THE HONOR ROLL: March 29, 2013

It’s Friday, and a Good one at that! If you have today off, it’s a great day to catch up on some fantastic comics! This was a strong week, but only five can make the weekly Honor Roll! Take a peek at the cream of the crop:

GuardiansOfTheGalaxy1cov_02GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Steve McNiven
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Welcome back, Marvel Cosmic. Guardians #0.1 was a nice teaser and Nova #1 & #2 kindled some excitement, but Guardians #1 brought cosmic back in a big way, baby. We’ve got it all here: the Guardians crew, the Badoon, cosmic warring, cosmic politics – everything that makes Marvel Cosmic great. Bendis has a fantastic handle on who these characters are so far and he’s left just the right amount of mystery regarding what has been going on with Star Lord the last while. This book is extremely accessible for new readers looking to get into Marvel Cosmic, but also gives some nice tidbits for long time readers. McNiven’s art is sharp and crisp, providing that heavy-hitter superstar art that a #1 like this deserves. And hey, Groot is in comics again! I’m a happy man.

East-of-West-1EAST OF WEST #1
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Nick Dragotta
Publisher: Image Comics

Well, wasn’t this one the talk of the town this week? East of West roared out of the gates to huge critical and fan acclaim, and deservedly so. Hickman doesn’t write small-scale stories (thankfully) and East of West is primed to be one of his biggest undertakings yet. Apocalypse in action, creepy kids, a dystopian world with an eerie gunslinger? I am so far past sold on this series I don’t know what to do with myself. This one had me from the first page and didn’t let go until the end. Nick Dragotta’s art is the perfect compliment to Hickman’s script and a great showcase of the talent this man has. If the rest of the series is half as good as #1 we are in for one hell of a comic here folks.

 

 

The-Massive_10THE MASSIVE #10
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Gary Erskine
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Okay, so maybe I have a thing for books where the world has gone to Hell in a hand basket, but this is another winner. Brian Wood’s epic The Massive welcomes guest artist Gary Erskine as the hunt for The Massive becomes the primary focus once more. Wood deals with the reality of the situation Callum Israel is in: his crew has become haggard, unsure of their mission in this world. His health is a factor, and it’s all coming to a head at once. This comic is brimming with tension from start to finish and the mysterious energy of what could be happening to this sister ship has me in on this series for the long haul. Erskine’s art is solid, maintaining the same feel for the world that Garry Brown has been creating for the past several issues. Jordie Bellaire’s colouring is brilliant as she uses a palette that makes this book unique in its presentation. The Massive #10 is a great issue, folks, ’nuff said.

2945883-justice-league-dark-18-coverJUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #18
Written by Ray Fawkes, Jeff Lemire
Art by Mikel Janin
Publisher: DC Comics

JLD is quite a tone-shift from the past couple of comics, but is strong in its own right! The conclusion of The Death of Magic features some great moments that really made me feel like this team is a team and not just all the magic characters thrown together in a book. There is a cohesiveness being built with this crew and going forward I think this is going to be an even more interesting book than it is right now (no easy feat). Fawkes & Lemire blend dialogue with action very well in this issue and I found Constantine’s voice to be a lot stronger than in his solo title…a little puzzling considering it is written by the same creative team, but I’m not about to freak out over such a thing. Mikel Janin’s strong art has helped JLD shoot up my reading pile whenever it drops and I highly recommend the entire The Death of Magic arc to anyone who is a fan of DC’s magic-wielding characters.

Journey-Into-Mystery_650-674x1024JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #650
Written by Kathryn Immonen
Art by Valerio Schiti
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Kathryn Immonen & Valerio Schiti’s first arc on Journey Into Mystery comes to a conclusion with the excellent part 5 of Stronger Than Monsters. Lady Sif has been on a bit of a soul-searching-berserker-rampage in this title and I really enjoyed where Immonen has taken this character. Lady Sif is no side character for Thor, she is a mighty god in her own right and this comic definitely showed what she is capable of. Immonen writes a lot of humour into this book, keeping the tone light at all the right points and juxtaposing humour with some absolutely crazy action when needed. Valerio Schiti impressed me in this issue with his skill penciling both the intense action and quiet, reflective moments. Marvel has another great artist in the stable with Schiti and I look forward to seeing more from his hand. When you add Jordie Bellaire (she is really just too good) colouring Schiti’s pencils you really get a special visual experience that I hope continues for a long while in Journey Into Mystery.

Honorable Mentions: Aquaman #18, Young Avengers #3, FF #5, Savage Skullkickers #1, Skybreaker #1

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