Top Comics to Buy for May 1, 2019: The Green Lantern #7, Paper Girls #28, and more

By Zack Quaintance — This was a big weekend for pop culture, with Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones: The Battle of Winterfell marking a massive concentrated culmination of the zeitgeist's ongoing concerns for the past decade. This is all a fancy way to note that this Monday morning I am very tired. Yet, here we are as always just two days away from new comics. Commerce must go on, even more so than Thanos or…

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Doom Patrol Comics Guide, Part 2

By @Kimota1977Welcome back to our Doom Patrol Comics Guide. You can click here to read the Doom Patrol Comics Guide Part 1, or you can forge ahead with us now, inching closer to the present day. Anyway, the modern era of the Doom Patrol began in 1987 with a revitalized series from the same creator of the Bronze Era team - Paul Kupperberg…

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Top Comics to Buy for April 3, 2019: The Green Lantern #6, Die #5, and more

By Zack Quaintance — What a weekend. I spent it at WonderCon down in Anaheim (I’m a NorCal resident), soaking in my first show of the new con season. I’m a big fan of WonderCon, which is well organized but far more casual than San Diego, which is…

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Top Comics to Buy for March 6, 2019 - Die #4, The Green Lantern #5, and more

By Zack Quaintance — At the risk of sounding repetitive, this first Wednesday of the month has really morphed into a monstrosity of great new comics. So much so that I’ve once again extended our usual top five picks to six. Hey, more content’s a good thing, right? Anyway, I could have also easily extended it to seven or eight or nine. It really pained me to cut great titles for this upcoming Wednesday like Doomsday Clock #9, Immortal Hulk #14, and Justice League #19.

But I figure pretty close to most everyone has their mind made up about those comics at this point, so why not shed some light on lesser-known books that are still in their early stages? I’m thinking specifically here of the creator-owned comic Self/Made, which continues to shock me with the high quality of both the its stories and ideas. It’s really turning into something special, the type of book I find myself reading toward the top of the stack each week and coming away shocked at where the story seems to be headed.

Anyway, on to the comics!

Top Comics to Buy for March 6, 2019

Die #4 (
read our full review!)
Kieron Gillen
Artist: Stephanie Hans
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
"FANTASY HEARTBREAKER," Part Four-Our heroes reach the civilization of Glass Town and do what heroes have always done upon reaching civilization. As in, go to the pub. As it's DIE, you can guess people don't exactly get happy drunk.
Why It’s Cool: We’ll have a more detailed and thoughtful review of this comic later this week, but let me just say here that this is the best issue yet of a series that has been fantastic from its start. This is the smoothest and most immersive issue of Die so far, which I attribute to the previous three issues having done such great work toward familiarizing us with these well-realized characters. With so much of that work behind the story now, the creators are free in this comic to really hit some deep (and troublesome in the best way) emotional beats. Don’t miss this issue; don’t miss this book.

Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #1 (of 5)
Vita Ayala
Artist: German Peralta
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
In the Age of X-Man, when you break the law, you aren't sent to just any prison. You're sent to the Danger Room...a penitentiary filled with the roughest and meanest mutants that don't fit into X-Man's utopia. They each have a reason for being there. And they're all ready to kill each other.  But that's about to change, because the newest prisoner just arrived...Lucas Bishop!
Why It’s Cool: It’s a great combination of concept, creators, and character, with those respectively being the well-conceived and intricate Age of X-Man alternate universe, writer Vita Ayala (one of our favorite rising stars within the industry), and Bishop, always an underrated (if convoluted) X-Man. Seriously, Ayala has just been doing fantastic work lately, be it their superhero book for Valiant Livewire, the creator-owned Submerged, or the installment of the recent Marvel Knights mini-series that focused on T’Challa. These have all just been stunning comics, and we’re expecting nothing less from the Prisoner X miniseries, which follows Bishop into the underbelly of what is shaping up to be an Orwellian faux-utopia of an alternate universe.

Green Arrow #50
Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing
Artist: Javier Fernandez
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Andworld Design
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99
Spinning out of the events of JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE and HEROES IN CRISIS! When a black ops organization discovers Green Arrow's long-held secret-a mysterious weapon in the form of a box, given to him by the Justice League-they'll deploy their top undercover agent: Black Canary! On opposite sides of this festering secret, Green Arrow and Black Canary will clash as only two lovers can-by aiming straight for the heart! A mystery six months in the making, the box that can destroy the Justice League will be opened...and the Emerald Archer's world will be forever changed. This extra-sized anniversary issue of Green Arrow's life isn't just's burning to the ground!
Why It’s Cool: This if the finale of one of the quintessential Rebirth books, and it’s also what is quite possibly the last book headlined by the Emerald Archer that we’re likely to get in sometime, what with DC Comics very public intent to keep its publishing line at the slightly reduced level we’ve seen in recent months. The writing team of Kelly and Lanzing are perhaps the best choice for this job too. As I believe Kelly outlined fairly recently online, the duo had a fairly elaborate plan for a 50 issue run that would get to the core of one my personal favorite characters. We’re obviously not getting that, but look for them to give us a truly epic send off that packs in as much action and as many of their ideas from that outline as is feasible. Savor it, too, I know I will. Also, we’ll (sort of) get an answer to the question from No Justice, the natural one that came up when J’onn gave Ollie a box he said was capable of stopping the entire league...

The Green Lantern #5
Grant Morrison
Artist: Liam Sharp
Colorist: Steve Oliff
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
"Blackstar at Zenith!" Hal Jordan has abandoned the Green Lantern Corps to join the Blackstars! But to do so, he'll need to convince their leader, Countess Belzebeth, and pass an initiation test. Which means he must survive a series of trials on the vampire planet Vorr, whose entire population wants to feast upon him! It's cosmic goth at its bloodiest...with a cliffhanger that's even bloodier!
Why It’s Cool: This run has been fantastic from start to finish, and this issue keeps it going. As promised by the creative team before the book even launched, The Green Lantern has been a series of quisi self-contained space cop procedurals. This issue builds on all that has come before while telling yet another compelling story built upon some of the key qualities and continuity bits that define Green Lantern. Also, as anyone who follows artist Liam Sharp will surely attest, the detail and imagination in the artwork he’s previewed for this comic has just been astounding, somehow even better than the tremendous heights he’s reached in earlier chapters. Think about it too long, and it will blow your mind as thoroughly as Morrison and Sharp seem hell-bent on doing.

