August was a big month for the industry. We’ve been celebrating the 100th birthday of our humble royalty, Jack ‘The King’ Kirby, who’s influence still carries heavily to this day. In addition to this, we had some momentous movie news, with a Joker prequel movie announced that fans aren’t sure they asked for, and Ed Skrein joining and departing (in a noble gesture) the upcoming Hellboy reboot. Oh, and Hellboy is in a DC video game now?
The Defenders arrived to some fanfare on Netflix, and The Punisher got an appropriately moody trailer for his upcoming series. The Inhumans pilot looks to be receiving… interesting reception so far. But damn, did we get some great comic books.
Most Ridiculous Event Comic Debut Issue: “Dark Nights: Metal” #1
It shouldn’t surprise most people that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo know how to create sparks. “Metal” did more than just spark, however. These two, plus contributions no less valuable from Jonathon Glapion, FCO Plascencia, and Steve Wands, kickstart a veritable fanfare of everything great about the DC Universe. The JL entering Voltron-esque armour to fuse and battle monsters? Loving it. Nods to 80’s Starman, Hawkman’s detective history and the Challengers of the Unknown? Totally onboard. But that last page reveal? That’s how you drop the mic.
Best Kirby Homage: “Darkseid Special” #1
DC released a slew of solid Kirby homages this month, some decidedly better than the others, but I find it rather touching that the best for me was written by his good friend and protégé, Mark Evanier. It seems shocking that Darkseid doesn’t appear a lot in this issue, yet the sense of awe and dread that his existence inspires throughout this story is a beautiful thing. I’m not normally a fan of Scott Kolins on art, honestly, but his style suits the mood perfectly here. The characters are impactful and blocky, and the action is bombastic in the best ways. Keep it up, DC.
Best Long-Form Story Conclusion: “Ultimates 2 #100”
Constant reboots have plagued Marvel for some time now, and most of the content has been marred by this, but Al Ewing’s “Ultimates” saga has been one of the best cosmic superhero sagas in mainstream comics for some time now. The stakes are the highest they’ve been here – the battles are literally conceptual because of how almighty the toy box Ewing gets to play with is. Travis Foreman is a trailblazer on art, rendering beautiful Celestials (in another nice homage to Kirby, if I do say so) and giving the whole book a highly original, free-flowing style. What’s even better is that the saga wasn’t cyclical – for however much longer, Ewing has left Galactus now as a definite good guy, and I love it.
Most Charming Creator Owned Comic: “Spy Seal” #1
Rich Tommaso is nothing if not a hardworking comic creator, and this is so evident with the lovingly crafted “Spy Seal”. Reminiscent of “Tintin” and “Usagi Yojimbo” comics, Tommaso understands that this is an ‘anything goes’ medium and runs with it – Malcolm is a regular guy that manages to be recruited by MI-6 purely because he’s cool like a spy, and he loves to get involved with the femme fatales. On a structural level, it’s so impressive that Tommaso works as a complete comic creator too – everything in this issue is brought to life from his creative vision. This is an unabashedly fun series that deserves to have all eyes on it.
Most Satisfying Creator Owned Comic: “Redlands” #1
This comic feels like such a triumph for female creators. For one, it brought back the incredibly Jordie Bellaire from Twitter hiatus, who is now happily flaunting her work all over the social media site with good reason – “Redlands” is a powerful and downright haunting horror debut. Storytelling tropes are broken and flipped on their head, as we’re given ample reason to root for the bad guys in this complex yet compelling southern supernatural tale. I’m also down for discovering more new talent, and Bellaire has found a star collaborator in Vanessa R. Del Rey. Never have I been so alarmed by seeing eyes light up in the dark than I have with Del Rey’s art. Again, guys, this was a real win.Continued below
Hype-est Comic: “Mister Miracle” #1
If you’re reading this article, I’d be surprised if you haven’t read, or are at least actively interested in this issue already. Even if you’re not a huge Tom King fan, there’s plenty other factors to find interesting – Gerards’ art is momentous, Kirby characters are being brought back into the fold, those sweet sweet Nick Derington covers. Plus, with King going around making statements that this is the most ambitious book he’s undertaken, you can’t help but check it out. And you know what? This one-two punch creative team deliver a stunning, well-crafted debut like few others this year.
Best Upcoming Series Announcement: “Batman: Creature Of The Night”
Kurt Busiek’s “Superman: Secret Identity” was one of the first comics I read, and it left such a huge impression on me, not to mention the heavy emotions it induced. It still holds up as one of the best Superman stories for me today, and one of the most believable renditions of the character, so with Busiek now exploring the same road with Batman, I was incredibly excited. John Paul Leon is a great choice for art, too. His impressionist style is similar to Immonen’s in “Secret Identity” but has a darker, more ink heavy tone that fits in line with Batman. I’ll be sure to check this out as it releases, and I encourage all of you to do so as well.