Apr 132013
 

The mind can be a prison.

That’s the premise of Marvel NOW‘s X-Men Legacy series.  Written by the psychedelic pen of Si Spurrier (Gutsville, X-Club), X-Men Legacy follows in the footsteps of other C-List character-centric books like Immortal Iron Fist, Hawkeye, and Fearless Defenders by focusing on Charles Xavier’s son, Legion.  Formerly a schizophrenic super-villain, Legion has now found his inner peace by entrapping his numerous vile personalities in a brain prison.  Yes, brain prison.  This out-of-the-ordinary series is one of the most unusual, pleasing reads at Marvel right now, primarily because Spurrier is unafraid to venture into the weird realms of the X-Men universe.  The volume one trade paperback features the first six issues as well as a mound of mental distress.

Science = bad.

That’s the prime equation for Jonathan Hickman’s Manhattan Projects.  If you picked up the first collection of this psychotic series, you’re well aware of Hickman’s brilliance and the utter depravity of the scientists involved therein.  If you didn’t, the basic premise is that the Manhattan Project was a mere cover for what was actually occurring, i.e. time travel, alien encounters, robots, cybernetics, and vast A.I. computer systems.  From there Hickman throws in a slew of mentally unstable geniuses like Einstein, Oppenheimer, and Fenyman, each of which are hiding a dark secret, and you’ve got the madhouse pot boiler that is this series.  Now, volume two is being unleashed upon the unsuspecting public, this time with more alien disemboweling, evil FDR, and Russian cosmonaut dogs with machine guns.  Science = bad, Manhattan Projects = good.

Think bigger.

That’s Jonathan Hickman’s mandate for his recent relaunch of The Avengers.  Not has crazy as Manhattan Projects, Hickman’s Avengers has been all about expansion.  Spinning out of the Marvel NOW relaunch, this first volume of Avengers collects issues one through six, wherein Captain America puts out the call for new members in order to fight back a godly force on Mars.  All of this is building up to figuring out the original recipe for the universe.  This version of the Avengers moves far, far away from the Bendis era, with grand, epic adventures and huge comic book imagery!  Given that Jerome Opena (Uncanny X-Force) lends his fluid pencils to the affair, this is THE Avengers book to read if you loved the movie!

While the Avengers are fighting baddies on Mars, they are not, in fact, fighting the aliens from Mars Attacks!  However, nearly everyone else is!

IDW continues its annual tradition of crossover miniseries where some evil force ventures into the various property universes the company owns.  Previously, its been zombies and Cthulhu fighting the likes of GI Joe, Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the Transformers (Infestion v.1-2; check’em out!), but this time around it’s the Mars Attacks! martians versus the IDW universe!  Mars Attacks IDW includes each of the one-shot volumes released, featuring KISS, Transformers, Ghostbusters, Zombies vs. Robots, and, the best of the bunch, Popeye!  Each issue is drawn and written in a style appropriate to the character so, for instance, the Popeye issue looks like a 40s era golden age book being invaded by twisted, murderous aliens.  And the only thing standing in their way is a can of spinach and one pissed off sailor!  If you never thought you’d see such insane crossovers, your mind will melt when you lay eyes on this trade paperback volume!

Jun 022012
 

Whether you love the idea or despise it with a passion, the first of the Before Watchmen prequel books launches this Wednesday.

I know there are haters out there, but in an attempt to counter the arguments against Before Watchmen, allow me to make a few points.

1. Alan Moore made his career off of working on other people’s characters: Swamp Thing, Superman, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen characters, and the Charlton characters (who the Watchmen were based off).

2. The line-up of creators assigned to these books is one of the most impressive creative bodies I’ve ever seen. Especially, with Minutemen, the first book, which is written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke. Cooke does not release that much material, but when he does we get exceptional works like DC New Frontier and the Parker series of graphic novels.

3. Comics are all about re-interpretation. If creators weren’t allowed to work on characters invented by different authors we would never have the great body of Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman, Green Lantern, and so forth, stories we do today. Personally, I’m thrilled to see other, talented writers and artist offer their interpretations of Alan Moore’s creations.

So, I recommend sampling each of the miniseries. I know I will be.

There’s been a ton of alien invasion stories propagating various media over the last couple years, but not too many where they aliens actually win. And there are NONE where the only only surviving resistance against them are two super powered individuals, one a villain and one a hero. This is the premise of Boom Studios! new ongoing series, Extermination. Written by novelist and wackadoo comic writer Simon Spurrier (X-Club, Gutsville), Extermination is going to be a back-to-the-wall action-adventure book with some smartly written dialog and conflict. Plus, the first
issue is only a $1.

Speaking of cheap first issues, popular (and accurate) comic rumors and news website, Bleeding Cool, is launching Bleeding Cool Magazine this week for only $1.49. Filled to the brim with the same scoops, articles, analysis, and factual reporting you’ve come to respect. Unlike most comic news websites, Rich Johnson has inside industry connections, which makes causes most of his scoops to be accurate. If you’ve been missing Wizard Magazine, Bleeding Cool Magazine is a superior replacement.

For all of the Kevin Mellon followers out there (and I know the store has a bunch), his next project releases this Wednesday. As usual with Kevin, it is a unique experience unlike any other book on the shelves. Creator Owned Heroes is a new comic experiment, offering two individual stories bridged by interviews, pictures, sketches, and other extras, all for $3.99. Before Kevin’s story, there is Trigger Girl 6 by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey (All-Star Western, Jonah Hex) and Phil Noto about a genetically engineered, hottie assassin. Filling out the issue is American Muscle, a wasteland, post-apocalyptic actioneer reminiscent of Road Warrior and Mellon’s freshman book, Gearhead. Topping that flambe of awesome off is an interview with Neil Gaiman as well as cosplay photos of Trigger Girl 6. That’s like a pound of comic-y goodness, folks.

Jan 282012
 

Magic the Gathering, now in comic flavor.

Yup, coming with special playable promo cards, the new Magic the Gathering series from IDW will not only give its readers free swag, but the tale behind the Planeswalkers and worlds of the famous CCG. Collect all four issues to follow the story and acquire each of the limited edition cards featured in the book.

If you enjoy your comic series inventively insane, then you’re in luck with the new Xombi trade paperback. John Rozum spins a yarn full of regenerating superheroes, shrinking nuns, undead trick-or-treaters, floating skull-shaped islands, and bad@$$ Rabies. If those ideas alone don’t hook you, a little background information might. Xombi is a lazy, slacker vigilante who gets drawn into a world of mystical hi-jinks revolving around the chase for a lost fortress in the sky. But the piece de resistance of this little miniseries is the artwork. Completely illustrated by Frazer Irving (Gutsville, Batman & Robin, Return of Bruce Wayne, etc.) in his famous painterly style, this book is simply gorgeous!

Though the Superman Ice Cube Trays from a couple weeks ago are sweet, but the primary question I get asked about them is, “Do they make a Batman one?”

Usually I just guess and say, “Yeah, probably, but it’s not out yet.” Well, the guessing is over. As of this Wednesday, there will be Batman Ice Cube Trays in the world. Of course, that also means they will disappear about as fast as they appear.

Finally, we’ll end with a little moment of statue zen. Enjoy.