Monthly Archives: December 2012

A Comic Book Christmas Story

Most everyone has a holiday tradition that they come back to every year, be it cooking a certain meal, using certain decorations, reading certain books, or watching certain movies. I for one can’t call it Christmas until I’ve watched “Elf,” “Christmas Vacation,” and “Home Alone,” or listened to ‘N Sync’s timeless Christmas album (I’m a child of the 90’s). However, I bet most people don’t curl up in a warm blanket with a nice Christmas themed comic, and that’s a shame as there are a lot of great ones out there. Here are a few of my favorite comics that will fill you with holiday cheer. Continue reading

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Soliciting Marvel Comics: March 2013

Continuing with my look at comics to come, here’s a look at what I’m looking forward to from the folks at Marvel this March.

The Age of Ultron is (Finally) Here

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After much hype and very long delays, Brian Michael Bendis’ final(?) big Avengers story starting off with a bang, three issues in the first month. Artist Bryan Hitch, notorious for being late, has already finished his five issues of the series, allowing for this rapid fire release schedule. The event culminates years of groundwork and build up by Bendis and seems to focus on street level characters like Moon Knight, Hawkeye, and Spider-Man as the last line of defense in a future world controlled by the villain Ultron. Marvel’s last couple of events haven’t gone over well with fans, so it will be interesting to see the reaction to this series.

And Along Came the Tie-Ins

ageultronff2013001_02supsmau2013001_02An event wouldn’t be an event without tie-in issues. However, “Age of Ultron” looks to take a page out of the “Final Crisis” playbook by having a few tie-in one shots that don’t interfere with a given series. These issues are denoted with a .AU after the issue number, similar to the way .1 issues work. The first of these will be “Fantastic Four” #5.AU and “Superior Spider-Man” #6.AU. It seems that all tie-ins will be $3.99, regardless of the regular series price. These tie-ins will likely be unnecessary in the grand scheme of the event’s story, but will be fun for completionists or those already following those series, especially when the issue features the book’s regular creative team, as in “Fantastic Four.”

What We’ve All Been Waiting For

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It’s safe to say that Remender’s initial arc on “Uncanny Avengers” isn’t exactly what fans were hoping for from the scribe of the fantastic “Uncanny X-Force.” The “Avengers” hasn’t had that same depth and gravitas of “X-Force,” and delays from series artist John Cassaday have hurt the momentum this young book almost from day one. However, issue #6 seems to fix with both problems in one fell swoop. First, issue #6 will see Daniel Acuña step on as the new regular artist. Acuña has done some great work in the X-books recently, and early preview pages show his art is a great fit for this series. Second, this issue kicks off an arc featuring the team facing both Apocalypse and Kang the Conqueror, two of Marvel’s heaviest hitters. Apocalypse and his surrounding mythology was a huge aspect of Remender’s “X-Force”, and the writer has said that this arc will pick up threads from that run. Specifically, we may see the fallout of Archangel and Pestilence’s “union” during the ‘Dark Angel Saga’. Personally, the ties to that story are the only reason I picked this series up in the first place.

Spidey’s Got A Gun…

supsm2013005cov_02avsm2011018cov_02I’ve hopped on the Spider-Man hype train due to Dan Slott’s incessant tweeting, and I’ll admit that Amazing #698 was pretty awesome. Even if #700 doesn’t shuffle the board more (which I’m sure it will), that issue left with an incredible status quo shift that sets the stage for some awesome stories in “Superior Spider-Man”. “Avenging Spider-Man,” which appears to have become “Superior’s” de fact0 companion book, is gaining Marco Checchetto on art. Checchetto is just coming off a great run on Rucka’s “Punisher,” and where he leads fans are sure to follow.

