Secret Invasion seems to be in full effect with about half a dozen or more releases this week. None seem overly noteworthy or required, but the Runaways / Young Avengers tie-in should be fun and the Initiative is always great.
Mark Millar and Ed Brubaker both have a pair of books set to release, too, with Fantastic Four and 1985 for Millar and Daredevil (with help from Rucka) and Captain America for Brubaker. Hard to complain about any of those titles.
On DC's side, Final Crisis ramps up with it's second issue. With all the DiDio bashing going on, FC has fallen by the wayside and, after a solid first issue, it's almost like people have forgotten about it in leiu of all the drama. Hopefully this gets people talking about comics again instead of who said what.
I'll cut it short here and let you guys get to the previews. Be sure to let me know what you think of my picks, if I'm missing a title that you think I should be reading or just talk about what you're picking up in general in the comments! Hit the jump for the previews.
Written by Dan Slott & Christos Gage
Art by Stefano Caselli
SECRET INVASION TIE-IN
"We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us!"
During the INFILTRATION, a Skrull at the heart of the Camp Hammond said these words: "It won't be long until we have a Skrull in every state! "Now that Skrull stands revealed and the fate of The Initiative, the United States, and Planet Earth hang in the balance. Plus: Former Avenger, Delroy Garret, assumes the mantle and arsenal of Earth's greatest Skrull-Hunter, THE 3-D MAN. He's here to chew bubblegum and kick some Skrull-@$. And he's all out of bubblegum.
Kirk Says: It's good to see Caselli back on the art chores again. His presence is missed everytime a fill-in comes on board. The issue, itself, seems to be a flashback based on the previews. We don't see the fight in New York and it mainly shows what the Skrull Hank Pym was doing at the Camp. Should be interesting, but I'm not a big fan of just about every book being flashbacks to explain all the Skrull nonsense. Shouldn't most of this stuff have been obvious or hinted at? It's like they are retconning stories that are less than a year old instead of filling me in on "hidden" details.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #39
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Steve Epting
Okay, what the heck is going on here? Is that two guys in Captain America outfits? Yeah, it is.
More than that, we cannot say.
The epic Death of Captain America continues in Part Three of "The Man Who Bought America" by the acclaimed team of Brubaker and Epting.
Kirk Says: Marvel needs to tone down on the number of Captain America's running around in the Marvel Universe. There's like 5 or 6 of them at this point if we count Bucky, Grand Director, Invaders' Cap, Skrull Cap and the Cap hinted at in Guardians of the Galaxy. Add in the numerous other mini-series since his death and the guy's showing up more now that he's dead than when he was alive.
This isn't a knock against Brubaker's story, which has been excellent, if very methodical of late, but Marvel is really hurting the feel of the Grand Director plot with the oversaturation of Captain America. Why would anyone bat an eye at yet another Captain America coming out of the woodworks in this story with everything that's been going on as of late?
Written by Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka
Art by Michael Lark
"Cruel and Unusual" Part Two of Four
Matt Murdock throws himself into what is probably a losing case, a last-minute death-penalty appeal...while Dakota North and
Daredevil discover people are willing to kill to keep them from pursuing this investigation. But is it the mob...or the government? The multiple-Eisner-nominated team of Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark is joined by the acclaimed Greg Rucka co-writing!
Kirk Says: I loved the last issue of Daredevil and can't wait to see more of what Brubaker and Rucka have in store for us. I'm hoping Rucka will act as ballast for Brubaker and help keep him focused on the story. His Daredevil run has been so up and down with some issues being simply incredible and others falling flat and feeling like filler.
FANTASTIC FOUR #558
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Bryan Hitch
Who are the New Defenders, and why does their appearance on Earth foretell the eventual extinction of mankind? Who has liberated Doctor Doom from his incarceration awaiting trial, and why? And what's up with Valeria? (Oh, and the Fantastic Four are in it too...)
Kirk Says: Just look at that cover and tell me you have no interest in reading this book! You can't because that cover is awesome and I can't imagine any fan not wanting to find out who or what did that to Dr. freaking Doom.
Say what you will about the quality of Mark Millar's Fantastic Four, but, in my opinion, it may not be Ultimates, but damn is it not fun to read every month and I can't wait to see what's in store for this Dr Doom story.
FINAL CRISIS #2
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by J.G. Jones
Meet Japan's number one pop culture heroes, the Super Young Team and their languid leader, Most Excellent Superbat! Join legendary wrestler Sonny Sumo and super escape artist Mister Miracle as they team to face the offspring of the Anti-Life Equation! See Earth's superheroes mourn one of their oldest allies! Witness costumed criminals sinking to new depths of cowardice and depravity as Libra takes things too far! Uncover the doomsday secrets of the poisoned city of Blüdhaven! Learn the shocking identity of the prime suspect in the murder of a god! And read on if you dare as Batman becomes the first of Earth's champions to face the Fallen of Apokolips. All this and a spectacular return from the dead...
Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones' multiverse-spanning epic continues with bombshell after bombshell in FINAL CRISIS #2 — "Ticket to Blüdhaven"!
Kirk Says: With all the bad press DC's been getting as of late, such as DiDio's blunders, Dixon leaving, Morrison's throwing editors under bosses (not literally) and so on, maybe the release of Final Crisis #2 can build up some goodwill in the press again. Seems this issue will have the return of Barry Allen or they did a fake out on J'onn's death last issue. Can't think of any other "spectacular return from the dead" that could occur.
GREEN LANTERN #32
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert
SECRET ORIGIN PART 4! Sinestro has been sent to Earth on a sacred mission, one that this new rookie Hal Jordan is getting in the way with. Plus, one of Hal Jordan's first enemies is born as a bizarre experiment backfires and another is unknowingly stalked for his connection to the Blackest Night!
Kirk Says: Maybe the introduction of Sinestro can finally add some momentum to this Secret Origin storyline. At the very least, even if it's a retread of Emerald Dawn and other Green Lantern origins, the dialogue and interplay between Sinestro and Hal should make for an entertaining read.
IMMORTAL IRON FIST #16
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by David Aja
“Happy Birthday, Danny” Part 1 of 1
In the wake of THE SEVEN CAPITAL CITIES OF HEAVEN, Danny Rand has been busy reinventing and rebuilding his life. Who is he, as a man? As a hero? What does the Iron Fist legacy really mean in this day and age? Where does Danny Rand go next? And just what exactly is up with him and Misty? Are they, like, a thing, or, or what? And why might the 33 candles on Danny’s cake mean the end for the Immortal Iron Fist?
Kirk Says: The last issue of the Fraction / Brubaker / Aja era (well, Bru left last issue). The only thing left is to decide if I'll come back next month or if I tell the shop to take it off the pull list. I expect this to be a quiet, personal piece with Danny and his friends that should cap off an amazing run that made people care about a character I had written off as some cheap martial arts fad from the 70's.
MARVEL 1985 #2
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Tommy Lee Edwards
Marvel’s most deadly villains have a foothold in the real world—but who will believe the only person who knows the truth, when that person is a 13-year old kid named Toby who’s read way too many comic books? Fortunately, it seems that Toby has an ally—the Incredible Hulk! Can even the Hulk survive the most titanic throw-down with Juggernaut in comic book history? Find out in this epic clash of super hero action…and ponder—who is Clyde Wyncham?
Kirk Says: I thoroughly enjoyed the first issue of 1985 and look forward to finding out just who and what this Clyde Wyncham fellow is and how he ties together the One Man Event Mark Millar is putting together with Old Man Logan, Kick-Ass, Fantastic Four and 1985.
MIGHTY AVENGERS #15
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Khoi Pham
SECRET INVASION TIE-IN!
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO-----? Rewinding the clock to Avengers Dissassembled we reveal how one of the main players in SECRET INVASION was replaced by a Skrull and what the fallout has been. A major SECRET INVASION chapter is here! Oh, but you want to know exactly who we're talking about right? Spoilers, dude!
Kirk Says: Skrull Pym gets more spotlight than human Pym. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing... Anyways, where Initiative is showing what he did after he replaced Hank Pym, this issue should be telling us how he was replaced in the first place. Not sure what happened to the Void Sentry stuff from last issue. Guess he'll show up randomly in Secret Invasion #3 with no explanation for non-Mighty readers?
NEW AVENGERS #42
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Jim Cheung
SECRET INVASION Tie-In!
THE EMPIRE part 3. For 42 issues readers of New Avengers have wondered, who caused the breakout in New Avengers #1 and why? And how was this the real start of the SECRET INVASION? Find out right here!! Special guest artist Jim Cheung returns to these pages for this shocking story.
Kirk Says: The Empire part 3? No follow up on Cap and Spidey, I take it? For the best, I suppose, but what's with a story stopping and starting with filler in between? The book has been coming out practically every other week since SI started, so it's not like they couldn't have held off for Cheung to finish this one up. Again, this is just more "retcon"-ing of stories in my eyes. Clues and foreshadowing should be obvious to readers. They shouldn't feel the need to have a dozen flashback stories to explain an event to us.
Written by Joss Whedon
Art by Michael Ryan
The jaw-dropping conclusion to Joss Whedon (ASTONISHING X-MEN, Buffy) and Michael Ryan’s (NEW X-MEN) time-traveling saga! A HUGE shakeup to the Runaways comes as the kids try and find a way out of 1907. But can they escape a super-powered war on the streets of New York?
Kirk Says: This book must be like Countdown, I take it? It's just weird for new titles to start at such a high number instead of the usual number one. Considering this isn't some huge blockbuster title, I can't imagine it being a book that was delayed for the better part of a year. That wouldn't make sense for a niche title starring relatively unknown characters.
