Welcome to my countdown of last week’s Top 10 comics. This is where I rank the best books I read this past week. Some books that I quite enjoyed that did not make the list include Sweet Tooth: The Return #3, The Wrong Earth: Night & Day #1, and Space Bastards #1.
Also, make sure to check out my other articles highlighting last week’s comics
Now onto the countdown…
10. Green Hornet #5
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Anthony Marques
Description: Mad scientist. The US Army. Deadliest assassin in the world.
Interdimensional being. Super powered being from space who has been stuck in a stasis pod and driven mad from solitude with only one thing on her mind, getting her baby back at all costs.
Why it Made the List: One thing I like to do with this top ten is highlight comic series that are being unfairly ignored. I have read a few Green Hornet series and find those that try to modernize the character do not fully click. Here we have a version that is much more Adam West than it is Zack Snyder. Anthony Marques’s has a timeless cartoony style and the script follows up being a light fun affair. Old school in all the good ways. Also if you check out my Best Comic Panels article you’ll see what I thought was the best page in comics this past week. That page made me realize I do not praise lettering nearly enough.
9. Future State: Kara Zor-El, Superwoman #1
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Marguerite Sauvage
Publisher: DC Comics
Description: Kara Zor-El, Superman’s hot-tempered cousin, has finally found peace and purpose away from Earth and its heroes. Now known as Superwoman, she watches over the Moon and the refugees from across the galaxy who have congregated there. But all of that is about to change when a spaceship piloted by a runaway alien crash-lands and turns Kara’s world upside down! Does this fugitive come in peace? Or does this arrival bring war to our hero’s front door?
Why it Made the List: Going into this week this was lower on the list for Future State comics. Mostly due to my inexperience with both the creative team and character. Maybe that is why I ended up enjoying it as much as I did. Marguerite Sauvage’s art style is not one you tend to see with DC or superhero comics in general. The pastel colors may not work for every story but they do here. I looked at Future State as an opportunity to expand what DC comics are but most have been relatively within the realm of what you would expect. This was one of the few that felt like something different. Something that could appeal to people who were never really interested in DC comics prior. The dilemma here is at the core of who Kara is as a character. Trying to determine what is right in a no-win situation. Using Krypto as an emotional anchor was a surprising but compelling choice.
8. Seven Secrets #6
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Daniele Di Nicuolo
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Description: To save The Order and everyone he loves, Caspar must leave them all behind.
But even with his sacrifice, will Amon get his hands on the Secrets once and for all?
Why it Made the List: Easily the best issue of this series thus far. This exactly what you want from a series. To improve more and more with each passing issue. As a writer, Tom Taylor loves to rip your heart out. He gives you a character you care for only to have them have an untimely end. That certainly takes place this issue. You had a little bit of everything this issue. Some impressive action set pieces, major secrets revealed, and a cliffhanger that could forever change things moving forward. All that happened when maybe the biggest question thus far shows itself. Looking at the machinations of what was happening the destination of the next arc seemed obvious. Now I have no idea what is next.
7. A Man Among Ye #4
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Artist: Craig Cermak
Publisher: Image Comics
Description: Pirate queens Anne Bonny and Mary Read, along with their all-female crew of buccaneers, are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea as both their former pirate partners and the might of the British Empire close in on them. As the Battle of Nassau rages with cutlasses and cannons, where do the loyalties of Calico Jack Rackham lie? Will Jack be Anne and Mary’s savior or their doom. Writer Stephanie Phillips (Butcher of Paris, Heavy Metal) and artist Craig Cermak (Voltron) continue their pirate adventure!
Why it Made the List: This marks the end of this first arc in the most pirate way possible. Suffice to say pirates are not the most trustworthy people. Who knew? Everyone. Everyone knew. What I have enjoyed about the comics I read by Stephanie Phillips is that they are stories that are confident in the tale they are telling. The reason being they do not throw in things that are not needed. No aliens or supernatural elements anywhere to be found. With this series, she and artist Craig Cermak may have created some of her best characters yet. Based on the letter at the end this series will be going on break for some time. Often that means a book simply is not coming back. I hope that is not the case because the core of characters here have so much story to tell.
6. Serial #1
Writer/Artist: Terry Moore
Publisher: Abstract Studio
Description: Zoe has been 10 years old for 50 years. Most of her life has been spent on the run fighting the demon that lived within her, kept her young and turned her into a serial killer. Now free of the demon, Zoe discovers her childhood friend is the latest victim in a string of murders. Determined to put an end to the reign of terror, Zoe uses her own deadly skills to stalk the predator and avenge her fallen friend. Serial is Terry Moore’s new series featuring Zoe, the irrepressible star of Rachel Rising and Five Years. Don’t miss the premier issue of a her solo series!
