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: Sholly Fisch
    Asrtist: Dario Brizuela
    Publisher: DC Comics

    Since its inception, Scooby-Doo Team-Up has had the world's greatest Great Dane and his eternally teenaged friends cross paths with a series of DC superheroes and fellow Hanna-Barbera cartoon stars. In a testament to just how popular Harley Quinn has grown over the course of the last few years, she and gal pal Poison Ivy — from Batman: The Animated Series, by the looks of them — are joining the relatively rarified ranks of previous DC super-people that have been featured thus far, including Batman and Robin, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Super Friends. If Fisch and Brizuela's previous crossovers with versions of villains from Batman: TAS (including the Scarecrow and Man-Bat) are any indication, then this should be a pretty good time for fans of Batman or Scooby-Doo or, ideally, both. [Caleb Mozzocco]

  • THE SPIRE #3

    Writer: Si Spurrier
    Artists: Jeff Stokely, André May, Steve Wands
    Publisher: Boom Studios

    A lot of people have used 'Miyazki-like' to describe The Spire and I agree, but I've really been trying to think about why that is. Here's what I've come up with: it's the rock solid and thoroughly compelling world-building. What Miyazaki excels at, and what Spurrier and Stokely have excelled at here, is building a unique, gorgeous, and engaging setting that I'm happy to return to month after month. We're learning more about Shå's background and the Tithebound, and it always seems like there's more to see. This go round I'm particularly drawn in by Stokely's page layouts and Wands' lettering — both of which do as much storytelling work as the dialogue itself. My expectations climb with every issue and this creative team manages to meet them every time. Proud Stands The Spire. [JA Micheline]

  • GRAYSON #12

    Writers: Tim Seeley and Tom King
    Artist: Mikel Janin
    Publisher: DC Comics

    The solicitation text bills this as the first time that Dick Grayson has returned to Gotham City after faking his death, but if you've been paying attention, you'll know that's not entirely accurate. The recent Batgirl Annual had a short chapter all about Grayson doing a quick mission in Gotham and trying to avoid giving Barbara Gordon a look at any of his defining characteristics (by which I mean his butt), and he was, of course, there for the big Bat-Family brawl at the climax of "Endgame." This, though, is the big one — Seeley, King and Janin have been building up to Dick leaving Spyral and returning to Gotham City for months. There's a great hook there, the idea that even though he was there for the fight, Dick doesn't know how "Endgame" ended, and being left out in the cold while his father figure has no memory of ever being Batman is a great reason for him to make the trip back in his own book. Getting it here, with Spyral on his tail and all the consequences of his identity being revealed still hanging over his head, is exactly the kind of idea that makes for some pretty fantastic comics. [Chris Sims]


    Writer: Dan Abnett
    Artist: I.N.J. Culbard,
    Publisher: Boom Studios

    The first run of Wild's End was a nice, genteel sort of story that oft ventured into ridiculously taut thriller territory — the combination of talking animals (in suits!) and alien invasion felt distinctly British and unique. Here's the second part of the storyline, which seems set to further the cause by offering that most British of thrillers — the sci-fi conspiracy. The anthropomorphic heroes and allies of the last series, having found cause of an alien invasion last time round, are now turning on themselves. In classic tradition, fingers are pointed across the room as everybody starts to suspect everyone else of being a traitor, a sneak, or the villain of the piece. With INJ Culbard on art, Wild's End could be the quiet champion story of the season. The first story was brilliant; this could be even better. [Steve Morris]

  • BATMAN '66 #27

    Writer: Jeff Parker
    Artist: Scott Kowalchuk
    Publisher: DC Comics

    Of all the books that have recently announced cancelations, Batman '66 is the one that made me the grumpiest. On the one hand, it's had a great run over the past couple of years — Parker had a knack for writing the classic TV versions of Batman and Robin from the very first page, and over the course of the series, he's worked with some truly phenomenal artists to bring fantastic new adventures in that style to life, all the way to the point of bringing in new villains from after the show's regrettably short lifespan. On the other hand, this is a comic drawn by Scott Kowalchuk — who, in the interest of full disclosure, I have worked with in the past — where Batman goes to Mexico and battles the Riddler and a Luchador-styled Bane alongside actual Mexican wrestlers like El Santo and Mil Mascaras, and if this industry of ours can't support a comic with that plot, I don't even know what we're doing here. Either way, this one isn't just a little bit of last-minute support for the book — it's a great story, too. [CS]

