THE HONOR ROLL: February 15, 2013

Each week I delve through my read pile to find the best five comics of the past Wednesday. This week’s releases from February 13, featured some heavyweight books, including the finale of Death of the Family and the start of Uncanny X-Men. What books made my top five? Well, that’s all below. Let me know what made your top five in the comments section!

uncanny-x-men-1-marvel-nowUNCANNY X-MEN #1
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Chris Bachalo
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Hot damn has Brian Michael Bendis ever shot a lightning bolt of energy into the X-Men books or what? This comic sizzles with energy and Bendis and Bachalo are dynamite together. This comic does a great job of setting up what this book will be in contrast to All New X-Men, which had been featuring many of the same characters, and throws a fantastic wrench into the whole scenario. We get a great look at what is going on in Cyclops’ new school and how he views the world, and what is going on with his powers. The dialogue crackles with fire in this comic, and Bachalo’s art is the best I have ever seen from the veteran. This comic is a must read for anyone reading All New X-Men and I’d say for anyone who is a fan of X-books in any capacity. Bendis is, for the moment, bringing the same revitalizing touch to the world of X that he did for the Avengers so long ago.

Batman-Robin-17-coverBATMAN AND ROBIN #17
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Pat Gleason
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

Curiously enough, this one isn’t branded as Death of the Family, even though I would argue this is the true epilogue for the series. This comic focuses on the dreams of the three major players in this series, and really how DotF has affected them going forward. Upon first read, this comic actually confused me with how little ‘happened’. Upon further reflection, I was blown away by how much insight Tomasi gave readers into the minds and souls of these characters. This is one of those comics that helps build the framework of what a character is going forward, and just by having read it I understand the implications of DotF so much more than I did just from reading issue #17 of Batman. Gleason’s art is strong, as he pencils some absolutely out there situations and provides some jaw dropping splash pages. Very solid comic.

Mouse Guard Black Axe 006 CoverMOUSE GUARD: THE BLACK AXE #6
Written by David Petersen
Art by David Petersen
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment
Price: $3.50

This series has always gripped my attention, and issue 6 of the Black Axe mini-series did just that. This final issue wraps up the series, which has been quite long in publication, but the quality has never suffered for it. If it takes this long to make comics that are this good, I’m fine with it to be quite frank. Petersen has created a world in Mouse Guard that sucks readers in and holds them there until the very last page, an exciting and adventure filled world with the same spirit of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings without the daunting nature of those worlds. This comic is accessible and very well crafted, with Petersen’s attention to detail shining through on every page. If you haven’t tried Mouse Guard and are a fan of any fantasy films, books or comics, I highly recommend this series, including the latest Black Axe addition. This is a great finale to a strong arc and I look forward to more from Petersen.

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Carlos D’Anda
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $2.99

(Insert John Williams’ theme here) Brian Wood once again nails the tone of everything that is fantastic about Star Wars. This series is shaping up to be a great read and I found no drop off in quality from the exceptional first issue to this one. All the drama, excitement, and high adventure of the rebellion is here, with some fantastic art from Carlos D’Anda bringing it all to life. Star Wars #2 is a great example of what can be done with the Star Wars franchise if in the proper creative hands, and sets the bar really high for the other Star Wars titles Dark Horse is putting out right now. This is as strong a comic as any other on the shelves, and an easy recommend for anyone who enjoys Star Wars.

Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Pete Woods
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Kelly Sue DeConnick delivers another fantastic issue of Avengers Assemble this month, joined by artist Pete Woods. This story focuses on Black Widow and Hawkeye, the dynamic duo from the film, on a mini-mission tying up some loose ends. As in the previous issues, exploration of these characters and dialogue is where DeConnick shines, inserting humour at the perfect times, and letting subtle comments and looks tell a lot of story. Woods holds up his end of the bargain in this issue, delivering top notch art to go with the fantastic script. This title is highly accessible to new readers, wildly entertaining for comics veterans, and should not be overlooked.


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