Marvel recently released Wolverine #73, before issue #72 and Brian Hibbs in his Tilting at Windmills column wrote a great piece about it here. It is worth reading the entire article but he basic summarizes that he believes Marvel released it this way for accounting and sales reasons and not the press release reason that it was to give people who saw the movie a good jumping on point. So Marvel (in his and my opinion) lied to us. It is a shame that I just now expect Marvel, DC, the government, CEOs of corporations to always lie. I understand trying to spin something, but almost everyone now spins crap instead of telling us the truth. I’m so tired of listening to what is reported and then having to figure out what they really mean. I’m sure in the past things were couched in ways to make things seem better, but in a time when our economy is in dire straights having the government always lie to you and corporations doing the same gets old. I hope one day we rise up and vote the bums out and install new leaders in government and industry. I think one of the reasons I do okay with my job in handling auto claims is I tell people what is happening without whitewashing the circumstances. Often they may not like what I have to say, but at least it is an honest assessment of where their claim stands. So Marvel and DC, this is just comic books and most of your fans are smart enough to handle the truth, try it out next time you have some news, tell us what is happening and I’m sure as fans of the books we can deal with it.
The books I’m looking forward to most this week are:
Batman Battle for the Cowl #3 (of 3) – This book I have been waiting for with great anticipation. The hints and leaks all point to Dick Grayson taking over being Batman and I know he has been Batman before, but this has a different feel. I hope it is Dick and then I hope he remains Batman for a few years. The company line “Written by Tony Daniel; Art by Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea ; Covers by Tony Daniel. With the destruction of Arkham Asylum, the return of the Black Mask, and dozens of Gotham City's most lethal villains rioting through the streets, Nightwing, Robin and their allies seem to have their hands full. But when you add a deadly Jason Todd masquerading as a gun-toting Batman to the mix, things have definitely spiraled out of control! This is the issue everyone's been waiting for – find out who wins the Battle for the Cowl! Who earns the right to take on the mantle of the Bat? Will it be Robin? Jason Todd? Nightwing? Azrael? Catwoman? Two-Face? Damian Wayne? Batwoman? Or someone completely unexpected? This 3-issue series continues to shock and surprise as the battle comes to a startling finale for the ages!”
Complete Dracula #1 (of 5) – I have the actual novel, but never actually got around to reading it, so I’m looking forward to a purported faithful adaptation of the work. The word “Dynamite presents an unprecedented comic book series that tells the complete story of the Lord of the Undead--Dracula! For the first time in 112 years the tale that Bram Stoker intended to tell is told (including 'Dracula's Guest'!). If you thought you knew how it began or how it ends, you were wrong! Writers John Reppion and Leah Moore are joined by painter Colton Worley for a 5 issue odyssey of life, death, and the blood that flows within us all! This fully painted series features a massive 32 pages of story and art per issue, each page fully-painted in a rich, moody style by Worley, all under covers by modern master John Cassaday! Moore and Reppion also provide bonus material such as script pages, annotations and samplings of the original text by Bram Stoker!”
Four Eyes #3 – The biggest problem with this book is publication frequency and that makes me worried about it sales numbers and if this will continue to be published. A great story of dragons and the first Great Depression (great seems to be a poor term to be in front of a depression). The marketing blather “Enrico goes against the wishes of both his mother and brother and signs on to work for Boccioni...as bait on a dragon hunt. But when all hell breaks lose, the resourceful boy not only cheats fate, but earns a very special reward.”
The Great Unknown #2 (of 5) – Loved the first issue and you can see an interview with the creator here. The ultimate genius slacker caught up in events beyond his control. The hype “While being stalked by a reality TV crew Zach Feld tracks down his old professor in search for further clues to the mysterious "idea thefts" he has been experiencing. Along the way he discovers a conspiracy larger than even he could imagine.”
Invincible #62 – This book is consistently a strong book and because so much of it is building the characters often it does not make my best list, but it never makes the worst list either. I hear they are killing off “Atom Eve” and I hate to see that happen, but that is what keeps Kirkman’s creator owned material fresh, we have to expect the unexpected. What’s inside “INVINCIBLE WAR: AFTERMATH! CONQUEST is here. Invincible is confronted with the most dangerous threat he's ever faced. He will not come out of this unscathed. This issue is not to be missed.”
Locke & Key Head Games #5 – Just a wonderful series with realistic characters trapped in an unreal world. Every issue is a good issue. IDW says this issue is about “Checkmate: Dodge's surreal head games come to their shattering conclusion... with one troublesome player removed from the board. Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez continue the head games!”
Marvel Mystery Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special – I have been enjoying these one shot books. They are not perfect, but a nice celebration of characters from the company’s past. The company hype “The original Human Torch, Toro, the Sub-Mariner, the Angel and the Ferret team up to prevent Nazi saboteurs and one of the Torch’s earliest foes from creating the ultimate weapon of mass destruction in this all-new 22 page story. Plus another 10 page classic vintage tale from Marvel’s Golden Age!”
