Speaking of which, DC has earned my ire with the Final Crisis: Superman Beyond two-parter. It's the Grant Morrison penned tie-in with a $4.50 price tag and the cheap, 90's gimmick 3D glasses.
While Marvel is guilty of the 90's variant cover bug, typically sporting 6+ covers for their big releases these days, I refuse to buy this DC book on principle. What's next, the return of the chromium and holofoil nonsense? Maybe pack in some armbands, trading cards or animation cells or other bagged crap to sell multiple copies - one for speculators that don't want to open it and one for reading?
Enough about what I'm not buying, though. I've got the other FC tie-ins on the pull list this week, along with another 10 or so books, so hit the jump for the Post-Crisis Previews!
Written by Dan Slott
Art by John Romita Jr
"NEW WAYS TO DIE!"
SPIDEY'S a villain? NORMAN OSBORN'S a hero? What kind of crazy, mixed-up world is this? Next thing you'll tell us is that black is white and white is black…Or maybe that has something to do with VENOM, MISTER NEGATIVE, and the birth of an all-new Spider Villain! Or would that be an all-new Spider-Hero? Either way, True Believer, this is a 1st appearance you do NOT want to miss!
Kirk Says: I take it Anti-Venom debuts in this issue based on the solicit? First issue ended up like most every other Brand New Day issue of Spider-Man that I've read so far - good, but failed to hook me - so I'm hoping part two will kick this into high gear and change my mind.
AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #16
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Stefano Caselli
SECRET INVASION TIE-IN
For months you've heard one question over and over again: "Who do you trust?" Well we've got your answer right here, Earth-boy: TRUST THE KILL KREW! Yeah, that's right, the SKRULL KILL KREW are back! And they're ready to kill, maim, torture, and butcher every mother lovin' Skrull out there! Also, back at Camp Hammond, ANT-MAN is in a giant world of trouble—the biggest kind of trouble the SECRET INVASION can dish out.
Kirk Says: Avengers: The Initiative is probably the best Avengers related title on the stands. I love how Slott and, now, Gage manage to make the most obscure characters interesting again and look forward to the return of the Skrull Kill Krew.
BLACK PANTHER #40
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Jefte Palo
“SEE WAKANDA AND DIE," Part 2
The nation of Wakanda has never been conquered by any outside invader, but then again, they've never faced an army of Super-Skrulls before, have they? As war rages on the plains of Africa, the Skrulls strike a major blow against the Black Panther. Could this be the end for all of Wakanda? No really, could it?
Kirk Says: The first part of this Black Panther Secret Invasion tie-in by Jason Aaron was absolutely amazing. I think it's a given I'll be picking up this month's offering.
BLUE BEETLE #30
Written by Matthew Sturges
Art by Rafael Albuquerque
"Boundaries" continues as Blue Beetle investigates the mystery of the superpowered men who tried to cross the border illegally. But La Dama and the Posse refuse to help him out, thanks to their own secret agendas.
Kirk Says: Sturges first issue as the new on-going writer for Blue Beetle was a solid debut. Here's hoping he can build some momentum with this second offering.
Written by Will Pfeifer
Art by David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez
The not-so-long kiss goodnight! Catwoman's trying to stay one step ahead of Batman, the police and the supervillains of Gotham City, but in this final issue she's going to have to doublecross one of them. Will they be able to live with it? And will she still be standing when the smoke has cleared?
Kirk Says: It was a good run while it lasted. While I'll miss this book, at least DC is using Catwoman in the main Bat titles to make up for it, so I'll have somewhere to read about the character. Let's hope she doesn't get the dreaded "new direction" with the loss of her book.
Written by Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka
Art by Michael Lark
The final chapter of "Cruel and Unusual" brings Daredevil and Dakota North to the truth about Big Ben Donovan's death sentence...but will the truth set any of them free?
