Feb 022013
 

Andy Diggle and Jock, the superstar creative team behind Green Arrow Year One and The Losers (which is a thousand times better than the film, by the way), lend their talents to a new creator owned series from Image Comics this Wednesday.  Blending political thrillers, Clerks, and gritty noir storytelling, Snapshot is a four issue miniseries bound to thrill you more than once.  When an lifelong nerd employee of a comic store (this is sounding familiar…) finds a cellphone full of grisly images of someone’s murder, he has no other option than to run as fast and as far as he can.  But it’s never that easy is it?  If you’ve been enjoying the sketchy, moody artwork of Jock in the Batman back-up stories or in Scott Snyder’s previous Detective Comics run, The Black Mirror, then Snapshot is your cup of tea.

Sorcery receives a modern update in Top Cow‘s Son of Merlin miniseries.

Building off of the classic Arthurian figures of myth, Son of Merlin picks up when a respected professor of science finds out he’s actually the descendant of the famous wizard, Merlin.  And, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but science and magic don’t exactly see eye-to-eye.  However, before the good doctor can think through his new predicament, he’s being hounded by the immortal Morgan le Fay.  But there’s a whole secret underground society of ancient magic users that might just be willing to come to his aid.  Drawn in the gorgeous, expressive tradition of the famous Top Cow books to come before it like Fathom, Charismagic, and Witchblade, Son of Merlin will cast its spell over you.

I say, my dear Watson, the zombie is a foot!

Though not strictly a Sherlock Holmes versus zombies story, The New Deadwardians is about the closest to it you’ll ever get.  Written by cult favorite author and comic legend Dan Abnett, this post-Victorian England horror/mystery yarn takes places in an alternate reality where, after a zombie infection spread throughout the population, the majority of the remaining English citizens had to submit to becoming vampires in order to fight them off.  Now, it’s the vampires who’ve becoming the upper-class aristocracy while the zombie population are cordoned off on the outskirts of town.  Chief Inspector Suttle, a forever young himself, is tasked with solving a grisly crime, the first in nearly a decade, during a growing zombie uprising.  It’s all elementary from there.

Love is in air for the DC Universe this Wednesday.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day a week early, DC releases its most romantic anthology yet, the Young Romance DC New 52 Special.  Containing six unique stories of famous DC couples like Aquaman and Mera, Midnighter and Apollo, and Catwoman and Batman spending their special day together in the only way superpowered crime fighters can, as well as stories of Wonder Woman, Dick Grayson, and others coming to terms with the relationships they’ve entered into.  Each of the stories is written and drawn by a talented creator, like Andy Diggle, Gene Ha, Ann Nocenti, Kyle Higgins, Becky Cloonan, and Peter Milligan.  And for those old school romantics, the issue comes with usable Valentine’s Day cards.  Oh, amore!

Dec 222012
 

Tonight’s topics of discussion where easy to choose, because I’m, literally, going to mention every book that comes out next week.  Thank the holidays, folks.

First up, the most prominent of all the releases is the 700th issue of Amazing Spider-Man.  It is also the last.

As some of you might know (by either reading the book or a comics news site in the last three months) Peter Parker has been having a rather bad time lately.  Doc Ock has swapped brains with Peter, only moments before the his own death, leaving Peter with minimal options of escape.  Having managed to survive, Peter as Ock, calls on the Sinister Six to aid him in returning his brain to his body.  #700 picks up from there, answering the dire question of whether Peter can return his consciousness to his body before the one he’s in gives out.  Trust us, True Believers, if you thought the twist ending of AMS #698 was a doozy, your brain with self-destruct over this one.  Truly an event that will change the course of the Spider-Man universe for the foreseeable future.  And, if you’re the collector type, the issue ships with multiple variant covers by Humberto Ramos, Marcos Martin, and more, each celebrating the many decades of web-slinging that has lead to issue #700.

Avenging Spider-Man 15.1 is the only other book that comes out from Marvel this holiday week, adding an important epilogue to the landmark issue.

On the DC front, the first massive crossover between the Justice League and Aquaman series begins, with Justice League #15 and Aquaman #15.  Both issues also come with their own variant covers (like the one pictured on the right).  And what has drawn these two flagship DC titles together, besides the mutual presence of the King of the Seas?  As Aquaman has been away from Atlantis since he was a young boy, his half-brother, the Ocean Master, has ruled in his stead.  But now Arthur wants his throne back.  This Grecian-esque power struggle will rage across land and sea, drawing in the other heroes and villains of the universe, including the newly created creatures known only as The Trench.  As Geoff Johns writes both series, expect a tightly controlled, character-driven event kept lively by sprawling battles.

DC also finishes up another of the terrific Before Watchmen series this week, with Nite Owl #4.

