Back in November I started a new segment called Image #1’s where I wrote a progress report on some of the new series Image had to offer that month. I plan on making this a monthly segment. When reviewing all the new Image series of December there was only one I wanted to write about. Instead of writing a December progress report on one book I put together a top ten list of the best #1 issues Image had to offer in 2013. This list is only based on issue #1 of the series. The unique aspect of #1 issues is that for the most part you do not know what to expect. You enter the book open minded and it either hooks you or it doesn’t. Image put out 54 #1 issues in 2013, more than one new series every week. This top ten list provides a wide range of books from comedies to horrors. I think Image’s slogan should be “Something for everyone” because that is exactly what they have to offer. Enjoy 2013’s top ten best beginnings from Image. If you are wondering what the December book was I deemed worthy to write about check out #9.
#10 East of West: By Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta East of West is one of the best series that Image has to offer. If this was a top ten list of Image series East of West would finish much higher than #10 and with stiffer competition. However the series did not reach that status until issue #4. Issue #1 was filled with incredible art, brutal violence and inexplicable plot lines. Successful first issues create characters that a reader feels compelled to continue reading. This is where East of West falls short in issue #1. I did not feel a deep caring for any of the characters. Over time the character Death earns that but after the first issue I was left cold. In saying that there was never a question whether I would pick up issue two. Overall a very intriguing four horsemen of the apocalypse story with some fantastic art and exciting scenes. #9 Dead Body Road: By Justin Jordan and Matteo Scalera On the surface this appears to be a basic revenge story which is nothing new to comics, or any medium for that matter. The issue begins with a simple bank robbery but you quickly find out that it might not be as simple as everyone suspects. As the issue progresses you realize there are a few more roads in this story then just simple revenge and you know these roads are all going to cross eventually. This was an action filled issue exploring a few different characters, all who have their own motivations. Scalera is a perfect fit for this book as he provides the high paced feel to this action filled story. I had a blast with this issue and I can’t wait for another. #8 Jupiter’s Legacy: By Mark Millar and Frank Quitely Huge buzz for this book and I think it delivered compelling characters and a very interesting story concept with the first issue. This book is about the first generation of super heroes and their super hero offspring. This issues takes a very interesting look into the family dynamics and how different (and similar) life would be if your family was full of super heroes. I really enjoyed a lot of these characters and it is thanks to the angst which Millar can write and the expressive detail Quitely can draw. By just looking at the faces of the characters I feel like I know them and when reading their dialogue I can hear their voices in my head. Again this series really takes off with some later issues but #1 provides a strong beginning. #7 Velvet: By Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting I was very excited to read Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s espionage book. I had not yet read their Captain America run before Velvet #1 so I did not know exactly what to expect with a Brubaker spy story. What I got was one of my favorite characters of the year in Velvet Templeton. The mystery of the first issue is matched by the mystery of Velvet. She is the loose secretary who possesses a barrage of skills that suggest there is much more to her. It doesn’t hurt that she has a distinguished white streak in her hair. I will have to make sure I pay attention to all the double and triple crosses that might be coming in the future. #6 Alex + Ada: By Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn I wrote about Alex + Ada in my November progress report found here. I don’t have any book like this on my pull list and I found this first issue was a very refreshing break from the high energy stories I usually follow. It was nice to sit down and spend some time with a couple normal characters in a very cool world. I really enjoyed this issue, a very strong start to a series that came out of nowhere for me. #5 Ghosted: By Joshua Williamson and Goran Sudzuka When you open up a new #1 you want to be wowed. You want to feel connected and you want this to be that diamond in the ruff you uncovered but really above all else you just want to be entertained. Ghosted was another big surprise for me. I read the solicitation and although it caught my attention I didn’t really think much of it. Ocean’s 11 meets The Shining…okay sure I like both those things so lets mash them together and see what happens. The first issue is exactly that. It is Ocean’s 11 meets The Shining but until I actually saw what that looked like I had no idea how great it could be. This issue dragged me in right from the beginning! There is no twist that they hide from you, this is exactly what they advertise. A very cool concept that I didn’t really understand until I saw it play out. One of my favorite first issues of the year. #4 Zero: By Ales Kot and Michael Walsh There must be a more elegant way to describe the first issue of Zero other then “it is fucking cool!” but that is the best description I can come up with. The issue contains two genetically altered humans engaged in a thrown-down in the middle of Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip. To go along with that we meet the special agent Edward Zero who’s job is to recover some technology off of one of the altered humans. The issue is filled with hard hitting gritty action, some very cool spy moments and a few character development pages where emotions are conveyed through subtleties as simple as a look. This is another series that improves as more issues come out, but a terrific start for this increasingly compelling story about the life of a secret agent.
#3 Lazarus: By Greg Rucka and Michael Lark From the first scene of this issue I am absolutely hooked. A beautifully constructed slaughtering which had a sense of calm to it. I could hear Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata playing in my head starting with the first page ending with Forever standing over three devastated men. Right from this opening scene you get the sense that this may be a last resort type of world as three men gun down Forever just to get to a loaf of bread and bottle of water. The remainder of the issue constructs the world which is run by a handful of wealthy families. Everyone else in the world is either servant or slave (there is a big difference). The issue then finishes off with a gut wrenching morality plight. A fantastic issue from cover to cover. Plus the coolest character name. Forever Carlyle. #2 Black Science: By Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera and Dean White I also talked a fair bit about this issue in my Image November progress report. I mentioned that I may be biased because of my nostalgic love for sci-fi. But bias or not I think this issue knocked it out of the park. I loved being thrown right into the action and meeting our main character by experiencing his thoughts during the most desperate of times. The things that were running through Grants head while he was in the face of death really speak volumes about the character. I found it very powerful to be throw into an unknown world just as the characters have been. The audience and the characters both experience the new world at the same time. We are able to react to something and then read how our characters reacted. It gets the reader involved and invested in the story and characters. Then add the Remender “bad to worse” effect on to the end of the story and you are left with a fabulous issue and a reader wanting more. As a big sci-fi fan I had very high hopes for this book and this is exactly what I was looking for. #1 Sex Criminals: By Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky This book was so good it compelled two of our staff to synchronously write comic of the week reviews for it. Both Cosmo and Ghostmann wrote reviews for this issue on the same day. That alone was message enough for me to go out and pick it up and I am extremely glad I did. In a week where a lot of big books came out this was a big surprise and a huge highlight. This book gets me laughing like no other book does. I would have never guessed that I would give top honors of best new Image #1 to a comedy book about sex but this issue was just unexpected and brilliant. Not only was this issue hilarious but it was also awkward and emotional. All of this can be accredited to the realistic nature of the book. There is a ridiculous premise to the story but under that it is a story about a young girl struggling with her sexuality. The feelings of this book are so real it is extremely hard to imagine they were written and drawn by those two. A brilliant issue that deserves top honors for Image #1 of the year.