Contact Us

Best Comic Books Ever (This Week): New Releases For January 6 2016

BestComics_0106

 

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.


BUYING GUIDE

 

 

NEW SINGLE ISSUES

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 & GRAPHIC NOVELS

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.

 

STK674615

BITCH PLANET #6

 

 

Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Taki Soma
Publisher: Image Comics

Bitch Planet is a hard comic to read sometimes, and the ending of the previous issue — which featured a tragic injury that is the culmination of every unfair rule birthed from the society that sent all the cast to prison — is as tough as it gets. But Bitch Planet is not just a good book, but an important book, a smart repackaging of the trashy women’s prison movie, only in comics form and with a feminist eye. It’s uncomfortable because it’s the flaws of our own world blown up to the size of a holographic giant chastising us for our sins, and it’s good because despite knowing it’ll break my heart again, I still want to keep reading it. [Charlotte Finn]

 

STK693872

DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS #8

 

 

Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artists: Laura Braga and Maria Sanopo
Publisher: DC Comics

Bombshells made a pretty fantastic first impression when it hit (digital) shelves last year, and for good reason. It had, bar none, one of the strongest opening scenes that I’d read in a while, beautifully illustrated by Marguerite Sauvage and written with a fast-paced, slam-bang kind of fun that took the seemingly strange premise of a comic based on a line of statues based on pinup-style drawings of DC heroines and made it feel fresh and clever in a way that’s somehow slipped under a lot of radars in the months since. See, the thing is, it stayed that way, and while the ongoing story of the Tenebrae is an engaging take on wartime in a world of superheroes, the best thing about it is how Bennett and the rotating cast of truly incredible artists have brought all those designs together and tweaked them to tell a story that has a great amount of heart to it. Recasting Supergirl and Stargirl as Soviet defectors, for example, was pretty brilliant. If it’s been a while since you’ve checked it out, this issue marks a great place to jump back on. Things are ramping up, the seas are giving up their dead, and it’s looking like we might be getting to the first all-out fight with the entire cast in play. [Chris Sims]

 

STK694261

FOUR EYES: HEARTS OF FIRE #1

 

 

Writer: Joe Kelly
Artist: Max Fiumara
Publisher: Image

The first Four Eyes series by Joe Kelly and Max Fiumara had far fewer readers than it deserved, a situation that was probably exacerbated by a two year wait to complete a four issue run. Still, it’s a unique and enjoyable comic book that was ultimately worth the wait, collected as the very recommended Four Eyes Volume 1: Forged In Flame. The premise is so simple and clever that you probably don’t even need to read the first volume to start Hearts Of Fire. It’s Depression-era New York and dragons are not only real, but mob-controlled underground dragon fights are the most popular distraction. When young Enrico’s father is killed by a dragon, Enrico assumes the family business of egg-hunting to seek his revenge, but ends up with a dragon of his very own, the deformed Four Eyes. In Hearts Of Fire, Enrico and Four Eyes take the next steps on what’s planned to be an epic journey, and if this volume is as original and visually striking as its predecessor, it will have been worth the wait as well. [John Parker]

 

STK694184

OBI-WAN AND ANAKIN #1

 

 

Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Publisher: Marvel

Although Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars wiped out a lot of canon, most of the stories concerning Obi-Wan Kenobi and pre-Vader Anakin Skywalker are still extant in the form of three not-so-great movies and some cartoons that had their moments. But the slate-clearing still leaves plenty of empty space in the years between Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones, when Anakin was neither an annoying and unconvincing child nor a mopey and unconvincing adult. Picking up in that era, this new five-issue series from Marco Checchetto and Charles Soule will hopefully bring more nuance to the relationship between Kenobi and Skywalker, the most important Master/Apprentice relationship in all of Star Wars with the least amount of good stories actually exploring it. Some of Soule’s work drives me nuts, but he brings a good mix of mindless action and sophisticated drama to everything, and if Checchetto brings the same passion he did on Shattered Empire, Obi-Wan & Anakin will deserve your dime. (Note: that’s just an expression; comics cost way more than a dime.) [JP]

 

STK689697

DOCTOR WHO: THE TWELFTH DOCTOR YEAR TWO #1

 

 

Writer: Robbie Morrison
Artists: Rachael Stott, Ivan Nunes, Comicraft
Publisher: Titan Comics

Want to put some more numbers in that title, Titan? All the Doctor Who titles have concluded their first “year” of storytelling, and so each have in turn launched a fresh ongoing storyline for new fans and existing readers to jump on for. With the arrival of a second season for Peter Capaldi’s Doctor come two bright companions: Clara Oswald, whose appearance here is now the only place fans can get to see more of the character; and Rachael Stott, perhaps the World’s biggest Doctor Who fan and the newly ongoing artist for the series. Writer Robbie Morrison is going to be able to get a much tighter grip on the Twelfth Doctor for this go-round, given how the most recent series gave the character so much more character than his weak first year on TV — so this seems like a brilliant place to jump on for more adventures with Doc and Oswald. The only thing it’s missing is a back-up strip from Colin Bell and Neil Slorance! Those are coming back soon, right, Titan? [Steve Morris]

 

STK693471

LONE WOLF AND CUB 2000 #1

 

 

