It’s okay, change happens. It’s not the end of the world, we promise. As you may have noticed, we’re bringing a slight format change to what used to be “10 Comics to Buy This Week.”
Now, we’re not trying to tell anyone how to spend their hard-earned money, but our goal for this updated weekly column is for it to be something people can look to for near 100% accuracy when pointing out quality titles. Because as we all know, the problem isn’t finding comics to read, it’s reading the ones that make the most of your limited budget.
Firstly, you’ll notice our typical ten titles have been cut down to five (or there about). But we’re sticking with the old adage: quality over quantity. Lastly, outside further expansion on why we recommend each book, we’re also going to provide preview pages for each title (when available) to give you an idea how the book reads and looks. You can click each image to enlarge.
Aquaman #0 - $2.99
Much like what Johns did with the Green Lantern mythos, he’s now doing with Aquaman, sending the character of a journey of growth while also revealing new information about his past. And that’s where this month’s Zero issue comes in.
While it’s disappointing the Zero issue had to cut in right at the climax of the current “The Others” storyline, we have to admit that we’re still excited to see what Johns and Reis reveal about Arthur’s past and his ties to Atlantis. Atlantis has been at the forefront of Johns’ entire Aquaman saga, so it’s awesome that we’re finally getting to this plot point roughly a year after the first issue of the series dropped.
Happy! #1 - $2.99
Oh man. It’s the return of Grant Morrison to creator-owned work. This is Morrison’s first time working with Image Comics, if you can believe that. He’s paired up with artist Darick Robertson, exploring the life of Nick Sax, a corrupt, drunk ex-cop-turned-hitman who meets a tiny blue horse and has his entire world turned upside down. Sold.
If you’ve ever followed Morrison’s work outside DC and Marvel, you know the man really goes ball-to-the-wall crazy with his ideas. Yes, even more crazy than Batman going on an adventure through time and space courtesy of Darkseid.
That said, even through all of Morrison’s wackiness, the writer’s still often able to tap into an emotional through line that make the trippy journeys worthwhile. If you ever need convincing, may I point you towards WE3, INVISIBLES, JOE THE BARBARIAN, THE FILTH and SEAGUY to name but a few.
With HAPPY!, we’re hoping Morrison captures that same magic. Morrison is a man with so much creativity it seeps through his pores. So here’s hoping he taps into that one more time to make HAPPY! a worthwhile ride.
I, Vampire #0 - $2.99
Remember how we just said AQUAMAN is probably one of the better titles DC is pumping out as part of their New 52 lineup? Well, toss Josh Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino’s I, VAMPIRE into the mix, as well. This series is probably one of the most underrated titles currently hitting comic shelves. Period.
For the series’ Zero issue, Fialkov and Sorrentino are flashing back to reveal how Andrew Bennett became a vampire in the first place, long before he was the vampire messiah taxed with fending off the Van Helsing clan and ravenous zombies. We’ll also be finding out in this issue how Bennett is able to control his lust for blood as a bloodsucker.
From what we gather and judging from the purpose of these Zero month issues, issue #0 should be a perfect jumping-on point for new readers curious about checking out new series. And there’s not many series we can recommend more than I, VAMPIRE.
Punisher #16 - $2.99
This is the last issue of Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto’s fantastic PUNISHER series before the story dovetails into the PUNISHER: WAR ZONE mini-event. Over the course of the last 15 issues, Rucka has written one of the most profound and enthralling Punisher stories we’ve ever experience. It’s arguably the best take on the character the main Marvel 616 has ever seen. No joke.
So it breaks our hearts to see the series cancelled because of poor sale numbers. However, we’re happy Marvel is letting Rucka complete his story in a spin-off mini-series. So there is some silver lining.
But for the final issue of the main PUNISHER series, the Punisher and Rachel have their work cut out for them following the events of issue #15. With the cops on their tail, as well as the super hero community about to step in and put Frank down, it’s going to be tough for Frank and Rachel to remain operating in the shadows. This is a book you should not be passing over. Too many people have already.
Talon #0 - $2.99
We’re going out on a limb with TALON #0 this week. We’ll be honest, the idea of a spin-off series from the Court of Owls event that spotlights a rogue Talon trying to make good on his past transgressions seems more like a money grab tactic than anything else. At least that’s how we felt when this title was first announced.
But we’ve slowly been turned around on the book. Between Scott Snyder’s ringing endorsements of writer James Tynion IV, as well as the fact that Snyder is helping co-plot the title, TALON seems like it’s in good hands. And maybe most of all, we want to see fresh blood in the industry succeed. So we’re rooting for TALON to be solid and pull in some numbers.
It’s also worth noting that artist Guillem March is joining Tynion on this book. March is no stranger to working on the Bat-family, yet here with Tynion he gets to explore a fresh corner of the universe. Consider us excited.
Wolverine and the X-Men #17 - $3.99
Just look at that cover to the right. How could you possibly skip over this issue with that cover staring you in the face? Answer: you can’t.
Issue #17 of WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN is a special standalone story starring everyone’s favorite blob-thing, Doop. Doop’s been operating in the background at the Jean Grey School for quite some time, and now we’re finally going to find out what he’s up to.
Better yet, artist Mike Allred is joining Jason Aaron for this issue. This series has always been a fun read, and Allred’s distinct and vibrant artwork looks like it fits this series’ tone like a glove. Furthermore, this issue is kind of a homecoming for Allred, seeing as how he created Doop with Peter Milligan back in the X-STATIX days. All around, this is an issue you should not pass up.
Erik Norris is a freelance writer for sites such as ComicVine, IGN and CraveOnline.com. You can stalk him on Twitter@Regular_Erik.