Jughead: The Hunger #2 (Archie Comics)
Runners Up: Mister Miracle #5 (DC Comics), Bug! The Adventures of Forager #6 (DC’s Young Animal),

Frank Tieri, with the support of Pat & Tim Kennedy and Joe Eisma, continues one of the most brutal horror books today with issue #2 of Jughead: The Hunger.

What? Why are you laughing? You don’t believe that Jughead could be a horror villain? You’re in for a surprise.

With only 2 regular series issues on the racks and one special, The Hunger already feels like a great horror movie. The style is so strong that even without knowledge of the Archie franchise, one could easily jump right in. Archie and friends slip into the roles of horror victims and by this issue’s end, they are well distanced from their more familiar iterations. It is nice to see Tieri back at Archie on a monthly after the suspiciously short Hangman he did for their Dark Circle imprint. Hangman was taking a distinct horror turn that it never quite got to play with. In The Hunger, we will hopefully get to see Tieri stretch his legs a bit. If you’re a gore hound, a fan of the versatile Archie cast, or just want a fun horror book, this book is impressive both in art and storytelling.

Mister Miracle #5 continues its Fourth World fever dream and brings even more emotion as it moves forward. Minor spoilers ahead, but I encourage you to proceed if you haven’t picked this up yet. I’ll be frank, I don’t quite know what this book is yet, but I like it. At very least, it is a commentary on both The New Gods and the industry that created them. Within, Jack Kirby is awarded a place in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre instead of Stan Lee. Funky Flashman looms over this moment, harping on the importance of a salesman. I have to admit I had quite a visceral reaction as I read that particular sequence. Tom King and Mitch Gerads create an air of discomfort in the book, something not easily achieved in any medium. As this series moves forward it seems to become more emotional and, in turn, more intriguing.  A book more concerned with love, sex and consequences than punching through your opponents.

Bug! #6 brings an end to the Young Animal mini-series, and will be a missed aspect of the fledgling line. Lee, Michael and Laura Allred give us a visually stunning conclusion to the Fourth World epic. I mean that, this book has looked pretty cool all the way through but this issue is filled with some wonderfully complex pages. While quite a bit of The Allreds’ Snap City adventures were tributes to Jack Kirby to start, here we see a real amalgamation of the two styles. Not unlike Slott and Allred’s Silver Surfer, this was a joyful tribute to all that had come before for the characters present. Hopefully The Allreds will return to The Fourth World and Young Animal in the near future.