For the first time, I thought about creating a new category after "Everything Else" as a place to put the truly bad books. Then, I thought about putting everything into Honorable Mention except those few. In the end, I didn't do either. Quality naturally sorted things out on their own and you'll know the bad books when you reach them without any extra emphasis from me.
Pick of the Week
Renato Jones One Percent #5 - What a ride! If I haven't mentioned it before, this book is nuts. This issue was cover-to-cover madness and I loved every second of it. The good news is - we'll be getting more Renato Jones! Though the bad news is it'll be early next year. (Like so many other titles!) Still, I'll take it. Also, the cover is not a spoiler. Although... maybe it is, based on that last page... Highly recommended if you like a little violence with your politics.
Chew #59 - Fucking Hell.
Aliens Defiance #6 - This has one of the best opening sequences in recent memory. Five pages of perfect marine vs alien action. There's also betrayl here. There's the obvious one, but I think another as well, that will quietly be forgotten until the series conclusion when everything goes spectacularly to hell. I'm excited, but also a little sad. With a cast of only two, now three, I'm not sure anyone is going to make it out of this alive.
Descender #16 - An emotional tale about a couple of robots. I continually praise this books art and writing and can only hope some of you have decided to pick it up. This issue starts "seventeen years ago" and for the first time I wondered if a collection would or could ever be made in chronological order. I can't say it'd be better that way, but I'd take the opportunity to real the whole series again.
Exodus Life After #8 - I don't think there's been an issue of this series that hasn't put a smile on my face. The artist is a good friend of mine and when each issue comes out, he makes a post on Facebook. Last night's post was about naked Ernest Hemingway. But I didn't read this then, I read some other garbage you'll see further down the page. This would have put me in a better mood then, but I chose not to read it. Instead, I saved it for the end of my lunch break, just before going back to my soul-sucking cubicle, all while thinking about how great Ernest Hemingway is. Thanks, gents! You're the best.
Saga #39 - It's been a while since I had to consider the implications of an "or." Not too much happens this issue, but where that would tend to be a fault in other books, it's really not here. Plans are hatched, plans are dashed, there's much to discuss, and all of it looks wonderful. I'd say no one dies this issue, but that's not true.
American Monster -#5 - This would absolutely read better as a trade. At the very least it would help just keeping track of what's going on with everyone. Add to that the vagueness with which the characters speak to one another, and it's hard to follow. Not impossible, and I happen to like the way the characters speak, but clearly difficult. It's continues to be good. Maybe not as good as Moonshine, but I'll take all the Azzarello I can get and I'm a fan of Juan Doe's art.
Birthright #20 - This issue starts with a dragon and it barely even registers with the revelations let loose this issue. Some seriously major history is told here, but we're going to have to wait a few months to learn what any of it means because they're going on hiatus between arcs, like an increasing number of Image titles seem to be doing. Each issue reminds me just how long it's been since the men and women of this family have been in the same place at the same time. It appears that's being set up for next arc, which should be explosive given everything each group knows that the other doesn't.
Frostbite #2 - This book continues to be a solid addition to Vertigo's growing stable of new titles. That may not seem like high praise when I'm raving about other indy titles, but thinking about past Vertigo titles I've enjoyed, they mostly had a slow burn for a solid 60 issues. I hope this gets there one day, as the world these characters inhabit is wonderfully interesting. Really only the main character has any depth yet, but they've gone deep on her and I find her a relateable, believable protagonist. Recommended.
Teen Titans #1 - I'd wanted the Teen Titans Rebirth issue since, like a bunch of other Rebirth titles, I wanted to try it. Except I screwed up my pull list and put this down instead of that. I read the Rebirth issue once I realized I'd missed it, but didn't like it. Writing just wasn't for me and wasn't a huge fan of the art either. Then I wind up walking out of the shop with this in my bag without realizing it. Turns out it's pretty good. Much better than the Rebirth issue. Except Jonboy has left the book, and I haven't seen a replacement artist announced yet. Which makes recommending it a bit difficult. Note: I now hear the new artist is Khoi Pham, which is pretty bad ass.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #3 - I feel like less happens in this series than the main book. The main title generally feels dense with word balloons, though not in a bad way, simply that there's so much to cover in so little space. Here though, we end in almost the same place as the issue started - trapped in a building under siege. Raph gets some good panels, April takes action, Stockman helps out, and the scorpion character gets a name... but that's about it. It's good, but not as solid as the main book.
Transformers Revolution #1 - This is bad and you should not read it. Even if you're reading Revolution, which, I can't imagine why you would be if this is any indication of its quality, just skip this.
Wonder Woman #9 - If it hadn't been pointed out elsewhere, I'm not sure I would have seen it - the arc is called "The Lies" yet there's been very little lying going on thus far. Expect the lie quotient to increase dramatically in issue 11 when this concludes. This issue was good; they address Wonder Woman's relationship with both Superman and Steve Trevor and it all goes well. There's also that ending, which I think bodes less well than it appears. And whatever's been going on behind Wonder Woman's back all this time. So, in all, much to look forward to. Oh, and then there's that cover, a creepy Engineer-looking Matrix-y thing. No idea what that's about.
Ultimates #12 - The Ultimates was a good series that got massively derailed by at least one major crossover. I don't know what happened to Rocafort on art, but he only drew half the series? Maybe a little more? This series ends by demolishing what was built and seemingly promising to put it back together in the next series. Except, when it all went so wrong this time, why would anyone give this writer and title another shot? I'm getting off this train and if anyone else is reading, I recommend you do the same.