Kirk Says: Rucka and Brubaker's collaboration had to end at some point, but it was a great ride while it lasted. Hopefully this leads to more team ups between the two in the future.
DC UNIVERSE: LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Written by Brad Meltzer
Art by Adam Kubert and John Dell
New York Times best-selling author Brad Meltzer (IDENTITY CRISIS, JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA) makes his return to the DC Universe — and superstar artist Adam Kubert (ACTION COMICS) is riding shotgun!
The final battle is quickly approaching. How do the heroes of the DCU prepare for the end? Whom do they approach and say goodbye to before they make the ultimate sacrifice? Featuring the entire DC Universe, Meltzer takes us deep into the hearts and psyches of our heroes. It's the day before you die. What would you do?
Kirk Says: For some reason, every time I read about this book, I have to remind myself it has nothing to do with Final Crisis. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or just bad marketing on DC's part...
FINAL CRISIS: ROGUES' REVENGE #2
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Scott Kolins
Life was easier when the Rogues had Barry Allen for a foe – or at least it was a bit more fun. Now, hunted by Libra and the Secret Society for refusing to worship the impending evil that is prophesized to claim Earth, Cold and his crew find themselves attacked on several fronts . . . and that doesn't sit well with the Rogues. Plus, a bizarre twist for Inertia!
Kirk Says: Great first issue for this mini. Here's hoping we continue with that. I wonder if Barry will eventually show up in this series?
IMMORTAL IRON FIST #18
Written by Duane Swierczynski
Art by Travel Foreman
A mysterious force that has plagued Immortal Iron Fists for centuries sets its sights on Danny Rand. But what is the Ch’i-Lin, and why is it destined to kill him? Danny races for answers for answers, as the fan-favorite legacy of the IMMORTAL IRON FIST grows even richer and more layered with the crackerjack creative team of Duane Swierczynski (CABLE) and Travel Foreman (ARES)!
Kirk Says: While the first issue was much better than I expected it would be, it primarily dealt with tying up loose ends from Brubaker and Fraction's run, leaving very little new content introduced by Swierczynski.
Of the new things introduced, the final reveal of the villain showed an almost alien like creature, which doesn't seem to belong with a pulp / kung-fu character. I'll give it another couple issues before I decide if I'll be sticking around or not.
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #18
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Dale Eaglesham and Ruy Jose
Magog is introduced into the DC Universe in "Gog" part 3! The last god of the Third World has walked the Earth delivering good will to men wherever he goes. But out of a violent confrontation comes the birth of the one being the Kingdom Come Superman must stop: Magog! Meanwhile, Starman struggles with his new role on the team and Damage celebrates his. Plus, Power Girl's strange ordeal on Earth-2 leads her to seek out help from an unlikely source.
Kirk Says: JSA continues to build momentum after a sluggish, up and down start to this delay plagued storyline. I'm curious as to how Magog is introduced into the DCU proper. Will someone be transformed into Magog, like, say, Damage, or is he just going to be plucked from space and time or will they just pluck the Kingdom Come version out of a hat and be done with it?
Written by Mark Millar
Art by John Romita Jr
The most exciting new character of the year debuts as Hit-Girl slashes her way into the pages of Kick-Ass. She’s nine years old, loves Hello Kitty and could rip out your windpipe before you even get a chance to plead for mercy. But where did she come from? And who is Big Daddy? Plus, Kick-Ass starts to find out what happens when you tick off the real-world criminals who have ignored him until now. Things turn ugly and that can mean only one thing...God, this comic is so good I could cry. And I'm very butch.
Kirk Says: "God, this comic is so good I could cry. And I'm very butch." Who wrote that? Really awkward end to that solicit, if you ask me.
