Feb 092013

The best team is the one that doesn’t know it’s a team.

That’s the premise of Nick Spencer’s (Morning Glories, Thunder Agents, Thief of Thieves) new run on Secret Avengers.  Joining the Marvel NOW! line, Secret Avengers #1 builds the extremely covert team of Hawkeye, Hulk, Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Winter Soldier to send them on their mission.  And it does it with only one word.  Basically, every member of the team becomes activated by a single word, completes their mission, is told the word again, and walks off into the sunset blissfully ignorant of everything they just did.  It’s covert ops at it’s most covert.  And when it’s drawn by a master of the dark and gritty like Luke Ross, it’s practically so covert it’s not even there.  Or if you want a little more boisterous version, maybe the Skottie Young variant cover will suit you.

As Magneto said, villains it is then.

Uncanny X-Men #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo is all about the baddies.  Serving as the companion book to Bendis’ other X-Men title, All-New X-Men, Uncanny stars Cyclops, Magneto, Emma Frost, and a bunch of other good-for-nothings.  Unlike any other X-Men book before it, this time around it’s the Brotherhood of (Evil) Mutants in the limelight.  Now that Cyclops has assembled his team he’s on a mission to enact his vision of mutant dominance, one which he’s willing to carry out by whatever means necessary.

Since tonight’s list seems all about murdery murder, it seems only fair to let a female master assassin in on the mix.  Katana #1, spinning out of the soon-to-be-released Justice League of America, stars the widowed sword-wielding hired killer of the same name.  With her family’s souls residing in the very sword she uses to slay her enemies, the Soultaker, Katana has to be careful not to let its power and conscience forestall her mission.  Anyone reading Birds of Prey should be familiar with Katana‘s character and mission, as well as fans of the classic Outsiders series.  

Finally, for those who have been hanging on the edge of their seat since the release of the first New 52 Batman hardcover, the wait is over!  Batman: Night of the Owls continues the onslaught of The Court as they descend on Gotham in an effort to purge it of the social elite.  But Nightwing, Batgirl, Batman, Robin, and the rest of the Bat-Family may have something to say about that.  This thick hardcover edition comes packed with the entire Court of the Owls crossover, which includes Batman #8-9, the Batman Annual, Detective Comics #9, Dark Knight #9, Batwing #9, Batman and Robin #9, Red Hood and the Outlaws #9, Birds of Prey #9, Batgirl #9, Nightwing #8-9, and All-Star Western #9.  That’s a lot of Batman punching Talon action for a minimal price.

Mar 172012

New comic March continues this week with another onslaught of inventive Indy fair. Here’s the rundown:

-Dominique Laveau Voodoo Child: New Orleans, voodoo, and ghosts come together for this new Vertigo ongoing. Dominique, a young grad student, finds that she’s wanted by the magic community of New Orleans…for murdering their Voodoo Queen.

-Hoax Hunters: A take off of popular Ghost Hunting shows, this miniseries revolves around a team of reality TV personalities who hunt and explain mysterious creatures around the globe. Issue #0 focuses on a long lost Russian astronaut ghost. Creeeeepy.

-Ragemoor: In line with classic Gothic tales from Poe and Lovecraft, this new horror miniseries from legendary Heavy Metal artist Richard Corben focuses on a living mansion with an insane owner and an unholy secret.

-Rebel Blood: Riley Rossmo, artist of Cowboy, Ninja, Viking, lends his writing and illustrative talents to this Image Comics horror series where demonic, zombie creatures, both human and animal, are roaming the Southern landscape, chewing on the living.

-Rocketeer Adventures 2: Following in the same style as the first series, each issue of this miniseries contains short Rocketeer stories from the industry’s best writers and artists. With guys like Darwyn Cooke, Peter David, Art Adams, and Bill Sienkiewicz, creating new pulpy stories how can you go wrong?

-Smoke & Mirrors: Akin to the recent IDW series Memorial, this fantasy miniseries incorporates actual slight of hand and stage magic tricks into its tale of a lost soul in a world where magic has advanced past technology.

-Supercrooks: Mark Millar, the sensational author behind Kick-Ass, Nemesis, and The Ultimates, offers this new take on the supervillain. When a villain team from America feels the heat, they relocate to Spain for a little overseas badness.

Oh my Thanos! So, many comics!

And how ’bout some more?

