There is a lot to choose from this week in comic books. All of the smaller publishers are coming out swinging in what should be a week that sees them compete well with the big cape-wearing dogs. IDW is rolling out the second issues of the new Judge Dredd mini, the My Little Pony, Ninja Turtles, and more. Image is releasing more printings of Sex Criminals, Ten Grand, and Manifest Destiny to go along with fine collection of new issues, and Dynamite’s noir revolution continues along with the release of the new Turok series.
Long story short: it was HARD to winnow the list down this week, but here are the books that made the cut!
1. “Archer & Armstrong #0”
Coming off the heels of the first big event to hit the title, Fred Van Lente takes this week as an opportunity to fill in some backstory on the series’s leads. Archer & Armstrong has been one of the biggest successes of the Valiant relaunch, finding a solid readership and crafting some of the best conspiracy-minded thrills this side of The Da Vinci Code, so readers who want to jump on should do so with this week’s issue!
While this series didn’t get the critical acclaim that Sex Criminals or Saga got during last year’s “in review” hype, it has demonstrated month after month that it is the comic book equivalent of a punch to the gut. Even when this book is making light contact, the impact feels like a home run. There truly is a velocity and depth to this book that should not be missed by anyone looking for something to knock their socks off.
2. “Lazarus #6”
It’s really next-to-impossible to explain exactly how stellar Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s venture into a super-scientific post-economic-apocalypse world has been to this point. Rucka has packed the pages with mountains of research and Lark has crafted a world that is frightening in its detail, made all the more so by how every day’s news seems to bring it closer and closer to real-world existence.
Forever Carlyle has been launched firmly into contention for the title of “most bad-ass woman in comics,” and every month seems to further cement her as Rucka’s crowning achievement to date.
The first volume is out in trade, collecting issues #s 1-4 and, if you’re lucky, you might be able to find a copy of issue #5 when you go to your local shop. If you can’t, get caught up digitally and start reading this book immediately. If you don’t, you’ll be missing out on something amazing.
3. “Minimum Wage #2”
When it comes to capturing the reality of life on the printed page, there is no working creator today who does it better than Bob Fingerman.
In the pages of Minimum Wage, every jilted lover, irritated wing-man, and embittered veteran of online dating will find something which speaks to them, leaving them alternately laughing and crying. Fingerman has a unique ability to find the pulse of a generation, and the way his art captures stereotypes without seeming caricatured is something to behold.
4. “Illegitimates #3”
Taran Killam took his time in the first two issues, building the cast and establishing the threat of his irreverent spy fantasy, featuring a group of bastards born of a James Bond stand-in.
In the third issue, look for him to finally ramp up the action to eleven. This title is simply delightful and has a wonderfully classic feel to it that is well worth your time.
5. “The Star Wars #5”
If you thought you knew everything about Star Wars, then this is the title that proved you wrong. While purists have railed at the unfiltered original vision of franchise creator George Lucas, the differences have been startling enough to merit interest all by themselves.
As a study in storytelling, the series is simply fascinating, and it’s more than different enough that you won’t feel as though you’ve read it all before.
If you’re a fan of the franchise or even just a fan of goofy, classic science fiction, this is a great pick for you.
This week is a broad-spectrum take on independent comics. The Archer & Armstrong crew straddle the line of being super-heroes, but manage to land just this side of the long underwear crowd. The darkness of Lazarus goes up against the light-hearted fun of Minimum Wage while Illegitimates and The Star Wars bring the fun. No matter what kind of story you like, outside of straight cape fare, there is something on this list for everyone.
We apologize in advance for what this does to your budget.
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Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He also hosts the weekly Infinite Crossover podcast in cooperation with Fanboys Inc. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and resident of a real-world Smallville. contact: email@example.com Twitter: @CrusaderZero6