We’ve all been there: two issues in your hand, you can only afford one. What is the broke geek to do?! Sean Sorensen is here to guide you in your thrifty comics crusade by providing you with the one issue each week that’ll make you say, “Shut up, and take my $5!” It always feels good to get the most “BIF! BAM! POW!” for your buck, doesn’t it?
This week’s books have forced me to a near-impossible decision. Three books are all equally amazing this week, and each are easily worthy of your one and only purchase. Saga #11, Chew #32, and New Avengers #4 are absolutely fantastic. But if you can only buy one book this week I’m going to have go with… New Avengers #4.
Excuse me while I run and hide from all the Saga and Chew fans!
Here’s the deal: Saga was an emotionally heavy book this month, and Chew was comedic gold (Google: Torta-Espadero, trust me.) They’re great, but they aren’t exactly reaching into new territory.
New Avengers, on the other hand, is doing something very different and very interesting. We get to see some of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe walking that fine line between being a hero and a villain.
For the uninitiated, Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers focuses on the Illuminati, the all-powerful secret group of heroes who have taken it upon themselves to solve the world’s greatest problems. Their actions have always danced in the lines of morally gray (e.g., launching the Hulk into space or keeping all of the Infinity Gems themselves for “safe keeping”), but in this month’s issue, we see these characters grappling with the idea of destroying an Earth from another universe to protect their own. Doomsday devices are being built; unspeakable spells are being researched. And the best part? Despite their substantial combined intelligences, they can’t figure out a better plan. Nor do they fully understand what is happening.
(On a side note, Hickman will now and forever be the writer who in one frame showed me that Blackbolt is a silent Fonz.)
Art wise, making this week’s $5 choice was an even harder decision. If you base your book buying primarily on the art, then I have to steer you towards Saga #11. Fiona Staples is a master and this issue in particular is absolutely gorgeous. But that isn’t to say that Steve Epting is drawing stick figures in New Avengers. His pencils teamed with Rick Magyars shadowy inks and Frank D’Armata’s red hues provide a wonderfully foreboding canvas. Every page looks like it could be the end of the world. It adds to the desperation the characters are showing and really shines when a certain World Eater shows up. Still, I think Staples’ Saga is the winner in this tight match-up.
Like I said, this week gave me a pretty tough decision, but in the end, Hickman’s New Avengers won out. Saga is always amazing, and Chew is always so very original and gut-splittingly hilarious; but there is just something about New Avengers. It’s a different Marvel book. The Illuminati aren’t there to save the day; they’re there to pick the best of many incredibly crappy options, while trying not to kill too many innocents in the process.
So there you have it, folks: the $5 goes to a big two book over creator-owned this week, but if you happen to find some change in the couch, you could consider Saga and Chew a valuable investment as well.