Self/Made #4
Mathew Groom
Artist: Eduardo Ferigato
Colorist: Marcelo Costa
Color Flats:
Mariana Cali
Letterer: A Larger World Studios’ Troy Peteri
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
"THE 'TA-DA' MOMENT": Amala has made it to our world-and she is distinctly unimpressed. What's a girl with a new robot body and some pent-up rage to do? Paint the town red.
Why It’s Cool: Simply put, because this is the best comic I’ve read in I don’t know how long that rushes head first at the central questions of life itself. That’s maybe being a little dramatic, but this really has quickly turned into a story with a lot to say about creation. In this issue, we also get some really clever interplay between characters that’s analogous to that between child and parents, plus a tour de force visual journey through a near-future version of Sydney, Australia, along with the now-standard breakneck plotting that’s come to define the book. This is yet another major surprise from Image Comics in the past year or so that more readers should be talking about. I get that you might not be familiar with these creators, but you’re doing yourself a disservice by sleeping on this book.

Top New #1 Comics

Others Receiving Votes

  • A Walk Through Hell #8

  • Batman #66 (read our full review!)

  • Blossoms 666 #2

  • Cemetary Beach #7

  • Doomsday Clock #9

  • The Dreaming #7

  • Eclipse #13

  • Giant Days #48

  • Immortal Hulk #14

  • Justice League #19

  • Killmonger #5

  • Paper Girls #26

  • Red Sonja #2

  • Uncanny X-Men #13

  • Vindication #2

  • Young Justice #3

Check back to the site later this week for reviews of Astro Hustle #1, Batman #66, Uncanny X-Men #13, and more!

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.

Comic of the Week: Klaus and the Crying Snowman #1 is another holiday gift from Morrison, Mora, Dukeshire

Klaus and the Crying Snowman #1  is our 12/19 comic of the week.

Klaus and the Crying Snowman #1 is our 12/19 comic of the week.

By d. emerson eddy -- Grant Morrison, Dan Mora, and Ed Dukeshire's Klaus began life as a mini-series in 2015, introducing a take on Santa Claus that was more evocative of old Germanic mythology as filtered through a kind of superhero meets fantasy lens. I'd almost say it's similar to what Marvel did originally when they reimagined Thor, but somewhat more magical and heartfelt. That series outlines his origin, humanity, and path to immortality as he fought for his friends and family to keep light and joy in the world. Since that original series, the creative team have been delivering a present of a new Klaus one-shot every year, (that can be enjoyed on their own without having read anything else), Klaus and the Crying Snowman now being the third.

Grant Morrison is probably best known for throwing big ideas, outlandish eccentric and hitherto unthought of propositions, out in his comics as if they were candy. His larger-than-life epics tend to get a lot of the spotlight, but personally I find when he's quiet, he's most compelling. When he mixes a childlike sense of wonder with heartfelt adversity and the human condition, I've found he's created his best works in All-Star Superman and Joe the Barbarian. That spirit is what typifies Klaus and again in Klaus and the Crying Snowman. There's the bombast and action of Klaus and Sam taking on the Tree-Clops and the terrors of Titan, to capture the imagination, or the idea of a number of Santa-themed heroes representing different cultures powered by belief, but the heart of the story is Sam's struggle. Of being a snowman created by a son who misses his father.

Bringing the magic to life is Dan Mora, who is criminally unheralded in the industry as of yet. His artwork is gorgeous, his layouts and designs phenomenal, and use of color amazing. He has a style that has hints of the Kuberts, some Stuart Immonen, Sean Murphy, and Russell Dauterman, even a little bit of Walt Simonson, but combines into a look all his own, both detailed and refined. The design for Sam the Snowman alone is wonderful, keeping a simple core body and traditional face, but adding a flair with his scarf and unique visual when it comes to his arms made from branches. And he draws the best wolves.

Ed Dukeshire rounds out the team, providing some great lettering work. The fonts and word balloons for Sam, the Yule-Goat, and Surtur all get a unique appearance, giving an appropriate feel to their voices. Sam's white on blue narration boxes are also a nice touch.

Overall, Klaus and the Crying Snowman captures what I feel is the spirit of the Yuletide. Not the crass commercialism of modern society, nor the overly religious trappings of an observing Christian Christmas, but a sense of wonder, a sense of family, and belonging. It appeals to the kid in all of us that just wants to be safe and warm, surrounded by joy and wonder. That's magic.

 Klaus and the Crying Snowman #1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Price: $7.99

Check out past Comic of the Week selections on the list page.

d. emerson eddy is a student and writer of things. He fell in love with comics during Moore, Bissette, & Totleben's run on Swamp Thing and it has been a torrid affair ever since. His madness typically manifests itself on twitter @93418.

Top Comics to Buy for December 5, 2018

By Zack Quaintance — This week is brimming with tough choice, so many that we actually ended up including a whopping seven total books in our top comics section, where I don’t think we’ve ever previously exceeded six. Most weeks, in fact, we keep it to five, and that’s plenty. So, what exactly happened this week?

Well, for starters DC Comics had one of its best weeks all year, with a pair of great new series launching, Doomsday Clock making its scope clearer, Deathstroke returning to form, and continued solid performers like Justice League, Batman, The Green Lantern, and Border Town all taking huge leaps forward with their plots. On top of that Marvel was no slouch and Image also launched some great new series. Simply put, this week is an embarrassment of riches, one likely to complicate holiday budgets for many comics fans.

