Top 10 Books You Aren’t Reading! February 2011 Edition

Last month this feature was made up of five Marvel titles and five DC titles that were selling below #70 on the sales charts. This month though, the list is going to look a bit different, and will feature some more miniseries, as well as some independent titles that you should totally check out.

I was also about to congratulate a few titles from last months list for no longer qualifying for the list, or from jumping higher up to the safety zone (big props to Secret Six, by the way, from #94 to #71 in one month), but sales dropped as a whole this month. My beloved Batgirl now rests at #57, but actually sold less than last month when it was #71. These numbers are interesting to look at, but now for the list!

And just like last month, can you guess who wrote which piece? Pulse Glazer or myself?

10. Dungeons and Dragons by John Rogers and Andre Di Vito

I know most of you could care less about this, but, well, you’re wrong. If you’ve ever played a game of DnD, this stays remarkably true to the feel of the characters while taking away any of the slow or irritating moments. The plot is fast moving and fun, with a party that can’t seem to stay out of trouble, coming from the Fourth Edition starting point of Fallcrest. The art is fluid and really conveys the action in a great way, while Rogers witty dialogue has lost nothing since he made Blue Beetle DC’s most underrated great comic of the past decade.

9. John Byrne’s Next Men #2

I don’t personally read this title, and can’t really do much to promote it. So why is it listed? Because a lot of the writers for Nexus love it, and I couldn’t in my right mind not give it some attention on this list.

8. Zatanna by Paul Dini, Adam Beechen, and various artists

I’ve said a few times this book was killed by the delay between Dini building her up in Detective Comics, and the actual release of her solo series, but that doesn’t make the book bad. A revolving door of artists, as well as constant creative shuffles have made the book a bit inconsistent, but with Paul Dini and Adam Beechen emerging as the primary writers of the title it’s begun to find its voice. As far as concepts go, it’s as original as the chartacter itself, as there aren’t exactly an abundance of superheroes who double as stage magicians. The book has the right kind of energy, and a unique enough premise to make it worth checking out. Really, the only thing it lacks at all is momentum, as it exists within a vacum…though a crossover with the Dini written Gotham City Sirens would be pretty sweet.

7. Widowmaker by Jim McCann, Duane Swierczynski, David Lopez, and Manuel Garcia

Jim McCann was doing some awesome stuff with Hawkeye & Mockingird before it was silently cancelled along with Black Widow, and the crossover between the two titles being folded into the Widow Maker mini. McCann has established a nice voice for all of the charaters involved, and I can’t believe that there aren’t more Hawkeye fans who would want to buy a series featuring the archer prominently. Hawkeye: Blindspot, the follow up mini to this, is abou to hit shelves. Check it out, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

6. T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents by Nick Spencer and Cafu

This is a fantastically fun, fantastically complex book about a group of super powered agents whose powers will kill them. It’s not an original idea (I loved Strikeforce Morituary), but it is a very well-handled one. This is a book to read all of, not just randomly jump on, as it requires patience and attention, but Spencer is masterfully weaving great characters in to make the plot worth it.

5. Casanova Gula by Matt Fraction and Fabio Moon

A science fiction jerk of a secret agent takes a surreal romp through the world of comics. Fraction, between Uncanny, Thor and Iron Man, is the key voice of the Marvel Universe (along with Bendis anyway) and this is the book that got him noticed. It’s phenomenal, personal storytelling from one of the world’s best creators.

4. Young Justice by Greg Weisman and Mike Norton

Yes, it’s a cartoon tie in, so? For a reason to read this, I turn you to our own former Capsule Reviewer, Aris:

Comic book sales suck. I am not going to say monthly sales at 25% or so from last month or last year heralds the end of comics. I am just going to say whatever Marvel and DC are doing in terms of strategy is not working. Unless monthly sales just aren’t that important any more. Personally I could careless at this point. I will keep buying comics. The only change I have recently went through is I decided since continuity is totally irrelevant I can drop books for the simplest of reasons. Bad writing. Dropped. Stupid ideas. Dropped. Inconsistent or unprofessional art. Dropped. There is no point of even being critical of the medium any more. Sales are no indicator of success…because really who couldn’t write an X-book that sells 67k? My two year old could sell that many writing scribbles. So just buy the stuff you like…enjoy it and move on. I wish comic sales were higher so the creators especially artists could get paid a little more. Other then that….whatever.”

This is a great book, with great art and great writing. Get it.

3. Knight and Squire by Paul Cornell and Jimmy Broxton

Silver-Age Batman Madness mixed with English culture and a splash of Grant Morrison’s mad ideas makes for one fun comic. This alternates between over the top and interesting based on the issue and while the tone shifts will make for a strange trade, the single issues are great regardless. Cornell is one of DC’s best and deserves your support.

2. Irredeemable by Mark Waid and Peter Krause

Irredeemable explores the aftermath of the Plutonian, a Superman like character, going mad and starting to kill more or less anything, from cities, to countries, to other super humans. It’s about his former teammates trying to stop him and save the world, while also exploring just why this happened, and what’s going through the mind of the former worlds greatest hero as he becomes the greatest supervillain to ever exist. On top of that, it’s about the heroes who served beside him and their quest to redemption after their own failures in both seeing this coming, as well as stopping him before he could slaughter the millions that have been killed. It’s an incredible book, as is it’s sister title Incorruptible, also by Mark Waid, and had an issue shipped in January it would be sharing this entry.

1. The Boys by Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson, and Russel Braun

My personal guilty pleasure, what can I say? I discovered Garth Ennis’s during a mild cynical period a few years ago, dieing for some sort of original take, or even satire on the genre I hold so dear, and Mr. Ennis did not disappoint. The Boys takes place in a world where superheroes are a corporate creation, marketed and manufactured to bring in the most profit, even if the heroes themselves aren’t quite so super. The Boys are a group set up by the CIA to keep the supers in line; whether that means making threats, roughing them up, or putting them in the ground. In this universe it’s rare to discover anyone who understands that with great power come great responsbility, but that’s what makes it interesting. Ennis has created some interesting characters, a lot of moral ambiguity, and a book with such a high anti-superhero tone that it actually was cancelled by DC Comics after six issues. It doesn’t have the same levels of depravity that you see out of Crossed, but in all fairness, there’s a reason this book tops the list and that one will never be considered. This is some of Garth Ennis’s best work, and while it might seem hard to catch up, the book will be wrapping up within the next year (I believe it’s set to end at #60), and it’s more than worth picking up in trade or hardcover.

Until next month!

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