BRYAN HILL

Top 10 Comics for the Week of 2-20-2019

 

 

10. Relay #4

Writer: Zac Thompson

Artist: Andy Clarke

Publisher: Aftershock

Description: In the future, the galaxy is united under a monolith known as the Galactic Relay. Although the towering monument is meant to inspire conformity of ideas, technology and progress, it is not without its enemies, and many have begun to resent the foreign structure. Bow, Jad Carter, a Relay employee, has found the Relay’s mythological creator. Jad is lost in deep space searching for the farmer and the first world. Are the legends of Hank Donaldson merely fiction? Too bad he may never find out. Legions of derelict space pirates and the entirety of the Relay’s forces will stop at nothing to keep Jad from the truth.

Why it Made the List: This was the first issue of Relay since September and it came back as strong as it left. Zac Thompson is a writer who is not shy about approach grand ideas such as humanity’s everlong search for meaning. This issue had its fair share of action, but it’s bigger purpose was to further deconstruct the belief system this future has been built around. There are a lot of allegories here to American and European colonialism that utilized similar tactics to legitimize horrific tactics like genocide to the purpose of greed and expansion. For those who prefer their Science Fiction with a bold purpose this series offers a lot to dissect.

 

  1. Incursion #1

Writer: Andy Diggle, Alex Paknadel

Artist: Doug Braithwaite

Publisher: Valiant

Description: Beyond the margins of human reason lies a realm known as the Deadside, where the souls of the dearly departed linger – and where demons wait for us in the dark. For countless ages, Earth’s chosen protectors have guarded the veil between both worlds – but there are other doors to the Deadside, through which gruesome terrors from galaxies untold can trespass… With the planet’s freedom at stake, can the reigning Geomancer and her steadfast Eternal Warrior stand together against an invasion unlike any they’ve ever witnessed?

Why it Made the List: We have now enter a new phase of Valiant comics with a number of new titles getting released. Recently Livewire got her own solo book and now Incursion #1 see’s its release. This series centers on the Eternal Warrior who is one of the publishers longest standing characters. Despite that fact this is a great place to jump in if you are new to the Valiant universe. You get enough context to understand who the major players are including a key relationship between the Eternal Warrior and the new Geomancer. The biggest reason this made this list was due to the artwork of Doug Braithwaite, Jose Villarrubia and Diego Rodriguez. Braithwaite’s pencils have so much life to them and the Jose Villarrubia and Diego Rodriguez add a great deal of depth. The choice to use a multitude of Earthy tones was key in establishing the series atmosphere.

 

8.Avengers #15

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: David Marquez

Publisher: Marvel

Description: Dracula forges unholy alliances from his prison cell.  Ghost Rider goes berserk. The Shadow Colonel and his new Legion of the Unliving raise bloody hell all over the globe.  It’s a good thing the Avengers just added a startling new member to the team.

Why it Made the List: Who would have thought The Avengers fighting Vampires would be this much fun? One of the best choices Marvel ever made was to incorporate characters from all over literature and mythology, which is why we can have one Avengers series currently centered on the gods of Olympus and another Avengers book dealing with the might of the greatest villain ever created Dracula. It allows this book to have the feel of a major publishing crossover without reallying being a major cross over between different publishers. Tony Stark interrogating Dracula is basically fan-fiction done right and sets up Dracula to be an opposing force moving foward.

 

  1. Venom #11

Writer: Donny Cates

Artist: Ryan Stegman, Joshua Cassara

Publisher: Marvel

Description: The sinister symbiote skulks the streets of San Francisco! With the symbiote silenced and Eddie finding parts of his memory missing, will he be able to find the answers he’s looking for in the Golden City? Or will the return to his old stomping grounds reveal secrets better left buried?

Why it Made the List: It seems like some of the steam has cooled off Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s Venom’s run, which is a shame because in my opinion this is the best the book has been since he took it over. While the opening arc has some massive ideas that forever changed the Marvel universe, these past issues did much more for the character of Eddie Brock and his relationship with the symbiote. This issue in particular had a lot of allegorical implications to things like addiction and depression which made it a much more affecting issue. With Thanos wins and the early arc of this book Cates proved he could write some massive epics full of major ideas, but what he is doing now is more impressive. He is making Eddie Brock into a more compelling character than ever before.

 

  1. Black Badge #7

Writer: Matt Kindt

Artist: Tyler Jenkins

Publisher: Boom! Studios

Description: The Badge of Champions reaches its bloody conclusion—which troop will reign supreme, and what terrible secrets will be revealed?

Why it Made the List: Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins make one heck of a creative team. Not too long about they worked on the criminally underappreciated Grass Kings series, and now their series Black Badge is proving to be just as good. Hilary Jenkins colors bring a very different atmosphere to this series. In this issue in particular in how she is able to utilize specific tones within flashback sequences to differentiate them from the present day, which causes those moments to really pop and come to life. For a series that centers on a group of kids this has enter into some dark territory as this issue revealed the dangerous depths these special ops boy scouts traveled. Like a good war story it is about the lasting damage these types of conflicts can have especially on those who inherit the misdeeds of others. This just makes that line more direct.

