HomeComicsArticlesComic Book Countdown: March’s Top 30 Comics

Comic Book Countdown: March’s Top 30 Comics

With March now overtime to take a look back at the month that was in comics. I countdown what I feel were the best issues of the month that are worth your time and money.

First and foremost this is simply my list and with that comes a great deal of subjectivity. Any art form is a subjective medium and taste plays a major role. So if you feel my rankings are way off you probably have a legitimate point. My hope is to simply to highlight great books that deserve attention. We too often focus on the negative so why not take some time to celebrate the positive.

Since this is my list that also means I can only rank issues I have actually read. There may be a book that is in your top five that does not make the cut. Please let me know. I try to read as much as I could but I do not read everything. I am open though to learn about titles I am missing out on reading.

In order to be eligible for this list an issue simply needs to be a single issue that was released in the month of March. Reprints do not count. Also for series that had more than one issue that came out this past month I tried to only pick the best one for diversity purposes. With that said now onto the list

Waring: I did touch on some plot details so if you prefer knowing nothing about an issue you may not want to read the finer details. I do try to stay away from the major surprises.

 

30. Deathbed #2

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artist: Riley Rossmo

Publisher: Vertigo

Last Month Rank: Not Ranked

Vertigo may not have the name recognition it once did during its height, yet every so often they put out some great content like Unfollow or The Sheriff of Babylon. At this point I would not put Deathbed to their level, but it does show Vertigo still has some life in it despite past failings.

Joshua Williamson has constructed this larger than life character that resembles ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’ seen through the lens of a comic book. What is displayed in this specific issue is how much ego can detach you from actual reality, and how a person with that moniker may not be nearly as important as he assumes he is to others. Riley Rossmo’s cartooning is also fantastic to look at and it is great to see him able to use a style like this that may not work for a traditional comic book.


29. Infinity 8 #1

Creator: Lewis Trondheim

Publisher: Lion Forge Comics

Last Month’s Rank: No Issue

One of the best things about comics is when you take a chance on a first issue just out of random curiosity and the hope you can find something new that is worth getting excited about.  Something about Infinity 8 #1 intrigued me and walked away excited to have a new book to add to my ever-growing pile.

Why it works is how it establishes so much intrigue. On a plot or character standpoint, there is not a huge amount offered, but the world looks fascinating. Most of the plot revolves around the main character investigating this destroyed civilization that raises so many key questions. Many of the designs look like they have heavily influenced by things like H.P. Lovecraft so that just raises the eyebrow more. If you are looking for a new series to get into that has not gotten a lot of attention Infinity 8 looks like it deserves a look.

 


 

28. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25

Writer: Kyle Higgins

Artist: Daniele Di Nicuolo

Publisher: Boom! Studios

Last Month’s Rank: Not Listed

I have to sit back and applaud Kyle Higgins, Boom!, and the entire Power Rangers team for what they are doing with the property. Issue #25 was the biggest for the series so far and it is no surprise it is selling out everywhere and going for obscene prices on eBay currently. They have built the hype of for this Shattered Grid storyline to the highest level. Going as far as making a live-action trailer starring everyone’s favorite Power Ranger Jasid David Frank.

All that is well and good but at the end of the day, all that hype can be undone if the comic is not any good. As someone who is not as up on the lore of the Rangers I am sure I missed some things fans will love. Consider that I never felt lost or like I was reading a glorified fan service. The villain of Darkon is fantastic in any setting and some of the major twists that occur have me excited to where this will go next. If this series ever interested you this issue is a must-read.


27. X-O Manowar #13

Writer: Matt Kindt

Artist: Ryan Bodenheim

Publisher: Valiant

Last Month’s Rank: #23

Now thirteen issues into this relaunch of X-O Manowar Matt Kindt has finished this massive story arc that saw its titular character undergo some major growth.  As often with the case of comics typically growth means coming full circle from where you began and that is somewhat the case here. What this issue revealed was how we got to where we now are and what exactly drove Aric to flee the life he once knew.

