Comic Book best picks of the week: 10/20/21

Fallout Comics has moved to a location next to its old store, making it the largest comic book store in the region.Fallout Comics 110520 Ts 022finals
Fallout Comics has moved to a location next to its old store, making it the largest comic book store in the region.Fallout Comics 110520 Ts 022finals /

Another week, another round of comic book releases. So, what were some of the best releases of the past week?

From Batman to horror to indie graphic novels, a slew of a various comic book releases this week and all stood out from each other in various ways.

None of the best comic book releases of week felt the same as another, standing on their own, confident in the story that they were telling, with some also being prologue to other stories.

Best comic book releases this week:

Nightwing #85

Written by Tom Taylor, Art by Robbi Rodriguez, Colors by Adriano Lucas

More of a Barbara Gordon issue than a Nightwing issue, this is yet another great installment in Tom Taylor’s run on the Nightwing title. There’s a lot of, let’s say guff, that has been thrown Taylor’s way regarding his use of Barbara as Batgirl, but he does an excellent job of justifying why she is taking up the mantle again for now and how exactly she’s doing that given the strain on her back.

But really though, if you’re reading this issue, you’re not coming for justifications as to why Barbara is Batgirl again or even the plot, as that is typically Taylor’s weakest area and it is here, you’re coming for the character interactions, namely between Barbara and Dick. There are some great scenes between the two here, in both present and flashback forms, and it really gets at the heart of why these two belong with one another. Sure, the issue is a bit fan-servicey, but who cares if it gets you to smile a bit? Fan-service is not an inherently bad thing when used well and, in this writer’s opinion, it was used well in this issue and hopefully is built upon moving forward.

Refrigerator Full of Heads #1

Written by Rio Youers, Art by Tom Fowler, Colors by Bill Crabtree

The first issue of the sequel series to the absolutely wonderful Basketful of Heads, it already had a hill to climb (no pun intended) by not having any of the original creative team returning. However, this issue starts out incredibly strong and does its own thing. Whereas Basketful of Heads was a conspiracy thriller mixed with a twist on slasher fiction, this issue expands on the world that contains an axe that keeps its victims alive.

Instead of keeping the ridiculous, yet still at least slightly grounded in reality style of the first series, Refrigerator decides to go all in on the ridiculous. It’s clearly not taking itself too seriously and that’s where the fun lies. This is a crazy, sometimes non-sensical issue that is much more akin in tone to A Nightmare on Elm Street, where it’s brutal, but doesn’t take itself seriously, compared to Basketful’s Halloween (1978)-esque tone, where it’s ridiculous, but also itself seriously. It’s not as good as Basketful of Heads, but it’s still really fun.

Catwoman: Lonely City #1

Written, Art, and Colors by Cliff Chiang

What do you get when you combine The Dark Knight Returns and Catwoman? Catwoman: Lonely City is what you get. And much like Frank Miller before him, this is Cliff Chiang’s darling. He does everything on this book, all the way down to lettering it himself. You have to really believe in what you’re doing to do everything like that and well, the end product shows why Chiang did everything himself. This is a phenomenal debut issue for the four issue limited series.

While the writing and story are good here, the main draw of the issue is Chiang’s art, which is absolutely phenomenal. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen any of Chiang’s work before, in various titles such as Wonder Woman and Paper Girls, but this issue alone might be some of his career’s best work. Every single panel is filled with emotion, no matter what’s happening in it. It’s just incredible storytelling from beginning to end. The only downside to this book is that you have to wait two months for the next issue.

Batman #115

Written by James Tynion IV, Art by Jorge Jimenez and Bengal, Colors by Tomeu Morey

Back-up: Written by Becky Cloonan & Michael W. Conrad, Art by Jorge Corona, Colors by Sarah Stern

The most recent issue of the “Fear State” storyline, there’s a lot to like about this issue, even if it feels a bit disjointed. We get to see the Magistrate absolutely crumbling due to their own actions, which is wonderful to see, but will probably lead to disaster in the long run. There’s a couple of great scenes featuring Queen Ivy that really highlight that she’s not truly a villain like many make her out to be. But the most fun scenes are those between Batman and Miracle Molly. These two have such a great repartee with each other and it’s always fun to see that being explored more.

But the real highlight in this comes in the back-up story, which is a prelude to the Batgirls series that debuts in December. It’s an absolutely wonderful back-up story that highlights the dynamics between Barbara, Stephanie, and Cassandra incredibly well. It’s also just trying to have fun instead of being drenched in overwhelming darkness, which was a nice change of pace compared to the main story of the issue.

Reckless: Destroy All Monsters

Written by Ed Brubaker, Art by Sean Phillips, Colors by Jacob Phillips

The third graphic novel in the Reckless series and it’s absolutely another home run. These books are pulp detective noirs at their best and Destroy All Monsters continues that trend for the series. It’s a dark, gritty tale that delves deep into various topics, but at its core is a story about friendship and caring about those that you let into your life.

This is a book that, amidst its mystery and the cases being worked in it, has a lot of heart and really makes you care for each character, whether they’re introduced in this book or not. Each and every character is fleshed out as much as they are needed to make the story work and have an emotional impact on the reader. This is such a great series and something everyone should pick up.

Older Recommendation:

The Autumnal

Written by Daniel Kraus, Art by Chris Shehan, Colors by Jason Wordie

Who knew that leaves could be terrifying? Well, The Autumnal makes them absolutely spine-chilling. Amidst being scared of leaves though, this is a story about abuse, trauma, and love above all else and it’s an absolutely wonderful read. This may be because I’m a bit biased for horror stories set in small-town New England, but this truly is a great book and nearly impossible to put down once you begin reading it.

Truthfully, it feels like a lost member of Stephen King’s catalogue, which isn’t surprising as he’s mentioned in the first few pages. And like any Stephen King book, it’s incredibly hard to talk about without spoiling it. So really, just read this book. It’s fantastic.

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Have you been reading any good comic book stories lately? Tell us your best comic book picks below!