Surprisingly, despite the delays, I'm still quite interested in Kick-Ass. I'm usually quite critical of a book that suffers delays, espeically when they use a decompressed storytelling crutch, but Kick-Ass has been so good, I'm just happy to have more of it for some reason.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #45
Written by Jim Shooter
Art by Francis Manapul and John Livesay
A massive intruder planet has appeared near Jupiter – and its gravity is ripping apart the solar system! Under Brainiac 5's guidance, Light Lass and Star Boy fight back, but they'll have to do the impossible – moving planets – to end the chaos and carnage!
Kirk Says: After a anti-climactic ending to the last arc, I'm a little tentative continuing with the book. It just sort of petered out with no real conclusion. All of the problems just went away.
I still enjoyed the book, though, so I'll give it another shot. If rumours are to be believed, I imagine this ending was put together with the rumour of Jim Shooter being off the book and then back on it from several months back. He probably just tied up the loose ends and then came back on and had to work with what he thought he was finishing with.
MIGHTY AVENGERS #17
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Khoi Pham
SECRET INVASION TIE-IN
The legacy of CAPTAIN MARVEL! The return of MAR-VELL has brought with it more questions then answers. In this special Secret Invasion tie-in, all those questions will be answered. Plus, Marvel Boy is confronted with his true destiny.
From Secret Invasion author Brian Michael Bendis and rising star Khoi Pham.
Kirk Says: That's an amazing cover. Very striking. It's rare for a cover to grab me liek that, even if it probably has nothing to do with the contents of the book.
I wonder how much Marvel Boy is actually in this issue. I could give a damn about Captain Marvel after how badly his "return" has been butchered, especially after the non-story attack on the Thunderbolts from Secret Invasion, so I can't imagine my liking this issue very much if Marvel Boy simply shows up on the last page or something.
NEW AVENGERS #44
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Billy Tan
The dark secret of the Illuminati. Marvel's most covert gathering of heroes has a secret so dark that they never speak of it, even to each other. And it could be what has brought about the Secret Invasion.
From Secret Invasion author Brian Michael Bendis and Uncanny X-Men's Billy Tan.
Kirk Says: I shouldn't even buy this issue after seeing the previews. It felt like I was reading Bendis justifying his actions and cribbing all his interview sound bites with repetitive 'who's a Skrull?' and 'who do we trust?' nonsense that he's beat us over the head with a million times.
It would be alright if it were the characters saying this or if they had good reasons, like in Guardians of the Galaxy or other tie-ins, but this is just Bendis-speak and that gets old really fast when it's the same speil over and over again.
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art by Wellinton Alves
SECRET INVASION TIE-IN!
At last – our #1 sci-fi hero rockets into the alien invasion saga that’s tearing apart the Marvel Universe! But is our always-outnumbered space cop actually teaming with one of the enemy?
When Super-Skrull comes asking for a favor, can you ever trust the warrior whose life was dedicated to destroying us? The summer blockbuster hits here in the book that IGN calls “easily one of Marvel’s best titles”!
Kirk Says: Finally, we get to see the Super Skrull again. It's kind of sad to see him left out of the main Secret Invasion event, what, with him being the poster boy for Skrulls in the eyes of most people. Can't believe he's barely even showing up outside of this ancillary tie-in.
Oh well, at least we get to see the cosmic masters, Abnett and Lanning, telling a meaningful story with him.
Written by Terry Moore
Art by Humbertos Ramos
Come see the beginning of a whole new Runaways! Comics legend Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise, Echo) and super-star artist Humberto Ramos (X-MEN, WOLVERINE, SPIDER-MAN) run back to Los Angeles with your favorite teen heroes. But it’s not the same city they left so long ago. The Runaways try to stay off the radar, but the sins of their parents won’t make that possible…
Kirk Says: Not sure of the need for another #1, but it sells books and I like these characters, so I'll let it slide.
Ramos' art is probably going to be the most polarizing aspect of the new creative team. I like his work, so I'm not complaining, but I can see where it might turn off some people.
As for Terry Moore, he did an excellent job on Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane and suspect he'll be equally as impressive here.