With the big two out of the way, let’s focus on the artistic world of creator-owned independent comics.

And by that I mean a balls-to-the-wall smash’em up extravaganza known as Deathmatch!  Written by Paul Jenkins (Sentry, Hellblazer, Thunderbolts), Deathmatch may remind you of the Hunger Games, Battle Royale, Running Man, Civil War, and, oh, possibly that recent Dennis Hopeless title Avengers Arena.  Basically, a bunch of superheroes are trapped by a villain of unknown origin and told to murder one another to get free.  Not a new concept, but one that will be taken to its most violent conclusion by this series; if Avengers Arena is the character-driven version of this premise, Deathmatch is the gorey, all-fights-all-the-time version.  And issue #1 is only a $1.00!!!!

Brian Wood, author of such politically-motivated, socially conscious series as DMZ, Local, and The Massive (Plus the upcoming Star Wars series from Dark Horse), tackles the topic of celebrity worship with his new Image miniseries, Mara. Starring a young woman, who’s already world-famous from her exceptional physical prowess as an athlete, spontaneously manifests superhuman abilities on live television.  As the only superpowered individual in the world, Mara immediately becomes the center of global attention.  Things don’t play out so well from there.

And that’s the entirety of next week’s comics, folks!  Happy holidays!

Sep 012012
 

Marvel and DC may be the big two, but, over this last year, they’ve lost some considerable ground to Image Comics. Largely that’s due to Image publishing The Walking Dead, but the publisher has also been gaining ground in “among of books published”. What’s most shocking is that, with this rise in titles, the quality of each book has not faltered from any where below excellent. Two of the books that have contributed to these two factors are coming out in trade paperback form this Wednesday. Allow me to introduce you.

Thief of Thieves is the best heist movie you’ve never seen. It also happens not to be a movie, but a comic. And it’s created by Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead). And it’s written by Nick Spencer (Morning Glories). Not surprisingly it is a quick-witted, snappy, twisty read that uses pacing and panel arrangement to the full effect of the medium. The first collection comes out this Wednesday and contains the first six issues.

Manhattan Projects is what everyone wishes history was like. An alternate retelling of the experimentation that lead to the creation of the atomic bomb, Manhattan Projects (written by Jonathon Hickman (Fantastic Four)) stars the likes of Albert Einstein, Joseph Oppenheimer, FDR, Harry Truman, and a bunch of other famous people you thought were scientists but are actually psychopaths. Plus, the atomic bomb isn’t all these geniuses are playing with; inter-dimensional gateways, robot samurai, aliens, and alternate realities all make an appearance. Each issue will have you picking your jaw off the floor repeatedly as shock after shock keeps the story moving.

Alan Moore has never had kind words for those who’ve adapted his work to film, but there was a time when he wrote his own movie. During 1985, only a year before Watchmen hit the shelves, Moore wrote a sprawling modernization of Beauty and the Beast, dubbed Fashion Beast, with the intention of it being produced as a movie. This never happened. But now, Avatar Press has acquired Moore’s approval and oversight to adapted his script into a ten issue comic series. So, if you want to read a fairy tale as only Alan Moore can tell it, you need to stop by Wednesday and grab yourself a copy of Fashion Beast.

Let’s get one thing clear: He does not talk to fish!

The “he” in that sentence is, of course, Aquaman. There are few other characters in the DC universe (or Marvel, for that matter) who are ridiculed and satirized as much as Aquaman. Well, Geoff Johns is here to make anyone who’s ever made a “Hello, little fish” joke eat crow. This first collection of the New 52 Aquaman series brims with intelligent retooling of the character’s backstory, now focusing on character moments instead of broad strokes, as Aquaman and his wife Mera attempt to control an invasion of undersea creatures known as The Trench. These creatures are not simple fishies, they’re more like walking piranhas. If Johns is good at anything, he’s good at giving readers reasons to love his protagonists and fear his villains, traits that he brings to play in this exceptional first volume of everyone’s favorite punching bag, Aquaman.

Jan 212012
 

Last night we had a special guest host in the form of Game Stuff Robot, but tonight we will be talking about his extended family. Who also, as it goes, have the ability to speak.

That’s right, if you think genocidal trash cans who want to conquer the universe are just the cutest thing around, then you’re going to love snuggling with the Red Dalek Plush. Not only is he/she/it(?) lovable as hell, but also quite vocal. With familiar phrases such as “EXTERMINATE!”, “YOU ARE AN ENEMY OF THE DALEKS, YOU MUST BE DESTROYED!”, and other exclamatory phrases such as that. Share your love with an plunger-handed alien today!

