Welcome to The Top 10 Comics for the Week of 2/3/2021. This is where I countdown my picks for the ten comics to come out last week. Before we start make sure to check out my other articles regarding last week’s comics.
Now onto the countdown…
10. Waluk #1: The Great Journey
Writer: Emilio Ruiz
Artist: Ana Miralles
Publisher: Magnetic Press
Description: Waluk and Eskimo set off on a swim between ice floes in search of food, only to find another family of bears doing the same thing. Grumpy old Eskimo isn’t much of a babysitter to the little cubs, but if it means a free meal, he’ll take it!
Why it Made the List: As I am doing this Top 10 list I am trying to expand the comics I read. I have some familiarity with Magnetic Press as I have enjoyed series like Jazz Maynard and Infinity 8. What caught my eye with this issue first was the cartooning of Ana Miralles. This is a book of just animals and drawing things like bears and dogs is not easy, especially when you need them to emote like humans. She nailed it as the characters maintained a realistic demeanor yet each had a distinct personality. Doing things by having an older bear with a large number of missing teeth helped establish just that. Storywise it reminded me of a Don Bluth film in how you have these animals going on a journey for survival. One downside is this clearly was not designed to be released in an issue format. So the pacing is not quite there. However, similar to Sengi and Tembo #1 earlier in the year it does a lot to set the stage for what is to come. So when the complete work is released in a few weeks you will be enticed to continue this story.
9. Runaways #33
Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Artist: Andres Genolet
Description: The Runaways are back! Not even a global pandemic, a seemingly endless contentious election and a possible Tik Tok shutdown can stop Gert, Chase, Victor, Molly, Nico, Karolina and Gib. And a new challenge beckons as they explore one of the most terrifying Marvel Universe locations ever– HIGH SCHOOL! It goes better for some than others. For those who don’t think High School is an authentic Marvel Universe location, you may be interested that the X-MEN come calling for the Runaways’ own Molly Hayes.
Why it Made the List: Runaways has to be the most under talked about series currently being published by the big two. Maybe that is a good thing because it has led this to hitting issue thirty-three without needing to get a new number one. This issue began a new era for this series as the Runaways did the very thing every teenager hates-attend high school. Quickly the new dynamics are being established. Rainbow Rowell knows how to write realistic teenagers so they sound of the time without the dialog being heavy-handed. This lead to an issue full of solid human and moments of legitimate drama. If you are a person who enjoyed the original run this current saga is hitting those highs once again.
8. The Cimmerian: The Frost-Giant’s Daughter #3
Writer/Artist: Robin Recht
Description: Robert E. Howard’s Conan is brought to life UNCENSORED! Discover the true Conan, unrestrained, violent, and sexual. Read the story as he intended! After pursuing Atali, who has been mercilessly taunting him for two straight days, Conan finally catches up with the lithe, fiery-haired goddess. When he does, he finds her brothers as well, lying in wait, ready to pounce and take the barbarian’s life in sacrifice to their father Ymir. An epic battle ensues…one in which the Cimmerian’s might and force of will is put to the ultimate test!
Why it Made the List: This series and Taarna from Heavy Metal are aggressively scratching that need for epic adventure itch. Robin Recht is doing some impressive work with this series. His art is spacious and larger than life. The type of work you would expect to see on the cover of Robert E. Howard’s infamous novels that started the Conan tradition. If you saw the Best Panels of the Week article you saw some examples of some major moments. So if you are a Conan fan and the current Marvel work is not doing it for you this may be more up your alley. This is doing things you would never see in a mainstream Marvel title.
7. Fear Case #1
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Tyler Jenkins
Publisher: Dark Horse
Description: A no-nonsense Secret Service agent and his new-age partner investigate a mysterious box known as the “Fear Case,” which has appeared throughout history at sites of disaster and tragedy. Whoever comes into possession of this case must pass it on within three days or face deadly consequences. The agents must track down this Fear Case while staying one step ahead of a psychotic cult and the otherwordly forces behind the Case’s existence.
Why it Made the List: Two months into the year and Matt Kindt already has two new series with major promise. With Fear Case he is teaming up once again with Tyler Jenkins who did Grass Kings and Black Badge with Kindt previously. Jenkins’s style fits the tone of this story quite well. The looser lines correlate with the uneasy search for this infamous Fear Case. Ultimately this would be like treating Wallace’s briefcase from Pulp Fiction as if it had the power of the video from The Ring. What this appears to be tackling as the main theme is the idea of obsession. Past agents have become so consumed with this case it drove them crazy. My one hope is we will see the main F.B.I. agents develop more as characters. With much of the first issue dedicated to the general concept, we did not see who they were beyond that. Perhaps their obsessions have gotten to the point where there is nothing else.
6. The Wrong Earth: Night & Day #2
Writer: Tom Peyer
Artist: Juan Castro
Publisher: Ahoy Comics
Description: As environmental crises bring gritty Dragonfly and campy Dragonflyman face-to-face on a third Wrong Earth, a twist of fate makes them inseparable, a situation neither crimefighter wants! Extra: Illustrated prose fiction and features.
Why it Made the List: With this issue, we finally get the meeting between Dragonfly and Dragonflyman. I appreciated how they gave this meeting time to breathe. Allow for some general conversation and interaction before we get to the main conflict. These two are becoming the ultimate odd couple with more of a competitive streak. How even a simple climb can become an opportunity of one-upmanship between them. It reminds me of the way comic book fans try to act superior even if everyone is fundamentally coming from the same place. Even if you are a long time fan or someone who just read their first book. The Wrong Earth has taken a great concept and evolved it slowly but surely to make it one of the most consistent ongoing titles today.
