Best Comic Books Ever (This Week): New Releases for September 21 2016
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: Dan Abnett
Artist: Scot Eaton, Wayne Faucher
Aquaman has been super-exciting since Rebirth, and things are just getting started. As we go into this new story arc, Aquaman is at the center of an international incident, and Atlantis has been framed for an attack on US soil. With the American military chomping at the bit, and Superman holding Aquaman accountable, time’s running out to find who’s actually responsible.
And in a subplot that may turn out to be related but we don’t know how yet, Black Manta has just gained a vast amount of power, and knowing him it won’t be long until he brings that might to Aquaman’s doorstep. [Elle Collins]
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Given that he was the writer on “Dark Knight, Dark City,” in which a bat-demon summoned by Thomas Jefferson possessed the Riddler and tricked Batman into accidentally worshipping the devil, I don’t think it’s going to surprise anyone if I say that I think Peter Milligan is at his best when he’s writing a detective story with a little more than a hint of the supernatural about it. With Britannia, he’s back to dabbling in that concept, but this time, there’s a whole lot added to it.
The high concept of a story that focuses on the only person in the world who uses logic rather than just assuming that the world adheres to the capricious whims of the gods might be over-simplifying things a little bit, but I love the idea of asking how you think about things logically in a world where the supernatural actually is a factor. It makes Antonius Axia an immediately compelling character, and seeing it all coming together on the fringes of the Roman Empire makes for some fascinating historical fiction. [Chris Sims]
Writers: Chelsea Cain, Declan Shalvey et al
Artists: Alison Sampson, Declan Shalvey et al
Published by Marvel Comics
The best part of Civil War II has been that it spawned this anthology comic, which serialized stories across issues at random, bringing in new and interesting creative teams to have a go at centering the Marvel Universe. Declan Shalvey's writing debut has been the main talk through comics circles, with his Nick Fury story ending this week.
However, my main concern lies with a story which will start this week: a Jessica Jones tale from Chelsea Cain and Alison Sampson. Forget the official relaunch series from the original creative team, you guys — can you think of a more exciting creative team to revamp the P.I. than Cain and Sampson? Cain has been doing sterling work on the massively underrated Mockingbird recently, creating something fast-paced and fun, whilst retaining a sense of importance and character through each story. Sampson, meanwhile, has been the secret weapon of comics for years now, working at a variety of publishers but here lending her aesthetic to a character who seems perfectly matched for the honest, battered style that Sampson brings to the page.
There's also a White Fox story in this one, seemingly written by Christina Strain — another one of the people who has secretly been running comics for years now — and drawn by Sana Takeda, if I have my solicitations right. If Marvel are smart, they'll continue past their lackluster event and set up an ongoing comic in this serialized vein. [Steve Morris]
Writers: Cullen Bunn and John Barber
Artist: Fico Ossio
As I’ve said in this space before, I’m as susceptible to childhood nostalgia as any 30something. And that nostalgia is clearly the target of this comic. If this was just another crossover between Transformers and GI Joe, I would ask what the point is if Tom Scioli isn’t involved. But this crossover also includes MASK, the Micronauts, and ROM Spaceknight, so it ought to give it a whole other level of over-the-top sci fi adventure, even if it can’t match the artistic majesty of Scioli’s book (because let’s be honest nothing could). This just seems like a lot of fun, and any comic where ROM is likely to hang out with Bumblebee, Matt Trakker, and Acroyear is probably worth checking out. [EC]
Writer: Joe Keating
Art: Nick Barber, Simon Gough and Ariana Maher
Publisher: Image Comics
I’m a fan of comic books and I’m a fan of professional wrestling, but comic books about professional wrestling are usually either very bad or exceedingly excellent and thankfully Ringside falls into the latter category. I’ve described it before as being about pro wrestlers more than it’s about pro wrestling and at it’s heart it’s a crime and revenge story, while also digging into what happens to you when everything you worked for ends and you find yourself faced with the future.