To say my interest in this book is pretty much nil at this point would be an understatement. Why Marvel didn't just fire Whedon on the spot and get someone that could, I don't know, string a few words together every couple of days to finish a script is a mystery to me, especially considering how completely unremarkable his Runaways has been. I'm picking this book up simply for the sake of finishing off the series and we'll never speak of this again as we look forward to Moore's relaunch of the once great series.
SECRET INVASION: RUNAWAYS / YOUNG AVENGERS #1
Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Takeshi Miyazawa
The Skrulls are invading and the Runaways and the Young Avengers both have a Skrull on their team. Coincidence? We think not. You two favorite teen teams come together again as the Marvel U is pushed to the brink.
Kirk Says: The Civil War Runaways / Young Avengers mini-series was fun, but never did live up to either group's own titles. If the Secret Invasion tie-in manages to be as enjoyable a read as the Civil War version, I'll have considered this money well spent.
I have a lot of faith in Chris Yost from his New X-Men and X-Force writing and, with Takeshi Miyazawa on art, I suspect this series will actually be one of the better mini-series to come out of Marvel this year, let alone be one of the best SI tie-ins.
THOR: AGES OF THUNDER - REIGN OF BLOOD #1
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Patrick Zircher
From Ragnarok to Ragnarok, in a cycle that spans the millennia, the pantheon of Asgard lives and dies and is born anew. And with each different form and in each new age, come new adventures, greater challenges…and more dire treacheries! Matt Fraction (THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST) and Patrick Zircher (TERROR, INC.) unspool the further epic tales of Thor’s warrior heroism, and the Midgard-quaking intrigues of the gods!
Kirk Says: This could be the book of the week and that's saying a lot with the other titles set to come out. If you missed the first Ages of Thunder story, do yourself a favour and go back and pick it up.
Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Mike Deodato
As the quartet of villainous telepaths in the basement of Thunderbolts Mountain delivers their final assault against the T-Bolts team, Norman Osborn's already fragile psyche may have cracked for the last time. The Goblin is ready to emerge!
Kirk Says: The release of a new Thunderbolts smells like death, blondes and victory. Note to self, have more naked dictation in my previews.
Suffice to say, I can't wait for "President Osborn" to take over his role as the hero of this book and clean house.
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #123
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Stuart Immonen
Venom returns in part 1 of “War of the Symbiotes”! When Spidey’s most fearsome foe strikes, it looks bad for the outmatched web-slinger, but Silver Sable and her Wild Pack may turn the tide! Have they come to save Spider-Man or is their motive something more sinister? Plus: this story adapts, expands and incorporates the hit Ultimate Spider-Man video game (which Brian Michael Bendis just happened to co-write) into Ultimate Spider-Man continuity! So be like Venom and return to ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN to find out why folks like Wizard are saying it’s “the best Spider-book on the stands right now.”
Kirk Says: Ugh, am I the only one who dislikes Ultimate Venom? He has the look, but any tension feels artificial. He doesn't have that menacing, "how is Spider-Man going to stop him this time?", feel to him. He's just another villain to pound on and there's no emotional drama to his appearances like when he terrorized Mary Jane in his original Amazing Spider-Man #300 scenes or showed up to see Aunt May as Eddie Brock while Peter watched on helplessly or kidnapped him and took him to that deserted island.
Here, he's just a blob of goo that Peter hits. So, colour me a little uninterested in this storyline from the get-go. However, USM has been at the top of its game lately. So I'm hoping there's more to this issue than meets the eye. Hopefully Gwen Stacy or Carnage or her clone or whatever nonsense it is shows up, too. I'd love to see them just wash away that death and bring her back. It was the biggest mistake of the series killing her off.
YOUNG AVENGERS PRESENTS: HAWKEYE #6
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Alan Davis
Kate Bishop wants to be a hero. Kate Bishop wants to be a leader. Kate wants to be strong, and proud, and true to her calling. Kate just wants to take care of everybody. Kate just wants to be friends. Kate wants to be stronger than all this. Kate Bishop never wanted anything more than she wants to be a Young Avenger. Kate Bishop wants to be Hawkeye. Here, she finally comes face to face with Clint Barton. Now Kate's gonna have to fight for each and every thing that she wants...especially her name. Wanting something can be miles away from actually earning it. By Matt Fraction
(INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL) and the legendary Alan Davis (CLANDESTINE, EXCALIBUR).
Kirk Says: I think it's safe to say that the Young Avengers Presents series of one-shots has been an unmitigated disaster. I'm not sure on what the sales are, but I feelt here hasn't been a single, worthwhile story in the bunch to warrant their existence and they've failed to capture any of the magic, which was mostly from the team dynamics, that the original series had.
However, Fraction is writing this issue and Davis is a great artist, too, so this issue has the potential to be the best in the bunch, which, arguably, wouldn't take much.