My second Kevin's 7 list of 2019 is nigh! And it be all about the funny picture books we all love so much. Much like last year, I had a lot of fun just reading graphic novels and collected editions of comics. In fact, I really didn't read any individual comic books at all. I just wait until a collection is available and then go to town on anywhere from 4 to 7 issues in one fell swoop. It really is the best way to go... until you have to wait another 4 to 7 months to continue the story. C'est la vie.
But I have more than enough to flesh out a list of seven, right? So let's get started, shall we?
7. Immortal Hulk (Marvel), 2018-??
The only reason why this masterful tale of my favorite part-time Avenger has dropped from 4 to 7 on my list is because I've fallen waaaaaayyy behind on reading it. Like super-duper behind. I'm sure it deserves to be higher on the list, but there is just so much other good stuff that I did get around to reading through to the end. So, sorry Dr. Banner. It's nothing personal.
6. Cover (Jinxworld), 2019
There have been numerous pieces of popular fiction (and even non-fiction) about spies and the "normal" lives they try to lead outside of their respective agencies. Their covers. We've even heard any number of conspiracy theories about people you might not expect that are believed (some proven) to be spies. People like Julia Child, et al. But what Brian Michael Bendis has given us in Cover is the seemingly preposterous idea that comic book creators might just be the best cover for spies ever. They travel the world attending comic conventions and are able to get in and out of places that others might not and, in some cases, have interactions with people that normal folks would not. So, who better? And as preposterous as I claim it sounds, it really works here with Max, our antihero who once wrote a comic book that everyone loves but hasn't quite hit that sweet spot since. Despite this -- or, maybe, in spite of this -- the CIA approaches him in the form of an agent who is also a self-professed fan of his work. She gets in good with him and then hits him with some fireworks. I absolutely loved this book. And what made it even cooler was the interstitial pages that were created by Max as part of his hit graphic novel that relate to the action at hand in his life. In addition, the art style of the main story changes to fit what's happening... beyond the jump over to Max's own artwork, that is. I know it sounds confusing, but you have to give it a shot. Seriously. You won't regret it.
5. Bury the Lede (Boom! Studios), 2019
In Bury the Lede, Madison Jackson is an intern with the Lede, the top newspaper in Boston struggling to garner the attention she needs to turn her internship into a coveted full-time reporting gig. So when she’s invited along to the scene of a homicide with fellow Lede reporter Lexington “Lexi” Ford, she sees this as her opportunity and jumps at it. The case revolves around the murder of a high-powered Boston man and his son by his socialite wife Dahlia Kennedy. Behind bars, no one has managed to get her to talk. So, on a desperate whim, Lexi sends in Madison… and the gamble pays off… the alleged murderess is now talking, but not necessarily the story that Kennedy and Lexi were expecting. To make matters even more complicated, Dahlia will now only talk to Madison, making the young intern a focal point of the investigation as opposed to the person reporting it, a position reporters never want to be in at any point.
You can check out the rest of my review on GeeksofDoom.com.
4. Black Hammer (Dark Horse), 2017-??
Lucy Weber has assumed the mantel of the Black Hammer once held by her father and has discovered all the secrets behind the stranding of her teammates on the farm and is just about to tell them all when she disappears to another dimension. Rotten timing, eh? Well, the book is far from rotten. In fact, it just tears through its story at the sort of breakneck pace we've come to expect from Jeff Lemire. And I continue to be amazed by the artwork of Dean Ormston.
3. Frogcatchers (Gallery 13), 2019
Frogcatchers begins with an elderly man awakening after a dream in which he was a child again catching frogs in a pond near his home. Where he finds himself is a strange room with no memory of, well, anything save for that dream. He decides to venture out to find out what happened, where he is, and why. What he discovers is a room key identifying that he’s in an old hotel from which he seemingly cannot get out. When he calls out for help, a young boy shows up and quickly ushers him into the basement of the hotel in an attempt to escape from the Frog King and his agents who are out to get them.
You can check out the rest of my review on GeeksofDoom.com.
2. Doctor Star & the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows (Dark Horse), 2019
Doctor Star is the story of the titular Golden Age hero and his alter ego Jimmy Robinson, the scientist who discovers the Para-zone, made famous in the Black Hammer comics. As Jimmy digs deeper and makes greater scientific strides in the name of defending the US, he alienates himself from his wife and only son. The chasm only grows larger as more time passes. This is one of the most beautiful, heart wrenching stories I’ve ever read. Jeff Lemire’s writing is second to none and that’s saying a lot from my favorite comic writer. Max Fiumara’s art complements the storyline perfectly. If this story doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, there’s no hope for you. I can easily see myself reading this over and over again. I don’t say that lightly. In the spirit of full disclosure, this came out in very late 2018, but I missed out on its initial release.
1. The Walking Dead (Image), 2005-2019
The final two volumes of this mainstay zombie story hit shelves this year. In volume 31, Rick takes Governor Milton on a tour of the communities that make up his fiefdom and afterwards she returns the favor at the Commonwealth. But, as would be expected, nothing goes as, er, expected. The cracks in the foundation reveal themselves and longtime alliances are pushed to a breaking point. I actually found this one a little hard to read. It bounced around a little too much and I had trouble keeping up. But the final issue showed a lot of promise for the future.
Regarding volume 32, I'm going to be honest... there was a time when I was incredibly burned out by the neverending cycle of kill zombies - redirect herds - find settlement - settle in - discover the dark side - end up at war... lather, rinse, repeat. I even gave up reading this title for about three years after the Negan wars. But then, for whatever reason, I came back. Oddly enough, my return coincided with a three-years-forward jump in the narrative. And I loved it. I loved every issue I read from that point on (volume 22, as I recall). This volume is no different. Being that it includes the much lauded end of the flagship title, I had an idea what to expect. I just didn't expect it to be executed so well. The final two issues actually made me well up a little bit. And I really appreciated the five-page letter at the end of it all from Robert Kirkman explaining his motivations, fears, and regrets about the end. Definitely worth reading, as they all are.
What are you reading?