Welcome to the weekly previews for May 18th, 2011 here at Bloody-Disgusting.com! The truth is everyone would read all the books if they had the time and money, but in reality most of us don’t. Here you will find a little taste of some major comics being released each week, my take on them, and, as always, feels free to discuss below. Whether you have been into comics since you were a little one, or are new to the game, I’m here to help you decide which books are for you. I’ve picked out some comics I feel will stand out in the coming week and listed them under their respective publisher, with over a dozen previews of some of your favorite books. Read on for the skinny…
Alpha Flight #0.1
WRITTEN BY: Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Ben Oliver and phil Jimenez
“Because YOU demanded it: Exploding out of FEAR ITSELF with an all-new series is the ORIGINAL Alpha Flight by the superstar creative team of writers Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente and artist Dale Eaglesham — with covers by the incomparable Phil Jimenez! Get in on the ground floor of this highly anticipated maxi-series with this standalone adventure by artist X: Who are Guardian, Vindicator, Sasquatch, Snowbird, Shaman, Northstar, Aurora, and Marrina? How did they become their nation’s most beloved heroes? And are they strong enough to withstand their greatest challenge yet? DO YOU FEAR…YOUR COUNTRY TURNING ON YOU?”
Oh Canada! My Canadian pride comes in here again as one of the stranger hero-squads in the Marvel Universe, Alpha Flight, returns for Fear Itself. Marvel has been known to overdo the tie-in issues for their big events, often not living up to the standards set by the title series. However, this stand-alone issue seems to be one of the tie-ins Marvel does right. Let’s see how our favorite Canadian team of heroes resists Fear Itself.
Amazing Spider-Man #661
WRITTEN BY: CHRISTOS GAGE
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: ReIlly Brown
“GUEST STARRING AVENGERS ACADEMY! After his work with the new FF wraps for the week, what can the original teenaged superhero teach the worlds most at risk group of super-powered teens? Find out when Spider-Man substitutes at the Avengers Academy! But it’s far from a normal day at school when a field trip is interrupted by a vengeful PSYCHO-MAN armed with hate, doubt and fear! Guest starring the FF, Giant-Man… and the Malevolent Marvel Monster Mayhem of MONSTEROSO! Plus a ‘Day in the Life of Spider-Man’ by Paul Benjamin and Javier Pulido!”
Another quick writer change for Spidey this week, as he seems to be retiring his cool new white FF costume, at least for the time being. The previous two issues were some of the better books in the past few months for Spider-Man, despite the somewhat over-the-top conclusion. In all honesty I wouldn’t expect this filler issue to be that great, but let’s see what wise-words Spidey has for the youngsters at Avengers Academy.
WRITTEN BY: Brian Bendis ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Chris Bachalo
“The God of Fear has come to Earth and the only thing standing between it and world domination are Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! Can the Avengers stand against an evil older than time itself? Or will even the strongest heroes on the planet fall? Prepare to face Fear Itself! Plus: another chapter in the oral history of the Avengers!”
The fear is taking over! Another new arc for the avengers begins as Bendis brings them into the world of Fear Itself. Although the previous Avenger’s storyline was problematical at points, I expect the Avengers to be back in full form as they come face to face with the God of Fear this week. Hopefully Bendis will return to his typical writing style with potent dialogue and a gripping storyline. This will be one of the key series for the Marvel event!
Invincible Iron Man #504
WRITTEN BY: Matt Fraction MATT FRACTION
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Salvador Larroca
““FEAR ITSELF TIE-IN FEAR ITSELF reaches its hand deep into the heart of the City of Lights! Iron Man races to Paris, France, to encounter one of ‘The Worthy’ waiting there for him. How will the ultimate man of science react to a city turned to stone? And if that weren’t bad enough, the world is going mad as the avatars of the Serpent start their rampages. How resilient is Resilient? How strong is iron?”
Last week Iron Man witnessed the beginning of Fear Itself as he saw “The Worthy” hammers falling from the sky. Seeing as Matt Fraction is writing Fear Itself, Invincible Iron Man should be one of the books that fit extremely well within the event. The storyline will likely be one of the strongest as it places the mighty Gods against the highest technology Earth has to offer.
Other Marvel Comics Titles On Sale This Week…
“HULK” Issue #33
WRITTEN BY: Jeff Parker
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Gabriel Hardman
COVERS BY: Hardman, Ed McGuinness, and Greg Tocchini
“Two nightmarish new villains attack Red Hulk at his most vulnerable! After sleepless weeks on edge, Red Hulk is losing it fast. Perfect timing for enemies mounting separate attacks — and the deadliest comes from a dark horror restored to the world, known as Black Fog. Deadliest until the world-ender called The Omegex arrives!”
