The question most often asked of the ComicsAlliance staff is a variation of, “Which comic books should I be reading?” or, “I’m new to comics, what’s a good place to start?” The Wednesday deluge of new comic books, graphic novels and collected editions can be daunting even for the longtime reader, much less for those totally unfamiliar with creators, characters and publishers, and the dark mysteries of comic book shopping like variants, pre-ordering, and formats.

It’s with these challenges in mind that we’ve created Best Comic Books Ever (This Week), an ongoing guide curated by the ComicsAlliance staff. This is where new comics readers and seasoned Wednesday shoppers alike can find our picks of the best books the medium has to offer.



    Single issues are periodicals, usually around 20 pages in length and priced from $2.99 to $4.99, and published in print and digitally. Single issues are typically published monthly, but some titles ship twice a month or even weekly. Single issues are the preferred format for many longtime comic book readers, and ideal if you enjoy serialized stories with cliffhangers.


    Trades: Colloquial term for paperback or hardcover compilations of comic book stories originally published as single issues. The preferred format for readers who enjoy comic book narratives in substantial chunks.

    Graphic Novels: Typically any comic book that is a complete story in a more-or-less novel-length format. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with trades.

  • DRIVE #1

    Writer: Michael Benedetto
    Artist: Antonio Fuso
    Publisher: IDW

    There are lots of reasons to read Drive #1 this week. If you like cars and neo-noir, this is your comic of choice. It's an adaptation of James Sallis' novel, set in Los Angeles and featuring a man who is a stunt driver by day and getaway driver by night. The art hits the right tone -bright colors juxtaposed with darker themes — and not to mention some car stunts and an oh-so-competent protagonist. Also, if you liked the Nicolas Winding Refn film — which is what interested me in the comic — you should check it out. It's one of my favorite movies and it's cool to see a fresh adaptation from a known source. The spirit of it is still the same, but it's different enough that you can enjoy it without feeling like you know everything. Lastly, you should read Drive #1 if you like 'cool'. Because really, that's what the character, the aesthetic, the themes are selling you. It is all about cool. So, be cool and read Drive #1 today. Cool? Cool. [J.A. Micheline]


    Writer/Artist: Mike Mignola
    Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

    Those of you who have been following Hellboy's adventures after death have been waiting over a year for the second arc of Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart's latest epic, but me? I played it smart and waited until just a few weeks ago to catch up on the entire story — and the wait has still been killing me. They did, after all, cap off the first arc of Hellboy's posthumous adventures with an assassination that left the throne of Hell empty, and a moody, isolated darkness that was not at all what I was expecting given the book's usual emphasis on action. Even that, though, just underlined how genuinely creepy this new chapter is. But then, of course it is. It's Mike Mignola writing and drawing Hellboy — the only way it'd be news is if it wasn't amazing. [Chris Sims]


    Writer/Artist: Bob Eggleton
    Publisher: IDW

    Of the two comics this week with the words "In Hell" in the title, this is by far the one that is most likely to have massive explosions. IDW has used the opportunity of sending the King of All Monsters through the nine rings of Hell to provide us with something of an artist spotlight in each issue, and that first issue, where James Stokoe took Godzilla on a silent journey through the circle of Lust — bizarrely represented by a very stompable nuclear plant and another Godzillasaurus that turned into a monster of teeth and tentacles — made for a pretty hard act to follow. This month, fantasy artist Bob Eggleton is taking that challenge, and even though I'm completely unfamiliar with his work, the standard set by the first issue is definitely bringing me back for more. [CS]

  • PREZ #3

    Writer: Mark Russell
    Artist: Ben Caldwell
    Publisher: DC Comics

    You have to work pretty hard at political satire to make it actually recognizable as such, in a time where a reality TV show star is currently the frontrunner for a major US political party. Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell thread the needle delicately, setting Prez in a future world that is just skewed enough that it's recognizable from 2015 without actually being 2015. The mix of simple figures and gentle colors eschew both hard realism and sleazy grime, creating a world that never embraces the nihilism that so much political satire stumbles into. Combined with a plot that is at turns pitch-black satire and inspiring call to action, Prez is skewering the worst of modern politics while never forgetting why the whole process really is that important. [Charlotte Finn]


    Writer: Dennis Hopeless
    Artists: Natacha Bustos, Veronica Gandini
    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    Okay so yes, this is set during Secret Wars, and obviously none of us want to read crossover tie-ins anymore. But Spider-Woman is a little different, in that the lead character (and by extension, series) is actively running away from as much of the crossover as possible. We're mid-roadtrip by the point we hit issue #10 of the series, with artist Natacha Bustos coming on like a hurricane and effortlessly stirring things up for Jessica Drew and company. The creative team have obviously checked the concept of Secret Wars, nodded their head at "basically you can do whatever you want," and subsequently decided that what they really need to do is make Spider-Woman into a cowboy, have her run through the Wild West, and fight a lot of weird stuff. In this issue, for example: Hulk Cows. There's a bit of Preacher about Spider-Woman at the moment, curiously enough, and if the sight of her in a cowboy hat — heck, if the sight of DILFy Ben Urich wielding a shotgun — doesn't interest you, then I'm not so sure you even really love comics, to be frank about it. [Steve Morris]


