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Comic book collecting is not the hobby it used to be. Unless you are buying affordable Alterna Comics, the average cost of a comic has reached the four to five dollar mark and that has put them out of reach for most children and tweens. In the battle against video games, comic books are ready to raise the white flag.

With so much uncertainty and Marvel’s mentality of quantity over quality resulting in the shelves being flooded with so many mediocre books, it is sometimes hard to separate the gems from the cubic zirconia. Here are my picks for what you should hoard and what you should shun.

Best of the Best

Midnight Mystery
Publisher: Alterna Comics
Story and art: Bernie Gonzalez
Cover price: $1.50.

One of the best comics published today. A sensational mix of The X-Files, The Twilight Zone, The Night Stalker with Batman: The Animated Series artwork. Detective Zeke King investigates horrors of the supernatural and human variety. It is Alterna’s crown jewel.

 

Watch Dogs
Publisher: Titan Comics
Story: Simon Kansara.
Art: Horne.
Cover price: $5.99.

Based on the Ubisoft video game series of the same name, Watch Dogs presents a new story in the universe. Ingenious hacker Sauda, who has seen the devastation gang violence can cause, joins forces with Dedsec to rid a Brazilian city of corruption. Sauda’s story stands head and shoulders above the flood of generic, dime a dozen female heroes which the market is saturated with today. Such an intriguing, heart-felt story and gorgeous artwork, colouring.

The Flash
Publisher: DC Comics
Story: Joshua Williamson.
Art: Rafa Sandoval.
Cover price: $3.99.

A strong title every single month yet nobody is really talking about it. That’s strange. Joshua Williamson’s run has been one impressive, remarkable multi-issue story after another. As Death of the Speed Force begins this is the perfect time to join this rip-roaring ride.

 

Venom
Publisher: Marvel Comics.
Story: Donny Cates.
Art: Ryan Stegman.
Cover price: $3.99.

Donny Cates and artists Iban Coello and Ryan Stegman have created a modern masterpiece in Venom. Their twisted tales sometimes push the boundaries into pure horror but any fan of the alien symbiote would appreciate that. One of, if not THE best comic book shipped every month.

 

Hawkman
Publisher: DC Comics
Story: Robert Venditti.
Art: Pat Olliffe.
Cover price: $3.99.

Even the departure of spectacular artist Bryan Hitch hasn’t stopped writer Robert Venditti from penning more tales of the fantastic. Another book that deserves more acclaim and attention than it has been given.

 

Savage Avengers
Publisher: Marvel Comics.
Story: Gerry Duggan.
Art: Mike Deodato.
Cover price: $4.99.

I must admit I was skeptical of this one. Perhaps it was the idea of a bunch of loners joining the Avengers that warped my brain? It is a crazy idea that just works in the hands of Deodato and Duggan. Marvel anti-heroes Wolverine, The Punisher, Elektra and Venom join forces with Conan and Brother Voodoo to battle evil others wouldn’t dare to face. It is gritty, dark, humourous and action-packed. The fight between Conan and Wolverine in the first issue is worth the cover price alone.

Blade Runner 2019
Publisher: Titan Comics.
Story: Michael Green and Mike Johnson.
Art: Andres Guinaldo.
Cover price: $4.99.

Titan Comics hits another one out of the park with their foray into the Blade Runner universe. Ash, hardened Blade Runner investigates a kidnapping and runs afoul of Replicants. If the story doesn’t blow you away the art will.

 

The Amazing Spider-Man
Publisher: Marvel Comics.
Story: Nick Spencer.
Art: Kev Walker.
Cover price: $3.99.

Nick Spencer, the man who turned Captain America into a Nazi in an abominable storyline that many wished were erased from the history of Marvel comics, has redeemed himself with a distinguished run on the series which harkens back to a time when Peter Parker was more sympathetic.

 

Batman and the Outsiders
Publisher: DC Comics.
Story: Bryan Hill.
Art: Dexter Soy.
Cover price: $3.99.

The steadfast Bryan Hill, one of the best comic book writers in the business today, faithfully resurrects the series putting his own touch and flair on the new team. Cover to cover; it leads the pack not only at DC but anywhere.

 

The Immortal Hulk
Publisher: Marvel Comics.
Story: Al Ewing.
Art: Joe Bennett.
Cover price: $3.99.

Ever since Marvel decided to ditch the fake Hulk and return Bruce Banner to the role, Ewing and Bennett have taken the character to new heights. Like Venom the series wanders here and there into the realm of horror. It is the Hulk we are talking about though so it all fits.

 

Scrimshaw
Publisher: Alterna Comics.
Story: Eric Borden.
Art: Dave Mims.
Cover price: $1.50.

Another example of a writer and artist coming together to create an extraordinary vision. A flooded Earth plays host to a ship of misfit mercenaries who live for trouble and adventure. Dave Mims sketch art is reminiscent of the very best of Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz. Scrimshaw is the best of Mad Max, The X-Men and Pirates of the Caribbean all in one book.

