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.

  • HARROW COUNTY #1

    Writer: Cullen Bunn

    Artist: Tyler Crook

    Publisher: Dark Horse

    If you grew up in the back country, you understand a type of childhood anxiety that city-folk never will. There's an almost mythical creepiness to nighttime in the boonies, where the darkness is darker, and the imagination amplifies little sounds into monsters. In the case of Emmy, a girl entering young adulthood in rural Harrow County, those monsters turn out to be real. Cullen Bunn returns to his supernatural roots in this backwoods horror story with Tyler Crook, whose eerie inks and watercolors would fit right in a 1971 issue of Creepy. Haunting stuff. Check out our exclusive videos of Crook's art process if you need more persuasion. [John Parker]

  • INJECTION #1

    Writer: Warren Ellis

    Artist: Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire

    Publisher: Image

    Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire team up to explore the dystopian future of a dying Earth as the team of scientists that led to its demise attempt to save it. Ellis' story is enhanced with Shalvey's stunning and expressive artwork, creating a believable world on the brink of destruction. The first issue is a solid intro to the story, but this is going to be a slow burn. [Casey Gilly]

  • UNCLE SCROOGE #2

    Writer: Jonathan Gray and Jan Kruse

    Artist: Bas Heymans

    Publisher: IDW

    So the first issue of IDW's recently relaunched Uncle Scrooge (or the 405th issue, if you've been collecting the series across its multiple publishers over the years) is not only a comic about the Beagle Boys building a giant robot Beagle Boy in order to assault Uncle Scrooge's money bin, it's also a story where the title, GIGABEAGLE, was written on the first page as a parody of the old Marvel Comics Godzilla logo. In other words, it is exactly my jam. This time, we're getting a story about Scrooge & Co. heading off to find some lost pirate treasure, and if there is a more surefire recipe for storytelling success, I certainly haven't heard it. We've covered the classic Carl Barks and Don Rosa Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck comics so much that I think everybody knows how great they are, but the newer stuff is a whole lot of fun, too, and it's great to see that Jonathan Gray is putting in the hours to bring it over to American audiences. [Chris Sims]

  • BEAST WAGON #1

    Writer: Owen Michael Johnson

    Artists: John Pearson, Colin Bell

    Publisher: Changeling Studios

    As you'll have read, the first issue of Beast Wagon sees a new madness sweep the UK. Set in a zoo — just a standard, normal, anyday zoo — the series joins the animals as the intense heat and claustrophobia of one sweltering summer leads them to a collective madness that sweeps across the area. As they revolt and rage, their captors and visitors begin to feel the same feelings of freedom and lawlessness begin to take control of their minds as well, with the result being a full-on mystical fightback against everything that once established what humanity means. It's a weird one, in other words; a smashed-out haze of zoological insanity. You can pick up the first issue online here. [Steve Morris]

  • FIVE GHOSTS SPECIAL #1

    Writer: Shane-Michael Vidaurri, Frank J. Barbiere

    Artist: Shane-Michael Vidaurri

    Publisher: Image

    Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham's Five Ghosts is one of the most idiosyncratic and exhilarating comics around, a series that builds a complex mythology from the spare parts of classic genre fiction, and fills each and every issue with twists, turns, and a plethora of pulpy thrills. And in this one-shot, painter S.M. Vidaurri contributes visuals for a special standalone tale, coupled with a backup feature that teams Barbiere and up-and-coming talent Jamie Jones on an untold story of treasure hunter Fabian Gray. It's a must-purchase for anyone who's already a Five Ghosts fan, and the perfect introduction for anyone who's been looking for a way to sample the title and see what all the fuss is about. [Patrick Reed]

  • MYTHIC #1

    Writer: Phil Hester

    Artist: John McCrea

    Publisher: Image Comics

    This new series posits a world where science is the real superstition, and reality as we know it is actually governed by the laws of magic. It stars a team of characters of various backgrounds whose job is to deal with the maintenance of magic, and to keep the rest of the world from finding out about it. The premise may sound intriguing, but the creative team is more intriguing still. It's written by Phil Hester, an artist and writer/artist who has been doing an increasing amount of comics writing, and it's being drawn by artist Jon McCrea, probably best known in the U.S. for his collaborations with Garth Ennis, like Hitman and The Boys. If that's not enough to sell you on the book, there's this: Image is only charging $1.99 for the first issue. [Caleb Mozzocco]

  • GI JOE: SNAKE EYES: AGENT OF COBRA #4

    Writer: Mike Costa

    Artist: Paolo Villanelli

    Publisher: IDW

    For a certain kind of person, and I will freely admit that this includes me, all you really need to know about this comic is that it's Snake Eyes fighting Storm Shadow. That is a premise that I have rarely been let down by — even the otherwise kind of terrible GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra movie had that five-minute fight scene between two nine year-olds as its major redeeming quality. For everyone else who might need a little more convincing beyond just the names of two imaginary ninjas, consider that Mike Costa's years on GI Joe have provided some of the smartest and most entertaining comics in the thirty-year history of the franchise, and this story, a thriller about the Arashikage Clan and Cobra hunting down Cobra Commander's long-lost son with Snake Eyes caught in the middle? It's some of his best. [CS]

