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Top of the Pile: June 2014

Check out what books the staff of Comic Vine loved for June

June was filled with quite a few fantastic books this past month. There's quite a few brand new series that really blew people's socks off. What books really sent our socks into the stratosphere though? At the end of every month, the staff of Comic Vine likes to sit back and reflect on the books they loved over the past 30 or so days. Then, we pick our top five books and tell them why we loved them. Let's take a look at the books that made our top of the pile for June.

Tony's Picks

BATMAN #32

It’s always exciting seeing a new Scott Snyder BATMAN issue released. Snyder, Capullo, and the rest of the Bat-team have been doing wonders on this series. Zero Year is exactly the story I’ve been waiting to see since the New 52 started. Getting to see Batman’s early days has been fantastic. We’ve been getting a pretty epic story. It might be a little hard to see how it fits into DC’s five year timeline but it doesn’t matter since the story’s been so much fun.

We only have one more issue to go. That’s both sad and exciting. It’s going to be interesting to see what they have planned for the grand finale.

OUTCAST #1

Despite Robert Kirkman’s name being attached to this title, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the issue as much as I did. I got to her Kirkman talk about the series on a conference call but that didn’t prepare me for what was in the comic. Paul Azaceta’s art and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s colors immediately set the tone for the disturbing topic. I’m not sure if it was just the moment I was in when I read the issue but it actually gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. That goes along with the topic of the series.

We’ve been enjoying Kirkman’s take on the world of zombies and superheroes. Now we’ll get to see what he’ll add to the idea of demon possessions and exorcisms. Along with killer art and color, there’s no way to avoid this series.

ORIGINAL SIN #3 & 4

This might be a slight cheat but since we saw two issues this month, we’ll just lump them together as a tie.

I enjoy the big comic book events, as do most people. People may argue about them but there’s no denying the fact that people are actually buying since the sales figures reflect that. Jason Aaron has been doing an amazing job on this gigantic Marvel story. The murder of the Watcher is a big thing and we’ve been getting a stellar murder mystery out of it. Aaron has paired some of the most unlikely characters together and their interactions have added to mystery as we’ve been trying to figure out who actually paired them together.

Then there was the cliffhanger for issue #3. It was an intense scene which thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long before issue #4 came. And issue #4 had a pretty crazy ending as well. The series is half way over but the series is still going full steam. Mike Deodato’s art has been incredible.

STARLIGHT #4

Mark Millar often manages to catch us off guard. With STARLIGHT, we had a story that showed what happened to the intergalactic space hero from Earth after he saved the universe. Returning home, he lead a mundane life with no one really aware of what he accomplished. Pulled back into the action on another planet, we’re now we have a man, not quite in his prime, trying to fight for his survival, along with an entire planet.

Millar’s story along with Goran Parlov’s art has been an exciting trip. This is one of those series where I have no idea where the story will go and I don’t want to know until it happens in the comic.

NAILBITER #2

The first issue of NAILBITER left readers on the edge of their seats. In the second, we get to find out a little more about Edwin Charles Warren, the man put on trial for the Nailbiter killings.

The focus on the series deals with a missing FBI Agent, Eliot Carroll, who was looking into why so many serial killers have originated from a small Oregon town. When he figured out what the reason was, he called his buddy, Nicolas Finch, to meet him. Finch discovered Carroll was missing and now needs to find out what happened to his friend. Along the way, he’s getting pulled into the darkness of this town. As the story unfolds, we’re seeing more and more of the darkness that’s bubbling beneath the surface.

Mat's Picks

OUTCAST #1

Maybe I'm some sort of Robert Kirkman fanboy. I tend to pick up lots of his titles, regardless of what their about, especially if Ant-Man is involved. Anyway, OUTCAST did what few books or movies can do to me. It disturbed me, and not in a "shocking moment" way either.

Over the course of the issue, the main character, Kyle, delves into the world of exorcism in a pretty haunting way. The art is what really gives this book it's tone, featuring the art of Paul Azaceta and the colors of Elizabeth Breitweiser. It was a great set-up to this series, and for $2.99, you got a double-sized issue. Now, that's one hell of a way to start a series.

