The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: May 6 – May 12, 2015

I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 9 comics last week: Convergence #5, Secret Wars #1, Amazing Spider-Man #18,  Convergence: Batgirl #2, Convergence: Batman and Robin #2, Convergence: Nightwing and Oracle #2,  Convergence: Titans #2, Convergence: Justice League #2 and Convergence: Superman #2. 

The best comic I read last week was Secret Wars #1

Secret Wars 1

I cannot believe this is my pick of the week. I have been reading, suffering through and – infrequently – understanding the universe collapsing saga that has been Avengers and New Avengers under the direction of Jonathan Hickman. To call the last, I don’t know, YEAR of Avengers titles a “slow burn” is doing a disservice to slow burns everywhere. This thing hasn’t been on simmer; it’s been in the freezer.

So I was shocked when I found myself really digging the opening issue of Secret Wars. Though the overall concept has some similarities to DC Comics’ Convergence (bringing together story lines and versions of characters from the past to interact and, because it’s comics, fight) the execution here is so much better than what the Distinguished Competition is putting out that this may well be why I was compelled to choose it.

No, it’s more than that. Secret Wars #1 is a good read. The stakes are high, the characters compelling and the story moves in a way that Hickman’s Fantastic Four run moved – quickly and tautly. That Doctor Doom, a character who can be terrific in the right hands, is at the center of the story makes it all the more fun. What’s been clear over the course of the buildup to Secret Wars is that Hickman got to write a good Avengers story, too drawn out for my tastes, but good. In the midst of it, however, he wrote a great Fantastic Four story.

The writing is good. The art is terrific. Secret Wars #1 is a great debut issue. I look forward to the rest of the series.

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Filed under Avengers, Batgirl, Batman and Robin, Convergence, Doctor Doom, Fantastic Four, Jonathan Hickman, Justice League, Nightwing, Oracle, Secret Wars, Spider-Man, Superman, Titans

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