By Alex Batts — Justice League has been and continues to be an insanely wild ride. The Justice/Doom War is nearing its climax, and each issue brings massive twists and turns for the fate of the Multiverse as we know it. Writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV are joined here by Bruno Redondo and Daniel Sampere on pencils, Redondo and Juan Albarran on inks, Hi-Fi on colors, and Tom Napolitano on letters.Read More
By Alex Batts — A few months back I wrote a piece talking about my hype for Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathon Glapion, and FCO Plascencia’s then-unreleased Batman: Last Knight on Earth. We're now two issues in, and the series has exceeded my high expectations. Snyder has said often in interviews that advice Grant Morrison gave him about Batman has stuck with him: give his Batman a beginning and an end. If Zero Year was the beginning, Last Knight on Earth is the end, and this outstanding creative team is pulling no punches for its conclusion.Read More
By Alex Batts — BATMAN: Last Knight on Earth—from Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathon Glapion, and FCO Plascencia—hits stands at the end of this month, and I don’t think my hype levels could be any higher. Admittedly, I’m a HUGE Snyder/Capullo fanboy, but I know I’m far from the only one. Their run on Batman was the first comic I ever read month-to-month, and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for it. Also, it’s just so damn good. The pair started their work on Batman in 2011with the New 52 relaunch, and now…Read More
By Zack Quaintance — This is pretty much a perfect week for new comics, featuring as it does the launch of multiple exciting new #1 series (the bright shiny new toy to the long-time comics fan) as well as the return of some of the best books on the market right now, including a new arc for Wasted Space and the conclusion of the phenomenal Archie 1941. Plus, books like Die continue to establish themselves as wonderful new comics.
There is, simply put, a lot going on this week, and so here we are as always with a brief guide: Top Comics to buy for February 6, 2019. As is standard protocol, we’ve selected our top 5 (plus a pick of the week), listed the most-exciting new #1 issues, and thrown-in for good measures the others that received votes. The top 5 are more heavily weighted toward books that have already established them, but rest assured, you can’t go wrong this week checking out anything from Female Furies to G.I. Joe: Sierra Muerte. Just choose wisely, there are a ton of stellar comics to pick from.
And now, on to the actual comics!
Top Comics to Buy for February 6, 2019
*PICK OF THE WEEK*
Archie 1941 #5
Writers: Brian Augustyn & Mark Waid
Artist: Peter Krause
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Publisher: Archie Comics
Archie Andrews-MIA and presumed dead! His friends and family-devastated! Don't miss out on the conclusion of this headline-making comic event!
Why It’s Cool: It’s a young year, but this is easily a front-runner for the best single issue of 2019 at this point. This entire series—which re-imagines Archie set in 1941 (incidentally the year he was created) during WWII—has been something truly special. With a different sort of fandom than superhero comics but no less an iconic history, Archie Comics as a publisher is generally freer to use its characters for alternate takes, or at least such has been the case in recent years. While the horror comics and Life With Archie have all been interesting, this is the prestige picture in the bunch, a comic with impeccable historical research, a deep emotional core, and unbelievable artwork courtesy of Peter Krause. This is not to be missed.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Stephanie Hans
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
"FANTASY HEARTBREAKER," Part Three: One of the saddest comics in Kieron's career. One of Stephanie's prettiest. Clayton's lettering, of course, remains impeccable.
Why It’s Cool: As we wrote in our reviews of Die #1 and Die #2, this comic is one of the most-exciting new creator-owned books in some years, combining as it does the recent trend of teen D&D nostalgia with the dark lessons of life's hard-lived. Well, this third issue to the book feels like a bit of a thematic pivot. Fantasy has always been inherent to this title (the basic premise is that years ago six friends went into a realized fantasy realm via a role-playing game and only five came out—and now those five have been pulled back in), and this comic looks at some of the real-life inspiration for fantasy as we know it: WWI, which Lord of the Rings progenitor J.R.R. Tolkien himself was a veteran of. Essentially, this is a gorgeous and sadly poetic comic that draws a shattering parallel between fantasy games and stories we enjoy, and the real-life strife that helped to create them.
Justice League #17
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Jim Cheung
Inkers: Cheung with Mark Morales and Walden Wong
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Publisher: DC Comics
After the disastrous events of the Justice League Annual, Martian Manhunter decides to take matters into his own hands and negotiate a peace with Legion of Doom leader Lex Luthor. Traveling to a distant moon, the two enemies face their intertwined pasts in a showdown for the fate of the Multiverse. However, before either of them can lay claim to the power of the Source Wall once and for all, an unexpected threat forces them to unite...or risk death at the ends of the cosmos.
Why It’s Cool: Last week’s Justice League Annual #1 was my favorite issue of the Snyder/Tynion/Cheung/Jimenez Justice League era to date, but it won’t reign long—this one is even better. Since No Justice ended, my favorite element to this complex and grandiose run has been the idea of Martian Manhunter and Lex Luthor essentially captaining their opposing teams in a conflict of ideology wherein both thinks they are doing what’s best to save the multiverse or at least the Earth. This story takes that concept to another level. I won’t go into how, but it’s a sight to behold. Highly recommend this.