“THUNDERBOLTS” Issue #157
WRITTEN BY: Jeff Parker
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Kev Walker
COVERS BY: J.S. Rossbach
“Eastern Europe. Castles. Witches. Werewolves. Satana is having interesting effects on her team members, The Thunderbolts and now the daughter of Satan will lead them into the Occult! Back in the states, Songbird takes her initial crew of next Thunderbolts out to see how they work together. Hint: It’s not a good time to be in charge of Thunderbolts teams.”
WRITTEN BY: Tony Daniel
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Tony Daniel and Ryan Winn
“Two-Face is back! As an unknown villain targets Two-Face and other Gotham City crimelords for extermination, Batman discovers that Kitrina Falcone, a.k.a. “CATGIRL,” is next on the hit list! Can he save the junior mobster in time? And will helping Kitrina force Catwoman to get involved?”
Sadly Batman’s encounter with Azrael is done. But have no fear! Tony Daniel is returning to his rightful position at the helm of the Dark Knight this month as a new arc begins. While DC has made sure that all of the Batman writers for the past few years have been exceptional, Daniel has stood out among them and proven himself time and time again. I can’t wait to see what new villain Daniel has in store for Bats this time.
Batman and Robin #23
WRITTEN BY: Judd Winick
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Guillem March
“Jason Todd – Batman’s one-time sidekick, currently the anti-hero known as Red Hood – has been imprisoned in Arkham Asylum for the past several months. But after a period of good behavior, will a transfer to a lower-security prison mean reformation for Jason Todd . . . or is trouble waiting in the wings for Batman and Robin? Don’t miss “The Streets Run Red” part one of three!”
If you haven’t been following this one, this is a great jump-on-board point. Since the infamous Grant Morrison started the series over a year ago, Batman and Robin has consistently been one of the best books on the shelf despite writer changes. The series offers a great combination of new plotlines and villains, while also giving an in depth look at the relationship between Dick and Damian. Although Damian can be a little brat, his highly questionable actions and moral ambiguity create a wonderful dynamic between himself and Grayson.
Batman: Gates of Gotham #1 (of 6)
WRITTEN BY: Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Trevor McCarthy
“When a mystery as old as Gotham City itself surfaces, Batman assembles a team of his greatest detectives – including Red Robin, Owlman, I-Ching and others – to investigate this startling new enigma. As clues are discovered and the mystery deepens, Batman’s team soon finds itself on a journey that explores different eras in Gotham’s history and touches upon notable Gotham families including the Waynes, Kanes, and Elliotts. This miniseries spins out of recent events in the Batman titles and sets the stage for several exciting storylines in 2011. Additionally, this limited series touches upon mysterious story elements introduced in Grant Morrison’s RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE. Featuring many exciting Batman Family guest stars!”
Of all the Bat-books coming out this week, this is the one you won’t want to pass up. If you missed out on Battle for the Cowl, and The Return of Bruce Wayne, don’t be a sucker and miss this one too. Gates of Gotham will play out over several eras as the team tries to figure out exactly why Gotham became a hub for darkness and crime in the world. Both Snyder and Higgins have expressed that they want Gotham to feel like a character in this mini-series, changing along with the he who wears the cowl. Expect this one to dig deep down into the dark past of Gotham as Dick Grayson struggles to change the present. A must read if you plan on following Batman in the coming year.
The Flash Omnibus By Geoff Johns Vol. 1 (Hard Cover)
WRITTEN BY: Geoff Johns
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Angel Unzueta, Doug Hazlewood, Scott Kolins, and Ethan Van Sciver
“The first in a series of hardcover volumes that collect all of the best-selling issues of THE FLASH written by comics superstar Geoff Johns, beginning with issues #164-176, plus THE FLASH: OUR WORLDS AT WAR #1, THE FLASH: IRON HEIGHTS and THE FLASH SECRET FILES #3!
In this volume, Wally West finds himself without his super speed in a darker, mirror version of Keystone City. Can a powerless Flash defeat Captain Cold and Mirror Master to save the city he loves? Plus, The Flash is shocked to learn that a strange cult is killing all the people he has ever rescued. Featuring art by fan-favorites Ethan Van Sciver, Scott Kolins and more!”
