This week sees Marvel do a slight reversal of fortune as I have more Marvel books on my list then independents. I believe this should be an aberration but I do not keep that close of track of exactly what comes out when. I have a lot more independents on my list, it is just the sporadic publishing schedule of independents can play havoc with their timing. We also come to the conclusion of a five week month and we are off to the races with two four week months back to back.
Action #861 – Part 4 of the Legion of Super Heroes arc. Geoff Johns has done a job great of recreating an old time Legion of Super Heroes story and still make it modern. Gary Frank’s artwork is always strong and has developed a rougher edge to his look over the years. I will be curious to see if DC ever tries to explain away the different incarnations of the Legion and the actual continuity of Superman as he is shown today.
Batman #673 – As Batman lies in a coma and possibly dying Batman relieves his life defining moment and his recent life changing trip to Nanda Parbat (not the Ras thing, the 52 thing). I’m very curious to see where Grant Morrison (writer) is taking us with Batman. Grant’s work really grows as it continues, because he is usually laying groundwork for where his stories ultimately go. Tony Daniels continues to grow as the Batman artist and it is nice to see that he appears to be able to handle a monthly schedule.
Batman The Man Who Laughs Hardcover - This is one of the best Joker stories ever done. Brubaker (writer) and Mahnke (artist) had their “A” game on for this one-shot special. I decided this story is hard cover worthy, but the page count was low for a collection, so DC filled it out three part story from Detective #784-786. For $20 I can live with that compromise.
Black Adam : The Dark Age #6 (of 6) – I hate to see this series end as Peter Tomasi (writer) has continued what 52 started and that is to make Black Adam one of the best and most complex super villains in comics. Doug Mahnke has done beautiful artwork that has matched the script. Since Mary Marvel has renounced the power Adam gave her, maybe he has them back. DC needs to make his story a series of mini-series of a continuing series and have Peter Tomasi as the writer.
Countdown to Adventure #6 (of 8) – This series has almost flatlined. I love Animal Man and Adam Strange, but the story has dragged on way too long. The Forerunner story has gone off the rails and I’m not sure how it ties into what is happening to her in Countdown itself.
Countdown to Final Crisis #13 – We are at the final quarter mark for this series and every issue in January has been a revelation. The action and battle between the Monitors and Monarch has upped the quality in this book. I’m still more jazzed that anything is happening and the plot holes and/or continuity issues are huge, but the book has been fun to read.
Death of the New Gods #5 (of 8) – This series has had more happen in four issues then Countdown has had happen in 39 issues. My one problem with this book is the involvement of Superman. This is New Gods story and he should not be playing such a prominent role. Jim Starlin as writer and artist was perhaps the only choice to be able to tell this story.
Green Lantern #27 – Johns has made this one of DC’s most consistent series and one not to be missed. The “Alpha Lantern” story line is the focus at this point with the repercussions of the Sinestro War still (and rightfully so) playing havoc with the corps.
JSA Classified #34 – This should be a fun issue as we have the artwork of Freddie Williams II and a story that focuses on Hourman and Liberty Belle. I still want someone to tell the story of how these two got together, but they are a great married couple in the DCU. The writer is James Peaty whom I have not heard of, but always curious to read new people.
Spirit #13 – This is essentially a fill-in issue as we await the new creative team. Still it is suppose to focus on the female fatales and that could be fun.
Trails of Shazam #11 (of 12) – Freddy and Sabrina are at equal power levels and Freddy is now searching for Mercury. If at the end of this year long sage Freddy is not the new Captain Marvel and he does not start showing up in the DCU I will be disappointed. I have enjoyed this series as we create a new Captain for the new age of magic. I also have liked that his nemesis has been created side by side with him. I’m just worried that if Captain Marvel is not utilized more in the DCU all of this effort will be for naught.
Jack Of Fables #19 – Continuing on Jack’s quest for treasure and an examination of some of the fables from America. One of the funniest things in this book has been the single page of “Babe” the miniature blue ox. His internal dialogue is just laugh out loud funny.
Crossing Midnight #15 – The official hype :“Toshi has finally caught up with Kai, and, with complete amnesia, she's committed to fight him to the death. And regardless of the victor, one of the twins will cross a line from which there is no return.” This is one of the better series being published right now and you need to be reading it!
El Diablo Trade Paperback – I was going to pass on this reprint, but I never got the series and Brian Azzarello is a decent writer and Daniel Zezelj’s dark art style fits the El Diablo character. Add to that it is a western and that I have no Archive type book on my list this week and I succumbed to the temptation and have decided to buy it.
Fantastic Four #553 – Dwayne McDuffie and Paul Pelliter’s final issue. I have enjoyed most of this run, but the last arc has been the best. I’m looking forward to future FF and current FF getting together. Also dying to see what was Reed’s Civil War plan.
