Top 10 Comics of January 2013

On the first of the month, the Degobot will list his 10 favorite comics of the previous month.

In January 2013 the Degobot purchased 77 comic books. 66 print books, and 11 digital books.
(54 Marvel Comics, 16 DC Comics, 4 Image Comics, 2 Dark Horse Comics, 1 Icon Comic)


1. HAWKEYE # 7 (by Matt Fraction, Steve Lieber, Jesse Hamm, and Matt Hollingsworth)
When comics tie in real world events to a story it can be hit or miss when it comes to the Superhero genre. In this issue writer Matt Fraction shows the reader what Clint Barton (Hawkeye, or Hawkguy if you prefer) and Kate Bishop (also Hawkeye) are doing during the events of Hurricane Sandy. What makes this comic great is that it doesn’t have two Superheroes punching a hurricane and saving the city, therefore undermining the heroic actions of real world firefighters and rescue teams. Instead the story is very much grounded in reality; the main characters simply help their neighbors out of a couple rough and tough situations. What’s clever about the story is that the obstacles the Hawkeyes have to over come are realistic problems that arise during a hurricane, and the solutions are something anyone could come up with. The Hawkeyes realistic problem solving is truly inspiring to the reader. It reminds us that each of us has the potential to be a hero to someone hurting in our community. (Published by Marvel Comics)
This issue made the list for a few reasons. First, Fraction’s spectacular writing including the month’s best line of dialogue: “How do you live in Brooklyn and not know who Jay-Z is?” Second, guest artists Lieber and Hamm’s artwork is consistent with the look and tones that regular artist David Aja has been bringing to the title. Third, the book’s cover is gorgeous (Thanks Aja), and finally Fraction is donating his portion of the proceeds to the Red Cross’ Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, which led me to purchase a print and digital copy of this issue.

2. ALL NEW X-MEN # 5 (by Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, and Marte Gracia)
This issue results in status quo changes for the “Kid” X-Men from the past, the Headmistress of the Jean Grey School; Miss Kitty Pryde, and Dr. Hank McCoy AKA the Beast. The time travel aspects of this story are never confusing thanks to Bendis’ clear resolutions and cleaver dialogue, he even has time to make “Kid” Iceman funny. Immonen’s detailed artwork makes sure the reader is never confused by having two Cyclops’ or Iceman’s in the same book. (Published by Marvel Comics)
This issue made the list because it resolves many of the plot threads introduced in the beginning of the series, and presents new ones that will move the series forward. All New X-Men # 6 also shipped this month, with guest artist David Marquez. It too was a great read, and helped further develop the “Kid” X-Men.

3. BATMAN # 16 (by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, James Tynion IV, and Jock)
“Batman VS the Joker” Is there any other premise DC needs to sell comics? The current Bat Family crossover event “Death of the Family” is based on that premise. This issue begins the final showdown between Batman and the Joker, with Joker’s master plan finally revealed. The story is creepy and scary. (Published by DC Comics)
This issue made the list because Snyder and Capullo engage the reader with one of the more suspenseful comics in recent memory. This comic has everything a Batman fan could ask for. An intriguing mystery, Arkham Asylum, the Joker, Two Face, the Penguin, and the Riddler! This issue sets the stage for the final issue of this event, and if it’s even half as entertaining as this issue was, it should be an epic ending.

4. SAGA # 9 (by Brian K. Vaughan, and Fiona Staples)
Every issue of Saga has been a joy to read, and this issue is no exception. Chapter Nine focuses on the Will, Gwendolyn, and Slave Girl. As always Vaughan and Staples deliver a well paced story with original characters, beautiful artwork and creative concepts. Most of this issue is spent exploring the motives and nature of the Will and Gwendolyn, but seeing as how they are some of the most mysterious characters in this book that’s not really a problem. (Published by Image Comics)
This issue made the list because it develops characters that needed their stories expanded. As always the book has a stunning cover and a last page that leaves the reader wanting more.


5. INVINCIBLE # 100 (by Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, and Cliff Rathburn)
It’s exciting to see a Superhero comic that didn’t start in the 1960’s reach 3-digit numbers. This issue is the final chapter in a story entitled “The Death of Everyone”. Spoiler alert! Not everyone dies. I know… Shocking! Even though all the main characters live through this story it was still a great read providing what one expects from a 100th issue; variant covers, extra pages, and an epic battle between the book’s hero and villain. (Published by Image Comics)
This issue made the list because it makes a conscious statement on death in Superhero comics. Kirkman is able to use the story as a platform to show that while death and resurrection are parts of the Superhero comic equation; renumbering and the illusion of change do not have to be. Issue # 99 also shipped in January. It was an entertaining issue, which builds up the drama for issue # 100. It also experimented with making every page in the comic a splash page!

6. THE SAVAGE WOLVERINE # 1 (by Frank Cho)
Anytime a comic is written and drawn by the same individual one should take notice for that is a major accomplishment. Frank Cho is an industry veteran, who handles Marvel’s most popular X-Man in style. Wolverine awakens on the Savage Land with no knowledge of what he’s doing there or how he arrived. He teams up with Shanna the She-Devil and begins to unravel the mysteries laid before him. (Published by Marvel Comics)
This issue made the list because Cho brought the pulp. The comic has a film noir tone to it, which is a perfect compliment to Cho’s “cartoon” art style, plus the She-Devil’s boobs are everywhere.