Why it Made the List: Being a huge fan of Terry Moore this first issue really worked for me. Just seeing Zoe return in any form is a welcome sight. For those who have never read a Terry Moore comic before this may not have the same effect. Although hopefully, it will urge you to go and check out some of his work. Most of this was clearly set up for what is coming. We see a potential mystery brewing and the possible major conflict that will ensue. Almost like an extended cold open that cuts as the opening credits roll. As expected I am looking forward to see what comes next. Plus seeing Zoe in a living cartoon was a treat.
5. Penultiman #4
Writer: Tom Peyer
Artist: Alan Robinson
Publisher: Ahoy! Comics
Description: Early retirement torments Penultiman – but he just might have found the right motivational speaker to dig him out of his rut! (SPOILER: It’s the wrong motivational speaker!) Meanwhile, Penultiman’s android assistant, Antepenultiman, builds an artificial sidekick of its own! Also: bonus illustrated prose stories!
Why it Made the List: Utilizing the Superman archetype as a messiah allegory is nothing new, but what I appreciate about Penultiman is the perspective it is taking. For one its exploration is not just about the character but the use of the superhero genre in general. One where branding can override what is right and what is good. Secondly, this had one of the most powerful moments of the week. A scene that showed the price for doing the right thing. Any fan of superheroes who wants to see an approach that richens the genre should be reading this comic.
4. Haha #1
Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: Vanesa R. Del Rey
Publisher: Image Comics
Description: ICE CREAM MAN writer W. MAXWELL PRINCE brings his signature style of one-shot storytelling to the world of clowns-and he’s invited SOME OF THE COMIC INDUSTRY’S BEST ARTISTS to join him for the ride. HAHA is a genre-jumping, throat-lumping look at the sad, scary, hilarious life of those who get paid to play the fool-but these ain’t your typical jokers.
Why it Made the List: This was one of the biggest books going into the weekend as many Ice Cream Man fans were excited to see another series by W. Maxwell Prince. Personally, I was excited to get some more Vanesa R. Del Rey art. Her style in this was a bit different. Her lines were more defined with a distinct line. Considering this was set in a more distinct reality it makes sense. Narrievely you had a take on the, ‘One bad day’, concept that finds a new answer. Telling a complete story within one issue is a special skill. W. Maxwell Prince is showing he is one of the best at it currently.
3. King in Black: Thunderbolts #1
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Description: KINGPIN’S KILLERS VERSUS AN ARMY OF UNKILLABLE DRAGONS! An army of evil space dragons have come to attack Earth and are starting with New York. MAYOR FISK has a plan for that. Assembling a group of killers, mercenaries, and just generally pretty horrible people like TASKMASTER, RHINO, STAR, MR. FEAR, and BATROC THE LEAPER, Mayor Fisk tasks them with saving the city or die trying…or die right then and there. The fate of the entire world may rest in the hands of the absolute worst people in the Marvel Universe. What could go wrong?
Why it Made the List: A comic like this can be overlooked because it is a major event tie-in. The truth is this comic was the best thing I have read with the King of Black iconography. Matthew Rosenberg has a knack for dialog and when you give him a team of misfit characters it leads to some pinnacle level banter. What really solid it for me was the art of Juan Ferreyra. No surprise there whatsoever based on his work thus far. I could have done my entire Panels of the Week article with moments from this issue. My hope is this will lead to an actual ongoing because there is something special here.
2. The Autumnal #4
Writer: Daniel Kraus
Artist: Chris Shehan
Publisher: Vault Comics
Description: After Kat learns of an old tragedy that brought Comfort Notch to its knees, the bitter, burn-scarred Carol Ravintzky finally tells the tale of the terrible death of Clementine Biddle.
Why it Made the List: Similar to Seven Secrets this was the best issue of this series thus far. This was the part of the story where we got the massive exposition dump of why things are the way they are. Often this can lead to an overly verbose issue where things slow down to a halt. Instead, we got this horrific tale that answered disturbing questions we were not even asking. I know we are only one month into the year but I would wager a bet the most disturbing thing to happen in comics this year was in this issue. Something that shook me to my very core as a person. Chills. Now with all this information, everything we have read before becomes recontextualize. Makes me want to go back and reread before next month’s issue.
1. Lonely Receiver #5
Writer: Zac Thompson
Artist: Jen Hickman
Description: A horrific breakup story in five parts. You have mated with it and found salvation. You watch as a life plays out that seems like it belongs to someone else. But you’re sure it belongs to you.
Now you / see what you used to be / itself You love and change when moving wildly toward darkness. Enter the Leviathan / as it too / enters you Now see / you spend a life finding / yourself.
Why it Made the List: There was no question in my mind what this week’s best issue was. Lonely Receiver has been this exploration of human connection and how devastating a toxic dependency can become. Whether that dependency is upon another person or perhaps an object of sentience. What we have with this last issue is this poetic fall from grace that solidifies the themes of this narrative while working as its own piece of this existential process. Jen Hickman had an impressive issue. Creating an array of panels packed with robust story. This strengthened one of the most thought-provoking comics in these past twelve months. Now that it has completed I urge those who have not read it to check it out. Take a deep dive into the surreal.