With this overarching arc, Aric has gone from the farmer who wants to get away from violence to the leader of the entire planet. Along the way seeing many of his strengths and weaknesses highlighted. It all comes together with this final issue as his work yields some positive results although not through expected means. It is rare a storyline will provide this level of closure while at the same time opening the door for major arcs to follow. Kindt may not have been the obvious choice to write an X-O Manowar book but his run so far has proven sometimes the unexpected is exactly what a character needs.


26.  Vampironica #1

Writer: Megan Smallwood, Greg Smallwood

Artist: Greg Smallwood

Publisher: Archie Comics

Last Month’s Rank: No Issue Released

Archie comics have had a lot of success making their properties relevant to a new generation with recent relaunches and especially their horror line of books like Afterlife with Archie and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Some major delays have plagued those books and others like Jughead the Hunger have attempted to fill the void. That series has not been able to reach the level of quality of the others, but Vampironica #1 appears poised to do just that.

Storywise this issue does give you a great deal outside of the initial setup. There is enough there to get an understanding of the general premise and tone we can expect moving forward. So far much of the promise comes from the art of Greg Smallwood. Coming off his fantastic work on Moon Knight whatever major book he did next was deserving of major attention. I did not expect that book to be Vampironica mind you. Considering he gets to work on this book with his sister Meg Smallwood one can understand why they would both take on this project. The only concern is this series would suffer a similar fate of the other high profile Archie books.


25. Quantum & Woody #4

Writer: Daniel Kibblesmith

Artist: Kano

Publisher: Valiant

Last Month’s Rank: #14

Daniel Kibblesmith is quickly becoming one of my favorite new voices in the world of comics. He has been writing for the last few years but with his current work with Lockjaw and especially his run on Quantum & Woody he has hit a new stride. His wit and sense of humor are being used in full force, and with Quantum & Woody, he provided a number of sweet moments as well amongst all of the craziness.

The biggest standout moment of this issue was the showdown between Woody and his biological father. A meeting that had been building for the last few issues and it paid off in a big way. Kano’s paneling was a big reason for that. Each issue has found some inventive ways to utilize the traditional panel design. Here he was able to give this holistic perspective that captures the purse insanity of the moment. Highly recommend picking up this series even if you never read a Quantum & Woody book before.


24. Mech Cadet Yu #7

Writer: Greg Pak

Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa

Publisher: Boom! Studios

Last Month’s Rank:

It is easy to look at a series like Mech Cadet Yu and compare it to other properties it is reminiscent of or influenced by. In March we also saw the release of the sequel to Pacific Rim that comes from a similar cloth. Where Mech Cadet Yu succeeds at a high level than  Pacific Rim and even some of those properties like Voltron is by building a solid story with well-rounded characters and not just speed through things in order to just get to more massive robot action.

It is a series centered on kids and their relationships with giant robots, and this issue it gives those kids quite the decision to make as they have to decide to follow orders or do what they think is right. With this series nearing its end much of the development that began since the onset is beginning to take shape. Also, the stakes have raised this issue as we saw not everyone will be making it out of this book unscathed.


23. Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #3

Writer: Mark Russell

Artist: Mike Feehan

Publisher: DC Comics

Last Month’s Rank: #18

In the world of comics, anything is possible. Do not believe me? Well the fact you can take the character of Snagglepuss place him during the early stages of the Red Scare era of the 1950’s, make him into a Tennessee Williams style playwright, and make it one of the most enthralling pieces of entertainment today is evidence that comics can open the door to unique types of storytelling. Add to that premise that Snagglepuss is also a homosexual living during a time that was beyond taboo and there is a lot to take from this on a social-political level as well. Coming from Mark Russell who also gave us the recent Flintstones it is not too surprising.

One specific piece of dialogue that stood out in this issue was when Snagglepuss indicated the difference between actors and stars. How stars show us who we want to be while actors show us who we are. To my recollection have not seen it plainly stated like that but there is a lot of truth to that sentiment as this issue demonstrates using real-life figures like Marilyn Monroe and Clint Eastwood. There is such a large collection of ideas you can delve into and it feels like it is only getting started.


22. Captain America #699

Writer: Mark Waid

Artist: Chris Samnee

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Last Month’s Rank: Not Ranked

Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have brought the character of Captain America exactly what he needs–a fresh start. Shortly he is getting another one with a new creative team but for now, I am just going to enjoy the ride they have put together. This started as a series of one-shot stories that had Captain America reminding us of what he represents. This current arc has been their most prolonged. One that saw Cap frozen once again and sent to a future full of nuclear fallout and ruled by a very powerful few while the rest of the population greatly suffered.

