Comic Book Power Rankings – August 2015

Nobody here at Hush Comics loves sports metrics more than I do. A die-hard NBA fan, I frequently rank players, teams and track stats every night to see who I should be picking up on the waiver wire (a term I know, but still do not understand at all) in our fantasy basketball league. It’s not really to be the best, but largely because I love the processes behind it; I love spreadsheets and systemic processes in how I arrive at these decisions. I even made a House of Quality together in order to break down which qualities I value in comic book series. This was all inspired by the creation of our Best of 2014 Comic Books collection of articles (which you should check out! A lot of hard work from our team went into those articles), when I realized that we had not been keeping track of which books were the best throughout the year.

Below is a list of what I consider the Top 20 comic books of the previous month. The opinions of these rankings is solely mine (unless noted), although they are influenced by the weekly review grades that our team doles out. I’m no expert on the ins and outs of the comic book industry, and I admittedly can’t read every book out there, but as long as I have this awesome platform to force my opinion on readers, why not use it? As always, we LOVE sparking conversations about the things we love, or even the things we don’t, so commentary is encouraged!

Rank Book Title Publisher Issues In Previous Movement
1 Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra Marvel 1
  He’s just a normal family guy, trying to cut it in the blue collar goon industry. Trying to place the normal within the insanity that is Battle World creates comedy gold.
2 Prez DC 3
  As far as political satires go, Prez is hands down the funniest, and is so hyperbolic that the fact that it’s relatable at all is appalling. Root for the little guy in one of DC’s rare non-cape books.
3 Rasputin Image 8
  Rasputin is my favorite comic at the moment. So far it’s the only book that’s compelled me to send fan mail. It’s a well written narrative, beautifully drawn, and spectacularly colored. I get something out if every issue I read and feel satisfied. Totally in love with this series. – Jené
4 Ms. Marvel Marvel 17
  Although Kamala briefly got caught in the web that is Secret Wars, her last issue, a heart-warming team up with Captain Marvel herself gave this book a special place on my shelf.
5 The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Marvel 8
  Three of the top five books are led by young women. Coincidence? Hell no! Squirrel Girl is hilarious and relatable – which says a lot since… ya know, she’s a squirrel.
6 TMNT IDW 49
  Not even shell-shock could stop Donnie! Things are getting heavy as a battle royale contest between the turtles and Foot knock down the door of the upcoming #50 spectacular.
7 Justice League DC 43 5 -2
  This is the best JL story since Forever Evil, and the most desparate time we’ve seen the team in of all New52. Geoff Johns continues to write an amazing book.
8 Batman DC 43 2 -6
  This is not the same book we read with Endgame. Bruce is in identity crisis mode and Gordon has taken over as Batman. Wacky story aside, Snyder/Capullo produce.
9 We Stand On Guard Image 3
  With the right creative team, even Canadians can be interesting. Brian K Vaughan’s new title makes you hate America more effectively than Donald Trump’s presidential run.
10 Bizarro DC 3
  Bizarro no am good book. Bizarro am very bad book. Book no am funny. Art is very ugly. Bizarro very normal, and Jimmy Olson (Bizarro’s worstest enemy) never wear disguises. Bizarro no am have hijinks. – Montgomery
11 Superman DC 43 8 -3
  We finally learned how Lois spilled the beans about Superman’s identity, and it’s refreshing to see Superman fight an enemy he can’t defeat by punching.
12 Old Man Logan Marvel 4
  While I love seeing an out-of-place Wolverine wander around Battle World in a confused rage, it’s Andrea Sorrentino’s panel layout that really keeps me engaged.
13 Groot Marvel 3
  As much as I loved the recently-retired Skottie Young Rocket Raccoon book, Groot is just as adorable. It’s good for all ages, with feel-good lessons in friendship and kindness. Aww.
14 Deadly Class Image 15 5 -9
  While the Remender/Craig tag-team reigns champion, I can’t get over just how scathingly manic-depressive this book got this month. It’s a downer for sure.
15 Nailbiter Image 15 16 +1
  The deeper we keep falling into the mystery, the further the bottom seems to be. It’s a phenomenal book, but I feel just as lost now as I did at square one.
16 The Walking Dead Image 145 4 -12
  I still look forward to this book every month, but the more I read it, the more I realize that Robert Kirkman is becoming George Lucas 2.0. There’s just too much TWD in the world for me right now. That being said, this new threat is gonna bring back the funk.
17 E is for Extinction Marvel 3
  Thank you, Chris Burnham, for making unsexy comic books cool. His raw art is perfect for this post-Morrison, Morrison-style book, which is as awesome as it is awkward.
18 Giant Sized Little Marvel AvX Marvel 3
  This book makes me feel like vomitting rainbows with each issue. It can be formulaic, but it’s just so darn cute – how could anybody not love this??
19 Postal Image 19 11 -8
  Mark, the autistic one-man Scooby gang, is tearing this conspiracy wide open. Although, just because it’s getting bigger doesn’t mean it’s getting better…
20 Batgirl DC 43
  It can be silly at times, but that’s part of the charm. Babs Tarr’s art has definitely grown on me. I’m fully on-board after some post-Gail Simone withdrawals.

 

Notably absent:

Most of the Secret Wars: I’m burnt out on Secret Wars. Marvel must be murdering DC in sales as of late, but their long game is tiring fans out.

