This week is back to a more normal week, two hard cover collections and one trade paperback, plus 33 regular comics. This week also includes a fair amount of independent books which always makes me happy. Since few printing companies actually print comics I assume that when we see independents issue groups of books on one week, that this is a way to reduce their expenses. I could be wrong about this, but my background as a financial person during my career at Citicorp/Citibank always has me interested in the money side of things.
Batman #668 – Part 2 of the 3 part “Club of Heroes” storyline by Grant Morrison and JH Williams. I have no clue why this is being issued bi-weekly unless the book is trying to catch up to a schedule for the Ras As Ghul return storyline, but I’m happy to get this story faster. Last issue was all set-up and introducing all of these are odd older characters. I enjoyed last issue, so I hope part 2 holds up.
Batman/Lobo : Deadly Serious #1 (of 2) – Story and art by Sam Keith. This book looks to be over the top madness and fun. The two part prestige format is the way to go with this type of book, because while fun, a longer mini-series would lose something. I have grown bored with Lobo, but this bizarre paring with Sam Keith as the creator should be a blast.
Birds of Prey #109 – Written by Tony Bedard. This issue focuses on Oracle and Canary discussing why Canary is marrying Green Arrow. Funny that a book focusing so heavily on girl issues is being written by a guy, but it could work. I noticed that Bedard is writing the next couple of issues and Sean McKeever was announced as the new writer. I have no issues when plans change, but can someone at DC at least publicize these changes.
Blue Beetle #18 – I love this series, but the premise for this issue leaves me cold. It is a cross-over with Teen Titans #50 and features a fight against Lobo. Lobo in non-continuity craziness like Batman/Lobo is okay, but this sound really lame. Still this book constantly surprises me, so I have hope that this issue will be good.
Countdown #36 – Well the cover is really cool, I love Zatanna and like the black costume Mary Marvel is sporting is also nice, so the book gets points for the cover. I want to like this series and the last two issues have been okay, but I think the stories lack resolution within the storyline. By its very name it is building up to one grand event, so the needed bricks I guess are being laid for a payoff down the road, but I want some “wow” moments in the interim.
Green Arrow #4 (of 6) – Last issue we saw Ollie in his first battle against an enemy and luck out in surviving. This issue promise more on who is behind all that has happened to Ollie and the Island he is stuck on. Diggle is very “hot” right now, as the two books he is writing are both fantastic reads. Jock’s art is wonderful as always. Kinetic energy and power emanate from Jock’s work.
JSA Classified #29 – Part 1 of 3 focuses on Mr. Terrific. I’m not sure who invented this reincarnation of Mr. Terrific, but he has been a great character within the DCU. Also DC seems to use this book as a training ground for newer talent, not always, but I see a fair amount of non-established talent on this book. Still the premise is good with Mr. Terrific being framed due to a secret he uncovered and his untangling a labyrinth plot, Alex Sanchez did a credible job on Dr. Midnight issues, so I’m thinking this arc should be good.
Green Lantern Corps #16 – “The Sinestro War” is raging at this point and this issue focuses on Mogo’s battle against a planet size foe. This “war” is the best series with the term “war” in either Marvel or DC for the last three years. Outstrips Civil War, World War III and World War Hulk. Pull this story together in a nice hardcover and have Johns and Gibbons gives us background information and I’ll sign up for it.
Outsiders Five of a Kind / Metamorpho / Aquaman – The monthly event continues where tag teams of two people are put together so Batman can evaluate who he wants on the new Outsiders team. Really spotlight issues that can or cannot have significant tie-ins to the new Batman and the Outsiders book, but these have been good entertaining super-hero stories so far.
The Spirit #9 – Sad to hear Darwyn Cooke is leaving this book after 12 issues, but I don’t want him on this book if he is not happy doing it. Cooke has done a wonderful job with this book and I look forward to each issue. The official hype “The bizarre story of The Spirit's most fearsome new foe, El Morte! The gangs in Central City are being ritualistically destroyed, and now the killer is targeting The Spirit. All the clues point to Alvarro Mortez, the criminal who died with Denny Colt on that fateful night The Spirit came to be. Is he dead or alive”
Showcase Presents Wonder Woman #1 – 500 plus pages of black and white stories of the bondage queen Wonder Woman. From issues #98-117. Written by Robert Kanigher with art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Kanigher I believe wrote more consecutive issues of WW, then any other writer’s consecutive streak (I could be totally wrong about that, but he wrote a lot of her stories). To be fair I believe it was Kanigher who made Wonder Woman more of a straight super-hero book as she definitely had some of her original grounded in odder things as written by Marsden, her creator. Andru and Esposito are two artist who are competent, but I never enjoyed their style.
