Jun 232012
 

The question is not “Who watches the Watchmen?”, but “Who reads the Before Watchmen?”.

The answer should be everyone, as, thus far, these miniseries have been phenomenal examples of masterful comic storytelling. If you’ve missed Minutemen, Silk Spectre, and Comedian, the beginnings of the first three miniseries, don’t worry, we’re getting a restock this Wednesday. Each series has been impressive due to their ability to explore different comic genres, golden age fisticuffs , romance, and espionage comics respectively, taking them out of the tonality of the original Watchmen story. With Nite Owl beginning this week, it’s a perfect time to pick up the first issues of the first four series.

Kick-Ass is easily one of the most violent, darkly humorous, twisted comics in recent memory and, no question, the character who sums that spirit up most completely is Hit-Girl. Taking place in between the events of Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, the new Hit-Girl miniseries explores the equation of Mindy + high school = offensive insanity. If you hadn’t notice, Mindy McCready isn’t quite like other girls her age, so surrounding her with scene kids and Bielibers results in awkwardness on an epic scale. With Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr., the original creators of Kick-Ass, behind it, Hit-Girl is going to kick you balls in and smack your mother upside the head.

Dan Abbnett and Andy Lanning, the bearers of the cosmic-y goodness at Marvel, bring their space opera talent to Boom! Studios with The Hypernaturals. Similar to the Green Lantern Corps, the Hypernaturals are a galactic peace keeping force who’ve actually lived up to their mandate. At least until they all disappear from existence. With everything going to pot, a group of new recruits and retired veterans must team up to put things right. If you enjoyed any of the Annihilation or Guardians of the Galaxy series, then think of Hypernaturals as their first cousin.

Finally, tonight, lets end on a note of pure cuteness. Brimming with huggability, the Hulk, Captain America, and Spider-Man Footzeezs are all made of terrycloth and, I’m assuming, rainbows, sunshine, and unicorn laughter. You’ll probably want to buy them all to make your soul happy.

Feb 252012
 

In your never ending quest for diamond, the Foam Minecraft Pick Axe is your best friend, but don’t let it distract you from the hissing sound of the Creeper running up behind you. For that, you’ll need the Foam Minecraft Sword. With both of these necessary life tools in tow, you’ll find yourself building towers of glass and combating all the mobs of the nether.

You’re sitting on your couch, reading this post, and you’re thinking, “I’ve read all the interesting Punisher stories. They can’t do anything new or inventive with him.” And you would be wrong. That’s because Greg Rucka can do no wrong. This first hardcover volume of the recently restarted Punisher series collects the first six gritty issues, each better than the last. Painting Frank Castle as a silent, stalking serial killer, Rucka enlivens the book while balancing it with a riviting police drama following the cops hot on his tail. Taking the best parts of Garth Ennis’ run on PunisherMAX and blending them with his procedural work on Gotham Central, Rucka weaves a Punisher tale with the best of them.

It’s already been presented here in a many number of forms, but the trade paperback collection of Key of Z is certainly the ultimate version. Collecting all four issues of the alternative zombie/revenge miniseries, this softcover volume stands next to any Walking Dead tpb out there. Centered in a zombie infested New York, Key of Z chronicles the struggle for control between three rival “houses” of survivors. Sadly, not everyone makes it out alive which starts Nick Ewing on a quest for vengeance against those who let his wife and child perish. Lucky he has a special harmonica that controls the undead. Written by prog rock god, Claudio Sanchez (Coheed & Cambria), this zombie yarn is bound to become a cult classic.

Finally, if you’ve been keeping up with Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain’s Carnage USA series and loving the painterly artwork and dark writing, you need to pick up the first volume, Carnage: Family Feud. Returning from the great beyond, Carnage unleashes a murderous rampage upon New York, forcing Iron Man and Spider-Man to come to the rescue. Wells has a knack for crafting Spider-Man tales as he’s currently writing Avenging Spider-Man and previously wrote for Amazing Spider-Man during Brand New Day, so he’s quite familiar with this neck of the Marvel Universe.