People can often confuse sophistication with tone and assume a book with a lighter execution like this is lacking in complexity. While on the surface this current run ma7 seem like overly simplified storytelling, there are a lot of great character moments that offer a lot to chew on. The Thing makes an appearance in this issue and when we learn of his plight there is a large sense of tragedy to what has happened to him, but it is never overtly stated. It demonstrates the character of Ben Grimm and why someone of his ilk can be manipulated in the direst of times.


21. Incognegro: Renaissance #2

Writer: Mat Johnson

Artist: Warren Pleece

Publisher: Berger Books

Last Month’s Rank: #30

Why I love about Incognegro: Renaissance is how it is an old-school style mystery with little bells or whistles. There are no robots, no horror elements, or any superheroes in site. Just a human drama placed within a very specific time and place that utilizes its concept with full effect. This issue got more into the mystery aspect of the narrative and touch more on the race issues of the time.

1920’s Harlem offers so much lavish culture I am surprised we see so little of it in our media. With this being a  prequel comic to the previous series it is a great jumping on point for those looking for something out of the norm of the typical comic story. This issue also shows the meaning behind the name as the main character has to go “incognegro’ by sneaking into the local jazz club by pretending to be white. An idea that could easily go wrong but so far provides a fascinating look into what happens when you enter a world that does not want you there.  


20. Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #41

Writer: Robert Venditti

Artist: Brandon Peterson

Publisher:  DC Comics

Last Month’s Rank: #29

Comic book fans have had a long tradition of debating who would win in a fight. Superman vs Hulk, Batman vs Punisher, and many other classic debates have led friendships ending and unnecessary threats being made. Rarely do those types of matchups actually make it to the pages of comics but Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #41 brought us an intriguing one as Hal Jordan faced off against Zod.

Those who treat comic characters like RPG character by comparing stat categories may take issue with how this played out. For those who can enjoy the story being told it was a great display of how Jordan’s fighter pilot background can be utilized as a Green Lantern. This arc of the Lanterns going toe to toe with Zod and his family has been one of the best arcs of this Rebirth launch. Glad to see this story has not come to a complete end.


19. The Despicable Deadpool #296

Writer: Gerry Duggan

Artist: Matteo Lolli

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Last Month’s Rank: Not Ranked

Gerry Dugan’s current run on Deadpool is one of the most underrated in current comics. Deadpool has a lot of fans no doubt. Some though tend to dismiss him as a one-note joke that got overblown due to underserved popularity. Surely there was a time when there were far too many Deadpool comics and that might explain why Duggan’s run is not getting lotted like it should. The preconceived notion of the character is causing it to be overlooked.

Since Secret Empire Duggan has added a level of gravitas to the character that has rarely been seen and it all came to a boiling point in this issue. Deadpool is still dealing with the ramifications of following the orders of Hydra Steve Rogers during Secret Empire. To be fair to Waid, he assumed at the time he was the real deal. Now that Captain America is no longer a Nazi he is out to bring in Deadpool to right the wrongs of his evil self. It is this great look into the dangers of idolizing people, and how Wade Wilson has been used by others to do things they wouldn’t then judge him for it. How some are willing to use him for their benefit but still hold him at a far enough distance to still not get dirty. As someone who has been a Deadpool fan since the beginning, this is the most dynamic he has ever been as a character.


18.  East of West #36

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Nick Dragotta

Publisher:  Image Comics

Last Month’s Rank: No Issue Released

There is no one who can build worlds quite like Jonathan Hickman. The man is a thread maker as he throws out a wide net filled with great characters. Each of those characters has an arc worthy of its own solo comic. Considering that East of West does at times come off as a series that is in a massive hurry but ultimately does not go anywhere. When you take a step back and look at it from a broader perspective you can see just how much has changed in the overall narrative.