AQUAMAN #32

Jeff Parker's run on AQUAMAN has been a lot of fun, so far, but many folks see it as sitting in the shadow of Geoff Johns, which is a lot of pressure. Parker has been building up a lot of smaller stories and they truly start to pay off here.

I love seeing Aquaman fight sea monsters, and thankfully, that's a lot of what's been going on in Parker's run, but now, Aquaman is up against a monster who is as tough, if not tougher than Mr. Curry. On top of that, Parker has been really developing Mera and Tula to the point where there side adventures are just as good, if not better, than the main story. Finally, this was the first time, in quite a while, where Paul Pelletier drew a whole issue, and it looked fabulous.

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #1

I could not have been more skeptical about this series from Boom! Studios before its release. I'm a huge fan of the movie, and while I was excited for this book to come out, I was worried it wouldn't live up to my disgustingly high expectations. Luckily, I'm wrong from time to time.

BIG TROUBLE captured the essence and feel of the original film better than I thought it could. Eric Powell really captures the speech patterns and voices of the characters he's writing, and while this wasn't a 5 star book for me, it's still one that I'm excited to continue reading, especially when it's not only legitimately funny, but filled with some stellar action. If you loved the movie, you need to be reading this series.

X-O MANOWAR #26

It's an issue of X-O which didn't have one, singular panel of Aric, and yet, it was brilliant. X-O MANOWAR is the one comic by Valiant that has consistently held my attention since issue one. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy most of their books, but X-O has yet to have a weak issue.

This is a tie-in to the current Armor Hunters story line, and Robert Venditti takes readers through Primary Reebo's past, before he was an Armor Hunter. It gives the character a lot more depth, and the story, itself, is a really fun ride. In addition, there's a few revelations that tie into early issues of the series which X-O readers will get pretty excited over. This may not be the best place for new readers, but if you're going to read anything from Valiant, you have to check out X-O MANOWAR.

MS. MARVEL #5

I love a good montage, especially one where people are training, ESPECIALLY this one. Where MS. MARVEL #5 really hits its mark is with a great training montage featuring Kamala learning how to use her powers. This book has a gigantic heart, and that's why I've been enjoying it so much.

G Willow Wilson is crafting an incredibly fun book that delves into a growing aspect of American culture that most folks don't know much about, aside from stereotypes. So aside from getting a fun book with a compelling character, readers are also getting insight into another culture. That's a whole lot of awesome. Plus, the final page of issue #5 was pretty awesome.

Honorable Mention: NAILBITER #2, THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1

Gregg's Picks

NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #1

This was a totally unexpected delight. Honestly, annuals don't always live up to the price on the cover, but this one was worth it and then some. Writer Frank J. Barbiere did a phenomenal job crafting a standalone story that can be appreciated by pretty much anyone. Seriously, you can go into this issue knowing basically nothing about Dr. Strange and the current NEW AVENGERS story arc and you'll never feel left in the dark. Somehow, he makes it a new reader friendly experience without weighing down the pacing with excessive exposition and overall, it's a fantastic character study. You just may have a newfound appreciation for Stephen Strange after reading this one. And I haven't even begun to tell you about the extraordinary artwork! Marco Rudy's visuals are pure genius. The panel layouts are wonderfully creative and his variety of character work is beyond impressive. The story alone makes this one worth reading, but these wonderfully clever and talented visuals bring it to a whole new level.

GREEN ARROW #32

Oliver Queen is back in Seattle and it's time to bring the conflict with Richard Dragon front and center! One word comes to mind while reflecting on this new storyline: exciting! Watching his enemies form a team (longtime fans will be happy to know they're going by the name the "Longbow Hunters") and bring the fight to Green Arrow was a thrill. Sure, this arc promises a whole lot of action, but it's also reeling in a heavy plot surrounding his supporting cast. John Diggle is playing a bigger role and a certain someone from The Outsiders War has followed him back to the city. It's great to see this dynamic isn't being left behind and it'll conflict to develop. Plus, how can anyone resist learning more about this new and amazingly badass version of Richard Dragon? And then there's Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo's artwork. These two have impressed me since #17 and they continue to make each and every issue of GREEN ARROW a real treat for our eyes. Even if the story isn't all that good, we can always rely on these two to blow us away with the visuals. Luckily for us, writer Jeff Lemire's story is quite good! if you've been meaning to give this book a shot, go ahead and pick up this issue.

