Batman and the X-Men top the New Comic Book Day pull list, but there’s plenty more to love beyond capes, cowls, and genetically gifted superheroes. From DC Comics, it’s a one-two punch for the Black Label imprint, with Curse of the White Knight continuing and Harleen debuting.
Valiant Entertainment revitalizes one of its most exciting superheroes with a new ongoing series. And Marvel comics puts the fun back in Punisher and delivers a story from a legendary creative team revisiting a legendary superhero. Oh, and if you need a Wolverine fix, we got you covered.
7 Batman: Curse of the White Knight #3
By: Sean Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth, and AndWorld Design
Azrael isn’t messing around. As if blowing up the Batcave AND Wayne Manor wasn’t enough, when Jean-Paul’s quarry goes to ground, he hits Batman where it hurts most: his heart. In the third instalment of Sean Murphy’s brilliant follow up to Batman: White Knight, we see the departure of old friends and the forging bonds of new and unlikely alliances.
Batman: Curse of the White Knight #3 is a fantastic chapter in what is shaping up to be a Batman story for the ages. Gorgeous art, heartfelt dialogue, and the message of trusting those with common altruistic interests make this series stand head and shoulders above most of what’s on the newsstand.
6 Harleen #1
By: Stjepan Šejić and Gabriela Downie
Croatian comic book creator, Stjepan Šejić (Sunstone, Witchblade) retells the tragic, broken romance between Harleen Quinzel and the man should lovingly refer to as "Mr. J" in DC Black Label’s Harleen #1. Twenty-five years after the iconic graphic novel The Batman Adventures: Mad Love by Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, and Glen Murakami, the story of the clown king and queen of crime is as engaging as it ever way.
Šejić is a brilliant storyteller who excels at presenting beautiful, thoughtful pacing and romantic illustrations. There is a warmth to every character exchange and each panel that radiates from the page, making the tragedy that will eventually follow that much more devastating.
5 New Mutants: War Children #1
By: Chris Claremont, Bill Sienkiewicz, Chris Sotomayor, and VC’s Clayton Cowles
In a glorious trip down memory lane, legendary comic book creators Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz (the duo behind the iconic “Demon Bear” storyline) have teamed up once again to explore an untold story of the titular teenage team of mutants that put their work together on the map in New Mutants: War Children #1.
This writing in this issue is strong and surprisingly restrained (at least by Claremont standards) and Sienkiewicz artwork is, as always, stylish and evocative. There is a certain sense of warm familiarity one might feel every time an image of Warlock by Sienkiewicz creeps onto the page. This one is so much fun.
4 Powers of X #5
Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Marte Gracia, VC’s Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller
Powers of X #5 explores the genesis of Xavier’s utopia, as we get a glimpse into the inner machinations that make Krakoa a statuary for all mutants and how the land would be governed. Now, in the wrong hands, an issue that is mostly exposition dump after exposition could come off as hammy or, worse yet, read like a text book.
Thankfully Jonathan Hickman and R.B. Silva treat each bit of new information as something of a minor revelation, especially when we see how every move Xavier makes is a wiser retread of decisions he’s made before. Gorgeous art and wonderful character work (the Namor scene in this issue is worth the cover price alone), make Powers of X #5 another fine instalment in a comic that continues to be filled with surprises.
3 Punisher Kill Krew #3
By: Gerry Duggan, Juan Ferreyra, VC’s Cory Petit, Dean White, and Tony Moore
It can be difficult to figure out what to do with Frank Castle from a narrative stand point after a little while. A sad and twisted vigilante gunning down crooks and Mafiosos in their homes and on the street tends to not leave a lot of options for a story to grow beyond its body count.
This is what make Punisher Kill Krew #3 so much fun. This series has been a strange beast, but if you dig the more gonzo Punisher stuff like Rick Remender and Tony Moore’s nutty comic experiement Franken-Castle, then Kill Krew may be the book for you. If nothing else, this issue holds one of the coolest visual representations of Juggernaut’s powers ever on page thanks to an amazing double-page spread by Juan Ferreyra.
2 Wolverine Annual #1
By: Jody Houser, Geraldo Borges, Marcio Menyz, Miroslav Mrva, VC’s Cory Petit, and David Yardin
Wolverine has seen some wild stuff in his years, which is par for the course that the gift (or curse) of an elongated lifespan offers. Wolverine Annual #1, which operates under the “Acts of Evil” initiative by Marvel, looks into a long-lost love in Logan’s past and how that relationship helped inform his sense of romanticism.
Writer Jody Houser (Faith) taps into classic cautionary tales and magical realism in an X-Men story filled with magic, deception, and undying love. Artist Geraldo Borges’ work is clean, propulsive, and compliments the material wonderfully. This is great addition to the Wolverine mythos, one we’re sure will come back to bite the Ol’ Canucklehead in his backside sooner rather than later.
1 Bloodshot #1
By: Tim Seeley, Brett Booth, and Declan Shavely
The ivory-skinned, regenerating, assassin is back in an all-new ongoing series. Bloodshot #1 by Tim Seeley and Brett Booth is a delightful throwback to the raucous ‘90s, an era know for its hyper-kinetic storytelling and high-stakes action.
The titular hero, who gains his power from the nanomachines coursing through his veins, isn’t the downtrodden soldier from previous iterations of the character. This Bloodshot is here to take care of business, and that business is some nasty work. With plenty of heart, a touch of humor, and a whole lotta gunplay, Bloodshot #1 is a great adrenaline injection for readers who are looking for to recapture the feeling of a blockbuster action film on the page.
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