Comics

Top 10 Comics of the Week

For the Week of 10/21/2020

Welcome to the Top 10 Comics of the Week where I countdown my choices for the best comics to come out. As this list shows all formats are included in this countdown including digital-first comics. This was a week dominated by the little guys–at least publishing wise. Not that Marvel or DC were completely shut out. 

Make sure to check out my other coverage of this week’s comics:

Best Comic Covers

Best Comic Panels 

 

King Tank Girl #1 

Writer: Alan Martin

Artist: Brett Parson

Publisher: ALBATROSS FUNNYBOOKS

Description: Tank Girl co-creator, Alan Martin, returns with brilliant artist Brett Parson to bring the all new adventures of the classic character to Albatross Funnybooks! Turning the clock back to the early years, ‘King Tank Girl offers up a veritable banquet of brand new stories: Tank Girl and the gang head to the beach for ‘Barney Don’t Surf’; they explore the expensive world of Wellbeing; and Tank Girl is crowned King of England. And all that before tea time!

Why it Made the List: Prior to reading this comic my only exposure to Tank Girl was catching glimpses of the movie on Comedy Central in the late 90s. Seeing Albatross was launching a new series and knowing how much I having been enjoying The Goon I gave it a shot. Similar to the recent relaunch of The Goon this proved to be a great starting point without throwing out everything that came before. Not all the fine details are explained yet you get enough to enjoy the anarchy that is on display. This was pure comic book fun with standout art from Brett Parson. I have never had the experience with his work before but his cartooning is strong with great emotion and life. One of the counter benefits is now I can go back and enjoy previous Tank Girl books I missed before issue #2 comes out. 


Shadow Service #3 

Writer: Cavan Scott

Artist: Corin Howell

Publisher: Vault Comics 

Description: The net tightens as Gina realizes her closest ally works for the demonic forces that threaten her way of life. The time for running has passed, but can she trust her new teammates? And what will she risk to save the life of an innocent man?

Why it Made the List: After the first issue of this series my assumption was this would be a classic Private Investigation story with a more supernatural twist. Now three issues in I realize this is more of a spy story within a magical world. That transformation has happened quite organically. One key point that has made this series so strong is how well it is built its word and rules. Magic can be a confounded thing to deal with for a story. Not only what your rules are but how they are clearly communicated will make or break a story. Now with this world expanding the world-building has remained intact and so has the character work. Never has the exposition felt like worth to get through. 


8. Dead Day #4

Writer: Ryan Parrott

Artist: Evgeny Bornyakov

Publisher: Aftershock 

Description: When Jeremy’s quest for revenge goes bad, Melissa is forced to do the last thing she ever wanted-bring Jeremy home. What will her new family think of the life she once led, and…who else will follow in her wake?

Why it Made the List: You know a concept has something when it can take something as tired as the zombie genre and breathe new life into it. (Sorry bad pun) When death can no longer hide your past sins what type of drama can unfold? We are seeing that type of drama can be enthralling. There is a major revelation in this issue that has promise to further complicate matters for the positive moving forward. My hope is this book is successful enough they can keep returning to this concept over and over. It is not hyperbolic to say the possibilities are endless. I do like how we get some throwaway moments to demonstrate that including a zombie rocking out to adoring fans. 


7. Stillwater #2

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Artist: Mike Spicer

Publisher: Image Comics 

Description: Daniel West has returned to Stillwater, but his homecoming is anything but happy! What secret is the town hiding from the outside world? And can Daniel save his mother from meeting her fate within The Park? Find out in Skybound’s newest horror sensation!

Why it Made the List: The first issue in this series primarily focused on the character so in this second issue came a lot of world-building. World-building is a necessary evil at times and can also lead to a more compelling story when well executed. When death is removed as an issue from your entire town naturally the framework of how they communicate is quite different. Being able to shoot someone in the head without repercussions is a very different way to live life. There is a lot of intriguing mystery being built in even outside the made conflict with the main antagonist Daniel West. As things progress his story could be less and less the focal point as we learn more about who these townspeople really are. Simlar with Dead Days there are a lot of intriguing possibilities here. 


6. Skulldigger + Skeleton Boy #5

Writer: Jeff Lemire 

Artist: Tonci Zonjic

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Description: In custody of Detective Reyes after a vigilante outing gone wrong, Skeleton Boy is caught between his desire for revenge and the idea that he may be in over his head. Meanwhile, Skulldigger and Grimjim’s feud threatens to take out innocent bystanders.

Why it Made the List: Trauma and superheroes go hand in hand. Nearly every major superhero origin begins with some major tragic evident from a world imploding to the death of a close relative. The Black Hammer universe since its inception has been a deconstruction of the superhero genre. Taking what Watchmen popularized and executing it in a much less nihilistic style. That has carried over to this series as that trauma our heroes are born in is shown to be much more complex than often portrayed. Perhaps taking a kid who cannot even go into PG-13 movie yet and making him your rogue to fight crime is not the healthiest choice. That examination is still done within the trappings of a thrilling crime story to bring everything full circle. Artist Tonci Zonjic is putting on a clinic. From the shifting art styles to the pristine cartooning this is one of the best-looking books ever made in the Black Hammer universe. 


5. DCeased: Hope at World’s End Chapter #12

Writer: Tom Taylor

Artist: Marco Failla

Publisher: DC Comics

Description: It’s all out war as the heroes fight to save the thousands of refugees…but what fresh victims will the mighty Anti-Life Army take or turn?! Will this be the final stand of the junior Trinity?!

