Spiderman 38The Top Four series looks at certain aspects of the comic book world from two perspectives: Rob’s, as a relative newcomer to mainstream comics, and Kristine’s, as an older hand in the world.  Each installment evaluates the top four choices from both Rob and Kristine and why they chose their picks.

By Robert J. Baden and Kristine Chester




The standard unit of consumption for a comic is an issue, a 20 to 30-page helping that conveys part of a story arc while hooking readers to come back next month, while others are stand alone stories focusing on a single subject in the larger title.  Many of us have issues that we just love to read over and over again, that one most enjoyable part of a storyline or a profound issue separate from the rest of the series.  Here are several such issues for us, ones that we'll bend the pages back and reread many times over.







DC-ComicsDear DC Comics:

I just wanted to let you know I am very disappointed. Last year, around this time, you announced your New 52 initiative. There was worry, speculation, anger, but mostly you got what you wanted: everyone was talking about DC Comics. Then, we started to get images, announcements of creative teams, and first covers, and an ice cold ball of dread started to form in the pit of my stomach. You see there was something sorely lacking. Something that had been lacking in comics for years, that I had hoped you would finally address.


White Devil 1 useAs soon as I read White Devil #1, my mind went directly to a section of the song "Frank's Wild Years" by Tom Waits. "Drove home, doused everything in the house, torched it. Parked across the street laughing, watching it burn, all Halloween orange and chimney red." But, in reverse. More so, the story of not necessarily settling in a place of complacency, but being born to it. Rather than looking towards relocation in a geographical sense, it's a mental, if not spiritual, one. I don't throw out major spoilers (unless they're in the fridge), but I'll say this. It had me from page one. Authors Matt Evans and Andrew Helinski weave together, with the art work of Nate Burns, the opening of a tale I'd be interested in seeing the rest of.


Baltimore V2Baltimore: The Curse Bells Volume 2 blends the Gothic horror of Bram Stoker's Dracula with the fantastical supernatural stories of the modern day.  Taking place in the years following World War I where a man named Lord Henry Baltimore is hunting the vampire Haigus who not only maimed Baltimore, but killed his family.  During his quest for vengeance, Baltimore stumbles across many different evils and, being one of the few with a knowledge about how to fight them (and being armed to the teeth), he takes care of these monsters before picking up Haigus' trail again.

Minor Spoilers

Nightwing 152 Catch Up is a series devoted to looking at issues from DC's New 52 and seeing how they're faring now that they're underway, why they're worth reading (or not), and places we hope they will go in time.





The only survivor of the Flying Graysons, a high-wire circus act that was renowned throughout the world, Dick Grayson is the one-time sidekick and legal ward of Bruce Wayne before striking out on his own.  Having an estranged relationship with Bruce and trying to fill in for him during his disappearance, Dick has since been a strong ally of Gotham City in general and the Batman Family in particular.  A cop by training, an acrobat by past affiliations, and a superhero by choice, he is Nightwing.



BW Minutemen 1The comic book event of the summer is nigh!  Before Watchmen, the much-anticipated prequel series to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen, will consist of seven limited series and an epilogue one-shot.  Stay tuned, as the Fanboy Comics crew will be reviewing each title as it is released. Hurm. 

There is going to be plenty of talk about Before Watchmen over the next couple weeks: talk about creators' rights, talk about altering a classic, and talk about the purpose of prequels. It is my goal to not talk about any of that, but to answer the question: Is this book any good?

Animal Man 10Fanboy Comics Contributor Jason Enright brings you his top comic book picks for the week.



Animal Man #10
by Jeff Lemire and Steve Pugh

Animal Man continues to be one of the best books that DC Comics puts out. Lemire is slowly weaving an intricate story full of great characters and steeped in a mythology that combines the classic ideas that Morrison introduced to Animal Man years ago, with new ones created by Lemire. The most interesting part of this book is that it’s not really a superhero book; it’s not even really a horror book. Even though it shares elements of both genres, it’s really a fantasy book about a family and the terrible danger they’ve been placed in. This book is unlike anything else on the shelves and is full of surprises, whether they are a new twist, a strange creature, or a moment of humor and warmth. Give this book a try; you’ll be glad you did.

grifter52 Catch Up is a series devoted to looking at issues from DC's New 52 and seeing how they're faring now that they're underway, why they're worth reading (or not), and places we hope they will go in time.





A Special Forces soldier-turned-con artist is caught up in the secrets of an alien invasion of Earth, forced to live the life of a criminal in order to fight against those infected by the extraterrestrials. His own brother believes him to be a terrorist, and his girlfriend believes he is insane and out of control. Cole Cash moves from city to city to find his answers the only way he can. Alone in the world and hesitant to trust anyone who comes into his life, he is not only a drifter, but a full-time Grifter.




Vengador 2Vengador is a superhero tale of vengeance written by James Gilarte and featuring the art of Rowel Roque. Vengador follows the life of teen Eric Martin, who uses his alter ego (Vengador) to fight injustice in his city that is the result of a corrupt legal system. The second issue of Vengador might not be perfect, but Gilarte and Roque do stretch their creative wings, building on their story and giving Eric Martin his first taste of revenge.


Frankenstein with Review52 Catch Up is a series devoted to looking at issues from DC's New 52 and seeing how they're faring now that they're underway, why they're worth reading (or not), and places we hope they will go in time.




Frankenstein's monster works for a top secret organization that investigates and eliminates supernatural threats to the world.





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