Supergirl and The Legion of Super-Heroes #33 – The hunt for Cosmic Boy continues. Bedard knew how to write the Legion from the jump by splitting the group up and giving us different smaller teams and then focusing on a smaller cast, but tying it into a larger story. Large group books are tricky as you need to give juggle a lot of balls at one time. This has been a good arc. Looking forward to more plans for the LOSH as their 50th Anniversary approaches (maybe Paul Levitz back as writer).
Superman #666 – A hellish tale by Busiek and Simonson. Superman goes to hell. This sounds so lame and a pure gimmick to coincide with the issue number that I’m tempted to turn this book back into my retailer. Still two strong creators could pull it off.
Crossing Midnight #10 – Slightly suggestive cover this month. A guest artist, Eric Nguyen, is on this story arc. This modern Japanese horror/supernatural/fantasy is a very well done book and maybe Mike Carey’s best work right now, so buy the first tradfe and try it out if you haven’t gotten it yet.
Amazing Spider-Man #543 – This story has been good, but the lateness of the story has blunted the emotional impact that they were striving for in this story. Still all in all it has been one of the better Spider-Man stories that I have read in years.
Astonishing X-Men #22 – The much vaunted Whedon run on X-Men still has two more issues and I believe an Annual to go. This was going to be a monthly book after the first few issues I believe. It doesn’t matter as the stories have been so-so and Cassady’s artwork while very good is not as strong as when Ellis writes for him.
Annihilation Conquest: Star Lord #2 (of 4) – The official hype “The bullet casings fly as Star-Lord's motley crew of cult faves goes to war! Briefed, outfitted and dropped into chaos, it's time for Bug, Captain Universe, Deathcry, Groot, Mantis and Rocket Raccoon to become legends! That is, if Peter Quill can truly embrace his legacy as Star-Lord! Are you prepared for the carnage that Keith Giffen (ANNIHILATION) and the insanely talented Timothy Green II are about to unleash?” This was a great first issue and I love Peter Quill’s crew, should be a good book.
Fantastic Five #4 (of 5) – This has been one of those little mini-series that goes under the radar, but it is rock solid entertainment. The future FF resonates with family spirit, which was always the hallmark of the series. I just wish this was an ongoing as this is my favorite version of the FF.
Amazing Fantasy Omnibus – This collects all of Amazing Adventures #1-6, Amazing Adult Fantasy #7-15 and Amazing Fantasy #15 from Marvel comics. Contains tons of Lee, Kirby and Ditko Monster tales, then their “Twilight Zone” type stores and ending with Amazing Fantasy #15 where Spider-Man was introduced. This typeof collection is a no-brainer for me. I love Ditko’s artwork form that period of time as well as Kirby’s stuff. Some of the stories were good and some are pure throw away stuff, but really full of energy and fun.
Immortal Iron Fist #8 – Picking up form issue #6, Danny is now caught up in a combat tournament between the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven. Only in comics would the seven capital cities of heaven meet once a generation to have a martial arts tournament. In other words from the outside looking in, it is just a silly and stupid idea, but from the inside, can’t wait. Iron Fist is one of the best books from Marvel.
Iron Man #21 – This is back to the regular team and away from WW Hulk. It is odd when you follow a fair amount of books inside one Universe as the timing of books just out of whack. Iron Man is back to doing his Director of Shield duties, yet WW Hulk still rages on. Anyway this appears to be starting a new arc for the book and that disappoints me as I really wanted to get to a Mandarin vs. Iron Man show down, but that fight is being put off until another day.
Marvel Masterworks Volume 81 – Golden Age Sub-Mariner – Collecting issues #5-8 of the Sub-Mariner’s first adventures. I would prefer to have this contain only Sub-Mariner and this type of material maybe when I finally skip a Marvel Masterwork. Still Bill Everett’s work is involved and he had a unique quality to his art that was perfect for underwater stories.
Marvel Illustrated: The Last of the Mohicans #4 (of 6) – A book that I buy and pass onto Gwen without reading it. I was unimpressed by the first issues and hope Gwen reviews the series upon its conclusion.
The Order #2 – The first issue was certainly well drawn and had a lot going on, but I’m not sold on this series yet. I have dropped New Warriors and Avenger’s Initiative is on the fence and this book needs to step it up to make the cut. I really believe that DC has a larger and better cast of heroes to select from then Marvel, so that forces Marvel to try and create some characters. The problem is vesting in brand new characters, especially when issue #1 just barely introduces who we are supposed to want to follow. Add to that I’m not a big Matt Fraction fan and I can’t remember a single character from the first issue and this series is in trouble to stay on my list.
