by Robert Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack
Do you remember the ABC show Sabrina The Teenage Witch starring Melissa Joan Hart? If you are a late 80’s child like myself, it must have played some role in your after school routine when you were 12. It had many of the same beats that would soon make the Harry Potter books a huge success. Sabrina’s aunt Hilda was played by the hilarious Caroline Rhea, and her aunt Zelda was played by the charming Beth Broderick. My school night wouldn’t be the same without a little Sabrina Spellman in it. Well, this comic book is not that show. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack have taken the fun supernatural side of Archie Comics, and stripped it down to the terrifying witchcraft elements that linger just below the surface. It is like the difference between Teen Wolf and Silver Bullet. One uses a supernatural mythology to add a fun spin on a rather mundane story; the other focuses on the truly terrifying details of the unnatural world. This is the beauty of the diverse range of the horror genre. There can exist an after school special staring a teenage witch, and there can exist a terrifying comic based on the same character. One is a guilty pleasure for a 12 year old, while the other keeps a 31 year old man up at night.
Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #8
by Tom King, Mitch Gerads & Clayton Cowles
Mister Miracle #1 is a dizzying and infectious debut issue of a series from three masters of their craft in Tom King, Mitch Gerads & Clayton Cowles, working at the height of their capabilities. Surreal, dark and engrossing, Mister Miracle takes on the conventions of Jack Kirby’s iconic New Gods characters for a modern day treatise on paranoia and fear in our era of encroaching fascism on western liberal democracy. Deeply creative and engrossing, Mister Miracle is the best debut issue of a comics series in years, and it’s excellent by almost any measure. Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Mister Miracle #1
By Tim Seeley, Javier Fernandez, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos M. Mangual
Once again I find myself in awe of this series. I continue to have barely any interest in Batman, or any of the other Bat-titles, but Dick Grayson’s solo adventures have held my interest for well over three years now. In that time, Tim Seely (with co-writing credit to Tom King on Grayson) has built an impressive tapestry around Richard Grayson. It’s only now that things start to come full circle. Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Nightwing #26
Do you think when Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples are discussing Saga concepts, they know when they hit the jackpot? I mean, they have a ton of amazing ideas in these forty five issues, but every now and then they have an idea that is elevated to genius level. I can’t help but wonder if they get extra excited for certain issues to come out. Are they just chomping at the bit to reach the issue they think is next level? Honestly, with the high level of quality that Saga is month in and month out, they are probably always excited for that next issue to hit the stands. When it is all said and done, and the final installment of Saga is released for the last time, I would like to know what Brian an Fiona’s favorite part of the story was, because for me, it’s right here.
Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Saga #45
by Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen
The notion of a comic book “event”, is one that began as a loose definition before ultimately being commodified by corporate actors as a means of generating sales in the direct market. Marvel & DC basically run different self described “event” story mini-series and crossovers year round. Corporate IP across smaller publisher’s consistently goes out of their way on a yearly basis to generate interest in their fledgling comic series with “event” crossover books or relaunches of those core titles. In general, this tends to result in less then satisfying comics experience, with books that are often being guided with a heavy hand from editorial and conclusions that rarely match the epic promise of their concept as everything has to be reset to the status quo by the stories end. But there’s plenty of classic comic story arcs that we now retroactively look back on as “events” which defy these conventions, story-line’s or crossovers of another era when the bombast and scope was a byproduct of the comics that preceded it, and the consequences for what you were reading at least felt real to the wider narrative. Events in comics were by-products of great storytelling, not and end to itself. Descender #22 understands that, and when it self identifies as a “five part event”, it’s doing so on the strength of all that’s preceded it in the series. And issue #22 is an event in the most literal sense of the word, in that, it’s the best single issue so far of the excellent science fiction series from Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen for how it brings the book’s past threads to the forefront to create an epic opening salvo of the new story arc. Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Descender #22
by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips & Elizabeth Breitweiser
Some comics you know as soon as you see the publishing list, they’re the book to beat. Especially if its an Image book, like Saga or The Walking Dead. So it went this week when I put together my pull-list with the latest issue of Kill or Be Killed by Ed Brubaker, Sean Philips & Elizabeth Breitweiser. Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Kill Or Be Killed #10
By Tom King, Mikel Janin and June Chung
Throughout Tom King’s run on Batman, he’s managed to create his own unique Bat voice while at the same time constantly paying tribute to those who have walked the path before him. I regard King’s insights into Batman among the best I’ve read. Where others have scratched the surface of a great idea, which is often enough, King dive’s in headfirst, getting right down to the core of what makes those ideas great, and then exploring them further. While King’s emotional insights and story beats are fantastic, they would not be possible without the countless creators who have handled these characters before him, both in comics and film. Whatever King’s intention with the tributes are it really feels as though with each one he is saying “I wouldn’t be here without you”. I said he is paying tribute to those who have walked the path, but what I really mean is, those who have paved the way.
Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Batman #26
by Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott, Chiara Arena & Jodie Wynne
After an extended hiatus, Black Magick returns with issue #6. The story shifts to explore the books past and mythology, while bringing on a couple of new contributors to the creative team. Yet, in spite of these changes, co-creators Greg Rucka & Nicola Scott remain masters of creating opening chapters for comic arcs, helping Black Magick pick up right where the book left off in terms of it’s pace and excitement. Deeply thoughtful and enthralling in equal measure, Black Majik #6 is a reminder of the series excellence. Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Black Magick #6
By Tim Seeley, Minkyu Jung, Chris Sotomayor, Carlos M. Mangual
With his city hanging in the balance, and his personal life strained, Dick Grayson must find a way to save both in This Week’s Finest… Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Nightwing #23
By Nick Spencer, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Rod Reis, Joshua Cassara, Rachelle Rosenberg and Sunny Gho
What do I want out of a comic book event? If it’s a crossover event then those issues need to be solid; they need to serve the event but also stay true to the original title. I want to care about the characters; I don’t need to know who the characters are but there are obviously going to be some major stakes involved and I want to care what happens to these people. I want there to be a clear goal in mind; why is the event happening and how do we get through it? I was a big fan of Secret Wars, the tie-ins were tight and the main title was brilliant. I skipped Civil War II because it felt like been there done that. This year’s Marvel summer event is Secret Empire. Although we have a Cap vs Iron Man plot which, believe me, should definitely feel like been there done that, shows why this event is so much more. Cap is bad. He has the likes of a possessed Scarlet Witch, a Mjonirless Thor and a compliant Punisher fighting alongside him. Honestly, it’s a little confusing. In a time when there are so many amazing comics, reading them can become somewhat reflexive. I know when I pick up a Marvel book that Cap is good and Ultron is bad. But, Secret Empire takes advantage of that reflexive reading and turns it on you; it makes you think. Secret Empire is out to tell a story that on the surface looks familiar but in the pages is nothing you have ever seen.
Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Secret Empire #4