COMICS TO FEAST ON: Week Of August 17th 2011

Welcome to COMICS TO FEAST ON, which is a slightly altered version of the usual Pull and Hold. Rather than cramming so many previews down your throat that you barely breathe, I’m going to give you my ten most anticipated books of the week. So feast your eyes on these!

With the ever-increasing number of books coming out between the tie-ins, the crossovers, and the new series, we’ve got to limit our list of comics for the week somehow. Rather than focus on every major comic hitting the shelves I’ll narrow it down to ten books that stand out from the rest. Whether you’ve been into comics since you were a young’un, or you’re new to the game, I’m here to help you decide which books to read. If we’ve left out anything important, let us know what you’re stoked for in the comments. Read on for the skinny…

helblazschism3 The Walking Dead #88

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WRITTEN BY: Robert Kirkman
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn
PUBLISHER: Image
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: ”Every day, it becomes a little bit easier.”

The Feast: Not only is it rare to have a writer stay on board for so long, but also to have such solid consistency across every arc. Recently, the murder (or injury) of beloved characters (Carl) has upset fans to a point of outright cursing Kirman’s name, and this really only goes to prove one thing. As a writer, he has created characters so vivid, so defined, and so lovable that their deaths seem almost real. If you haven’t been reading this series, it offers a compelling look at what life would be like during an apocalypse, and really focuses on the characters rather than blasting zombies (though there is a fair share of it). If you read one book, and one book only, make it TWD.

Venom #6

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WRITTEN BY: Rick Remender
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Tom Fowler
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: ”SPIDER-ISLAND TIE-IN! Flash Thompson is dropped into Ground Zero of the Infestation – but will he lose control of his emotions (and the Venom Symbiote) when his own father lies dying in the hospital? Tom Fowler (AGE OF HEROES) joins Rick Remender (X-FORCE) for part one of Venom’s foray into Spider-Manhattan!”

The Feast: Apparently there are still some people who haven’t bought into this whole new Venom thing yet because only Eddie Brock could possibly bear the burden of the black space goo. Well, sorry to tell you, but you’re wrong. Remender has done a commendable job at re-inventing Venom and this week he swings into Spider-Island territory. Unfortunately the first installment of Spider-Island (Spider-Man #667) was not up to snuff, however books like Cloak & Dagger offer more than a glimmer of hope for the spidey-event. Venom remains one of the fiercest characters in the Marvel U and this is a great start to the series. If you’re into big black muscly men with long tongues, and the occasional slip into psychopathy, then you’ll dig Venom. So if you’re loyal to the big bad Eddie Brock think about Topher Grace, and then check this out.

Batman #713

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WRITTEN BY: Fabian Nicieza
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Steve Scott and Ryan Winn
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: ”Over the years, Dick Grayson has worn several guises: First, he was Robin the Boy Wonder, then Nightwing, and finally Batman. But now that Bruce Wayne has donned the cape and cowl once again, Dick finds himself at an identity crossroads.”

The Feast: Sadly these “final” bat-books have not been offering the closure to an era that we’d all like to see (which may mean more continuity). Yes, everyone loved Snyder’s concluding issue of Detective Comics, but I have a suspicion that there will be little closure to Dick’s run as Batman. What needs to happen is an explanation of why Dick decides to throw off the cowl and return to his old ways. This is the book where Dick’s conscience is supposed to step in and give readers insight into his decision to return to his Nightwing days. I’m not sure why they gave the final issue to FabNic (don’t get me wrong I love Red Robin), but hopefully he’ll surprise us all. It’s the last Batman issue of old, why not pick it up, it’s gonna be worth something someday.

Deadlands: Death Was Silent (One-Shot)

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WRITTEN BY: Ron Marz
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Bart Sears
PUBLISHER: Image
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: ”Visionary Comics and Pinnacle Entertainment present the third one-shot of the weird Western world of DEADLANDS! A silent bounty hunter rides into a remote town, but the town holds dark secrets that may turn the hunter into the hunted. Superstars RON MARZ and BART SEARS team for a weird Western tale unlike any other!”

The Feast: The Deadlands one-shot issues have been taking western fans by storm over the last couple of months, and they get better every time. The nice part about these one-shots is that they don’t struggle for content like a lot of smaller books, and it allows you to pick it up without having any background knowledge of the series. Hopefully this will eventually work its way into an ongoing series, but for now the Deadlands one-shots are doing a damn good job.

Daredevil #2

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WRITTEN BY: Mark Waid
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Paolo Rivera and Joe Rivera
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: ” Given his recent past, Matt Murdock has a lot to answer for and Captain America is doing the cross-examining. Daredevil’s quickly learning that burned bridges with his friends and former allies aren’t easy to repair particularly when Klaw, the Master of Sound, is on his tail!”

