My Top Five Monthly Comics Titles

May 9, 2008 at 8:20 pm (Comic, Comic, Life, Review) (, , , )

            I don’t talk about comics all that much, well actually I do but generally keep it to these Forms. Today I decided that I would like to talk about the comics that have me jumping around like a giddy school girl when Jared Leto comes to town. I compiled this list with the simple question “What would make me drive 3 hours to the closes Comic Store just to buy with out hesitation”. With the exception of number 5 (because it comes to the local news-stand) the list reflex that I have done this in the past.


5. Uncanny X-Men


          Ed Brubaker took this title over about a year and a half ago but it teetered the fence of mediocrity for quite some time. It wasn’t until after Messiah Complex where this title really sprang to life. It took Brubaker about a year to work on getting a cast of characters he wanted as he got rid of the ones he didn’t want but did so in a way that was acceptable and fit the story.

            Now that Brubaker has the cast he wants, the story has been picking up. Like all Brubaker titles, Uncanny started out as very decompressed, however; Brubaker is incorporating some elements of Morrison’s run on New X-men which is forcing him to tighten his run. In recent issues I’ve finished a Uncanny issue thinking that something actually happened. I think that might have something to do with Matt Fraction coming onto the title with Brubaker, but I’m not sure.

            The art for Uncanny of late has been really fantastic, Michael Choi is the current artist and with each issue I keep finding myself just concentrating on the art. Granted he does seem to come out of the Top Cow school of art but still it really fits a X-men title. Choi does a great job telling a story with his art. The colors have been great too, the tone and hue pattern gives a really fantastic painted affect. It makes the characters look realistic but on the down side it does take away from Choi’s art.


4. Astonishing X-men 

            This is still on the list because Giant Sized isn’t out yet. The series is written by Joss Whedon and drawn John Cassaday, two giants in their respective field. I picked this title up in trades and caught up to current issues pretty fast.

            I love this title because this is what an X-men book should be, it’s fun but it doesn’t take away from the serious matters that created the X-men in the first place. This book works well because it doesn’t get caught up in the whole continuity of X-men but still feels like it does through the way Whedon nails the characters. Again like the current Uncanny, Astonishing pulls from the Morison run of New X-men which makes this a very strong title. Plus I love it because one of the main villains is Cassandra Nova, which is the only X-villain in recent history to actually be a threat to the X-men.

            Also what makes this run special is Cassaday’s art. He has this way of making people look real but yet they still are drawings, cartoons. His action sequences are spectacular and this book is drawn as if it is a movie. Every page has from 3-5 (Occasionally one) panels and they all run length wise across the page giving this panoramic view of everything. It works and makes it read fast.


3. Thor


         I’m not really a J. Michael Straczynski fan, mostly because his name is hard to say and harder to spell. I didn’t like Babylon 5 and his run on Spiderman left me sleeping. With that said I do like J. Michael Straczynski when he combines mythology with modern day storytelling like he did to The Real Ghostbusters animated series back in the 80’s and doing now in Thor.

            I’m a huge Thor fan to begin with, have been since its re-launch back in 97 or 98. It was the first comic I regularly picked up and did so for quite a while. I think I lasted a couple of years on it before the story just had me too confused. It was steeped in continuity which I knew nothing about.

            The JMS re-launch of Thor has been reading a lot smoother and quite better. I understand and follow the story and the complexity better then I had on the Thor title of ten years ago. I try and think about why I like this title but I don’t have an answer to it. The storytelling is great and the art is fantastic.


2. Detective Comics

            It’s all about the Paul Dini. The man understands Batman and more importantly the Gotham Rouge Gallery. Not many writers can get both aspects of a Batman title down, but Dini does it with easy and he makes the Gotham Rouge’s just plane fun to read. There is just a magic in the way he loves these characters and it really comes across the page. Most of Dini’s run on Detective Comics have been mostly one shots but there is a connected storyline going on in the background. Dini does that kind of storytelling the best.

            The downside of this title though and why it’s not at number one is the art. Dini has different artists come and go on the run which really makes it disconnected and doesn’t make the title seem as solid as it should. I can see why he would want to do it, to emphasize the one shots but a constancy in art would be nice. Some times the art is great but other times it just doesn’t fit a Batman story.


1. X-factor


          I’m a huge Peter David fan and this is the book that made me that way. I’ve been reading re-launch or this title since issue 4 only skipping a couple issues during Civil War because I couldn’t find them. This title is everything I want in a comic, a mixture of Noir, Soap Opera, and Comedy. Up until after Messiah Complex this title has been delivering the right note just when it’s needed.

            Since Messiah Complex the title has been missing some punch, actually its missing its heart which was Layla Miller. The dynamic between Miller and the rest of the cast of X-factor made the book light hearted and fun to read. She also supplied a sub-plot to the entire book which is now missing because she is stuck in the future. If she doesn’t’ come back soon this title may take a turn for the worst which will result in me dropping it.


Honorable Mentions: JSA, Green Lantern, Green Arrow and Black Canary

            All of these are solid titles and I’m sure once Astonishing wraps up JSA will be my new number 5 but I really don’t wait in anticipation for it as much as I do the others.




Comics that weren’t eligible for the list but I did want to pick up every month: Umbrella Academy and Suburban Glamour.

            These titles would have topped out in the number one and two positions if I had written this a couple months ago. These were both surprise hits for me from new writers. I lucked out and was in Denver when Sub Glam issue 1 and 2 came out and thought about driving down to Denver to pick up 3 but decided against it.


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