Comic Book Awards for November

~Nandor Shaffer

Another month equals another wealth of comics on my desk. All-New All-Different Marvel marches on this November and all four of my new pickings are going strong with their second or third issues. I really enjoyed Tony Stark’s introspective look at himself in Invincible Iron Man #3, in particular. Brian Michael Bendis’ take on the golden avenger hasn’t let me down yet. Although the milestone 600th issue of Uncanny X-Men, also written by Bendis, was absolutely horrible, in my opinion. It’s interesting to me how the same writer can be finely attuned to a character(s) compared to others he leaves his mark on. I received a triple dose of Star Wars this month with the fourth and final issue of Star Wars: Shattered Empire as well as the eleventh and twelfth issues of the main Star Wars title, still written by Jason Aaron with impressive art from Stuart Immomen (whose talent might suit this book better than Cassaday’s work on the first six issues). Both Aquaman and The Flash’s plot developments disappointed me this month, unfortunately. Wonder Woman’s guest appearance couldn’t help the king of the seas and while it’s thrilling to see Zoom/Eobard Thawne’s debut storyline continue, it’s starting to falter and lose its appeal by the devolving script. I did pick up Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor #1 from Titan Comics and plan to finish the miniseries off when it concludes next year.

Out of these and other nominees, which comics received the Comic Book Awards for November?

Cover of the Month Award: Uncanny Inhumans #2

Cover Artists: Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten, and Justin Ponsor

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I’m a pretty big fan of Steve McNiven’s work (Civil War, Old Man Logan, Uncanny Avengers). Even if I’m not buying the series he’s currently working on at the time, I can’t help but take a look through the comic just to satisfy my appreciation for his crisp, spectacular art. Thankfully he’s on the Uncanny Inhumans title for the time being and I look forward to every issue even more because of that. I wouldn’t say the cover for Uncanny Inhumans #2 is McNiven’s best cover offering by a mile, but what draws me to it is the perspective of the shot emphasized by Kang’s lurking, amused stare at those before him as he jabs the spear he’s wielding into the Inhuman device on the ground. How Black Bolt, Human Torch, and Medusa’s faces are erupting and crying from the residing cracks furthermore add to this image. This is also a great symbolic precursor to what transpires in the issue itself, which most comic book covers fail to do.

Art of the Month Award: Invincible Iron Man #3

Artist: David Marquez 

Color Artist: Justin Ponsor

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Did I have a fun time reading Invincible Iron Man #3. The first issue of this series took home the award for Art of the Month last month and this issue does in November for the majority of the same reasons. Marquez and Ponsor deliver on many levels. The slower, dialogue-heavy moments of Tony and Amara Perera come across just as great as the battle scenes between Iron Man and Madame Masque in this issue. The combination of both artists make for such a clean, pleasurable outcome and with how this book is looking I’m already becoming possessive of Marquez for this title, as I hope he doesn’t abandon the book in the recent future (by the looks of it, he’s jumping off after #5, however).

Story of the Month Award: Secret Wars #7 (“King of the Dead”)

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

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Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Wars has been notably absent in the last few editions of my Comic Book of the Month Awards. With Secret Wars #7, the sluggish pace of the last couple of issues meets its timely end. Survivors of the final incursion were transported to separate areas on Battleworld by the magic of the now deceased Doctor Strange (Secret Wars #4) and from this dispersion these heroes/villains have convinced inhabitants of Battleworld that God Doom is not at all who he states to be, that there is room for doubt. This converges into an all-out war in the midst of Castle Doom and leads to an action-packed, engrossing chapter in this series. The only criticism I have would be how easily it seemed some of the population of Battleworld were convinced to turn on Doom, but it’s no substantial concern whatsoever. There is a nice touch of humor in Secret Wars #7 as well, a side to Hickman you usually only see in his creator-owned material. Overall, this issue capitalizes on what the series has been building to in fantastic ways, and with only two issues left, the epic end of Doom is surely nigh.

Issue of the Month Award: The Astonishing Ant-Man #2 

Writer: Nick Spencer

Artist: Ramon Rosanas 

Color Artist: Jordan Boyd 

Cover Artist: Mark Brooks

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You don’t even have to be an Ant-Man fan to appreciate the smarts inherent in this title. The Astonishing Ant-Man is a comic book to watch out for in all respects and issue two of the series is consistently a joy to read. Last issue, we learned that Scott Lang has ended up back in prison (poor guy) and we’re still on the outs of how that actually happened. We’re not given the answer in The Astonishing Ant-Man #2, but casually we’re getting a better hint as to what lead to his unexpected imprisonment. As the cover suggests, this issue mainly focuses on Scott’s relationship issues with his now ex-girlfriend, Darla Deering (a.k.a. Ms. Thing). They had gotten together when the Fantastic Four assigned a new FF team to protect the world when they decided to go on a family trip across the universe (more backstory can be found in Matt Fraction’s lame run on Fantastic Four/FF). This issue brings some closure to their relationship and does so within a humorously clever plot. The creative team of Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas is at its peak inAstonishing Ant-Man #2 through and through to the excellent final page and pages eight and nine show off some of Rosanas’ most creative work in the series. There is truly no ongoing Marvel comic book I could recommend more than The Astonishing Ant-Man as of this moment.

Thank you all for checking out my awards for November and be sure check back sometime next month for December’s Comic Book Awards! I do want to add that I’m not positive if I’ll be able to provide my Comic Book of the Year Awards for 2014-2015 due to time constraints. It’s a very time-consuming process as you would imagine going through all of my comics from the last year, but I’ll see what I can do. At the very least, I may be able to pick the winners but giving my reasons may have to be cut. In any case, hopefully you and I will continue to be reading comics into the next month and everyone have a Merry Christmas! 🙂

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