The Feast: The blind lawyer, Matt Murdock, has been out of the game for a while, but he’s back in full force. More mature, smarter, and not Ben Affleck, this is a kick ass depiction of Daredevil. The first issue was a great introduction to the new DD, and an awesome throwback to classic villains. If Waid’s first issue is anything like the rest of this new ongoing, it’s going to be one of the best books at Marvel.

Invincible Iron Man #507

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WRITTEN BY: Matt Fraction
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Salvador Larroca
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99

The Low Down: ”FEAR ITSELF TIE-IN The heroes’ darkest hour is at hand, and Tony Stark gets to work turning the tide of FEAR ITSELF. And as if things weren’t grim enough – RESCUE engages HAMMER INDUSTRIES in the ruins of Paris as one of the Serpent’s avatars goes on the hunt…”

The Feast: Fear Itself is slowly coming to an end, but not before another few months of tie-in issues (why are there so damn many?). Most of the tie-ins have been less than great, however, Fraction has kept up with his Invincible Iron Man title. This is the most down to earth, human-like, Tony Stark we’ve ever seen, and though he may be back in the bottle it seems he’s going to be the answer to humanities prayers. Last issue he bought his way into Asgard’s workshop. His plans: make the biggest, badest, weapons combing the intelligence of Stark Industries and the raw power of the Gods…The Worthy are about to get an ass kicking. If you’ve been following Fear Itself then I don’t really need to preach to the choir, this is a fantastic book.

X-Men: Schism #3 (of 5)

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WRITTEN BY: Jason Aaron
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Daniel Acuna
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99

The Low Down: ”The events of Schism #1 have launched the world into turmoil, and the all-new Hellfire Club is ready to take advantage of the chaos. But when the survival of the mutant race is on the line, just how far will the X-Men go? Once a line is crossed, there’s no going back. The event that promises to tear the X-Men apart at their very core continues, by writer and Marvel Architect Jason Aaron, and superstar artist Daniel Acuña (WOLVERINE, AVENGERS)!”

The Feast: Thank Jesus, the X-Men are finally getting back on track after years of disconnection and unstable writing. Things are probably looking worse than ever for the X-Men (aside from X-3) but for fans, this is a good thing. The team is being utterly torn asunder by the gale of varying political opinions amongst the group. This has gone on for far too long and it’s about time somebody stood up to Cyclops’ shenanigans other than Magneto. Things are going to get heavy for the mutants, and the series promises that the team will be split into two new factions by the end.

Hellblazer #282

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WRITTEN BY: Peter Milligan
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Simon Bisley
PUBLISHER: Vertigo
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: ”Don’t miss this startling stand-alone tale! In a British prison, a shape-shifting product of the Babylonian backstreets called Julian is about to have some fun at the prisoners’ expense. Now, the prison has become a kind of living Hell — even more than before — which should make John Constantine feel right at home when he poses as an inmate and tries to dish out his own rough justice to demonic prisoner number 666.”

The Feast: Everyone knows that this is one of the best series to come out of Vertigo comics, and that says a lot. This stand-alone issue is so important because with all the rage of the new 52, vertigo is also looking for new readers. Stand-alone issues always offer a great jumping on point for new readers, offering a taste of what the series is like and where it’s going. Hellblazer is a brilliantly dark book and Milligan is doing his best to keep things fresh for both new and old fans.

B.P.R.D.: Hell On Earth Vol. 1: New World

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WRITTEN BY: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Guy Davis and Dave Stewart
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
PRICE: $19.99

The Low Down: ” Our heroes face new horrors, as they investigate small town vanishings, wild monsters in the woods, and a strange new creature that arrives to create hell on earth. Written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, and drawn by 2009 Eisner Award-winner Guy Davis (The Marquis), B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: New World marks the beginning of a new era in horror!

The Feast: If you don’t know about Mignola’s work by now, then you’re doing something wrong, very wrong. B.P.R.D. is one of the only hero groups who consistently investigate dark and paranormal forces, X-Files style. There is rarely a dull moment, and Mignola knows his niche better than any other writer out there. This collected issue is a perfect introduction to his work and the B.P.R.D. in general, so if you’ve ever been curious about Mignola’s work, this is your chance.

Avengers #16

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WRITTEN BY: Brian Michael Bendis
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: John Romita Jr.
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99

The Low Down: ”FEAR ITSELF TIE-IN Amidst the ashes of what is left of the Marvel Universe and, during the bombastic battles throughout New York, a new Avengers romance blossoms.”

The Feast: Honestly this book is only really here because there wasn’t another comic I was super excited for this week (slow week and way too many conflicting release dates). That said Avengers has been one of the only books to do something new from the Fear Itself lineup. Bendis bases this story in the future as the Avengers look back on the chaos that ensued during Fear Itself, somehow without spoiling the series. I’ll be the first to admit that there are way too many tie-ins for major events, but it’s always a pleasure to see a tie-in that strays from the rest of the crop. Plus, it’s a cute cover.