While we cover a ton of graphic novels and collected comics in the Mercury (like here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and...), we don't showcase individual issues that often. With that in mind, here are three of my favorite single issues I read in the past few days; depending on my less-than-predictable levels of motivation, who knows, maybe I'll try to do this more regularly.
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #155 by Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Samnee. For—jesus christ, really?—a decade, Bendis' Spider-Man series has the only ongoing superhero book I've been consistently impressed by. Last week's issue, in which Bendis teamed up with artist Chris Samnee, was one of the long-running series' highlights. Plot-wise, it tied up a lot of plot threads that've been dangling for the past few months, but even if you're new to the book, it's worth reading this issue: Samnee's art is striking and expressive (and Justin Ponsor's colors are excellent), while Bendis' dialogue is sharp, clever, and insightful. This is a book that's less about Spider-Man and more about Peter Parker; reading it, it's impossible not to remember what it was like to be a teenager, with all of the accompanying excitement and awkwardness. Oh, god, the awkwardness.
THB: Comics from Mars #2 by Paul Pope. This one's been out for a while, but my lazy ass just barely got around to reading it. Collecting a couple of different stories—it's billed as "a six-act fiction, larger than life, and still sweeter"—Comics from Mars kicks off with its strongest story, "1977," in which a little kid asks a very important question: "Is Ziggy Stardust really a man from Mars?" What follows is a trippy, dense, confusing, and visually overwhelming smorgasbord of comedy, science-fiction, and action. If you like Paul Pope—and if you like comics, chances are you do—well, here's some more rad, crazy, cool Paul Pope stuff for you. Enjoy.
The Guild: Tink by Felicia Day and (deep breath...) Kristian Donaldson, Evan Bryce, Jeremy Bastian, Wellington Alves, Jason Gorder, Tim Seeley, and Adam Warren, with covers by Ron Chan and Peter Bagge. I've been pretty public about my affection for The Guild, Felicia Day's webseries about a bunch of MMO gamers, but what I don't think I've said is that I think Day's comics based on the show are some of the best books on the shelves at the moment—they're funny, charming, and a little bit sad. Thanks to a massive and schizophrenic collection of artists crammed into a mere 22 pages (including Kristian Donaldson, who worked with the Mercury's Ann Romano in MySpace Dark Horse Presents #20), The Guild: Tink doesn't flow as well as some of the previous Guild comics, but still, like I said: funny, charming, and a little bit sad. And! Bonus points for containing the phrase "Die, anachronistic, medieval game environment! DIEEEEE!"