Jan 042014
 

All New Marvel NOW Point One #1

-Ignore the goofy discrepancy of “Point One #1” and instead focus on the promising refresh of Marvel content present in this oversized issue!

-Like they did with Marvel NOW, this Point One issue is the easiest way to sample a handful of these new series without simply getting reprints of the first issue.  This oversized issue will contain entirely original content, content that will act as a prequel to the first issue of each represented character.

-The books that will be represented in this one shot include Dan Slott’s Silver Surfer, Al Ewing’s Loki: Agent of Asgard, Ms. Marvel, All-New Invaders, and two books that release on the same day, Black Widow and Avengers World.

-Each story featured within this issue will be drawn and written by the creators of their respected series, meaning quality shorts with no filler.

Avengers World #1

-Jonathan Hickman completes his trilogy of Avengers books with this third ongoing series.

-Stefano Caselli, a regular contributing artist to Hickman’s main Avengers book, returns to the characters as the main artist for this series.

-Hickman will separate this book from his other Avengers series by focusing on stand-alone arcs, not bogged down by Marvel Universe continuity or events.

-If you loved the space opera that was Infinity, then Hickman promises the same grand action and adventure in Avengers World.

Black Widow #1

-Character-centric is the name of the game for the All New Marvel NOW refresh, and Black Widow #1 is the epitome of that focus.

-Nathan Edmondson (Grifter, Who is Jake Ellis, Dancer), who helms the series, has made a reputation around writing smart, well researched espionage series, a talent which will benefit Widow’s secret agent agenda.

-Illustrated in Phil Noto’s gorgeous painterly style, Black Widow #1 emphasizes the grace and fluidity of Natasha’s acrobatics and abilities.

-Romanov is running solo in this series, freed from her Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. duties, as she searches for redemption from her past as a KGB assassin.

Detective Comics #27

-Superman‘s 75th year is over, now it’s The Dark Knight’s turn!

-DC Comics begins celebrating Batman‘s 75 years of existence with a bang in this extra long anniversary issue that shares its title and numbering with Batman‘s first appearance.

-In honor of the occasion, DC has pulled together an all-star cast of creators to contribute work, including Scott Snyder, Gregg Hurwitz, Guillem March, John Layman, Frank Miller, Mike Allred, Sean Murphy, Francesco Francavilla, and more!

-A major collector’s issue, Detective Comics #27 will feature a slew of variant covers by Frank Miller, Chris Burnham, Jason Fabok, and more.

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!

Apr 062013
 

Regular-sized Batman is cool and all, but Li’l Batman is where it’s really at!

Dustin Nguyen, artist extraordinaire known for his covers and interiors on Batgirl and Batman: Streets of Gotham, brings his painterly pencils and ability to cute the reader out of existence to the Batman universe.  Batman:  Li’l Gotham #1 is the beginning of a new ongoing series featuring short stories packed to the brim with tiny versions of every famous Gotham resident.  Think Charlie Brown noir.  The first issue is a cavalcade of holiday tales featuring Batman, Robin, The Penguin, and more.  If you’re kids having been begging for some Batman, but you’ve kept them away from Scott Snyder’s recent run for obvious reasons, Li’l Gotham is the answer.

Zombies.  Robots.  Aliens.

Generally, a combination of the above three creatures would be a bad thing.  In the case of IDW‘s The Colonized miniseries, it is actually a very good thing.  Written by Chris Ryall, the creator of Zombies vs. Robots, and graced with covers by the reclusive Dave Sim (Cerebus), The Colonized blends horror and sci-fi by dropping aliens into the middle of a zombie apocalypse.  A surviving member of a zombie resistance camp has his hands full when a spacecraft lands in the middle of town and a government agent begins pulling tricks in order to nab the compounds gun stash.  What follows is when there’s no leader for the martians to be take too.

Your mind is not your own.

Matt Kindt, the ingenious comic creator behind Revolver, 3 Story, and the Justice League of America back-up stories, has been writing one of the most unusual, inventive comics being published for the last year and few have noticed.  Now, that may be because one of the agents from the books has been blocking your interest to hide its secrets or it may be because it’s far outside the norm of mainstream comics.  Basically, Kindt has constructed an intricate world of espionage based around the Mind MGMT agency, a secret organization that uses mental powers to control the ebb and flow of history.  They can wipe your mind, insert memories, make you hate your lover, stop you (or themselves) from feeling pain, or plant subconscious suggestions in the media, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Kindt uses every last inch of the comic page to tell his story, even writing secret code in the margins and on the back cover of each issue.  This first hardcover collection includes the first six issues of the series…or maybe that’s just what it wants you to think?

The Fantastic Four have always been my least favorite Marvel team.

That is, until Matt Fraction took over the series with Marvel NOW!  For the last six issues, Fantastic Four has proven to be one of the best Marvel series on the stands right now.  And if you’ve missed these first issues, don’t fret because Fantastic Four v.1:  New Departure, New Arrivals comes out Wednesday.  Not only does this volume contain the first three issues of the  main Fantastic Four series, but also the first two issues of FF, the companion series.  This first arc involves the departure of Marvel‘s first family, as  Reed and Sue take their kids on a cosmic field trip, and their replacement by four stand-in Fantastics.  Fraction balances classic Marvel storytelling in Fantastic Four and post-modern wackiness in FF beautifully, offering two entirely different reads in one great package.

Mar 302013
 

Polarity may tell you that car accidents can cause superpowers, but, please, don’t believe it.