Gillen Playing With His Toys

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I’ll always applaud Marvel for letting Kieron Gillen have his way with more tangential aspects of the Marvel Universe. In “A+X” #6, we see Gillen come back to two characters from his pre-Marvel NOW! projects, Kid Loki and Mr. Sinister. It’ll be interesting to see how Gillen plays these characters, consider the status changes both went through at the end of “Journey into Mystery” and Uncanny X-Men,” respectively. The issue also appears to have a Wolverine/Captain Marvel story by Peter David, if you’re into that.

The Other Event 

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If you aren’t spending enough money on “Age of Ultron,”, then you can check out “X-Termination,” an X-Men crossover between “Age of Apocalypse,” “Astonishing X-Men,” and “X-Treme X-Men,” as well as an “X-Termination” one-shot. The crossover will center around the AoA Nightcrawler last seen in Remender “Uncanny X-Force.” While I do like “Age of Apocalypse” and want to see where Nightcrawler ends up, I don’t follow “Astonishing” or “X-Treme,” so this will likely be a wait-for-trade if anything. Still, if you’re up for a big multiversal story feature lots of obscure X-Men concepts and characters, this is the crossover for you.

If you’re a big Marvel fan, March and the months following are likely to put a major strain on your wallet. If not, there’s still plenty of great things to check out, like Hickman’s Avengers books and Bendis’ X-Men books. Marvel NOW! got off to a slow start, but things are staring to look a lot more interesting for the publisher.

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Soliciting DC Comics: March 2013

It’s been a while since I’ve done this, having been very busy with work and my new gig doing reviews at Multiversity Comics (look for them weekly!). However, after sifting through solicitations for March, there’s a lot worth talking about and a lot to get excited for.

He Comes in Peace!

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Beginning in March, Justice League of America will feature a Martian Manhunter back-up feature penned by Matt Kindt with art by Scott Clark. DC seem ready to give the man from Mars a major push after his lackluster presence in the New 52 Stormwatch. Kindt is a great writer that is slowly rising through the  ranks at DC, and this will be his highest profile gig yet. I can’t wait to see where he takes Martian Manhunter, a character that has never been handled well in the time I’ve read comics. Here’s hoping he finally gets the recognition he deserves.

From the Ashes

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Much like the aftermath of ‘The Court of Owls’ storyline, the issue following ‘Death of the Family’ sees guest artists and an appearance by mysterious Snyder creation Harper Row. It doesn’t look like things are well for the Bat after the Joker is through with him, but just how bad is anyone’s guess (maybe Didio finally gets to kill Nightwing). In further interesting back-up news, issue #18 will feature art by longtime Bendis collaborator and Marvel mainstay, Alex Maleev. The main story features art by Andy Kubert, a prominent artist in Morrison’s Bat-saga. This issue looks like it will be a great post ‘Death of the Family’ read.

See the Rainbow, Taste the Rainbow!

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Green Lantern #18 continues the ‘Wrath of the First Lantern’ arc, which we next to nothing about at this point. However, if the cover is any indication, we’ll see some major involvement from Hal Jordan and Sinestro, who have recently taken a back seat to Simon Baz. Oh, while we’re on it, how about that amazing Gary Frank cover. Soooooooo many colors + zombies. I’ll take it in poster size.

The Return of the King

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Longtime fans of Vertigo’s “Hellblazer” are pretty bummed about the book’s cancellation and subsequent replacement by the New 52’s “Constantine” #1, but I’m cautiously optimistic. Robert Vendetti is doing great work on Valiant’s “X-O Manowar” and Renato Guedes has recently really come into his own as an artist. “Justice League Dark” hasn’t really been by thing, so I hope this representation of the best conman/magician in comics is up to snuff.

Things Just Got Real

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In an incredible turn of events, “Phantom Stranger” could take a major incredible upswing in quality come March. Not only is legendary writer J. M. Dematteis coming on to co-write the series with Dan Didio, but the stellar Gene Ha will be handling the art for the issue. Nothing against the book’s regular creative team, but this line-up has me extremely excited. The issue features the debut of Lady Luck, a new character teased by Geoff Johns way back before the New 52 began, who will likely play a big role in the upcoming ‘Trinity War.’

