Every week, comic fandom is gifted with a slew of fantastic stories from a slew of fantastic creators. These days there’s just so much good stuff out there that it can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re new to comics. Thus AiPT! presents to you, Fantastic Five! A weekly column where we pick five fantastic books released during the week, and tell you why you should take a chance on them via a snippet from our reviews.
Enjoy, and happy reading!
Written by Skottie Young. Art by Jorge Corona.
Each member of this creative team delivers a vital piece to the overall story. Young’s words provide truth, anger, and insight. Corona’s lines provide definition, coldness, and power. Beaulieu’s colors show the true meaning of a cold heart and bring the harshest parts of nature, both environmental and human, to life. Piekos’s letters bring impact and gravitas to all that is being said and conveyed. The words of Abel’s grandfather are practically weighed down by anger while Abel’s look small and weak in comparison. Middlewest #10 is an important examination of the destructive cycles of abuse and toxic masculinity that plague many homes. If you’re interested in a book that isn’t afraid to be honest and real about heavy and sometimes uncomfortable topics, jump aboard Middlewest.(10/10)
— Ari Bard
Written by Chip Zdarsky. Art by Jorge Fornes.
The best thing about this issue was the art, Jorge Fornes absolutely slayed when it came to these pages. This art reminded me of David Mazzucchelli when he was the artist on Daredevil, especially with Born Again. Major kudos to Jordie Bellaire on the colors as well; her color scheme choices really amplifies Jorge’s pencils. The two of them made this issue intense and gritty with just the right amount of flair for the drama as well. (10/10)
— Christopher Franey
Written by Tom King. Art by Mikel Janin & Tony S. Daniel.
As usual, King has written an issue that tells its own complete story within the larger narrative of the arc. The issue is an excellent character piece on Damian, Bruce, and Selina as King is putting out some of the best work of his career on this title. Daniel and Janin along with their inkers and colorists are stellar artists on this issue, bringing King’s story to life in an incredible way. It’s a satisfying complete product, and a meaningful step forward for the story as it heads towards its climax. (10/10)
— Vishal Gullapalli
Written by Carlos Giffoni. Art by Juan Doe.
Strayed #1 may seem like a simple story of a cat, its owner, and colonization because that’s exactly what it is, but it’s also so much more. Strayed is about the intense bond that can be forged between two beings, the power of pets, and the value of those who are different from us. There is a narrative to follow here, but it’s really a vehicle to illustrate and discuss larger concepts through a visual medium. Giffoni seems unconcerned with a lot of the broad and expansive, yet meticulous world building that fills most sci-fi first issues. The conquerors and subjects are all sentient beings, and that’s all that matters and all that should. Lou’s eyes provide a clear, simple, and refreshing lens through which to view universal truths often bogged down with bias and overthinking. Lou’s the protagonist we need right now. (9.5/10)
— Ari Bard
Deadpool Annual #1
Written by Dana Schwartz. Art by Reilly Brown.
This is a fun one-shot that manages to capture Deadpool’s voice perfectly, infuse the script with great dialogue, and even has a strong message in the end too. Schwartz opens with a child’s nightmare and immediately cuts to Deadpool playing video games and acting like a buffoon. Soon he’s at a little boy’s house (who is obsessed with a certain squirrel hero) and we’re off to the races to stop Nightmare from giving this boy bad dreams. It’s a simple enough premise and yet Schwartz infuses the book with clever ideas like a taste of Nightmare’s favorite victims and ultimately a strong message about how our nightmares are tied to who we are and what we’re going through. (9.5/10)
— David Brooke