This might have been one of the most solid months of comics in recent memory. From the controversial Before Watchmen and the best issue so far of Avengers vs. X-Men, the Big Two kept the quality high; and the rest kept the game going strong, too. Here are our heavily debated ten best comics of June, 2012:
10. Daredevil #14
This was an excellent and exciting issue of Marvel’s consistently best title anyway, as Matt Murdock is trapped in Latveria, trying to escape Doctor Doom’s shock troops as his senses slowly fade on him. But the last page. Good lord, there probably hasn’t been a bigger gut punch since the end of The Mist. We’re running out of superlatives for this book, but it looks like the team isn’t going to let up anytime soon.
9. Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred #5
There is no comic book we eagerly await more in our stack, just because we have NO FRICKIN’ IDEA WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT. This issue, we kind of figured out that the team is going for tributes to different types of comics - here trading cards in the style of Mars Attacks, but for zombies - but that’s only part of the story. Innovative structure, and a story that will still only be partially clear when this series concludes next issue, David Hine and Shaky Kane are giving Grant Morrison a run for Most Maverick Creator.
8. Voltron: Year One #3
We honestly can’t explain why we love this book so much, but its not just the best book Dynamite is publishing right now (other than The Boys, of course), its one of the most exciting space adventure books on the stand. And we say this despite the fact that there are no giant robots in this book. Writer Brandon Thomas keeps the action human and relatable, and artist Craig Cermak has a style that is fondly reminiscent of Barry Kitson. Even for non-Voltron fans, this is a great book.
7. Batman Incorporated #2
Grant Morrison once again proves he knows way more about Batman than you do, by flashing back throughout the “life” of Talia al Ghul to show just how she got to the point of controlling the evil organization Leviathan... And then amps her up to the level of A-List Batman villain. One of the best character studies we’ve read, and only Morrison (or, we guess, David Hine and Shaky Kane) could pull it off.
6. Uncanny X-Men #14
We’ve liked - but haven’t loved - Kieron Gillen’s Uncanny X-Men the same way we’re head over heels for his trippy and hilarious Journey Into Mystery. That changed in this issue, which contained zero X-Men, and millions of Mr. Sinisters. The arch-villain has created his own underground society comprised only of him; and not only does it work as a counterpoint to the events in Avengers vs. X-Men, but it ends with an exciting cliffhanger that makes us desperately want to read the next issue. Gillen knows how to write evil, and this Mr. Sinister is EVIL.
5. Dark Avengers #176
After a bit of a bait and switch last issue, where the title changed from Thunderbolts to Dark Avengers... Well, this issue, we’re back to squarely focusing on the Thunderbolts, lost in time. Not only does this have one of the all-time best Man-Thing panels - he speaks for the first time, and his first words are, “What Up?” - but writer Jeff Parker needs to win some sort of award for continuity fixes, after picking up the dropped “Dr. Doom fighting sharks” plot point from three years ago.
4. Alabaster Wolves #3
There hasn’t been an issue of this dream-like horror book that hasn’t delivered, and issue three is no different. A haunting story that shows just how our heroine got to where she is today, this book is starting to feel more and more like modern folklore. If you want to get in on the ground floor of the next big comic, start reading Alabaster Wolves.
3. Dancer #2
There’s a killer hook to this fantastic spy-ops comic from Nathan Edmondson and Nic Klein, but to sell you, I’m going to spoil it. Ready? Super-spy Alan left the business years ago. Now, he’s on the run with his dancer girlfriend from an assassin who wants to kill him... An assassin, who looks just like he did twenty years ago. That ending sold me on what was already a great spy story, and this second issue just sealed the deal: this is the most exciting spy book with scifi overtones since, well, Edmondson’s Who Is Jake Ellis?
2. Batman #10
We finally found out who was behind the Court of Owls - the villainous organization that’s been tormenting Batman for the past year - and not only was the reveal a doozy, but the pacing of that reveal? Perfect. We won’t spoil it here, but the exchange between the mastermind, and Batman is probably the best collusion of words and art in a comic all month. Except, for, you know...
1. Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1
Now that we’ve had a good chunk of the first issues of Before Watchmen to look through, Darwyn Cooke’s Minutemen is all the more impressive. Nearly perfect in execution, there are stunning, unforgettable images throughout, and an impressive complexity of narrative depth. We knew Cooke was a master of the form, but here he vacillates between quieter scenes and action with ease, guaranteeing that at least this mini-series will have a place on our shelf next to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons classic.