November is over and we're all stuffed from a delicious Thanksgiving with your family who you are sure is plotting against you. This past November, we saw some amazing comics, and as always, the Comic Vine staff had a very tough time picking our their five favorite books for this month's Top of the Pile. Will some of your favorite issues from the past month be on this list? Let's get on with the show!
I've said it so many times already, Zero Year has me completely hooked. It's a great feeling reading a Batman comic and not having to worry about what's going on in other Batman comics. The story has a more isolated feel where you can just shut everything else out. Sure, we have the other Zero Year tie-ins but most of those stand on their own.
Scott Snyder has been fleshing out this early period in Batman's career. It's great seeing the way he went about starting out as Batman. Seeing the first Batmobile or hints at some huge bit of conflict between Bruce and Jim Gordon makes this more than just another origin story. With the re-introduction of a completely obscure Batman villain, you get the feeling of not knowing what's going to happen next. This issue may not have featured Riddler as many had been hoping but it's his scheme against Gotham which is deeply affecting the city and will lead this story into those crazy opening pages from BATMAN #21.
Rick Remender has created a wonderful new comic universe. We've only seen the surface of what Grant McKay is about. It's mentioned that he was part of the Anarchistic Order of Scientist and the fact that he punched through reality opens things up quite a bit.
The art and colors by Matteo Scalera and Dean White will take your breath away. This is another series where you'll be taken to a different world. You can dive right in and get an escape from reality as you take in the sights of a strange adventure.
This is another series that combines great storytelling with great art. It's always interesting comparing a writer's work on an established character to something they've created. Of course there is the feeling that anything goes, as we see in this issue in a big way. This issue may just be the game changer. The ending appears to be taking the series in a different direction, one we've seen glimpses of in the previous issues. There's still so much we have to find out.
Sean Murphy's art combined with Matt Hollingsworth's colors are incredible. It's not often we get a series with great writing and great art and color. This is the sort of series that makes you happy you're reading comics. It's great having the chance to read something different. The only downside is that we have to wait a little for the next issue but it will clearly be worth the wait.
This series is a complete joy to read. I keep trying to forget that it will be ending soon. Matt Fraction and now Lee Allred have taking a odd mix of characters and made me fully care about each and every one of them. Of course having Mike Allred's art and Laura Allred's colors makes this a visual treat as well.
Like other issues, this is a great mix of emotions. There are so many humorous moments as well as the fact that Doctor Doom is being more evil than we've seen him act lately. This is all building up to something big and wonderful. Normally when I enjoy something this much, I don't want to see the finale but in this case, I want to see it all.
This is a different kind of Spider-Man story. We have many of Spidey's enemies involved (or so it seems) and Matt Kindt has crafted an interesting story. There's no telling how this is going to play out as things keep changing and not everything is what it seems.
Marco Rudy's art is crazy. Crazy in the best way. This is such a visual treat. Rudy mixes up his style and there's simply so much to see as you read the issue. You'll want to take it all in. After you read it, you might find yourself going back and checking it out again.
There was a lot of hype behind this book. I went into this series trying to stay away from solicits, only really knowing that Rick Remember was writing the series. When I actually read the book, I was blown away. There's been a plethora of some pretty out there science-fiction stories that really drag out in from issue one, and the first issue of BLACK SCIENCE did exactly that.
The out-there first issue does a great job at mixing science fiction with a great adventure story. What really clinched me, aside from a really compelling story for a first issue was the art from Matteo Scalera. The designs and layout for the world we see in this first issue are incredibly wonderful and awe inspiring. On top of that, Dean White's colors really give this book a brilliant feel. BLACK SCIENCE has me hook, line, and sinker.
It's the end of an era. Geoff Johns' stellar run on AQUAMAN has come to a close. It was a run that completely redefined the character. Everything Johns built up over the past two years ties together incredible here. While issue #24 gave the readers all the answers, issue #25 gives everyone the resolution.
I may have not been too happy with Aquaman shaving off his beard, but everything else in this issue floored me. Aquaman is back on the throne as the king of Atlantis again, which is a departure from where this series started, and the end of the issue leads into a new story line which I'm extremely excited for. While it's sad to see Johns go, what he did for this character and this book is unforgettable.
Just when I think this book can't get any better, it does. The world knows that clones exists, but this issue takes it to fanatical heights. We meet Laura here whose story is told weaving in and out of the narrative, and the reader finds out that she once was married to a clone, and after killing him, Laura thinks his soul has moved into Luke. This issue is pretty crazy and pretty creepy.
The writing team of David Schulner, Aaron Ginsberg, and Wade McIntyre really do a bang up job with making this series interesting and continue to push the envelope in this world. And as always, artist Jose Juan Ryp does some phenomenal art work. It's a book I originally started reading for the art and stuck with it because of the story telling.