SKAAR: SON OF HULK #3
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Ron Garney & Butch Guice
He's the Son of Hulk, born in fire, raised by monsters, and destined to smash. She's the Hero Protector of Imperia, claimant, and the deadliest and most beautiful warrior of the battlescarred wastelands. Will Skaar and Princess Omaka join forces to protect the refugees fleeing from Axeman Bone's merciless barbarians -- or will they tear each other to pieces in the radioactive swamps? Plus: A shocking second story pencilled by star artist Butch Guice!
Kirk Says: This will be my last issue of Skaar unless something drastic happens, which is looking doubtful at this point.
Written by Christos Gage
Art by Fernando Blanco
A SECRET INVASION TIE-IN!
The Skrull armada rains destruction on our nation's capitol! The only thing standing in their way? The Thunderbolts. But if salvation depends on a group of criminals and madmen who can barely keep from killing each other, is Earth doomed? Or are they exactly what we need against the merciless alien invaders? A major turning point for the Thunderbolts begins here!
Kirk Says: After seeing the Captain Marvel non-fight end with abruptly in the last issue of Secret Invasion, I'm at a loss as to what the Thunderbolts will be doing for the duration of this series of tie-ins. I just assumed it would detail the fight and talking with Captain Marvel, but that's been thrown out the window. I guess we'll be doing the "mysterious Strucker sister's return is actually a Skrull" plot.
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #125
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Stuart Immonen
The War of the Symbiotes rages on – and the next victim may be Spider-Man himself! The high-flying Beetle has sliced off a tentacle of the slavering symbiote called Venom – but what does he want with it? Howling in pain, Venom gives chase to his tormentor through the streets of Manhattan, catching the attention of a certain wall-crawler. And when all three combatants come together, what occurs is so shocking, so unexpected, it could only happen in the book in which anything can happen!
Kirk Says: USM is consistently one of the best books on the market.
However, that very consistency makes it difficult to praise it and hype it up every month. It's simply come to the point that it's expected to be this good and we all lose sight of just how good it is every month, especially compared to the 616 Spider-Man titles.
ULTIMATE X-MEN #97
Written by Aron E. Coleite
Art by Mark Brooks
The battle lines of Ultimatum are drawn! Who is the true power behind Banshee? What is their connection to Wolverine and the X-Men? The answers will make the X-Men reconsider everything they've ever believed in! How can one ever be human again after being a god? It’s the shocking finale by Aron E. Coleite (TV’s Heroes) and Mark Brooks!
Kirk Says: While the last issue of Coleite's run wasn't nearly as good as the first two, it was still leaps and bounds above the past couple of years worth of stories on this title and has me reconsidering my 'just cancel it already' train of thought.
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Steve McNiven
“OLD MAN LOGAN”
50 years after the super heroes died, WOLVERINE and the blind archer, HAWKEYE, continue their journey across a ruined America. Next stop: Cedar City, Utah—home of the man who killed Magneto: the all-new, all-different KINGPIN! And he isn’t about to let Logan and Hawkeye pass without paying the toll… Plus: the secret of Hawkeye’s daughter is revealed! The biggest WOLVERINE story of the century by the best-selling creative team of the millennium continues! PART 3 (of 8).
Kirk Says: Fun, alternate future story from Millar with beautiful art by McNiven. What's not to love?
Written by Chris Yost & Craig Kyle
Art by Clayton Crain
"Angels and Demons" Conclusion
The shocking finale to the first arc! Wolverine versus Bastion. Archangel versus the Choir. Wolfsbane versus her father. X-23 versus Matthew Risman. Warpath versus . This is how a species dies.
Kirk Says: I'm not sure if this is a good thing or just a sign at the current disappointing post-Messiah Complex shake up of the X-titles, but X-Force is easily the best X-title on the market right now.
While it may appeal to older fans (or, at least, people that read the books in the 90's), it's still very easily accessible and the story has been moving at a nice pace with lots of great action and shocking reveals.