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.


    Writer: Rob Williams
    Artists: Mike Dowling, Quinton Winter, Clem Robins
    Publisher: Vertigo

    Rob Williams is King of the Killer Concept. Like fellow 2000 AD writers Al Ewing or Si Spurrier, he's able to not only kick things off with a spectacular high concept — but he's also able to chase every last thread of that concept and straighten it out, before tying it firmly onto a whole ball of exciting plot threads. You can't predict him, and that makes him especially interesting when he's got a longer-term project in his hands like Unfollow. The idea here is that a jackpot will be shared among 140 people upon the death of an elderly benefactor... but if that list of 140 characters gets shortened, well, that just means there's more for everybody. That basic, brilliant concept is not at all where this first issue stops, and therein lies the real edge in Williams' writing. There's a killer artistic team involved here too — Mike Dowling has been a long-term collaborator with Williams, and really knows how to bring a brutal side from Williams' scripting. Unfollow looks wild and reckless, jumping round the world with a real sense of shock which vibrates out the pages and through your hands each time you dare turn the pages. [Steve Morris]


    Writer: Warren Ellis
    Artist: Jason Masters
    Publisher: Dynamite

    Back when Dynamite announced that they had picked up the 007 license, I'll admit that I wasn't all that impressed. There have, after all, been James Bond comics before — there have been comics for just about every major licensed property that was around for the '90s boom — and they never really made much of an impact. Even the promise of the origin fell flat, because we just saw Bond's origin in Casino Royale, and with all due respect to my favorite medium, I had my doubts that any comic could do it better or more memorably than that. But then they announced the creative team, and it immediately became something to be excited about. Warren Ellis has a track record that speaks for itself, but there are few things I like more than those rare stories where he takes on espionage as a genre. Red was an absolute blast, and the unfortunately short-lived Desolation Jones still ranks as a high point, so seeing him take on the character who defined spy-fi action is something I'm extremely into. Judging by the art that he's been posting on Twitter and Tumblr, Jason Masters feels like a perfect fit for art, especially with his knack for drawing the kind of innovative violence that we've come to expect both from Ellis and from Bond. Throw in the fact that those trailers for Spectre have me as excited about the character as I think it's possible to be this week, and you've got a pretty solid recipe for something I want in my life. [Chris Sims]

  • KLAUS #1

    Writer: Grant Morrison
    Artist: Dan Mora
    Publisher: Boom Studios

    After reconciling decades of versions of Batman into one, and finding the quintessence of Superman, Grant Morrison sets out to tell the ultimate superhero origin story: Santa Claus. Initial exposure to this idea is likely to cause a lot of head-shaking, but this is what Morrison excels at: taking concepts that seem laughably ridiculous and making them work so much it hurts. Illustrated and colored by Dan Mora (Hexed) in a style like classic Disney fantasy on performance enhancing drugs, Klaus delves into Santa Claus's beginnings as a shamanistic Viking fighting authority in a village where toys are outlawed. Quit shaking your head; this sounds awesome and you know it. [John Parker]


    Writer: Mairghread Scott
    Artist: Kelly and Nichole Matthews
    Publisher: Boom Studios

    As I wrote in our recent preview for this issue; (// You have to give it up for Mairghread Scott and Kelly and Nichole Matthews; it takes a lot of moxie to look at —Macbeth, one of the most storied tragedies in the portfolio of Shakespeare and to say, “let’s see what we can add to this.” It helps that the path they’ve chosen for their Boom Studios series Toil & Trouble — examining the fate-serving three witches that set Macbeth and his wife towards their rise and fall — plays to the strengths of the comics form. The Matthews’ sisters storytelling can encompass the tiny twists of engineered fate at the heart of the witches’ powers in a way no stage play ever could, and Scott makes sympathetic and interesting characters out of the witches who, in Macbeth, were meant to be unknowable. [Charlotte Finn]


    Writer: James Roberts
    Artist: Alex Milne
    Publisher: IDW

    One of the best things about More Than Meets The Eye — and there are a lot of great things about this book — is how well elements of the plot are laid out months, sometimes years in advance. Things come back and tie in in surprising and unexpected ways, shedding a new (lost) light on things that you thought you'd seen already as the story takes its many, many twists and turns, and that includes the Scavengers. They first appeared very early in the series as a gang of Decepticons that were left out in the cold at the end of the war, who weren't quite sure which side they were on anymore, and spent a few years out of the spotlight as the main story continued to wind its way to the point where we are now, with Megatron as an Autobot and the last remnants of the genuinely terrifying Decepticon Justice Division gearing up to kill their former leader. It seems inevitable that they're going to get caught in the middle and die horribly just as soon as you really start to like them, but the way they're being set up as the single most hapless combat robots of the entire war is well worth seeing as it goes. Just, you know, don't get too attached with a big 50th issue on the horizon. [CS]


    Writer: Jeff Lemire
    Artists: Humberto Ramos, Edgar Delgado, Victor Olazaba, Joe Caramagna
    Publisher: Marvel