Writer: Eric Heisserer
Artist: Miguel Sepulveda
Publisher: Dark Horse

I am a person who will watch Shogun Assassin 2: Lightning Swords of Death at any and every opportunity, but I’ll admit that in comics, Lone Wolf and Cub is one of my biggest blind spots. I know the basics and I wanted to read it, but for the longest time, it was only available in smaller-than-manga-sized paperbacks that were just a little too small to be fun to read. With all that said, though, I don’t think it’ll surprise anyone to find out that I’m always willing to check out a series that takes a story about a samurai and reimagines it in a future full of robot assassins, and that’s exactly what we have here. The solicitation text for the series reads like the original Lone Wolf and Cub meets Terminator 2 meets The Last of Us: A girl whose blood might cure a plague has to avoid killer robots while being protected by an android samurai in a future dystopia. Unsurprisingly, that is 100% what I am into reading. Here’s hoping it’s as good as its influences promise! [CS]

 

X-O MANOWAR #43

 

 

Writer: Robert Venditti
Artists: Robert Gill, Ulises Arreola
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Has it really been forty-three months since Valiant returned? I feel old. Here’s a new jumping-on point for the company’s flagship series, which has a lot going on, especially as writer Robert Venditti really started turning the screws after a year in the control-seat. He’s joined here by Robert Gull and Ulises Arreola, as the series turns into a shapeshifting thriller set back on Earth. X-O Manowar is now living in the US, where he’s trying to track down disguised members of ‘The Vine’, his ongoing and eternal enemy — but with that being quite a difficult task, he’s turning to Ninjak for help. Yes! Ninjak is back! So it’s alien a-hole X-O Manowar and suave spy Ninjak taking on a huge conspiracy set up by humanoid aliens, with issue #50 (a huge achievement for Valiant as a whole, right?) looming up mightily in the distance. This should be top fun. [SM]

 

STK694064

SWAMP THING #1

 

 

Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Kelley Jones
Publisher: DC Comics

DC has been publishing a handful of direct spin-offs of its Convergence event: Telos, Superman: Lois and Clark and Titans Hunt. This, however, is something of a stealth spin-off, as it reunites the creative team of one of the many tie-in mini-series, Convergence: Swamp Thing, and gives them six more issues with every comic fan’s favorite muck-encrusted mockery of a man. Writer Len Wein and aritst Kelley Jones are, as they proved with their Convergence comic, a perfect Swamp Thing team. Wein is the writer who created the character, and therefore maybe the only guy who can write a Swamp Thing comic without having his scripts completely eclipsed by shadow of Alan Moore’s seminal run, and Jones was heavily influenced by Swampy’s other creator, artist Bernie Wrightson, on a foundational level, so that his version of the character and his swampy environs now scans like an extrapolation of the original. Their first issue is pretty back to basics. Swampy, looking like a moss-covered ape with a beard of slime, is just thinking purple prose thoughts in the swamp when a series of visitors (including the Phantom Stranger) send him to a nearby university to stop a vengeful reanimated corpse. Lots of insane artwork follows, with the craziest bit probably being the way Swampy first appears to his undead foe, addressing him while still in the process of growing his own mouth from a big, scary sprout that pops out of the ground. [Caleb Mozzocco]

 

STK694188

SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #1

 

 

Writer: Joe Kelly
Artist: Ed McGuinness
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment

There are names in comics that you mention next to each other — Siegel and Shuster, Lee and Kirby, Wolfman and Perez, Claremont and Byrne — because their collaboration essentially changed the game in comics. I feel that Kelly & McGuinness deserve to be on that list, because while Rob Liefeld created Deadpool, it was the 1990s Deadpool comic that made the Merc With A Mouth that he is today. Kelly’s mastery of wordplay combined brilliantly with McGuinness’ expressive art, creating a comic that was, by turns, very funny and deeply tragic, I always felt the team should get a chance to do Spider-Man someday, and lo and behold: here they are. The cross-promotion with the upcoming movie is a little blatant — this is Marvel in 2016, after all — but it’s a Deadpool creative team reunion and the Kelly/McG Spider-Man comic I always wanted, and you can’t beat that. [CF]

 

STK687205

AGE OF REPTILES: ANCIENT EGYPTIANS

 

 

Writer/Artist: Ricardo Delgado
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

We all love dinosaurs, and the solicitation for Ricardo Delgado’s much-awaited return to the creatures includes the words “the lonely antihero Spinosaurus aegyptiacus”. This is a comic with a dinosaur antihero! And you thought you loved dinosaurs before? Wordless as always, this first issue of a new miniseries from Delgado continues to show off the work of one of comics’ finest draftsmen. The creatures look real and battered, their body language sharpened by the palpable sense of danger that pervades each page. You sense that survival is all that matters, and Delgago’s greatest strength is his ability to quickly make you feel with these creatures as they swim, run, hide, hunt and do all they can to survive in the toughest environment earth ever threw at anyone. It looks stunning; colors, inks, the whole thing — this is solid stuff, told with a verve and interest from the artist that almost makes you wish you were right there in the world he creates. Sort of. [SM]

 

Recommended For You

Around the Web

More From ComicsAlliance

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://comicsalliance.com using your original account information.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Please solve this simple math problem to prove that you are a real person.

Sign up for Comics Alliance quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!