Morning Glories (2010)
A high school tale that manages to be original is rare. One that does it with brilliant but troubled youths in a sinister and deadly boarding school they can’t escape deserves its own pedestal. Don’t believe us? The 10,000 people that bought copies of Morning Glories in its first month on sale seem to.
Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft have created a truly spine-chilling comic. By using layered dialogue and dark, ominous imagery, Severed manages to scare without using the obvious tools of gore, violence, or shock that most of the horror film genre now leeches on. Set in the 1930s, a sharp-toothed cannibal hunts on the road and, when 12 year-old Jack Garron runs away from home, an inevitable fight to survive ensues.
The Infinite (2011)
How can a badass freedom-fighting soldier from the future make himself even better to take down a world-domination-seeking evil? Go back in time and team up with an earlier, less bitter, version of himself of course. Sounds awesome, right? And since it’s written by Robert Kirkman, of Walking Dead fame, it is.
Mark Millar, creator of Kick-Ass, has made a superhero from a disabled boy who is given great powers apparently to do great good. Only when it turns out the giver is a demon trying to buy his soul does the ethical philosophy of this top superhero reimaging start to take precedence. Brilliantly drawn, perfectly written, and it all flows with great force. Plus it’s even been bought for a film adaptation – we can’t wait.
Action Comics: Superman (2011)
As part of DC’s New 52 run, The Invisibles creator Grant Morrison has started re-telling the tale of Superman – but this younger version of the Man of Steel isn’t quite so tough. Getting shot by bullets leaves him bruised, while he can only leap tall buildings and run a wee bit faster than a speeding train. Yes, it’s essentially taking Superman back to the pre-war Action Comics version of the character. But as the run continues his strength grows and so too does the threat posed by his foes. So far it’s near flawless and well worth collecting if you aren’t already.
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This was released with the tag line, “What if Batman was the Joker?” which had us interested from the outset. Mark Millar created a character in the supervillain Nemesis who has all the powers of a superhero but uses them, to devastating effect, against the general population. Gritty and yet humorous Millar has once again created a great run that’s already been bought up by 20th Century Fox for a film adaptation.
This Eisner award winner tells the tale of a Food and Drug Administration agent, in a world where chicken is illegal, who solves crimes by getting psychic impressions from eating things. Those things can include people. It sounds strange but is pulled off brilliantly with twisting storylines and characters you don’t want to leave. Especially the saboscrivner (a person who can write about food so accurately the reader tastes it) who can make people sick with words alone.
The Unwritten (2009)
This comic follows Tom Taylor, the son of a writer who created a book series that is essentially Harry Potter – based on him. But Tom has few achievements in life, turning up to book singings to make money, until an apparently obsessed fan appears to be more than just an impersonator of the book’s bad guy. Then reality and fantasy collide to tackle issues of fame, celebrity, and how fiction fits into the human consciousness.
When a black man in 1930s Mississippi is wrongly accused of kidnapping a white girl it’s up to his young daughter Lee to find the truth. That means delving into an Alice in Wonderland like world of gods and monsters where her only protection is a benevolent swamp monster called Bayou. A brilliant Glyph award-winning look at racism and black culture in a magically drawn comic.
Punisher MAX (2010)
Garth Ennis – the genius behind Preacher – takes vigilante former cop Frank Castle on a mind-melting – and very adult – run of Punisher. Ennis pits the Punisher against more grounded villains than the usual parade of costumed characters – including the mafia and super tough Russians. But the most entertaining character has to be the huge murderer called Barracuda, who nearly kills the Punisher – despite losing an eye and several fingers in the process.
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