These Savage Shores #3
Writer: Ram V.
Artist: Sumit Kumar
Colorist: Vittorio Astone
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Vault Comics
The stench of war clings to the air as Hyder Ali of Mysore comes calling for the levy. Good men and demons alike are set to march, even as lovers part with the promise of a safe return. But in these troubling times the promise of a hunt brings the devil himself to this faraway coast. Along These Savage Shores where blood begets blood and dawn-light shimmers over a land soaked in betrayal.
Why It’s Cool: Way way too many disparate properties these days are getting compared to Game of Thrones. In fact, I feel like it’s become reductive pop culture short-hand for something I like that’s slightly beyond average scope. But! Try as I might, I can’t help but describe this third excellent issue of These Savage Shores as feeling in scope a bit like Game of Thrones. It just has so many of the elements: large-scale political machinations, alliance building, betrayals, and seemingly inconsequential deaths having ripple effects that seemed destined to have retribution due. These Savage Shores also remains a gorgeous comic, as lush with its artwork as it is lyrical in its dialogue and narrative prose. If you’re not reading this comic, I don’t know what to tell you at this point.
Wasted Space #6
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Colorist: Jason Wordie
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Vault Comics
Now officially an ongoing! The whole fam damily is back! Billy visits a crooked politician. Dust and Fury make sweet bot-love in unsanitary locations. A ghost haunts Molly's visions of Rex. And Legion pets a dog. The galaxy is still totally borked, but maybe together they can un-bork it... oh, probably not.
Why It’s Cool: One of my absolute favorite comics of 2018 is back, and it’s at the same high (sorry) level it was when we last saw it. This issue has all the hallmarks of this series: the humor, the high-minded philosophical contemplations, the subtextual commentary on the modern world, and the ever-looming threat of even more space nukes that might destroy the world. It is, in other words, a very very good comic. We’ll have a review of this book later in the week, but know now that each and every one of you should be reading this.
Top New #1 Comics
Battlestar Galactica: Twilight Command #1
Female Furies #1
G.I. Joe: Sierra Muerte #1
Girl in the Bay #1
Man and Superman 100-Page Super-Spectacular #1
Red Sonja #1
Others Receiving Votes
Age of X-Man: Marvelous X-Men #1
Conan the Barbarian #3
Giant Days #47
The Green Lantern #4
Immortal Hulk #14
Tony Stark: Iron Man #8
Wrong Earth #6
Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.
Bo Stewart — Horror comics are tough to create. Film and television in the genre can use sound to build tension and establish mood, but comics have to rely on purely visual tools to earn their scares. The best graphic sequential horror stories are those that excel at creating an eerie atmosphere and a prevailing sense of unease this way. Few establish the desired sort of ominous mood better than Scott Snyder and Jock’s critically-acclaimed Wytches franchise.
While reading this week’s Wytches: Bad Egg Halloween Special one shot, I kept having this thought: Man…I’ve really missed Wytches. The first volume of this book was an incredibly strong story, so much so that the sporadic teases of a second volume have only deepened the void this comic leaves in my reading pile when it’s not on the shelves. The Bad Egg: Halloween Special, however, goes a long way toward satiating my impatience, and at a whopping 80 pages, I suspect the special will be enough to tide me over until the eventual release of volume 2. I wouldn’t consider the special required reading for Wytches fans, not exactly, but it does flesh out the world while also laying some groundwork for the second volume in a really interesting way.
The Special exists primarily to introduce us to Sebastian Clay. Snyder promises that Seb will be a key player in the events to come, and I enjoyed spending time with him here, finding him to be a really interesting protagonist in his own right. Seb just wants a normal standard issue life, as he puts it. Everything changes, though, when a friend’s dad tries to abduct Seb and feed him to a Wytch.
After this defining event, Seb has to focus on a larger mission that prevents him from enjoying the pleasures of childhood. He is forbidden from making real friendships, including one with his neighbor Jackson. The stakes are immediately upped when it’s revealed that Seb is going to kill Jackson and his whole family. The story kicks into high gear thereafter and begged to be finished in a single sitting.
Essentially, I think this special is a reminder that Snyder can still excel in storytelling made rich by smaller human moments. According to Snyder himself, Wytches was his most personal work to date, and that intimacy carries over into this special. It really makes me wish we would see more of this intimacy in his DC work, too.
Back to my thought about mood in horror comics…yeah, Wytches has possibly the most distinct mood of any comic out there. Jock brings his A game, particularly when it comes to body language. Everything looks right on the surface, but a closer examination finds most pages have something a little off. It’s a killer way to build mood and atmosphere. Matt Hollingsworth’s coloring is also spectacular. There’s simply nothing like it. The random splotches feel out of place, letting us know something isn’t quite right in cool, subtle ways.
Overall: Wytches: Bad Egg Halloween Special is the perfect Halloween treat. It’s also the perfect antidote for the long-term absence of one of the most spectacular horror stories in all of comics. 9.5/10
For more comic book reviews, check out our review archives.
Bo grinds for the man by day so he can create comics by night. He is the lesser half of the Stewart Brothers writing team and can be found on Twitter and Instagram@stewart_bros