As you can see, we have officially changed the title of this column from Top Twenty to Best Books of the Month! Given the other posts we do around here — including Best Book of the Week, Best Book Weekly Poll, etc. — it just made sense! So here we go with the Best Books of the Month for August! And it was a five-week month so you’re getting 25 books!
In case this is your first time, Best Books of the Month is an ongoing monthly look at two ordered lists comprising A) The top 20 Best Single Issues of the month and B) the top 20 Best Current Series in comics. How did we come up with the lists? Well, the Cosmic Comix Best Books of the Month Committee (comprised of Andy B. and basically no one else) took several things into consideration: Best Book nominees, poll winners and poll votes, sales numbers and general buzz levels surrounding each book. Yes, your input is not only appreciated but also counts toward the rankings. So let us hear it!
The Best Single Issues
- INCREDIBLE HULK #12 – We’ve been talking up Hulk for the past few months and this one really took it to the next level. Wolverine and Thing vs. Hulk! Wolverine and Thing didn’t come out so good. And, just like The Dude’s rug, this one tied the room together so well from issues past. Banner’s been putting Hulk through the ringer just to create a Hulk-killing potion! It was an absolute stunner!
- SCALPED #60 – A fantastic end to a fantastic series (more on that below). No point in getting into plot at this point, but there is some solid riding off into the sunset. I just won’t say who!
- SAGA #6 – Probably the biggest margin of victory in the polls this month. Totally crushed it. And I can’t blame you because this issue was once again fascinating. The new parents took off in a rocket ship tree! But Prince TV is on their tail… and now the dude with the cat is on HIS tail.
- SPIDER-MEN #4 (OF 5) – On a personal level, this might be my surprise of the month. I hadn’t taken this series very seriously, and then this issue hit like an emotional freight train with Peter visiting the family (in the Ultimate Universe) who thought he was dead. Fans
- AVENGERS VS X-MEN #9 & 10 (OF 12) – Both issues were excellent and both did extremely well in their respective polls. The Phoenix Five were totally rolling this month… until they totally weren’t. TO THE MOON, CYCLOPS!
- BEFORE WATCHMEN OZYMANDIAS #2 (OF 6) – Full disclosure: I was so not into the first issue. All I could say was, "Booooriiiiiiing." But this issue totally hooked me. It’s so well done, a kind of hybrid of old school and modern styles. In this issue, Ozymandias takes it to the streets.
- RACHEL RISING #10 – Took home the victory in a narrowly contested poll! And also took the story back to the days of witch-burning. Evil Jet will send chills down your spine!
- GREEN LANTERN ANNUAL #1 – Too early to see the poll results for this week, but I have to imagine GL will do well. It was a big old set-up for what will be a big old war. Look out for the Third Army!
- X-MEN #33 & 34 – More people should be reading this! Storm’s team is still dealing with the ancient race of proto-mutants, the DNA of which has been stolen by Kenny Loggins! Or at least some dude who looks like Kenny Loggins.
- HAWKEYE #1 – Man, you guys LOVED this one! Almost as big a margin of victory in the poll as Saga! Here’s what it was: when Hawkeye’s not avenging, he’s sticking it to the man for jacking up the rent on his fellow apartment building tenants.
- CONAN THE BARBARIAN #7 – A surprising poll winner! And a new story arc that struck me as being very similar to writer Brian Wood’s work on Northlanders. (As if those comparisons hadn’t already been drawn.) Poor Belit; she don’t get no respect!
- WALKING DEAD #101 – Following up on the death of a major character! Who’s to blame? I’m with everyone else… it’s Rick’s fault! Plus, the truth can be had! All you have to do is tie some dude to a chair and beat it out of him.
- PUNK ROCK JESUS #2 (OF 6) – Coming in a close second to Conan in the same week’s poll. Has a real Transmetropolitan vibe to it and well worth checking out. Glad to see it get some love in the poll.
- I VAMPIRE #12 – Obviously, this was great. Stormwatch showed up! And they’re all still fighting the zombie vampire vampire hunters! (No, I’m not making that up.) And then a fantastic twist at the end.
- AMERICAN VAMPIRE #30 – Rusty called this an automatic nomination, and I don’t think he’s far off. The Blacklist story continues! Cal is in the hospital… Pearl and Skinner are on a mission. And then they’re… um… on each other. Heh.
- PETER PARKER SPIDER-MAN #156.1 – While Spider-Men #4 might have been my official surprise of the week, this was definitely the runner-up. Just a solid Spidey book, steeped in Spidey history and a great comic for anyone to pick up and read. Viva El Hombre Araña!
