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!
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Black Stars Above #1
Written by Lonnie Nadler. Art by Jenna Cha.
This book is one of inspiration at its finest and at all levels. Eulalie is lost because she cannot find what inspires her as a writer and an individual. All she has to turn to are the books and newspapers present in her home, and her choice to accept and deliver the package from this mysterious man is one born from those feelings of uncertainty. Beyond that however, Black Stars Above is an exemplary creative work that shows the heights a work can reach when creators pay respect to the work that inspired them. It is more than simply a tribute or homage to what came before — Nadler and Cha are not just aping their influences like Lovecraft, Poe, Ito, or Wrightson. They are paying their respects by using these great creators’ techniques and styles in conjunction with their own and each other to craft something entirely new. Black Stars Above may share qualities regarding styles or framing devices, but it has its own voice that stands out in the zeitgeist of today’s comics scene. While Black Stars Above carries an atmosphere reminiscent to Lovecraftian horror, it isn’t and will never be that. It is Nadlerian, and that is so much better, because no matter now many influences he drew from, “it is 100% Lonnie Nadler [and fellow creators].” (10/10)
— Ari Bard
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #50
Written by Ryan North. Art by Derek Charm.
Can I get something out of the way early? Read this comic. Go back and read the entire run. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a masterclass in positive storytelling. Ryan North, along with Erica Henderson and Derek Charm, have taken every impossible moment and turned them into successes. From turning villains into friends, to time travel, to actual intersectional inclusion…hell, issue #36 was silent! Who doesthat? The answers are Ryan North, Erica Henderson, and Derek Charm. Through sheer love and devotion, they have truly created a memorable superhero for everyone to adore. This series is a triumph. (10/10)
— Brian Clements
Far Sector #1
Written by N.K. Jemisin. Art by Jamal Campbell.
Far Sector #1 is a really bold debut that invites you over into a world you’ve never seen or known and immerses you in its people, their culture and its lovely setting. By the end, you feel like you know and understand this place somewhat. While the exposition can be a bit much for some tastes, it is very much a #1 that’s laying the groundwork and the density it has is a welcome change in a space where decompression has tended to be the norm. This is a book that’s packed to the brim with ideas, names, terms and is yet also the kind of book you could hand to your friends who’ve not only never read Green Lantern or DC, but a comic at all. It’s that kind of book. And it is incredibly good. (9.5/10)
— Ritesh Babu
The Batman’s Grave #2
Written by Warren Ellis. Art by Bryan Hitch.
The Batman’s Grave is not a bombastic show of force. It’s a subdued, calmer story that shows Batman at home in his element on what is essentially a normal day for him. The series could very well grow to be a more intense narrative, but for now the more grounded tale feels refreshing. For the team best known for The Authority, The Batman’s Grave is a masterful showing of their versatility as creators. (9.5/10)
— Vishal Gullapalli
Gideon Falls #18
Written by Jeff Lemire. Art by Andrea Sorrentino.
Once again, Lemire and Sorrentino wow readers with big ideas, creepy vibes, and an atmosphere that is unmistakably unique. Gideon Falls is a story about family, about secret cults, and a tale that’s hard to shake out of your mind when you put it down. (9.5/10)
— David Brooke