Top Comics to Buy for August 14, 2019: Powers of X, Catwoman, and more!

By Zack Quaintance — I’m starting to be predictable, week in and week out putting the new Jonathan Hickman X-Men comic on top as our PICK OF THE WEEK. The thing is, I really feel like we’re witnessing a genuine important moment in comics here—the restoration of a once-vaunted franchise that had fallen into neglect. It’s like watching a community come to its sense and restore a gorgeous art deco theater instead of razing it and building a supermarket on top of it. 

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Top Comics to Buy for August 7, 2019: House of X, Die, Lois Lane, and more!

By Zack Quaintance — As regular readers must have noticed by now, there have been some big changes to the site this week, namely...the name. We are no longer Batman’s Bookcase, moving instead to the less ironic (and, in my opinion, less funny) but far more original content friendly title of Comics Bookcase. As I wrote on Twitter, the main reason for this is that the site has grown bigger than I ever thought it would, covering an increasingly broad range of comics, and I wanted a new name to reflect that.

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Top Comics to Buy for May 15, 2019: Little Bird #3, Superman #11, and more!

By Zack Quaintance — It was tough to start building our Top Comics for May 15, 2019, what with the fantastic books that came out last week still bouncing around my mind. Last week was really an embarrassment of riches in terms of the exact type of comics I like to read. I had such a great time reading comics last week, from new series like Eve Stranger and Excellence, to ongoing superhero stories like Shazam and Hawkman, to series that just keep getting…

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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

*PICK OF THE WEEK*

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
Writer:
Priest
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
Writer:
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
Writer:
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
Writer:
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
Writer:
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
Writer:
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

PICK OF THE WEEK
The Green Lantern #1
Writer:
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
Writer:
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
Writer:
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
Writer:
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
Writers:
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.

Top Comics to Buy for September 5, 2018

By Zack Quaintance — Phew, this week is packed tighter with great books than the shoebox where I used to keep my comics as a kid back before I shelled out the little bit of cash to get my first short box. That probably wasn’t as clever as I hoped it would be, but you get what I’m saying all the same. This? This is a good week for comics. In fact, we even had to write up six books instead of the usual five, and even then we were still force to make some tough choices.

In fact, it’s so good that it was a real challenge to pair down my list. I can usually confidently pick out the five comics I recommend most just by looking at what titles are coming out in a given week. This week, however, I had a near-crippling amount of indecision. Anyway, Leviathan, Relay, and Snotgirl all muscled their ways onto this week’s list just by virtue of being amazing comics.

Let’s take a look!

Top Comics to Buy for September 5, 2018

Batman #54
Writer: 
Tom King
Artist: Matt Wagner
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Dick Grayson-the original Robin-gets to spend some quality time fighting crime with his mentor for the first time since Batman popped the question to Catwoman. It's a walk down memory lane as Bruce Wayne helps Dick get over the loss of his high-flying acrobat parents, which in turn led to his crime-fighting career. Guest artist Matt Wagner (Mage, TRINITY) jumps on board for this special issue!
Why It's Cool: Cool is probably the wrong word for a book that seems like it's going to be a modern classic, a touching yet never saccharine examination of the father-son dynamic between Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. Batman's recent Cold Days arc was a near-masterpiece, but it's heartfelt and honest single issues like this seems to be \that keep Tom King's Batman among my favorite recent runs on the character. 

Border Town #1
Writer:
Eric M. Esquivel
Artist: Ramon Villalobos
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Publisher: Vertigo
Price: $3.99
When a crack in the border between worlds releases an army of monsters from Mexican folklore, the residents of Devil's Fork, AZ, blame the ensuing weirdness-the shared nightmares, the otherworldly radio transmissions, the mysterious goat mutilations-on "God-dang illegals." With racial tensions supernaturally charged, it's up to new kid in town Frank Dominguez and a motley crew of high school misfits to discover what's really going on in this town torn between worlds. 

Why It’s Cool: To quote our Border Town #1 ADVANCED REVIEW, 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, also finding new ground by adding Mexican/Chicano folklore and mythos.

