Best Comic Books Ever (This Week): New Releases For October 28 2015
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.
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.
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Nicola Scott
A few years ago I wrote an article in which I said that Greg Rucka wrote "uncannily strong female characters," and, a-heh, some people took exception to that. Rightfully so, readers! The correct phrasing probably should have been something along the lines of "Rucka has an uncanny ability to write strong female characters," and if you take issue with that, just... re-evaluate your life. Carrie Stetko, Tara Chace, Dex Perios, Renee Montoya, Batwoman, Forever Carlyle; it's an impressive list. Now Rucka and artist Nicola Scott bring you Rowan Black, a Portsmouth detective discovering herself and her relationship with magick. Previews look dark and fierce, and it's likely that Rowan Black will be added to that list of powerful women Rucka is so fond of writing. [John Parker]
Greetings, boils and ghouls, and welcome to Boo 2015! This defrightful collection of Hallowe’en comics features hexcellent work from a boo's boo of great writers and artists! Full disclosure, now: my good fiends — such as Ken Lowery, Joe Hunter, Andrew Ihla and JoJo Seames — all toiled on this anthowlogy, but even ignoring their work, there are many other stories from talented creators in gore for you, in an 80 page digital colhecktion that can be yours for a dollar ninety-naaaiiiiieene! Boo now enters its third spooky year, and Jon Morris has made each passing bansheeason the best one yet, assembling talent that never hissappoints. It's the best deal you'll find in comics this weeeek! It probably has lots of spooky wordplay, too, if you're intoOOooOOooOOoo that. (I'm so sorry.) [Charlotte Finn]
Writers: Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman
Artist: Ken Garing
TMNT #50 was one of those rare issues that promised to be a Milestone Turning Point That Changes Everything and actually felt like it succeeded. It was the culmination of everything that happened in the book over the past four years — and, in a way, everything that's happened in TMNT since the mid-'80s — and it all came to an end with a brutal and unexpected finish that saw Splinter and the Turtles taking control of the Foot Clan. It's the best kind of shakeup, one that closes things out while setting things up for the next phase of the story. There's a ton of possibilities, and at least one Turtle who's not happy with the way the conflict ended, and it's all combining to form one of the most exciting new driections in comics. TMNT is a series that's been shockingly great for as long as IDW's been publishing it, but if you've been looking for an excuse to jump on, this is the one to pick up. [Chris Sims]
Writer: Ryan North
Artist: Erica Henderson
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Eric Henderson launched in spring of 2015, ended eight issues later, and is now being relaunched this week, with a new number one, and the same old creative team. Why? Because Secret Wars, that's why. At least the creators have a sense of humor about it, as evidenced by the "Only Our Second #1 So Far This Year!" emblazoned on Henderson's cover. Of course, North and Henderson have a sense of humor about everything, which is a large part of what made the first volume of their Squirrel Girl — all eight issues of it — such a fun and charming read. I used to think the "Unbeatable" in the title was simply a riff on Marvel's long-time habit of assigning adjectives to all of their superheroes, but then I actually read a few issues and realized they meant it quite literally. North and Henderson's Squirrel Girl series can't be beat. [Caleb Mozzocco]
Writer: Shaun Simon
Artist: Michael Allred
When figures from famous paintings come to life and escape their two-dimensional boundaries, who you gonna call? A guy with an uncontrollable surrealist painting for a right arm. In Art Ops, fine art has apparently been coming to life for years, and a team of specialists known as Art Operatives are responsible for tracking them down. Another reality-bending concept from Shaun Simon of —Neverboy, with art by some guy I've never heard of. Mike Allred? Sounds fake. [JP]
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Scott Kolins
Publisher: Dark Horse
I just got into this book recently, and it's one of the most gleefully insane reads in history. (Well, probably not in history, but you get that this is a book about time travelers, and my pay gets docked for lack of pithy comments.) Kindt's crazier side — which he typically keeps in reserve on the more measured and deliberate books like Mind MGMT — goes incredibly well with Scott Kolins's spiky, energetic visual style, and the unpredictability of this comic is off the charts. Come for the awesome concepts; stay for the marginalia! [JP]