Why it Made the List: One of the phrases I cannot stand is when people ask that passively aggressive question, “Do we need this?” in regards to any entertainment property. Truth is if you are talking about actual need the answer is always no. That question was asked when DCeased was announced because we did not need another superhero zombie book. Then it came out and was one of DCs best books. Now, do we need a sequel series that also operates as a prequel to the current ongoing? My answer would be yes if they continue to be this good. All this is doing is filling in blanks to what is currently happening and despite the inevitability of some of these deaths they still hit hard. Sometimes you need a series like this to showcase just how heroic these characters can be in their last moments. 


4. Gideon Falls #26

Writer: Jeff Lemire 

Artist: Andrea Sorrentino

Publisher: Image Comics 

Description: “WICKED WORLDS,” Part Five ARC FINALE! As the Gideon Falls multiverse is beset by even greater peril, Molly and Fred meet a familiar face with a malevolent new expression.

Why it Made the List: And then there was one. Gideon Falls is set to end next issue and thinking of all the story left to tell I would be worried they could get it done. Knowing the last issue will be an 80-page epic that concern is limited. Plus there may not be an artist that can pack more story on one page than Andrea Sorrentino. I was a bit surprised how subdued Sorrentino’s style was for the majority of this issue. The mind-bending page layouts did not come until the final few pages. Before that chaos erupting as all these different dimensions began to implode into one another. Not often you will see Western, Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy rendered so well within one page. As sad as I am to see this book end this is the right time. This series has reached its apex and seeing it all come together is going to be something else. 


3. Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #1

Writer: Paul Cornell, Dean Motter

Artist: Dean Motter, Russell Braun

Publisher: Ahoy Comics 

Description: The SNIFTER OF TERROR returns with an all-star snark-fest under a bloody new title! Paul Cornell (Doctor Who) and Russell Braun (The Boys) reimagine Poe’s “Black Cat”––as a dog! In “Atlas Shrugged” (no relation), Mr. X creator Dean Motter settles science vs. religion once and for all! Plus: prose, pix, and a cover by Scary Godmother’s Jill Thompson!

Why it Made the List: I see a lot of people talk up smaller indie publishers like Vault and AWA Studios, and while those publishers deserve their recognition one that gets unfairly left out is Ahoy Comics. That is a shame because there is not a publisher that puts more into making single issues worth your purchase than Ahoy. So much content is packed in from short stories to recipes to even crossword puzzles. For those who long for the classic magazine format, you will find much of that with their books. Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #1 is a collection of short stories both in comic book and written format centered on a horror theme. Some are more humorous like “Black Cat” where “Atlas Shrugged” is more of an old-school horror mystery. “Black Cat” was reminiscent of a good Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror episode.  Where you take a classic horror concept and slight twist it to make it plainly hilarious. As we are in Halloween season this makes an ideal read that you can give to anyone who enjoys all the different flavors of horror. 


2. Daredevil #23

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Artist: Marco Checchetto

Publisher: Marvel Comics 

Description: Matt Murdock, A.K.A. DAREDEVIL, has been putting his life back together after the monumental first year of Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto’s run—but the criminals of Hell’s Kitchen aren’t inclined to give him any more time to heal. Criminals aren’t all Matt will have to contend with on the road ahead, as the likes of TYPHOID MARY and BULLSEYE have made their presence known once more. To say nothing of ELEKTRA, and her designs for The Kitchen, the city and the world…

Why it Made the List: Nearly every issue of this current run of Daredevil has been solid, however when Marco Checchetto is on art duties this book is on another level. This issue was a series of fantastic scenes with loosely connecting tissue. Daredevil was out to make things right which including visiting old friends like Elektra and old enemies like Kingpin. Really though the standout moment was a conversation between Daredevil and Spider-Man working through things between them and themselves. We have seen so much of heroes fighting heroes lately that you can forget characters like Spider-Man and Daredevil share a unique bond. When you can tap into that in the right way the results are special. 


Friday - Issue 21. Friday #2

Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Marcos Martin

Publisher: Panel Syndicate 

Description: Friday Fitzhugh spent her childhood solving crimes and digging up occult secrets with her best friend Lancelot Jones, the smartest boy in the world. But that was the past, now she’s in college, starting a new life on her own. Except when Friday comes home for the holidays, she’s immediately pulled back into Lance’s orbit and finds that something very strange and dangerous is happening in their little New England town… This is literally the Christmas vacation from Hell and neither of them may survive to see the New Year.

Why it Made the List: The book that ended up being my choice for the pick of the week is one I almost did not read. It has been quite a while since the first issue so it was by chance I noticed issue two had come out. Thankfully I did because this was top-notch storytelling. This is how you build character. How this depicts that awkward nature of two people who try to take a friendship and evolve it into a romance was uncomfortable and true to life. Doing a grownup version of an Encyclopedia Brown may come off like a gimmick, but this is doing something similar to what the Afterlife with Archie series did its universe. One of the best pages I have seen all year came when Marcos Martin designed a breakdown of all their past adventures with one another. You had this table of books that demonstrated the bond between these two main characters. Martin thrives with the freedom the digital format gives you as an artist. Ed Brubaker and Marcos Martin are not two creators I would think could click as well as they are for this series. For them to put this up on Panel Syndicate and allow you to pay what you want is a move the comic world should be thankful for. 

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