It’s okay, change happens. It’s not the end of the world, we promise. As you may have noticed, we’re bringing a slight format change to what used to be “10 Comics to Buy This Week.” Why the change to something that worked, you might be asking? Well, there are a number of reasons, but the most important one is that we started to notice that the majority of readers were using our weekly "must buy" list not as a recommendation tool but instead as a reference tool just to see what was coming out any given week.
Now, we’re not telling anyone how to spend their hard-earned money, but our goal is for this weekly column to be something people can look to for near 100% accuracy when pointing out quality titles. Because as we all know, the problem isn’t finding comics to read, it’s reading the ones that make the most of your limited budget. And thus, our new and (hopefully) improved column has been born.
After reading this column we want you to feel something like this:
On to business, then: firstly, you’ll notice our typical ten titles have been cut down to five (or there about). But we’re sticking with the old adage: quality over quantity. We might recommend fewer titles, but the ones we pick week to week are sure-fire hits – we’re putting our reputation on the line. So buy what you want to buy, but carve out some room on your pull for these titles. You won't regret it.
Finally, outside further expansion on why we recommend each book, we’re also going to provide preview pages for each title (when available) to give you an idea how the book reads and looks. You can click each image to enlarge.
Our hope is that between our write-ups and the preview art, you’ll understand why we stand by these books. Okay, that’s enough of my babbling. Let’s get to it. And if you love the new format or hate it with white-hot passion, sound off in the comments below to let us know.
Batwoman #0 - $2.99
I’m going to be honest, BATWOMAN hit a bit of a rough patch spinning out of the series’ first story arc. J.H. Williams III left art duties and the story kind of meandered around to provide quick snippets of each storyline to keep readers in the know about everything going on. What this produced, unfortunately, was a very fractured second arc that lost a bit of the series’ forward momentum.
But now we’re catching our breath and regrouping with this month’s Zero issue. Firstly, J.H. Williams III is back on art duties (he was back last month, too, and it was glorious). Secondly, Haden Blackman and Williams III are delving into the early years of Kate Kane’s life to explore why she first became Batwoman.
Now, we’ve kind of been given touches of her backstory with DC’s 52 event from a few years ago, as well as Greg Rucka’s DETECTIVE COMICS run starring Batwoman, also from a few years back. Our hope is that this Zero issue mines a bit deeper and offers up some truly great moments that rival what Blackman and Williams accomplished with this series’ first five issues.
But if all else fails, at least we have beautiful J.H. Williams III art to fall back on. Seriously, it’s worth the $3 price tag.
CBR has the exclusive preview on this one:
Penguin: Pain and Prejudice TPB - $14.99
Thanks to writer Gregg Hurwitz and artist Szymon Kudranski, Penguin finally has his own version of THE KILLING JOKE. I know those are big words, but they are also true words. Hurwitz mines the darkest depths of Penguin’s mind to produce a series that is truly astounding. In fact, you might even find yourself feeling sympathy for the character whenever Batman bursts in to ruin his day. Now that’s powerful writing.
Likewise, Kudranski’s artwork is appropriately dark and moody, perfectly complementing the tone of Hurwitz’s story. PENGUIN: PAIN AND PREJUDICE is a near perfect melding of words and art, leading to one of the year’s best character examinations.
I loved the series as it came out in single issues, and now it’s available as a collected trade paperback. If you’ve never really been a big fan of the Penguin, this is the book to turn you around on the character. Just don’t expect a happy resolution.
Peter Panzerfaust #6 - $3.50
It’s the start of a new story arc and that means a perfect jumping on point for new readers. It's no secret Image has been pumping out a lot of amazing creator-owned books. PETER PANZERFAUST is absolutely one of them. For the uninitiated, PETER PANZERFAUST reimagines the Peter Pan mythology and sets it in the middle of World War II. So you get some Peter Pan awesomeness mixed with Nazis. Here’s your cake and, yes, you can eat it too.
The first story arc established our cast and had them overcome their first obstacle together. Now, Peter and the rest of the Lost Boys are determined not to stick their tails between their legs and run. They’re officially entering the war to kick some Nazi butt, while also heading out to try and rescue their friend and prisoner of war, Felix.
As mentioned before, this is the start of a new story for the series. However, if you must start from the beginning of the tale, know that there is a trade paperback collecting the series’ first five issues available now. So pick that up when you head to your shop this week to buy issue #6.
Spider-Men #5 - $3.99
It would be easy to label this series as professional fan fiction, what with 616 Spider-Man meeting Ultimate Spider-Man and them learning who is alive and dead in their respective universes. But that would be selling the work of Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli way short. SPIDER-MEN is a spidey story with some honest heart, something that’s kind of lacking right now in the main AMAZING SPIDER-MAN series.
There should be some big fireworks and a nice emotional sendoff to this team-up that has spanned universes.
You know, Marvel once joked that if they ever did a 616/Ultimate team-up title it would mean they’ve run out of ideas. I know many people that have dredged up that line when talking about SPIDER-MEN. But, honestly, if the concept can be pulled off this spectacularly, who cares if they’re scrapping the proverbial bottom of the bucket, creatively? I sure don’t.
Wonder Woman #0 - $2.99
Are you reading Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s WONDER WOMAN? If not, shame on you. Seriously. The whole idea of the New 52 was fresh takes on classic characters. There is no other creative team working on DC’s line-wide relaunch that has taken that concept to heart quite like Azzarello and Chiang. And because of it, WONDER WOMAN is entertaining, unpredictable and completely engaging.
We’ve recommended plenty of issues of WONDER WOMAN before when this column went by its old title. So another recommendation shouldn’t surprise you. However, Azzarello and Chiang have promised some truly unpredictable things with this month’s Zero issue. And that doesn’t only apply to what happens betwixt the covers. Azzarello has stated that this issue is so much more than a flashback to the early years of Diana, instead choosing to do something that is so wildly contrary to what everyone else at DC is doing with his or her Zero issues. That has us intrigued.
WONDER WOMAN, month in and month out, is a safe bet purchase. WONDER WOMAN #0 will not be any different. And if you haven’t been reading this series thus far, now’s a great time to jump aboard.
[Preview not available.]
Erik Norris is a freelance writer for sites such as ComicVine, IGN and CraveOnline.com. You can stalk him on Twitter @Regular_Erik.