With the series rounding the corner to its eventual end in issue #45 much has happened these last few issues. In this book, the Endless Nation made their powerplay that greatly reshaped the board. For those that enjoy massive epics like Game of Thrones that see storylines gradually come together this series offers that same type of satisfaction. As a consumer, you feel like you earned something when things finally come to fruition. It is bittersweet knowing we are nearing the end of this journey. 


17. Infidel #1

Writer: Pornsak Pichetshote

Artist: Aaron Campbell

Publisher: Image Comics

Last Month’s Rank: No Issue Released

The month of March had a number of high profile series debuts with some major creators and some of those will later appear on this list. Infidel #1 may not have the name recognition of a Robert Kirkman or a Jeff Lemire but it does provide a lot of promise for those who are fans of the horror genre. Especially those that like stories that can exist within the confines of the horror genre while providing much more than your typical scares.

 If you remove ANY element of the supernatural you still have a book worth reading. This story of a Muslim family living in New York and a son dealing with the fact his mother does not approve of his and his family’s lifestyle. It is outside the norm of your typical horror backdrop with characters that are surprisingly well defined for only having one issue to work with so far. 


16. Abbott #3

Writer: Saladin Ahmed

Artist: Sami Kivela

Publisher:  Boom! Studios

Last Month’s Rank: #10

Only three issues in and Abbott is becoming one of my favorite current comic book characters. There are many elements that make her stand out but the biggest one is how she approaches all of the supernatural complications that come her way. Being a veteran journalist she does not forget everything that got her where she was despite the fact she is seeing things she cannot fully explain. Instead, she is doing the same thing she would if investigating any other story. Looking at the facts, finding avenues to the underlying truth of what is happening, and ultimately going places she shouldn’t in order to find the answers no one wants to give her.

The style of this series continues to be next level. Each page and panel presents an authentic representation of this specific time and place. Even the small details in the backgrounds in office buildings are designed in a way to keep the aesthetic consistent. This issue provides some of the biggest plot developments of the series thus far giving the next issue a lot to live up to.


15. Secret Weapons: Owen’s Story #0

Writer: Eric Heisserer

Artist: Patricia Martin, Raul Allen

Publisher: Valiant

Last Month’s Rank: No Issue Released

Secret Weapons was one of my favorite series from last year so I am glad any time we get to return to it. This specific issue focused on the character of Owen and the challenges of his given power. He can conjure objects out of thin air. You would think that would make him one of the most powerful beings alive. When you cannot control the objects you conjure up that is not the case. Being in the middle of a fight and suddenly causing an umbrella appears does not strike fear into the heart of criminals. That, of course, opens the door for a lot of great comedy and in this case a fantastic hook for a story.

The premise of this issue is simple but brilliant. Owen is having a yard sale where he is selling off a number of goods each of which is tied to a specific moment in his life. It is a great hook to provide an episodic tale that ties together so nicely. Also by the end it has you wondering if there is more to Owen’s power than we realize and if it is not nearly as random as he assumes.


14. Gideon Falls #1

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Andrea Sorrentino

Publisher: Image Comics

Last Month’s Rank: No Issue Released

Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino are a creative team that works together so well despite how different their approaches seem. Lemire is very much a minimalist. From his art style to his storytelling he tends to try to get the most out of the least. Using only a few lines to express deep emotion on both a drawing and writing standpoint. Sorrentino, on the other hand, puts so much on the page. At times uses images to construct other images in a way unlike anyone else. Based on their work together on Green Arrow, Old Man Logan, and now Gideon Falls it appears the old adage is true that opposites do attract.

Great horror is built on one key element and that is the atmosphere. One where the intensity is maintained even when the scares are temporarily muted. In this issue that atmosphere is gradually built. Setting the stage with these opposing storylines that a first seem to have zero connection. By the end that connection becomes clearer as we see there is much more going on than we first thought and plenty to be afraid of.


13. Batman: White Knight #6

Creator: Sean Murphy

Publisher: DC Comics

Last Month’s Rank: #6

You know Batman: White Knight is doing well as it has inspired DC to announce an entirely new line that will have similar stories that fall outside of the normal DC universe. These books will be more adult themed than your typical comic. My only concern is they are learning the wrong lesson to why ‘White Knight’ is such a success. It being a more mature read is not the reason for its success. It helps but the reason it works is because Sean Murphy has had a clear vision for this story that he has executed brilliantly. If you let the creative people be creative you can get books like this.

