It’s time for another Break from Batman where I list some of the best comics that I read over the last month. I usually try to squeeze a graphic novel review in as well, but I won’t have time to do that this go round. Next month I’ll be sure to include Punk Rock Jesus and maybe a few others to make up for lost time. I really want to make sure folks know about Punk Rock Jesus and Superman Beyond.

As always, this special is about getting Batman fans excited about books that don’t actually feature Batman. If you visit this site regularly and find yourself agreeing with me fairly often then this should be an enormous help to you in your quest to find quality entertainment that’s worth your hard-earned dollar (or, let’s be honest, $4 dollars). But I would also like you to help me and readers like you by going to the comments section at the bottom of the page and listing some of your own favorites from the month of April! Together we can spread the word about great literature and build a friendly community. Be sure to make a Disqus account or connect your post to your Facebook or Twitter so you can have a neat little avatar.

Here’s a list of the best comics that I read this month.

Amala’s Blade #1

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Darkhorse

New Reader Friendliness:   High

Genre: Sci-fi/fantasy/steampunk

Do you like steampunk? If you do then you might want to give this new series a try. Now, I know that there was an issue #0 that came out earlier, but you don’t need to read that to jump aboard this title. I didn’t read #0 and I did just fine. It’s got a very unique art style that sets it apart from other books and there’s definitely a unique world to learn about. You have your futuristic cyber people vs. the steampunk folk and caught in the middle is Amala, an assassin who sees ghosts. Seems like it could make for a pretty fun fantasy series.

Jupiter’s Legacy #1

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Image

New Reader Friendliness:   High

Genre: Superhero

You know all the heirs and heiresses who are constant screw-ups that you see plastered on the tabloids? The Paris Hiltons of the world? Imagine if that breed of people were superheroes and you can see what Jupiter’s Legacy is striving toward. The original superheroes changed the world back in the 1940s and are still seen as symbols of everything good in this world. Their children who were bestowed with the same powers, however grew up spoiled and always in the limelight. After issue #1 I’m not quite sure where the story is going to go from there, it’s basically a world-building issue that tries to sell you on why these characters behave the way they do. But with names like Mark Millar and Frank Quitely behind it, I’m willing to stick it out a few more issues and see where they take the concept.

 

Saga #12

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Image

New Reader Friendliness:   Medium

Genre: Science Fantasy

This, Daredevil, and Thor: God of Thunder are always competing for my favorite series. In this month’s Saga, we get an adorable baby seal critter wearing overalls and a story about Prince Robot IV trying to extract information on the location of our protagonists. It’s a tense issue with great artwork and it came out to quite a bit of controversy because iTunes was rumored to refuse to sell it (graphic imagery on the opening pages). It’s definitely not for kids, but every grown up should be reading this high-concept series.

 

All-New X-Men #10

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Marvel

New Reader Friendliness:   Low

Genre: Superhero

Issue #10 of this book and issue #4 of Uncanny X-Men are both written by Bendis and both feature some of the exact same scenes word for word. It’s an important moment for each series where Cyclops and his X-Men show up at the Jean Grey School and ask for new recruits. The characters all play off each other really well and it makes for good drama. The fact that the comic is mostly one really big discussion on who’s right and who’s wrong in the age old Brotherhood of Mutants/X-men debate might turn some people off or even be considered old hat by longtime X-men fans, but for me it was riveting.

 

Sledgehammer ’44 #2 (of 2)

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Dark Horse

New Reader Friendliness: Low

Genre: WWII, Sci-fi

This was a nice little 2-part mini-series. You don’t see too many of those so it was really refreshing to get a complete story with great artwork in two short months and feel satisfied. Whereas last month’s issue was more action heavy with the Sledgehammer robot blasting through Nazis, this time around we’re focusing more on the soldiers struggling to bring the damaged bot’s body back to HQ before more Nazis get their hands on it. Not only is it intense, but it’s quite emotional near the end.

Thor: God of Thunder #7

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Marvel

New Reader Friendliness:   Medium

Genre: Fantasy

I’ll say it’s a medium on the New Reader Friendliness chart because there is a nice recap page, but really you should start reading this story from issue #1 if you really want to enjoy yourself. Thor: God of Thunder is a series I’ll swear by. It’s one of the most well-written and beautifully illustrated books I read and when I say it’s “epic” I mean it really is epic. Some folks eat a particularly delicious pop tart and say “That was epic.” but I use that word literally when I talk about Thor. It’s about a God Butcher who can only be stopped by the God of Thunder operating in 3 different time periods, outer space, and Valhalla itself. If that’s not epic then I don’t know what is.

 

Godzilla: Half Century War #5 (of 5)

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IDW

New Reader Friendliness:   Low

Genre: Giant Monsters Hitting Each Other

And so we say goodbye to one of the best looking series out there, Godzilla: Half Century War. What an amazing book this was! I would’ve never thought a comic about Godzilla would be worth a damn, but these 5 issues shut my mouth. I highly recommend you pick this up as a TPB whenever it’s released. It looks amazing, has a surprisingly thrilling story, and, at least for me, it was vastly different from any other comic I was reading.

 

Vibe #3

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DC

Genre: Superhero

ARGUS has been a big part of Suicide Squad and JLA, but only in Vibe does it actually feel organized. In the other books it’s mostly Waller behind a desk fielding phone calls, but in Vibe you get a real sense of how big ARGUS is and what they’re capable of. In a way, Vibe is as much about ARGUS as it is about Vibe himself and I think that makes it a pretty important series in the DCU, especially with Trinity War coming up. In issue #3 we see Waller throw Vibe in a situation where he has to fight Kid Flash. It’s all a test, you see. The point of the JLA is to create a group that can bring down the Justice League and with Vibe being trained to defeat Flash, what better way is there to test his abilities than sending him after Flash Jr.

