Every week, when you buy your comics, there's a few that magically make their way to the top of your reading pile by the time you get home and sit on your favorite chair. Everyone does it. There's just something about being excited and reading your favorite book that makes comic readers so impatient.
That being said, every month, the staff reviewers of Comic Vine are going to take a look back at the month and let you guys know what our favorites were. On top of that, we have a few more recommendations for you all including trades, digital books, and new series to keep an eye on.
Tony "G-Man" Guerrero's Top of the Pile
1. BATMAN #14
Month after month Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo attack the Bat-universe. With the return of the Joker in Death of the Family, we're seeing that Joker should not be underestimated and he is more twisted and calculating than we thought.
2. ALL-NEW X-MEN #2
This was the issue I've been waiting for since the whole idea of the original X-Men traveling from the past to their future, our present. The reactions of the younger members seeing the crap that has happened in their world and the underlying sense of fear and emotions (like when Jean starts to realize what may have happened to her) blew me away.
3. BATMAN INCORPORATED #5
Yes, another Batman comic. But what makes this one different is it's Damian as Batman. This is the future world that Grant Morrison has shown us in BATMAN #666 and BATMAN #700. Gotham has gone to hell and this is the Damian that will do whatever it takes to save the city, even breaking the promise to his dad about not killing.
Matt Fraction and Mike Allred, what more could I ask for? For an issue that's heavier on the set up side, this was full of fun and laughs. Fraction always manages to throw in subtle and not-so-subtle bits of humor. Allred's art with the amazing colors by Laura Allred really capture the feel and convey the emotions the characters are feeling.
5. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #698
Mind blowing. Let the haters hate. I've said I'm not crazy about what happened but as a comic, this one really pulls the rug out from beneath your feet. We can always expect the occasional big changes to happen. Eventually things will revert. We just need to sit back and enjoy this crazy ride that Dan Slott is setting up.
Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring's Top of the Pile
1. SAGA #7
After a bit of a break, Saga returned in November with one amazing issue. This book has been pure magic, since the beginning, and has yet to receive anything less than a 5 star review from the staff at Comic Vine (Yes, I realize that I've reviewed most of the issues).
While the writing by Brian K Vaughan and the art of Fiona Staples have been top notch, what amazes me about this book is how diverse this universe is and how, in this past month, Fiona Staples can work in a giant with gross testicles that literally made me cringe.
For my full review of issue number seven, click here!
2. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #698
Holy moly! What an issue! All of us staffers, at one time, have essentially made the comment that Dan Slott is "the jam." Well, not that specifically, but you get the point. This issue is a HUGE game changer, and the reveal at the end of the issue will have you flipping back through the past couple years of the book to try and figure out what the heck happened.
3. X-O MANOWAR #7
X-O Manowar is without a doubt the best on-going book Valiant puts out, which is a tough thing to say since all of their current series are fantastic. This past issue we get a larger understanding of what's happening with The Vine and their plans for Earth in the future. I loved the back and forth between Ninjak and Aric in this issue. This book continues to be great.
4. AQUAMAN #14
This was by far my favorite issue of Aquaman yet! This issue is the prelude to the upcoming Throne of Atlantis storyline. We get a fantastic issue of Orm and Aquaman discussing the future for Atlantis and the surface world. We also get a bit of closure with Black Manta. Sure, it has a new artistic team that has a couple of flub-ups, but this issue, story wise was so good.
5. ALL NEW X-MEN #1 & #2
Not only did we get the start of a new series this month, we got two equally awesome issues. I was extremely skeptical about how this series would work, but after giving both of them a shot, I was a believer. I'm not really a huge X-Men fan, but I love how this story is playing out and how it revolved around the aftermath of Avengers Vs X-Men.
Gregg Katzmann's Top of the Pile
1. X-O MANOWAR #7
This is my modern version of the original Star Wars trilogy. Every issue I find myself completely engrossed in Aric's (and now Ninjak's) conflict with the Vine. It's an adventure where the action is fast and frequent, the characters keep a tight grip on your interest and you're just dying to see what happens next (Planet Death!). It's pretty much a dream come true for sci-fi junkies. Give this series a chance and you can thank me later.