It might be a random element but you have to give Murphy credit for how great he is at drawing vehicles. That skill plays a key role in this issue as one of the most infamous vehicles in history makes a triumphant return. Murphy has taken elements from some of the best versions of Batman and made a Batman world unlike any other. Anyone who considers themselves a fan of Batman is doing themselves the biggest disservice if they are not actively reading this. It is not hyperbolic to say this is one of the best Batman stories in some time. 


12. Descender #28

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Dustin Nguyen

Publisher:  Image Comics

Last Month’s Rank: Not Ranked

Writing this list it is becoming apparent there are a lot of great books that have been around for a few years that are nearing their end. Descender is certainly one of those. We are now getting a lot of answers to questions that were not on the forefront of what needs to be asked, but as these revelations keep coming it is becoming more clear the message this series has been building towards since the beginning.

In this issue, we find out one of the most fundamental parts of this book and that is where the title comes from. May seem odd it took twenty-eight issues to understand such a fundamental piece of the narrative, however, due to the strength of the story so far it has never come off as a question that was halting the progression of the story. This started as a more personal story and as it nears the end the scope has become bigger and bigger asking some of the biggest questions imaginable. Not that the intimacy has been lost. What this issue started doing in a major way is letting us better understand how all these major threads so neatly tie together.


11. Grass Kings #13

Writer: Matt Kindt

Artist: Tyler Jenkins

Publisher: Boom! Studios

Last Month’s Rank: #12

Grass Kings as a series has been built on human drama. One where the pacing was deliberately paced causing any bit of action to stand out. It made sense as it properly represented this land of The Grass Kingdom and the people that lived there. People who simply just wanted to live their day to day lives separately from the society that was seemingly unwilling to accept them. Now as the series nears its end this issue was unlike any other.

It was like watching a Richard Linklater movie where quality dialog and character building were the major stars and then the next thing you know you are in the middle of an action-packed John Carpenter film. A shift like that may be jarring but it is build up in such a way that it works. Mainly because the execution of these major action moments feels right for this setting. Something like a helicopter crash in a superhero book is a nonoccurrence, but here it is jaw-dropping visual. This is a prime example of why a slow burn can be so impactful.


10. Jessica Jones #18

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Michael Gaydos

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Last Month’s Rank: Not Listed

Have you heard that Brian Michael Bendis is going to DC? There was slight mention of it here and there along with the massive ads in every DC book. With that, his work at Marvel is coming to an end. Although he still has an Iron Man issue or two left in the can this felt like his final goodbye for his time at the company that helped define his career. It makes sense as Jessica Jones is his baby that he molded into one of the most popular superheroes today.

With this issue, Bendis wanted to give Jessica one perfect day. One perfect day for Jessica to be more specific. Many have criticized Bendis inability to properly end a story, myself included. Here he made the right choice by telling a small story that encapsulated his work these past seventeen years without making you aware he was even doing it. Also , there is a fantastic bit of dialog Jessica has at a bar that reminds us how much she has changed as a character since she first appeared. Superhero characters rarely change and when they do it is usually temporary. With Bendis being the only major person writing Jessica he did the impossible and let her develop in a natural way and organically become who she is now. We do know someone else will shortly be taken over this title and I wish that was not the case. I would be fine if Jessica Jones was a character shelved for some time until the perfect story came along. No doubt this will be a tough act to follow.


9. Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows #1

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Max Fiumara

Publisher: Dark Horse

Last Month’s Rank: No Issue Released

When Black Hammer started I thought it was a fantastic book that was telling one specific story. I was not expecting the world to expand in such a vast way like it has. I would be concerned all these spin-off series would dilute the brand if they were so fantastic. Similar to the series Astro City this is a world full of life and character that can go on for some time.

Jeff Lemire is clearly doing some major deconstruction of the common superhero tropes while tapping into nostalgia yet never to the point where it feels sanctimonious. This issue gave us the origin of Doctor Star as he walked through what got him to where he is today. Lemire using the flashback framework so well keeping the events of the past strongly linked to the present. All leading to a final page that was as devastating as anything I read last month. My only concern is how this series can reach that emotional level again.