Cover #1 (of 6)
Writer:
Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Mack
Publisher: Jinxworld
Cost: $3.99
Years in the making, from the award-winning team of Brian Michael Bendis and multimedia sensation David Mack, comes a brand-new graphic novel experience. And it's all kind of based on a true story. Sort of... Deep in the American intelligence community, someone realizes that comic book creators, who travel all over the world to sell their wares, might make the perfect cover for operatives in the dangerous, topsy-turvy world of intelligence and counterintelligence...and that's when all hell breaks loose. This is the story of the time the world of comics and the world of international spy work smashed together-with unexpected results!

Why It’s Cool: The creative team for this book have both worked with the government at various times, I believe, in consulting capacities, bringing their unique knowledge about narrative threats and the like to bear on real-world problems. It's poised to give this book—which is shaped by an excellent concept already—an added layer of honesty and truth. I really enjoyed Pearl #1 last month, the first fresh title from Bendis' reborn Jinxworld imprint, but Cover #1 looks like it's on another level. It stands to be such an honest look at life for comics pros, intermingled with an espionage story and stunning David Mack artwork. All indications are that this six-part series is going to be one to remember.

Leviathan #2
Writer & Letterer:
John Layman
Artist: Nick Pitarra
Colorist: Michael Garland
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
"'TIL DEATH DO US PART," Part Two...While Ryan DeLuca tries to piece together exactly how his friends summoned a giant monster, government defense forces take the fight to the depths of the Earth, where monsters dwell. Then, of course, they piss off the wrong monster.

Why It’s Cool: The second issue of the new book from Layman and Pitarra (who are an unbelievably complimentary team, btw) really hints at a much different book than I was expecting. I won’t go into detail about a comic that’s not out yet, other than to say that if you liked issue #1 you’ll love this one, and, even if you didn’t like #1, I’d still recommend giving this a chance, because it’s quite possible this book is up to more than you think.

Relay #3
Writer: Zac Thompson
Story By: Zac Thompson & Donny Cates
Artist: Andy Clarke
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
Letterer: Charles Pritchett
Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Price: $3.99
In the future, the galaxy is united under a monolith known as the Galactic Relay. Although the towering monument is meant to inspire conformity of ideas, technology, and progress, it is not without its enemies and many have begun to resent the foreign structure. And now, Jad Carter, a Relay employee, has found the Relay’s mythological creator. An interstellar mug causes a complete breakdown of reality. Jad travels inside the Monolith but it raises more questions than answers.

Why It’s Cool: The most complex and intricate sci-fi book on the shelves today...in market that is booming with great entries in the genre. Relay #3 expertly builds on the themes and complexity of its first two issues, while giving artist Andy Clarke some space to blow readers minds the way the story by Zac Thompson and Donny Cates has so far. This entire creativity team is firing on all cylinders. This book is a slow burn, but I’m starting to suspect it might end up being a mega hit. If you haven’t been reading this, I’d highly recommend grabbing all three issues this Wednesday, setting aside roughly 90 minutes of very quiet time, and diving all the way in.

Snotgirl #11
Writer:
Bryan Lee O’Malley
Artist: Leslie Hung
Colorist: Rachael Cohen
Letterer: Mare Odomo
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
NEW STORY ARC! Chapter 11: "MY SECOND DATE.” While her friends have some concerns, Lottie just wants to take her relationship with Caroline to the next level-which is why she's keeping it a complete secret!

Why It’s Cool: I mean, it just is (that’s a joke from the issue). As I Tweeted immediately after finishing this issue, there's a lot of comics that comment on our times, but Snotgirl does so in a really unique and refreshing way. Its interests are seemingly innocuous, but look closer and this book is often just as scary as comics about war or fascism. Content deals heavily in social media, vanity, modern priorities and values, and the price of appearances, all through an incredibly relatable and terrifying prism of neurosis.

Recommended New #1 Comics for September 5, 2018

  • Bully Wars #1
  • Dreaming #1
  • Jinxworld Sampler #1
  • Old Man Logan Annual #1
  • Silver Surfer Annual #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • Captain America #3
  • Cosmic Ghost Rider #3
  • Dead Hand #6
  • Death of Inhumans #3
  • Deathstroke #35
  • Eclipse #10
  • Giant Days #42
  • Immortal Hulk #5
  • Justice League #7
  • Paper Girls #24
  • Seeds #2
  • Thanos Legacy #1
  • Unexpected #4
  • Unnatural #3
  • Walking Dead #183

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

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