Justice League #34 (DC Comics)
Runners up: Batman #36 (DC Comics) , X-Men Gold #17 (Marvel Comics)
This week brings to a close a year and a half of DC Rebirth and establishes a new design for the book’s covers, proclaiming the solidification of the DCU. Through Rebirth, many titles were able to recapture the magic of previous runs. I’m not sure this could honestly be said about Justice League. Don’t get me wrong, Bryan Hitch and his collaborators pumped out some cool stories and impressive artwork, but as much of the cast were thriving in their solo books, the momentum of Justice League didn’t quite keep pace. This week, as the DCU begins to play off of it’s new status quo, Christopher Priest and Pete Woods give the team an issue that evokes the feeling of the solo titles. This should come as no surprise really, both Priest and Woods are tested veterans of the industry. Priest himself has been on a roll, having proven he still has the traditional superhero knack during The Lazarus Contract crossover and pushing the format to extremes in Deathstroke. Honestly, the only monthly writer I would hold above Priest at the moment is Tom King, but we’ll get back to that in a few. Priest and Woods give us a tale of the Justice League running at top gear, a pantheon of super-heroism. Of course, something goes wrong, but at the end of the book it is the emotion that it incites that is truly impressive. I cannot wait for the next issue and hope that this team is given a nice run on the book.
Though these are my personal picks, and I could really justify anything, I do take a lot into consideration while making them. Batman #36 came very close to being my top read this week, and without the sheer joy of a remarkable Justice League issue, would have been. King explores the classic relationship of Batman and Superman through the lens of their significant others. Are they best friends? What do they feel they owe each other? Clay Mann makes you feel as if you’re watching these conversations happen in front of you. This issue is especially profound as both of the romantic relationships have changed in significant ways through Rebirth. Now, with that event concluded, King can truly comment on where Lois and Catwoman have been, and where they are going. Beyond characterization, King has a knack for writing comedy that fits the characters. Batman and Superman sound right in casual conversation, which is no simple task. Within these conversations there is a moment, consisting of two panels, that blew me away. A simple moment that explains the relationship between the two most well known comic book heroes ever. I think you’re going to see it too.
Over at Marvel, X-Men Gold continues to be one of their most enjoyable rides. Guggenheim and Lashley provide a rip-roaring adventure reminiscent of the team’s glory days, but committed to the new characters they’ve introduced. I feel like Kologoth had one of the coolest introductions in recent comics and I’m happy to see that the story has continued to follow him. I also like that the teams space suits are basically Acolytes colors. That’s not objective, I just like The Acolytes and Colossus was there looking like an Acolyte. I feel like I need a better conclusion than that. Hold on. Acolytes 4 Life!