Welcome back, True Believers, to our weekly series where we run down the top five comics we are enjoying with this week's featured coffee roast. You know we love our community and are always interested in what you are reading and what Coffee 'n' Capes coffee you are drinking. So drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And. here. we. go:
This week's featured coffee is Merv Pumpkin Spice is the perfect blend of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg to bring your morning, or afternoon, cup of coffee that touch of fall we all wait for every year. This medium roast is born from a Columbian Supremo bean. Enjoy Merv Pumpkin Spice while taking a walk in a park--or while reading your favorite comic books. What books should those be? That, gentle reader, is what the next section is for!
On to our Top 5!
5. Black Adam #1 (2022)
I have been reading comic books for at least four decades now, so let me share with you what I know about Black Adam… Uh, let’s see…oh! I know Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is playing him in a new movie this fall. And, um, Black Adam shares a magic word with Captain Marvel Shazam and thus is somehow related to the Shazam Family? So, yeah, I know about as much about Black Adam as I know about the French I took. (Zut alors, I’m old.) Yet and still, that lack of knowledge did not keep me from enjoying this book written by Christopher Priest with art by Rafa Sandoval.
I’m a big fan of the cold open that manages to both give us a look at Adam’s human form and reveals his full name (Lord Theo Ramses Djoser Teth-Adam)—neither of which I knew before. See? We’re learning from page 1! Then there was this shocker: human form Lord Theo is actually a little funny. Who know he was even capable of humor?! Additionally this book presents a fight with Darkseid (“Darkseid”?), a very funny doctor (“doctor”?), and a no-longer-immortal Black Adam. Seriously, is anyone in this story who they claim to be? We don’t know yet, but I look forward to finding out.
Wait! I thought of something I do know about this issue of Black Adam—it just came out in June and you can purchase it right here on our site. Or any of the three sweet variant covers.
4. Radiant Black #4 (2021)
Lockport, IL is both the setting for this book and not all that far from where I live. But even if you’ve never heard of Lockport or Illinois (um, why haven’t you at least heard of Illinois? That’s ridiculous.), this comic is for you. Radiant Black is written by Kyle Higgins (also from Lockport, IL!) with art by Marcelo Costa (not from Lockport, IL but is from Brazil). This book looks great as it explores ideas of identity, friendship, failure, creativity, and how not to treat your car. Or your enemy. Of course you should read the first three issues before reading this one. Issue #4 is one of my picks this week because it makes a choice I truly did not anticipate, like, at all. This is a book that is as bold as your coffee! (Unless, that is, you don’t make your coffee bold. Why don’t you make your coffee bold? That’s ridiculous.) I’ve only just starting reading this series and can’t wait for more. I think you’ll like it too—no matter how you prefer your coffee.
3. The Mighty Thor: At the Gates of Valhalla #1 (2018)
Another Thor book? Yep. “There must always be a Thor.” That’s just a rule of the universe, plain and simple. Who am I to resist it? This one shot written by Jason Aaron with art from Jen Bartel and Ramon Perez continues the story of Jane Foster, the once (and future?) Mighty Thor. Jane died, was taken to Valhalla but, not unlike in the Love and Thunder movie, hesitated on the doorstep. (Does Valhalla have a doorstep?) She is revived thanks to Odin, Odinson, and The Mother Storm (very comic booky!) and returned to earth to continue her cancer treatments. There she bumps into The Goddesses of Thunder who are Thor’s granddaughters from the future. Jane Foster is their hero and they just wanted to meet her. It is a good-humored and heart-warming story. But soak all that in because it leads into the other half of this book—which is the exact opposite of good-humored and heart-warming. Instead it is the lead in to The War of Realms starring Malekith, King of Dark Elves. He sows chaos and violence (and occasionally even cannibalism, ewwwww) everywhere he goes. How did Malekith achieve the alliances that lead to the War of the Realms? This story shows us. As transition books go, this one if pretty darn good.
2. Darth Vader #13 (2015)
Luke! Han! Leia! R2! 3PO! Murder droids! This issue of Darth Vader truly hits all the high notes you could want in a comic set in the Star Wars galaxy. In this story by Kieron Gillen with art by Salvador Larroca offers Luke being innocent and lucky; Han being self-righteous but in a kinda sweet way; Leia thinking of the bigger picture like great leaders do; and Beetee and Triple Zero being their hilarious, homicidal selves.
Wait, I thought this was a Darth Vader book? Oh it is. We also get Vader surrounded by an entire squad of rebel soldiers—with tanks. It is not a fair fight. This is Vader at his terrifyingly calm, efficient, destructive best. One of the roles it seems to me that Doctor Aphra has in this story is to serve as our representative. Her abject terror at the idea of Vader wanting her dead tells us all we need to know about the Sith Lord. “The rebel army I can deal with, Darth Vader is a whole lot scarier.” Aphra also gets in a great joke at Han’s expense. This is the Darth Vader hinted at by the original trilogy of movies, the Darth Vader that Rogue One brought to life. If you want more of that Darth Vader in your life, this is the book for you.
1. Batman Catwoman #12 (2020)
Ready for my super controversial take? I actually really liked Tom King’s run writing Batman. I was upset when I heard it got cut from the planned 100 issues to 85. I found the overarching storyline of Batman and Catwoman’s relationship especially compelling. Seeing—and feeling!— Bruce and Selina not just in love with each other but finally committing to their relationship was tremendous. I found it added a ton of depth to Batman’s character that was unlike anything I’d ever read.
All that said…I was a bit underwhelmed by King’s continuation of their story in the Batman Catwoman series. This concluding issue felt fairly flat to me. Perhaps with so much of their story already told and the future already revealed there just wasn’t any other way for this to end but…quietly. However! We do finally get to see their wedding! (If you don’t remember why that is such a big deal, please read Batman #50.) The way Bruce both loves his friend Clark and is totally annoyed by him is simply delightful.. The art by Clay Mann is expressive and beautiful while still maintaining enough grit to fit a Batman story. Variant covers can be super cool, but this time I prefer the standard cover with its various incarnations of Bat and Cat’s look. Plus, c’mon be honest, there is just something appealing about seeing two insanely good looking people in love and finding a way to make their relationship work.
Those strengths are enough to make me say this issue is the best book to read with your coffee this week.