Welcome back to another Top of the Pile! At the end of each month, the staff of Comic Vine picks their favorite issues for that month. We saw a lot of great issues in February, as well as the conclusions to some major stories. What did the staff have to say about all of this? Read on to find out.
Sara is on vacation this week, so here's what the rest of the team thinks.
Tony "GMan" Guerrero
We see all sorts of comics. I'm so thankful comics like this exist. Matt Fraction is killing it (I had to resist adding HAWKEYE #8 to this list as well). With the cast chosen to replace the Fantastic Four combined with Fraction's humor and Mike Allred's amazing art, this comic is crammed with fun and excitement. Seeing the Moloid kids turn their attention to The Jen is hilarious. We also see Jen reunite with her former flame, Wyatt Wingfoot (something long time readers will cheer) as well as Scott Lang's (serious) declaration that they need to "end" Doom.
I won't get into the argument against those that claim "nothing happened." This issue's conclusion was on a psychological level. The events leading up to the platter reveal had me on the edge of my seat. Seeing the entire family with bloody bandages made you wonder just what Joker was capable of. Their final scene showed Batman clearly knew how Joker's mind worked as he pushed him over the edge with just his words.
What could have easily been just another book in a growing "Justice League franchise," Geoff Johns shows us he has something more up his sleeve. We've wondered why the heck certain characters were selected for this team and the explanation is just the twist needed to make this book the flip side to JUSTICE LEAGUE. We'll have to wait and see where exactly Johns takes this title and when the inevitable clashes begin. With David Finch on board, it looks like it's going to be a great ride.
Once again I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying a Star Wars comic set in between Episodes IV and V. You would think the story and characters would be limited in the direction they could go because of this. Brian Wood carefully weaves a new story for the characters and you can see he really knows and cares about them. The idea of seeing some of the fallout over events from Episode IV is something I can't wait to see more of.
Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack have given us something we don't see too often in comics anymore, a great mystery. Set in a real crappy near-future version of the Marvel Universe, we get glimpses of many familiar characters as Ben Urich tries to uncover the truth behind Daredevil's last day. The cameos are great and painful at the same time as we see what's become of the characters. I have no idea what the next few issues hold but I'm so excited to find out.
Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring
I just wanted to say, very quickly, that although this feature has only been around since November of last year, this was the toughest month yet. There were so many great books this month. I'm going to break my own rules and give some honorable mentions below my picks.
The Throne of Atlantis story line is over, and with it comes a new king of Atlantis! With the first story line over, Aquaman takes a step away from the rest of the DCU and into the seas. He truly feels on his own here and that he owns his book. This was a pretty sad issue as Aquaman reconnects with the ocean and becomes its savior once again.
However, now that he's the king of Atlantis, there's a lot of new responsibilities and there seems to be some old villains coming back. This isn't just one of my favorite books of the month. It's one of my favorite issues of this series.
I picked this up on a whim only because Steve McNiven was drawing it, and I was extremely pleased with it. The issue was a ton of fun, and even though I've never really read a Guardians of the Galaxy book in my life, I felt this issue was incredibly new reader friendly. The art work is beautiful and I was really enjoying this story and where it is going. And although I've never been the biggest fan of the Marvel cosmic books, this one is officially on my pull list.
This one of those books I want to call my "guilty pleasure," but I never feel guilty about reading it. In this issue, the Phantom Stranger and the Spectre square off because Spectre blames Phantom Stranger for his "condition." While I found some of the dialogue to be a bit cheesy and even some of the action as well, I loved this issue. It's just a ton of fun. This issue and book slowly builds to the upcoming Trinity War, which looks like it could be the first big crossover event. This book is on my top of the pile every month, but this is the first time I've put it on my list.
Writer Joshua Dysart is doing a wonderful job on this book. We get a little break from the madness in this series to see where Toyo Harada came from. It's a compelling story and it will give a bit more understanding about why the character is the way he is. The art here is beautiful and extremely detailed. Overall, it was my favorite issue of the series so far.
This series has sucked me in, and it won't let go. The latest issue of CLONE is action packed and has a few big twists and turns. Juan Jose Ryp's art is insane here. He gets so much detail into each panel. Writer David Schulner has created a book that is a great mixture of science fiction and politics. We get two very solid stories coming to a head. This is a book you need to start reading. It's the perfect non-cape book.
Honorable Mentions: SAGA #10, X-O MANOWAR #10, ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #22, BATMAN #17, AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #17 and JUDGE DREDD #4. Yeah... That's how many books I loved this month.
This issue left me speechless when I finished my first read through. I've said it a thousand times before and I'll say it a million times more, Joshua Dysart is doing a phenomenal job crafting interesting and compelling characters. Toyo Harda's origin story is beyond moving and the artwork for the scenes in the past are disturbingly detailed. This is one of the most powerful issues I've read in a long, long time and I demand you read it!
DAMIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! Grant Morrison gives the little hero a proper sendoff and my favorite Robin goes down like a true champ. I won't lie, my eyes got a little watery reading this one. Burnham nails it with the pencils. The fight is visceral and there's some exceptionally unique panel layouts. It's tough to let it sink in that he's really gone (for now...), but I'm thrilled to see how this will be handled in the months to come. There's some serious potential for great follow-up stories to this... I just hope everyone can deliver on it.
Tom Taylor needs to write "The Adventures of Harley Quinn and Green Arrow" asap. This series has been so bleak and shocking, yet this issue was nothing but sunshine and laughter (okay, maybe there wasn't a lot of sunshine). This one's sure to warm anyone's heart and deliver a steady stream of laughs. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a sudden increase in demand for fake mustaches, either.
Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino have saved the Emerald Archer -- well, the book, not Ollie. In fact, Ollie is really put through the wringer in this one. Regardless, it was a massively huge leap in quality for the book and an exceptional start to what will hopefully be an awesome tale. Bring on the next issue!
Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason are killing me. They've done such a great job with the father/son dynamic and I have full faith the next set of issues will be an emotional hurricane. That said, I read this one totally aware that Damian's demise was near and that made this such a gut-wrenching experience. This issue did a brilliant job addressing the aftermath of 'The Death of the Family' and had some really trippy and creative moments thrown into the mix. That ending just yanked at my heartstrings, too.
Well, that's it for this month! Thanks for reading, friends! Make sure to come back at the end of this month to see what we loved about March! What was your Top of the Pile for this month? Agreements? Disagreements? Yellings?
Mat "InferiorEgo" Elfring is a comedian, idiot, and the host of this dumb podcast.
Follow him on twitter to yell at him.