complex narrative, as rich with character growth as it is with elements of the fantastical. Phew. It’s a lot, but these creators are up for the challenge.

Greene is a phenomenal artist with a style entirely his own. I knew from his work on Power Man and Iron Fist he was capable of kinetic sequential storytelling, but working in creator-owned comics affords him increased flexibility here, the luxury of flexing his sizable and eclectic design skills on everything from the monster hunting technology to the aesthetic of the monsters themselves. His work is versatile, as interesting when applied to the fantastic as it is to the everyday scene of weekend dancing that opens our story. Colorist Rico Renzi’s palettes also do the always-important work of tone-setting, of lending mood and ambiance to book with horror themes. A story as well written as this one deserves singular art to match, and Greene and Renzi certainly deliver.

I’ve been looking forward to Bitter Root since it was first mentioned after the unceremonious end to Power Man and Iron Fist. It took awhile to get here and it sounds cliche to say, but if this debut issue is any indication, Bitter Root is well worth the wait.

Overall: There have been plenty of monster hunting comics launched this year, but none have been as confident as Bitter Root #1. This story is complex and fearless, steeped in fantastical monster hunting, family dynamics, and systemic injustices. Combine that with the stylishly singular aesthetic of the artwork, and this book is a must-read. 9.5/10

Bitter Root #1
David F. Walker and Chuck Brown
Artist: Sanford Greene
Colorist: Rico Renzi and Sanford Greene
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99

For more comic book reviews, check out our review archives.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase. He also writes comics and is currently working hard to complete one.

Top Comics to Buy for November 14, 2018

By Zack Quaintance — This week could maybe be looked at as DC Strikes Back, or something...if it weren’t for Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men #1, which in spite of its $7.99 price tag is still likely to sell more copies than any other title this week. Still, the slate of new DC and indie books is strong, with the former launching Electric Warriors, concluding Mister Miracle, and re-orienting Wonder Woman with a new creative team of G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel) and Cary Nord (The Unexpected).

The real highlight of the week, meanwhile, comes from David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene, as the team launches their long-awaited familial Harlem Renaissance monster-hunting book, Bitter Root. This was on our Most Anticipated Comics of 2018 list waaaaay back last January, and now it’s finally here. Obviously, Bitter Root lands as our featured books for the Top Comics to Buy for November 14, 2018. Oh, and look for a review later this week, but for now….

Let’s get to the comics!

Top Comics to Buy for November 14, 2018

Bitter Root #1
David F. Walker & Chuck Brown
Artist: Sanford Greene
Colorists: Rico Renzi & Sanford Greene
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
In the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance is in full swing, and only the Sangerye Family can save New York-and the world-from the supernatural forces threatening to destroy humanity. But the once-great family of monster hunters has been torn apart by tragedies and conflicting moral codes. The Sangerye Family must heal the wounds of the past and move beyond their differences... or sit back and watch a force of unimaginable evil ravage the human race.
Why It’s Cool: David F. Walker and Sanford Greene have teamed up before, specifically on a brief Power Man and Iron Fist run that if there was any justice in the corporate comics world would have run for 50+ issues. And now they’re back together! Transferring the creative alchemy they found at Marvel to the creator-owned vision described above. Simply put, this has the potential to be a MAJOR comic.

Electric Warriors #1
Steve Orlando
Artist: Travel Foreman
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Years after the Great Disaster, the Earth has started to rebuild and rejoin the universal coalition. In order to prevent a galactic war, different worlds throughout the known cosmos have created a new system of competitive combat to give each participating planet their own voice in the intergalactic struggle. Each world has one diplomatic gladiator, chosen to possess the Electric Seed and fight for their homeland as the Electric Warrior! Each fighter forsakes their personal life in the name of peace. So what happens when Earth can't choose a single combatant and sends two instead? The bruiser War Cry represents the humans of Earth, while Deep Dweller, a shape-shifter from the Octopus Tribe, represents the animal kingdom. Can they maintain one common goal, or will they tear Earth's tenuous coexistence to shreds and destroy the rest of the universe with it? Oh, and War Cry also has a powerful relic from Earth's past: Superman's cape!
Why It’s Cool: This book features one of the wildest and most original visions we’ve seen from either of the Big 2 in sometime, especially as it pertains to Travel Foreman’s artwork. Paired with Hi-Fi’s colors, the wispy shades of neon in this book really differentiate it from any other superhero universe fare on the market. Meanwhile, writer Steve Orlando is perhaps DC’s foremost continuity explorer, fearlessly drawing from his own deep knowledge of the publisher’s history. He’s right at home here crafting a compelling narrative within Jack Kirby’s Great Disaster Era.  