    Writer: Lee Bermejo
    Artists: Khary Randolph
    Publisher: DC Comics

    We Are Robin is one of those books that you feel is listening to what is happening on this earth, in this space, right now, today. It's about youth culture, it's about youth anger, it's about fighting back — all of which means a great deal, as more and more young people become politically minded and politically active. For me, it means something to see a young black male protagonist say, explicitly, that he doesn't trust police. It also means something to see young people acting together and forming support when they find none elsewhere. We Are Robin is a story not about Robin-as-sidekick, but Robin-as-symbol, a role normally only given to Batman. It's pushing boundaries and exploring new territory, and it deserves to be in your hands this week. [JAM]


    Writer: Dave Roman
    Artist: John Green
    Publisher: Clarion Books

    Readers of a certain age may remember a particularly crazy 1984 Saturday morning cartoon series called Turbo Teen, about a teenager who could turn into a car. If you've never heard of Turbo Teen, then I imagine Roman and Green's Teen Boat, about a teen who can turn into a boat, is even funnier, lacking even that tiny shred of context. Originally sold with the perfectly accurate tagline, "The angst of being a teen! The thrill of being a boat!", it was a crazy comedy comic about the difficulty of fitting in at high school when you're a little different. Or, in T.B.'s case, a lot different. In this second adventure, our hero journeys in search of a mysterious city of legend, where boats are at the top of the social pecking order. This volume will also include a blurb from another John Green, the very popular writer of the very popular The Fault In Our Stars, and I look forward to fans of that John Green finding their way to this book. [CM]


    Writer: Christopher Priest
    Artist: MD Bright
    Publisher: Valiant Comics

    Priest Season gloriously sallies on. A week or so ago Marvel put out the first collection of his writing on Black Panther, and now Valiant follows up, bringing not only The Return of Quantum & Woody to trade, but also a new collection of his original run with the characters, alongside artist MD Bright. Now here are some real superhero comics, you guys. The concept is simple enough: best friends and worst nightmares Quantum and Woody are given superpowers by mistake, and every 24 hours they have to bash together their wristbands or they'll dissipate. However, it's in the storytelling and characterization that this series made a huge mark on superhero comics, as Priest raced straight into big issues and real relationship problems with a verve and humor that marked him out as one of the finest writers around. Quantum & Woody is shatteringly funny, a comic that can talk frankly and surprisingly bluntly about race before whipping back round to deliver an expert one-liner that caps the argument. Bright and Priest are both on sterling form, especially here at the start of their run, and if you like stuff like Superior Foes of Spider-Man, this is for you. [SM]


    Writer: Grant Morrison
    Artist: Steve Yeowell
    Publisher: Rebellion

    Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns are justifiably considered the quintessential '80s superhero comics, but neither of them really captures the spirit of the decade like Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell's Zenith. Where Moore, Gibbons, and Miller focused on the greed, societal degradation, and nuclear anxieties of the 1980s, Morrison and Yeowell channeled the glamor and excess of the decade that made most people forget about that other stuff. Like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby doing their version of a Patrick Nagel painting crossed with a Robert Palmer video, Zenith is an epic exploration of superficiality, celebrity, the generation gap, the superhero genre, and entitlement, made available again last year despite Morrison's contention that Rebellion doesn't actually own the rights. Yeowell seems to disagree, as this "Apex Edition" includes full-sized reproductions of the original art and a bookplate signed by the artist, all available for the very un-80s price of $125. If you have that kind of money to spend on one hardcover, you'll probably look at Zenith and think, "I get this guy," so why don't you just go ahead and buy it already, Richie Rich? Try not to choke on it, fat-cat. [John Parker]


    Writer/Artist: Ted Rall
    Publisher: Seven Stories Press

    Conroversial cartoonist Ted Rall, who is currently embroiled in a very public conflict with the LA Times after the paper fired him from a freelance gig over what they saw as discrepancies between a story he told and reality, has created a graphic novel biography of the even more controversial Edward Snowden, the former government conractor and CIA employee who leaked infomation about the United States government's surveillance programs. Snowden's revelations have made him either a whistleblower patriot hero, or a spy, traitor and villain, depending on your point-of-view. The reality is likely somewhere in-between, or a mixture of all the above. Regardless of one's personal opinions of Snowden's actions, the public-at-large likely still wouldn't know the degree to which the government was spying on them if it weren't for him. It's hard to think of a better pairing of cartoonist and subject than Rall and Snowden, and while the politics of the former will likely predict the portrayal of the latter, that doesn't change the fact that Rall is an almost uniquely relentless voice, with a style like no one else, and Snowden's story is one of the more compelling and important of the 21st century (so far). Which is a long way of saying that there's no way this book won't be, at the very least, an interesting one. [Caleb Mozzocco]