COMICS TO FEAST ON: Week Of November 2nd 2011

Now that fall is under wraps, all the big events from major publishers have come to a close, and as winter approaches (cringe) it’s only a short time before the next ones hit. Thankfully, for the time being at least, you no longer have to empty your wallets buying the insane amount of tie-ins that come along with events. So before shit hits the fan again, take the time to enjoy some new titles heading your way and to evaluate your pull list. This week brings on the third issues of the acclaimed ANIMAL MAN and SWAMP THING as well as the BATMAN: NOEL graphic novel. Don’t miss them!

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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Uncanny X-Men #1

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WRITTEN BY: Kieron Gillen
ILLUSTRATED BY: Carlos Pacheco
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99

The Low Down: “What is to become of the mutants who side with Cyclops after the big split? And what does it have to do with the resurrected Mister Sinister?”

The Feast: There are massive expectation for this book. The X-Men are in desperate need of a reboot, one that will put them back on the map as the baddest (or nicest) mutants in the Marvel U. Schism was a good lead in, but if they hope on climbing back to the top of the social ladder, this unveiling of Uncanny X-Men needs to make us froth at the mouth.

Animal Man #3

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WRITTEN BY: Jeff Lemire
ILLUSTRATED BY: Travel Foreman
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “Maxine and Buddy swim to the heart of the Life Web and come face to face with the Totems, caretakers of the Red. But before they can get answers, the Hunters Three attack. Meanwhile, Ellen and Cliff fight for their lives back home.”

The Feast: A-Man is back, ladies and gents! Lemire’s stellar writing and Foreman’s visionary artwork make the perfect combination. Last month’s issue was proof that the awesome debut of the Baker family was no fluke, and as the story continues, it only seems to be getting better. At a time when 51+ other new books are sharing the spotlight, it would seem to be quite the cumbersome task to stand out among the crowd, but Animal Man shines brighter than all the rest. If you were silly enough to miss it the first two times around, Animal Man is going into it’s third printing!

Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes #1

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WRITTEN BY: Gabriel Hardman
ILLUSTRATED BY: Corinna Sara Bechko
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
PRICE: $3.99

The Low Down: “Gabriel Hardman Hot on the heels of BOOM!’s sold-out, best-selling Planet of the Apes ongoing series comes a brand new four-issue mini co-written and drawn by Gabriel Hardman! Best known for his series-defining work on Hulk and Agents of ATLAS, and his storyboard work on such hit films as Christopher Nolan’s Inception, Hardman and writer Corinna Sara Bechko (Heathentown, Fear Itself: The Home Front) bring you Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes! Taking place during the continuity of the original seminal fan-favorite film, the feared and respected General Aleron finds himself at the center of a conspiracy that could transform ape/human relations! Aleron’s journey puts him face to face with…Dr. Zaius! A not-to-be-missed mini-series with story and art that is sure to make you go ape!”

The Feast: Everyone went apeshit crazy over the summer blockbuster The Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (that’s a mouthful of a title), and now fans are going absolutely bananas over Hardman’s ongoing. This mini-series doesn’t tag along with the newest flim, but rather takes place in cohesion with the original film. If you’re an ape-head, pick this up and it’ll be sure to have you slinging your own poop at the wall.

Action Comics #3

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WRITTEN BY: Grant Morrison
ILLUSTRATED BY: Rags Morales
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “Superman, Go Home! In a startling tale only Grant Morrison could bring you, the people of Metropolis turn on their new champion! But why? Plus, shocking secrets from Krypton revealed!”

The Feast: Hmm, Grant Morrison writing Superman…shouldn’t need too much convincing. People had their doubts before the initial release, but as always Morrison pulled through in a big way. If Morrison’s previous work with Superman is a sign of things to come, we’re sure to see an impressive remodeling of the Man of Steel.

Witch Doctor #4

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WRITTEN BY: Brandon Seifert
ILLUSTRATED BY: Lukas Ketner
PUBLISHER: Image
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “It’s Dr. Morrow’s toughest challenge yet: a magical malpractice hearing! Mystics Without Borders wants answers. Why did the case of the ‘Patient from the Black Lagoon’ go so wrong? What’s the biological secret of the Deep Ones, and their connection to the ‘Great Old Infections’? And how do you fight an epidemic that’s turning people into fish-people? Find out, in the finale of the debut miniseries from Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Originals line! ‘WITCH DOCTOR has the potential to be the next great horror story in the comic industry.’ – Bloody Disgusting”

The Feast: It’s truly a sad time when a wonderful mini-series comes to an end. But, rather than sulk in a pit of misery, let’s celebrate this final chapter. The horror film industry is bustling now more than ever, while until recently the horror comic game was almost dead. Witch Doctor is precisely the kind of new age horror that we need. Smart, witty, gloomy, and full of passion, this is a book every horror fan will drool over. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you need to pick up the trade when it comes out in a few months. If I had things my way, Witch Doctor would immediately be made into an ongoing series.

American Vampire #20

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WRITTEN BY: Scott Snyder
ILLUSTRATED BY: Jodi Bernet
PUBLISHER: Vertigo
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “In the middle of the brutal Indian Wars an unspeakable evil is released on the world. Meanwhile, the friendship of Skinner Sweet and James Book is starting to fracture. Featuring amazing guest art by the legendary Jordi Bernet (Torpedo, JONAH HEX).”

The Feast: Last month’s issue wound back the clock to a 19th century Skinner in order slowed down the pace after an intense conclusion to the ‘Ghost War’ arc. Not that it was a disappointing issue, but it lacked the typical Snyder ferocity. Milestone issue #20 should get things back into the action and start things up again in a big way.

7 Warriors #1

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WRITTEN BY: Michael Le Galli
ILLUSTRATED BY: Francis Manapul
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
PRICE: $3.99

The Low Down: “ From the fan-favorite artist of The Flash and Adventure Comics comes 7 beautiful women, 7 Warriors! In 6th century Libya, the capitol of an ancient nation is surrounded by the Persian and Byzantine armies. Seven are chosen to save the heir to the kingdom. Seven Warriors. Seven…sexy, gorgeous women? An exquisitely rendered tale in the vein of 300, written by Michael Le Galli and drawn by Francis Manapul.”

The Feast: Anything taking place in the 6th century that boasts ultraviolence in the vein of 300 is worth a peek. Illustrated by fan favorite artist, Francis Manapul, 7 Warriors should be one helluva sexy, gory, action adventure tale. Obviously, publishers stand behind their books with vigor, but BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief, Matt Gagnon, claims that this book is a true masterpiece.

Detective Comics #3

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WRITTEN BY: Tony Daniel
ILLUSTRATED BY: Tony Daniel
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “He makes dolls out of his victims–and he’s tired of being referred to in the media as the Gotham Strangler. His moniker is the Dollmaker, and he and his insane family are going to hunt down Gotham City’s public figures and turn them into the ultimate collectables.”

The Feast: One thing Tony Daniel has is style. His artwork combined with his cliffhanger endings so far in Detective has been astonishingly good. This is by far his best Bat-work to date, and if he keeps up the creepiness, it may be the scariest Bat in years. The plot draws from some of America’s most notorious real life serial killers, namely, Ed Gein, which is always a treat for horror fans. Let’s hope he keeps it up this week.

Swamp Thing #3

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WRITTEN BY: Scott Snyder
ILLUSTRATED BY: Victor Ibanez and Yanick Paquette
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $2.99

The Low Down: “The forces of decay are summoning their servants, and the Green alone cannot protect Alec Holland–but one woman can. Alec may not know her, but he should! And only he can help her before the darkness finds its key to spreading across the world unchecked.”

The Feast: To be totally honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the first issue. I love Snyder more than the next guy, but I didn’t dig the approach he took with Doc Holland. But alas, after reading the second issue of Swampy, I was biting my own tongue. Bringing Holland back to the Allan Moore days, Snyder has somehow been able to uphold everything that’s happened in the past and move the story in a completely new direction. The page layouts were gorgeous, Swamp Thing looked spookier than ever, and the mystery of The Green escalated several notches. I should never have doubted Snyder.

Batman: Noel Deluxe Edition

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WRITTEN BY: Lee Bermejo
ILLUSTRATED BY: Lee Bermejo
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $22.99

The Low Down: “Inspired by Charles Dickens’ immortal classic A Christmas Carol, BATMAN: NOEL features different interpretations of The Dark Knight, along with his enemies and allies, in different eras, from writer/artist Lee Bermejo (JOKER). In this spectacular, oversized graphic novel, Batman must come to terms with his past, present and future as he battles villains from the campy 1960s to dark and brooding menaces of today, while exploring what it means to be the hero that he is.”

The Feast: DC has been jamming this book down everyone’s throat for the past several months. Borrowing from Dicken’s classic tale A Christmas Carol, this graphic novel pits the Bats against several eras of foes. Dickens is not every comic fans cup of tea, with his poetic prose style of writing it’s tough to imagine how such writing could translate into a graphic narrative. Lee Bermejo proved his masterful ability to illustrate an original Batman story a few years back with Joker, let’s hope he can write too.

Shame Itself #1

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WRITTEN BY: Wyatt Cenac, Michael Kupperman, Elliott Kalan, and more
ILLUSTRATED BY: Colleen Coover, Dean Haspiel, and more
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99

The Low Down: “GET READY FOR THE MOST EARTH SHATTERING, WORLD DESTROYING, INSURANCE-RATE HIKING, EVENT IN MARVEL HISTORY SINCE THE LAST ONE! Wyatt Cenac and Elliott Kalan of ‘The Daily Show’ lead a cavalcade of comedy’s finest minds to answer the questions about the Marvel Universe you were ashamed to ask! This Fall, the Marvel U will be rocked down to its spandex wearing core! Be ashamed. Be VERY ashamed!”

The Feast: Fear Itself may be the biggest let down in recent comic history. It wasn’t that bad, it just wasn’t very good, nor was it what Marvel promised it to be. The final issue was a jumbled mess that left a sour taste in the readers’ mouths. It’s nice to see a publisher acknowledge when they’ve done something wrong, but Marvel takes things one step further. Shame Itself is a self reflexive work satirizing the failures of Marvel’s recent endeavors.