TMNT: TURTLES IN TIME #1

The debut chapter of this new limited series was such an awesome dose of lighthearted fun. With this issue, the heroes in a half shell are temporarily stuck in the prehistory age and it results in some slapstick comedy and general silliness. The developments kept a smile on my face and it's such an amusing read that you're sure to breeze right through it. Paul Allor made the perfect script for artist Ross Campbell and colorist Bill Crabtree. These panels are every bit as fun and heartwarming as the script and you're given a warm welcome to this book with a wonderful splash page right at the very beginning. Plus, Raphael's bond with "Pepperoni" just may be the most adorable thing I've seen all month.

THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #23

THOR: GOD OF THUNDER is epic. That really is the best way to describe it. With this issue, Jason Aaron wraps up the latest story arc and it's simply grand. There's massive action, cheerworthy developments, and the contrast between the two timelines is handled very well. Honestly, I've never been much of a Thor fan, but this series is consistently incredible. Aaron's script continues to deliver on all fronts. And it should come as no surprise that artist Esad Ribic and colorist Ive Svorcina play a big role in making this book feel as epic as it does. They do a tremendous job bringing these immense action scenes to life and never disappoint. I just can't recommend this series enough.

LARFLEEZE #12

Co-writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis end their wild ride on a thoroughly entertaining note. Not only did they fill the issue with levity and all kinds of cosmic craziness, but they also hit us with a ginormous reveal. It's so good that it makes me wish these two were given more time with the book just so they can generate a story arc focusing on the twist. Maybe one day we'll be fortunate enough to see a follow-up, right? Artist Scott Kolins and colorist Michael Atiyeh again proved they were a superb compliment to the book's tone and filled this issue with some exciting visuals. They also had the opportunity to take the book in a more serious direction. It was only a brief moment, but it most definitely left a mark and was an effective way of reminding us just what kind of character we're really dealing with. LARFLEEZE, you shall be missed!

Honorable Mention: FIVE WEAPONS #9, TMNT #35

Corey's Picks

MOON KNIGHT #4

One of the most frequent questions I get as both a Comic Vine freelancer AND comic book store owner is: who's your favorite character? It's not a bad question, but as I've gotten more and more into comics, I've realized that it's also an impossible one to answer. If I say Spider-Man, am I including the scattershot Clone Saga? If I say Batman, does that include the volumes of Knightfall after Bane broke Bruce? This is why I've actually begun answering with my favorite creators, and Moon Knight is a perfect example of why that is. There are some great Moon Knight stories, and there are some so-so ones, but Warren Ellis writing the character has been sublime. He's taken the character to some of his strangest places, despite heavily downplaying the "crazy" aspects that have been so integral in the past, making Marc Spector almost sane in a world gone completely mad. And I don't want to downplay Declan Shalvey's role in making this issue incredible because the visuals are mind-melting and actually quite terrifying. Much like the previous issues, this one stands on its own and stand TALL.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #4

I LOVE #4 ISSUES PUBLISHED BY MARVEL!...it's actually just a coincidence, but I thought I'd get that out of the way. Kelly-Sue DeConnick's Captain Marvel had a lot of expectations behind it, but what I actually never really anticipated was it introducing a fully new cast to the Marvel Universe. A cast that I'm hoping we don't see the end of by this arc's conclusion as they're actually very interesting and fleshed out, even in this one single issue. We get more visuals from Dave Lopez, meaning the characters are well fleshed out and the settings are unique with fully illustrated backgrounds that set both the tone and sense of place amazingly well. His work on the new characters this issue is one of the things that gives them such wide-reaching and beautiful appeal. Even if they merely join the ranks of Chewie in this title alone, I'm hoping we see much, much more of these newcomers, melodrama and all.

THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE #1

What. A. DEBUT! Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie may have had a controversial run with the Young Avengers, but I landed squarely on the side of people who enjoyed the bizarre, extra-dimensional tale. Did I always UNDERSTAND it? No, but I was always ENTERTAINED by it and I'm getting a very similar vibe from this issue. At first I was worried that, without the solicit explaining what was going on, I wouldn't know what was going on, but the book does a great job of establishing its central story in a way that doesn't feel shoehorned or unnecessarily expository. You, as the reader, are caught up almost immediately and then lost again as you're thrown into the deepest of deep ends regarding where the story goes at issue's climax.