    Although I'm not sure whether I'm happy or sad that this wasn't called X-Traordinary X-Men, like Chris Claremont would have wanted, I get the feeling that Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos' take on the not very Merry Mutants is going to be the most interesting one around over the next year or so. Lemire has an interest in broken, discarded toys, and it seems that his version of the X-Men is going to be living through some of the most miserable times imaginable. However, there also needs to be a little sense of hope in any good X-Men story, and Lemire's work — Sweet Tooth, Animal Man, Underwater Welder — finds proper courage and heart at the most unlikely of moments. He's a good fit for X-Men — but lordy, how exciting is it to finally have Humberto Ramos freed from the Spider-Office and back home with the X-Men? Part of one of the best X-Men runs of all time with Mike Carey and Chris Bachalo, Ramos gets to be all kinds of loose and frenetic whenever he's with the X-Men characters, and in the preview already he sets up an ambitious, vibrant look at the characters which makes them feel like the most wonderfully free and charismatic figures in superhero comics, period. This has all the potential — we'll have to see whether it grabs it successfully or not. [SM]


    Writer: George Mann
    Artists: Emma Vieceli, Hi-Fi
    Publisher: Titan Comics

    Whovians! Are you ready for things to get dashed roguish? Reclaimed and revitalised Doc#8 started off with a fairly tarnished legacy, being the star of an American made-for-TV version of Doctor Who that 'updated' the character and concept in a few ways that didn't ring true for fans of the character and series. At the centre of a somewhat bleached-up version of the concept, actor Paul McGann didn't have much opportunity to really get himself across as a personality — but over the last few years, he's appeared in several audio plays, reappeared in the relaunched Doctor Who show at the BBC, and proven his place within the legacy of the show. He's a romantic hero, with wavy hair and hopes beyond all reaching; and Titan's next miniseries will hopefully continue to let him shine from beyond the chronological grave. With Emma Vieceli as artist, you know he's going to look totes handsome. But George Mann is a longtime fan and writer of the character as well, making this a creative team with serious Doctor Who cred. This should be quite the surprise. [SM]

  • VISION #1

    Writer: Tom King
    Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
    Publisher: Marvel

    As an artificial life-form in search of his own humanity, The Vision has an innate sense that has largely seemed wasted. You can probably start spreading the blame with John Byrne (of course), who wiped away both Vision's human personality and all the inherent pathos that came with a man trapped in a synthetic form. Since then, the character has been disassembled and reassembled more than C-3PO, each time with some new version of a personality attempting to bring the character back to his roots, but never really moving him forward. This new series seems like a unique opportunity to actually allow the character to evolve, with Vision having creating himself an entire artificial family, attempting to grasp not only his own version of humanity, but normalcy. Written by Tom King of the excellent Grayson, and illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta of the also excellent Magneto, this new series might be the most interesting thing done with the character in years. [JP]


    Writer: Alex De Campi
    Artists: Fernando Ruiz and Rich Koslowski
    Publisher: Archie Comics

    It's safe to say both Archie Andrews and the Predator aliens have participated in some pretty unlikely crossovers in the past, but this is easily the most gonzo one either has appeared in. When a teenage Predator encounters the gang during their spring break at a tropical South American resort, he takes a keen interest in Betty and Veronica — as many teen males do — and follows them home to Riverdale. There he starts doing what Predators do. Making the weird crossover weirder still is the fact that Ruiz and Koslowski draw it all in Archie Comics' (then) house-style. If you were patient enough to wait for the collection, then you should be rewarded with all the awesome variant covers, many of which suggest stories even more crazy than the actual one (Predator competing with Archie for the girls' affections, Predator sharing a milkshake at Pop's, etc). [Caleb Mozzocco]


    Writer: Mark Waid
    Artist: Peter Krause
    Publisher: Boom Studios

    In some ways, Irredeemable is a story that has got even more relevant in a time when a story with a very similar premise has been DC's top selling digital comic for four years running. Right now, there is something about us, culturally, that wants to see a character like Superman stumble and fall. I'm not sure what it is, but it's there, and Irredeemable puts this story arc, as applied to this archetype, directly under the microscope. Paging back and forth through the events of the main hero's life, and keeping a tally of all the bad days of the Plutionian's life that led to him finally snapping, the origin of the Plutonian's fall is in some ways much like Superman's rise to a position of moral grace. Just as there's no one event that made Superman himself the way there is with, say, Batman, there's no one event in the Plutonian's life either. It's a more realistic take, since no one event shapes any of us, and this is why Irredeemable is --– or at the least, should be –-- the last word on this particular story idea. [CF]


    Writers: Chuck Dixon and Alan Grant
    Artists: Tom Lyle, Norm Breyfogle and others
    Publisher: DC

    Now that there have been one or two Robins since — depending on whether or not you want to count Stephanie Brown, and I know a lot of you do — it can be hard to remember what a big deal the introduction of Tim Drake as the third Robin in the early '90 really was. It followed a rather long period of Batman as the solo grim, gritty Dark Knight, in adventures deemed too realistic to include a teenage sidekick in red and green. The publisher won fans 'round by introducing a character who was a brilliant detective (he figured out Batman and the original Robin's secret identities on his own) and a skilled computer hacker, and by making Batman extremely reluctant about sending his new sidekick into any kind of deadly action. Oh, and giving the new Robin a black cape and a pair of pants. Following Tim's introduction in 'A Lonely Place of Dying' (recently collected with 'A Death In The Family'), this collection includes the 1990 Grant/Breyfogle Batman arc in which Tim disobeys Batman in order to save him from The Scarecrow, and the first two Robin miniseries by Chuck Dixon and Tom Lyle; the first of which sent Tim abroad to train and latter of which pit the new Robin against the guy who killed his predecessor, The Joker. [CM]