  • LOSE #7

    Writer/Artist: Michael DeForge
    Publisher: Koyama Press

    Michael DeForge makes the kind of comics that make me a little uncomfortable. Hallucinatory, abstract, and delicately grotesque, he views the peculiarities of human behavior with an almost anthropological eye, and adapts them into surreal excursions into an extraordinary exploration of the mundane. In other words, he's trying to make me uncomfortable, and he's excelling at it. So far Lose has been black-and-white, with brilliant and tantalizing covers that made one pine for the day when you could see it all in technicolor. With this issue, Lose steps into the Land of Oz, transitioning into a full color book that guarantees to heighten the psychedelic qualities of the book to a nearly unbearable level that will likely cause seizures and/or madness. Maybe keep a spoon handy. [John Parker]


    Writers: Adam P. Knave, DJ Kirkbride
    Artists: Nick Brokenshire, Ruiz Moreno, Rachel Deering
    Publisher: IDW Publishing

    Amelia Cole rolls into her fourth trade paperback this week, proving herself every inch the indie underdog. I say that, but, in honesty, there's nothing about the character or series that isn't a complete winner. Beautifully written by Knave and Kirkbride, the series sells itself on the near-perfect collaboration between the scripting and artistic teams. Nick Brokenshire creates a world that takes the flip, quick pace of the script and turns it into fast-witted fun. Having come from Monkeybrain and now arriving in print at IDW, this is a real success story for independent comics-making, and I've loved seeing it unfold. [SM]


    Writers/Artists: Takashi Nagasaki and Naoki Ursawa
    Publisher: Viz Manga

    The thing about Master Keaton is that you never quite know what you're going to get from a new story. I mean, the basic premise is that Keaton is an archaeology professor and insurance investigator with a massive wealth of knowledge and a MacGyver-esque talent for cobbling together weapons and survival tools, but that's not necessarily what happens in every story. Sometimes it's a hostage negotiation that turns into an action story, sometimes it's a comedy involving his ex-wife and their daughter, and sometimes it's just a quiet story about an interesting bit of local history, but they're all worth reading, and Viz has consistently done a pretty stellar job of putting them out in their Signature format. [CS]


    Way back in 1994, DC's Vertigo imprint wanted in on some of that sweet superhero crossover money, and attempted a crossover in the style of the day. Neil Gaiman, Alisa Kwitney, and Jamie Delano handled the book-ends, about Gaiman's Deadboy Detective characters taking a missing persons case and learning of "Free Country," a haven world for the children of Earth where they are completely free of the abuse of adults and their own mortality. Each of the participating Vertigo titles — Animal Man, Black Orchid, Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing, and a Books of Magic special —had a kid in the cast at the time, so it worked out creatively, but not financially. Which might explain why it's never been collected. But a trade with Neil Gaiman's name on it is a trade with Neil Gaiman's name on it, so, at long last, here comes Free Country, which finally collects the event story — sort of. This new edition features only Children's Crusade #1 and #2, cuts out the the five tie-ins, and adds a new middle chapter by Toby Litt and Peter Gross. The original was interesting reading, and it'll be interesting to see how the new version differs, and what Gaimain has to say about the project in the new introduction to the book. [CM]


    Writer/Artist: Matt Madden
    Publisher: Big Planet Comics

    In this new edition of a cyclical story about woman's relationship with her stalker, Matt Madden employs just about every trick in the comics creator's manual (which Madden and wife/collaborator Jessica Abel wrote and drew, in Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and Mastering Comics). Drawn Onward is as formally inventive as any comic you'll find, with a neatly palindromic structure (even the title reads the same forward and backward), changes in line consistency to reflect setting and mood, subtle background details, mirrored layouts, and so on, all of which aid in telling a story strong enough to stand on its own. A fascinating tale of chance, obsession, repetition, and reversal, from a true adapt of the sequential medium. [JP]