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Top of the Hump: Best Comics 6/2/21

Another hump day, another pull box dump. We examine the best new comics released this precious Wednesday.

Last week was a tough act to follow. So many books, so many hits. This week, while there were fewer titles in our pull box, there were still plenty of bangers. The top five we mainly selected come from the major publishers, which doesn't seem very fun, but dammit, these books were a gosh darn delight. The Hellfire Gala is here, friends, and it's a party we desperately want to attend.

The week's biggest surprise is also the seemingly most hyped book of the week, The Nice House on the Lake. We're going to get into it in a moment, but it was a comic that was absolutely not on our radar until we saw rad folks like Comics Bookcase championing its supremacy. And people say comics criticism has no value? Bah!

And yeah, we gotta send some love over to Fire Power. That comic continues to siphon great gobs of enthusiasm from the two of us. With this and Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters, Chris Samnee is probably our favorite cartoonist working in the field right now. We will follow him into whatever project he so desires.


The Nice House On the Lake #1

They ain't lying, folks. The Nice House on the Lake #1 is an exceptionally creepy and strange comic that's equally impressively put together. James Tynion IV is living his best life, cranking out interesting comics within and without the big two publishers. With this debut comic, he's concocted a nasty apocalyptic confection that recalls everything from House on Haunted Hill to Soylent Green to Hox/Pox (yesssss, so many delicious info pages).

The world is coming to an end, and a group of friends/strangers are collected to pay witness. Who is their mysterious benefactor? What the hell is going to happen next? No idea, but we gotta find out. But, blah, blah, plot. We can't leave this mini-review without also highlighting the extraordinary work of artist Alvaro Martinez Bueno. The pages drip with atmosphere, and the panels interconnect in an unconventional manner. It all looks pleasant and noir-ish until it goes full-tilt-terrifying. When hell opens up, HELL OPENS UP! This book is bounding with pure nightmare fuel.


Marauders #21

After months of anticipation, the Hellfire Gala is finally upon us. The fashion! The glares! The gossip! The Plotting! We're eating this all up with a spoon. Writer Gerry Duggan leans into the comedy, accentuating the Krakoan interlopers. Some of the best moments belong to Doctor Doom, Ben Grimm, and Captain America. Artist Matteo Lolli nails the lewks and the looks. With so much anticipation built around this event, it's thrilling to see it falling into place so well. Of course, just when you're having a total blast, the comic reminds you just how high the stakes are on Krakoa. The Hellfire Gala is a party with a purpose, and when the clock strikes twelve, something treacherous will arrive. We remain firmly in a state of staying tuned.


Hellions #12

And then there's Hellions. The maniacs. Whatever comedy was achieved in Marauders #21 is cranked to eleven here. Krakoa's most unsavory types were not invited to the party, and they'll be damned if they miss out. A most excellent crash is in order. There may not be as many issues as the rest of DoX titles, but Hellions has quickly become our favorite book from the lot. Zeb Wells and Stephen Segovia excel in the jokes, but beneath every giggle is a lot of bubbling pathos. Hellions, ultimately, is a book about pain. And when these characters are surrounded by so much revelry, their agony is more apparent.


Fire Power #12

The Fire Power letters page really built this comic up as something incredible. And it is. But, it's not the action-explosion-revelation we were anticipating. Instead, Robert Kirkman and Chris Samnee throw a bit of a swerve with issue 12. Expectations successfully subverted! After a year and eighteen issues (if you include the first OGN, which we definitely do), Fire Power remains a comic about family. Owen may have a little more knowledge on where he came from, who his parents were, and who he is, but there's plenty of mystery still left to unravel, which is good! Cuz we want this comic book to last for a very long time. While this issue did not reveal what we were expecting, its final pages promise a new wrinkle to the mythology.


Out of Body #1

Out of Body is a murder mystery where the comatose victim becomes his own investigator via astral projection. A high concept that is so utterly Peter Milligan. The first issue sets the stage for the crime but cleverly holds back the nitty-gritty details. Our hero, Don Collins, may be trapped in his body, but his mind is racing, and we're tasked with keeping pace. Artist Inaki Miranda delivers hardboiled yet straightforward characters until the magic, the science, and the weird take over. Out of Body is gearing up to be a helluva trip and continues to signify Aftershock Comics as an essential publisher. We'll never miss one of their number ones.


Honorable Humps

  • Batman/Catwoman #5

  • Batman: The Adventure Continues Season 2 #1

  • Heroes Reborn #5

  • Immortal Hulk #47

  • Jenny Zero #2

  • Savage Avengers #21

  • Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters #1

  • Swamp Thing #4

  • Young Hellboy #4


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