All Good Things…

ST_Cv18ANMAN_Cv18_R1In somewhat of a surprise, Scott Snyder and Yannick Paquette will be leaving “Swamp Thing” after issue #18, which acts as both an epilogue for ‘Rotworld’ and a coda for the duo’s year and half of stories. While it’s sad to see them go (I was really interested to see where Snyder would take the character post-‘Rotworld’) rumor has it that DC has snatched up a major new talent to take over the book, so there’s hope for the series. Jeff Lemire, will continue with “Animal Man,” steering Buddy into new territory. After being so closely tied to “Swamp Thing” for 18 issues, it will be nice for Lemire to get to do something different with the character. Also, how about that Jae Lee cover? Fantastic right? What would it take to get that guy on interiors A.S.A.P.?

Vertigo Still Going Strong

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While some are predicting the impending doom of DC’s mature reader’s imprint, I’d argue the imprint is still produces plenty of quality material. Case in point, March’s “Time Warp” continues the series of one-off genre anthologies that began with last year’s “Strange Adventures.” The oversized issue will feature stories from a who’s who of great artists including Matt Kindt, Gail Simone, and Damon Lindelof and such artists as Jeff Lemire and Rafael Albuquerque. While these anthology issues are a little on the pricy side, the amount of content is definitely worth it. There aren’t enough great anthology books out there these days, so if you enjoy them, or you just want to support Vertigo and the creators involved, be sure to check this issue out.

Next Year’s Christmas List Starts Early

After budgeting for a month’s worth of floppy comics, I rarely have funds left over for trade paperbacks/graphic novels. Because of this, I usually just relegate them to an Amazon wishlist and hope that someone is kind enough to gift them to me. Three collected editions that are definitely worth checking out next year are Legion Worlds, The Authority Vol. 1, and Batman Noir. Legion Worlds is the sequel/companion series to Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s Legion Lost series. These writers are known for their great cosmic work, so those looking for a great Legion story should look no further. Also, how can you pass on art by artists like Oliver Coipel, Darwyn Cooke, and Steve Dillon? The Authority Vol. 1 will collect the complete 12 issue run of Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch’s groundbreaking Authority run. These are the characters you’ll find in the New 52’s Stormwatch, only way more awesome.  I already have the trades, but this is extremely tempting nonetheless. If you haven’t read this yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Finally, Batman Noir is a deluxe hardcover featuring Batman stories by the 100 Bullets team of Brian Azzarello. I’ve never read the ‘Broken City’ arc, but the ‘Flashpoint’ tie-in series and the ‘Wednesday Comics’ arc are worth the price of admission alone. A great pick for any Bat-fan in your life.

And that’s what I’m looking forward to from DC in March 2013. Check back later when I’ll go over Marvel’s solicits, and in the New Year when I do my obligatory best of 2012 list!

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The Future of The Avengers, with Charts

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Yesterday, Marvel released the first issue of the fifth volume of “The Avengers,” written by the earth-shattering team of Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opeña. Creative teams truly don’t get much better than that. I could literally gush on and on about how great this book is. It’s like Morrison’s JLA reincarnated as an Avengers book, only better looking. Overall it’s a stellar first issue that gives us an Avengers story far more epic in scope and wonder than that of this past summer’s blockbuster film (and that movie was no slouch in the epic department). To combat the escalating threats of the Marvel Universe, Captain America and Iron Man decide to make the Avengers bigger. By the end of this issue, the team consists of an astonishing 18 members. Some of these are Avengers mainstays, others are obscure characters being brought in for the first time, and some are new creations entirely. All in all, it’s a bit daunting for the uninitiated. Hickman attempts to alleviate this with some nifty graphics which give each hero a symbol and a relationship towards each other. When examining this chart we can glean much about where Hickman might be taking us in this ‘Avengers World.’ Click on, but beware, there be mild spoilers here. Continue reading

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