BLACK WIDOW #7

The series that brings us what Natasha's up to whenever she's not saving the world with the Avengers shares more than a few things with Hawkeye's title of a similar theme on the surface but, brief crossovers aside, the two books are actually quite different. Black Widow goes further than exploring what Romanova does on her days off. But her days off look far, far more like work than most would, and this issue gives us a glimpse at both her past and her present, bringing her to the West Coast for some San Francisco mop-up AND an encounter with Matt Murdock. Phil Noto continues to baffle one and all on exactly HOW it's been seven issues with one artist that keeps coming out and keeps looking THIS great. It's unclear whether this is a new beginning or a standalone, but either way, it's worth checking out.

NEW AVENGERS #20

At long last, the battle Marvel and DC fans have been waiting for. Well...alright, not the EXACT battle, but it's what we've got and we should be happy it turned out as well as it did. Jonathan Hickman takes the Great Society and smashes them against his New Avengers to incredible effect, with match-ups that seem entirely apropos and even a couple that seem odd and out of place (Boundless' "disarming" of Iron Man immediately springs to mind). But if you ever wanted to see Black Panther canonically (or as close as we're getting) square off with Batman or Hulk battle Superman, this book has you covered and Valerio Schiti has it covered visually. Doctor Strange and the Norn's battle may steal the show, particularly as regards the good Doctor, but this issue is both a fanboy and longtime reader's dream, continuing the plot of Hickman's New Avengers while giving readers what they've been teased for the last several issues, AND making it worth the wait.

There you have it. Another month of awesome comic books. Let us know what books you love in June in the comment section below and we'll see you next month.

27 Comments
Posted by longbowhunter

It really was a great month. Outcast, New Avengers Annual, Moon Knight and The Wicked and The Divine were the real stand outs for me.

Posted by Fallschirmjager

pretty good month indeed.

need moar image. Sex Criminals, Saga, Velvet, Invincible...

Edited by Squalleon

No Superman #32 :(

Posted by inferiorego

pretty good month indeed.

need moar image. Sex Criminals, Saga, Velvet, Invincible...

Sex Criminals was awesome last month. Saga was also awesome, but only a decent issue by Saga standards.

Staff
Edited by Fallschirmjager

@inferiorego said:

@fallschirmjager said:

pretty good month indeed.

need moar image. Sex Criminals, Saga, Velvet, Invincible...

Sex Criminals was awesome last month. Saga was also awesome, but only a decent issue by Saga standards.

Decent by Saga standards is amazing by any other book :p

Are you not reading Velvet o.O? I personally love the book and last month might have been the best.

Posted by manwithoutshame

Stray Bullets Killers has been my favorite series since it relaunched.

Posted by G-Man

@squalleon: No SUPERMAN 32. I only gave it a 4/5. I enjoyed it but I can't say it was at the "top" of my pile.

Staff
Posted by inferiorego

@inferiorego said:

@fallschirmjager said:

pretty good month indeed.

need moar image. Sex Criminals, Saga, Velvet, Invincible...

Sex Criminals was awesome last month. Saga was also awesome, but only a decent issue by Saga standards.

Decent by Saga standards is amazing by any other book :p

Are you not reading Velvet o.O? I personally love the book and last month might have been the best.

I have yet to read Velvet, which is dumb considering how much I loved Brubaker/Epting's CAP run

Staff
Posted by AllStarSuperman

I love Rocky IV.

No Superman #32 :(

Edited by Fallschirmjager

@inferiorego: The art and writing style definitely is nostalgic.

Its a great spy thriller comic on its on though. Check it out!

Posted by dotwilson

Adventures of Superman #14 for me.... prob the best story I've read all month

Posted by longbowhunter

@inferiorego: Velvet has a good story but god in heaven, Steve Epting doing the work of his career in that book.

