The 10 Best Comics of April 2012

If April showers bring May flowers, then something about rain as a metaphor for comics, right? Seriously, I couldn’t figure out the best way to intro this, so let’s just get into the ten best comic books of April:

10. THE SIXTH GUN #21

There’s been so many silent issues of comic books before (including an entire month of ‘em over at Marvel) that just eschewing dialogue isn’t enough to grab our interest. What makes this one work, though, is that it’s full of epic, big action moments, huge character beats (a character reclaiming their hat hasn’t been this exciting since Indiana Jones), and all the crazy ideas we’ve come to expect from this horror/western mash-up. There hasn’t been a bad issue of Sixth Gun yet, and this easily ranks as one of the best.

9. AVX: VS #1

See? This is all we wanted from Avengers vs. X-Men. The Phoenix plot is fine and all, but when we first heard the title of Marvel’s latest opus, what we really needed was comic book characters beating the snot out of each other. That we can’t believe the outcome of either fight only means the book is doing it’s fight fan engaging job. Oh, and the AVX Facts that run throughout, like little pop-ups during a wrestling match? Pitch perfect.

8. B.P.R.D.: HELL ON EARTH: THE LONG DEATH #3

BPRD is no stranger to long running plots, but the finale to the curious case of Benjamin Daimio like the best stories in Mignola’s universe always do: with a fair amount of blood, no easy answers, and a sense of quiet finality. Diamio may have been a monster, but in Mignola’s world, even the monsters have feelings.

7. DAREDEVIL #10.1

The following “Omega Effect” arc may have had the flash of a crossover event, but the Point One issue that proceeded it had one heck of a cool device: Matt Murdock is interrogating a criminal to find out info; that criminal is being detained in a cell broadcasting subsonic sounds in order to make the criminal slightly uncomfortable and distracted; but for Daredevil... Well, the hero with the heightened senses just might throw up and die. We say this nearly every issue, but we still can’t believe that Mark Waid and company are telling completely original stories about a character as old as DD... This is nearly as perfect as superhero comics come.

6. SWAMP THING #8

We’ve been waiting more than half a year to see Swamp Thing in action. This issue, which features an antlered, flying swamp monster battling fleshy monstrosities in the desert did not disappoint.

5. GLORY #25

Easily the best of Image’s Extreme Comics relaunch, Glory has recast the Wonder Woman analogue as a near dead alien conqueror who may either me the savior - or the destroyer - of mankind. This issue jumped hundreds of years in the future, seemed to definitively answer that question, and gave the series an intense urgency that’s making us desperate for the next issue.

4. RESET #1

The genius of Peter Bagge’s new Dark Horse series isn’t that he pinpoints what it would be like to get a chance to relive your high school days, a scifi trope that’s been visited time and again in the past. No, it’s that he so successfully spends nearly the entire first issue of this comic having the main character avoid revisiting his high school days, to hilarious effect. Imagine if you had the main character in Total Recall consistently refusing to sit in the Rekall chair, or Marty McFly saying he’ll maybe drive the Delorean a little bit later, and you have the gist. Subverting expectations is a major part of comedy, and this issue has subversion to spare.

3. BATGIRL #8

This issue of Batgirl has a doozy of a climax we won’t spoil here, but suffice to say the tricky tightrope writer Gail Simone has been walking since this series launched, dancing around the crippling of Barbara Gordon, gets tackled head on here. It’s emotional, it’s poignant, and it’s a gut wrenching ending that makes us feel for a minor character we’ve never met before, and may never meet again. A book so good, it demands at least a second reading, if not a third and fourth.

2. SAGA #2

Though it may not be as jaw dropping as the first issue, that’s only because our expectations are so insanely high... We know that writer Brian K. Vaughan is writing the heck out of this scifi/fantasy Romeo and Juliet mash-up. We know Fiona Staples is the next great artistic find of the twentieth century. That doesn’t mean this issue isn’t still as perfect as the first... It’s just a few pages shorter.

1. FANTASTIC FOUR #605

Here’s what we don’t get about Jonathan Hickman: how can he spend so much time on complex, plot heavy scifi that feels like you need a companion textbook to understand, and then deliver an issue like this, which simply focuses on the relationship between Reed Richards and the Thing, and had us in tears? There’s a simple explanation, and it’s that Hickman is meant to write The Thing - the last issue of FF we loved this much was the prequel to this, where Ben Grimm got to be human again for a day. Here, Hickman shows us the ramifications of that particular experiment, and it ends with one of the quietest, most beautiful moments in Fantastic Four history. We know Hickman is off the Fantastic Four soon, but can we get him on a Thing series? Please?