  • SPACE RIDERS #2

    Writer: Fabian Rangel

    Artist: Alexis Ziritt

    Publisher: Black Mask Comics

    With Space Riders, writer Fabian Rangel and artist Alexis Ziritt are channeling all manner of adolescent obsessions into an irresistibly bugged-out interstellar shlockfest. It's the perfect blend of '70s-styled cosmic epic and hypercolored '80s excess, populated by characters ripped off the back of custom-airbrushed biker jackets, soundtracked by a moog orchestra covering "Don't Fear The Reaper", packaged to sit alongside the laser globes and blacklight posters in your local Spencer's Gifts. Imagine if all those pencil sketches you did when you should have been paying attention in algebra class were blown up to a massive scale, and shot through with a thousand volts of pure caffeine. That's what Space Riders is like. But even crazier. A second printing of issue #1 is also released today. [PR]

  • NIGHT NURSE ONE SHOT

    Writer: Jean Thomas - Various

    Artist: Winslow Mortimer - Alex Maleev

    Publisher: Marvel

    In 1972, Marvel Comics introduced Linda Carter, Night Nurse, as one of a trio of series geared toward attracting female readers (alongside Shanna The She-Devil and Claws Of The Cat), and though only a few issues ended up seeing print, there was something about the concept of an ER soap opera that apparently struck a chord in readers — three decades later, the character was brought back, re-conceived as the Marvel's universe's resident superhuman specialist. This extra-sized one-shot collects all four of the original Night Nurse tales, as well as the Brian Bendis/Alex Maleev issue of Daredevil that established her new status quo. If you've an interest in checking out bizarre Bronze Age obscurities, or you feel a need for some offbeat suspense/romance comics in your life, this heaping helping of Marvelous medical melodrama is just the ticket! [PR]

  • STAR SLAMMERS COMPLETE COLLECTION HC

    Writer/Artist: Walter Simonson

    Publisher: IDW Publishing

    Star Slammers is something of a long-term pet project for Walt Simonson, one that he returned to throughout his career. Originally created for his senior thesis at RISD in 1972, and reworked for a Marvel Graphic Novel in 1983, Simonson returned to it for a second volume for Malibu Comics (finished by Dark Horse) in 1994. IDW's Star Slammers trade collects all the comics; a chance to rediscover an almost prototypical 80s sci-fi war comic: gaudy, gritty, and soaked in European influences. People might have forgotten just how influential Simonson is, but it only takes a few pages to remember why his powerful figures and unique layouts made such an impact on the medium. [JP]

  • GRONK: A MONSTER'S STORY VOL. 2 GN

    Writer: Katie Cook

    Artists: Katie Cook, Kevin Minor

    Published by Action Lab Entertainment

    Created by Katie Cook, the award-winning Gronk strips are being collected by Action Lab all across this year, taking the popular webcomic and giving it a home in print. The idea of the comic is that Gronk, a friendly monster, lives with his friend Dana, who teaches him all about the world; from petting zoos to Twitter. But because Gronk is such a wonderfully experimental creation, prone to agreeing to anything, and always curious, what tends to happen is that he teaches her just as much as she teaches him. Tremendously enjoyable with every panel, this is an all-ages comic with a load of heart, and proves even further that Cook is one of the most charming cartoonists in comics today. [SM]

  • ROBIN THE BOY WONDER: A CELEBRATION OF 75 YEARS HC

    Writer: Bill Finger, Chuck Dixon, various

    Artist: Dick Sprang, Jerry Robinson, Bob Kane, various

    Publisher: DC Comics

    I'm not going to lie to you, folks: This one is a bit of a gamble. DC hasn't released a list of what stories are actually in this book, so until it hits shelves, all we really know is that it's 400 pages long and it's all about Robin. Even so, it's definitely worth looking into. DC has done a pretty solid job with its collection of 75th Anniversary hardcovers so far — the Batman and Lois Lane ones being the obvious standouts — and even just guessing what might be in this one makes it seem pretty interesting. There are the obvious stories, of course, like the first appearances for each of the four major Robins, and I don't think there's any way that this thing won't include Jason Todd's death in Batman #427. Beyond that, I'd guess that there's a pretty strong chance we'll get Finger and Sprang's "Robin Dies At Dawn," and, hopefully, some of those Golden Age solo stories from Star Spangled Comics that are so hard to find. Either way, it's exactly the kind of book I would've wanted when I was a kid and wanted nothing more than to read more comics about Robin, and I'm glad to see it out now. [CS]

  • LOIS LANE: FALLOUT

    Writer: Gwenda Bond

    Publisher: Capstone

    Hey, remember that pitch for an awesome sounding Lois Lane, Girl Reporter series of books that Dean Trippe posted a few years back, complete with beautiful images by Daniel Krall? Well, this isn't that, but it's at least in the same vicinity as that ballpark. A YA prose novel by Gwenda Bond (Girl on a Wire, Blackwood), Fallout stars army brat high schooler Lois Lane. The intrepid journalist-to-be just moved to Metropolis with her parents and sister Lucy, and she's landed an internship writing for the online component of The Daily Planet by impressing editor Perry White. Together with her friends – and a little long-distance help from a mysterious online friend she knows only by the screen name "SmallvilleGuy" – she investigates a new immersive video game being beta-tested, and a semi-official bullying sub-culture accompanying it. While Fallout is not a comic book, let's try not to hold that against it; it is a book starring one of the most enduring and influential characters in American comics, front and center where she belongs... and way too rarely ever appears in comics. [CM]