Hey! Listen! June was a crazy month for comic books, simply because so many amazing things happened. Each month, for Top of the Pile, members of the Comic Vine staff let you know what their favorite books for the past month were, and this month was a toughy. Let's cut right to the action!
Tony "G-Man" Guerrero's Picks
Zero Year is finally here. It was everything I had hoped it would be. Many have been saying we already know Batman's origin but that's not fully what this is. With the New 52, there are many unknowns. We also don't know the complete story of the beginning of Batman's career. We knew what happened to his family and then saw his very beginnings in costume. This issue shows there's so much more to see. With Snyder and Capullo on board, what more could we ask for? And this is just the beginning of the story.
Daredevil has had so many great writers and epic runs. Mark Waid continues that tradition. This entire volume, from the beginning, has been spectacular. Waid has pieced together one giant story over so many issues and it never felt as if it was being prolonged. It all fit together nicely and reaching the conclusion makes you want to go back and start all over again. Great story, great art and great colors.
This is a team up story that we've been waiting for. Set in the early days of the New 52, there is a bit of mystery in the sense that we're not fully sure how these two characters will interact. They have been shown to have a great friendship but this is taking place before that time. With so much fresh and unknown, it adds to the suspense of the storytelling as we are completely in the dark about what happens next. Greg Pak does a great job setting things up and Jae Lee and Ben Oliver do a beautiful job on the art.
We've been seeing a lot of Superman coverage with Man of Steel in being in theaters this month. With Scott Snyder and Jim Lee responsible for this new Superman series, we can't help but feel the excitement in anticipation of what the two will add to the character. Snyder sets up an interesting story with twists and Lee's art captures the mood of the story. We also got a brief back up with art by Dustin Nguyen.
This was quite the month for Daredevil as well. Besides the debut of DAREDEVIL: DARK NIGHTS, we also got the amazing conclusion to DAREDEVIL END OF DAYS. Set in the near future, we witnessed the final days of Daredevil and an incredible mystery that unfolded over the eight issues. There was no telling what would happen next. We got tiny glimpses at possible 'futures' of several characters and there was so many shocks and surprises over this series you'd have to stop and catch your breath after reading. Brian Bendis and David Mack did a wonderful job on the story and it was made even better with the art by Klaus Janson, Bill Sienkiewicz and David Mack. This was such a fun ride.
Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring's Picks
Well, it happened. BATMAN made its way to the top of my top of the pile list. Going in, I wasn't sure how to feel about a retelling of Batman's origin. However, I was very pleased with how this first issue played out. Writer Scott Snyder made some very interesting changes with this character, including the idea that Bruce wanted his playboy counterpart to remain dead, while he fought crime. We get to see the Red Hood gang as well as some of Bruce's detective work. This isn't the Batman we know, but we can see pieces of that man start to come through in this issue.
Yep, my first two books are Scott Snyder books. I love the horror tone this book has. It's spooky, and Sean Murphy's art is fantastic. We get an explanation for what this monster is in this issue, so it makes the monster feel a bit more real. I've enjoyed how this book starts in the past and ends in the future as well. It makes this book feel larger and that this "problem" isn't something new. It's been around for a while and it will be here for a while. Did I mention that Sean Murphy's art is amazing? This is a series you need to pick up.
If you've been following my reviews, then you know this is one of my favorite on-going Marvel series. The war between the American government and Utopia wraps up here, and everything seems to be all Hunky Dory, but a war between Tian and Utopia is now brewing. It all boils down to mutants wanting to be treated equally or mutants thinking they're superior to the human race. Writer Brian Wood is a great team writer, and he's done an amazing job with this series. What I loved most about the book is that the transition from this story into the next feels natural. Nothing is ever forced. That's the sign of some great writing.