Shutter and Birthright: For books that started as two of my favorite Image titles, the convoluted stories in both books have derailed their momentum significantly. I don’t expect that too last, though, as both books have the creative teams to handle it.

Wonder Woman: David and Meredith Finch have been a refreshing addition to the book, but the last couple issues have been noticeably lacking in substance or style. Plus, Donna Troy is completely one-dimensional and incapable of independent thought.

Retired books/ Hiatuses (Hawkeye, Saga, Bitch Planet, Sex Criminals): Some of the best books in the biz took the month off, making way for some newcomers to really shine this month!

Comic Book Power Rankings – February 2015

Nobody here at Hush Comics loves sports metrics more than I do. A die-hard NBA fan, I frequently rank players, teams and track stats every night to see who I should be picking up on the waiver wire (a term I know, but still do not understand at all) in our fantasy basketball league. It’s not really to be the best, but largely because I love the processes behind it; I love spreadsheets and systemic processes in how I arrive at these decisions. I even made a House of Quality together in order to break down which qualities I value in comic book series. This was all inspired by the creation of our Best of 2014 Comic Books collection of articles (which you should check out! A lot of hard work from our team went into those articles), when I realized that we had not been keeping track of which books were the best throughout the year.

Below is a list of what I consider the Top 20 comic books of the previous month. The opinions of these rankings is solely mine, although it is influenced by the weekly review grades that our team doles out. I’m no expert on the ins and outs of the comic book industry, and I admittedly can’t read every book out there, but as long as I have this awesome platform to force my opinion on readers, why not use it? As always, we LOVE sparking conversations about the things we love, or even the things we don’t, so commentary is encouraged!

Rank Book Title Publisher Issues In Previous Movement
1 Saga Image 25
  There is a whole new danger afoot. I like the direction that this already-stellar series is taking our protagonists, even if it is head-first into danger.
2 Batman DC 39 1 -1
  Joker has been playing with his food up to this point. With Batman up against the ropes, the Caped Crusader is getting desperate, and the Clown Prince of Crime is getting brutal.
3 Spider-Gwen Marvel 1
  Who would have thought that one issue of a mini-series would launch such a cult following? Marvel really Hit the Jackpot with this one.
4 The Walking Dead Image 137 4
  I’m as enthralled as I am disgusting with the eyeball-licking love session at the end of the last issue. I’m excited to see Carl grow, no matter the nasty cost.
5 Deadly Class Image 11 6 +1
  Marcus isn’t out of the doghouse just yet. The last thrill-ride of an issue keeps the adrenaline flowing.
6 Suiciders Vertigo 1
  There’s no better way to spend your time in a post-apocalyptic world than to see drugged up gladiators with cybernetic enhancements pummel each other to death.
7 Batman and Robin DC 39 5 -2
  While it wasn’t as emotionally pleasing as the last issue, Robin getting a spot at the table with Batman and Superman is a big deal.
8 Superman DC 38 16 +8
  The end of the last issue was so explosive that I’m surprised I was able to hold onto the page. In just six issues, Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr created history.
9 Amazing Spider-Man Marvel 15
  Even though Spider-Verse winded down this month, Spider-Man has left behind a wake of Spider-lore that will continue to effect the Marvel U… until they reboot it all, anyway.
10 Bitch Planet Image 3
  This book is extremely polarizing, but it has resonated with women in ways that no super-powered chick has. It’s very real and very original.
11 Postal Top Cow 1
  I’ve got a fever for creepy mystery books, and this Norman Bates-ish post boy is the cowbell of creepers. After one issue, this is already among my favorites.
12 Detective Comics DC 39 14 +2
  Anarky is afoot in Gotham, bringing an aspect to Bat-books that has been sorely missing. Add in amazing artwork and a Harvey Bullock back-story, and I’m sold.
13 Mortal Kombat X DC 3 10 -3
  MKX is trying to build a cohesive backstory to the upcoming video game, and its doing a commendable job. Due to it being a digital first, the issues are a bit short, though.
14 TMNT: Mutanimals IDW 1
  How can one mutant be on the same level of wicked awesomeness as Mikey? Mondo Gecko, along with Hob and the gang, are just as interesting as the TMNT – if not more.
15 Wonder Woman DC 39
  David and Meredith Finch have done a fine job with Wonder Woman since taking over, but what has me geeked out is an inevitable showdown between Diana and Donna Troy.
16 Nailbiter Image 10 18 +2
  Like this series could get any creepier… Finch is done doing the Hannibal Lecter dance with Nailbiter, and we are going to have quite an interesting arc coming up.
17 EI8HT Dark Horse 1
  Time travel and dinosaurs have never NOT been a winning combination, and this new series is no exception. I haven’t enjoyed a new sci-fi series this much since Black Science.
18 TMNT IDW 43 8 -10
  Everything is coming to a head with Shredder and Krang, but the confrontation between the two factions left more to be desired. A great book, but I wish it would stop teasing us.
19 Shutter Image 10 17 -2
  Kate’s world has practically exploded in the last few episodes, and the epiphanies just keep on coming. I could do with some more Alarm Cat, but I’m still enjoying the ride.
20 Magneto Marvel 15
  The Master of Magnetism got his mojo back, and he has a new scary focus that is all about his business. I bet Sabretooth is wishing he got the memo earlier.

 

Notably absent:

Birthright: Daaad! There’s something weird going on with Mikey! This fantasy book about a long-lost brother is really just now getting juicy, but there’s a dark secret lurking in here somewhere, and I’m not sure I like the path that Birthright is taking just yet.

