Best Comic Books Ever (This Week): New Releases For October 7 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: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Cliff Chiang
When I first heard the title of Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang's new book, I assumed it would have something to do with the representation of women in media, advertising's effect on young girls and their development, how they're encouraged to have thin and insubstantial personalities, et cetera. You know; subjects that ComicsAlliance really likes. Turns out it's about newspaper delivery girls. Suburban, 1980s paper girls on Halloween night, fighting aliens or something. Of course, that also sounds like something ComicsAlliance would really like, but I feel like a monster for not considering that it could be about young women in the typically male-dominated field of early-morning newspaper conveyance. I will have to take a long hard look in the mirror. [John Parker]
Writer: Antony Johnston
Artist: Shari Chankhamma, Simon Bowland
Publisher: Image Comics
As the famous saying goes, "while all around you are doing dystopian sci-fi stories, quietly revive and raise the spy genre to new heights." Which is advice well-taken by Antony Johnston this week as he brings new spy thrills to Image Comics. Backed by one of the next big artistic talents in the form of Shari Chankhamma,whose colours are sleek and lush, the series follows a Russian countess who becomes a high-life socialite in New York after seeking political asylum. But then we find out that she's secretly a magnificent crime lord who was attacked by all her rivals at once and fled to America to escape and regroup. And then we find out that a shadowy protection agency called EON has gotten wind of her secret identity, so they force her to work as a spy. There are literally six different amazing comics all within this one series, and I'm so excited to find out how the creative team brings everything together. [Steve Morris]
Writers: Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz
Artist: Mateus Santolouco
Over the past four years, readers of IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have seen some pretty amazing stories that have always returned to a status quo. Raphael is separated from the rest of the Turtles, but he's eventually found and brought home. The Turtles have to flee from New York to April's family farm in Northampton, but they find their way back; all that stuff. Through it all, plans have been moving underneath those stories, plans that have seen the rise of the Foot Clan as the book barreled towards the inevitable conflict that we finally get in this issue — and it's a conflict that has shattered that status quo that the Turtles have always returned to. It's not unusual for a milestone issue to suggest that things will Never Be The Same Again, but in this case, it definitely feel like there's no going back. It might not be the best place to start if you haven't been reading the book already, but if you have — or if you want to know if it's worth going all the way back to see what the fuss is about — this is a story that should pay off in every way. [Chris Sims]
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Mike Perkins, Andy Troy, Jim Campbell
Publisher: Boom Studios
I believe Mike Carey is the best writer in comics. Got that? So okay, noted. Rowans Ruin is his new series at Boom with artist Mike Perkins; the pair have worked together a few times in the past, and this time we're getting what's billed as a "taut horror thriller." Anybody who has read some of Carey's work on Hellblazer or even his Felix Castor novels will have little tingles running down their spine at the thought of him writing more horror stories. Perkins' particular art style is one that either hits or misses depending on the genre, so I think we'll quickly see whether this is something that will land for readers. My inclination is to think that he'll fit perfectly into chiller territory, and this will be another under-the-radar hit for Boom. [SM]
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Chris Bachalo
Chris Bachalo is hit-or-miss with me. Like any good snob, I actually prefer his earlier work; the understated charm of Vertigo books like Death: The High Cost Of Living and Shade, The Changing Man. Shortly after those comics, though, he exaggerated the blocky cartoonishness of his style to a point where, frankly, he just confuses my eyes sometimes, and it's only occasionally that I can really enjoy his stuff. Despite that, I'm really looking forward to the new Doctor Strange. Bachalo's high-impact, manga-touched maximalism meshes perfectly with the character and the world he inhabits, and even the harshest critic can admit that flowing robes, curling tendrils of netherwordly smoke, fire-wreathed demons, and badass moustaches come as naturally to him as supernatural action and badass-mustachioed characters come to Jason Aaron. Looks like mad fun. [JP]
Writer: Corinna Bechko
Artists: Randy Green and Andy Owens
Publisher: Dark Horse
I was never a big fan of Tomb Raider until 2013's video game reboot recast Lara Croft as a scrappy underdog desperately in need of a tetanus booster, but I'm definitely a fan of Corinna Bechko. Her stories have had a unique edge of thrills and adventure to them that made her one of the most consistently entertaining writers in comics, so I'm down to give anything she's writing a shot. I was curious to see how she'd take on the classic, hyper-competent world-traveling version of Lara Croft, and I think I got my answer in a single scene in this issue that finds Lara working on paperwork in her office at the British Museum while in her full-on world-traveling adventurer outfit, right down to the guns. I'm not sure if that was Bechko's script or Green's decision, but either way, if even Lara's paperwork requires her to be armed at all times, I can only imagine how intense the rest of her adventures must be. [CS]
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire
When we first met the Bellaire-Ellis-Shalvey team up, it was on a book that could essentially be picked up at any stage. Their critically-acclaimed first arc of Moon Knight was a collection of one-shots with little overarching plot. Injection is a different sort of book. The slow burn style comes as no surprise to anyone who's familiar with the way that Ellis unfolds a story, but it can be hard to engage with in a monthly form without some level of implicit trust. Injection is a great monthly if you're already on board with this team, but the story doesn't really begin to crystallize until issue #3 or #4, and I could hardly blame readers for being impatient. That's where this trade comes in. Volume 1 collects issues 1-5, and will allow you to consume the story in one sitting. Everything picks up significantly after those first few issues, so this is a great way to jump onto the series. [JA Micheline]
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Publisher: Viz Media
You probably haven't noticed this, but people who write about comics tend to be prone to hyperbole. I mean, not me, of course, I always keep things subtle and low-key, but other people? They're always going on about best-this and worst-that. In the case of One-Punch Man, though, if you've ever heard anyone refer to it as the best superhero comic out there, that's not an exaggeration. ONE and Murata have done an amazing job taking a joke that could not possibly be more one-note — Saitama became a superhero for fun and ended up becoming so powerful that he could destroy any opponent with a single punch — and built an entire world around it, adding a whole hierarchy of superheroes to it and building their relationships in a way that seems effortless and never, ever loses its comedic edge. The series has been available digitally for a while, but the printed volumes are just now getting into the second one, where all that groundwork starts, and it's a book you ought to be picking up. [CS]
Writer/Artist: Fumio Obata
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams Books
At the risk of getting a bit too Welsh for ComicsAlliance... now there's lovely. Fumio Obata's story of belonging is a gentle, melancholic stroll through the life of Yumiko, a Japan-born woman who moves to London. Having built a life for herself in another country, she takes a trip home to Tokyo and finds herself immersed in a culture that is familiar and distant all at once, a dreamlike version of the home that she moved away from but can never shake. The Japanese-British Obata is presumably no stranger to such feelings himself, and the sense of connection he brings to the character is immediately inviting and warm. This is a delightful story, sparse but full of emotion in each fresh turn of the page. His watercolors bring charm and grace to the story, establishing a world of hopes, aspirations and dreams that any reader can wrap themselves in like a warm blanket, wherever they make their home. [SM]