Nick Spencer is a man of many talents. He can write zany, wordy alternate world hopping tales like Infinite Vacation while also being able to manage subtle, minimal spy books like Thunder Agents. And he can write political cape and cowl fair like a mofo! The new collection of Ultimate Comics X-Men will prove this to you. If you haven’t kept up with the Ultimate universe, one, this is a good book to get in on and, two, how about a little backstory? The X-Men are in tatters after most of the team has died (that’s Xavier, Wolverine, Cyclops, and others, folks) and the government is out for mutant blood. That leaves the ragtag team of Kitty Pryde, Wolverine’s son, Johnny Storm, Iceman, and Rogue to face off against William Stryker, the country’s most recent religious zealot who’s murdering mutants indiscriminately. Unlike any other X-Men book you’ve ever read.

Finally, let’s end the night with one of Vincent Van Gogh’s classic paintings: TARDIS Mid-Explosion. And if that doesn’t suit your refined tastes, maybe a Weeping Angel t-shirt will.

Feb 042012

Possibly you’re the kind of comic fan with refined tastes. You enjoy your caviar black, your bourbon warm, and your Rolls Royce.

If you share in respectable tastes such as those you might be inclined to pick up a copy of Thief of Thieves, a sequential periodical penned by two gentlemen of leisure known as Robert Kirkman and Nick Spencer. These two have earned the gentleman title through a succession of highly successful books, namely Walking Dead and Invincible for Mr. Kirkman and Morning Glories, Infinite Vacation, and Thunder Agents for Mr. Spencer. A classic heist scenario, Thief of Thieves is about a father who lives a secret life as a master thief…but maybe not for long, as the FBI is closing in. Sharpen your comic palette by giving Thief of Thieves a chance.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we have the first issue of Adventure Time. Based off the popular, trippy Cartoon Network show, Adventure Time the comic is written by Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics webcomic acclaim. The Land of Ooo will be torn asunder during the first few issues as an old enemy returns, ready to stomp all over the lives of Finn and Jake. It’s gonna be lumpin’ amazerin!

And now a little item for those in the audience enjoy the ability to drink.

Normally, a pint glass with Batman plastered on it would be reason enough to get excited and drop some bank, but what if I told you this one had a Batmobile on it too.

And the phrase, “Wanna come to my Bat Cave?”

And “Chicks dig the ride!”

I think the appropriate answer would be, “Holy Bat Glass, Batman!”

Lastly, tonight, a creator shift change for a great book that’s been flying under the radar lately.

That book is Secret Avengers, which has, of late, been written by Warren Ellis (If you haven’t picked it up, do so. Some of the best one issue stories I’ve ever read.), but will now be written by popular Venom and Uncanny X-Force writter, Rick Remender. Not only does the book get a writing make over, but a couple new members join the team, too. Namely, Captain Britain and Hawkeye. Wait one more issue and you’ll also get the added benefit of Venom joining the team. With Remender’s credentials from Uncanny X-Force, primarily in the violence and sensation aspects, this version of the Secret Avengers should be insane action all the time.

Nov 262011

Tonight we begin with you daily allotment of vitamin NS (Nick Spencer).

If you haven’t heard someone at the store discuss Morning Glories then you likely have filled your ears with concrete at some point.  Easily the most addictive mystery in comics right now, Morning Glories centers around a group of teenagers who are accepted into a seemingly docile academy, which reveals itself to be anything but.  The first two volumes of the book have been released as separate trade paperbacks, but if you haven’t picked them up yet, the new Morning Glories volume 1 hardcover is going to be the way to go.  Including both of the previous volumes, plus an abundance of extra material (covers, sketches, etc.), this is the ideal way to get accepted into Morning Glories Academy.

But wait, the doctor prescribes two doses of Nick Spencer a day!  In that effort, here’s the second “Must Get” Spencer trade for the week:  Thunder Agents volume 1.  Flying under the radar at DC before the New 52 relaunch, Thunder Agents is a refresh of a concept from the 70′s; a rather brilliant concept, at that.  Nearly a superhero version of the Suicide Squad, this team book is populated by normal individuals given the opportunity to wield superpowers and do “good deeds” for the government, but with the stipulation that the powers will slowly kill them.  Told through a Tarantino-esque, non-linear fashion, this book will keep you on your feet with narrative surprises at every turn.  And, another plus, the second volume begins in issue form the same day, so pick up the trade and then grab issue #1 of volume 2.

