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. This month, we get to see a diverse group of picks from numerous companies, not just the big two. What did the staffers pick this month? Read on to find out.
Tony "GMan" Guererro
Just as this comic was a silent issue, there isn't a need to say much about how good it was. In the aftermath of the events in BATMAN INCORPORATED, Peter Tomasi delivered a powerful issue. Patrick Gleason took Tomasi's script and drew each panel with loads of emotion pouring out of each panel. We don't see comics like this often and we shouldn't. It was a powerful story that captured the essence of what Batman is going through. Whether you agree with what happened or not, there's no arguing that this issue handled the outcome perfectly.
I had absolutely no idea what this comic was about before I read it. Just knowing it was written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Marcos Martin was all I needed to know. That's all you should need to know. The two creators are delivering a great new comic in a way unlike what we're used to. Making the comic available online with the option of paying what you want was a good way to gain the attention of comic readers. Hopefully people did decide to take a chance and won't forget to come back when the second issue is released. The combination of Vaughan's story with Martin's art and the colors by Munsta Vicente makes a fascinating story set in a strange future world and you won't be able to help but want to see more.
This is another example where just knowing the creators involved was all I needed to know to buy this comic. Jonathan Hickman is known for his big, crazy and elaborate stories. With a new series, you wouldn't expect any less from Mr. Hickman. Even though I didn't know much about what this issue would be about, it completely lived up to my expectations. In fact, it went beyond them. With Nick Dragotta's art, you get a story that immediately sucks you in. You won't be too sure what's going on at first but you won't care because you'll be captivated by this new world and characters being introduced to us.
Oh Matt Fraction. Each issue manages to entertain. Great action, humor and art, all in one single comic. If you've never liked the character of Hawkeye before, Fraction should be able to win you over. This is the sort of comic that simply brings a smile to you face and makes you happy your a comic book fan.
I may have some doubts about some of the characters included on the team but knowing there's a darker side behind the cheerful image Amanda Waller is trying to make the team convey is fascinating. It's great when a comic has different layers to it. The idea of the public, other heroes and even the team itself not knowing the true reason for their existence makes this a great read. We have a ticking time bomb here and there's no telling when it's going to go off. There's also a strange twist in the cliffhanger ending that will make you wonder what the heck is Geoff Johns setting up for us. The back up focusing on Martian Manhunter also further develops who he is in the New 52 and we can see why everyone should fear him.
Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring
Normally, when a company starts putting out multiple titles of the same franchise, each additional book drops in quality. With JUDGE DREDD: YEAR ONE, I found I liked this book more than it's on-going series counter-part. This four issue mini-series may not be the "Year One" book it promises, but it is an incredibly fun and gritty Dredd book. Writer Matt Smith has a solid start to a fun book here, and I found myself loving the pencils and ink from Simon Coleby. With the focus on the PSI element of Mega City One, this mini-series promises to be a ton of fun. As far as Judge Dredd books go, this one really dragged me in.
Surprise! Surprise! I was excited to jump into this book, since I love JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, and I really enjoyed the final year of HELLBLAZER. Many people were worried about a water-downed Constantine. What we got was a solid DC counterpart. He's still pretty cold and a bit of a bastard, but his character fits in pretty well with the rest of the DCU. Writers Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes do a fine job at giving this character a reason to have his own on-going series, and the art from Renato Guedes is amazing. Finally, the mystical side of the DC Universe has some amazing creative talent behind it. I'm very excited to continue reading this series.
I don't understand why everyone isn't reading this book. It's constantly my favorite book on the shelves. Sure, it's not my number one book this month, but it's a book I can always count on to be awesome. The whole team reunites in this last issue, and something pretty big happens on the final pages. This issue, if it hasn't yet, will make you a huge fan of The Will and the extremes he is willing to go to for his friends. Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples are the bees' knees. I'm so happy this comic exists.
My complaints about this Spider-Man not fitting in with the Age of Ultron Spider-Man aside, this was one spectacular tie-in issue. Here, Superior Spider-Man goes out on his own in order to try and stop Ultron by using his superior intellect and technology. It was an incredibly fun ride and what made it even better was the beautiful artwork from Dexter Soy. It's amazing to see this character get so close to solving the world's problems, and then ending up having to rely on the other heroes around him. Christos Gage really nails down Spidey's voice in this issue.
From issue one, CLONE has been one of the best science fiction stories to deal with cloning, in any medium. The first arc comes to an end here as Luke figures out who he is in this entire cloning saga (it's like that movie!). This issue ends on a fantastic high note as we learn where we're heading to with the next arc. Not only is it a fantastic book about cloning, but it also hits on whether or not cloning is morally right. It's a great mixture of the two and each issue is better than the last.
This book feels like the offspring of The Raid: Redemption and Samurai Jack. The visuals by Tradd Moore and Felipe Sobreiro are astounding and energetic, delivering full justice and then some to these insanely good action sequences. Look, I'll be blunt: Justin Jordan's book from Image is a must read if you love over the top action. It really is that simple.
This issue has shed so many manly tears that they could likely create their own ocean (which would of course be named 'The Damian Ocean'). Writer Peter J. Tomasi produced an absurdly powerful and heartfelt issue dealing with the loss of Batman's son. This one had a firm grip on my emotions the entire ride and I have no shame in saying it made me tear up -- none whatsoever. Oh, and Patrick Gleason's artwork is nothing short of miraculous.
I love this book so much. With so many broody and serious titles filling the stands, FIVE WEAPONS feels like a wonderful breath of fresh air. Lively and welcoming, Jimmie Robinson is writing and illustrating an animated and captivating world that I love checking out once a month. It's lighthearted and fun, and sometimes that's just the kind of experience you need between such broody and stern books. Think of it as Harry Potter... but for martial arts instead of magic. Awesome, right?
Speaking of lighthearted, Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn and Tony Moore continue to win me over with their take on Wade Wilson. Ridiculously hysterical and loaded with gruesome action, this book continues to keep a smile on my face and gave us a solid conclusion to the undead Presidents arc. What made this issue particularly special, though, were the moments of seriousness we received from Wade. He's way more than a comedian that can take a trip through the meat grinder and it's nice to see the team isn't forgetting that.
My fifth favorite came down to my favorite Valiant book or one of the Ninja Turtles comics (both rocked this month), but ultimately Aric blasted them away with his armor. This marks the beginning of Planet Death and boy oh boy it did not disappoint! Robert Venditti is doing brilliant work with this epic sci-fi book and I'm thrilled to see where he takes us with the remainder of the story. PAFF PAFF, y'all.
Trade Recommendation of the Month
There were quite a few really great trades that came out this past month, including the trade paperback of JOE THE BARBARIAN; however, GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT really stood out for me. While this is just a reprint of the 2006 trade with the new DC logo slapped on it, this Elseworlds story can reach a new generation of comic book readers.
These two stories take place in the 1880s. Essentially, it asks the question "What if Bruce Wayne was born in the late 19th century?" Well, he'd still become Batman, and at some point, he'd fight Jack the Ripper and later, he'd get into a sword-fight on a blimp.
The trade collects GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT, from 1989, and MASTER OF THE FUTURE, from 1991, in one, 112 page trade for $13.
The reason most people, like myself, pick this up is to see the early artwork from HELLBOY creator, Mike Mignola. You catch glimpses here of what type of artist he would eventually become, but on top of everything else, this is a really fun story. It's great to see DC reissuing some of their Elseworld stories in trade.
Well, you crazy kids, there's our picks for our favorite issues for the month of March! What books did you guys love? What are your top five for March?
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