Captain America #34 – This issue Bucky becomes the new “Captain America”. A general point on Captain America and Ed Brubaker’s (writer) run on this book. First off it has been great work. Essentially we have been treated to one long story. Bucky is found, he is slowly redeemed, Cap is killed and Bucky takes up the mantle. I hope Steve does not come back, but I will bet he returns around issue #50. Anyway my point is that this is a great way to do a book that remains within its own continuity more or less. My problem is that the book has become endless since the Cap was killed. We have taken nine months to get to Bucky wearing the costume and had no real resolutions or end points within that story line. Everything can’t wait until the last chapter to happen. A good story has pay offs as the story progresses and the end is the big payoff. Hell I have been reading countdown for about eight months with no pay off and it sucked. While the underlying story is good, the execution of that story has slowed down way too much.
Daredevil #104 – Oh look it is Ed Brubaker week at Marvel and one reason so many Marvel books remain on my list. Again good story line, but taking way too long to tell.
Mighty Avengers #8 – This story has been decimated by lateness. If you follow Mighty Avengers, odds are you follow New Avengers and know what happens in this arc already. For the two fans that get just Mighty Avengers seeing a regular publishing schedule must be a treat.
House of “M” Avengers #4 (of 5) – Just a nice little alternative reality story. This series is again one of those books that has no “event” to offer its readers, and no continuing continuity, just a solid story by Christos Gage and solid artwork by Mike Perkins. If done well alternative reality stories are fun because we know almost anything can happen.
New Avengers Annual #1 – Oh look a larger issue of the Marvel book that I get to complain about and because it is a “key” book in the MU with Secret Invasion. I don’t want to abandon Marvel 100% so if I get the main mini-series and follow one or two key series I at least will have a clue of what some character refers to in their regular book. Anyway this issue wraps us the Hood arc and is suppose to tie into other “events” that have occurred as well as be a prelude to Secret Invasion. The more I type that the more worried I become about this major event. The Final Secret Invasion Crisis looms every closer.
Spider-Man: With Great Power #1 (of 5) – A popular gimmick within the MU is to explore small elements from the past of a character and flesh them out into a full blown story. This story is about Peter Parker going from the class nerd to suddenly having great powers and how he handles that in his day to day life. I assume the story ends with Peter becoming a hero. David Lapham is the writer and Tony Harris is the artist, this sounds like a commissioned story to put into book stores. Still I’ll check out issue #1.
Ultimate Spider-Man #118 – This could be a good concept or this could be a really lame concept. Apparently there was a cartoon called Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends and Bendis is writing an arc that mirrors that grouping of characters.
Zombie: Simon Garth #3 (of 4) – Continuing the exploits of our living zombie Simon Garth. Kyle Holtz is just having fun with the clichéd ridden story and some outlandish art. Kyle is in his element producing entertainment in his own inimitable style.
Proof #4 – This is a series more people should be trying out. Proof is about Ginger and Proof (a Bigfoot) who investigate “X-File” type cases. The book is full of energy and passion and the creators are pouring their heart and soul into the book and it shows. Every issue is an entertaining read and this book is moving up the list as one of the best series on the market.
Suburban Glamour #3 (of 4) – This book is so late, but the artwork by Jamie McKelvie is so well done I can forgive the lateness of the book. Still the overall story itself became a little too clichéd. Last issue we had the revelation that our main character is an other dimension princess.
Conan #48 – Just a good series from Dark Horse. The official hype “Conan finds himself embroiled in a political struggle turned bloody between a naive young prince and a sinister sorcerer who calls upon the god of the underworld to help aid him in building an army of demonic abominations, intent on conquering not just his own kingdom, but all of Hyboria! But that’s not the only danger that threatens to destroy Conan’s world. Little does he know, a piece of his past still follows him, stalking the Cimmerian with the patience of the grave. All roads lead to the doomed city of Yaralet in this stunning adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s lost fragment “The Hand of Nergal.”
Black Summer #5 (of 7) – This series by Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp has so much potential to be more then just a blood and guts story. I think the underlying theme is interesting and what is says about our leaders and super heroes are thought provoking. That being said this cover indicates the story maybe degenerating into a kill everybody Warren Ellis ending, but I hope not.
Salem #0 (of 5) – A rare six part series from BOOM. This book is about Witches in colonial America and I have not had the time to read the advance peek of the book, but I trust BOOM studios to produce quality books. I may not like every story they produce but it is always going to be a professional effort. So far I have liked or loved almost everything they produce. Once you trust a publisher's ability in selecting material it is easier to order material and try out new series.
Wormwood Calamari Rising #1 – This is Ben Templesmith’s seminal creation. He may go on and do fantastic work (see Fell) and may do more artist/writer work that will also be great, but I think he will always be identified with Wormwood Gentleman Corpse the way Miller is with Daredevil and Leonard Nimoy is with Spock. When you do something right and nail it people remember forever. This is the next story arc about Wormwood and I for one cannot wait. An animated corpse, scary monsters, goth chicks and mechanical sidekicks and drinking lots of drinking. Not for the meek, but for everyone else, not to be missed.
The next chapter of the original Legion story in Action, Proof, Wormwood, the last issue of Black Adam and more should mean that this will have some heavy weight contenders for best book this week. Also coming up, the Super Bowl and my thought is the Patriots go 19-0 and the Giants just go home, but happy they made it that far. The Ravens will try and get them next year, but it looks to be a rebuilding year.