Writers: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher
Artists: Babs Tarr, Serge Lapointe, Steve Wands
First question: has Babs Tarr's entire life been leading up to the moment where she'd get to draw dashin' Dick Grayson? Batgirl has a special wedding issue this month, as Alysia Yeoh heads down the aisle and Barbara does everything she can to make sure it goes well. This might be a weepier wedding than we're typically treated to in comics — there's no sign of Darkseid knocking down the door to claim the bride for himself, but I hold out hope. It's always nice to get a downtime issue, and especially with a knockabout series like Batgirl it's going to be good to see the team settle with the characters for a moment. The series has been a little cute at times, but I think the addition of Grayson will add an edge to proceedings. If nothing else, we'll have his handsome face to stare at. Final question: has your entire life been leading up to the moment where you'd get to see Babs Tarr draw Dick Grayson? [Steve Morris]
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Mike Norton, Mark Englert
Okay, so there's this thing with comics where nobody seems to talk about a book once it gets past issue #5, barring some kind of creative team shift or death sequence. And it's a shame, because comics like —Revival are some of the best out there — so let's spend a moment to take in just how much the team of Tim Seeley and Mike Norton have put together over the course of thirty-plus issues. The concept here is of a small country town in Wisconsin where people suddenly start living beyond their death, and the horrors that ensue — partly body horror, scares, ghosts, violence, but mostly emotional horrors. Because this is one of the most unsettling comics imaginable, and it's utterly compelling for it. This next issue sees a jump-on point where they'll focus on the beating heart of the series: Dana Cypress, the battled but unbroken cop fighting to keep the town together. Revival is a fantastic series, and here's a chance for anybody to get on and try it for the first time. [SM]
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Ben Caldwell
The most depressing thing in this week's comics is by far the note attached to the end of the solicitation for Prez #5 that announces that it is now a six-issue miniseries rather than an ongoing. It's a massive disappointment, not just because Prez has been one of the standouts of the DC You initiative, full of sharp commentary and brutal political satire, but because the slow burn that Caldwell and Russell have been doing with their storytelling has been uniquely rewarding. With four issues out, Beth Ross has barely taken office, and unless I missed something, she's yet to have a face-to-simulated-face confrontation with her arch-nemesis, Boss Smiley — but the book has never felt like they were drawing things out unnecessarily. Each issue has been packed with great ideas and perfect execution, even when they're touching on subjects that are viciously uncomfortable to see in a comedy book. Here's hoping that these first six issues are just the beginning for President Ross, and that we get to see her again soon. [CS]
Writer/Artist: Robert Triptow
A young Triptow once found a large school photo of the 1937 graduating class of New York City's PS49 under a pile of garbage in a garage he and a friend were cleaning out. Triptow began living with the photo and the mysterious people in it, hanging it on his wall and regaling guests with the made-up names of tales of those pictured. This highly-original graphic novel is the natural end result: a series of inter-connected, mostly one-page-long comic strips starring the individuals students of PS49, all of whom, according to Triptow, lead extraordinarily weird and often quite funny lives. Sly commentary on The Greatest Generation may slip in between the jokes about the girl who grew up to raise tarantulas or the kid who had his face burned off with acid, but Triptow's heart is clearly on the gags. What class reunions those guys must have... [CM]
Just in time for Halloween, the "Chilling Archives of Horror Comics" series turns its attention to the pre-Code, Fredric Wertham-upsetting horror comics of Fiction House, a particularly pulp-inspired publisher most famous — or is it infamous? — for filling its pages with buxom, scantily-clad women (often referred to derisively as "headlight comics" at the time, for the obvious reason). Editor Michael Price has culled this 150-page collection from the publisher's 1940s and '50s horror output, including work from Good Girl artist extraordinaire Matt Baker. [CM]