Out of the plethora of wrestling comics that have been coming out over the past few years, Ringside is one that I’d recommend most to people who aren’t fans of wrestling. Not necessarily as way to get into it, but just as a fantastic character comic with a unique premise. [Kieran Shiach]
Writer: Chris Ryall
Artist: Ron Joseph
I have thought a lot about all the ways that Rom could return to comics over the years, but of all the scenarios that I imagined, I don’t think I ever even came close to “Rom comes back during a crossover and then immediately starts fighting GI Joe.” And yet, here we are, in this magical world of ours where Rom’s back, the Flintstones comic is an extremely divisive satire, and literally anything is possible.
Really, though, while the big news of Revolution has always been building a new universe that combines your favorite toys, it also bears the burden of reintroducing a concept that’s almost entirely separated from everything that came before. And as someone who loves that concept, I’m fascinated by seeing how the Dire Wraiths and their plan for infiltrating the world are going to start coming together in the context of a story that also involves Roadblock and Matt Trakker. [CS]
Writer: Rick Remender
Artists: Jerome Opena and Matt Hollingsworth
An epic fantasy with touches of sci-fi and westerns, even the base elements of Seven To Eternity sound like enough to inspire Rush's next concept album. The last survivor of a fallen house ventures through the oppressed kingdom of Zhal to topple the dark and powerful God of Whispers, and Jerome Opena and Matt Hollingsworth's preview images look so great I'm already hearing diminished seventh arpeggios over a 7/4 meter, and I hate Rush! It's been said that some writers bring out the best in their artists, but in the case of Rick Remender I think good artists actually bring out the best in him, and I'm hoping that's the case with this book. It certainly has the potential to be thrilling and strange, and we need more of that in comics. [John Parker]
Writer/Artist: Francis Manapul
Francis Manapul has been one of the best stars that DC Comics has cultivated over the past decade, and from his more traditional superhero work on Legion of Super-Heroes, through to the development of his watercolor-esque style on Adventure Comics and The Flash, he’s become one of the most exciting creators in superhero comics.
DC obviously agree as it has given him the reins of their three most iconic characters; the last creators to work on a title named Trinity were Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley, so this is a high honor indeed. DC Rebirth has already been a stunning return to form for the publisher, but with Manapul’s work on Trinity, the initiative might be taken to a whole new level. [KS]
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Stephanie Hans
If you're a fan of this book you've probably been champing at the bit to see the Pantheons of other eras, even if it's just to see what decadence, anguish and self-importance looked like in those bygone days. Finally the WicDiv team delivers with this one-shot set smack-dab in the middle of the Romantic age, arguably the most decadent, anguished, and self-important period in human history. The shadowy, painterly style of artist Stephanie Hans goes with Romanticism like laudanum and undiagnosed depression, the story is partially set in the same Villa Diodati that housed Byron and the Shelleys, and Kieron Gillen is clearly well-acquainted with shoegazing poetics. If this book fails to deliver I'll write my dreams on a paper heart, tear it into pieces, and throw it into the roiling belly of the sea to return to the primordial. Or something romantic. [JP]
By Isabel Greenberg
Published by Jonathan Cape
Actual British Hero Isabel Greenberg returns once more to comics this week, with the publication of her latest through Jonathan Cape, The One Hundred Nights of Hero. Greenberg specialises in telling classical tales with a modern voice, spinning a tapestry of blunt, funny lies which have the tensile strength of myth and legend — even though she's made everything up herself.
Consider as though Kate Beaton were telling Neil Gaiman stories, and you get a bit of a sense of the wonderful conflicting style which she manages to weave into something brilliant and glorious. This new story is evocative of Arabian Nights, as it hews very close to the story of that series but spins away in slight, smart ways. A man called Jerome pitches a bet to his friend Manfred — if Manfred can seduce Jerome's wife within 100 nights, then Manfred can have both Jerome's castle AND wife. Jerome's wife, understandably, not too happy with that — especially as she's in love with her maid.
The woman, Cherry, decides to tell 100 tales to keep her safe from Manfred, each one flying off on fantastical flights of fancy. It's a chance for Greenberg to open up a myriad library within her mind, and showcase her unique talent for making the mystical seem tangible. Much like Cherry, Greenberg is a supreme storyteller, and this is a hugely exciting work from her. [SM]