This is a very odd week for comic books. First off there is no trade paperback or hard cover coming out this week and if it wasn’t for DC comics I could skip going to the store this week. Of the 26 comics I’m getting 20 (77%) are DC, 5 (19%) are Marvel and 1 (4%) are Independent book. The thing which is most annoying is that once you have a few light weeks on trade, hard covers and independents, they all seem to eventually hit one week. I keep waiting for a 40 to 50 items killer week. Of course 5 week months make that harder to happen.
The All-New Booster Gold #1 – Okay Booster Gold was always a thin concept at best and this character gets an ongoing when Freedom Fighters, Martian Manhunter and other concepts don’t? Still Geoff Johns (with a co-writer Jeff Katz) is on the book so that is a plus; Dan Jurgens is drawing which is almost a neutral thing, but Norm Rapmund as his inker makes Jurgens work look better. I think Jurgens is a strong layout artist and a good inker is needed on his work. The premise is Booster will be going through the messed up DC time stream for his adventures, so this could be good. The jury is still out and my expectations are moderate.
Action Comics #854 – Giant monkeys, Krypto and Jimmy Olsen as Mr. Action, what more could you ask for in a comic. The last part of the three part arc that is focusing on Jimmy Olsen and his on and off powers. Jimmy Olsen, in some ways, is a character that has outlived his story potential, so I’m curious to see where DC is taking his story line.
Amazons Attack #5 (of 6) – This series is flat out a lot of fun. It is a totally unexpected surprise as the premise sounded lame as hell, but it has been working and almost all the books that crossed over into it have stood relatively well on their own. This may end up being a better story then WW Hulk.
Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #55 – I have been resold on this book. It took a few issues to get used to Tad Williams and Shawn McManus’s cartoon like style for this series, but it is working. A lot of story lines going on and Tad keeps them all moving forward. Last issue’s revelation that Arthur is not who he thought he was leaves the new Aquaman with an unknown origin.
Black Canary #4 (of 4) – The hype says the conclusion to the Sin story line could affect what Dinah says to Ollie regarding his proposal. Of course the ads for the Wedding issues are probably a dead give away on how this story ends. Solid mini-series, well written and good artwork.
Brave & Bold #6 – The conclusion to the first story arc brings Batman and Green Lantern back together to try and get the Book of Destiny back to its rightful owner. Mark Waid and George Perez at the top of their games in what has been so far a great re-launch of the Brave and Bold title. I’m almost surprised this is not part of the All Star Line.
Catwoman #70 – An Amazons Attack cross-over, but since Will Pfeifer is writing both books it will (I’m sure) work perfectly. Batman has asked Selina to infiltrate the other female warriors (whose name escapes me) to see what is going on. This continues to be an excellent series month in and month out. David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez as the art team is just icing on the cake for this book.
Checkmate #17 – A stand alone issue by Greg Rucka and Eric Trautmann with art by Chris Samnee. The official hype “If Checkmate's powerful enough to have a takedown plan for every hero and villain on Earth, why isn't its Alpine headquarters under assault 24-7? Well, it is — which is why it needs a Master Jailer to keep it running, in this thrilling stand-alone story.” I have not heard of the artist or the co-writer, so we shall see.
Countdown #37 – Last issue was a little better and the incremental bits that the story lines move forward is somewhat maddening. I want more bang for my buck with this book.
Flash #231 – Really can not wait for this issue. Waid is back writing Wally West and the whole dynamic has changed. Bart is dead, his kids are older and his place in the world has changed. My only trepidation is Daniel Acuna as artist is not my first, second or third choice for artist on this book.
JLA #12 – The last issue of Brad Metzler’s run on the JLA – YEAH!!! Ed Benes art is great, but Metzler, who definitely has love for these characters, has not shown himself to be a great comic book writer at this point.
Outsiders Five of Kind Thunder / Martian Manhunter – Tony Bedard and Koi Turnbull are the writer / artist team on this issue and the regular team for the new Batman and the Outsiders series, so this is a good sneak peek on what is to come. Glad to see Martain Manhunter getting some attention in the DCU.
Robin #165 – This is another just really good month in and month out series that is being produced by DC right now. Adam Beechen and Freddie Williams have really done a great job with this book. This issue is the second part of Dodge (Robin’s latest nemesis) getting a group of villains together to go after Robin.
