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.


    Writers: Dan Abnett and Dan DiDio
    Artists: Dale Eaglesham, Scott Koblish and Keith Giffen
    Publisher: DC Comics

    The idea behind the original DC Challenge was probably one of the company's more insane ideas during the eighties. For one twelve-issue series, an entirely new creative team produced each issue leaving dangling plotlines and cliffhanger endings for the next team to deal with, with absolutely no discussion between each group as to the composition of the story. Before you ask: no, it was not cohesive. It was a giant, shambling mess. It was also, in its own way, madly brilliant, with one loony twist after another, alternate universes, time jumps, and the appearance of an omnipotent Albert Einstein. Ahh, comics.

    In Kamandi Challenge, DC takes a much narrower view, using the old Challenge format for an epic story about one of Jack Kirby's most underappreciated creations, Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth. And with 14 different creative teams tagging in for this improv class approach to storytelling, there is a real possibility one will have the guts to give us all what we really want: another appearance by omnipotent Albert Einstein. [John Parker]


    Writer: Marguerite Bennett
    Artist: Juan Doe
    Publisher: AfterShock

    If Animosity is The Walking Dead (the TV show, I mean), then The Rise is its Fear the Walking Dead. That is, the storyline of the main Animosity comic is limited in its perspective, and set long after the world’s animals first gained sentience and the power of speech. This one-shot backs up and gives us a larger perspective on what things were like when the animals first “woke up.” Obviously, the idea of every animal in the world suddenly being able to think and talk is ridiculous on multiple levels. But Animosity has done a great job of acknowledging and having fun with that ridiculousness, while still taking it seriously enough to be surprisingly unnerving and genuinely frightening at times. I’m looking forward to seeing that same sensibility applied to a different story. [Elle Collins]


    Writer: Garth Ennis
    Artist: Russell Braun
    Publisher: DC Comics

    I feel, deep in my heart, that John Constantine is a character that needs to be handled very carefully when put into a superhero universe but if you're going to have him hang out in such an absurd playground, you might as well give him a ray gun and a magic surfboard and wink at the reader while doing this. That this series does this and gets away with it and "gets away with it" is exactly the right phrase for this series is a testament to how good Braun and Ennis are, and I'm eager to see how it's all going to conclude. (Probably in tears.) [Charlotte Finn]


    Writer: Greg Pak
    Artists: Mahmud Asrar, Nolan Woodard, Cory Petit
    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    When Greg Pak revealed the cover for issue #15 of Totally Awesome Hulk, he asked if it was the most Asian superheroes to ever appear on a comic book cover. Shang-Chi, Ms. Marvel, Silk and The Totally Awesome Hulk himself all appear, as Pak and artist Mahmud Asrar put together a huge team-up which gives them a chance to explore Cho's social side, and the different approach he takes towards being a hero and a hulk. That's probably something that's rather overdue, as the character has always worked well when reacting off other people as well as when provoking reaction himself and Pak is great at creating sparky, fast-paced banter between characters. Asrar continues to stride into more of his finest work yet, with a stylistic approach which allows the big personalities of the story (Jimmy Woo is in there too!) to pop off the page and really stand out amidst the fast-flying dialogue.

    Oh, and by the way Pak's question as to whether this issue has the most Asian superheroes on one cover? Moot. The covers for subsequent issues have even more on 'em. [Steve Morris]


    Writer: Gerard Way
    Artist: Nick Derington and Tamra Bonvillain
    Publisher: DC Comics

    When Doom Patrol was announced last year, I was pretty much the most excited a person could be for a it but I’ll admit it took a few issues to find its feet. However, after the revelations of the most recent issue regarding Space Case and her relationship to Danny The Street, the book has an emotional core that it was missing that’s vital for a team of loveable losers like the Doom Patrol, and if you found yourself struggling to keep up, it can provide an anchor point to latch onto.

    Nick Derington and Tamra Bonvillain have been absolutely knocking it out of the park with the art on Doom Patrol, and again, issue #3 took things up a step further in terms of experimental and innovative sequential storyline. With all the players on the board, it’s time for Doom Patrol to get really weird, and I am here for it. [Kieran Shiach]


    Writer: James Tynion IV and Marguerite Bennett
    Artist: Ben Oliver
    Publisher: DC Comics

    Detective Comics was already one of my favorite books going. And then one of my favorite writers, Marguerite Bennett, signed on to co-write this story with the regular series writer, James Tynion IV. On top of that, it’s a story spotlighting my favorite character in the book, Batwoman. And as if all of that weren’t enough, this story also leads directly into the new Batwoman solo book by Bennett, Tynion, and Steve Epting, which is another thing I’m excited about. Add in some gorgeous Ben Oliver art and a story about biological weapons that turn people into literal monsters, and this comic could not be higher on my must-read list. [EC]


    Writers: Tom Waltz & Kevin Eastman
    Artist: Sophie Campbell
    Publisher: IDW Publishing