Nameless: This book almost made the list this month if not just for the fact that two of my favorite creators are working on it (Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham). That being said, I have no idea what the hell is going on. Not even a little bit

Hawkeye: Bittersweet that one of the most underrated books in the whole industry is moving on after this month, but Matt Fraction and David Aja had such great chemistry. I can only hope we will be that lucky again.

Deathstroke: The Expendables of comic books, right here. I mean, maybe not really at all. The explosions and punny retorts are there, but this isn’t your father’s Slade Wilson. Beautiful panels by Tony Daniels don’t hurt, either.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: The first book swallowed me up so wholly that I was feeling let down by the second book. There weren’t nearly as many jokes, and the set-up for the next arc felt kind of boring. I don’t expect that to last.

 

 

Comic Book Power Rankings – January 2015

Nobody here at Hush Comics loves sports metrics more than I do. A die-hard NBA fan, I frequently rank players, teams and track stats every night to see who I should be picking up on the waiver wire (a term I know, but still do not understand at all) in our fantasy basketball league. It’s not really to be the best, but largely because I love the processes behind it; I love spreadsheets and systemic processes in how I arrive at these decisions. I even made a House of Quality together in order to break down which qualities I value in comic book series. This was all inspired by the creation of our Best of 2014 Comic Books collection of articles (which you should check out! A lot of hard work from our team went into those articles), when I realized that we had not been keeping track of which books were the best throughout the year.

Below is a list of what I consider the Top 20 comic books of the previous month. The opinions of these rankings is solely mine, although it is influenced by the weekly review grades that our team doles out. I’m no expert on the ins and outs of the comic book industry, and I admittedly can’t read every book out there, but as long as I have this awesome platform to force my opinion on readers, why not use it? As always, we LOVE sparking conversations about the things we love, or even the things we don’t, so commentary is encouraged!

Rank Book Title Publisher Issues In Previous Movement
1 Batman DC 38
  There just isn’t a better book out there, and starting off Joker’s 75th birthday with Endgame is a great way to ensure the top spot.
2 Sex Criminals Image 10
  Unabashed sexuality and humor make this the most honest book on the shelves. And the freezing time with orgasms thing is great, too.
3 Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Marvel 1
  Plenty of silly to go around, Squirrel Girl isn’t just a great new book, but has potential to bridge gaps between comic book readers of all creeds.
4 The Walking Dead Image 136
  Carl is both a lover AND a fighter, as new dangers loom on the horizon (as always). Kudos for making this small world into a bigger, scarier place.
5 Batman and Robin DC 38
  Damian is back from the dead – with superpowers; he may be bulletproof, but he is not immune to the human condition as he deals with his own mortality. Beautifully done.
6 Deadly Class Image 10
  Sure, there’s the teenage angst of the 80’s, the murder, drug trips and the love triangles. But really, “That was no fart” is why this book is so high on the list.
7 Justice League DC 38
  How could Lex Luthor create more havoc as a good guy than as a villain… In any case, a zombie Batman JL vs. Supes and WW? Get the popcorn.
8 TMNT IDW 42
  Mutanimals attack! There is so much going on in TMNT right now, but the mounting war with Hob and Splinter interests me most.
9 Superior Iron Man Marvel 4
  Ever think to yourself, “self, Tony Stark sure straddles the line between good guy a-hole and bad guy a-hole.” Well, self, you’re right, and this book is why.
10 Mortal Kombat DC 4
  I’ve been waiting for a legitimate MK comic book for years. This is just as bloody and fun as the game, and will get me over til its April release.
11 SHIELD Marvel 2
  It’s like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but worth the time investment. We still get the strategic genius of Agent Coulson, now with superheroes!
12 Star Wars Marvel 1
  Who would I be if this on the list? In what was the most anticipated book this month, I’m already more into this run than I ever was with Dark Horse’s.
13 Multiversity DC ?
  Seemlessly poking fun at the Multiverse while creating a cohesive story, Grant Morrison does what Grant Morrison wants. Good for us.
14 Detective Comics DC 38
  I would never have guessed that Anarky would be the next great Batman villain. This book puts the “detective” back in Detective Comics.
15 Birthright Image 4
  What child doesn’t wish they could go on a Jumanji-style demon-slaying adventure with their family? A really lame one, that’s for sure.
16 Superman DC 38
  A new creative team introduced a new character, and really revived a series which has since been oerwhemingly underwhelming.
17 Shutter Image 8
  Shutter has been suffering recently from the necessary lull of storytelling, but it’s so unique and gorgeous that I won’t dare remove it from the Top 20.
18 Nailbiter Image 9
  Each issue has increasingly given me the heeby-jeebies. In a good way. I am not a horror comic fan but I am most definitely a fan of this book.
19 Moon Knight Marvel 11
  Shuffle around the creative team, take away his armor, Mark Spector is still one BAMF. Moon Knight is my new underground favorite at Marvel.
20 Tooth and Claw Image 3
  Making the list solely on the principle of curiosity, Tooth & Claw is a fantastical book of magic, anthropomorphic animals, and other ill s***.

 

Notably absent:

Saga: “What have you done for me lately” is the name of the game here. Expect Saga to knock one of these series off its high horse when the series returns from its three-month hiatus this week.

Wonder Woman: Barely missed the cut. Great panels and intriguing characters keep me coming back each month.

