Top 5 Comics- January 2020

Well it’s already been a month into the new year and so with that, let’s take a look at some of the comics that had released this month! Just a fair warning, there may be some spoilers in the reviews. So let’s dive right in!

Thor #1

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After seven years on the title, Jason Aaron’s run on Thor came to an end in December in spectacular fashion. While it’s hard to imagine anyway being worthy enough to take over the book after such a historic run on the character, there’s no one better suited for the task than the creative team of Donny Cates, Nic Klein, and the returning Mattew Wilson. Being no stranger to sci-fi/cosmic series in the Marvel Universe, Donny Cates looks to bring some of that same energy to his Thor run. The team brings their own take on the Norse thunder god, but pay respects to what had come before. Thor is retired from being an Avenger due to his duties in Asgard as the newly appointed All-Father. However, being king isn’t exactly as thrilling as he had hoped it’d be, instead, Thor longs for the days of battle. Cates introduces a new threat in the form of the mysterious Black Winter and with a surprise appearance from Galactus, Thor is called into action. Klein and Wilson do astonishing work with the book as well. From Mjolnir’s flight through the first few pages to capturing the morose king, Klein brings a wonderful contribution to the book, making him a perfect fit. Klein and Wilson expertly draw our eyes in with beautiful, colorful imagery of Asgard and thrilling action sequences. If you were worried about Thor post-Aaron, your fears should be alleviated. This creative team has shown that they are more than capable of handling Thor Odinson and we’re in for one thrilling adventure.

Aquaman #56

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The creative team of Kelly Sue DeConnick, Robson Rocha, Sunny Gho, and Daniel Henriques has been killing it on Aquaman, but this month we saw the series take a break from the current story to take a look at a standalone issue set in the early days of Aquaman Rebirth. Kyle Higgins joins as the guest writer, paired up with artist Aaron Lopresti. What they bring to this issue isn’t necessarily a focus on thrilling action sequences but rather human emotions and relatable experiences for two of DC Comics’ greatest characters. The issue is set not long after Arthur Curry proposed to Mera and this issue deals with the two of them coming to terms with what they want their future to be. Tying into the current arc is the idea of whether they want children or not. Lopresti does a great job rendering the characters in this issue, giving us a great sense of what each character is feeling. It’s a wonderful one-and-done issue that filled with brilliant character work. While I love the current Aquaman run, this issue makes me miss the days of Arthur and Mera being at each other’s sides as they’ve been largely separated on and off since 2017 due to circumstances. Also, it’s so great to see the clean-cut Aquaman again! I highly recommend this issue.

Daredevil #16

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Ah, Daredevil. There’s nothing quite like Daredevil drama is there? Drama with Matt and Elektra, Foggy, Daredevil murdering someone, Kingpin drama, lots of drama! But you know what? It’s all amazing. Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Fornes deliver another fantastic issue of Daredevil filled with drama and exciting moments. Matt has been trying to get his life back together, casting aside his alter ego as Daredevil to try and do better. With Elektra’s help, he’s finally managing to get back to where he was, regaining the confidence he lost. But he’s not the only one going through issues. Detective Cole North is facing problems of his own after dealing with those in the department that want him gone as well as the brewing gang war in Hell’s Kitchen led by the Owl. The final scene with Elektra is sure to have some thrilling consequences and I’m really excited to see how that plays out. Fornes captures these characters masterfully, whether it’s the intimate moments with Matt and Elektra, the confrontation with Wilson Fisk, or even a shot of Daredevil listening to the citizens in Hell’s Kitchen. His action sequences are eye-catching and visually thrilling. I can’t recommend this series enough. The creative team of Zdarsky, Fornes, and Marco Checchetto have made Daredevil a must-read series.

Batman #86

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After eighty-five issues, Tom King’s Batman run has come to a close. While it seemed to be a polarizing run, it took Batman to new lengths and experimented more with the character. One of the biggest developments came between the relationship with Batman and Catwoman. James Tynion, who has worked with Batman nearly his entire time at DC Comics, steps up to the title for the first time. Tynion is joined by Tony Daniel and Guillem March with colors by Tomeu Morey and inks by Danny Miki. Batman is back on his A-game, tracking a group of mercenaries including Cheshire and Deathstroke. Bruce has grand plans for Gotham, to make it a better place, but someone is looking to stop those plans. Tynion brings in a smaller supporting cast for Bruce, but it’s no less effective. Lucius Fox steps in a larger role now, filling the void since Alfred’s death (something that is handled in a beautiful and heartbreaking way). Tynion also continues to play with the development between Bruce and Selina, having Catwoman working with Batman now. Batman has been fortunate to have some of the best artists working on the title. Daniel, Miki, and Morey make this book absolutely gorgeous. The incredible looking characters, the action sequences, and the astounding environments are all expertly rendered. While some might see this book as a bit generic, I can’t help but be excited for more issues. Tynion’s voices for each character feel authentic and it’s clear he’s building up to an exciting story…especially one involving a certain clown.

Star Wars #1

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The Star Wars ongoing received a new relaunch this month as the story shifts to a new time period. While the last four years have focused on the time between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, the new series takes place immediately following Empire Strikes Back. Following his defeat at Vader’s hands and the revelation of his father, Luke feels abandoned and blind-sided. With the aid of Lando Calrissian, the team of Leia, Chewie, R2D2, and C-3PO escape Cloud City after losing Han Solo to Boba Fett. Charles Soule and Jesus Saiz do a wonderful job filling in what transpired in those moments immediately following the ordeal in Bespin. What excites me about this run is that the time period between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi is largely unexplored, and yet filled with such pivotal character development. How does Luke turn into the confident, powerful Jedi we see in Return of the Jedi? How does Lando redeem himself and become a general in the Rebellion? These are the sort of questions I can’t wait to see answered in this run. Saiz does a wonderful job of capturing the likeness of the actors without being, for the lack of a better word, creepy, which unfortunately happened in the prior run. Saiz’s action sequences were thrilling, but it’s the quieter, character-driven moments and interactions between the team that propelled this book forward for me. This creative team is the perfect choice to bring in a new era for Star Wars comics and it’s such a breath of fresh air with this new issue. I can’t wait to continue this story.

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