    There's not enough money and not enough time to read everything, so I've missed the boat a little on IDW's TMNT revival, even though everyone swears it is great. But I'll hop on board for this issue, because Sophie Campbell is easily one of the most interesting artists in comics and her return to the title is enough to get me to pick it up sight unseen. It promises mind control, tortured souls, and at least one ninja turtle (though I'll feel cheated if there's only one. 'Turtles' is a plural!) And it promises to be gorgeous, and worth it for that alone. [CF]


    Writer: Christopher Priest
    Artists: Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, Jeromy Cox, Willie Schubert
    Publisher: DC Comics

    The most notable comic of the week sees the team of Priest, Cowan and Sienkiewicz set sights on the issue of gun violence in America. In a measured, unexpected approach to the topic, the issue uses Jack Ryder as the guiding hand through the storyline, in which a group of women who lost their children to gun violence pay for Deathstroke to come get revenge on their behalf. Priest makes some incredibly deliberate choices throughout the issue, both in terms of style (the issue plays out the concept like a Punisher comic, leaving the lead character in the shadows whilst other characters debate him) and in terms of discussion.

    There are some obvious ideas which could've been used in the story, but instead Priest keeps a very careful hand on the view he's presenting to the reader each scene offers argument and counter-argument, but repeatedly the comic pulls its hand and catches the reader off-guard. It's a thoughtful issue of one of DC's most consistently smart comics, and it never allows people to grow complacent about what's coming next. For that, it's essential reading this week. [SM]


    Writer: Dennis Hopeless
    Artist: Veronica Fish
    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    I’ve written at length here at ComicsAlliance on the subject of D-List supervillains and my love them, so the current events unfolding in Dennis Hopeless and Veronica Fish’s Spider-Woman have been one big knife in the heart issue after issue. Porcupine was as much a part of the comic as Jessica Drew herself and seeing him possibly die/possibly go evil/who knows what’s going on has been an emotional roller coaster, but a captivating one.

    Veronica Fish has been shoes to fill coming in after Javier Rodriguez, but rather than attempt to fill them she’s brought her own flair to the title and managed to keep the tone consistent while making it all her own. Spider-Woman is a title that has been top of my “to-read” pile for the past two years, and if you’re not reading it, you’re missing out. [KS]


    Writer: Bob Haney, Various
    Artist: Jim Aparo, Various
    Publisher: DC Comics

    It’s been a while since I let out an actual, out-loud “hell yes” when I saw something on the weekly shipping list, but, well, that’s the power of the Bob Haney/Jim Aparo era of Brave and the Bold for you. In stories that were frequently so bizarre that fans classified them as happening on Earth-B rather than in mainstream DC Continuity, they teamed the Caped Crusader up with everyone else on the roster, whether it made sense or not.

    This collection has some of the true highlights of the era, including the Neal Adams-drawn story that introduced Bork, in which the Flash literally ran to the sun; a murder-on-a-train story where Batman and Sgt. Rock fight the ghost of Hitler; and even one where the Dark Knight Detective was dragged through time to the apocalyptic future of Kamandi. If those premises aren’t the sort of thing that gets you excited, then folks, I don’t even know what you want out of comics.

    I’ll admit that I prefer the easy accessibility of the late, lamented Showcase Presents line, but at the same time, getting a 30+ story chunk of Brave and the Bold in full color isn’t something to sneeze at. [Chris Sims]


    Writer: Neil Gaiman
    Artist: Shane Oakley
    Publisher: Dark Horse

    Eventually, everything Neil Gaiman writes will be adapted into comics form: short stories, vignettes, novellas, blog posts, groceries, lists of possible comics he might write one way when that army of drones cease delivery of solid gold bars to his Gothic mansion, sestinas, and so on. Although an original Gaiman comic book only comes along about once a decade now and structurally, his comics are usually completely different from his prose the frequent graphic adaptations of his work are typically quite good, and do manage to scratch a certain itch. Illustrated by Shane Oakley, who has a sweet tooth for Gothic horror, the satirical Forbidden Brides is very clever in prose form and should make a pretty good comic for anyone who refuses to read books because they killed your parents or something. [JP]


    Writer: Greg Rucka
    Artist: Jesus Saiz, Various
    Publisher: DC Comics

    I’ve written time and time again about the influence of John Ostrander, Luke McDonnell and Kim Yale’s Suicide Squad on the modern DC Universe, but in the years before it was revived as a franchise all on its own, you could see the legacy of that groundbreaking book playing out in a few other places. The obvious one, of course, was Gail Simone and Dale Eaglesham’s Secret Six, with its team of villains (including Deadshot) and endless roster of deadly missions, but Checkmate is the one that always gets overlooked. Now, it’s time to fix that.

    Relaunched in the aftermath of the Infinite Crisis, Checkmate is maybe the best depiction of espionage in a superhero universe that the 21st century has to offer. It featured Sasha Bordeaux and Amanda Waller, and was built around shadowy manipulations, legacy heroes, and global security threats that were dark but still undeniably superhero, it was exactly the kind of thrills you wanted from Rucka’s scripting and the dynamic art of Jesus Saiz. It’s a weird snapshot of its time when people were turning into OMACs? but the themes hold up, and if this is a sign that we can get more of the Mademoiselle Marie legacy, then I’m all for it. [CS]


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