Edited by MadeinBangladesh

DEADLY CLASS #6 (BEST COMIC RIGHT NOW NO DOUBT)

Outcast #1

Superman #32

Clone #17

TMNT #35 @k4tzm4n

Elektra #3

Revenge #4

Nailbiter #4

Iron Fist #3

Green Arrow #32

Edited by SupBatz

As someone who loved Johns' run on Aquaman, I'm having trouble seeing much good in Parker's run. It just seems to be constant action. "What kind of giant sea monster can Arthur fight today?"

Posted by Mrgreenlantern

Really been enjoying Real Heroes highly recommend everyone to pick up the first 3 issues asap

Posted by CaptainHoopla

Superior Foes of Spider-Man #12 was on the very top of my pile this month. Thor: GoT #23 & Moon Knight #4 were outstanding as well.

Edited by kilowog52

Oh my God! I disliked the New Avengers Annual so much! It was like a chore to read!

Posted by tparks

@fallschirmjager said:

pretty good month indeed.

need moar image. Sex Criminals, Saga, Velvet, Invincible...

Sex Criminals was awesome last month. Saga was also awesome, but only a decent issue by Saga standards.

How can a a full page committed to Alana's drug trip with the most amazing art ever only be decent? Lol.

I agree though, Saga sets the bar too high!

Posted by LiveForever

Outcast #1 did not blow me away the same way it did most, I guess. Hell of a bargain, I'll give it that.

Posted by feedonatreefrog

Justice League 31

Posted by HumanRocket

Hopefully with the developing Dr. Strange film and after New Avengers Annual, we finally get a Dr Strange series.

Online
Edited by feedonatreefrog

Why is there no Doc Strange series again? Isn't he a popular character? He's getting a movie after all.

Ditto for Black Panther and Ant-Man.

Edited by V_Scarlotte_Rose

@feedonatreefrog said:

Why is there no Doc Strange series again? Isn't he a popular character? He's getting a movie after all.

Ditto for Black Panther and Ant-Man.

I think Axel Alonso said that they've found a writer for a new Doctor Strange, and they're looking for an artist. This was a few weeks ago though, so maybe they've got a creative team ready, and may announce the series with the October solicits.

I don't think there's a Black Panther film confirmed, so no idea about that. The Ant-Man situation is pretty weird. Both Hank and Scott are currently not regulars in any ongoing series, as far as I know. Considering the crazy Guardians Of The Galaxy presence in the comics right now, the lack of Ant-Men confuses me.

Edit: Quote from Axel Alonso:

"It’s notable that this “New Avengers Annual” is essentially a Doctor Strange solo story. Can it be seen as testing the waters at all for a future “Doctor Strange” solo series?

Alonso: There is a Doctor Strange plan. I’m not going to get into the who’s, when’s or what’s, but I will confirm that we have a writer, and he or she has got a very firm handle on what they’re going to do. Doctor Strange’s role in “Original Sin” helps us get there."

Posted by Winter_Kills

@feedonatreefrog said:

Why is there no Doc Strange series again? Isn't he a popular character? He's getting a movie after all.

Ditto for Black Panther and Ant-Man.

I think Axel Alonso said that they've found a writer for a new Doctor Strange, and they're looking for an artist. This was a few weeks ago though, so maybe they've got a creative team ready, and may announce the series with the October solicits.

I don't think there's a Black Panther film confirmed, so no idea about that. The Ant-Man situation is pretty weird. Both Hank and Scott are currently not regulars in any ongoing series, as far as I know. Considering the crazy Guardians Of The Galaxy presence in the comics right now, the lack of Ant-Men confuses me.

Edit: Quote from Axel Alonso:

"It’s notable that this “New Avengers Annual” is essentially a Doctor Strange solo story. Can it be seen as testing the waters at all for a future “Doctor Strange” solo series?

Alonso: There is a Doctor Strange plan. I’m not going to get into the who’s, when’s or what’s, but I will confirm that we have a writer, and he or she has got a very firm handle on what they’re going to do. Doctor Strange’s role in “Original Sin” helps us get there."

Oh yeah! This is good news! Doc needs a new solo series, so much potential! And I agree, so does Black Panther, Ant-Man & of course my boy Bucky. On another note, Thor: God of Thunder & Moon Knight continually make it to my top of the pile.

Posted by Transformers1024

I'm definitely in the minority here but I think my absolute favorite comic this month was Nightcrawler.