IDW really needs to contact an exterminator, because they are infested again. If you read the first series (Infestation) where a number of IDW‘s famous characters faced off against zombies, then you’ll be prepared for this go around where they battle Cthulhu and his minions. But who are the “they” this time around? Well, the Transformers and G.I. Joes return (this time from the famous Heart of Steel universe), but are joined by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Danger Girls, characters from the Dungeons & Dragons universe, and 30 Days of Night. Not sure about you, but I can’t even imagine the epicness of all these characters crossing over with one another!  You’ll just have to pick up Infestation II #1 to prove to your brain it’s real.

Speaking of epic awesomeness, the new hardcover collection of Geoff Johns and James Robinson’s oft forgot Hawkman run hits shelves Wednesday. Though the book doesn’t get mentioned in the same breath as JSA or Green Lantern or Justice League, it should be. Johns and Robinson both delve into Hawkman‘s backstory, streamlining it, and setting him against ancient evils and buried baddies. With artwork from Rags Morales (New 52′s Action Comics), Hawkman pops with violent, emotive visuals along with the Indiana Jones-esque story lines. If you’ve enjoyed what Johns has been doing on Justice League or Aquaman currently, then you should check the origin of his writing style in the Hawkman Omnibus.

Finally, tonight, possibly the book I’m more excited about than any other this year, the first volume of the new ongoing Avatar the Last Airbender comic. Dark Horse is choosing an unusual, yet fitting, format for this book by releasing them as thick digest volumes over the next couple of months. This first volume is called The Promise (Part 1 of a trilogy) and it catalogs events that occur after the end of the series involving Aang, Katara, Sakka, and Zuko working to keep political unrest at a minimum for fear of starting another war. These stories will all bridge the gap between the old series and the new Legend of Korra sequel to premiere on Nickelodean this year. If you’re a fan of the show like me, then you’ll just be happy to feed your addiction for Avatar material, no matter the format.

Oct 222011
 

Jason Aaron is a busy man.

Not only did he just finish a phenomenal X-Men miniseries in Schism, begin his downhill sprint toward the end of hailed Vertigo series Scalped, and continue to pump out issues of Wolverine like it’s a breeze, but, this week, he begins writing two new series, Incredible Hulk and Wolverine & the X-Men.

Wolverine & the X-Men follows the events of Schism, where Cyclops and Wolverine separated the team in two, with Logan taking his recruits back to X-Manor in Westchester.  Anyone who’s read Aaron’s Wolverine knows he has a lock on the character beyond compare!  He also has a perchance for putting him through some weird, unexpected paces that result in Wolverine stories you’ve never seen before.  All of this is build up to me saying that, with Aaron and Chris Bachalo on the book, this is a must by!

The second Jason Aaron joint this week comes in a mean, green, don’t-make-him-angry package.  This is, of course, the new Kermit the Frog ongoing series!  That would have worked better if I hadn’t said Incredible Hulk in the first paragraph.  Anyway, tag-teaming with superstar artist Marc Silvestri, Aaron is dividing the equation by separating Banner from the Hulk.  Looking for peace, the Hulk relocates to Moleman city, but do you think the words Hulk and peace can coexist together?  With luck, Kermit will be coming next month.

Unless you want to hop aboard the cosmic treadmill and transport yourself back in time to the summer, the easiest way to catch up on the recent Flashpoint miniseries from DC is to pick up this week’s hardcover edition of it.  I know there are a lot of people out there who like to wait for a collection on a series like this (I think that can be a smart move) and Flashpoint is, certainly, one you should wait no longer for.  For one thing, if you’re reading any of the New 52 books and want to see where that creepy cloaked lady came from and how the universe was reset, this is the series that did it.  Outside of that, though, this is simply a well written event.  When you’re dealing with an alternate reality where Batman is a different person, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are villains, Superman is a skinny, pale science experiment, and no one knows how it got that way, you know you’re in for a crazy fun ride.    

Okay.  Heavy stuff’s outta the way.  Time for things like Teriyaki Zombie Jerky.

Did I just type that?  Checking, checking, checking.  I guess I did.

Well, what more can you say?  It’s green, it comes in a hazardous waste bag, and it’s apocalypse size.

Oh, and it’s made from real zombie.

Alright, that’s a lie.

Real zombie by-product.

Who’s dressing up for Halloween?  No, I’m not talking to the Internet people, I’m talking about Zatanna!  AME COMI gets into the holiday spirit (Spirit, ghost, get it?  Joke?) with a variant version of their previously released Zatanna PVC statue.  As you can see, she’s changed her color scheme a bit, as well as changing up what she’s pulling out of her trusty top hat, but overall, she’s still the same classy, quality statue from before.

Hey, at least she doesn’t have fishnets on her arms.

Too soon?