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.

  • ISLAND #1

    Writer: Various

    Artist: Various

    Publisher: Image Comics

    Anthologies almost never sell great, but they're still great for comics, especially for their potential to expose unknown creators. Island seems particularly poised to do so. Edited by Brandon Graham of Prophet and Multiple Warheads and Emma Rios of Pretty Deadly, Island features several 20-30 page stories in each over-sized issue, most of them by people totally unfamiliar to most of us. Rios and Graham between themprobably know half the small-press, web, Canadian, European, and mini-comix artists in the world. Though the roster of future contributors includes Farel Dalrymple and Malachi Ward, it's filled with names even I'm not going to pretend to know, starting with Fil Barlow, Onta, and Lando. Those sound like band names made up by an improv class. Stories by Graham, Rios, and Ludroe (nope, don't know him) make up the first issue, with illustrations by Marian Churchland and prose by Kelly Sue DeConnick, and I totally know who one of them is. It's an exhilarating feeling, being introduced to new artists while simultaneously feeling out-of-touch. I look forward to experiencing it on the reg with Island. [John Parker]

  • ASTRO CITY #25

    Writer: Kurt Busiek

    Artist: Jesus Merino

    Publisher: DC/Vertigo

    There's a new issue of Astro City out this week, and if literally every issue of Astro City for the past 20 years is anything to go by, it's probably going to be pretty great. What sets this one apart, however, is that it's one of the few issues of the series not drawn by co-creator Brent Anderson. Instead, they're following up last month's story about a rock 'n' roll gorilla — the highest possible form of art — with guest artist Jesus Merino and a story focusing on Hummingbird and a potentially fatal curse, and that makes for an interesting combination. Merino is, after all, better known for straight-up superhero work like Superman and JSA than the kind of grittier, man-on-the-street view that Anderson's (always-fantastic) art lends itself to, so getting him for a spotlight on one of the city's many heroes should make for a pretty cool take. And if nothing else, it's always worth noting when there's a book with a tone so distinct that getting a guy with a more traditional superhero style to lend his pencils to it makes for an intriguing and refreshing change. [Chris Sims]

  • DEAD DROP #3

    Writer: Ales Kot

    Artists: Adam Gorham, Michael Spicer, Dave Sharpe

    Publisher: Valiant

    And so we hit issue #3 of Dead Drop, the Valiant miniseries that grows stranger and stranger with each new installment. With an alien bioweapon loose in America, the first two issues focused on two of Valiant's best-known heroes, XO Manowar and Archer. With issue #3, the spotlight falls instead to.... Beta-Max and Neville Alcott. Yep, things are getting weird, and the pairing of a cyborg and cyborg-hating government agent are now the only hope left to protect the world from catastrophe. This is the issue where I expect Kot and Gorham to really up the ante on what has already been a funny, fast, and bold race through the streets of the Valiant Universe. Kot seems to have been really enjoying the chance to muck about with a new world in this miniseries, and every step of the way Gorham has both enabled and enhanced the craziness of the script. Give this one a go, see what you think, give in to the madness. [Steve Morris]


    Writer/Artist: James Stokoe

    Publisher: IDW

    You've... you've seen the title of this series, right? And you — you did notice who is making it? Does... anything more need to be said? In case it does, let's take a moment. James Stokoe is returning to the Godzilla franchise for the first issue of this mighty miniseries, in which the giant lizard dude gets sent to Hell. Now, as Godzilla isn't much of a talker, and Hell isn't particularly a chatty place either, this basically means we're getting a full issue of Godzilla walking around Hell, destroying things, and establishing his dominance without a single word balloon in sight. It's primal, it's smart, and every page looks absolutely devastating. Stokoe has always had an affinity for Godzilla, and the franchise has led to some of his strongest comics work — so Godzilla in Hell is a must-buy this week. [SM]


    Writer: Brendan Fletcher

    Artist: Annie Wu

    Publisher: DC Comics

    The first issue of Black Canary was one of the most promising new starts since... well, probably since the relaunch of Batgirl that gave DC's violent vocalist her new direction as the crime-fighting lead singer of a rock band. It was action-packed, lean and character-driven, and if I can be allowed to be a really old man for a minute, it had a nice little touch of ROM: Spaceknight in there with the monsters in disguise who can only be revealed by the power of rock. It's a great setup, and I can't wait to see how it progresses here, especially with the solicitation's promise of a training montage. And hopefully, we'll get the payoff to the first issue's introduction of DC's newest villains, the Two Nick Lacheys. [CS]

