Mar 022013
 

Welcome to the bad old days.

The world is a pit of despair, Ultron is in charge, and there’s no hope for survival…except for a rag-tag bunch of heroes with a plan.  Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Emma Frost, Wolverine, Invisible Woman, Taskmaster, Beast, She-Hulk, and Moon Knight are the last ditch effort for the Marvel Universe to continue existing, but something tell’s me they may have a chance.  This dystopian future tale is THE EVENT for the Marvel Universe this year, with three issues coming out a month for the next three months.  And don’t worry about crossovers with other series, because they’ve been kept to a minimum and left as non-essential; read’em if you want, don’t if not.  With the mad puppeteer of Marvel, Brian Michael Bendis (All-New X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Scarlet), having worked on establishing the implications of this tale over the last four years, Age of Ultron is going to leave its mark.  And for a series that epic in scope you need an artist that can match the tone.  Luckily, Bryan Hitch (The Ultimates, America’s Got Powers) was able to lend his deft talent at cinematic realism to the book!  Don’t get left behind like so many did with Avengers vs. X-Men, pick up issue one of Age of Ultron, or one of its many variants, this Wednesday!

Cullen Bunn has managed to blend sci-fi, horror, and western genres in the long lived Sixth Gun series with ease.  Now Bunn is applying the same strategy to a tale of viking carnage!  Helheim begins with a brutal siege on a tiny, seaside village by forces of evil.  But standing between them and the meaty townsfolk is Rikard and his horde of viking warriors.  Though you might think you know where this story goes from there, you’d be surprised.  This is only the beginning.  Bunn just rocked Marvel NOW! with his first issue of Fearless Defenders (you know we’ve been talking it up at the store!), an issue which also featured some viking fisticuffs, and aims to do the same to Oni Press with the start of this new ongoing series.  When you blend gothic horror, witchcraft, and zombies, you get Helheim!

Searching for images of Joe Casey’s Sex #1 resulted in some awkward moments at the store.  Yeah….

One of this month’s Image Comics releases, advertises itself as “a good reason to come into the comic store – to buy SEX!” Though it may be crass, it’s true.  Joe Casey has written everyone from Wolverine to Batman to The Avengers to Spider-Man, but he’s never written anything as chock full of debauchery.  A former superhero is forced to give up his vigilante lifestyle only to take to the streets for some much needed R&R.  However in a town like Saturn City, R&R can get rather S&M.  Follow Simon Cooke on his dark, dirty journey through the recesses of a town gone wrong in a post-modern superhero tale unlike any other in comics today.

And finally tonight, another twist on a classic tale.

No Place Like Home was one of my favorite miniseries from Image Comics last year thanks to its intelligent, inventive reworking of the classic L. Frank Baum fable, The Wizard of Oz.  Dee is a rocker from the city, but a rural kid at heart who must return home to Kansas after the grisly murder of her parents during a tornado.  After getting home and rekindling friendships with old acquaintances, Dee stumbles into a decades old mystery that ties together her parents, the two sheriff, a local drunk, and…a flying monkey?  Comic newcomers Angelo Tirotto and Richard Jordan dropkick Judy Garland and replace her with a twisted slasher film sprinkle with famous imagery and characters from the classic tale.  Oh, Tirotto claims this is only the beginning of an epic arc that’ll take Dee all the way over the rainbow.

Dec 292012
 

Anything Finn can do, Fionna can do better.  And in knee socks.

The highly successful Adventure Time comic series gains another tie-in miniseries this Wednesday!  Written by co-creator and storyboard artist from the television show, Natasha Allegri, Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake brings the girl power!  Spinning out of a stand-alone episode where the regular protagonists, Finn and Jake, where gender bent into women, this miniseries gives them the spotlight for six whole issues!  As the previous Adventure Time series have sold out as fast as the Ice Queen sliding down a snowy slope, if you want a copy be sure to put your name on the pull before Wednesday or be at the store early!

Vampires have been the new hotness for quite some time now, but they’ve never been Marvel NOW!  Uh, until now.

With this week’s Morbius, the Living Vampire #1, another of Spidey‘s villains gets an empathetic make over.  After breaking out of The Raft prison in Spider-Man #699.1, Michael Morbius is attempting to find his inner good guy and satisfy his natural hunger.  Written by Joe Keatinge, up-and-coming author of Hell Yeah and Glory for Image Comic, the first issue showcases his unique blend of stylistic indy paneling and catchy, quick dialog as well as moody horror.  As is often the case, C-list characters commonly make for the best reads at the big two comic companies (for evidence, see Swamp Thing and Hawkeye), given that the writers have a leeway to put the characters through their paces in ways that the A-list characters can’t be.  Trust me, it won’t suck.  Except, you know, in the ways that a vampire book should.

