Break from Batman: Thief of Thieves, Vol. 1 review & best of September list

Good news, we’re back again to do another Break from Batman article! This month, Jennifer de Guzman of Image Comics was kind enough to send me a ton of Image Comics for consideration so I was able to broaden my comic-horizons even further and get the word out about even more great books. In case you missed my introduction last time, the Break from Batman article is a once a month segment in which we all suggest our favorite comics from the month and I review one or two graphic novels that aren’t Batman related. I figure it’s a great way to get readers who are only interested in Batman to try out something new when they see other Bat-readers have given it the A-Okay. I want to get more people excited about reading good books.

This month, the graphic novel that I read was the first volume of Thief of Thieves, which is grounded in reality so it should be pretty accessible to Batman fans looking to take a vacation from Gotham. The series is created by The Walking Dead‘s Robert Kirkman, written by Morning Glories creator Nick Spencer, and drawn by Shawn Martinbrough. It’s got a lot of talent behind it and TV network AMC has already made plans to turn it into a TV show so if you want to say you were there first, now’s the time. Here’s my review of volume 1 which collects the series’ first seven issues.

Thief of Thieves, Vol. 1

Ready to leave Gotham for a spell but not ready to give up on crime? This is the book for you. I love a good heist and Thief of Thieves is all about pulling off big scores. The only problem is that it can get a bit cliche from time to time. That’s the problem with most heist stories, they all  feature many of the same elements time and time again. Thief of Thieves borrows a lot from Ocean’s Eleven and Out of Sight but those are both pretty good sources to strip for parts. It’s the typical story of the cool conman who wants out of the business but keeps getting pulled back in for just one more job and right when it looks like things have gone horribly wrong…well that was part of the plan all along! The artwork looks good, but at far too many times the artist used the same panel twice and only zoomed in a little for emphasis. You see this practice in a number of comics but it happens so often here that it felt kind of lazy. Other than that occasional shortcut, the book looks nice, has strong (but familiar) characters, and the heist that they pull is interesting. There isn’t another series like this one out there in comics so it’s definitely worth checking out even if it doesn’t add anything new to the heist genre. Best of all, this seven issue TPB is only $8.71 at Amazon which is…a steal (I’ll show myself out).

SCORE: 7.5/10            Thief of Thieves, Vol. 1 is worth taking a break from Batman


September Comics Worth Taking a Break From Batman

I can’t read everything out there but of all the comics that I did read, these were the very best. These are the ones that I feel are totally worth buying listed in no particular order…

Think Tank #2

New Reader Friendliness:   High

Genre:   Techno-thriller…with comedy? It’s interesting.

Had I gotten my hands on this last month, issue #1 would’ve definitely made the “Best of” list for August. This is the story of a really smart guy who works for a government think tank that specializes in weapons. He’s sick of making things that kill people so he wants out. The only problem is that he’s so good at what he does that nobody wants him to leave. A premise like that might sound kind of familiar, but what sets this series apart is that its seemingly out-of-this-world technology is very much real-world based. Each issue ends with a few pages worth of citations to books, magazine articles, websites, and Youtube videos that show just how real these projects are. If you read Batman comics for the gadgets then you’re going to love Think Tank.

Hawkeye #2

New Reader Friendliness:   High

Genre:   Superhero

Here’s another one that I wish I had read a month ago because it would’ve definitely made the “Best of” list! I don’t know much about the character other than what I’ve seen in the odd Marvel cross-over or the Avengers movie, but I found this to be very easy to jump aboard and I loved it. It’s smart, funny, beautifully illustrated, action packed, and both issue #2 and issue #1 were well crafted done-in-one issues and that’s something you rarely see nowadays.

Sweet Tooth #37

New Reader Friendliness:   Low

Genre:   I honestly don’t know how I’d describe it. 

It’s my favorite comic book and it’s coming to a close so of course it’s going to make the list. This issue is meaningless to new readers so I recommend everybody go out and buy the TPBs of this series and catch up in time for the big finale in December. And if you like the art, look for more of it in this month’s Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1!

Daredevil #18

New Reader Friendliness:   Medium

Genre:   Superhero

There is nothing about this comic that I don’t like.

X-O Manowar #5

New Reader Friendliness:   Medium

Genre:   Sci-Fi Superhero

I assume you pronounce it “Ex-Oh Man-o-War” because that’s the most fun way to say it. But anyway, the name doesn’t matter. If Valiant can keep this from turning into your typical superhero story then X-O-Manowar could be one of the most exciting books on the shelf. It’s about a Visigoth who is at war with the Roman empire when aliens abduct him and hold him as a slave for a few years. He leads an uprising and gets “chosen” by the alien’s sacred armor, which is the most badass weapon in the universe. He escapes and flies back to Earth ready to blast Caesar to smithereens, but upon his return he finds himself in 2012AD. Sound interesting? It is. And I didn’t even mention the ninja!

Spider-Men #5

New Reader Friendliness:   Low

Genre:   Superhero

 A phenomenal conclusion to one of the best cross-overs I’ve ever read. Go out and buy all five parts of this or wait for the inevitable trade paperback. No Spider-Man fan or fan of good superheroics should miss this. 

Rachel Rising #11

New Reader Friendliness:   Low

Genre:   Supernatural/Horror

This series is fantastic, the only problem is that it’s going to be 24-30 issues long and we’re already a third of the way through. I recommend you go out and pick up the first TPB. I can’t go into what the story is REALLY about without spoiling anything so let me just say that it’s about a girl who wakes up buried in the woods. Turns out she’s dead and now she has to figure out who killed her and how she came back. It’s beautifully drawn by Terry Moore who draws women better than pretty much anyone and the story is a real page turner that’s going to read even better when it’s all collected in one big book some day.

Punk Rock Jesus #3

New Reader Friendliness:   Medium

Genre:   Religious/Science fiction I suppose. It’s high concept. I’ll explain..

Thanks to readers Robej and Klossing for suggesting I read Punk Rock Jesus. This is now one of my favorite series and I can’t wait to see what happens next. This is a great limited series that’s about a TV network that tries to create a reality show around a clone of Jesus Christ. Saying anymore would be spoiling it for you. I’m thoroughly impressed with how the story takes so many different real world aspects into account and the artwork is brilliant. Everybody should check out the first issue at least. (and keep your eyes peeled for occasional Batman cameos. I’m serious, it looks like there’s a Batman toy or t-shirt slipped into every issue)

Godzilla: Half Century War #2

New Reader Friendliness:   High

Genre:   Monster/Disaster/Military…it’s Godzilla.

Shellbulletmastr and (again) Robej recommended this to me in the comments section of my Batwoman #0 review and I can’t thank them enough. I read issues 1 and 2 on my flight to LA and the artwork blew me away. It’s the coolest looking comic book I’ve read in some time. It’s got such a vibrant, pop-art feel to it and there are so many pages that would make really kick-ass posters. If you can’t find issue #1, don’t worry about it. Everything is explained in the narration and it’s series that basically shows a different point in history and how Godzilla made an impact in each issue so you can grab any chapter and have a fun read.

What were some of the best comics you read this month? List them off in the comments section below!