Welcome back everyone for the third installment of my monthly annual COMIC BOOK AWARDS! If this is your very first time taking a glance at what this is all about, I’ll give you a brief rundown to catch you up just in case. This is the column where every month , out of the ten-plus comic books I personally purchase, I choose which individual comic book issue deserves the award out of the four categories: Cover of the Month, Art of the Month, Story of the Month, and Issue of the Month. It’s been a bit of a hobby I’ve done for a while mainly just for myself for the fun of it, but now I have the pleasure of sharing it, hopefully, to a wider audience like yourself. My Comic Book Awards are meant to simply entertain, inform, and maybe even possibly help you see what comics you might be missing out on that you might otherwise enjoy. Anyways, without further ado, here are my Comic Book Awards for the month of September!
The month of September proved to be an overall good as well as competitive month for comics. I honestly had a somewhat difficult time figuring which comic book issue was most worthy of an award over another and why due to the fact that many issues were, comparatively, on-par with each other. But that’s what makes this fun, right? September saw many extra-sized issues as they garnered a $4.99 price tag, special tie-in’s for DC Comics’ Future’s End event, and also the unfortunate end to Jason Aaron’s commendable Thor: God of Thunder series with #25 (which will be returning in October with Thor #1 featuring the controversial new female Thor). Avengers and New Avengers took a bold and mysterious turn as their current epic storylines take place eight months from now in the future, the 11th Doctor arrives with his latest companion Alice on a planet with whose citizens are all-too curiously happy, and the Red Skull’s menacing plan comes to a head in Captain America and Uncanny Avengers as Marvel’s Avengers & X-Men: AXIS fall comics event is upon us.
But out of these and other nominees, which were the best? The results surprised me.
Cover of the Month Award: Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #2
Cover Artist: Alice X. Zhang
Wonder. Imagination. Joy. Whenever I think about the amazing sci-fi BBC Doctor Who TV series, these are the foundational emotions that I feel. When I look at this cover for the second issue of Titan Comics’ Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor, some of those same emotions hit me. This gorgeous, almost transcendent, painted cover by Alice X. Zhang is an extravagant rendering of the 11th Doctor played by the unparalleled Matt Smith. The Doctor’s pose as he looks in amused delight at the shining lights above him, and that happiness expressed in its life-like fullness, carries this lovely work of art to warrant Cover of the Month in a heartbeat.
Art of the Month Award: Uncanny X-Men #25
Penciler and Colorist: Chris Bachalo
Inkers: Tim Townsend, Mark Irwin, Jaime Mendoza, Victor Olazaba & Al Vey
I’d have to admit I’ve never really liked Chris Bachalo’s art. That’s not to say I think his art is bad; not at all. His diverse, true comic book style presentation is impressive and even needed in the comic book world today, but it’s not necessarily what I’m looking for in terms of art when I pick up a comic. However, when I finished Uncanny X-Men #25, I was taken aback. From the first two pages, there was a part of me unexpectedly drawn to this issue. Nothing about Bachalo’s work was different or altered — I just found myself being strikingly pulled in by it. The pages are filled to the max with unique panel formatting, and his storytelling is at its best, resulting in a packed, satisfying issue. Maybe it’s the great teamwork present involving writer Brian Michael Bendis and Mr. Bachalo, but, nevertheless, it is a fine example of a rewarding comic book.
Story of the Month Award: Avengers #34.1 (“The World In His Hands”)
Writer: Al Ewing
Avengers #34.1 is a standalone tale spotlighting the character, and current Avenger, Hyperion. He’s not a well known Marvel character, but that doesn’t diminish how cool or powerful he is (think Superman powerful). The plot revolves around a child being abducted and Hyperion takes it upon himself to locate the child and kidnapper. What might sound like a straight-forward story becomes, actually, a touching one. Al Ewing expertly explores Hyperion’s psyche throughout the issue and, doing so, manages to make him a very likeable, thought-provoking hero. In the issue Hyperion questions who he is and why he does what he does, which all relates to his fascinating back-story. When you flip the last page, Avengers #34.1 ends up as a rich, character driven superhero story that captures something great about hope and how we can help people. Usually I pass over “.1’s”, but I’m so glad this particular issue was an exception.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Cover Artist: Gabrielle Dell ‘Otto
New Avengers #24 is not your conventional “next issue”. Why is that? The story takes place eight whole months after the last issue and is also a part of Jonathan Hickman’s grand Avengers masterpiece crossing over with his ongoing regular Avengers title. You’re put into the middle of dire times and circumstances in New Avengers #24 where there are more questions than answers, making for much intrigue. The Illuminati are in hiding, the Cabal is killing worlds left and right, and Doctor Doom is up to something…all this and more give way for a brilliant first building block in Hickman’s next step for this book. Valerio Schiti in addition returns for this thirty-page issue offering up his rising talent. With such cinematic grace, Schiti’s facial and action scenes are remarkable here. If you want a consecutively incredible comic book series, New Avengers is totally the way to go.
Thanks for checking out my awards out and check back sometime next month for October’s Comic Book Awards! Until then, I, and hopefully you, will continue to be reading comics!