The other Marvel NOW! release for this next week is Johnathon Hickman’s Avengers companion book, New Avengers #1. Like FF to Fantastic Four, this series will share characters with the main title, as well as some plot elements, making them a shared story, of sorts.  And if you’ve read Hickman’s first issue of Avengers or any of his Manhattan Projects series, you know he’s capable of giant sci-fi craziness and incredible plot twists, both qualities which he will bring to characters of New Avengers.  Starring The Illuminati, the secretive, behind-the-scenes puppet masters of the Marvel Universe, the series will feature Black Panther, Iron Man, Reed Richards, Namor, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, and Beast desperately struggling to halt the collision of two universes.  And fans of the New Universe concept of yesteryear should take note, as it’s rumored to return in this book.

Thanks to a little timey-wimey, wibbly-wobbly stuff, the third series of Doctor Who Character Builder Miniatures materializes in the store this Wednesday!  Yes, we know series two hasn’t arrived yet, but, you know, time travel.  Anyway, it really doesn’t matter as each set features different characters or key characters in unique costumes.  Set three includes the Doctor in his fancy green longcoat (circa season five), Amy with Silence marks on her face, an alternate universe Rory, River Song, an Ood, and many more (check them all out to the right).  Each figure is compatible with Lego’s, if you wish to build your own Doctor Who adventure set, or feel free to pick up one of Doctor Who Character Builder playsets currently at the store.

Nov 102012
 

You all better get used to hearing about Marvel Comics over the next couple of months, because Marvel NOW! is in effect.  Tonight we’ll highlight three of the five new Marvel NOW! series that start up this coming Wednesday, all of which are perfect jumping-on points for each of the book’s characters.

Since they’re the first family of the Marvel Universe, let’s start off with Fantastic Four #1.  Combining classic with current, Mark Bagley (Ultimate Spider-Man), a veteran of both Marvel and DC comics, lends his artistic talents to wordsmith Matt Fraction (Defenders, Fear Itself, Hawkeye, Immortal Iron Fist) for a fresh take on Marvel‘s oldest series.  Wanting to get away from the constant battles with Doctor Doom and Galactus, Reed and Sue Richards decide to take their family on a universe-spanning field trip.  The series will take a stand-alone approach to its issues, as the Fantastic Four land on a new planet or time period in each issue, getting into trouble each time as they try to teach Valeria and Franklin about the ins-and-outs of the galaxy.  And if you’re less of a reader and more of a collector, Fantastic Four #1 has variant covers in spades.  That’s a Scottie Young Baby variant, a Mark Bagley mural variant, a blank variant, and a couple more for good measure.

Brian Michael Bendis carved himself out a fairly comfortable niche in The Avengers corner of the Marvel Universe over the last ten years, so now it’s time for him to do the same with the X-Men.  All-New X-Men #1, his first X-Book, tells a story no other X-Men book has dared to tell before.  With the fallout of Avengers vs. X-Men, Cyclops and many of the original X-Men members are in drastically different positions from where they started, thus Beast decides to travel back in time, collect the original X-Men members, and bring them to the future to knock some sense into their present-day selves.  With art by the incomparable Stuart Immonen (Nextwave, Ultimate X-Men), All-New X-Men will look great and read crisply.

If you pick up only one of the Marvel NOW! series starting this month, pick-up Thor, God of Thunder.  Jason Aaron (Wolverine and the X-Men, Scalped, Ghost Rider), local writer, dares to tell a Thor epic to rival the classic tales of Walt Simonson.  A three-pronged narrative focuses on Thor of the past, Thor of the present, and King Thor of the future as all three versions contend with a threat the Asgardian has never faced before:  A serial killer of gods.  Along with Aaron’s time-spanning story, Esad Ribic’s (Silver Surfer: Requiem) painterly artwork turns the comic page into a mural, turning a simple comic book into a piece of mythology.  And since of book of this quality deserves it, variant covers abound, featuring artwork from Ribic himself, Scottie Young, and Daniel Arcuna.  Make yourself worthy of Mjölnir a pick up a copy.

Just as a reminder that there are other comic book publishers out there other than Marvel, let’s finish the night with a look at a new series from Image Comics.  Riding a wave of successful series like Manhattan Projects, Saga, Happy, and Revival, Image releases Great Pacific, a grand adventure in an unusual location.  Texas-born Chas Worthington is a trust-fund baby and a grade-A rich boy, inheriting the money of his oil baron father, but that doesn’t mean he has no principles.  Setting out to tackle a task unheard of in his social circle, Chas decides to eliminate the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating mass of trash that continues to build in the North Pacific Ocean (it’s a real thing).  Martin Morazzo’s extremely detailed artwork renders every bit of debris and filth that Joe Harris’ scripts describe, making this another Image book to admire.