- COBRA ONGOING #16 – Had some serious plot going on, but what made this book excellent was the Lady Jaye v. Ronin fight. Took up the majority of the book and had all the kicks and punches you can handle. So creative, so well done, so Cobra.
- SAUCER COUNTRY #6 – See my review!
- SUPERCROOKS #4 (OF 4) – A classicly Millar ending to a classicly Millar mini-series. Mucho twisting and turning! So much so that I’m not sure I got the full grasp of it. Even still, this will undoubtedly be a feature in our TPBs & Graphic Novels section.
- DEADPOOL KILLS MARVEL UNIVERSE #4 (OF 4) – Full disclosure: I didn’t even read the first three issues, and I still loved this one! It was absolutely off the meter. And it had a great ending, too. Can’t wait for the trade.
- ANIMAL MAN #12 & SWAMP THING #12 – These two get a joint nomination because they basically read like one long book. It’s the prologue to Rotworld! Buddy and Alex dive head first into the Rot… and it’s not going so well. When this section of the DC Universe clicks, it really clicks for me. I love it.
- NEW AVENGERS #29 AVX – It’s a meeting of the Illuminati. Everybody is blaming everybody for the way things turned out. But where’s Namor? Oh right, he’d off being a Phoenix somewhere. A fantastic issue from start to finish.
- NIGHTWING #12 – I feel like I always take some heat for giving Nightwing the short shrift. Well here you go, haters! I totally loved this month’s issue. Our hero fought the heck out of Paragon and then decided to buy up Gotham’s own Amusement Mile. Meanwhile, Penguin is scared because Shiva is coming?
- THIEF OF THIEVES #7 – Cemented itself a place in our TPB spotlight section.
- IDOLIZED #1 – See my review! I thoroughly enjoyed!
The Best Current Series
- SCALPED – Comes to its tearful conclusion. And I’m giving it the honorary #1 spot, simply for being one of the best comics we’ve ever read. (TPBs)
- SAGA – I really didn’t think Chew could be overtaken, but I had no choice! As Rusty noted, Saga just seems to improve with every single issue.
- CHEW – Did we not get an issue of Chew this month? What an outrage! I demand a recount! (TPBs)
- AMERICAN VAMPIRE – You didn’t see the mini-series above, but it probably deserved a spot. Between it and the ongoing, American Vampire is a force to be reckoned with. (TPB)
- RACHEL RISING – It’s true, I somehow completely neglected to include this title in the Best Current Series list last month, when clearly it is a top 10 book… nay, a top FIVE book! (TPB)
- AVENGERS VS. X-MEN – Wow, has this been good. All the drama and action you can handle, and all of it on a huge scale! Is it really the best superhero story going? According to this list… it is!
- CONAN THE BARBARIAN – Got a whole lot of love on the poll this month and maintains its spot in the top 10 series.
- WALKING DEAD – Something to Fear rolls on, and keeps us guessing as to what’s coming next. Can’t wait for season three of the TV show! (TPBs)
- I VAMPIRE – The second best vampire book going! But hey, coming in second to American Vampire is nothing to sniff at. Plus, I don’t think the two books could be any more different and still fall into the same genre.
- BATMAN – No Batman this month! Which almost gets it kicked out of the top 10. (TPB)
- WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN – Didn’t quite make the list above (which rankled old Chris), but rest assured we still love it.
- BEFORE WATCHMEN – This is mainly for Ozymandias, Silk Spectre and Minutemen… with a somewhat disdainful glance in the direction of Nite Owl. (More!)
- NEW AVENGERS – Beyond my own expectations (for a series featuring the oft-intolerable dialogue of Brian Bendis), I have really been enjoying the heck out of this one! It always seems to play a major role in the major events!
- DAREDEVIL – A flashback issue this month wasn’t particularly well-received, but this series is still riding pretty high. (TPBs)
- COBRA – Month in and month out, this book delivers enough action and intrigue to make Ed Brubaker’s Winter Solider green with envy. (TPBs)
- UNCANNY X-MEN – The fact that this series was a couple months behind the main AVX in continuity was a little irritating. BUT the end of the Sinister arc was fantastic.
- INCREDIBLE HULK – The best issue of the month gives it a crack in the Top Twenty series! Long overdue some might say.
- FABLES / FAIREST – Fairest was very close to making it in the list above with a fine finish to the first story arc! This series is great, you better believe it. And I’m combining it here with Fables because I didn’t want to diss Fables for the second month in a row. (TPBs)
- X-MEN – Brian Wood’s story of proto-mutants continues to capture my imagination, even in the face of AVX!
- NIGHTWING – You guys have been loving the direction this title has taken. Welcome to the list, Nightwing!
Others receiving votes for the Best Current Series: