COMICS TO FEAST ON: Week Of October 5th 2011

Welcome back to COMICS TO FEAST ON! Everyone can rest easy now that the anticipation of The New 52 has subsided. No more number 1’s, all we can do now is sit back and enjoy the ride as the DCnU carries us forth into a new era. But, enough romanticism, let’s get on to some comics!

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 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! 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. Read on for the skinny…

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House of Mystery #42 (Final Issue)

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WRITTEN BY: Matthew Sturges, Bill Willingham, and Steven Seagle
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Luca Rossi, Jose Marzan Jr. and Teddy Kristansen
PUBLISHER: Vertigo
PRICE: $7.99

The Low Down: “Whatever happened to the House of Mystery? Legend tells of a magical place where beings from many worlds met to share their stories, where the price of a drink was a well-told tale. Now, many years later, three travelers happen upon the ruins of that legendary establishment, long since abandoned. But how did its story come to an end? Three very different versions of that mystery are told – but which one is the truth? Find out in “Three for the Road,” a triptych of tales penned by Matthew Sturges, Bill Willingham, with a reunion of the HOUSE OF SECRETS team of Steven T. Seagle (AMERICAN VIRGIN) and Teddy Kristansen (THE SANDMAN MIDNIGHT THEATRE).”

The Feast: House of Mystery is a zany book that really utilizes that comics medium to its fullest. No other book published by Vertigo or anyone else has nearly as much character and attitude as this series, and it’s a sad thing it has to end so soon. But as they say, if you love something give it away. House of Mystery really messes with your mind, not only surprising you around every corner, but completely spinning you around in a vortex of meta-fiction and self-reflexive humor. If you like an innovative read that doesn’t take itself too seriously, I strongly recommend you seek out the trades at the break of dawn.

Swamp Thing #2

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WRITTEN BY: Scott Snyder
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Yanick Paquette
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “Alec Holland thought he knew the history of the Swamp Thing – but he was wrong. The creature’s roots run deeper than he knows, and the Parliament of Trees intends to make him understand the responsibility he wants so desperately to avoid! With this issue, the mythology of the Swamp Thing branches out in ways you never saw coming – don’t miss it!”

The Feast: I have a shrine for Scott Snyder in my closet, wait, what? If we didn’t have enough proof already, Swamp Thing is an incredible testament to the well-known fact that Snyder is not human. Taking on a new Swamp Thing ongoing is a daunting task with some big shoes to fill. Alan Moore’s run is an infamous canon in horror comics and Snyder does not forget that. Though he takes his own creative liberties the series looks to scare and disturb in just the right spots. I can’t wait to see where this one goes.

Action Comics #2

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WRITTEN BY: Grant Morrison
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Rags Morales and Rick Bryant
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “In his weakest moment, Superman is taken down – but by whom? And if the world wasn’t ready for a man with super powers, they’re utterly unprepared for the rage of a Superman cornered! The cornerstone character of the new DCU continues his debut adventure!”

The Feast: Easily the most debated and controversial book of the New 52 (perhaps with the exception of Catwoman and her sexual promiscuity), Action Comics makes Superman young again and brings him down to the level of blue-collar workers. With the whole “GD” thing behind us now, Action Comics is one of the most promising books of last month which is really no surprise given that it’s Grant Morrison’s child.

Animal Man #2

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WRITTEN BY: Jeff Lemire
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Travel Forman
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “Maxine’s new abilities continue to terrify Ellen and Buddy Baker, and things take a turn for the worse as Buddy begins a startling transformation of his own that will lead him on a journey into the heart of The Red. Meanwhile, The Hunters Three arrive on Earth and set their sights on the Baker family. The Hunt is on as DC’s most surprising new series continues to take ANIMAL MAN in shocking new directions.”

The Feast: I hate to toot my own horn but I told ya this was going to be an incredible series. I can’t even count the amount of times I plugged Jeff Lemire’s incredible work on Sweet Tooth and Essex County, and now Animal Man is evidence that Lemire is one of the top dogs. The first issue was a great introduction to the character, it was creepy as all hell, and the cliffhanger ending was jaw-clenchingly good. If you missed the first issue, make sure you pick up the second printing and add this book to your pull list!

