Things have been going crazy this week, with querying agents, and working overtime and the like. So, I decided to take a little break from it all and talk about some awesome comics, specifically the comics always make it it to the top of my stack each month. For this list, I am only including comics that I pick up monthly, so those that I am following with trades (Fables!) will not be included. Here are my top five current comic book series, in alphabetical order
All New X-men (Marvel)
IMHO the best of the X-men comic books out there right now, All New X-men brilliantly takes the five original X-men and brings them to the current, very complicated, world of the Marvel Universe. Written by Brian Michael Bendis and filled with really good artwork by Stuart Immonen, All New X-men has made me take a second look at characters that I too often dismiss, and has featured some great moments by my favorite X-men, Kitty Pryde. The series is currently on issue 16, an the first two arcs have already been collected in hardcover.
It’s amazing what an impact this series has had on me in just three issues. Lazarus takes the best of the dystopian genre, adds a likable heroine, complicated family politics, and (as issue three would prove) plenty of twists. I quite enjoyed Greg Rucka’s work on Batwoman, but in this creator owned series, he really shines. I love how unabashedly bad-ass Forever is, and really look forward to see how the events of the first few issues will end up impacting her world view. Admittedly, I find Santi Arcas’s artwork to be a tad inconsistent, but there are moments (such as the opening pages of issue #1), where it’s really impressive.
I’ve been trumpeting the sheer awesomeness that is Saga since the very first arc. Thirteen issues in, and it has yet to lose its touch. Now an Eisner (and Hugo!) winning series, Saga is sci-fi epic about one family trying to make it in a universe that seems to want nothing more than to kill them all. Writer Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples are pretty much a match made in heaven. It doesn’t matter what crazy creature or scenario Vaughan might come up with, Staples will always pull it off with aplomb. The result is a series that is imaginative, satisfyingly adult, and all around filled with awesome.
The newest addition on my list at only two issues, Trillium is already proving to be something special. A time traveling sci-fi story that half takes place after World War I, and half in a distant future, Trillium is a unique, rather romantic tale about a solider and a scientist who traverse time to meet each other, and the result of that meeting. Author Lemire does a really good job with limited space. The first issue manages to tell two separate stories so completely, that it’s easy to forget that each character only has half a comic to impart their half. The artwork (also by Lemire. How often does THAT happen in American comics?) takes a little getting used to, but it can be beautiful in it’s strangeness at times.
The Wake (Vertigo)
Scary as all hell, this ten issue horror series by Scott Snyder has the tricky balancing act of pulling off a story that is equal parts epic and claustrophobic. Three issues in, and he’s doing quite a good job of it. I love how our protagonist, Doctor Lee Archer, is both tough and relateable. As a horror story goes, this series hits all the right marks for me. The fact that the main storyline takes place in an underwater lab, where I’d already by terrified of drowning, is scary enough, never mind the horrors that lie within it.
Angel and Faith (Dark Horse)
I guess I can’t really include this series because technically, it’s over! Where Dark Horse has struggled to find a balance for both Season Eight AND Nine for their Buffy title, Angel and Faith managed to be consistently enjoyable for twenty-five issues with barely a misstep. Drawing upon the original TV series’s theme of redemption, Angel and Faith did a great job mixing in old characters and new situations. I must applaud both the writer and artist for this title: writer, Christos Gage, for taking some of the most bat shit crazy plot twists and making them work brilliantly, and artist Rebekah Isaacs for drawing characters that kept the likenesses of the original actors, while never losing her style. I know that Angel and Faith never sold as well as Buffy (which is a shame as it’s the superior comic), but I hope to hell that Dark Horse retains this team for future Buffy-verse comics. They did a fantastic job.