There’s a thing that has happened lately that complicated this week’s Top Comics to Buy for September 21, namely that some of my favorite series have bunched up their release dates, leading to absolutely packed third weeks of late. Yes, books like Pearl, Shaolin Cowboy, Ice Cream Man, Black Adam, and more are all hitting at the same time, making it tough for me to narrow down my picks. But I’ve pushed through, and you can find the results below…enjoy!

Top Comics to Buy for September 21, 2022

A.X.E. – Judgement Day #5
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics
It’s too late?
Why It’s Cool: To me, this was the best issue of Marvel’s big summer event so far. I’d been feeling a little bogged down with the buildup going into it, but the payoff here was so entertaining, I no longer mind. In this issue, we get various factions of involved heroes uniting (which yeah, of course that’s where this was always headed), plus a few other very fun surprises I’m not going to mention in this prerelease blurb. Great stuff all around.
Price: $4.99

Black Adam #4
Writer: Priest
Artist: Rafa Sandoval
Colorist: Matt Herms
Letterer: Willie Schubert
Publisher: DC Comics
THERE IS NO REDEMPTION FOR BLACK ADAM. Thousands of years ago, did Black Adam inadvertently create a powerful race who’ve modeled themselves after the Akkadian pantheon of goddesses and gods? Or is he being gaslighted, taunted by illusions, by one of his many enemies? Theo Teth-Adam finds only more questions when he is lured to the Akkadian Hightower and given a cryptic message. Meanwhile, Adam has dispatched Etrigan the Demon, an unlikely ally, to either train his youthful successor or kill him.
Why It’s Cool: Through four issue, Black Adam continues to establish itself as one of the smartest and least predictable titles at DC, powered as it is by the scripting of Christopher Priest and the high-impact superhero artwork of Rafa Sandoval (colored on this book by Matt Herms). What I am particularly enjoying about this series is the seamless way it has blended the stories of Adam — a young Black doctor who lives in Washington, D.C. — with Black Adam, the titular superhero who is tangled up in all kinds of DC Universe shenanigans, from cosmic threats to manifestations of magic and mythology. There’s a lot of great stuff going on in this one, making it an obvious choice for the Top Comics to Buy for September 21.
Price: $3.99

Ice Cream Man #32
Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: Martin Morazzo
Colorist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Good Old Neon
Publisher: Image Comics
Doug’s gonna try real hard to get and stay sober.
Why It’s Cool: When I talked to writer W. Maxwell Prince several years ago now at SDCC, he told me that when he’s writing Ice Cream Man, he often gives himself of a formulist challenge to structure his story. In the past, this has meant comics that read equally well back to front, or are structured like a crossword puzzle, or are split into three narratives. In this issue, the story is built around the steps in a drug rehab program. It’s one of the more straightforward premises the book has deployed in recent years, but the relative simplicity serves it well. What results is one of the series best issues ever, especially impressive given the length of this anthology comic’s run.
Price: $3.99

Lonesome Hunters #4
Creator: Tyler Crook
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
From Russ Manning Award-winning and Eisner-nominated Harrow County cocreator Tyler Crook comes this supernatural fantasy about loss, power, and destiny.
Lupe takes off with the ancient sword to rescue Howard from the Magpie Queen and evil minions to put an end to this madness once and for all.
Why It’s Cool: I’ve loved this series from the start, regularly including it in these top comics to buy pieces, and this first arc finale was just as good as all that came before it. Tyler Crook’s comics storytelling in this book remains fantastic, but where this issue really shines is with its character work and contemplation of tragedy. Now roughly 3/4 of the way through the year, Lonesome Hunters is to date one of my favorite monthly releases.
Price: $3.99

Pearl III #5
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Michael Gaydos
Letterer: Joshua Reed
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Pearl confronts one of the major bosses of the yakuza and takes charge of the insane mess her dead mother left her behind. But first Pearl must confront Tokyo’s most dangerous assassin. You are ill-prepared for the beautiful artwork that Michael Gaydos has brought to this yakuza epic about art, family, and the weird stuff in-between.
Why It’s Cool: Pearl from its start has been a strong lesson in comics craft, featuring as it does career-best work by artist Michael Gaydos (which is really saying something), but now into its third arc, it has also evolved into a fantastic family drama. Where this issue really shines though is with some of the stellar two-page spreads that it contains. Just stunning work, barely edging out Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel to Be Kin #5 to land here.
Price: $3.99

Others Receiving Votes

  • 20th Century Men #2
  • Absolution #3
  • Avengers #60
  • Barbaric: Axe to Grind #2
  • Batman/Superman World’s Finest #7
  • Dark Crisis – Young Justice #4
  • Deadliest Bouquet #2
  • Duo #5
  • The Flash #786
  • Frankenstein: New World #2
  • Nightwing #96
  • Public Domain #4
  • Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel to Be Kin #5
  • Shirtless Bear-Fighter 2 #2
  • Usagi Yojimbo #31

New #1s and One-Shots

  • Batman: One Bad Day – Two-Face #1 (one-shot)
  • Bloodshot Unleashed #1
  • Crashing #1
  • Creepshow #1
  • Harley Quinn 30th Anniversary Special #1 (one-shot)
  • Stuff of Nightmares #1
  • Titans United: Bloodpact #1
  • Transformers: Best of Starscream #1 (one-shot)
  • Vanish #1
  • X-Terminators #1

Trade Collections and Graphic Novels of Note

  • Arrowsmith Vol. 2 Behind Enemy Lines TP
  • Battle Action Special HC
  • Best of 2000AD Vol. 1 TP
  • Big Ethel Energy Vol. 1 TP
  • Birdking: Escape From Feather Hill Vol. 1 TP
  • Blood-Stained Teeth Vol. 1 Bite Me TP
  • Daisy HC
  • Dark Knights of Steel Vol. 1 HC
  • Ducks: Two Years In The Oil Sands HC
  • Easy To Learn, Difficult to Master GN
  • Fantastic Four: Full Circle HC (read our full review!)
  • Phenomena Book One: Golden City of Eyes HC (read our interview with the creators!)
  • Unretouchable GN
  • War for Earth 3 TP