X-Men: Schism #5

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WRITTEN BY: Jason Aaron
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Adam Kubert
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99

The Low Down: “On one side, X-Men team leader, Cyclops. On the other, X-Men mainstay, Wolverine. Between them lies the fate of mutantkind, and surrounding them, the foes who want to end them forever!”

The Feast: Finally, in the last issue we saw Wolverine reach is breaking point as he refused to take any more orders from Summers who’s stubbornness nearly put the last of the mutant children in danger. This concluding issue to the mini-series should tear that last thread that holds Wolverine and Cyclops together leading into a new dawn for the X-Men. New readers will want to pick up this series, as whatever comes next will launch from Schism’s events.

Grampa Won’t Wake Up

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WRITTEN BY: Simon Max Hill
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Shannon Wheeler
PUBLISHER: Boom! Studios
PRICE: $7.99

The Low Down: “ This is not the children’s book your mother read to you! Best known for TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN and I THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE FUNNIER, Eisner Award-winning talent Shannon Wheeler brings you this Li’l Golden parody that takes a look at the lighter side of discovering a cadaver in your living room. See what ridiculous lengths will be reached in trying to wake up Grandpa…and were those fishnets really necessary? A hilarious send up from new writing talent simon max hill and Shannon Wheeler!”

The Feast: I have a certain adoration for gloomy children’s stories that make your imagination run wild. Children’s stories are often terrifying when you revisit them as an adult and Grampa Won’t Wake Up tries to make the mystery of death a little more lighthearted. Not unlike Tim Burton or Neil Gaiman’s style, children’s literature of this sort twist the average everyday into something terrifying yet relatable at the same time.

Detective Comics #2

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WRITTEN BY: Tony Daniel
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Tony Daniel and Ryan Winn
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “Batman sets his sights on the Gotham Ripper, who in turn has his sights on Batman. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne explores a budding romance with television journalist Charlotte Rivers, who’s visiting Gotham City to cover the gruesome slayings – while also trying to uncover Bruce’s own mystery. But time is running out as both Commissioner Gordon and Batman work to uncover the true identity of this new serial killer.”

The Feast: The Bat-Books have become increasingly horrific over the years and issue #1 brought that horror to a new level. The last page was disturbing, to say the least, and one of Joker’s most greusome tricks. Though perhaps this is not the best Batman story for new readers, it’s like Christmas for horror comic fans.

O.M.A.C. #2

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WRITTEN BY: Dan Didio and Keith Griffen
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Keith Griffen
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “Brother Eye gives Kevin Kho the ground rules to their new “arrangement.” New players are introduced to the game as Sarge Steel and Checkmate begin their hunt for the One Machine Army Corp, but O.M.A.C.’s appearance may be short-lived when he faces the incredible threat of Rocker Bonn, the Amazing Man!”

The Feast: With all the attention being given to the more serious/adult driven books like Batman and Animal Man, it’s important that we try to remember that comics are above all supposed to be entertaining. The new age of comics is full of serious books but luckily we also have books like OMAC to keep our spirits high. Many people worried that with the new Universe, DC would lose sight of their roots and eliminate a lot of the sillier books out there. OMAC is a wonderful counterpart the more “scholarly” comics out there, once again giving credibility to DC’s ability to balance their titles.

The Walking Dead #89

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

The Low Down: “He has gone too far.”

The Feast: You know a book has reached the pinnacle of success when the publisher no longer feels the need to write informative synopses. If you don’t read TWD, quite simply you will someday and regret that you didn’t do it sooner.

Severed #3

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WRITTEN BY: Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Attila Futaki
PUBLISHER: Image
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “’IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE’ Things heat up as our cannibalistic salesman meets the kids and invites them over for dinner. SCOTT SNYDER (American Vampire, Batman, Swamp Thing), SCOTT TUFT and ATTILA FUTAKI (Percy Jackson) are back with 2011′s most terrifying horror series. SEVERED.”

The Feast: Snyder is a master of horror. If his work at DC wasn’t enough, now he’s bringing us another horrifying tale à la Silence of the Lambs. If you’re worried about your sanity, you may need to step away from this one because it somehow makes you fall in love with the most disturbing of images. The story is set in the early 1900s and is a reversion back to classic horror stories making for one disconcerting comic. Perhaps it may be better read in trade format to increase the fear nob to 11, but if you can, buy it while it’s hot.