Shadowman #6 (Valiant Comics)
Runners Up: The Sentry #3 (Marvel Comics), Jughead: The Hunger #8 (Archie Comics)
With Jeff Lemire’s run on the multiple Bloodshot titles at its end, there is an opportunity for another book to become Valiant’s signature title. Though X-O Manowar has had a bit of a head start, Andy Diggle and Doug Braithwaite’s Shadowman is proving to be a top contender for that spot. Digging into the origins of the titular hero, this run has provided a much needed jumping on point for the character. In fact, Diggle has crafted a narrative that makes the other iterations of the character feel like side-notes to the current one. As a long-time fan of Valiant, I can say this doesn’t offend either. This Shadowman just fits well, and Diggle’s excellent scripting makes it feel even more relevant. With some of the… we’ll go with “time travel” elements, Doug Braithwaite gets to show off his design chops, completing an impressive comic package.
After a now sought after run on Thanos, Jeff Lemire has taken his beautiful brain over to The Sentry. Writing overpowered psychics isn’t exactly the easiest task. Powers like that require a lot of contemplation concerning the breadth of abilities these characters utilize. Lemire nails this aspect, taking The Sentry’s abilities from a plot element to most of the plot itself. This cerebral writing is reminiscent of Vertigo’s heyday and Aaron Kim Jacinto and Joshua Cassara compliment this style with complex, often realistic art. Sure, there are plenty of fantastic elements here, but it all feels very grounded somehow. This is a credit to the whole team, as the book could (and perhaps will) move into a more extraordinary tone.
From Archie Comics, Jughead: The Hunger continues its brutal vision of a Riverdale gone wrong. At this point, longtime Archie fans would be hard-pressed to pick up a random issue and start reading.
That said, it’s kind of what drives this title.
Frank Tieri, Pat Kennedy, Tim Kennedy and Joe Eisma have taken the frequently re-interpreted Archie-Verse and, though they are far from the first to turn it into a horrific place, have taken it into some of the most brutal tales of terror in modern comics. I’d love to see this team tackle a re-launched Tales from the Crypt or something similar, the book exudes its tone so perfectly that you quickly forget the standard Riverdale. Maybe the CW show will use these stories at some point.