 

Black Beetle #3

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Dark Horse

New Reader Friendliness:   Medium

Genre: Superhero/Crime noir

Basically it’s 1940’s era Batman going incognito as Matches Malone only we can’t call him Batman or Matches Malone and this isn’t Gotham. Black Mirror’s Francesco Frankavilla writes and illustrates this series and it’s one of the very best you can buy both in story and art quality. There have been four issues so far (a #0 started it all) and each one has been a must-read. You don’t need issue #0, but I highly recommend you start reading with issue #1 before jumping in.

 

Five Weapons #3

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Image

New Reader Friendliness:   Medium

Genre: Teen Adventure/Fantasy

Three issues in and I keep expecting this series to take a nosedive, but it keeps surprising me. It’s Harry Potter, but with assassins instead of Wizards and our protagonist is out to beat all the school’s weapon masters without ever wielding a weapon of his own. Each issue has been quite fun and it keeps me guessing just how in the heck this kid is going to beat these different clubs (knife, gun, arrow, etc. etc.) barehanded. It’s not that he’s really tough and beating them with kung fu or anything, it’s that he’s always got a clever way to outsmart everyone in the assassin academy, including the professors. Good read and appropriate for all ages.

 

Daredevil #25

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Marvel

Genre:   Superhero

New Reader Friendliness:   Medium

Best “Oh snap!” moment of the month happens here. Daredevil gets a brand new villain and boy is he formidable. The concept behind him made me slap my forehead it was so obvious and it’s surprising it took this long for anyone to try it.

Spoiler
Imagine an evil Daredevil with all the kung fu and radar sense…but he can see!
The me of 2 years ago would faint if he heard me say this, but Daredevil is one of the very best comic books you can read and it’s quite often more entertaining than any of the bat-titles.

 

Daredevil EoD #7

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Marvel

Genre:   Superhero, Out of continuity mini-series

New Reader Friendliness:   Wicked Low

Can’t say anything about it because we’re too far in and I would spoil everything. It’s been phenomenal so far and it has only one issue left. It the creative team can stick the landing and give us a satisfying ending to this mystery then it will be a masterpiece.

 

Wonder Woman #19

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DC

Genre:   Superhero

New Reader Friendliness:   Medium

I had not read an issue of Wonder Woman since #10 or so. Not that there was a dive in quality, I really love this series. It’s just that I decided to trade-wait this series and enjoy Diana’s sweeping journey in one sitting. But when I saw the gatefold cover for issue #19 I couldn’t help myself. I figured I would be lost since I have no idea how Orion fits into the story or what exactly Wonder Woman and her crew (Azzarello really has turned her series into an ensemble piece) have been up to over the past year, but surprisingly I was able to pick it up pretty easily. However, that doesn’t mean anybody can jump right into this book. It just means that those who have read at least Volume 1 of Wonder Woman can do so without much confusion. If you haven’t been keeping tabs on New 52 Wonder Woman, you’re going to be clueless to what’s happening on each page. That said, it looks like Wonder Woman has maintained the same level of quality in story and art since issue #1 and this episode in particular had some very funny and memorable moments. One page in which Wonder Woman teaches Orion a lesson in respect was so good that I took a picture of it and texted it to a friend. And the friend? She’s not a comic reader, but even she had already seen the image on tumblr. The internet sure does move fast…

 

Helheim #2

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Oni Press

Genre:   Fantasy

New Reader Friendliness:   Medium

Frankenstein’s Monster meets The Walking Dead meets Vikings. Cullen Bunn and Joelle Jones’ new comic has hooked me and we’re only on issue #2.

 

Green Arrow #19

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DC

Genre:   Superhero

New Reader Friendliness:   Medium

Lemire and Sorrentino continue to revitalize the New 52 Green Arrow and it continues to be a great and really dense read. The story is so dark and heavy that I almost feel exhausted after reading an issue. These new villains have real depth, there’s a complex mystery unfolding, and I like the art style. There are some really creative panel layouts and coloring choices being made that give the book it’s own unique look. However, after playing Injustice: Gods Among Us recently I can’t help but pine for an Ollie who looks like he’s older than 15, wears that classic goatee, and makes jokes every once in a while. Green Arrow was one of the most entertaining characters in that entire game and while this comic book is really well made, I kind of which it wasn’t so serious. Oh well, I suppose if I want to see a blonde archer who has fun I can always read Hawkeye instead.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy #2

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Marvel

Genre:   Sci-fi/Superhero

New Reader Friendliness:   Medium

With all the talk of Guardians of the Galaxy being the next Marvel property to go Hollywood, of course I checked out issue #1 and I’m happy I did. Unlike their other space-oriented series, Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy caught my interest almost immediately. Nova just felt like a Green Lantern knock-off, but this was fun. A lot of fun. I honestly had never heard of any of these characters before the movie was announced, but they all seem to have quite a bit of life to them and they interest me. It’s clear why Rocket Racoon and Groot are fan favorites. The inclusion of Iron Man is an odd choice though. It feels like Marvel wasn’t 100% confident in releasing a Guardians of the Galaxy series so the shoehorned a more popular character into the mix to attract a few more readers. So far Iron Man hasn’t been a distraction, thankfully and he might even make a good fit for the team. Still not sure what the point of the team was originally other than to fly around and get in adventures, but oh well. The current plot about Star Lord’s father, a diplomat of sorts over the galaxy, passing legislation that makes Earth completely vulnerable and the Guardians outlaws if they try to defend it is a fascinating one and it’s quickly becoming one of my most looked forward to Marvel books.