7. STAR WARS # 1 (by Brian Wood, Carlos D’Anda, and Gabe Eltaeb)
Writer Brian Wood is able to tap into what made Star Wars cool in the first place with this comic. This book is great because one does not need to have a graduate degree in the Star Wars mythos to jump on board. The story takes place in the months following the original film “A New Hope”. It focuses on the characters you want to read about; Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia Organa. Artist D’Anda successfully makes the characters in the book look like the actors and actress’ that played the characters in the movies, which is helpful since the purpose of this comic is to show what happens between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back”. (Published by Dark Horse Comics)
This issue made the list because it returns the franchise back to its glory days. The characters pick up their stories right where the film leaves them off, which should give us new insight to characters like Darth Vader and the Emperor. Star Wars is a great mythos, and if this is the first issue of an ongoing series that can make that mythos entertaining again, then that should give Sci-fi geeks everywhere a reason to cheer. Plus the print copy came with a code for a FREE digital copy.
star wars by wood

8. WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN # 24 (by Jason Aaron, David Lopez, and Morry Hollowell)
Its date night at the Jean Grey School for Mutants and this issue follows the love lives of Shadowcat, Iceman, Wolverine, and Storm. This issue takes a break from the spandex fisticuffs to look at the human characteristics of the X-Men. Writer Jason Aaron easily conveys the emotions these characters feel while attempting to date each other and come to terms with the events they’ve experienced of late, which is the point of this issue. Aaron also makes reference to the other X-book’s status and how they affect Wolverine and the X-Men. The School gets a new headmistress, “Kid” Jean Grey shows up, and the book checks in on the status of Broo. (Published by Marvel Comics)
This issue made the list because it focuses on character, and explores the emotions of the Jean Grey School’s faculty members. It moves the characters forward, and gives them a little rest before Aaron’s next story arc which will take them to the Savage Land.

9. UNCANNY AVENGERS # 3 (by Rick Remender and John Cassidy)
The Red Skull now has the telepathic powers of Professor Charles Xavier, which is bad news for the citizens of the Marvel Universe. This issue turns up the heat as the Avengers and Red Skull’s S-Men start to battle it out. Cassidy’s artwork on this book is stellar; the way he draws the Red Skull using Professor X’s powers is original yet classic. Plus, Rememder’s character growth of Wolverine is a welcome change to a character that can sometimes be a one trick pony. (Published by Marvel Comics)
This issue made the list because it combines the X-Men and Avengers franchises in a clever and entertaining way that doesn’t feel fake or forced. Rick Remender proved with his run on “Uncanny X-Force” that he is a Marvel writer to watch, and one would do well to do so.

10. THOR: GOD OF THUNDER # 4 (by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic)
This issue focuses on Old Man Thor, the Last King of Asgard and Gorr the God Killer. Aaron captures Thor’s arrogance and strength perfectly, making him an excellent writer for the character. Ribic’s art style really works for this series as it needs new worlds and landscapes practically every issue. Gorr could be a little more interesting, but Aaron has proved his storytelling capabilities enough times to earn a little faith. (Published by Marvel Comics)
This issue made the list because the timeline jumping format is an excellent example of how to use a story’s time period to the writer’s creative advantage, and that Thor will be a hero to last through out the ages.

All of these books are available now, at your local comic book store or digitally via the Comixology app on Apple and Android devices.



3 responses to “Top 10 Comics of January 2013

  1. Marvel has always offered smiling superheroes, sunny settings and stories filled with irony, while DC has always published serious superheroes, dark settings and thoughtful stories: think about the unforgettable “Seduction of the Gun”, or the arc about the Green Arrow sidekick become drug addicted. Yes, of course each publisher made some exceptions (Superman has a sunny setting, while Daredevil is a dark superhero, and so on), but their trend has always been the one I just described. Well, when Marvel decides to make an exception and publishes a dark series, it’s usually a masterpiece. Hawkeye is a perfect example.
    There’s a big Daredevil influence in there (which thrills me a lot, since I’m a big fan of the man without fear). I instantly thought to Matt when I recognized Aja’s art: he drew some issues of Daredevil, and his style perfectly ties with the noir atmosphere of the series. Also, I recognized some wonderful tributes in the first issue: Hawkeye used a card as weapon, exactly like Bullseye used to do, and he threw a wet dog on a counter, which really reminds of the panel in which Daredevil throws a wet Nuke on a table, in the last chapter of Daredevil: Born Again. Hawkeye has the kind of magic that makes you say “This is an instant classic”, exactly like Lemire’s Animal Man.

  2. im with you on most of these picks. there are a few on your list im not reading (yet) but Hawkeye, A.N. X-Men, Thor…these have all impressed me. the X-title cause im a old fan and the premise was iffy imo but it has turned out to be very good! Thor and Hawkeye impressed me because these are titles and characters i have historically not cared too much about. These are my 3 favorite Marvel Now books at the moment.

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