Spider-Verse: Another Marvel “event” has worn out its welcome and left me pining for the end. I’m done buying six books to understand one story.

Powers: Brian Michael Bendis’ soon-to-be streaming series is a whole new world (to me), but I think I need to learn more before I can really dive in.

Shaft: I expected this to read more like the comic book embodiment of Public Enemy, but it’s got more bark than bite at this point.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: I love this book, even more so since Brian Buccaletto took over, but there is just too much emphasis on “The Dark” recently for my taste.

 

 

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best Artist

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best Comic Book Artist

  • Fiona Staples – Saga (Image Comics)
  • Greg Capullo – Batman (DC Comics)
  • Leila del Duca – Shutter (Image Comics)
  • Mateus Santolouco – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW Comics)
  • Mike Henderson – Nailbiter (Image Comics)

WINNER – Greg Capullo

This guy right here, he could make anything look good. When we interviewed him in May, he even made us look good and each month, he makes Scott Snyder look good, as well. A fair amount of thanks go to Snyder and his colorist FCO Plascencia, but this self-taught artist gets a lion’s share of the credit for why Batman is the best book in the industry. Thanks to years of pencilling Spawn, Capullo has the terrifying down-pat, but Capullo has also made the panels of Batman undeniably beautiful at times. As a Batfan, I hope he sticks around forever, but if he chooses to leave the series come issue #50, I will follow him wherever he goes. – Sherif

Second Place – Fiona Staples

Saga #19
Saga #19

All I have to say here is go read Saga and you’ll see why Fiona Staples deserves to be the top rated artist from this year. Her slightly sketchy style of lines adds a fantastically whimsical quality to every page. Even when the story line hits overly serious notes Fiona’s artwork adds a hint of magic to what’s happening in the scene. I’m not the only one who thinks she deserves every accolade she receives. With nine award nominations, six of which she won, it’s clear to see she towers above almost all of her peers. On top of doing the art for Saga, she was just picked to do the art for the new Archie comics. To be tapped to draw the next generation of one of the longest running series of comics ever written speaks more than any award. – Scott

Third Place – Mike Henderson

Nailbiter #2
Nailbiter #2

There’s no harder job in a horror story comic book than making it look frightening, yet still keeping the technique so crisp. Sure, you could go the route of Jock, who does the psychotic, manic art on Wytches, but I find so much more substance in Mike Henderson’s Nailbiter art. Nailbiter has just the right amount of terrifying mixed in with beautifully drawn backgrounds and character models. What makes me love Henderson’s art so much is that he doesn’t get in the way of the story to try to boast. There are times that I completely forget I am reading a comic book because I get lost in the flow of the art; it feels like I am watching a horror film. To boot, the guy is a phenomenally diverse artist with a lot of love for other work. I look forward to being scared shitless by Mike Henderson in 2015. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Mateus Santolouco

TMNT #38
TMNT #38

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been around for nearly 30 years, and with all the different versions that have been released in comic book form, nobody has done as well as Mateus Santolouco has at making me feel the same joy I felt when I first got into the Heroes in a Half-Shell. Not only do the turtles look great, but the slew of other mutants (ugly and beautiful) look perfect, too. It’s as if he studied to see what Kevin Eastman’s work would look like in the future. After kicking butt in last year’s Secret of the Foot Clan and City Fall, Santolouco continues his strong run with the debut of the Mutanimals, leading up to an impending war between Shredder and Krang. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Leila del Duca

leila del duca artist shutter 2 best of 2014

I want to first say: I knew her before she got big, so that makes me better than everyone. I met her at a tiny little event called the Cow Town Comi-Con on the top floor of The Tattered Cover where she was selling original art for a personal project. Instantly, I told her she needed to be working for Marvel or Image or someone. Fast forward just a couple of years, and ta-da: artist on the fantastically popular Shutter. While she wasn’t born in Denver, I feel like Denver gets credit for her since she did live, work, and get her education here. – Cuyler

Next Category: Best New Series

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best New Series

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best New Comic Book Series

  • Image Comics – Deadly Class (Rick Remender & Wes Craig)
  • Marvel Comics – Ms. Marvel (G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona)
  • Marvel Comics – Moon Knight (Warren Ellis/Brian Wood & Declan Shalvey/Greg Smallwood)
  • Image Comics – Nailbiter (Joshua Williamson & Mike Henderson)
  • Image Comics – Shutter (Joe Keatinge & Leila del Duca)

WINNER – Nailbiter (Williamson/Henderson)

I love dark humor, and Nailbiter is chock full of it.  Nailbiter tells the tale of a town in Oregon that is home to a few too many serial killers.  People travel there to visit the murder store.  That alone is hilarious.  There are a slew of new murders occurring, and the police are involved.  We are slowly getting to meet the different killers and townsfolk, but the main killer, Nailbiter, is by far the best character in the series.  I look forward to this book every month, and am sure 2015 will bring out some very interesting things about the people of the small town.  Congrats to Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson for an amazing story.  Job well done! – Adrian

Second Place – Shutter (Keatinge/del Duca)

Shutter #2
Shutter #2

“Superhero this, superhero that. I want something different. I want… I want a vast and mysterious world full of danger at every corner. I want a gang of lions fighting with actual ghost ninjas, and ruthless assassins riding triceratops into battle and and and… the main character has to have a cute, unassuming companion. A pet. But not just any pet; let’s make it a ridiculous Japanese-inspired alarm clock cat. Oh, and it has to have a kick-ass artist like, uh… who’s that girl from Denver? Leila del Duca? Yeah, definitely her. Wait, what’s that? There’s a book like that out already? Hell yeah I will pick that up” – you after reading this

