Comic Book Awards for August

~Nandor Shaffer

Hello all! It’s quite nice of you to be taking the time out of your probably busy day to look at what I like to call my personal *drum roll, please* COMIC BOOK AWARDS (or CBA’s, if you prefer)! This is a monthly project I put together, and a thing I’ve done for a while now where, out of the ten-plus individual comic book titles I purchase every month, I assign an award to the comic I deem worthy of it. There are four award slots: Cover of the Month, Art of the Month, Story of the Month, and finally the most coveted, Issue of the Month. You’ll happen to see a couple of introductory sentences preceding the award ceremony noting what’s been taking place in a good amount of my titles for that month and then following each award winner I’ll do my best to explain my reasons for why that comic book issue deserved that particular award above all other competing contenders (and I apologize in neglecting to share my explanations for why the winners received an award in last month’s installment).

I’m aware I am not coming from a truly objective stance, as I can’t afford to read or buy all the many, many comic books that hit retailers each consecutive month, but I hope my Comic Book Awards still inform, entertain, and maybe even help you decide which comic you should give a shot. Additionally, I’d like to let you know that when December comes around, be ready for my annual COMIC BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS (that’s something else, I assure you). Finally, I want to thank Mr. Troy Christensen for being kind enough to give me a column on his website to post these. And so, here are the Comic Book Awards for the month of August…

As with any month of comics, a lot occurred in August regarding our favorite characters, but nothing too remarkable – with a few exceptions. After a one month hiatus, Hulk returned this month with a new writer taking over after Mark Waid’s short-lived run by the name of Gerry Duggan. Whether Duggan or someone at Marvel Comics deliberately chose to make Hulk sport a Mohawk hair dew, I don’t know (whoever did needs to leave the book), but it’s regrettable that’s not the only thing not good about the issue. The Uncanny Avengers are recovering after last issue’s climactic finale, teenage Cyclops is stranded with his dying father on a perilous planet, Aquaman takes a stand against the Chimera monster, and the 10th Doctor (from the fantastic TV show Doctor Who) in own his comic figures out what or who might be threatening planet Earth, just to let you in on a few things without spoiling it for you. Captain America #23 contained major revelations as well.

But out of these and other nominees, which were the best?

Cover of the Month Award: Hulk #5

hulk

Cover Artist: Alex Ross

It’s not every month you have the privilege of owning a painting by superstar artist Alex Ross of the Hulk. Ross is a current comic book legend, and the cover of Hulk #5 is one out of countless examples backing that statement up (if you need more proof, type in DC Comics’ Kingdom Come or his covers for Marvel Comics’ Earth X epic in Google Search). His cover does the green goliath justice by having him positioned to where he literally looks like he’s going to smash through the page. It is a lifelike piece of unparalleled art that is great to examine. Too bad the cover for Hulk #5 is the only thing incredible about the issue.

Art of the Month Award: Avengers #34

34

Penciler: Leinil Francis Yu

Inker: Gerry Alanguilan

Colorists: Sunny Gho & Matt Milla

When you flip the pages of Avengers #34, your eyes see what superhero comic book art is really supposed to look like. Leinil Francis Yu’s pristine handiwork is hard to pass over without acknowledging the care and detail present in each panel. He pencils characters in this issue with strength, and everything else with a crisp quality. His facial and body motions convey honesty, showing emotionally what the writer intended to get across to the reader. Yu’s brilliant art is further amplified by the inker and colorists’ admirable assists.

Story of the Month Award: New Avengers #23 (“All The Angels Have Fallen”)


23

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

If it was your last day to live, what would you do? Where would you go? Visionary and scribe extraordinaire Jonathan Hickman asks the Illuminati, a clandestine band of heroes, that very question. But it’s not a metaphorical or day-dreaming query; this is, sadly, for real. I could say more, though you need to read New Avengers #23 for yourself to experience the drama it musters. In fact, if you don’t care about comics at all, you still don’t have any excuse for missing out on possibly the greatest comic book story in all of history (I’m not kidding). Since #1, this book has left me in awe after almost each issue and #23 is a turning point for the title that’ll leave you startled. “All The Angels Have Fallen” is a quiet, sobering tale that will not let you go; some heroes regret, some heroes lose hope, and a king weeps.

Issue of the Month Award: Avengers #34 (“The Last Avenger”)


34

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Penciler: Leinil Francis Yu

Cover Art: Leinil Yu and Sunny Gho

This issue of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers witnesses the satisfying conclusion to a thrilling time-traveling plot that started a few months ago in Avengers #29. Captain America has been thrust into an unknown future, and in Avengers #34 he makes a decision, as well as an inspiring speech worth saluting to, that relays why he is who he is and what he stands for in a terrific, fascinating approach. You can’t deny Hickman’s profound, clever authorship or Yu’s excellent cover and interior artwork in this issue. Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers/New Avengers grand story is ever-growing, and by the looks of the cliffhanger ending of Avengers #34, he shows no signs of slowing down. It’s just going to get more awesome, if that’s even possible with how awesome it’s already been, from here on out.

Thanks for checking out my awards out and check back sometime next month for September’s Comic Book Awards! Until then, I, and hopefully you, will continue to be reading comics!

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