Best Comic Books Ever (This Week): New Releases for March 8 2017
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.
ASTRO CITY #42
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Brent Anderson
It's been 20 years since the debut of the Gentleman, the maybe-an-analogue-for-Captain-Marvel-maybe-not character who fought crime in a superhumanly dapper suit. We know more about his one-time sidekick, Looney Leo, than we do about him. And now we're finally getting the origin, as Astro City continues to go from strength to strength, closing off threads and revealing mysteries decades in the making. The one-shots historically are Astro City's greatest strength, but the shift to long-form slow-burn storytelling has worked unexpectedly well for the series — and given how good it's always been, that shouldn't be a surprise. [Charlotte Finn]
Writer: RL Stine
Artist: German Peralta
Publisher: Marvel Comics
I don’t know if this was just in England where I’m from, but I imagine it’s a universal thing for those of my generation. The Scholastic brochure that you got at school, that is. Through those brochures, and on trips to WH Smiths and other shops Americans probably haven’t heard of, I amassed a complete collection of Goosebumps as a child. My favorite, naturally, was Attack Of The Mutant, which featured a child discovering the secret hideout of a superhero called The Galloping Gazelle, and over the course of dozens and dozens of books, RL Stine became the most influential author of my pre-teen childhood.
RL Stine coming to Marvel to pen a Man-Thing series is a dream come true for a prepubescent me and it’s news that makes the nearly-thirty year old me both intrigued and optimistic. I had no idea who Man-Thing was back then, but I would have loved the concept of a swamp monster that sets you on fire if you feel fear. It seems like a match made in heaven, and it’s definitely a curious enough teaming that the first issue is worth a look. [Kieran Shiach]
JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS #5
Writers: Marguerite Bennett and Cameron Deordio
Artist: Audrey Mok
Publisher: Archie Comics
While Josie and the Pussycats has an ongoing arc, each issue goes in a very different direction within the basic story of a band on tour. The comic is perfectly balancing the Archie Comics tradition of stand-alone humor stories with the new drive for serialized drama, and I’m all about that. This issue looks to have a Southern, country music spin, particularly with the synopsis promising a musician with the strangely familiar name “Cheri Overwood.” I’m a Southerner myself, and I know series co-writer Marguerite Bennett is too, so I’m excited to see this comic’s take on that world. [Elle Collins]
NEW SUPER-MAN #9
Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Artist: Victor Bogdanovic
Publisher: DC Comics
From the second this book was announced, I think we all knew that it was only a matter of time before Kenan Kong made his way to America and face off with (Old) Superman, and I honestly have to hand it to DC, Gene Yang, and Victor Bogdanovic: Waiting until the third arc to do it shows a level of restraint with which I am genuinely impressed.
If nothing else, it allows the New Super-Man’s trip to America to come at what is unquestionably a very weird time in the Superman books. Rather than just meeting up with, y’know, Kal-El, things are kicking off with him fighting Lex Luthor in Apokoliptian Superman Armor while the Superman from the old universe tries to figure out who this Clark Kent running around is. As far away as that might be from meeting the “iconic” version of the character, it allows him to get into the mix with some really interesting stuff, and that’s very exciting. [Chris Sims]
ACTION COMICS #975
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Publisher: DC Comics
While we revealed the big twist of Action Comics #975 yesterday, that shouldn’t stop you picking up the next part of "Superman Reborn" because even before you get to the shocking reveal of who the fake Clark Kent is, there’s still a great Superman story as The Man of Tomorrow struggles to figure out what the heck is going on. There’s also a great back-up feature by Paul Dini and Ian Churchill that explains how fake Clark Kent came to be that is a can’t-miss read for people trying to piece together the larger mystery of DC Rebirth.
Doug Mahnke’s art in this issue is phenomenal and he gets the chance to draw a greatest hits of things and people you want to see in a Superman comic. He manages to imbue fake Clark Kent with an unnerving sinister edge that I didn’t think was possible and with his studio-mate Patrick Gleason sharing the art-duties on the Superman side of the crossover, there’s a seamless cohesion between the two books making it one of the best looking multi-title crossovers, possibly ever. [KS]
MOTHER PANIC #4
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Shawn Crystal
Publisher: DC Comics
The truth of just what the story of Mother Panic is, what the comic is actually about, is still unspooling as we head into the fourth issue. But Jodie Houser and Tommy Lee Edwards have been letting slip more narrative bread crumbs in every issue, and I for one am being successfully strung along. Edwards isn’t around for this issue, so I’m interested to see the spin Shawn Crystal puts on the characters, and I can’t wait to find out what secrets Houser is ready to reveal about Violet Page and her past, and the unsettling place she apparently grew up, which we only learned about last issue. Mother Panic exists right on the edge of what qualifies as a DC Universe superhero comic, and that keeps me all the more interested in where it might go. [EC]
DIE KITTY DIE, VOL 1 HC
Writer/Artists: Dan Parent & Fernando Ruiz
Publisher: Chapter House
This comic was funded via Kickstarter, but I missed out on it, so going to rectify that by buying the version Chapter House is publishing this week. I'm expecting good things from this story about a real-life superheroine who is being killed off by her publisher to increase sales. It's got gorgeous art in the Dan DeCarlo "Archie house style" vein, and I'm in just the right mood for a satire of the short-sighted publicity practices of modern comics (even if the modern power move is to tell everyone they were evil all along.) (Grumble.) [CF]
DEATHSTROKE, VOL 1 TP
Writer: Christopher Priest
Artist: Carlo Pagulayan, James Bennett, Belardino Brabo, Mark Morales, Jason Paz
Publisher: DC Comics
I have been about as vocal as you can possibly be about Deathstroke being the single-most overrated character on DC’s roster. To me, he’s the definition of a tryhard, a villain who’s actually just a super-cool anti-hero who spends most of his time reminding you of how cool he is before getting beaten up by teenagers and retreating to a solo title where he can be the focus of the narrative.
And look: I’m not saying that this book fixed every problem I have with that dude, but I will say that putting Christopher Priest on a book for a road trip story about Slade Wilson and his daughter trying to track down a contract on her life and having some extremely uneasy bonding time is the most I’ve been interested in Deathstroke in years. And if that sounds like damning with faint praise, it’s not — this book is doing exactly what Rebirth said it wanted to, and it’s well worth picking up the paperback. [CS]