It’s the end of the month and that means it’s time for us all to come together and take a break from Batman by sharing our favorite comics that took place outside the Gotham City limits. Here’s my own list of the best books that I had time to read and I encourage everyone to write their own favorites in the comments section at the bottom of the page so that we can spread the word about quality comics.

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Lazarus #4

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New Reader Friendliness: Low

The conclusion of the series’ first arc features gorgeous artwork, an ingenious betrayal by our main villain, and one helluva fight scene that features Forever Carlyle fighting alongside her starcrossed lover. Explaining what’s going on now would be too complicated, so let me just recommend that you seek out issues #1-3 or wait and pick up the soon-to-be released TPB. Rucka, Lark, and Arcas have created a really fascinating world and a tough-as-nails heroine.

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 Quantum and Woody #4

Valiant

New Reader Friendliness: Medium

This book is pure joy. In this issue, Woody has been captured by an evil organization founded by Thomas Edison and it’s up to Quantum to rescue his brother from an army of clones, a cyborg from the 80’s, and the goat from hell. Quantum and Woody is a wacky good time, every time.

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Eternal Warrior #2

Valiant

New Reader Friendliness: Medium

Batman/Superman author, Greg Pak, is writing quite the epic about an immortal who has turned his back on his destiny. Issue #1 was great, but chapter 2 is even more jaw-dropping. Anyone who likes action or who has read the equally great Archer & Armstrong series would be pleased with this book. The flashback sequences illustrated by Clayton Crain are some of the most beautiful pages Valiant has ever published. Hop aboard this title immediately, even if you missed out on the premiere issue. There’s a very in-depth “Previously On…” summary in the inside cover of every Valiant comic that makes it easy to follow events no matter where you start.

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Sex Criminals #2

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New Reader Friendliness: High

If you thought Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye comics was funny, wait until you see his creator-owned series Sex Criminals! This imaginative story offers a unique twist on the timeless tale of boy meets girl. I don’t want to give away the big twist just yet, but anytime these two characters bang we immediately enter the world of science fiction. Just go buy it, trust me. This is for mature readers only, obviously.

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The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction #2

IDW

New Reader Friendliness: Medium

In the mood for something old school? This crossover between two of the best pulp characters around is really charming. It’s funny, adventurous, great for fans of all ages, and beautifully drawn by Loston Wallace. Obviously, if you have no idea who The Spirit or Rocketeer are you’ll feel a bit lost, but as long as you have a basic understanding of these two heroes I think you’ll get a kick out of what Mark Waid (Daredevil, Indestructible Hulk) has written. The only draw-back is the time in-between chapters. Issue #1 was released 3 months ago…

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Indestructible Hulk #14

Marvel

New Reader Friendliness: Medium

Watching Hulk and a robot with Banner’s consciousness travel through time has made for one of the most wildly entertaining arcs this year. We’ve seen Hulk in the wild west, medieval times, and there have even been a few T-rexs pop up along the way, but in issue #14 we see Hulk warped to the very moment of his creation. So… we know what happened when Bruce Banner got hit with gamma rays, but what happens when The Incredible Hulk is consumed by the very same blast of radiation?

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Saga #15

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New Reader Friendliness: Low

You don’t need me to tell you that Saga is good. It’s probably the most praised comic in the industry right now and it’s recommended that you start reading from issue #1. This is really fun science-fantasy by Brian K. Vaughan with great artwork by Fiona Staples. While the plot hasn’t been progressing much in the past few issues, this one offers up some great character moments and some startling surprises.

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Sandman Overture #1

Vertigo

New Reader Friendliness: High

After a 25 year absence, the greatest fantasy comic of all time is back and it not only met, but exceeded all of my expectations. Neil Gaiman’s words along with J.H. Williams III’s incomparable art made for the best single issue I read all month! I let out an audible gasp while reading this, it’s truly operating on a whole other level. Fans of the classic Sandman series will fall in love with this instantly and catch a number of great cameos and Easter eggs, but this prequel to one of the most highly regarded series of all-time is easily accessible to the uninitiated as well. Believe the hype, this issue is the perfect pairing of writing and art and is a must-read for anyone who wants to witness a work of imagination that knows no bounds.

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X-O Manowar #18

Valiant

New Reader Friendliness: Medium

A Visigoth king wielding the deadliest weapon in the universe (an unbreakable armor that would tear through Iron Man like tissue paper) lands a space ship full of his people in the outskirts of modern day Romania with the intent to reclaim his long forgotten land of Dacia. Since this is old Soviet Union territory now under watch by the UN the entire world is angry and the Russians are especially nervous. However, after Russian special forces capture and dissect one of the Visigoth farmers and discover that these “invaders” are indeed human, an assault is launched. This issue details how bad things go for everyone who stands up to X-O Manowar. It’s the most bad ass comic out there. How bad ass? Valiant is launching a whole new series next month called “Unity” which is about all the other heroes from their other titles forming a Justice League of sorts, but rather than assembling to fight injustice wherever it rises, their main goal is just to bring down the juggernaut that is X-O Manowar.