Now that we are well into December, it is time to look back at November and decide what books rose to the top! As always, we have our own tastes that you will obviously see reflected. Vertigo and Image Comics are obviously highlighted here, partially because of the Vertigo relaunch and the massive swatch of great new books from Image Comics. You will also notice that there are some newer books, as well as some well traveled ones, as well as a lot of known comics talent that we have come to trust.
We would also like to hear from you below in the comments section. Which ones are also on your “best of” list for November? What ones would you choose that are not on our list?
Paper Girls #2 (Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, and Matt Wilson, Image Comics)
This second issue into Brian K Vaughn’s new indie hit really gets us deeper into the sense of uncertainty that is coming in the paper girls’ neighborhood. Is this really an alien invasion? Are they in danger? As they head in search of a weapon, we see a little more about their home lives and really get to know who these characters are. Many people have discussed how this comic feels like an 80s young teen movie, and it does, but here we start to see that there is a slight edge to it that is both earned and exciting. Paper Girls is one that we are going to be having a special eye on.
Archie #4 (Mark Waid and Annie Wu, Archie Comics)
Fiona Staples may be off the book now, but Mark Waid and Annie Wu are more than capable of keeping this stellar work going. Here we finally learn about the “lipstick incident,” but we also get a nice treaty on relationships in general. This is what can really take a book like this to the next level, when it feels grounded in the real world and relatable. All of the characters are fully formed, though all still a little suburban and white-bred. This is going to continue to be a fun book for the forseeable future, so hopefully we can keep Mark Waid on for quite some time.
Jacked #1 (Eric Kripke, John Higgins, and Glenn Fabry, Vertigo Comics)
Originally called Amped during development, Supernatural’s Eric Kripke has presented a great and visceral miniseries that is rumored to also be heading to television. Josh Jaffe’s life is less than he would want it, in work, family, and health. Until he finds some kind of wonder drug on television and finds that it gives him bouts of strength and courage. The book finds a classic mid-life crisis story, as well as the liberatory drug approach, but it does it in such a clean and concise way that it is incredibly engaging and readable. There is a lot of places that it can go and we hope to stick with it over its six-issue run.)
Ms. Marvel #1 (G. Willow Wilson and Cliff Chiang, Marvel Comics)
Ms. Marvel is back after Secret Wars with the big relaunch of Marvel Comics. With this issue we see Cliff Chiang come on art(it is a great month for him), which ends up working well as we see beautiful characterization on our teen romance players. Kamala Kahn sees as her potential beau finds someone new, which shows also a great commitment from the creative team to see gorgeous characters of different body types. The heart of the Wilson Ms. Marvel stories are the wonderful character stories set in this multicultural neighborhood, and the fact that it takes on urban gentrification is just perfect.
Goddamned #1 (Jason Aaron, R.M. Guera, Giulia Brusco, Image Comics)
This was an unusual book from Jason Aaron, and one of the most wonderful surprises of the year. The book tells a story they are calling “biblical noir,” which is the perfect description for the dark mystery taking place 1,655 years after Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden. Taking on comic book’s role as the re-teller of myth, it uses Genesis 6:11 and focuses on the desperation of a world corrupted right before Noah’s flood. The book uses common working-class language of today to let you relate to the spotted tribes and their violent cruelty, all of which is a lot more entertaining than it sounds. This really cements Aaron as an incredible talent who seems to be able to do just about anything.
Klaus #1 (Grant Morrison and Dan Mora, Boom! Studios)
What can we say, we are a sucker for all things Morrison and Christmas. This books is Grant Morrison’s take on the origin of Santa Claus, which is steeped in pre-Christian pagan rituals of Yule. Drawing again on Morrison’s respect for myth and ritual, it draws out the deeper warrior themes that people often see only in the subtext of holidays like Christmas. If you ever wanted to see Santa Claus going through psychedelic shamanistic experiences, then this is certainly the book for you.
East of West #22 (Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta, Image Comics)
East of West has been Jonathan Hickman’s metaphorical apocalypse tale running for several years now, and always epic and intense. Issue #22 takes this to a new level by forgoing text until the last page, instead showing the Beast child engaging in rabid violence against our world leaders. The art is breathtaking, and the ability for them to tell a clean story here panel to panel is incredible.
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Paper Girls’ writer is Brian K. Vaughan, not Brian Wood! great choices!