Third Place – Moon Knight (Warren Ellis/Declan Shalvey)

Moon Knight #2
Moon Knight #2

He’s the one they always see coming.  That’s the way he wants it.  He wants them to know in the moments before he ends them that they never had a chance.  This is the core of Marc Specter, Moon Knight.  Marvel revived the Moon Knight title this year.  I’d never heard of the hero before this year, but at the suggestion of a friend I picked it up.  Best. Decision. Ever!  For those unfamiliar, Moon Knight is a hero with very unique powers granted to him by the Egyptian deity Khonshu.  If he’s not kicking butt in his blindingly white three-piece suit, he’s doing it in his ancient Egyptian heavy armor.  In one word, Moon Knight is awesome.  I tend to use that term often, but after reading Moon Knight this year my “awesome-bar” has been raised quite high.  Thus I will be using it much more seldom in 2015.  I’m glad to know that a main arc for this series has just begun.  2015 should be an eventful year for Marc as he fights the evil that lurks in the darkness.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my search for my own suit of magical, ancient Egyptian armor.  I don’t know if I can face 2015 without it. – Taylor

RUNNER UP – Deadly Class (Remender/Craig)

Deadly Class #3
Deadly Class #3

A boy has to have a dream, and if that dream is to kill President Ronald Reagan, who are you to judge? Deadly Class is another awesome Rick Remender book under the Image Comics imprint that follows Marcus Lopez, common street urchin that gets recruited to a school of assassins. It’s relatable because it’s high school, but also not at all because they are constantly murdering each other. The use of color is phenomenal here; Wes Craig likes using vibrant colors to denote violence and danger – which is a majority of the time. The story has gotten continually deeper, and as Remender fleshes out the background stories of the supporting characters, it has only gotten more captivating since the first issue. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Ms. Marvel (Willow Wilson, )

Ms. Marvel #3
Ms. Marvel #3

I don’t need a comic book character that looks like me to be relatable. If I could relate my childhood struggles to anybody, it wouldn’t be Peter Parker; it would be Kamala Khan. The new Ms. Marvel book, written by Colorado native and Egyptian transplant G. Willow Wilson, follows a normal girl with a good family who is trying to find a way to stretch herself between two cultures. She doesn’t just do battle with baddies, but with all the everyday problems that plague a girl in her position. Aside from the funny Arab-American banter, there is a lot this new generation of comic book readers can learn from a girl like Kamala. – Sherif

 Next Category: Comic Book Mini-Series

Comic Book Reviews 08-13-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

 

Pick of the Week:

8.13 starlight 5 pick of the week

Starlight #5 A

This book is what adventures are made out of! Duke McQueen, once savior of the galaxy, is now an old man who has lived his life shamed by the very people he saved because nobody believes him – including his own sons. However, the same cannot be said across the galaxy in Tantalus, where an underground revolution is stirring. It’s hard to tell you what happened in this issue without spoiling anything, but know that s*** is about to get REAL. I enjoy every aspect of this story, and the books move along at a very brisk pace, containing just enough dialogue to keep readers engaged but not enough to feel cluttered. With Kick-Ass officially done for good, this is my new favorite MillarWorld book out. For something new and exciting, this is the book you should be reading! – Sherif

 

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios:

Hexed #1 – A-

Perhaps the biggest reason I loved the new comic Hexed is because it was very reminiscent of Buffy, but instead of our hero, Lucifer, being a Slayer, she is a cat burglar.  Lucifer is witty and quick thinking.  She also knows a lot about the magical world.  After all, most of her jobs involve some sort of magical, artsy artifact.  The art in this book was mesmerizing; the use of color was very well done, taking us from ” the normal world”, to the bright colors of magical hexes, and to the dark and eery world from inside of a scary painting.  The story was enough of a teaser to keep me interested for the next issue, but it also kept me interested in what was happening in the moment.  Lucifer is very relatable, despite the fact that she is a thief and is very mixed up in the magical world.  She has a lot of foes, and it can be hard to determine who is the worst.  This isn’t a gripe with the book, rather a compliment because it is often hard for anyone to distinguish who the baddies are in our own lives.  The first issue left us with a pretty big cliffhanger, which is something I personally like when I have only 20 pages to get into a story.  I definitely expect Hexed to just get better from here on out.  – Adrian

 

Dark Horse:

Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle #8 – C+

Well everything I thought was coming pretty much got shot down this issue. I was hoping for happier ending for John Connor but it seems like that won’t be happening, at least the way things are looking. The cover and the last issue were definitely a bit misleading, but we still have plenty of time left to change John’s future. – Robert

 

DC/Vertigo:

Batman #34 – A-

I’m still reeling from the end of Zero Year, the phenomenal story of Batman’s first appearance in Gotham City. This issue is the bridge into the next arc, Endgame, which is undoubtedly going to be another classic. As far as one-shots go, this is pretty damn great. Matteo Scalera does a decent job filling in, and honestly, the ultra-dark tone of the issue is suited by it. We get to see a morbid side of Gotham and Batman that we really haven’t gotten to since Snyder’s first Batman run, The Black Mirror. It honestly gave me the creeps, in a good way. This killer that Batman is trying to catch gave me extra heebie-jeebies because he is more along the lines of what could happen in real life. I’m looking forward to seeing the team back together in issue #35, but this was a great all-encompassing story well worthy of you time. – Sherif