You’ve seen the movie.  You’ve watched the first episode of the new animated series.  Now it’s time to buy the first issue of the comic.  Branching off of the newest DC animated series, Green Lantern, the new Green Lantern: The Animated Series #0 drops this week.  Following in the fine fashion of previous animated adaptations (Young Justice, Batman: Brave & the Bold), this series will tell stories not told in the show, but starring the same characters and existing in the same universe.  Another check mark in the plus column comes from the talented writing team assigned to the book, Art Baltazar and Franco, who are the creative team behind the highly popular Tiny Titans series.

If you’re one of those unlucky folks who’s taunted and abused at school or work, I’m here to tell you those days are in the past.  How?  Why?  Because of what?

Two things.

Foremost, the new Walking Dead Lunchbox.  Why exactly does this metal display of Charlie Adlard’s gruesome artwork result in the elimination of your bullying?  Well, one, anybody who eats out of a zombie lunchbox has to be a little crazy and, two, when you fill it with Zombie Jerky, which you will tear apart with a ravenous hunger, no one will step foot anywhere near you for fear of cannibalistic maiming.

The second product to aid in your pain alleviation looks a little something like this.  Yup, that’s a foam version of Kratos‘ sword from the hit video game God of War.

Trust me, you come bursting into work or school swinging that bad boy wildly above your head, ain’t no person gonna think about calling you a Nancy boy no more.


Aug 052011

You’re looking to take a trip, ya say?  Wantin’ to get away from it all?  Ain’t nowhere’s betta than Spider-Island.  That’s right, Spider-Island, where everyone swings and slings all day long.  Red and blue your favorite colors?  You’ll fit right in!  Yes, indeedy, nowhere’s betta.

That rambling textual impersonation of a New Yorker was both offensive and informative as it created a perfect set-up for next week’s premiere of the Amazing Spider-Man event of the year, Spider-Island.  The proverbial feather in the cap of current Spidey scribe, Dan Slott, this event involves a mass outbreak of spider powers across New York City.  Everyone’s got them and Spider-Man is trying to reverse the whole while maintaining order.  Obviously, a bunch of Spidey’s buddies attempt to lend a hand, as is the case with the Cloak & Dagger tie-in series.  Written by hot new writer Nick Spencer (Morning Glories, Iron Man 2.0, Thunder Agents, I don’t know, probably the Bible, too) and drawn by equally hot artist Emma Rios.  Combining Spider-Man with Spencer and Rios creates a comic sandwich I want to sink my teeth into.

With weather like we’ve been having lately, a nice cool glass of ice water hits the spot. But something about normal cubes of ice just isn’t sitting right with me.  Something’s missing.  Oh, that’s it, they’re not in the shape of famous Star Wars characters!  But no worries, Pulp’s got you covered with the new Han Solo in Carbonite and R2-D2 Silicon Ice Cube Trays.  Yup, enjoy a cool glass of H2O or tea or that weird soupy stuff Jabba the Hutt drinks even more with Han Solo or R2 shaped cubes bobbing around in the glass.  May the drink be with you.

It’s hard describing statues.  I mean, really, all you have to do is look at a picture of any statue to figure out if you think it’s cool or not.  So, what more could I say to make you interested?  I could say that this new Jean Grey Bishoujo statue is the newest edition in a line of swanky female Bishoujo statues.  I could say that she stands over 8 inches tall.  I could say that her base has a rockin’ Blackbird firing a rocket mold going on.  But you can all see that by looking at the picture to the right.  Wow, why am I getting paid for this?

And now what you’ve all been waiting for, the Doctor Who portion of the post.  Because, lets be serious, it’s becoming a regular segment on these things.  Tonight we switch up the formula a bit by tossing out two new timelordy items.  The first could work in conjunction with the Star Wars Trays from above if you pleased, because it’s a Tardis Ice Bucket.  Keeps all your drinks that are bigger on the inside nice and cool.  Or transport them to the 17th century.

If you’re going to drink in style like that, though, you need to have a drinking buddy.  Sure, you could call your real friends, but who wants to talk to those guys?  Inside, pick up the 10th Doctor and Dalek Standups and never be lonely again.  Trust me, these guys have some good stories to tell…if they could actually talk, that is.