Thunderbolts #116 – After a brief hiatus, the T-Bolts return with Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato as the creative team. A very enjoyable book that should have an end point in mind for it. By that I believe this is a well written and solid series with an almost impossible premise, but needs to have an end as you cannot have truly evil people (Norman Osbourne) as the head of powerful government organization forever. Still it could work for a 3 year run.
Ultimate Fantastic Four #45 – I was trying this book out to find an FF series to enjoy and I don’t believe this is it. I will ride out the Silver Surfer story (pun intended), but I think that is it.
X-Men #202 – I’m actually really enjoying this arc of the X-Men versus the Marauders. Funny how Mike Carey has three different books coming out this week and they are all so very different. Crossing Midnight, Ultimate Fantastic Four and this book. All well written, but not all to my taste. Iceman and Cannonball are trying to mount a counter attack this issue.
X-Men First Class #3 – Now that this is an unlimited series Jeff Parker is doing longer story arc, which is fine. The X-Men are trapped on “Monster Island” and fighting for their lives. This book has humor, action and loads of pure old time comic book adventure, yet still feels modern. Vying for top spot of the x-books that I read against X-Factor.
Hiding in Time #2 (of 4) – The first issue was fun. I like the concept of a witness protection program using time as a hiding place. The first issue was entertaining and kept me coming back for issue #2. This is a good story, but the story and art still feel less then top notch. I enjoy time travel stories at times, so that is one of the draws for me and I also enjoy seeing work from creators who may become the next big thing later on.
Invincible #45 – I have a hard time writing about how good this book is because I just flat out look forward to see how Mark’s life and adventures progress issue to issue. Robert Kirkman seems to have this book plotted out for the next ten years. Almost no plot line goes unresolved and each issue just gets you more vested in coming back for more. One of the best super hero comic books on the shelves.
Strange Embrace #3 (of 8) – David Hines early (and apparently seminal work) as artist and writer. The official hype “Alex pushes his way into the memories, dreams and nightmares of Anthony Corbeau, in an attempt to discover what it is that Corbeau is trying to hide from him. What fuels Corbeau's obsession with African fetishes and what lies at the heart of his troubled marriage?” This really is an offbeat book, but I have enjoyed it and think that I will have to get a trade of the series to be able to read it all in one sitting.
Weapon #3 (of 4) – This is another book like “Hiding in Time”, that is a decent series, but has nothing super compelling to draw you into it. Fred Van Lente is the writer and I first encountered his work with “Action Philosophers” and enjoy some references he has in his story that I would have not known with that book. Still the actual story line does not stay with me 100% between issues, I will remember it when I read #3, it just that it is missing that certain extra to make it a top book. Still it is entertaining and that is why we buy most comics.
Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo – Graphic Novel – This book I have been looking forward to, I love the official hype “Edgar Allan Poe just lost everything. His dead wife is haunting him in his dreams, his latest book has bombed, and the imagination that fueled his stories has become a curse. His prayer to never dream again is answered one evening as he falls asleep in an outhouse. His discarded creativity takes the form of his dream child, Edgar Allan Poo, who must now undergo a strange odyssey through the poet's troubled mind. This August, Shadowline presents a twisted glimpse into the dream life of America's greatest fantasist in DWIGHT L. MACPHERSON & THOMAS BOATWRIGHT’s unusual epic.” The art on the cover looks great and the mixing of Edgar Allan Poe and Winnie the Poo is funny just in and of itself. I believe this may have been a web comic originally.
Black Summer #2 (of 7) – I loved issue #0, enjoyed issue #1, but thought that it went off too fast into a bloody, gory, Warren Ellis special, as opposed to the solid examination of the political ramifications of having super heroes. Still a compelling work and I’m looking forward to see where issue #2 takes us.
Gamekeeper #4 – One of two series that I get from Virgin comics. This has been well done, but I’m still not 100% sold on this book. I read a lot of books and this is the hard boiled loner versus impossible odds action flick. In other words it has shown why this is not a generic story.
Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #1 (of 6) - Really I cannot wait for this book. I loved the first Mouse Guard series and have the hard cover. Fantastic stuff, that should be timeless and is a good all age read (maybe a little intense for under 5). Follow this link for a preview http://www.daradja.com/mouse_guard.php.
Well that wraps up this week and as you can see it is a big week. One great thing about buying comics weekly is that no matter how bad your job is going, what personal issue you may be dealing with, you have something you know you can pick up and escape into one day of the week or more.