Batgirl #34 C-

As much as I will miss Gail Simone’s writing, a complete creative overhaul for Batgirl is just what the doctor ordered. This latest Knightfall arc has floundered for a good ten issues, so this big finale was a great way to send Simone off. The art in Batgirl has also gotten progressively worse, with this issue being one of the least appealing in recent history. Batgirl pulls out all the stops, and calls in all the favors she can to beat Knightfall, but it doesn’t feel like the climactic ending that the book deserved. Where the book does succeed is in the portrayal of the original Birds of Prey team – Huntress, Canary and Batgirl. They work very well together and Simone’s writing gave me a solid case of nostalgia reading it. It was a decent way to wrap up this run, and I do look forward to the next version of Barbara Gordon; I have high hopes that a new start will revitalize the character. – Sherif

Batman Eternal #19 – C-

I don’t know why I continue to read this book anymore seeing as I have not been satisfied for the last ten issues or so. Now that Zero Year is over, things are going back to normal in the regular Batman book. I don’t like how they are using it to bridge the gaps in other books and how it is becoming a mandatory read in order not to be confused in a book I actually care about. About half way through this book I felt completely lost and realized how much I hate DC for doing this with another book. I have been very critical of how they did the same thing with the Superman family. It’s as if they are forcing people to read subpar books by putting important bits of information in them (I’m looking at you Superboy). I don’t appreciate this approach at all and should the writing also continue to be subpar, will have to discontinue my support of most of these publications. – Robert

 

IDW Comics:

Star Trek #36 – A-

What a wonderful series for any Star Trek fan! In this issue we see the current film cast, Deep Space Nine’s captain Sisko and Odo, and of course Q the greatest villain from The Next Generation (sorry, Borg). The art as with most IDW series is fantastic and unlike sometimes, each character looks exactly like they did in their respective series. I am sure we will see more The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and maybe even Enterprise, which would be great. If you are a fan of Star Trek in any capacity this is spectacular and even if you are not this is a great series as it may introduce you to characters from the entire Star Trek Universe to give you an idea of which series you may enjoy more.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #37 B-

(B+) This was a pretty fun one off issue for the series where we see a battle between Shredder and Krang and a new mutant is introduced. The story for this issue is pretty solid despite the lack of Turtles in it but nevertheless, the story is good and gives us a great look into the two biggest villains in turtle history. The art is done by Cory Smith and he knocks it out of the park with this issue and it is nice and fresh to see a different artist than Mateus Santolouco although all the artist for this series have been great! Definitely check out this issue as it is a single story and a new arc will start next month. – Jacob

(C) Since City Fall, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are preparing for a comeback. However, with Shredder in possession of some mutagen, he has set his sites upon higher targets. However, before taking over the world, he must first have a meeting of the minds with Krang. The tensions quickly rise, as the two are both too stubborn to share a vision of the future. There are some great scenes between the two, but a lot of the issue is mindless banter between Shredder and Krang, with a predictable ending and zero turtles. The addition of Krang into the mix will give the fight for New York a new perspective for the TMNT, so while this issue was a bit stagnant, it was necessary in the grand scheme of things. – Sherif

The X-Files #15 – B-

Well this issue was definitely a mind bending issue as I am still thinking about the ending… But the art of this series has always gotten on my nerves although it is the worst I have seen I wish a more detailed artist could do some upcoming issues as they have many which is obvious with the covers for this series. The writing for this issue is top notch as I have felt this whole series is and is definitely a must have for any fan of the television series. Although if you are looking to start right now, I would wait or try and read all the back issues first as things have gotten real crazy especially this issue so it could definitely be confusing to the new reader.

Transformers: Primacy #1 C+

The final installment in the current Transformers series starts out with recent Autobot Academy graduate Hot Rod joining the ranks of the Auto Bots and learning the ins and outs like any fresh meat (or fresh metal in this case). In the meantime, Optimus is off climbing glaciers with Ironhide when they come across something ancient and Megatron seems to have some dastardly new plan. Overall, I enjoyed this; it was a bit slow with all the exposition, but I feel like this mini-series is going to get pretty good. I also enjoyed the art in this one. It was very realistic although it was a bit dark at times. Definitely worth the time if you’re a Transformers fan. – Cody

 

Image Comics:

Sex Criminals #7 A

There aren’t too many books that really pull off a dildo sword fight. Matt Fraction has written in the most ridiculous scenes into this book about two twenty-somethings who find a bond between them because they can freeze time from their orgasms. I absolutely love how John’s backstory intertwines with the current situation. The books has been primarily told through Susie’s point of view, so this helps add some variety to a character we’ve never gotten to fully explore. This book is fully shifting back into gear after our power couple fell into a bit of a lull, relationship-wise. Especially after John found what was in the Sex Police basement, I’m entirely excited for the book to get back to it’s action-packed, crazy self. Like I said, dildo swashbuckling. – Sherif