I wish I could put down ALL the Cataclysm tie in books because they were all some of my favorite issues from the past month, but truth be told, it was the Ultimates tie in that blew me away. Sure, all the other books were fantastic, but this mini-series went above an beyond compared to the others.
While the other tie-in books tended to focus on Galactus and the events of said books, prior to this event, THE ULTIMATES focuses more on the team just investigating something new. It didn't feel as heavily tied into the previous series, which is what I loved about it. Josh Fialkov has the start to a really cool story here with the Gah Lak Tus cult and a great follow up to CATACLYSM #0.1. While all of the first month to Cataclysm was great, this was the shining star of the pack.
X-O MANOWAR has been a real stand-out from Valiant comics, a company that's full of stand-out comics. The series has been building up to something big, and that something big is UNITY. Aric has returned to Earth with what's left of the Visigoths and has claimed a piece of land for his people. However, that piece of land is already spoken for, but Aric, with the X-O Manowar armor is extremely powerful. It's going to take a whole group of characters from the Valiant universe to knock some sense into him.
As Gman said in his review: "Matt Kindt sets everything up perfectly." I couldn't agree more. Kindt really makes the transition into this story feel natural and smooth. Valiant fans will feel right at home with this first issue. On the art side of things, Doug Braithwaite does some art that is extremely awesome and moves this story along. This is a great combination of writing and art, and this is a book you should seriously pick up.
Honorable Mention: DETECTIVE COMICS #25
It's no secret I love the work IDW's doing with this franchise, but City Fall has been seriously great. It's not only the best story the series has offered, but it's debatably one of the best TMNT stories to ever hit a comic book. Issue #28 was a lot like Breaking Bad's final episode. There weren't any big shockers or twists that dropped your jaw, but it was a totally satisfying way to wrap everything up and gave us exactly what we wanted. There's an excellent moment between Raph and Leo, Shredder's a total badass, Karai gets her due, and each character receives at least one moment to shine. Plus, Slash is awesome. Oh, and there's no way I'd forget to mention it's the first time Bebop and Rocksteady fight the Turtles in this universe, too (in their mutated form, that is). If you've been considering diving back into this classic franchise, City Fall is absolutely the story you'll want to check out.
We all love goofy Wade, but let's be honest, he's best when there's some darkness and emotional weight surrounding him. Co-writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn have been placing a bit of development here and there for the Merc with a Mouth in his latest volume, but the two went all in with The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. This character-driven story will evoke all kinds of emotions from you. It'll tug at your heartstrings, make you laugh, astound you with some seriously good action and best of all, it remains consistently great the entire time. Issue 19 wraps everything up and I must say it does a damn fine job bringing this staggeringly good story to a close. It may not be as explosive as the other issues, but it's totally gripping and is simply a must read experience for anyone who likes Deadpool. Also, Captain America beats an entire army with just his reputation and confidence. So there's that.
IT RETURNS! Okay, it's unfortunate this crazy good series is only back for one issue (until January, that is), but this "one issue" happens to be an annual-sized portion of Harley Quinn. If you're an Injustice reader, then you know Harley Quinn in this book is... well, she's the greatest thing ever. Now, Tom Taylor has her trying to elude Lobo and it's every bit as bonkers and thrilling as it should be. There's some wild reoccurring jokes and the ending is literally surreal. Hilarious and beyond fun, I strongly recommend this issue to anyone who has the ability to smile.
If you told me 3 months ago IDW is pushing a new Samurai Jack comic, I would have probably said, "neat" but honestly not cared. I have zero experience with the program, after all. But after giving the first issue a shot, I can honestly say I fell in love. It was just too fun not to appreciate. Because of this, I obviously decided to give Jim Zub's second issue a read and thankfully, it's still absurdly enjoyable. Sure, the formula was literally the same as the first issue, but who cares when there's hilariously unique characters, energetic artwork, exciting battles, and so much levity? At the end of the day, SAMURAI JACK is a really good time, and that's something we could all use every now and then, isn't it?
Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino, can you do no wrong?! Things are really building-up in this book, but issue #25 back-tracks to jump into Oliver's role during Zero Year. The fact Batman's cameo is somewhat forced is 100% countered by the fact he has one of the most creative and funny debates ever with Green Arrow (sorry, Killer Moth). Even though the issue doesn't feel all that necessary, it's still an impressively engrossing read from the first page to the very last. Not only does it tell us all about Diggle's New 52 story, but Sorrentino's artwork is truly immersive and jaw-droppingly detailed. GREEN ARROW continues to be my favorite DC book.
There's all our picks for the month of November! Make sure to let us know what were your favorite issues in the comment section below. We'll see you at the end of December for a normal Top of the Pile and a year end TotP wrap up!