5. Future State: Wonder Woman #2
Writer/Artist: Joëlle Jones
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: DC Comics
Description: Emerging from the Amazon rain forest, the new Wonder Woman must battle her way through hell! Witness Yara Flor at the height of her power as she takes on the king of the underworld, Hades himself! Betrayed by a close ally, Yara’s back is against the wall as she is forced to battle legions of demons for survival and to liberate her Themysciran sister. You won’t want to miss the exciting conclusion of this of rising superstar hero’s first adventure!
Why it Made the List: What stood out about this issue was how well the tone was managed throughout. Yara Flor has a bit of a whimsical flair to her so you had an issue with plenty of humor. When Yara pulled out the hidden thumb trick I had to laugh. Then as the story progressed the serious nature of what was really happening began to emerge. We got her ‘Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility’ moment that will define what drives her. Without spoiling it there is a bit of a twist on that trope as Yara’s guilt is not necessarily based on her failure. Even when you do the right thing success is not guaranteed. When you are given a second chance what do you do with it? That is something we will probably see the answer to once the ongoing starts soon.
4. The Comic Book History of Animation #3
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Ryan Dunlavey
Description: The team behind IDW’S Comic Book History of Comics returns with a brand-new series!
After World War II, “CARTOON COOL” brings a new hipness to toonmakers-but new dangers too! The legendary UPA defies Disney-esque cuteness to redefine the medium… but can they survive the House Un-American Activities Committee? Uncle Walt wades into controversy with The Song of the South. While over at Warner Brothers, Looney Tunes master Chuck Jones revolutionizes the short subject with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck!
Why it Made the List: As a person who enjoys comics, history, film, and animation I feel like this story was made for me. These issues are so filled with fascinating details I could see myself going back to this time and time again. If you consider yourself a major Walt Disney fan it is worth seeing in order to understand how he both help progress animation but also acted as a pariah for the entire industry. This is not just about Disney though and covers the gamut of the artform. Including how major events like WWII shifted the industry forever. Variety and diversity is the best thing about comics, yet it is rare we ever get a monthly title like this. A monthly non-fiction title is not something I cannot remember seeing in nearly forever. When it is this good I wonder why more people do not support storytelling like this. Docu comics are a treasure.
3. Future State: Swamp Thing #2
Writer: Ram V.
Artist: Mike Perkins
Publisher: DC Comics
Description: Humanity strikes back! The shadow of Swamp Thing Supreme stretches across the globe as it has for centuries. The world is at peace, until a rebellious faction of humanity ignites their terrible plan, fueled by Woodrue Wilson’s appetite for power. But Swamp Thing, too, harbors a secret—one he must reveal in order to restore peace to the planet once again. But it will cost him everything he has.
Why it Made the List: Easily the best issue Future State has put out thus far. Not surprising considering the talent behind this title and the character involved. Without spoiling anything this again speaks to the need for imperfections. How failures can drive evolution and without them growth is impossible. This was not a Swamp Thing run about man vs nature or nature vs man. No this was a story about the fundamental struggle of acceptance. Excited this run is just beginning with the ongoing title set to kick off next month.
2. Canto II: The Hollow Men #5
Writer: David M. Booher
Artist: Drew Zucker
Description: Canto’s epic second adventure concludes! Canto has entered the Valley of the Lionhearted and learned he can only lift the Shrouded Man’s curse by sacrificing his own clock. In doing so, he could gain the power to finally defeat the Shrouded Man and free everyone in the Unnamed World. Will Canto give up his own time to become the hero his people believe him to be?
Why it Made the List: What a heartwarming issue. David M. Booher and Drew Zucker have brought us into the world of Canto and all these characters. This reminded me a great deal of the ending of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. After being with these characters for so long seeing them get the joy they have earned was pure catharsis. Seeing Canto get a reward he has so purely earned. He is a warrior inside and out, and with Canto the inside is extremely important. Unlike Return of the King, this does not appear to be the end which I am all for.
1. Hellblazer: Rise and Fall #3
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Darick Robertson
Publisher: DC Comics
Description: In this final issue…it’s absolute rapture.
Why it Made the List: After I read this issue I knew right away this was going to be my top pick of the week. Others came close but this had simply everything. It halso helps I am rereading a lot of 90’s Vertigo stuff right now and this fits in perfectly. What stood out about this issue? Time. They took the time for character moments that can typically be so rushed. Conversations that were not tied to plot progression. Just letting people be people or demons in some cases. From how the conflict was resolved to John Constatine dealing with some family issues I was simply amazed with how much Tom Taylor and Darick Robertson were able to accomplish with this issue. Great storytelling and character work on each page, and Darick Robertson was drawing like he was in his prime yet again. If you are a person who enjoys this character or misses what it felt like to read classic Vertigo this is a must-read.
Honorable mentions: Venom #33, Star Wars: The High Republic #2, Strange Academy #8, Future State: Harley Quinn #2, The Dreaming: Waking Hours #7, Sea of Sorrows #3, Transformers: Beast Wars #1, Maniac of New York #1, Resonant #7, Fire Power #8, Specter Inspectors #1