Shutter #5 A-

Shutter continues to wow. Five issues in and I’m still awed by Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca’s adventure story. Every installment opens more and more doors for what could possibly come next, and because it is such an original story, I have no expectations for what will come next or when I expect anything to wrap up. I also love the concept of revealing the backstory of Kate’s dad bit by bit instead of doing it all at once. Each appearance fits within the story, and although answering questions, also shrouds itself in enough mystery to keep me intrigued for future issues. And then there’s Alarm Cat, who is one of the best companions you could ever ask for. There are a few moments that make you lose brief connection with Kate, but for the most part, this book is just pure gold, and I hope there is enough juice to squeeze 100 more issues! – Sherif

The Walking Dead #130 B-

I have no idea what is going on here. Did George Romero take over as writer for The Walking Dead? There are events in this issue that our brand new to the series, but has been the central theme to all of the recent Romero titles. I’m not sure whether it’s done as a slight, since Romero has trashed TWD as being a “soap opera,” or whether the series is actually going to go in that direction, but it’s straight-up absurd. I do give the issue a lot of praise for progressing the story along – setting up Carl for a better role and finally showing a post-pregnancy Maggie – and especially for not taking the easy bait at the end of the last issue. There’s still tons of promise in this series, so a little absurdity is allowed. – Sherif

 

Marvel:

All-New X-Men #20 B+

If you picked up this book and stopped reading it after the first ten pages, you would think that it is a terrible book. The awkward PG-13 relationship between X-23 and Angel was enough to make me take pause. The whole “I’m an animal” and “if you only knew the things I’ve done” cliché has been done so many times that it’s hardly even parodied anymore. The real excitement is between Jean Grey and Emma Frost, the latter of which is trying to push Jean Grey to realize her true powers. We finally get the showdown between the two, as Emma’s jealousy is addressed. Meanwhile, Kitty Pryde and her relationship with Star-Lord is investigated further. The signature of this series has been the fact that it is often tethered to lots of humor – none more so than Iceman. This is an exemplary bridge issue that still progresses multiple storylines, and gets us one step closer to finding out the contents of Charles Xavier’s Last Will and Testament. – Sherif

Spider-Man 2099 #2 – B+

This book has the potential to be really good and actually has a great sense of humor, especially in this episode. Things have started a bit on the slow side but I am sure things are going to pick up soon enough. I have no complaints about this issue and am looking forward to what this book has to offer in the future. – Robert

Wolverine #11 – C+

(B-) One more month until one of Marvel’s most famous characters and personally one of mine (after all he was best friends with Morph in the X-Men animated series) meets his ultimate fate. We have him getting to Sabertooth’s lair with many allies and trying to take him on. Obviously with next month being the last, we don’t get the epic battle between Wolverine and Sabertooth but we don’t have long to wait. The art of this issue is great and the story is good as well. Although it is an epic event the story is not the best I think Wolverines death should have, but we will see how it all goes down next month. – Jacob

(C) Well the time we have been waiting for during these last few months is almost upon us. One more issue and Wolverine is gonna be dead. I am actually wondering if he will finally kill Sabretooth and take that orb to get his powers back. Or maybe this will be some crappy metaphorical death. Either way, if they were going to actually kill Wolverine, I wish they wouldn’t have announced it so long ago. For being so close to the end, this issue had an awful lot of filler. I am honestly ready for this to be over so we can move on to whatever is coming next. – Robert

Original Sin #7 – C

This series has been enjoyable but I found myself lost in this issue. I still feel like I understand what s going on, but by the end of this issue I was left scratching my head. The art as always in this series is good although it is insanely dark with more shadows than words on the page and this is a wordy series. It is all over next month so yeah it is a bad time to just get into the series and it is one of the more violent Marvel series at the moment so also not for kids. – Jacob

Amazing Spider-Man #5 – C

I am not sure that I am crazy about this love triangle Peter has suddenly gotten himself into. He is supposed to be in relationship with Anna and we all know you can never get rid of Mary Jane, and now he has this new chick, it is like a bad soap opera even by comic book standards. I am more interested in the ending of this issue however; there is no way they are going to release Peter’s identity again so I want to see how he gets out of this. Nothing too crazy has happened since Peter came back, minus the new chick, so I am hoping that they pick up the pace instead of easing back into things. – Robert

Deadpool #33 – C

Although this Deadpool story arc has been interesting with meeting his daughter, it is altogether not a great Deadpool story. After reading some really good Deadpool stories it is hard to read the constant three series of the character that happen each month. The art is pretty good but not great and overall the story is enjoyable as most Deadpool but this story is definitely one of the duller of this series. – Jacob

Deadpool: Dracula’s Gauntlet #6 – C-

Ok I have to admit this issue was quite fun once I got past my views of just how ridiculous it is. I still don’t think it is anything special but in this issue we got to see Red Hulk, Ghost Rider, Elektra, Punisher, Blade, and a couple extra Deadpool regulars. The art is for this series has been good for the whole run and the story overall isn’t good or terrible. If you enjoy Deadpool, it is worth a read otherwise avoid this series, as it is one of the craziest and weirdest Deadpool series I have read. – Jacob

Nova Special #1 – F

I found this issue to be incredibly boring. NOVA is a kid who is out of his league at this point. He can hardly even handle a bunch of teenage X-Men. I found myself struggling to even get to the next page. Iron Man is a total douche (as always). The ‘X-Kids’ are morons. And, NOVA is weak. The art of the book isn’t bad, until Iron Man shows up, I’m not sure what was going on there. Even though it only takes 10 minutes to read, save you time, watch The Office instead…at least you’ll laugh. – Cody

 

Funniest Panel:

8.13 all new x-men 30 funny panel

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

8.13 tmnt 37 cool panel

 

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

 

Denver Comic Con 2014 Interview – Leila del Duca

Leila del Duca, the artist for Image Comics Shutter, was kind enough to allow us this interview. Shutter is a fantastical adventure book and, although it is just three issues in, has already grabbed readers’ attention. It’s the kind of story that comic books were made to be about. The creatures, the action sequences – it all boils down to being a fun and exciting story about even crazy characters and situations. Short of making you buy the book, I’ll just say that the books are just as interesting as Leila is, so we’ll hop right to it!