Yeesh, 75 bucks! While the cover price for this trade is quite hefty, it combines the BEST Flash stories told over the past few years, written by none other than the man, the legend, Geoff Johns. If you want to read Flashpoint over the next few months and have not read much about the Flash, you will definitely want to pick up this novel of nearly 500 pages (if your wallet can handle it).
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja Vol. 1: Night Powers (Trade Paperback)
WRITTEN BY: Chris Hastings and Benito Cereno
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Les McClaine and Chris Hastings
“What’s better than an evil unicorn motorcycle, monster gang wars, a tennis match against a god of destruction, and bandidos on velociraptors? Yeah, we couldn’t think of anything, either! Award–winning cartoonist Chris Hastings teams up with Dark Horse Books to bring his smash–hit webcomic to print with the first three full–color story arcs of Dr. McNinja, as well as an exclusive–to–print story by Benito Cereno and Les McClaine.”
I’ll be the first to admit it; the plotline for Dr. McNinja is absolutely absurd! But sometimes absurdity makes for the best stories. This one brings back all those ridiculous things you wanted to be when you were young (and secretly still want to be). Any doctor-ninja who rips around the streets on a motorcycle fighting off monsters is pretty damn awesome in my books. In spite of the wacky plotline, the beautiful black and white art grounds the book, as much as it could possibly be grounded at least.
30 Days of Night TP Collector’s Set with Slipcase
WRITTEN BY: Steve Niles
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Ben Templesmith
“Set in a large European city, The Devil’s Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith’s vampiric nightmare has been hailed as one of the scariest blood-sucker tales ever told.
Now you can collect all three softcover volumes of 30 Days of Night, Dark Days, and Return to Barrow, in one handsome slipcase!”
IDW is re-releasing 30 Days of Night in single monthly issues, however, if you can’t wait for those, then this collector’s set is calling your name. I praised the series last week as being one of the most important tales in recent horror comics, and I’ll say it again. It’s one of the creepiest vampire tales out there. Set in remote Alaska during a period of 30 days without sunlight, this blood-sucking tale will give you some serious chills.
Last Mortal #1 (of 4)
WRITTEN BY: John Mahoney and Filip Sablik
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Thomas Nachlik
“Alec King is a born loser. A small time criminal who has never succeeded at anything in life and whose fear of failure has crippled him. When his only friend, Brian, the brains and charm of their two-man operation, convinces Alec to help him with a hit contract on a mayoral candidate his life unravels to rock bottom. But sometimes we need to hit rock bottom to begin the climb towards a better day…”
Another of Image’s new mini-series hits the shelves this week. The cover and title make it seem like a post-apocalyptic tale about that last man on earth…but it’s not. Last Mortal tells the story of a troubled youth who has hit the end of the line and decides to call the quits on his life. While suicide is always a touchy subject, Last Mortal looks to be offering a hopeful twist on the eternal question, “to be or not to be”.
Super Dinosaur #2
WRITTEN BY: Robert Kirkman
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Jason Howard
“ALL-NEW FROM ROBERT KIRKMAN & JASON HOWARD! At long last, Max Maximus makes his move! Super Dinosaur and Derek Dynamo find themselves face to face with the most fearsome foe they’ve ever faced… and that’s only if they don’t freeze to death first! This issue can’t be missed, just like every issue of SUPER DINOSAUR!”
Kirkman’s praise in recent years for Walking Dead has left everyone wondering what was next for the celebrated writer. Free Comic Book Day gave us a taste of his newest series, Super Dinosaur. Unfortunately, it was sour. The title itself is pretty bad and the first issue wasn’t Kirkman’s best work to say the least. However, knowing Kirkman’s slow-to-start writing style, I somehow still have some hope for a dinosaur in a Mega Man suit.
Hellblazer #279 (MR)
WRITTEN BY: Peter Milligan
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Giuseppe Camuncoli and Stefano Landini
“Our newly married urban mage doesn’t know it, but his niece, Gemma, blames him for a brutal assault. Now she’s planning a suitably demonic revenge – and she’s dangerously out of her depth. Meanwhile, Constantine’s got himself a new thumb – but any pleasure this might bring him is cut short when his young wife reveals a terrible secret. Well, what did he expect? That married life would be one long honeymoon?”
It may be no surprise that this is the Vertigo book with the highest issue number. John Constantine is a bad-ass magician with a highly suspect moral code, making him one of the most interesting protagonists in modern comics. Perhaps you have heard of the film based on the series, Constantine starring Keanu Reeves? Yeah, Hellblazer is nothing like that. If you have not read any of Constantine’s adventures, then go right now and pick up the first collected issues. Simply put, Alan Moore created it, how can you not want to read it?