What are we waiting for? Let’s get to the books!

Top Comics to Buy for December 5, 2018


Doomsday Clock #8
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99
The critical and commercial hit series by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank continues following the shocking revelations of last issue. As the truth behind Dr. Manhattan's actions against the DC Universe are revealed, Ozymandias turns to the only being who can stop him: Superman.
Why It’s Cool: Before the first issue of Doomsday Clock hit, writer Geoff Johns made some oblique comments in interviews about the story being inspired by the 2016 presidential election. The unprecedented and chaotic nature of that election, and the sheer volume of societal corners it touched, made it hard to understand what he could possibly mean by that. This issue makes it a bit clearer, while still leaving the full ambitions of this story obscured in an intriguing way. It’s also a compelling comic book with clear and consequential stakes. Recommended.

Deathstroke #38
Artist: Fernando Pasarin
Inker: Jason Paz
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: Willie Schubert
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Deathstroke finally meets his match: Arkham Asylum?! Now an inmate, Slade Wilson must prove his sanity so he can stop an alien invasion (what?). Before he can even attempt a breakout, he's got to face off against angry Arkham inmates out to get him. And what's Two-Face's role in all this mayhem? He keeps showing up in two places at once! Meanwhile, Deathstroke's daughter, Rose Wilson, is kidnapped! Can Jericho save his sister?  
Why It’s Cool: For my money, Deathstroke has easily been one of the best shared universe corporate superhero comics in the past two and a half years, telling a story wherein the seeds of seemingly inconsequential moments continue to flower into consequential plot points, essentially using the long-form periodical medium’s unique strengths. The recent Batman crossover now feels like a bit of a detour, but after Deathstroke #38 I’m happy to say this book is back on its excellent track. Artist Fernando Pasarin is also doing career best work here, making this comic worth buying for the art alone.

Die #1
Kieron Gillen
Artist: Stephanie Hans
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE writer KIERON GILLEN teams up with artist supernova STEPHANIE HANS (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1831, Journey Into Mystery) for her first ongoing comic! DIE is a pitch-black fantasy where a group of forty-something adults have to deal with the returning unearthly horror they barely survived as teenage role-players. If Kieron's in a rush, he describes it as "Goth Jumanji." That only captures a sliver of what you'll find in oversized debut issue-where fantasy gets all too real.
Why It’s Cool: I’m tempted to just put Because it’s a Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans ongoing...Nuff said! here, but that’s probably a bit of a disservice and also I’m more verbose than that, although the fantastic creative team is a big part of the reason Die lands here. What’s more is that this title has a really interesting concept: it’s a black fantasy that sees grown-ass adults returning to close the loop on some magical horror they barely survived as teens, a horror they awoke essentially by playing Dungeons and Dragons. Basically, Die is just a great mix of creators, concept, and things fans will be interested in. It could very well be Image Comics next big book.

The Green Lantern #2
Grant Morrison
Artist: Liam Sharp
Colorist: Steve Oliff
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Someone is transporting a mysterious cargo out of the Great Void, and it spells trouble for the universe at large! Hal Jordan interrogates a member of the Spider Guild for answers and uses his pheremones as an interrogation tool, but can he extract the info in time?! Meanwhile, Volgar Ro makes a play for Earth while its emerald protector is off-world!
Why It’s Cool: The Green Lantern #1 had all the trappings of a new landmark run on a long-time character (which Grant Morrison has done in the past, see Batman, specifically), and now The Green Lantern #2 keeps it going. This series is a hard-boiled psychedelic tropey police procedural in space, and so far we absolutely love it.

Immortal Hulk #10
Al Ewing
Artist: Joe Bennett
Inker: Ruy Jose
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
Gamma Flight was too late. Shadow Base is infiltrated. Crusher Creel is damned. And the One Below All walks upon Earth. Now, in the place he was born, the Immortal Hulk is the last thing standing between the world of the living...and the GREEN DOOR.
Why It’s Cool: Immortal Hulk is, simply put, the best superhero comic coming out right now. It makes our top comics to buy every time it comes out, and it will continue to do so barring a major and surprising shift in quality. This comic is great. It’s the combination of The Incredible Hulk, Twin Peaks, and old school horror filmmaking we didn’t know we’d been missing, and you should without question be reading it.

Martian Manhunter #1
Steve Orlando
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colorist: Ivan Plascencia
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
No matter what you know about J'onn J'onnz, you're not prepared for this! The acclaimed team of writer Steve Orlando and artist Riley Rossmo (BATMAN/ THE SHADOW, BATMAN: NIGHT OF THE MONSTER MEN) reteam for a reinvention of the Manhunter from Mars in this twisted, unexpected series. Back on Mars, J'onn was about as corrupt as a law officer can be, and when a reckoning comes for his entire society, he'll get a second chance he doesn't want or deserve! One shocking murder, and an unexpected fragment of the Mars he lost, will change his life-and the course of the Earth-forever!
Why It’s Cool: Steve Orlando doesn’t write bad debut issues, and his newest comic is no exception. He does a great job with the basics here, introducing us to our cast, clueing us in on his protagonist’s deepest desires and most pressing concerns, and laying track for the mystery that will presumably move this book forward through the next 11 chapters. Oh, and Riley Rossmo’s pliant martian artwork is fittingly of another world.

Shazam #1
Geoff Johns
Artist: Dale Eaglesham & Mayo “Sen” Naito (backup story)
Colorist: Mike Atiyeh
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99
The superstar team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Dale Eaglesham reunite to launch the first all-new SHAZAM! monthly title set in the DC Universe in almost 20 years! (What took you guys so long?!) Teenager turned super-hero Billy Batson struggles to balance school and superheroics! (Guess which one is more fun?) But when Shazam unlocks a shocking secret deep within the Rock of Eternity, it challenges everything he knows about the worlds of magic and his family's future as its champions! Also, witness the bizarre team-up of Dr. Sivana and Mr. Mind as they set off to build a society all their own! Don't miss the start of an epic run in the making as "Shazam and the Seven Realms" begins!
Why It’s Cool: This is an absolutely adorable comic that captures the elements of this character and his wider family that make it so special. It’s a great debut in that it seems built to appeal to both long-time fans of the character and those reading a Shazam! comic for the first time. There’s even a fun nod to the characters bygone (and rightful) name.