  • HAWKEYE #22

    Writer: Matt Fraction

    Artist: David Aja

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    And the breath-holders exhaled. Three issues deep into the all-new All-New Hawkeye and a year later than hoped for, the previous Hawkeye comes to a close. Some consider Hawkeye's irregular publishing schedule annoying; I think it's just another level of Matt Fraction and David Aja's approach to decompression. A long wait for a finale can be deflating, but Hawkeye #22 comes in just under the wire, closing out maybe the best superhero comic of the last five years. Gleefully experimental, perfectly balanced between fun and drama, and structurally sophisticated in simple ways, Hawkeye is a brilliant example of all the possibilities of a creative team fully utilizing the language of comics and cartooning in the mainstream. It might have taken a little longer, but Hawkeye was always worth the wait. [JP]


    Writer: Christopher Mills

    Artist: Rick Burchett

    Publisher: Action Lab

    The solicitation text for this issue bills it as the "return" of Gravedigger, following up on a webcomic that's been going since 2013, which means that I have somehow missed out on reading an action crime comic drawn by Rich Burchett starring a hero visually inspired by Lee Marvin, and that certainly doesn't seem like me. Burchett's one of my all-time faves — I have two of his originals from his run on Batman Adventures hanging in my bedroom — and he's been steadily killing it on recent projects like Lady Sabre, so if I did in fact miss something, I don't intend to repeat that mistake. [CS]


    Writer: Nico and Michael Stock

    Artist: Sina Grace

    Publisher: Image Comics

    Image could do with more all-ages comics, but they could also do with more people championing the very good all-ages comics they already publish. With that in mind: collected in trade this week is the five-issue run of Penny Dora and the Magical Wishing Box, from Michael Stock and Sina Grace. This one actually comes from the mind of Stock's daughter Nico, however, and is based on a story she wrote for her school newspaper. It's about Penny Dora, a young girl who, the day before Christmas, finds a magical box — a box which has the power to grant wishes. But wishes always come with consequences, as Penny is about to find out! I've always liked Grace's work, and he's been able to take on a series of radically different projects for Image over the years, which always come across effortlessly. He can master seemingly any type of comic he wants, and pull it off with style. He tells the story here with a real flair and, ahem, grace. It's a great addition to Image's growing collection of all-ages books. [SM]


    Writer: Adam Smith

    Artist: Matt Fox

    Publisher: Boom Studios/Archaia

    Adam Smith and Matt Fox have been working on Long Walk To Valhalla for several years — originally as a webcomic under the combined moniker of Wet Black Ghost — and even the preview looks wet and juicy from all the love they've put into it. In Long Walk To Valhalla, a man travels back to his boyhood home in rural Arkansas (never a good idea), where he's confronted with memories of his mentally-challenged older brother, a girl who claims to be a Valkyrie sent from Odin, and the possibility that she might be telling the truth. An emotional mix of the fantastic and the mundane in wiry inks and atmospheric hues, Long Walk To Valhalla is one of the most intriguing books of the summer. [JP]


    Writer: John Wagner

    Artist: Greg Staples

    Publisher: 2000 AD

    As someone who only really jumped on Dredd a few years ago, I'm asked pretty often what's a good place to start with the adventures of Mega City One's finest fascist lawman. I usually go with Origins, for obvious reasons, but if you want somethig more contemporary, you could do a heck of a lot worse than checking out the latest epic from Dredd's co-creator John Wagner and artist Greg Staples. I mean, really, there are few things in this world that are more hilarious to me than the idea of the super-rich finally getting fed up with the constant catastrophes befalling Mega City One and leaving on a spaceship to find a planet that isn't two seconds away from being destroyed at any given time, only to find that they have accidentally shot themselves into space with Judge Death. That's how Dark Justice starts, and from page one, I am all in for this adventure from Wagner and Staples. [CS]