Punisher #5 – Remender has given us a classic Punisher and still keeping it fresh and interesting. The first writer to be able to re-integrate the Punisher into the MU and make it work (IMO). Inside this issue ““LIVING IN DARKNESS: CONCLUSION” Frank Castle will kill the Hood or die trying. With his city under siege, a high bounty on his head and nothing left to lose, The Punisher dives in for a direct confrontation with New York's new kingpin of crime -- and what he discovers within The Hood’s secret base will shock the Marvel Universe to its core. Who is The Hood’s mysterious new lieutenant? What is The Hood truly capable of? And exactly how far will he go to take down the biggest threat to his brutal underworld reign?”
The rest of the list:
Agents of Atlas #5 - Issue #5 brings the throwdown to end all throwdowns! The Agents of Atlas face off with the NEW AVENGERS!!! What a perfect time for M-11 to take one of his unpredictable courses of decisive action. Rated V for VIOLENT.
Brave and Bold #23 - Written by Dan Jurgens; Art and cover by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund. Future imperfect! Time-traveler Booster Gold has seen countless possible futures. But futures don't get much darker than the one that will spawn the ruthless Magog! After the events of JSA: THY KINGDOM COME, Magog has appeared in our time, and Booster will do whatever it takes to make sure his apocalyptic destiny never comes to pass.
Captain America #50- Bucky Barnes, another man out of time, is the new Captain America now...but today he's trapped in the past, because today is Bucky Barnes' birthday. See Bucky's favorite and least favorite birthdays - from the cold winters of the Depression on military bases, to the front lines of WW2 fighting alongside the Invaders, to his new mission as Cap. Oh yeah, and someone's trying to kill him. By Ed Brubaker and Luke Ross.
Criminal Macabre Cell Block 666 #4 (of 4) - Most people will never understand the nightmare of being framed for a friend's murder and sent to prison on trumped-up charges by reckless, power-rabid cops. Cal McDonald isn't like most people, and he never has been. But now, in some of the bleakest moments of his life, the things that make him different from the rest of the world might be the only things capable of keeping his sorry butt out of deeper trouble. Because it turns out that the things that would make most people want to give up and die--the strange, inhuman voices coming from adjacent cells, the mysterious visitors, the unlikely saviors in demonic disguise--are the things that have kept Cal alive long enough to see a way out .
Dark Reign Fantastic Four #3 (of 5) - Forced to fight their way through time, Sue, Ben and Johnny have to defend the Holy Land during the Crusades, conquer the Wild West, and beat back the Nazis! Meanwhile, Franklin and Val are busy back in the Baxter Building preparing for the arrival of Norman Osborn. All that, and the return of the Illuminati!
Final Crisis Aftermath Dance #1 (OF 6) - Written by Joe Casey; Art by ChrisCross; Cover by Stanley "Artgerm" Lau. Japan's Super Young Team wants nothing more than to be seen as heroes in the eyes of their adoring public. Unfortunately, their adventures during FINAL CRISIS have gone unnoticed, and they've been reduced to performing at public appearances and on various TV shows literally dancing for their livelihood. But the appearance of a new American teammate and a deadly threat complicates the motives of the team as they try and find what truly makes somebody not just a hero, but a sensational hero. Discover the path to greatness in this exciting 6-issue miniseries!
Gigantic #4 (of 5) - To end The United Broadcast Company's malevolent control over Earth, Gigantic must steal a UFO and battle his way to the UBC's heavily fortified base station on the dark side of the universe. Only one thing stands between Gigantic and his mission to free us all -- the entire United States army! Fan-favorite creators Rick Remender (Fear Agent, The End League) and Eric Nguyen (X-Men, Strange Girl) continue their modern twist on classic 1950s sci-fi kitsch!
Green Arrow Black Canary #20 - Written by Andrew Kreisberg; Art by Mike Norton and Josef Rubinstein; Cover by Ladrönn. Ollie and Dinah attempt to work through some of their recent differences only to find their progress hindered by Discord – a new villain created by Black Canary's actions!
Hellblazer #255 - By Peter Milligan; Art by Goran Sudzuka and Rodney Ramos; Cover by Lee Bermejo. Dreams of what could be and the nightmares of what is clash in John Constantine's mind as he slips in and out of fevered consciousness while past and present collide. A journey through the darkness of his heart discovers fear, regret and the most terrible emotion of all – love.
Jack of Fables #34 - Written by Matthew Sturges and Bill Willingham; Art by Russ Braun and Jose Marzan Jr.; Cover by Brian Bolland. "The Great Fables Crossover" part 5 of 9! Bigby Wolf, Snow White, Gary and Mr. Revise are hot on the trail of Kevin Thorn and determined to stop him before he can write the universe out of existence. But Bigby has problems. He's not a Big Bad Wolf anymore. Nor is he a man. So, what's happening? Is his long-dormant changeling nature asserting itself?