Top New #1 Comics

  • Black [AF] Devils Dye #1

  • Defenders: Immortal Hulk #1

  • Defenders: Namor #1

  • The Freeze #1

  • Hack/Slash vs. Chaos #1

  • Killmonger #1

  • La Guardia #1

  • Prodigy #1

  • Self/Made #1

  • Snap Flash Hustle #1

  • Winter Soldier #1

  • Wizard Beach #1

  • X-Men: The Exterminated #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • Batman #60

  • Border Town #4

  • Crowded #5

  • The Dreaming #4

  • Her Infernal Descent #5

  • Justice League #13

  • Lodger #2

  • Low Road West #4

  • Marvel Knights 20th #3

  • Snotgirl #12

  • Unnatural #5

  • Venom #9

  • The Walking Dead #186

  • The Wicked + The Divine #40

  • Wrong Earth #4

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.

Top Comics to Buy for November 7, 2018

By Zack Quaintance — I’m not going to lie: I was so caught up with anticipation for Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp to start their run on The Green Lantern, that I kind of lost sight of the other books that were coming out this week. So, you can imagine my surprise when I sat down to look at the slate for this first Wednesday in November, and I found other highly anticipated titles waiting for me too.

I’m talking specifically here about the first issue of the new Marvel Knights 20th Anniversary, mini-series, which is being show-run by Donny Cates with future issues from Matthew Rosenberg, Tini Howard, and Vita Ayala. Also, new Immortal Hulk! That comic is so good that it’s reach a rare point where each individual issue feels like a weighty event, not unlike the best of my favorite creator-owned titles, the likes of Southern Bastards, Monstress, or Saga.

Anyway...without further adieu...let’s do it up!

Top Comics to Buy for November 7, 2018

The Green Lantern #1
Grant Morrison
Artist: Liam Sharp
Colorist: Steve Oliff
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99
In this debut issue, when Earth's space cop, Hal Jordan, encounters an alien hiding in plain sight, it sets off a chain of events that rocks the Green Lantern Corps-and quite possibly the Multiverse at large-to its very core. There's an inter-galactic conspiracy afoot, as well as a traitor in the GL Corps' ranks, so strap in for more mind-bending adventures in this masterpiece in the making.
Why It’s Cool: Well, for starters just look at it. Liam Sharp’s artwork is bringing a level of detail and psychedelic imagination we’ve never seen in DC cosmic, and it’s really something to behold. This is book is also being billed as back-to-basics approach that simultaneously expands DC’s space enforcer mythos to new and farout locales. More over, it’s Grant Morrison taking yet another DC character and teasing out the core essence of a classic character while simultaneously telling new stories in a modern context. It’s going to be a beautiful and complex thing.

Fearscape #2
Ryan O’Sullivan
Artist: Andrea Mutti
Colorist: Vladimir Popov
Letterer: Andworld Design
Publisher: Vault Comics
Price: $3.99
Heroic plagiarist Henry Henry faces his first trial in the Fearscape! Within The Weeping Castle, home to The Children of Prometheus, Henry Henry encounters wondrous and fanciful creatures-including The First Fear. With courage and calm, he endures the heart of darkness, refusing the easy temptation of light. No Legs can outrun-no Mind can outwit-no Heart can outlove our hero.
Why It’s Cool: Fearscape #1 earned a rare 10/10 review from us, and so we’re obviously really excited to dig into the second issue. If it grows from the foundation laid in the first chapter, this will be deeper dive into territory, a story about what it’s like to tell stories, and a razor sharp one at that. *Special Note* this comic was initially solicited last week before being delayed by one, but we’ve seen an advanced copy and like it more than enough to include it again here.

Immortal Hulk #8
Al Ewing
Artist: Joe Bennett
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99
Bruce Banner is dead. His corpse has been dissected, his organs catalogued, and his inner workings are being studied by the scientists of Shadow Base. Bruce Banner is no longer a threat. That just leaves the IMMORTAL HULK…
Why It’s Cool: This book is a serious contender for the best superhero book today, as well as in the conversation for best monthly comic, period. We’ve been over and over this, but it really is that good. Expect to see it on our list whenever it comes out unless something major changes.

Marvel Knights 20th #1
Donny Cates
Artist: Travel Foreman
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $4.99
In celebration of the legendary imprint founded by Marvel's CCO Joe Quesada, a new crop of talent stands poised to tell a groundbreaking story across the Marvel Universe! In the cemetery, the blind man does not know who he is, or why he has come to this particular grave at this moment. He doesn't know the burly police officer with the wild story who has approached him. Or the strangely intense man who sits in the rear seat of the patrol car, his eyes flashing green. But all of that is about to change. Because Matt Murdock is beginning to remember...In a colorless world without heroes, the spark of light...must come from the dark…
Why It’s Cool: Marvel’s brightest star right now is arguably writer Donny Cates, who has a no-nonsense conversational omniscient narrative style and a keen talent for capital B, Big ideas. Now, the publisher is deploying Cates to honor the 20th birthday of its legendary (to readers in their late 20s or early 30s, anyway) Marvel Knights imprint, and it all starts here with this issue.

Sideways Annual #1
Dan DiDio & Grant Morrison
Artists: Will Conrad & Cliff Richards
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Travis Lanham & Dave Sharpe
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99
Sideways unleashes his "super" secret weapon against Perrus in an effort to free the oppressed people and escape to his home dimension. He'll get some additional help from the newly discovered Seven Soldiers, but only if someone makes a heroic ultimate sacrifice. Plus, a bonus backup story in which Sideways meets the Unseen!!
Why It’s Cool: Despite the absolutely absurd number of different fonts on this book’s cover (six? I think I see six…), this comic is actually pretty exciting. Sideways has unexpectedly been a strong series from its start, and now Grant Morrison is coming on to presumably cross the character over with his Seven Soldiers concept and probably also some multiversal shenanigans. We can’t wait.