Nightwing
Publisher: DC Comics.
Story: Dan Jurgens.
Art: Ronan Cliquet.
Cover price: $3.99.

Despite the art duties being bounced around a bit, veteran Dan Jurgens has put Nightwing on solid footing after this new series had a shaky start. His Knightfall-ish storyline has been outstanding.

 

It Came Out On A Wednesday
Publisher: Alterna Comics.
Story: Various.
Art: Various.
Cover price: $1.99

Alterna’s horror-sci fi anthology series will satisfy any, Tales from the Crypt or Outer Limits fan. The covers alone are worth the purchase.

 

Worst of the Worst

Captain Marvel
Publisher: Marvel Comics.
Story: Kelly Thompson.
Art: Carmen Carnero.
Cover price: $3.99

The overrated Kelly Thompson – who recently flamed out on abysmal reboot of West Coast Avengers which was put out of its misery after 10 issues when the original went 102 issues and lasted for five years – takes another swipe at somehow making this awful character popular. The series debuted at number two with 111,391 units shipped in January and fell to 37,380 and 39th place in February. Six months later, the comic is shipping 32,939 in 66th position. Hopefully this dumpster fire is hosed sooner rather than later.

The Terrifics
Publisher: DC Comics.
Story: Gene Luen Yang.
Art: Stephen Segovia.
Cover price: $3.99

Jeff Lemire drove what was a great idea into the ground after a handful of issues and Gene Luen Yang had to pick up the pieces. The damage has been done though. This series needs to be sent to the Great Comic Book Store in the sky.

 

Marvel Team-Up
Publisher: Marvel Comics.
Story: Eve L. Ewing, Clint McElroy.
Art: Ig Guara, Moy R.
Cover price: $3.99

The original classic series featured Spider-Man teaming up with everyone from the X-Men to Thor to the Sandman. The new series is a joke. Ms. Marvel, a character nobody cares about, is now pairing up with Captain Marvel, another character nobody cares about, for a comic that ships 13,480 units a month and that nobody cares about. What a bungled opportunity to bring back a Marvel classic.

Batman
Publisher: DC Comics.
Story: Tom King.
Art: Various.
Cover price: $3.99

It says something when the company removes you from a series before you have finished your run. Tom King has turned the Dark Knight into a sulking, whining crybaby. It is an embarrassment to DC and an embarrassment to the Batman legacy. Tom King isn’t as half as good as he thinks he is. That’s the trouble when you believe your own hype.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
Publisher: Marvel Comics.
Story: Tom Taylor.
Art: Juann Cabal.
Cover price: $3.99

Speaking of destroying a legendary character, Tom Taylor has ruined Spider-Man and Peter Parker with some of the most childish and absurd storylines you will ever read. Then again, this is the guy who had a mutant use Internet hate to shut down Sentinels. What a clown show.

 

Justice League
Publisher: DC Comics.
Story: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV.
Art: Bruno Redondo.
Cover price: $3.99

I could legitimately put a ‘II’ after my name but I elected not to be an elitist goof my entire life. In its previous incarnation Justice League used to be a decent book then Scott Snyder, that other guy and their labyrinthine storylines took over drowning readers in babble. It is no wonder that there hasn’t been an increase in sales since this team took over.

Tony Stark: Iron Man
Publisher: Marvel Comics.
Story: Dan Slott, Jim Zub.
Art: Valerio Schiti.
Cover price: $3.99

Are we seeing a trend here? Another writer who doesn’t understand the character he is writing. Instead of the confident, charismatic playboy millionaire scientist, we get a simpering twit. The series is also full of meaningless supporting characters that often make Tony Stark a supporting character in his own book. The impressions and descriptions of technology, which are very important to an Iron Man book, are ridiculously outdated. Pull the plug, someone, please.

Fantastic Four
Publisher: Marvel Comics.
Story: Dan Slott.
Art: Paco Medina.
Cover price: $3.99

Dan Slott strikes again. The Fantastic Four’s return to Marvel Comics has been a farce from the very first issue and its horrendous artwork. The depiction of Mr. Fantastic as a dumb ass who is outsmarted by his daughter and son who treat him like a child is exasperating for any die hard fan. The legacy of the Fantastic Four as one of Marvel’s flagship titles deserves better than the indifferent attitude of the creators and editors who are asleep on the job.

The Magnificent Ms. Marvel
Publisher: Marvel Comics.
Story: Saladin Ahmed.
Art: Joey Vazquez.
Cover price: $3.99

Ms. Marvel ships like an anemic 13,000 issues a month and whimpers at 119th on the list yet Marvel refuses to stop promoting a failed character and concept because proving some kind of point is more important than quality and having a respected brand.

 

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Publisher: Marvel Comics.
Story: Ryan North.
Art: Derek Charm.
Cover price: $3.99

Are you 8-years-old? If not, don’t bother with this sludge. It is an insult to anyone who has an IQ above that of a sponge cake. The only saving grace of this soon to be cancelled book is that at least ‘Scribble Girl’ Erica Henderson, whose style resembles that of an angry toddler, isn’t drawing it any more.

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