Macallan (top of the line)
Border Town #4
You should be reading Border Town.
It’s not just that it’s an extremely interesting look into cultures that rarely get screen (or page) time. It’s not just that it connects with current events without being overshadowed by them. Border Town would still be good if that was all, but what makes it great are the characters.
These are some of the most realistic teenagers I’ve read in comics in a long time. Not only do they feel genuine, you get to know them very quickly. Writer Eric M. Esquivel does an amazing job of giving us what we need to do know about these characters to understand them right off the bat. Each one is interesting in their own way and their interactions make for great scenes.
This is the kind of teenage book we should be seeing more of, but we don’t. Maybe Border Town will change that.
Ramon Villalobos is killing it on this book. The Frank Quitely/Chris Burnham feel is still there, but every issue his work seems to evolve. The character designs, in particular, are fantastic. The teenagers are familiar enough for us to recognize, but dissimilar enough for them to evoke the identities of the characters. And the monsters are great, particularly on the other side.
Get on board with this book; you won’t regret it.
Jack Daniels (every day)
Adventures of the Super Sons #5 (of 12)
I’m not a huge fan of Bendis’ Superman run so far. I’m actually kind of confused by what people love about it. Some of that stems from the fact that he seemingly broke up Clark’s family for no reason or, even worse, to make changes to Jon Kent aka Superboy.
That brings us to this series, which takes place at an unspecified time in the past. I love the Super Sons so much it’s a little crazy. I love it when superheroes evolve and when time actually moves, which I realize is not something that happens in corporately owned superhero comics. That probably just makes me love it even more when it does happen.
Needless to say, I love that Batman and Superman are dads and I love that their sons team up on adventures. I also love that more often than not these adventures are written by Peter Tomasi who is perhaps the only writer I ever want working on these characters. He has them down pat.
Carlo Barberi was the perfect choice for the art on this book. I definitely miss seeing Jorge Jimenez’s work, but Barberi’s style is similar, albeit skewed a bit younger, which is fine – kind of like Jimenez with some Todd Nauk or Jeff Matsuda thrown in.
As with most comics written by Priest, this one seems to be going under the radar. That just means that years from now when there’s a Deathstroke movie everyone will discover how great this series is.
The great thing that Priest does on this book is that he doesn’t shy away from the fact that Deathstroke is an awful person. In fact, the sympathetic characters are the ones caught in the rubble that Deathstroke leaves behind. The man himself is never someone we root for, which is how it should be. Too often comics starring villains try to make the villain an “anti-hero” of some sort and it never works.
I’m particularly excited about this issue because it’s being drawn by Fernando Pasarin. I don’t know why Pasarin isn’t a bigger name in comics, but I love his art. There’s a depth to it, a complex vibrancy that’s hard for me to explain given how little I know about art. All I know is that it’s excellent and I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with Deathstroke.
Immortal Hulk #10
I’m currently writing a piece on how the Hulk, not Spider-man, Iron Man, Captain America, or even the X-Men, is the quintessential Marvel character, if you consider the entire history of the company. He deserves to have a fantastic series and, thanks to Al Ewing and Joe Bennett, he has it.
It would be trite to call this a deconstruction of the Hulk, but to a certain extent it is. But it’s doing so in a way that treats the Hulk like the force of nature that he is. This isn’t just Jekyll and Hyde or the Wolfman, this is the greatest force of destruction the world has ever seen. The Hulk is special. Nothing compares — not the Abomination, not She-Hulk, not Red Hulk, nothing.
This series has been equal parts horror and sci-fi with a little bit of superhero thrown in. It’s the best book Marvel currently publishes.
Jameson (good enough)
Hack Slash vs Chaos #1
I like Hack/Slash and I like Tim Seeley’s work most of the time, so I’m willing to give this a shot. I know nothing at all about Chaos Comics characters aside from the images that everyone has seen which, let’s be honest, don’t paint the best picture.
But if anyone can make those characters work it’s Seeley, who has spent years walking that fine line between sexy and objectification. Seeley makes a point of making sure there’s eye candy for everyone while still telling compelling stories that aren’t built around said eye candy. If Hack/Slash isn’t enough to convince you, his Grayson work should.
Still, selling me on the Chaos characters is an uphill battle.
Suntory (strangely fascinating)
X-Men Exterminated #1
Oh, X-Men, you keep ending up in this section because you keep doing weird things. This series is supposed to be a follow-up of a series that I believe ended before the new Uncanny launched, so I’m not sure why this didn’t happen sooner. But I guess this is the kind of thing that happens when you’re streamlining a bunch of titles to build them up again. There are probably a lot of storylines happening at once for only a handful of comics.
Regardless, everything the X-Men have done lately feels like an attempt at capturing former glory by retelling stories. I would love for these books to be new and exciting again, but I suppose this is what mainstream superhero comics all do when they’ve fallen on tough times.