Top New #1 Comics

  • Auntie Agatha’s Home for Wayward Rabbits #1

  • Battlestar Galactica Classic #1

  • Empty Man #1

  • James Bond 007 #1

  • Outer Darkness #1

  • Suicide Squad: Black Files #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • Border Town #3

  • Crowded #4

  • Deathstroke #37

  • Death of Inhumans #5

  • Dreaming #3

  • Farmhand #5

  • Giant Days #44

  • Infinity Wars #5

  • Justice League #11

  • Leviathan #3

  • Redlands #8

  • Sparrowhawk #2

  • The Walking Dead #185

  • Wrong Earth #3

  • X-Men: Red #10

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.

ADVANCED REVIEW: Border Town #1 by Eric M. Esquivel, Ramon Villalobos, Tamra Bonvillain, & Deron Bennett

Border Town #1 is available Sept. 5, 2018.

By Zack Quaintance — Border Town #1 is the first new comic launching as part of DC’s reinvigorated Vertigo imprint, the main idea of which seems to be let’s run headlong through polarizing and important societal issues with some of the most exciting creators in comics leading the way (Bryan Edward Hill, Mark Russell, and Mirka Andolfo, among others).  

The ultimate goal, of course, is engaging readers with stories equal parts entertaining and personal (that magic narrative combo), and Border Town #1 certainly does that. At its heart, it’s a coming-of-age drama about a new kid in school. That school, however, is located in fictional Devil’s Fork, Arizona on the U.S. border with Mexico. This setting is vital for a comic called Border Town, which examines how borders divide us, and not just borders between countries but also between perception, opinions, reality and mythos...even the two sides of multicultural households.

It’s poignant and relevant territory. Not to make this about me, but after college I spent five years as a reporter in a border town (McAllen, Texas); I’m also from Chicago. Through my disparate lenses, I saw that the U.S.-Mexico border is massively misunderstood, especially by those who’ve never visited, yet it’s a region many have strong opinions about. What writer Eric M. Esquivel—who grew up in Tucson—does so well is draw from personal experience to depict real border life, stuff like cliques at school, family dynamics, etc.

Come for the Degrassi-esque teen drama, stay for the terrifying depictions of Mexican/Chicano mythos and folklore.

This is just one of Border Town’s strengths. Another is, simply put, monsters. Border Town is a horror story that in the tradition of the genre blends teen drama with dark and scary violence. I can think of no better team to bring this to life than artist Ramon Villalobos and colorist Tamra Bonvillain. Their work is uniformly excellent (as it was in the tragically-cancelled Nighthawk), and the monster designs here are intricate and grotesque (perfect). Villalobos is also a great choice to draw teenagers, given his vocal appreciation of things like Degrassi and sneakers. The art is killer, but that's expected.

What caught me a bit off guard was how well Esquivel grasps the genre. I haven’t read his other work, but I could tell he has a deep knowledge of horror movies, comics, and TV. You can also tell Mexican/Chicano folklore is an interest. Essentially, Esquivel’s script expertly takes the usual horror conventions and creates something new by infusing fresh monster mythology many readers haven’t been terrified by...yet.

Overall: Border Town #1 is a strong start for a reinvigorated Vertigo imprint, a relatable coming-of-age teen drama in one of the least understood yet most argued about parts of the country. The art is terrifyingly detailed, and the story leans enthusiastically into time-tested horror tropes while also finding new ground by adding Mexican/Chicano folklore and mythos. 9.0/10

Border Town #1 is available Sept. 05, 2018.

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

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.

SDCC 2018’s 10 Coolest Comic Announcements

By Zack Quaintance — Yes, San Diego Comic Con is more about movies and TV than it is about comics, but! That doesn’t mean there aren’t still some pretty cool comic announcements happening the week of/during the con (some of which I got to be in the room for!). These are, of course, announcements about real printed comics, dozens of which are somehow written and drawn and shipped to small businesses across the country each week (which is all pretty crazy if you think about 2018 and the media landscape long enough).

With that in mind, we’d like to take a quick look today at 10 (plus one extra) of the coolest comic announcements to come out of this year’s con, ranked below in a fairly random order...let’s do it!

10 Coolest Comic Announcements

Electric Warriors Mini Series by Steve Orlando and Travel Foreman
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: November 2018
More Info: Diplomacy and Death via the Electric Warriors
Why It’s Cool: DC has essentially given Steve Orlando—one of its best writers when it comes to capturing the beauty to be found in obscure bits of continuity—and Travel Foreman—a visionary comic artist if ever there was one—a fairly-open canvas to do with what they will. This canvas—Jack Kirby’s Great Disaster future—is inherently Kirby-esque (seeing as he created it) and now we’ll get what is likely to be complex and surprising take on it spread through six issues. Sign me up.  

A potentially Dune-esque high-concept sci-fi story heavy with 2018 sensibilities by G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward.

Invisible Kingdom by G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics and Berger Books
Release Date: March 2019
More Info: G. Willow Wilson to Write for Berger Books
Why It’s Cool: Speaking of visionary science fiction, have you seen the cover for G. Willow Wilson’s forthcoming Berger Books comic, Invisible Kingdom? Phew. The art is something, and the solicit evokes Dune-esque ideas of exploring the intersection of religion and commerce (presumably without all the stuff about how “spices” can expand one’s mind). Wilson is a thoughtful and attentive writer, and a take like this edited by former-Vertigo heyday editor Karen Berger is very cool indeed.