I've been away from this book for quite some time, but I decided to jump back in, and I'm really glad I did. This is a bit different from what Jonathan Hickman normally writes. It's pretty "out there" but not by the same "out there" standards we're used to. This issue was a bit more, for lack of a better term, fun. The issue revolves a bit more around Enrico Fermi and Harry Daghlian, and it leads up to one very cool final page. The art team of Nick Pitarra (art) and Jordie Bellaire (colors) do a great job on this issue, and it sets this mildly cartoonish, but very eerie tone throughout the book.
It's the end of Planet Death! The first major story of X-O MANOWAR came to a close this month. It was an insanely satisfying issue, and while the battle with Loam is over, for now, there are many places this series can go, and Aric can always return back to Loam in the future. Writer Robert Venditti crafted a fantastic story, which I cannot wait to read again, when this comes out in trade. Yes, I will double dip on X-O MANOWAR. If you aren't reading this series, then you need to start at issue #15, when the next story starts.
Gregg Katzman's Picks
I didn't have the opportunity to read this issue until Thursday and by that point there was a lot of hype going into it. Fraction's latest issue was receiving rave reviews and everyone was saying Lucky's solo adventure was stellar. Well, they weren't lying and this issue was beyond engrossing. First and foremost, having everything from Pizza Dog's perspective is hysterical and artist David Aja fully immerses us in the dog's world. From recognizing only a few words to using symbols for thoughts, it was a brilliantly creative and very engaging tale. I have no shame admitting there are quite a few moments that literally made me say "awww" out loud and others which made me laugh like a fool. Then there's one truly gripping moment which had me anxious yet frightened to turn the page. This is easily the most unique and enjoyable reading experience I've had this month. Believe the hype. Pizza Dog rules. Now, if we can just get Marvel and DC to do a Pizza Dog / Bat-Cow crossover...
Wolverine + Scarlet Spider + Assassins Guild = PLEASE GIVE ME MORE OF THIS, MARVEL. Christopher Yost and Carlo Barberi went above and beyond for this one, creating an amazingly fun and fantastic looking issue packed with brutal action and big laughs. The fights were topnotch as the duo sliced, diced, stabbed, punched and webbed everything in their path. And while I'm obviously a sucker for a good battle, it's the banter which really helped this issue rise above. Seeing the two trade remarks during their uneasy relationship was incredibly amusing, but Hummingbird totally stole the spotlight as she babbled excessively with the X-Men at the school. Every month, SCARLET SPIDER manages to justify why I love it.
This book has no right to be this astonishingly joyous. Seriously, Mark Waid crafted an absurdly entertaining issue as Hulk teams-up with Daredevil in Manhattan. Waid's writing was delightfully sharp, delivering big laughs and a lovely pace which never slowed down. Additionally, he does manage to move the overall narrative forward and does follow through on a pretty neat cliffhanger. Throw in some topnotch artwork with some truly glorious panels and you've got a must read issue. Besides, where else will you witness Daredevil surfing on a taxi?
Time to be a broken record! Honestly, I've praised IDW's TMNT countless times and expressed why I loved part one of City Fall every bit as much. Part Two finally landed and, guess what? It still rocks and I still love it. The entire issue is dedicated to the situation with Casey and explaining why Leo will stand by Shredder's side. Is he being blackmailed? Is he faking it? Is he being manipulated? Come on, I'm not going to tell you! But, it is a really cool reason and opens the door to a lot of potential. Furthermore, this issue had every previous TMNT artist chime in for a really trippy series of events and the end result is a great looking issue. I'm really stoked to see what happens next and you should be, too.
The chaos with Toxin has come and gone and now it's time for Flash to get into the groove of his new life over in Philly. Life is simple: teach gym class, fight criminals at night, get some sleep and then start all over again. However, what makes this engaging is Cullen Bunn's characterization of Flash Thompson and the bigger picture he's slowly developing. I'm definitely excited to see what Bunn has in store for us and if you've been curious about this title, you'll be happy to know this is a superb jumping on point.
Well folks, that's it for this month! Make sure to let us know in the comment section what were your Top of the Pile picks for June.