Shadowpact #16 – Doctor Gotham is trying to take over and the JLA and Zatanna show up to help Shadowpact. I enjoy this series but Tom Derenick is not the right artist for this book. His artwork is competent, but just does not work for my taste. I hope Shadow pact can last at least for 3 years.
Superman / Batman #39 – This arc has been very good and I look forward to more of Batman and Superman dealing with Darkseid. I was ready to can this book until this arc came along and saved the book from falling from my list.
Hellblazer #235 – Right now this is the best series coming out from Vertigo. Diggle has Constantine as the unrelenting bastard who has worked to get himself back to being right. The official hype “Joyride," Part 2 of 4. John Constantine's investigations into a spate of senseless attacks on a South London housing estate bring him to the attention of the estate's mysterious benefactor. But how do these events relate to the sleepy country village of Lychgate...and what terrible secret does the village hide?”
Loveless #19 – Continuing the hard edge western saga of Wes and Ruth Cutter. This book is like the movie “Unforgiven” with mysteries piled on top of it. Azzaraello’s writing style is very indirect and often it is difficult to discern where the story is going, but it still a great read and the series has a wonderful to feel to it.
Highwaymen #3 (of 5) – Continuing the story of two older and retired black ops types being pulled back for one last mission. The girl they are saving (Grace Anderson) was part of a government secret weapons program and the Highwaymen need to find out what is going on. A great action book with humor and style. I’m almost ready to sign up for the trade.
Grifter/Midnighter #6 (of 6) – The conclusion to this over the top action / adventure story starting two of the most psychotic heroes in the Wildstorm Universe. Chuck Dixon and Ryan Benjamin have done a nice job so far and the ending should be good.
The Programme #2 (of 12) – There was a lot going on last issue and the time jumps were unmarked on the pages so I got lost half the time. The disjointed jumping around in stories seems to be in vogue right now, but a little straightforward story telling is not a bad thing and at least a caption saying “two years ago” would help. I’m iffy on this book, but will see what this issue brings
Killing Girl #1 (of 5) – A new series by Glen Brunswick and Frank Espinoza (Rocketo writer/artist). The premise “What if the Mafia had their own secret service...? Sara doesn’t remember her real name. What she does know is that she traded away misery as a former prostitute and became a world-class killing machine. When a routine hit goes sour, Sara makes a shocking discovery: Suppressed memories, haunting her since childhood, are in fact TRUE! And her REAL family, presumed dead, may actually still be alive.” Sounds like an interesting story idea and I’m a fan of Frank Espinoza’s art style which is a very loose animated type drawing that conveys action and motion well , but is lacking often in details.
Annihilation Conquest Quasar #2 (of 4) – The whole conquest story line has been very enjoyable and Christos Gage is guiding this story line, so I’m looking forward to issue #2 of this mini-series as the new Quasar and her “partner” Moondragon pursue the answer to stop the Phalanx.
Captain America #29 – The Winter Soldier is taking on the Red Skull and his minions. I still do not buy Captain America being dead, but as long as the story with Bucky, Sharon, Sam and Nick Fury keeps up this level of story telling Cap can stay out of the picture for awhile.
Sub-Mariner #3 (of 6) – I was enjoying this series and then on the last panel of last issue Wolverine shows up. I’m tired of Wolverine at this point (and he used to be a favorite of mine), so his appearance is just a distraction that I hope only last a few pages. Namor needs to be more a central character in the Marvel Universe again as he is one of there oldest characters.
Terror Inc #1 (of 5) – So the central character has to replace his rotting body parts. I forget (or never read the original version of this character), but I’ll try out a lot of different books. So I’m going in with zero expectations.
Ultimate Spider-Man #112 – I really want Peter Parker to get a little older, but Bendis will keep him a teen-ager for ever in the Ultimate U. This issue begins Stuart Immonen’s run as artist and we have to see if the artist creates a total shift in the tone of this book, which has been a great read under Bendis / Bagley.
In preparing this column I re-review solicitations and other information and was amused to find Marvel using the term jaw dropping art in two books in a row that I’m getting. The cover for Sub-Mariner and the interior work in Terror Inc. So before I get my comics on Wednesday I now have an appointment with my dentist to get my jaw wired shut to avoid the jaw dropping experience, which really hurts.