2. TMNT #16
Slash's appearance did not disappoint and the battle was a joy to watch. The moral conflict that continued to unravel was excellent and Splinter brought a heavy dose of solid logic in the end. Well played, Splinter. Now let's get more of Shredder's plot!
3. FANTASTIC FOUR #1
I've never been a F4 fan (haven't read Hickman's run yet... sue me), but Fraction has changed that. This first issue delivered on just about every level. It set up a solid long term agenda, kept me smiling with solid banter (Thing vs the Internet will always make me laugh) and the chemistry was handled so well. Bring on the second issue!
4. ALL NEW X-MEN #2
Bendis, you've got my attention. Time travel is always a tricky subject to tackle properly in comics (especially while taking soooo much continuity into account), but thankfully it's masterfully done. Bendis brings a solid serving of laughs (Iceman, meet Iceman. Ahhhh!) and has set up more than enough intrigue to keep me anxious.
5. HARBINGER #6
When it comes to Valiant, BLOODSHOT and X-O MANOWAR are my two favorites. That said, HARBINGER has stepped up its game a huge deal and the title is brewing something extra special. 'Rise of the Renegades' is just starting and you should absolutely give this issue a shot so you're ready for what's to come.
Trade Recommendation of the Month
Not only is WALKING DEAD an amazing comic, but this volume turns the tables on everything you know about this book. Not only do you get the craziness that is issue 100 here, but you get to see a HUGE change in the dynamic of this group.
Volume 17 of this book contains issues 97-102 by the same creative team of Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Cliff Rathburn. If you have felt like this book is becoming a tad repetitive, then prepare to have your mind blown.
While lots of people love reading this book issue-to-issue, I've (Mat) always been a huge supporter of reading this in trade because I'm horribly impatient and I like a good six-issue read rather than one, month to month. Sadly, I want to make note of this now that you may never see the single issues of this series in my "top of the pile" list because while there are some amazing, HUGE, stand-out issues, I just don't read it month to month.
This is one of my favorite WALKING DEAD trades in years. It's a fantastic story and there's plenty of jaw dropping moments you'll want to spoil to your friends. Please bit your tongue as much as possible though in case you like losing said friends.
Your local comic shop should have this hanging out on the shelves, and it will run you $14.99. Amazon has it for about $10, but do what's right and support your LCS because there's no shipping fees, and you won't have to wait a few days to get it.
Best Start of the Month
Before I write up anything about this book, I'd just like to say that I love the real version of this cover. This picture doesn't do the actual cover justice though because the real cover is shiny and gold like those old foil covers.The child inside of me applauds this subscriber only cover.
So IDW Publishing started this new series to a classic British character back in November. American fans, like myself, have been look for a place to start for years, and while reading collections of Dredd from the pages of 2000 AD is a good way to introduce yourself to the character, this first issue is a fantastic introduction not only to the character but also to the world these judges live in.
This issue is split into two different stories: "Ripe" and "Protection Racket." Both stories are great, but "Ripe" really stands out here. The issue will run you $3.99, and this is a book you should jump on if you've ever had any interest in the character. It's a perfect jumping on point.
For more information on the book, check out Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring's review of JUDGE DREDD 1.
Keep an Eye On
Digital Exclusives: Batman: Li'l Gotham
The digital comic book market is truly a growing market, and there's no denying that. We're now seeing a lot of collections of these digital books make their way into the physical print realm. That being said, it's a good idea to bring a little bit of attention to some digital only books that deserve the spotlight, like BATMAN: LI'L GOTHAM.
If you've ever enjoyed Dustin Nguyen's art, then this is a book for you. It's just cute, tiny versions of your favorite Bat-Family characters teaching all the baddies of Gotham city valuable lessons, while punching them in the face. Derek Fridolfs joins Nguyen as the co-writer to this book.
The first issue came out on Halloween (which I know wasn't in November) and the second issue came out on November 15th and was Thanksgiving themed. So far, both issues were tons of fun, and they only cost 99 cents. You can find these issues on Comixology or whatever comic book app you have for your phone or tablet.
Check out InferiorEgo's review of issue 1 here!
There you have it! Those are our picks for the Top of the Pile for November, 2012. What books do you put on the top of your list?
See you guys next month!