8. Kill or Be Killed #17

Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Sean Phillips

Publisher: Image Comics

Last Month’s Rank: #9

As Kill or Be Killed as progressed as a story the lines between what is real and what is not are becoming more and more blurred. The biggest question had been if the demon that is forcing Dylan to murder was real or made up in his own mind. With this current arc that question has expanded as we wonder it not only the demon is not real but Dylan’s belief that he is this vigilante. Have we been in the mind of someone who has been imaging himself in events he had no part in?

A question like that can at times doom a book. Learning at the end of a story it was all a dream or the figment of someone’s imagination can make it feel like the entire journey was for nothing. So far it works because it is merely a question that is being raised, and do to how well it has been executed. The use of first-person narrative has been a key element of this series. Providing direct commentary to the reader while at the same time allowing us into the mind of Dylan. When you take a step back and ask why Dylan would be speaking to us directly it makes you wonder if that in itself is just more evidence of his broken psyche. With this issue, Dylan has one goal of murdering a man he feels deserves to die. As all these questions swirl we get to see him attempt to commit a crime that is becoming easier and easier for him.


7. Thanos #17

Writer: Donny Cates

Artist: Geoff Shaw

Publisher: Marvel Coimics

Last Month’s Rank:

With the Infinity War movie set to be released very shortly much attention has been placed on the character of Thanos. Many asking if he is worth the buildup that has occurred since the ending of the first Avengers film. Those that question the build-up only need to read this ‘Thanos Wins’ storyline to see the insane level of fun that can be garnered using him as a focal point of a story.

This issue saw present-day Thanos and future Thanos team up to fight a souped-up Silver Surfer who recently proved himself worthy. Geoff Shaw and Donny Cates took some larger than life characters and told a story that was to the scale of a major event. It is the type of book that you want to make sure you read with no little kids around. Not just because of the events that take place, but mostly due to the number of expletives you will say in reaction to the way things go down.


6. The Highest House #2

Writer: Mike Carey

Artist: Peter Gross

Publisher: IDW

Last Month’s Rank: Not Ranked

I did not read The Highest House #1 last month before I did the top thirty, because if I did it would have surely made the list. It is somewhat difficult to fully quantify what makes this issue so great as there is nothing else quite like it. From its oversized design to its unique setting there is a freshness to everything that was pieced together to make this book. For those who worry the medium of comics is getting stale this shows there are some creative minds out there looking to break the molds so many others fall into.

This issue also works as a great jumping on point. One where the stakes are raised by the ending pages. For those who enjoy stories about the middle ages with a more realistic flair and include major pieces of everyday life, you have a new book to read. A major story thread so far has involved roofing. I know what you are thinking but it has been fascinating. The art plays a major role with its wide views and fine details. Love how it will often design the page so there is one main image and then within that image add panels so no part of the page is without intricate art. Plus it is very much a reflection of how things so tightly intertwined in a narrative focused on a hierarchy culture.


5. Deadly Class #32

Writer: Rick Remender

Artist: Wes Craig

Publisher: Image Comics

Last Month’s Rank: No Issue Released

When Deadly Class made a huge change to the cast of characters I thought it was the beginning of the end. Rarely can you keep a property going when a main character is killed off. Since that moment much has changed however the quality has remained and if anything has only gotten better. Now that the old and new class of students have had their fun we see some major fallout from their drug-filled sexcapades. No, that payback does not come in the form of an uncomfortable Sex Education lecture, rather we see what happens when you go to a school for assassins and let your guard down for only a moment.

This specific issue is a major homage to Frank Miller and especially his work on Daredevil. Going so far to literally call it out in the book. Where that homage worked the best was the art of Wes Craig who puts together some phenomenal splash pages that offer a feast for the eyes to enjoy. It showed that Craig may not get the level of credit he deserves as one of today’s best artists.


4. Doomsday Clock #4

Writer: Geoff Johns

Artist: Gary Frank

Publisher: DC Comics

Last Month’s Rank: No Issue Released

Doomsday Clock has received some polarizing opinions in the world of comics. Some still feel its creation goes against the sanctity of comics and will trigger their ultimate downfall. Others have said the exact opposite and feel in some ways it is already superior to Watchmen. I find both those stances a tad bit extreme, although I do have some conflicts with it myself. It is like you get some of the greatest musicians working today put them together to do covers of Beatles Songs. Sure they are going to sound great and be technically sound, but at the end of the day, even the best cover band is a cover band.

