Activity #1

Written by Nathan Edmondson
Art by Mitch Gerads
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

Nathan Edmondson is rapidly becoming "that guy who writes special agent comics" in my head. His mini-series Who is Jake Ellis? was one of my favorite surprises of 2011, and his Grifter series is entertaining me over at DC Comics. Both comics have fantastical elements at their core, though, which makes The Activity stand out that much more from the rest. Here, Edmondson and artist Mitch Gerads are telling straight-forward covert operations stories, and in an industry dominated by superheroes and other larger-than-life elements, The Activity stands out by virtue of not having any extra trappings.

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Wandering Son Vol. 2

By Shimura Takako
200 pages, black and white
Published by Fantagraphics

The first volume of Wandering Son, published in the middle of last year, was an intriguing look at two teenagers who both are trying to figure out their own gender identity and their place in the world around them. Fantagraphics released the second volume at the end of the year, and with a lot of the set-up completed, Shimura Takako’s story takes a stronger step forward here. Everything I liked about the first volume is still present, but any issues I’d had with it feel like they’ve been erased as her story progresses.

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Dark Horse Presents #7

By Mike Mignola, Andi Watson, Neal Adams, Howard Chaykin, M.J. Butler & Mark Wheatley, Stan Sakai, Tony Puryear, Brandon Graham, Filipe Melo & Juan Cavia, Carla Speed McNeil
80 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse Comics

Here’s a New Year’s Resolution for all you comic readers out there: support titles that reflect what you want the industry to look like.

One of the most common wishes I’ve heard about the North American comics industry is for there to be more anthology titles out there. A regularly published, ongoing series that runs a number of one-offs and serials that gives you a lot of bang for your buck. (Japan’s ongoing anthologies like Shonen Jump are often held up by way of comparison.) To that, I’d like to hold up Dark Horse Presents, the revitalization of Dark Horse Comics’ premiere title. Every month it’s offering up 80 pages of creator-owned comics, and while not every story in it is perfect (it’s hard to find an anthology where that is the case), there’s enough bang for your buck that this is a series that more people should be reading.

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