We live in an age of amazing story telling featuring top talent writers and artists. This leads everyone to a problem: What comics are some of the top books to pick up? Well, we have that answer for you. The staff of Comic Vine picks out their personal essential books, every week, and lets you know what you should keep your eye out for.
To see a full list of this week's comics, click here.
It’s always difficult to fathom the idea of a series not featuring the main character. Can we have a BATMAN comic without having a traditional Batman? The answer, of course, is yes. We’ve seen that happen before. It’s not a new idea. What makes this new is the way it’s happening and who (or what) is stepping into the spotlight.
With a character that’s been around for over seventy-five years, every once in a while it’s great to see some thing a little different. For Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, they’ve been working on the title since the New 52 started (with Greg taking off just a few of those). Changing Batman into a robotic/mech suit crime fighter sounds strange and is risky. Sometimes you just need to take a risk. With the current changes in the DC titles, why not take this risk now. Everyone has to know that someday/somehow the status quo will return. This is the first time we’re really getting a different sort of Batman that hasn’t come about directly because of something Bruce Wayne set up. This title has always been in great hands and seeing what’s coming up next is going to be a blast. Also, I’ve already read this issue and loved it.
It’s the final issue of the miniseries. Boooo! There is something nice about getting a compact story with a beginning and an end. Mark Millar and Sean Murphy have given us an incredible and pretty insane time travel adventure story. We don’t often see time travel used (and abused) in such a fashion. Danny and Quinn have created a huge mess and abused the ability to travel through time. Now they’ve found themselves in a really bad situation. As much as I don’t want to read the end of the series, I’m really itching to see how the heck they can get out of the mess and how everything can be put back in its proper place.
This series has been an incredible trip. We’ve had crazy situations, plenty of surprises, and Sean Murphy’s incredible art. We can only hope we’ll get a sequel at some point. We’ll just have to see how this story ends and if there’s even room for one.
BATMAN SUPERMAN #21
Batman and Superman have always been called the “World’s Finest.” What happens when both are massively changed? Batman isn’t exactly the same Batman we had before. Superman has also been going through some big changes and fluctuations in his power.
We’re also seeing that Superman doesn’t seem to be on friendly terms with the authorities. Some feel betrayed or threatened now that his biggest secret has been revealed. We saw these two clash in the free Sneak Peek eight-page story. With Greg Pak writing and Ardian Syaf providing the art, it’s going to be pretty exciting.
I really like Starfire as a character. The “new” Teen Titans have always held a special place. We’ve seen some different versions of the team and characters over the years in different media. Now Starfire is getting her own series and time in the spotlight.
What makes it even better is the fact that Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti are writing it. They’ve been putting some fun back into comics on HARLEY QUINN, giving us a mix of storytelling, character development, and some goofy moments. Starfire hasn’t had too many chances, in the New 52, to have some downtime or time to enjoy herself. Moving her away from her recent past to Florida will be interesting. There’s no telling what will happen in this series. Emanuela Lupacchino’s art in the preview looks great as well. Hopefully this will feel more like the Starfire we used to know.
Honorable Mention: DESCENDER #4
CONSTANTINE: THE HELLBLAZER #1
Since Constantine isn't coming back to television, I need to get my John Constantine fix from somewhere, right? Luckily, there's a new CONSTANTINE series, and I couldn't be more excited. Without getting too in depth, the last series had a few problems, like being dragged into a few cross-over stories, and that book never really had a chance to grow. Hopefully, CONSTANTINE: THE HELLBLAZER can just grow on its own. The sneak peek was pretty interesting and got me excited enough for the book.
What I'm even more excited about is the creative team for this new series. Ming Doyle is primarily an artist, and we've seen her most recently on Vertigo's THE KITCHEN. She'll be writing the series. Alongside her is Riley Rossmo, whose art I loved on the recent RASPUTIN series from Image.
I'm excited to see what this team brings to the table and their take on John Constantine. If you're a fan of the character and maybe looking for something familiar, yet different, this should be up your alley.