Do, however, enjoy the fictional psychedelically tale  that Say Anything frontman, Max Bemis, weaves in his Boom Studios miniseries.  Rule one of writing is to “write what you know”, and Bemis has taken that to heart in Polarity by focusing the story around a bipolar rocker who gets in a car wreck and finds his disorder is actually a special ability.  And if you’ve found you have superpowers and a rocker, you’re probably going to play your guitar with you mind and punch bad guys in their mugs.  You might also choose to include a special downloadable song with each issue.  

This next year brings with it a number of amazing looking video games, primary among them is The Last of Us.  Serving up some gorgeous post-apocalyptic New York landscapery, this game stars a teenage girl and a grizzled older man surviving against the elements and hordes of roving marauders.  Dark Horse‘s The Last of Us: American Dreams tells the tale of how the girl, Ellie, made it through the initial years of the apocalypse before she met her guardian.  Written by one of the creators behind the video game, this miniseries is an essential read before playing the game.

Sean Murphy produced the artwork for the surreal toyland adventure series Joe the Barbarian, showing the comic world how expressive, expansive comic storytelling is done.  Last year Murphy brought his scratchy style to Vertigo and the series Punk Rock Jesus.  Now, all six issues are out in a handy trade paperback presentation.  Religion and television are crammed together in the series as a cloned version of Jesus, named J2, becomes the star of a hit reality show.  How J2 affects those closest to him as well as the entire country, is what the series becomes interested in discussing.  Profanity, lewdness, vulgarity, and sacrilegious debauchery are the order of the day in Punk Rock Jesus, so pick it up if you dare.

Let’s be honest, everyone who saw The Avengers last summer loved it.  However, only about a third of those people understood who the purple-chinned dude was in the after credits scene.  No matter which person you are, you’re going to want to pick up Marvel‘s Thanos Rising miniseries.  Jason Aaron brings a hefty dose of the legendary epicness he’s been serving up in Thor God of Thunder to this soon-to-be-classic series detailing Thanos’ rise to power.  Brought to life not only by Aaron’s stellar words, but also Simone Bianchi’s tapestry-esque paneling; a painterly equivalent to Esad Ribic’s art on Thor.  Plus, this series will lead into the upcoming arcs of both Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova, two of the hottest Marvel NOW books on the shelves.

Mar 092013
 

Next Wednesday is made for those who’s diet is Wolverine deficient.

Whether your Wolverine is regular or Ultimate universe, Marvel has a Wolverine for you.

To begin, Paul Cornell (Doctor Who, Captain Britain & MI13, Knight & Squire, Demon Knights) and veteran artist Alan Davis merge their talents together to form one giant glob of SNIKTY SNIKTY awesomeness.  Wolverine #1 does manage to add a new angle to the Canuck that has been rare previously:  mystery.  Beginning with some ancient history where Wolverine made a decision that cost a kid his life.  And as every decision leads back to the present day for Logan, he won’t be able to escape or slice away the mistakes of the past.  Being the best there is at what you do isn’t always everything.

And if that isn’t enough adamantium for you, Ultimate Comics Wolverine #1 has two Wolverines for the price of one.

Primarily starring Jimmy Hudson, Logan’s son and current Wolverine, this new miniseries by Cullen Bunn (Sixth Gun, Helheim, Fearless Defenders), who’s got a load of good work coming out recently, follows Jimmy has he tries to uncover the origins of his birth.  The arrival of Jimmy into the Ultimate universe was crazy enough to begin with, now find out who and why he is what he is.

Okay, that’s enough Wolvy for one post.

Not to keep ragging on the snowmabunga from a couple weeks back, but it did cost us the shipment of a new Alan Moore League of Extraordinary Gentlemen story.  Until now.

Arriving slightly late, but nonetheless an important read, Nemo:  Heart of Ice is the most recent addition to the LoEG universe.  This graphic novel edition features a full 52 page story starring Captain Nemo’s daughter, Janni (introduced in LoEG Century), out on a mission to surpass her father’s legacy.  Venturing as far South as she can go, Janni is headed to Antarctica in search of valuables beyond belief.  But if one things sure it’s that valuables beyond belief will always lure more than one adventurer.  In the tradition of Moore’s previous League stories, expect literary references aplenty, always jam-packed in the back of every panel.  And if I was a betting man, I’d wager a story set in Antarctica might reference the infamous Lovecraft a time or two.

The word “Best” gets thrown around frequently in the world of comics (commonly by us), but there is one unequivocal “Best” comic being published at Marvel right now, and that is Hawkeye.

Or Hawkguy, if you know him well.

The Seinfeld of comic books, Hawkeye is all about what the emerald archer does on his days off from The Avengers.  Like installing cable, holding BBQs, fighting Russian mobsters, and rescuing dogs.  Dogs, by the way, who subsequently get named Pizza Dog.  Matt Fraction is doing the writing of his career on the series, making each issue a stand-alone story full of action, humor, and plenty of witty repartee.  Throw in the female Hawkeye (from Young Avengers), in a constant state of flirtation (did I mention she’s underage?), and you’ve got a duo that rivals and references the likes of Bogart and Bacall.  And if none of that sells you, just take a look at the impeccable art by David Aja.  Every issue is the best 70s crime movie you’ve never seen thanks to his gritty, minimalist style.

Bro, it’s first six issues in trade, bro.  Buy, bro. C’mon.