I say that but am still majorly impressed with the craft that is being put into each page and panel. Especially the work of Gary Frank. There have been many complaints about the delays of this book, however seeing his work I can quickly forgive them. Sure Geoff Johns is doing his best Alan Moore impression. Frank though is doing the majority of the heavy lifting as there were a number of pages were Johns smartly took a step back to let his work solely tell the story. This was unquestionably the best issue of the series thus far mainly because it was able to focus on one specific story as it revealed the origin of the new Rorshack.


3. Judas #4

Writer: Jeff Loveness

Artist: Jakub Rebelka

Publisher: Boom! Studios

Last Month’s Rank: #4

I am still amazed this book exists. A comic that approaches the topic of religion in an earnest way without an ounce of cynicism. No this is not some sort of glorified Christian tract that is secretly trying to get you to join their team as long as you agree to their small joining fee of 10% of your yearly wages. Those who vehemently oppose religion along with the most devout can read this series and get something out of it. What it does is try to inject a tangible context into the relationship between Judas and Jesus.

Here it even takes actual passages from the bible to help enhance the story as it leads to its final conclusion. A book like this is so important for the medium of comics. Showing it can approach sensitive and complex topics in a way other mediums may not be able to accomplish. By the end of the year, I would be shocked if this does not rank as one of the year’s best overall series.


2. Mister Miracle #7

Writer: Tom King

Artist: Mitch Gerads

Publisher: DC Comics

Last Month’s Rank: No Issue Released

When it comes to execution of craft there is Mister Miracle and everything else falls well behind. A story that can look like on the surface not much is happening and that is not a bad thing. People tend to confuse plot with story. Thinking events are what should be the driving force of your narrative. Mister Miracle shows placing characters over plot tends to lead to a much more compelling tale.

Tom King has a great ability to use tonal shifts to capture the awkwardness of human interaction. Placing the absurdity next to the mundane, like placing the Female Furries in an everyday ordinary waiting room. Some may take issue with how we do not know exactly what is happening and each issue leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Personally, I prefer a comic that gives me fascinating questions to answer or analyze. A mystery that keeps you at a distance just enough to make you question the smallest of detail. Why it works too is because without that mystery we are still left with an issue that captures the essence of human relationships and their messiness.As someone who had a kid a few years ago, you can tell this book was coming from people who lived the experience.


1. The Mighty Thor #705

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Russell Dauterman

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Last Month’s Rank: #3

The reason I chose The Mighty Thor #705 as the best issue of the month of March was that no book I read had a greater emotional impact. Doomsday Clock may have more hype and Mister Miracle may have a higher level of craft, yet neither of those books hit me harder than this. Yes, we knew this was coming for some time. Years in fact. That did not take away one ounce for watching it finally unfold.

These last few issues have been spent showing the tragedy that has occurred in the life of Jane Foster. How she was an innocent victim of events that led to the deaths of some of her more cherished loved ones. Death in comics tends not to mean anything. I do not doubt Jane Foster will pop up again sometime in the future. Why it works has nothing to do with continuity. It works due to what it was saying from a story perspective.  Jane was making the choice. She was not going to let someone else make it for her. Not again. She was not going to let cancer dictate what she can and cannot do. Her actions are her own and she was not going to allow tragedy to be placed on her. Instead, she looked death straight in the face and said, “You are not ready for me” as she went in head first knowing her actions would save the lives of others. Even if some of those people she saved maybe didn’t deserve it.

When you have a character like Thor writers have tried to add stakes by adding in some human companions. We even see it with something like Doctor Who. Humanizing the otherworldly by connecting him or her to someone we can better relate towards. What Jason Aaron did was take the next logical step. To combine those elements into one character so you had the all-powerful being while at the same time the character had the vulnerability of an everyday human. He has been creating one of the best Thor epics ever and The Mighty Thor chapter has been my favorite part thus far. It was the right time for it to end. That still did not make it any easier.

 

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