Staff Picks – Week of 24/02/2016

DKIII: The Master Race #3
Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello (w), Andy Kubert (a)
DC Comics

Chris says: We all knew this was going to run late at some point, didn’t we? It’s almost to be expected these days … What wasn’t expected is how good it’s been. People have been watching from afar with a morbid curiosity about this third instalment in Frank Miller’s Dark Knight series, but with issue 3 I feel it’s time to stop watching and get on board. Carrie Kelley’s development continues, as we see her being prepared to fully assume the mantle of the Bat. It’s a bold move, yet also the most obvious one. And as the world goes to hell around them, Bruce & Carrie set out to rouse Superman from his slumber in the Fortress of Solitude. These first few issues are very much about bringing the band back together, including this month’s mini-comic which features Green Lantern’s return to Earth. Shown as an almost omnipotent figure in Dark Knight Strikes Again, Green Lantern becomes an example of just how dangerous the Kandorian rebels can be if left unchecked. The mini-comic features breakdowns by John Romita Jr. with finishes by Frank Miller and colors by Alex Sinclair – a wonderful combination that perfectly suits the tone of this tale. Meanwhile, Andy Kubert, Klaus Janson and Brad Anderson continue their stellar work on the main series – creating something that fits within the Dark Knight mythos, yet feels very much like a comic of today. I’m 100% on board for this series, which is something I didn’t expect to be saying (despite my deepest hopes). Personally I prefer the Collector’s Editions of each issue, which feature all the variants plus the mini-comics at full size, but whatever your preference this is something you should be checking out. Don’t wait for the eventual (and probably long-delayed) trade paperback collection – jump in now and see what all the fuss is about.

Rumble Vol. 2 TP
John Arcudi (w), James Harren (a), Dave Stewart (c)
Image Comics

Ryan says:
Not ashamed to say it… I’m a total art junkie. So it kind of goes without saying that a book as punchy and animated as Rumble would call out to me from the comic shelves every month. James Harren’s bold and distinct illustrative style is both ugly and beautiful at the same time, with characters that have clear silhouettes and hyper-expressive features. And long-time BPRD writer, John Arcudi, weaves an action-packed but still comedically charged yarn. After all, what’s not to love about a reincarnated barbarian in the body of a scarecrow, fighting off demons in a grungy urban part of town! Grab your copy and lose yourself in it, it’s a series you won’t regret getting addicted to.

X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever #1
Max Bemis (w), Michael Walsh (a)
Marvel Comics

Adam says: Worst X-Man Ever is without question of the greatest X-men comics in absolutely years. Telling the story of Bailey, an unremarkable high-schooler whose parents make the decision to tell him he may be an X-gene carrier, Bemis and Walsh brilliantly distil the core elements of what makes an X-Men comic and turn in an accessible, warm first issue. There’s comedy, tragedy, being/feeling-a-misfit, teen drama, awkwardness, cartoon team-up violence.

Walsh’s work here is wonderfully engaging, with emotive expressions throughout. What’s surprising is how light it feels, tonally. Last I saw him he was doing X-Files, a more brooding affair obviously, and he’s doing an issue of The Vision soon. His versatility shows even in just this first issue when he balances cartoon action and emotional weight. Bemis’s writing, meanwhile, feels loving and reverent but also very contemporary. This reads like a classic X-Men book produced in 2016.

Ganges #5
Kevin Huizenga (w/a)
Fantagraphics

Camila says: It has been so long since a new issue of Ganges came out, I didn’t even think I’d ever see a new one, but ta-raaa! It is real! And boy, am I happy it is!

Every issue is fully self-contained (so if you haven’t come the others, don’t worry, just get this one while you can!), and delivers short snippets of Huizenga’s fictitious character Glenn Ganges’ life. They are brilliant in a way that most comics chronicling ‘real life’ (featuring regular people, be that fiction or not) could ever only dream of being.