July’s purchases of comics put things into perspective for me on how drastically different my pull-list has become in the last few months. When counted, there are all-together about 6-7 comic book series’ that I discontinued following or that are simply no longer published. And in foresight, even with Marvel’s upcoming All-New All-Different lineup in November or DC Comics’ recent DC YOU push, I have my doubts that my pull-list will ever look the same again in the near future. I’m actually looking forward to the change-up, however, as the possibility of branching out to unfamiliar books and characters creates a fresh drive for this comic book reader. As for the present, July was generally quite a healthy month for my series’ I do have remaining.
Secret Wars is all the buzz right now, and with #4 of the title there’s timely proof for why that is. It well might be the strongest issue of the series thus far. Ant-Man Annual #1 was easily one of the best and one of my favorite issues of the month. Fans of the now concluded Ant-Man title (which is to return to #1 by the same creative team in November) should not miss this extra-sized issue whatsoever. Lively, delightfully humorous, and overall so much fun, this annual is an explosion of light-hearted entertainment. The 9th Doctor’s developing, hostile engagements of towering implications is turning the series around to my liking, while #14 of Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor was a more than excellent issue. I’m ever impressed with what the writers are doing in that book and the startling revelation on the last page of this issue might raise a controversy of why this moment wasn’t in the actual TV show instead of a comic book. Closing out the month were Uncanny X-Men #35, Aquaman #42, The Flash #42 as well as The Flash Annual #4, and, finally, Star Wars #7, a single-story issue with guest artist Simone Bianchi (whose work is just fantastic in this issue) focused on the exploits of Obi-Wan Kenobi during his time on Tatooine between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
Out of these nominees, which comics received the Comic Book Awards for the month of July?
Cover of the Month Award: Secret Wars #4
Cover By: Alex Ross
For the third month in a row, Alex Ross’ undeniable talent ushers Secret Wars to receive another Cover of the Month award once again. This time, doing my best to try and not reiterate my praise for Ross’ previous covers, you see a cunning attention to detail, lighting, and structure. Doom looms upon his throne of the World-Tree, Yggdrasil, with obvious authority as his chief supporters – Susan Storm, Valeria, Franklin and Doctor Strange – surround him. This image portrays a realism that is almost haunting, if you will, since the characters stare at you with modest contempt. It might not be what you would call an incredible cover, but, nonetheless, it’s much more than just an overall good one.
Art of the Month Award: Secret Wars #4
Artist: Esad Ribic
Color Artist: Ive Svorcina
A consistent “look” of a comic book series is always important, and, as of yet, Secret Wars has truthfully had a distinct, specialized tone, feel, and look to it unlike the mass quantities of comic book series’ I have personally read. It “feels” like its own highly individual, seriously weighty comic when you’re reading it and that has to do with, yes, the writer and artist’s desired creative vision, but mostly with the artists’ finished work. Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina’s faithful handling of Jonathan Hickman’s script in Secret Wars #4 carries each page along with efficiency that rivals the cinematic finesse of Hollywood. There’s a delicate, powerful care you’ll find in these pages and I’m fascinated with the hefty emotions a lot of the pages brought out of me while reading (the perspectives for some panels are especially brilliant). Esad’s signature style accompanied with his sense of storytelling really pulls you in with this issue, marvelously portraying crucial moments that will affect this entire series.
Story of the Month Award: Secret Wars #4
(“All The Angels Sing, All The Devils Dance”)
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
The tides are starting to turn with the events that take place in Secret Wars #4. In this issue the battle between Battleworld’s enforcers of Thors and The Cabal rages, taking center focus for the story. Also, from the words of Doctor Strange it is explained to the survivors of Earth-616 (and the reader) just what Battleworld is and how it came to be. The last half of Secret Wars #4 is where you’ll find the most enjoyment. The ensuing battle is interrupted and by the last page, two vital characters stand no more. Secret Wars #4 is rife with gravitas and thrills which make it a pleasure to read.
Issue of the Month Award: Secret Wars #4 (“All The Angels Sing, All The Devils Dance”)
Writer & Designer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Esad Ribic
Color Artist: Ive Svorcina
Cover Art: Alex Ross
Secret Wars #4 is a busy issue and this Marvel event moving forward will be all the more unpredictable in light of what transpires in this comic (I’m dying to read #5 right now). This series is technically at its halfway mark, so it’s reasonable to assume what Hickman and Ribic have in store will render these first four issues to pale in comparison. All together, the entirety of Secret Wars #4 – its superb cover by Alex Ross, Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina’s outstanding interiors, and Hickman’s awesome script – make it a fine, stellar comic book that no one should have an excuse to pass up. This is July’s star book of the month for good reason.
Thank you for checking out my awards for July (I sorely apologize for being late) and be sure check back sometime in a couple weeks or so for August’s Comic Book Awards! Until then, hopefully you and I will continue to be reading comics!