 

5.Bitter Root #4

Writer: Chuck Brown, Chuck Brown

Artist: Sanford Greene

Publisher: Image

Description: The Sangerye family has fought evil for decades, but they’ve never faced anything like this. And while two family members have returned home, one may be lost forever as Hell comes to Harlem.

Why it Made the List: I have to assume that Sanford Greene is having the time of his life with this comic. He is taking the 1920’s Harlem setting and this massive influx of mythological beings and making this comic his own. This is the type of book that should make him into a massive star. Since its first issue this book has not slowed down. Despite the frantic pace it’s been able to juggle a cavalcade of of characters in a very short time. This issue was just as much fun as the previous. It is simply unlike any other comic out currently, while there are plenty of other science fiction and fantasy stories none have this mixture of place, personality, and story.

 

  1. Mars Attacks #5

Writer: Kyle Starks

Artist: Chris Schweizer

Publisher: Dynamite

Description: When things may be at their lowest, Spencer Carbutt may just become the man that his father has been trying to make him amidst all of the explosions and meltings and giant insects making a mess of all types of infrastructure. Make sure you grab yourself a copy of the conclusion to the rootinest, tootinest, Martian-shootin’est comic book you did ever dang see!

Why it Made the List: Kudos to Dynamite for putting some interesting choices for  comic creators on a number of their current titles. With Mars Attacks Kyle Starks and Chris Schweizer put  together and emotionally impacting father in son story based on a property that became famous for making goofy and graphic trading cards. You can forget how simple character development can go such a long way. There are plenty of goofs and laughs to be had like monstrous  mayhem in the background while our character slowly walk to their destination, but when this series ended there is a real sense of accomplishment. It may be the best thing to ever happen to the Mars Attacks franchise.

 

3.Hot Lunch Special

Writer: Eliot Rahal

Artist: Jorge Fornés

Publisher: Aftershock

Description:The murderous meal that the Moran Mafia have been serving is finally coming to an end. The plates are cleared. And now it’s time for their just desserts.

Both sides have blood on their hands. Both families have lost more than they can bare. The remaining Khoury’s flee back to the safety of Minnesota as the Irish Mafia chases them across state lines to finish what they started. There can only be one victor, but in war, anyone can die.

 

Why it Made the List: The finale for Hot Lunch Special took a few months to come out, and to the credit of Eliot Rahal and Jorge Fornés they both made it worth the wait. It was a dramatic and explosive finale that closed this family crime rivalry that was going on for generations. Rahal and Fornés have put together one fantastic series here that takes a lot from the best of the crime genre and adds their own unique flair. One that takes a finger found in a pre packaged sandwich and bases one hell of a story about it.

 

  1. The Lone Ranger #5

 

Writer: Mark Russell

Artist: Bob Q

Publisher: Dynamite

Description: The Lone Ranger and Tonto miraculously come back from the dead to force a final showdown with the ranchers for the future of the Texas Panhandle.

Why it Made the List: Sadly this is another series ending with this issue. As mentioned previously with Mars Attacks Dynamite is putting some great people on their properties including The Lone Ranger which is written by Mark Russell and drawn by Bob Q. I have never cared at all about The Lone Ranger but they both made me extremely sad to see this series end. It has great western adventure and Mark Russell;s sense of humor and ability to inject some impactful social commentary. Bob Q is an artist the continues to impress with each passing issue he is doing. He is great at the small things let giving you a great sense of space. Even the lettering from Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou is done with extreme care. One of his bestg skills is weaving sound effects into a scene to make come alive. Every single person attached to this book is giving their all and the end product has been down right phenomenal.

 

  1. American Carnage #4

Writer: Bryan Hill

Artist: Leandro Fernandez

Publisher: Vertigo

Description: Wynn Morgan isn’t just a wealthy Los Angeles industrialist, he’s the unofficial king of a vast white nationalist movement and the prime suspect in the murder of an FBI agent. But a dead fed may prove to be the least of Morgan’s problems when dissension in the ranks signals what could be the start of a secret civil war, with white-passing undercover agent Richard Wright caught right in the middle.

Why it Made the List: American Carnage is shaping up to be the best Vertigo series since Scalped. What makes it such a strong book so far is that every scene matters and even characters that have a short page time have nuance and layers. A prime example is the opening scene of this issue involving a police interrogation. It would have been easy to make the police officer a glorified trope just there to move the plot, instead, we see he too is more than one assume to further the themes of the narrative. The use of shadow in this alone is something to marvel out. There is this constant cloud hanging over everything as if the sun is unable to fully shine. I do not know if the ending will stick but I have not been shocked by a comic like this in some time. Bryan Hill has indicated he may not be writing comics for much longer. If that ends up being true comics will miss him as this series along with Killmonger are two of my early favorites of the year thus far.