X-Men Black
Publisher: Marvel
Release Date: October 2018
More Info: News from Marvel's X-Men Panel
Why It’s Cool: The X-Offices have tapped a super eclectic bunch of writers to do X-Men Black, a weekly series this October in which each issue centers on a different villain. It’s a pretty cool move to have Chris Claremont writing about Magneto one week, noted Maggott aficionado Leah Williams doing Emma Frost the next, and Scott Aukerman (Hot Soccermom) of Comedy Bang Bang on Mojo the next. Pretty cool indeed, especially as it seems to be leading a revival of Uncanny X-Men in November…

Gail Simone Overseeing Lion Forge’s Catalyst Prime
Publisher: Lion Forge
Release Date: Simone seems to be hard at work on this already
More Info: Gail Simone Discusses Being Named Architect of Catalyst Prime
Why It’s Cool: Speaking of cool oversight gigs, how about Gail Simone becoming the architect of Lion Forge’s still-nascent Catalyst Prime Universe? Cards on the table, I’d been contemplating jumping off this line after the former architect, Joseph Illidge, left for Valiant earlier this year, but now with Simone at the wheel I’ve scratched those plans and re-upped my excitement for this concept.

Donny Cates ‘Showrunning’ a Marvel Knights Commemoration
Release Date: November
More Info: Donny Cates and Team to Commemorate Marvel Knights’ 20th Anniversary
Why It’s Cool: Speaking yet again (last time, I promise) about cool oversight gigs, Marvel announced that big ideas/bigger personality writer Donny Cates would be “showrunning” an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its classic (for my generation, anyway) line of Marvel Knights properties, which back in the day told prestige TV-esque stories about characters like Daredevil, Moon Knight, and Black Panther. Joined in this effort will be an exciting new guard of Marvel writers that includes Matthew Rosenberg, Tini Howard, and Vita Ayala. Cool!

The Laphams doing ‘The Lodger’ for IDW’s Black Crown
Publisher: Black Crown via IDW
Release Date: October
More Info: Shelly Bond Announces Laphams Book on Black Crown
Why It’s Cool: From its inception, Shelly Bond’s Black Crown imprint at IDW (which has an aesthetic I describe as slightly drunk at a DIY punk rock show) has seemed to promise edgy and interesting comics, and the first batch was, indeed, strong. The second batch, however, is shaping up to fully capture Bond’s vision, starting with Euthanuats and continuing now with The Lodger, which is from the Laphams, a husband and wife duo behind the modern noir classic comic Stray Bullets.

Rush album cover artists are burning with jealousy.

Green Lantern by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: November
More Info: Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp to Take Over Green Lantern
Why It’s Cool: It’s Grant Morrison writing a cosmic book in the DC Universe, which alone would be cool enough to make this list, but, hey, it’s also Liam Sharpe on art! And his early work looks like an insane prog rock album cover. This, friends, is going to be epic.

Aquaman by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Robson Rocha
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: TBD (I think? Info seemed scarce on when…)
More Info: DeConnick and Rocha Take Over Aquaman
Why It’s Cool: I couldn't find a release date, but Kelly Sue DeConnick writing Aquaman in time for the character's spotlight via a new movie is super cool. DeConnick is an exciting and polished comic writer, perfect for pushing Arthur in new directions after Dan Abnett’s safe and slow-moving take on the character.

Vision by Chelsea Cain, Marc Mohan, and Aud Koch
Publisher: Marvel
Release Date: November
More Info: Marvel’s Mic Drop Moment at SDCC
Why It’s Cool: Chelsea Cain is coming back to Marvel, in spite of a harassment campaign that resulted from a character wearing a pro-feminism t-shirt in a book about a strong female secret agent. Groan. But it’s good to see Cain back! Her last book for Marvel, Mockingbird, was a complex puzzle box of a story about Bobbi Morse, a.k.a. Mockingbird, one that incorporated interesting character and relationship developments for its lead. Tom King’s Vision is an impossible act to follow, but it will be cool to see Cain, Marc Mohan, and Aud Koch tell their own story with everyone’s favorite Marvel android.

Here's hoping we enjoy this book as much as the Shazam family is enjoying this roller coaster.

Shazam! by Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: November
More Info: Shazam Comic Announced by Geoff Johns
Why It’s Cool: Geoff Johns’ take on Shazam in the New 52 might have been a bit polarizing (I liked it well enough), but circumstances now seem right for him to tell a very cool Shazam story. He’s returning to writing as a main focus and is presumably fired up to do so. Plus, holy cow of all the new art dropped at SDCC, I think Dale Eaglesham’s Shazam piece is my favorite.

Plus One More

Mars Attacks! by Kyle Starks & Chris Schweizer
Publisher: Dynamite
Release Date: October 2018
More Info: Dynamite Relaunches Mars Attacks
Why It’s Cool: Kyle Starks, whose Rock Candy Mountain is quite possibly the funniest comic ever, is now collaborating with Chris Schweizer on a Mars Attacks story. Yes, please.

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.

52: The Importance of DC’s Missing Year

By Taylor Pechter — It is often asked what would the DC Universe be like without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman? With the year-long weekly series 52, launched in May of 2006, DC answered that question.

52 is a rare glimpse into a DCU without The Trinity.

After the universe-shattering events of Infinite Crisis, which reinstated the multiverse after it was consolidated 20 years earlier in Crisis on Infinite Earth, DC’s continuity jumped to One Year Later. This was a way for DC to continue publishing while also keeping the events of the latest Crisis fresh in readers’ minds. Many fans, however, asked: What happened in the missing year? Enter 52.

52 was an editorial gamble for DC, a weekly series that spanned an entire year, following C and D-list characters dealing with the fallout of an event in real time. To keep the book on schedule, DC needed more than one writer. So, they turned to an all-star foursome of Geoff Johns (Infinite Crisis, former co-President and CCO of DC Comics), Mark Waid (Kingdom Come, seminal DC writer), Greg Rucka (critically-acclaimed writer of Wonder Woman), and Grant Morrison (multiverse nut, another seminal DC writer), along with breakdown artist Keith Giffen, to craft different intertwining stories that formed a 52-week epic.