DETECTIVE COMICS #41
Since the creative team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have taken over DETECTIVE COMICS, I've been in love with this series. I loved their storyline "Icarus," and really enjoyed their new take on Anarky. The question is "Where do they go from here?"
I still don't know how I feel about the big reveal of who is actually running around in the Batsuit, but I am excited to see Manapul and Buccellato's take on the aftermath of Endgame.
More importantly, I'm excited to see some more Harvey Bullock, who, from the looks of the solicit, has a bigger role in this new story, and a new partner... Renee Montoya. FINALLY! Montoya is back! While I love what these guys are doing on this series, this issue is really on Essentials this week because Renee Montoya is back in DC comics and part of main continuity.
I have to admit something: I'm a sucker for cooking shows and shows about food. I've seen almost everything Anthony Bourdain has done and right this second, as I write this, I have Cutthroat Kitchen playing in the background... I also like Alton Brown.
Anyway, I like cooking shows. I've made that clear, and STARVE is essentially about show a cooking show has evolved since a world famous chef, who created the show, went into a self-imposed exile. Said chef is ready to go to war to get rid of the show.
I've always been a fan of Brian Wood's writing and concepts. One of the books that got me back into comics was DEMO, so I tend to try and follow his work. However, I'm really excited about this concept and this seems like something that I'll be reading until the end, so if you're a weirdo who watches way to many cooking shows, like me, you may want to pick this up.
BIRTHRIGHT has been a non-stop roller coaster ride since issue one. It's weird to think that we're only at issue #8 because it feels like so much has happened in this series so far, yet there's still so much the reader doesn't know about what happened to Mikey when he was in Terrenos.
Well, we do know that someone got pregnant while he was there. Rya has come to Earth, but for what reason? Is she there to hunt Mikey down, who is being controlled by God King Lore?
As I've said before, I love the concept of the book and I'm excited to see what writer Joshua Williamson has in store for us next. In addition, Andrei Bressan and Adriano Lucas have been killing it on art and it's some of the best looking art on a on-going series. If you've never checked this book out, by the trade (issues #1-5), then catch up for this issue!
1602 WITCH HUNTER ANGELA #1
The 1602 series has had, at best, a rocky go of it. From glorious, Neil Gaiman-led masterpiece to less-than-stellar follow-ups that, at the very least had some interesting ideas, the road it's traveled has been varied. However, there's never been a team quite like this one, headed up by Marguerite Bennett and Kieron Gillen, both of whom have tons of experience writing either bizarre, unique fantasy and/or Angela herself.
Stephanie Hans and Marguerite Sauvage are not names I was familiar with in the comic art world, but a quick perusal of both those names show that, clearly, they're extremely talented and should have at least one eye kept on them.
Click here for the solicit. Preview below.
Before the whole...Convergence thing, Catwoman was in the run for the most improved book of 2015 and with the same creative team, here's to hoping that continues well into the new status quo.
Catwoman has been one of the most interseting DCU characters after the "great change" and her character will likely be the one of the most fascinating as it continues in this new, continuity-loose paradigm. Genevieve Valentine and David Messina have taken a character that's been one of the most static in comics and fundamentally changed her entire character while keeping what makes her HER completely intact, and it has never failed to be entertaining to read.
I had a recent conversation with a friend and co-worker about the unprecedented success that this title has enjoyed. And I mean unprecedented, normally the arc is a new character is introduced and languishes in obscurity or is summarily cancelled, and while obviously this isn't an entirely new character, she is a very fresh take on a old favorite and Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez have managed to make her their own.
After last issue's focus on character building, it sounds like Gwen's going back on the front lines and that's always where Rodriguez's art shines. This title has been a breath of fresh air, and the creative team has given no indication that they're losing momentum anytime soon.
Click here for the solicit. Preview below.
HONORABLE MENTION: GHOST RACERS #1
That's it for this week's edition of Essential Comics. Let us know what your books you're super-duper excited for this week in the comment section below!