New Comics This Week

Daredevil, X-Men, and Prophet

It was a good week for comic books, with new issues from a great variety of lines and publishers, including new books featuring Superman, Batman, the Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, even Archie. But when it comes to the absolute best new comics for the week, we have to narrow it down a bit more than that, so we are focusing on new issues of Uncanny X-Men and Daredevil from Marvel Comics, as well as the latest issue of Image Comics' Prophet.

This week, the best new comic books include Uncanny X-Men issue no. 19, which is the beginning of a story pitting the X-Men against the government organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Also, the new volume of Daredevil launches with issue no. 1, featuring DD's move from New York to San Francisco. And finally, there is the 43rd issue of Prophet, Image Comics' sweet euroesque space odyssey.

Daredevil Issue No. 1

The Man Without Fear Puts Some Flowers In His Hair

After the final issue of the last volume of Daredevil (reviewed here), attorney Matt Murdock has decided to pick up shop and move to sunny California. Although the story here starts at night, in media res, with Murdock helping the San Francisco police solve a kidnapping case as a civilian expert. Of course, Murdock's heightened sense of smell, taste, touch, and hearing are what make him such a valuable aid to the police, and Matt has no compunctions about using those powers publicly now that the whole world knows he is Daredevil (this time for really real).

Matt, as Daredevil, seems like he will be able to rescue the young kidnapped girl in just about as long as it takes to recap his origin, but the kidnappers have other plans for Ol' Hornhead. And not only that, but Daredevil also has to contend with the architectural differences between New York and San Francisco, where the open spaces severely limit his ability to swing from rooftop to rooftop. All in all, this issue serves as a good bit of drama for a done-in-one story that also sets up future events for the title, thanks to the stellar creative team of writer Mark Waid and penciller Chris Samnee.

This new volume of Daredevil is being released as part of the character's fiftieth anniversary of publication ("50 Years Without Fear!"), and serves as an excellent jumping-on point for readers who have always wanted to read Daredevil comics, but were waiting for the character to move to San Francisco before they picked one up.

Variant Cover for Uncanny X-men Issue No. 19
Credit: J. Scott Campbell

Uncanny X-Men Issue No. 19

A.K.A. Uncanny X-Men Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. No. 1

This issue of Uncanny X-Men is part of Marvel Comics' point NOW! promotional push, with trade dress indicating which particular comics represent good jumping-on points for new readers. As such, this issue's cover shows the regular number for the volume coupled with a .now, so we get down in the bottom right corner. Also, in the top right corner of the cover, is the much more prominent #1 next to the story logo, "The Uncanny X-Men Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D."

And if you know who the X-Men are (it might help to refresh with this primer on some of the newer mutants on the team), then this issue does indeed serve as a good jumping-on point for new readers. But then again, we believe any issue of this volume that features art by series regular Chris Bachalo is one worth reading, since Bachalo's amusing and expressive characters are a highlight of Uncanny X-Men.

If you are reading this volume more for the story, be prepared for a slow boil, as various heroes and villains slowly move into place for what should be a grand battle between the outlaw X-Men, the government-sanctioned Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage and Logistics Directorate, and the Mystique-led Brotherhood of (Evil) Mutants. This issue, though, the only fight is between the X-Men and a horde of newly-constructed mutant-hunting Sentinel robots. How do the X-Men defeat the Sentinels (or do they)? If you want to find out, you'll have to read the issue itself.

Prophet Issue No. 43

Space Trees In Space

Even though this is issue no. 43 for Prophet, it is really only the 23rd issue for this volume and the long-form story-arc that writer Brandon Graham and all the artists working on this title have been telling. The first twenty issues of Prophet are actually as follows:

  • Prophet (1993 1st Series) Issues No. 1-10
  • Prophet (1995 2nd Series) Issues No. 1-8
  • Prophet Annual (1995) No. 1
  • Prophet (2000) One-Shot

Now, while some of this older issues are entertaining in their own right, with some spectacular art by Stephen Platt, you are not really missing anything story-wise if you just started reading with issue no. 21, released in 2012. And if you just start with issue no. 43, well, it is still an awesome comic, but it will probably be confusing to jump right into the middle of such a long story, especially since this chapter focuses on a living tree. In space. Which, come to think of it, seems to be a bit of a trope at this point, with characters like the space tree Groot (member of the Guardians of the Galaxy), and Space Tree the Space Tree (in space).

The space tree in Prophet is named Hiyonhoiagn (pronounced Hiyonhoiagn), and of the three space trees we have discussed, this guy is by far involved in the most graphic shenanigans that a tree can get involved in while in outer space. Here, he recounts his roots (ha), including meeting up with some of the other branches (ha ha) on his family tree (ha ha ha).

This issue also features cameos from classic 1990s Extreme Studios characters like Diehard, Troll, Badrock, and various other members of the Youngblood team. Add 90s nostalgia to hardcore space action, and you have a certified recommended read with the latest issue of sweet euroesque Prophet.