Today we’re entering that missing year to take a look at how the DC Universe was and still is so much larger than just Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, as well as the various meanings beneath these epic stories.

Booster Gold and Supernova: Who is the Real Hero of Metropolis?

Hey Metropolis! You want a big shiny star to light your skies? Well, here I am.

Booster Gold and his robotic hype man, Skeets.

We start our journey into the missing year with the main through line of 52’s plot: Michael Jon Carter, a.k.a. Booster Gold, a time-traveling hero who came back to the 21st century because he wasn’t welcome in the 25th century, where he was originally from. We first meet him at the beginning of the story, when he is at his most selfish, a pin-cushion for sponsors who is trying to gain popularity among the people of Metropolis.

Due to information provided by his robotic companion Skeets, however, he knows something is amiss. It does not help that a new unnamed hero shows up in Metropolis to steal his spotlight, a hero dubbed Supernova by the press who is largely the opposite of Booster in every way, willing to risk himself for others, not just for fame. This selflessness is his undoing. When a giant tentacle monster attacks Metropolis, Supernova risks his life—and the Metropolis power grid—to defeat it. It is in this moment Booster’s values change. He is not seen throughout most 52, not until the end, when it is revealed Supernova was actually Booster all along.

Meaning: The final reveal hits home, completing Booster’s arc about how real heroism isn’t the sponsor on your chest, but rather the pureness of your heart. In the end, Booster accepts his place in the multiverse, comes to terms with his arrogance, and becomes a beacon to the superhero community.

Renee Montoya: Questions and Answers

Some questions can only be answered by wearing a mask. But you have to know the question to find the answer.

Renee Montoya as The Question.

We all know Renee Montoya, tough-as-nails detective in the Gotham City Police Department. However, she is a far more complex character than her depiction in Batman: The Animated Series. During the mid-2000s, writers Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka wrote a comic called Gotham Central, which followed members of the GCPD as they solved crimes in the shadow of the Bat. This story focused on many officers during its three-year stint, but none as important than Montoya and her partner, Crispus Allen.

In the series, Rucka deconstructs Montoya, revealing she is a lesbian, which was significant during the time of don’t ask, don’t tell. She is also disowned by her overly conservative Dominican parents. Near the end of the series, Crispus is shot and killed by corrupt police coroner Jim Corrigan, subsequently ascending to become the host of the cosmic being, The Spectre. As guilt rocks Renee, she decides to give up her badge. When we see her again in 52, she is wasting away in a bar. With no direction and no job, she gets drunk every night.

It’s at this low point she is confronted by a random passerby, a man later revealed to be Charlie Szasz, a.k.a. Vic Sage, The Question. After a few run-ins on the street, Montoya decides to join him and track down members of Intergang and the Religion of Crime. Intergang is an international crime organization run by Boss Bruno “Ugly” Manheim, who frequently collaborates with Darkseid. However, they have been following a new modus operandi: scriptures from the so-called Crime Bible, which prophesizes the fall of Gotham City, the death of the twice-named, and the rise of a new Question.

The twice-named is a former flame of Renee’s and heiress to the Kane fortune, Kate Kane. As they get closer to tracking down Intergang, Renee also notices something off about Charlie—he has an uncontrollable cough, later revealed to be cancer. He slowly deteriorates and becomes delirious. Renee decides to go to Nanda Parbat to save him. As they get to the temple of Rama Kushna, the God of Nanda Parbat, Vic dies and passes his wisdom to her, It’s a trick question Renee…Not who you are…But who you are going to become?...Time to change…Like a butterfly. Renee decides to train under Richard Dragon, who also trained Charlie.

Meaning: Through her training, Renee learns that life is full of questions and it’s just a matter of how you answer them. Ultimately, she embraces her destiny as the new Question, taking over where Charlie left off.

The Rise and Fall of Black Adam

The people say these are her tears. They say the queen weeps not for her herself, nor for her brother, nor even for me, but rather for Kahndaq and her people.

Black Adam.

Black Adam is many things: the corrupted champion of the Wizard Shazam, the ruthless leader of Kahndaq, and a husband and a brother. As we join his story, the context of the previous tale helps. Renee and Charlie at one point visited Kahndaq, where we first saw Black Adam as he ripped a low-level villain named Terra-Man in half on live television. Later, he is confronted by two members on Intergang who offer him a slave, an Egyptian woman named Adrianna Tomaz, as a prize if he so chooses to join Intergang’s crusade.

He denies the request, however, and Adrianna is taken prisoner. Black Adam, along with Russia and other foreign powers, devise a treaty that bars American superheroes from their soil. As Adam grows closer to his prisoner, though, he soon falls in love. Gifting her a portion of his power, she becomes Isis. Trouble strikes again when Adrianna’s brother, Amon, is held by Intergang. As they inch closer to the wedding, Adam promises Adrianna that they will find her brother. Then comes the wedding.

Captain Marvel is the minister, Captain Marvel Jr. is the best man, and Mary Marvel is the maid of honor. When the couple locks lips, lightning crashes in the sky. However, Intergang puts a suicide bomber in the crowd. They know it won’t harm Adam, but their actual target is the crowd. The attack is diverted by Renee, who makes a difficult decision to shoot the kid, killing her. As the search for Amon continues, they happen upon a base belonging to Intergang. It is there they find Amon, whose legs are shattered. Like Adrianna, Adam gifts him his power, turning him into Osiris.

Now Adam has a family, one soon taken away from him. As time continues, Osiris befriends an anthropomorphic crocodile, which he names Sobek. Sobek is later revealed to be Yurrd the Unknown, one of the four horsemen of Apokalypse, and he tricks Osiris into turning back into his human form, killing him the process. Isis is later met with the horseman Death. She then dies in Adam’s arms, infected by disease. With his family dead, Adam is filled with rage and decides to decimate the entire country of Bilaya. It is then that he instigates World War III, where every superhero faces him. He is eventually defeated but at a cost.