Lone Ranger #2
Mark Russell
Artist: Bob Q
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Dynamite
Price: $3.99
Tonto and the Lone Ranger go to Austin to foil a plan to cover the Texas panhandle in barbed wire. They are discovered and have to fight their way out of the city. Tonto devises a new strategy based on trick plays he learned from playing football at the Carlisle Indian School and Silver knocks a man unconscious with a wooden post.
Why It’s Cool: We’ve been heaping all kinds of praise on this book, most recently in our Best New #1 Comics of October 2017, and we’re not going to stop any time soon. This book is as smart as it is well done, and if you like great comics, you should be reading it, even if you care as little about the Lone Ranger character as I did coming into this.

Mister Miracle #12
Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
It'll be a miracle if you can get through this mind-bending conclusion with your sanity intact! After his epic battle with Darkseid, Scott Free sees life a whole new way: he's the new Highfather of New Genesis, and he's madly in love with his wife and child. But what if it's all a lie? Did Mister Miracle really escape death way back in issue #1? No one really knows but Tom King and Mitch Gerads!
Why It’s Cool: Mister Miracle is one of the smartest and most poignant comics that DC has published in many, many years, and this issue marks its conclusion. This is, simply put, the sort of finale that not only sticks the landing but does so in a way that validates all of the creative choices that came before it, making the already-strong previous acts of this story even stronger. This was one hell of a comic.

Uncanny X-Men #1
Ed Brisson, Kelly Thompson, & Matthew Rosenberg
Artists: Mahmud A. Asrar, Mark Bagley, & Mirko Colak
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $7.99
THE CHILDREN OF THE ATOM ARE BACK! New ongoing series kicking off with a 10-part weekly epic, the flagship X-Men series that started it all is back and better than ever! Starting with a mysterious and tragic disappearance, the X-Men are drawn into what might be...their final adventure?! X-Fan favorite writers Ed Brisson (EXTERMINATION), Matthew Rosenberg (PHOENIX RESURRECTION) and Kelly Thompson (MR. & MRS. X) and all-star artists Mahmud Asrar (X-MEN RED), R.B. Silva (X-MEN BLUE), Yildiray Cinar (WEAPON X) and Pere Pérez (ROGUE AND GAMBIT) join forces to bring you...X-MEN DISASSEMBLED?!
Why It’s Cool: In one sense, Marvel is back on its old cash grabbing bull*#$@, relaunching one of its most-popular titles of all time with a $7.99 first issue. Not only that, but this is the start of a 10-part weekly series. Marvel, simply put, knows readers will get this comic regardless, and so they’re going to take them for every last penny. Capitalism! That said, in between the cash grabbing Marvel has been providing really strong stories, and—carping about the cost aside—there’s no reason to believe this one will be any different. The X-world has been on the rise as of late (now that Marvel has its film rights back...ahem) led by a group of young writers who clearly grew up fans of the comics. Brisson, Thompson, and Rosenberg are chief among them, and we can’t wait to see what they do with this series. But also, did we mention it costs $7.99??!

Wonder Woman #58
G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Cary Nord
Inker: Mick Gray
Artist: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Far below Themyscira, Ares, the God of War, has been imprisoned for generations, repenting his past sins. But his new cellmate Grail may have an unexpected effect on him...and the plan they've come up with will change Themyscira-and the world- forever! When Wonder Woman rushes to Eastern Europe to rescue Steve Trevor from a mission gone wrong, she'll find herself face-to-face with a very new, very different God of War!
Why It’s Cool: G. Willow Wilson is a big get for Wonder Woman, a smart and thoughtful writer, Wilson has built the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel character into one of the most exciting teen concepts in comics. This is a whole other challenge altogether—building on decades of continuity within a much-loved and venerable franchise. We very much think that Wilson and her artistic collaborator Cary Nord are up for it.  

Top New #1 Comics

  • Black Order #1

  • Bloodshot: Rising Spirit #1

  • Comics Comics Quarterly #1

  • Firefly #1

  • Infinity Wars: Infinity Wraps #1

  • Terrible Elisabeth Dumn Against The Devils in Suits One Shot

  • William Gibson’s Alien 3 #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • Amazing Spider-Man #9

  • Avengers #10 (#700)

  • Cemetery Beach #3

  • Captain America #9

  • Cosmic Ghost Rider #5

  • Euthanauts #4

  • Fantastic Four #3

  • Friendo #2

  • Gideon Falls #8

  • Hawkman #6

  • Infinite Dark #2

  • Ms. Marvel #36

  • Murder Falcon #2

  • Oblivion Song #9

  • Proxima Centauri #6

  • Quantum Age: From the World of Black Hammer #4

  • Thor #7

  • Skyward #8

  • Supergirl #24

  • Superman #5

See our past top comics to buy here, and check our 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. He also writes comics and is currently working hard to complete one.