Killapalooza #1 (of 6) - Written by Adam Beechen; Art and cover by Trevor Hairsine. The Clap are the biggest band in the world–headlining massive stadium tours, selling millions of records, and hobnobbing with the rich and fabulous. And in their spare time, they also happen to be the most sought-after meta-human assassination unit on the black market! Using their status as rock icons as a cover, they've perpetrated some of the more elaborate murders in modern memory! But a financial crunch has the group signing on for one last "gig" both as The Clap and as assassins. But they aren't the only band – or assassin – on the bill!
Outsiders #18 - Written by Peter J. Tomasi; Art and cover by Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott. "The Deep" part 4 of 6. The Outsiders finally discover what The Insiders are searching for thanks to the help of a long lost being known only as "The Outkast." And the ensuing battle may take them to the very center of the earth itself!
Supergirl #41 - Written by Sterling Gates; Art by Talent Caldwell; Cover by Joshua Middleton. The dramatic conclusion to "Who Is Superwoman?" Superwoman's identity stands revealed, leading to a knock-down-drag-out fight the likes of which Metropolis will be talking about for years to come! Supergirl will wish she'd never found out who was under the hood as Superwoman and Reactron join forces against the Girl of Steel. How can Supergirl possibly survive?
Superman Batman #60 - Written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson; Art and cover by Francis Manapul. Rising star artist Francis Manapul joins Michael Green and Mike Johnson for a special 2-part story we could only call "Mash-Up"! When the going gets tough in the city of Gothamopolis, there's only one thing to do: call in the Justice Titans to save the day! Wait, what?
Trinity #51 - Written by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza; Art by Mark Bagley and Art Thibert, Mike Norton and Ande Parks, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens and Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher; Cover by and Mark Bagley and John Dell. The final showdown. The world hasn't just been changed, it's been destroyed. Can the Trinity still save the day? Not if Morgaine le Fey and Krona have anything to say about it. Answers, revelations and more come fast and furious in the mother of all action finales! Guest-starring just about everyone and featuring a final cover by TRINITY interior artist Mark Bagley!
Uncanny X-Men #510 - SIEGE! The Sisterhood executes a massive raid on the Graymalkin Facility, taking their fight to the Uncanny X-Men, and you won't believe the ferocity. No one is safe! Everybody fights! But why? How? What do they want? And how long can violence at such an insane level last? Oh, about most of the issue.
Vigilante #6 - Written by Marv Wolfman; Art by Tom Lyle and Scott Hanna; Cover by Andrew Robinson. The horrifying conclusion to the TITANS/TEEN TITANS/VIGILANTE "Deathtrap" crossover! Vigilante takes matters into his own hands to stop Jericho once and for all – even if it means becoming a target himself!
Wolverine Noir #2 (of 4) - New York City, 1937. Private detective Jim Logan's partner, Dog, is missing and Logan's determined to find him, even if he has to spread a trail of blood and broken hearts across the Bowery. But chances of finding Dog alive aren't looking good as all signs point to a dangerous gangster called Creed who might just be too much for one down-and-out P.I. to handle.
Wolverine Weapon X #2 - “THE ADAMANTIUM MEN” Wolverine travels to Colombia to track down leads on Blackguard, the private military contractor who's recently come into possession of the old files from Weapon X. But instead of the hunter, Logan becomes the hunted when he learns the hard way that Blackguard has already put those Weapon X Files to use, giving birth to Strikeforce X, the most fearsome team of super soldiers that Logan has ever encountered.
My comic purge has the goal of getting my overall list down to 100 titles per month. That seems to be an insane number, but it will be a big reduction from where my list has been at various times. Frankly the $4 price point becoming the norm was the breaking point for me as the incremental increase was a killer even for my insane list. Each week I have books that I look to be the last issue I may get of a series as the series has grown cold or just lost my interest. This week the titles that are on the chopping block are Brave and Bold, Vigilante, Uncanny X-Men, Superman/Batman, Killapalooza and Green Arrow/Black Canary. Brave and Bold just has not been that good of a series since Waid left the book. Vigilante I was enjoying more for the art as we have not even determined who the character is yet and I’m tired of waiting. Uncanny X-Men is blowing hot and cold, but I fear Fraction has Claremontitis (too many plots and no resolution) and my time can be spent better elsewhere. Superman/Batman is a hard and cot series and I think this is better to be decided on an arc by arc basis. Killapalooza is a book I’m trying out that I do not think will be my type of book, but I want to try different things sometimes. Finally Green Arrow/Black Canary has been flat, Andrew Kreisberg has been an excellent writer on other book and the TV show Fringe, but this has been so-so in my opinion. Green Arrow / Black Canary will be the hardest to give up because it is a core DCU title in my opinion and I have been having a hard time letting go of DC titles.