Meaning: Black Adam is not a villain, but rather a man who just wants what’s best for his people. With Isis and Osiris, he finds the best within himself; with them gone, however, he is nothing.

Ralph Dibny: Resurrection and the Meaning of Life

You don’t get it! You had no chance, because I was not caught in your spell! You were caught in mine!

Ralph Dibney battles Felix Faust.

Like Renee, Ralph Dibny, a.ka. Elongated Man had been through the wringer before 52. During Identity Crisis, his wife Sue was murdered by Jean Loring and revealed to have been raped by the villain Doctor Light. When we first see him here, he is about to commit suicide. But, he gets a call saying his wife’s gravestone was vandalized and goes to the cemetery to find a Superman S-shield sprayed on the gravestone, an S-shield that is upside down.

We all know the shield stands for hope, but when inverted it means something else—resurrection. During the first leg of his arc, Ralph tracks down the Cult of Conner, a band of zealots who believe the resurrection of Superboy (Conner Kent, killed at the end of Infinite Crisis) is at hand (later revealed to be a scam, of course). Ralph is called forward by the Shadowpact, a group of magic-based superheroes, to investigate the death of Timothy Trench. Trench is trying on the Helm of Fate, which subsequently melts him.

During his investigation, the helm clings to Dibny, and Ralph is taken on a journey retracing the steps of his life and coming to grips with his wife’s death. As the story nears its conclusion, Ralph figures out that the helm itself is possessed by the nefarious sorcerer Felix Faust. Faust underestimates Dibny though, and Ralph casts a binding spell to keep Faust with him always.

Meaning: In the end, Ralph is confronted by the demon Neron, who kills Ralph with his wedding band, ultimately giving him what he most desires—a reunion with his wife Sue.

The Everyman Project: What Really Makes a Hero?

Look! Up in the sky!

What really makes a hero? Is it the powers or the morals? These are the heavy questions answered in this story.

Steel in his altered state confronts the Everyman Project.

We start with Steel’s daughter, Natasha Irons, who is feeling like she is being neglected as a hero by her uncle. To prove to him she deserves respect, she decides to apply for the Everyman Project, an an idea hatched by Lex Luthor to give normal citizens of Metropolis superpowers. Natasha is first picked, given then alias of Starlight, and appointed leader of the new Luthor-sponsored superhero team, Infinity Inc. As time continues, Steel notices something is off.

His skin starts turning to steel, which he suspects is a sick joke put on by Luthor. One fateful night for Infinity Inc., one of their youngest members, Eliza Harmon (alias: Trajectory) is killed by Blockbuster during a battle. After the death, John Henry confronts Natasha, asking, How did a slug like Blockbuster kill someone going that fast? The answer is right in front of her. Yes, Luthor gave people powers, but he also has the power to turn them off.

As New Year’s Eve arrives, and the stroke of Midnight, Luthor pushes the button and his Everymen start falling from the skies, an event dubbed the Rain of the Supermen. Natasha and Steel finally confront Luthor.

Meaning: As Natasha’s arc ends, she accepts that she is wrong, that it is the man or woman behind the mask that makes the difference, and that no one should have absolute power because it corrupts absolutely.

Starfire, Adam Strange, and Animal Man: Lost in Space

Believe in Her

Much like Black Adam’s arc, this one heavily emphasizes the importance of family. We start with Starfire, Adam Strange, and Animal Man stranded on a deserted planet. With their ship on the fritz, they have no way home and must work together to survive. On their journey, they encounter Lobo, who has sworn off violence and is harboring the Emerald Eye of Ekron.

Not only that, they are also being hunted by an omnipotent named Lady Styx. As the story continues, we see our threesome grow closer together. However, back home Buddy Baker’s wife wonders when he will return. Buddy ponders the same, and as the story winds to a close we see an unconscious Buddy left on the planet while Adam and Starfire return home.

Meaning: Buddy’s sacrifice is noted to his wife, Ellen, by Starfire. Buddy, as a spirit, then says one final goodbye to his wife, his family, and his planet, making for one of the sadder tales in 52.    

The Science Squad and Oolong Island

If I say it then no one else will… Feel free to cackle hysterically, gentlemen!

How does obsession shape who you are? That is the driving theme for the story of Doctor Will Magnus. Will Magnus was the creator of the Metal Men, cybernetic superheroes brought to life by responsometer technology. However, after their deactivation, he took up anti-psychotic pills, which lessens his manic episodes but also makes him a hermit. His only solace comes in weekly visits to Belle Reve to meet with his mentor, Thomas Oscar “T.O.” Morrow.

The Metal Men go into...action? Probably.

Morrow is another infamous DC mad scientist who has tried to create sentient robots for years, both succeeding and failing, most notably with Justice League member Red Tornado. When Morrow goes missing, Magnus takes the case and is dragged into a plot to create superhero deterrents on the top-secret Oolong Island. Along with fellow mad scientists Doctor Thaddeus Sivana, Doctor Tyme, and more, led by Chag Tzu alias Egg Fu, they are out to show that science can trump superpowers. Their work pays off at the expense of Magnus’s sanity, leading to the creation of the Four Horsemen of Apokolips, two of which you’ll remember are responsible for the death of Isis and Osiris, wife and brother-in-law of Black Adam.

Meaning: This eventually leads to World War III, and it all speaks to the dichotomy of Will Magnus, who services his obsession at the expense of his own sanity and of another man’s family, too.

As you can see, many corners of the DC Universe are explored 52. Without the Trinity, different heroes rise up to fill the void. Through all of it, there is a main theme of self-discovery. Booster Gold figures out his role in the multiverse, Renee Montoya embraces her destiny as the new Question, Natasha Irons finds the meaning of a true hero, Black Adam sees that family can change even the coldest of hearts, and so on. This is what makes 52 one of DC’s most seminal stories.

Taylor Pechter is a passionate comic book fan and nerd. Find him on Twitter @TheInspecter.