 

Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con 2014 articles

Hush Comics: I keep telling my friends how awesome Shutter is, but it’s hard to explain the story to them. How would you pitch the book to somebody who has never seen anything like it before?

Leila del Duca: It’s a hard book to pitch because it’s so weird and out there and belongs in multiple genres. I usually say it’s about world-famous explorer Kate Kristopher who is thrown back into the adventuring life she tried so hard to leave behind. If I have more time, I stress that the book is about family, who you adopt into your life and how you deal with blood relations you don’t want. And if they still don’t look interested I’m like, “But sir, it’s set in this crazy version of Earth with mythological beings, talking animals, and spacemen!”

holy GD WTSHC: Shutter is a huge accomplishment! How does it feel to have “made it” in the industry?

LD: It feels freaking phenomenal! I love having strangers come up to me and tell me they like my work, which never really happened before. It’s super validating to finally feel this way after working towards this my whole life. I truly hope I continue to “make it” in this industry, because I’m having the best time creating comics for you guys.

HC: You’ve worked with other publishers, but how is Image unique?

LD: Working with Image has been such an educational, uplifting experience thus far, standing by me every step of the way and teaching me how the industry does, and, in many cases, should be run. Their amazing team is professional, timely, encouraging, and excited about what they’re doing. I’ve felt like I’ve joined a sort of family that takes care and looks after each other, and this family produces some of the most unique and enjoyable stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

HC: Although the book is pretty new, it’s been a long time coming for you as an artist. What kinds of projects did you take on to stay afloat as an artist?

LD: I worked on various genres, but mainly sci-fi and fantasy comics. I’ve also done slice of life, superhero, and zombie western stories. As much as I rave about how brilliant and perfect it working on Shutter is, every past project has a warm place in my heart. Without these stepping stones, I never would have made it here and though working on these past projects hasn’t always been a dream, I appreciate the good and bad that came with all of them and the creators I’ve worked with.

HC: On a similar note, which books other than Shutter can we find your work on?

LD: A few years ago, where it kind of started, was ESCAPE FROM TERRA, a libertarians in space web comic. I claim pencil, ink, color, and writing credits depending on when you jump in the story. It’s still online at Big Head Press. Next, I self-published a book of short comics called THE FOX WITCH AND OTHER TALES. I also art directed two volumes of the Denver-based literary and arts series, CELLAR DOOR. More recently, I did a zombie western with Fried Comics, DEADSKINS, which is still slowly being released online on their website. Lastly, I’m still finishing up the fourth and last issue of THE PANTHEON PROJECT, written by Erik Taylor, soon to be printed with Action Lab at the end of this year.

Photo taken from The Pantheon Project's Facebook page
Photo taken from The Pantheon Project‘s Facebook page

HC: How do you get the most out of the comic book scene in Denver as a professional?

LD: By being social, showing up to events, making friends, connection with other professionals. So much of comics is just networking.

HC: Joe Keatinge is known for his crazy imagination. How does his creativity fuel yours?

LD: In probably every way… His unbelievable imagination and ideas inspire me to create the best, most imaginative images I can. We’ve said a couple times that our mutual desire to impress one another is in large part what drives this comic.

HC: For being a new artist, you get a ton of gorgeous, full-page spreads. Is that something Keatinge pushes for, or is that something you present to him?

LD: Joe definitely is the one with all the great double page spreads, and 16 and 9 panel grid page ideas. He leaves other page layout stuff to me, but he really knows what needs a full page, what sequence needs a different type of panel layout, etc. He knows how to pace a story and what’s important to emphasize on a page.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 11.04.41 PM

HC: The various animals in Shutter are a huge selling point for me: foxes riding triceratops, lions in mobster suits, you know – the usual. Is there something that draws you to anthropomorphic characters over humans?

LD: I wouldn’t say I prefer them to humans, but I equally enjoy them just as much. I love giving characters personalities and it’s a different kind of challenge when I have to do that with an anthro character. Also, for the record, I never told Joe that I wanted to draw anthropomorphic characters, I just said I wanted to draw anything and everything and that’s what he gave me, and I’m super happy he did because they’re all a blast!

HC: Which of these characters around Kate is your favorite and can you give us a hint at any more of the insanity coming up?

LD: Awe man, I’d have to say Ekland is my favorite. She’s so fun to draw and I love her personality, her pointy samurai gear, her mohawk–everything! As for the insanity coming up, no spoilers for you! I think I already leaked some crazy things that happen in issue 4 to the internet so I don’t want to give any more away. But rest assured…there is a lot more insanity. Shutter wouldn’t be Shutter without it.

ekland

HC: Where is the best place for fans to connect with you?

LD: Probably Twitter, @leiladelduca, or DeviantArt, leilasedai.deviantart.com. Or the Shutter letters column email, shuttercomics@gmail.com.

 

The artwork posted belongs to Leila del Duca and Image Comics.