Monday, August 3, 2009

Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews for 08/05/09

No, with all the hooplah about our Two Years Later anniversary celebrations and various contests we have going, we didn't forget about this week's comics nor our Post-Crisis Previews. It's a pretty light reading week for both Ryan and myself, but we've got some heavy hitters in the bunch, like Captain America: Reborn, the conclusion to War of Kings and arguably DC's best book, Secret Six.

Hit the jump to find out what we're picking up this week, our expectations for each book and feel free to let us know what you think or suggest books we should be reading in the comments below!

Written by Christos Gage
Art by Roberto Viacava

You've seen Christos Gage's work for Marvel, WildStorm, IDW and others, but you've never seen his imagination unleashed with absolutely no restrictions...until now.

ABSOLUTION introduces John Dusk, a superhero in a world where they're a sanctioned arm of law enforcement. But this veteran hero has been scarred by his exposure to man's infinite capacity for evil, and he's seen one too many perpetrators escape justice. One day he crosses the line...lets a murderer die...and discovers it feels good.

Surrounded by sociopaths, both human and superhuman, who he knows will prey on others if they're not stopped--permanently--how far will he go, knowing every step he takes puts him further on a collision course with his teammates Alpha and The Servant, not to mention his homicide detective girlfriend?

Drawing on his experience writing for TV crime dramas like Law & Order: SVU, and his years of acclaimed work on comics like G.I. Joe: Cobra, StormWatch: PHD, and Avengers: The Initiative, Gage and artist Roberto Viacava bring you a riveting, no-punches-pulled saga that fans of shows like The Shield and Dexter, or comics such as Powers and Sleeper, won't be able to put down.

He wants to be forgiven...but he doesn't want to stop.

Ryan: While I can’t guarantee that I’ll be reviewing this issue this week (my shop didn’t order the #0 issue, forcing me to hunt down a copy at the last minute), I do have a hunch it is going to be well-worth picking up. Christos Gage really impressed me with the debut of this incredibly dark series. Gage’s smart storytelling and history of great character work could propel this strong premise into being one of the strongest new series of the year.

Written by Mark Waid
Art by Mario Alberti

Prepare for the All-New, All-Deadly: DARK MARY-JANE!! Oops, sorry, that's the rest of Marvel's solicits...Actually, in this issue "Red-Headed Stranger" begins just after the surprising events of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #600 with Pete's love life taking a turn for the worse just as his old flame Mary Jane returns to New York City. (FINALLY!! Sheesh. What took us so long?!)

Ryan: Mary Jane’s return was inevitable, but I’m glad that Marvel gave this series nearly two years of solid storytelling before putting the spotlight on MJ. While I’m really interested in how the events of One More Day affected Peter’s now “never was” wife, I’m really hoping that it won’t cause the great new supporting cast members of this series to be brushed aside.

Kirk: Jumped back on the Brand New Day bandwagon with Amazing Spider-Man #600 in prepartion for these Mary Jane issues. What they do with MJ will determine if I stick with the book or not. If they just dick around and make snark comments and "jokes" about post-OMD continuity for readers, I'm probably going to drop the book again. I'm also interested in the supposed Brian Bendis/Joe Quesada backups for the duration of this arc.

Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Bryan Hitch

The race for Steve Rogers is on! On one side - BUCKY and the BLACK WIDOW and members of the AVENGERS and FANTASTIC FOUR! On the other - NORMAN OSBORN and HAMMER, THE RED SKULL and his evil hordes, with DR. DOOM waiting in the wings! And where... oh where, is the real CAPTAIN AMERICA? Ed Brubaker, Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice bring you the biggest Marvel comic of the year!

Ryan: I was extremely underwhelmed by the first issue of this miniseries. Now that my initial dismay at the manner by which Steve Rogers will return has passed, I’m hoping that Ed Brubaker and Bryan Hitch can win me over with the specifics of Cap’s return. This creative team certainly has the talent to produce some amazing work, so I’m hoping that the disappointing first issue was just a fluke.

Kirk: I've decided I'm dropping Captain America: Reborn. The writing and art aren't bad from a technical perspective. I just can't stand how far beyond the grounded Captain America series they've gone with the magic science guns and time bullets and what feels like an editorial mandate to bring Cap back (yes, I know Brubaker proposed an out for his return when he killed him, doesn't mean it feels right).

DYNAMO 5 #23
Written by Jay Faerber
Art by Matteo Scalera, Mahmud A. Asrar & Ron Riley

The last time Dynamo 5 encountered Whiptail, they barely survived. Now they're faced with a Whiptail epidemic! Meanwhile, Father Gideon's sinister plan kicks into high gear.

Ryan: This series has lost a lot of momentum in 2009 as it has switched focus away from the characters and more on the action. The solicitation promises more of the same in this issue, which doesn’t bode well for the series, which was once one of the best comics on the stands. The good news is that even if the issue is tremendously action-focused, Mahmud A. Asrar is going to make it look amazing.

Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Roland Boschi

The acclaimed GHOST RIDER run of writer Jason Aaron reaches its fever-pitched conclusion with six more issues of insanity, all jam-packed with new villains, old allies and the same old grindhouse action that Flamehead fans have come to know and love. The renegade angel Zadkiel is out to thwart Biblical prophecy by assassinating a young boy bred by Satanists to rule the world, so if Ghost Riders Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch are going to save the world, they'll first have to save the Anti-Christ. Guest-starring Hellstorm, the Son of Satan.

Kirk: I've heard so many good things about Jason Aaron's Ghost Rider and it's even showed up in the Moments of the Week a few times, but have always held back on picking it up, always telling myself I'd get the trade. It's ironic that now that it's about to end, I find myself with room on my pull list to actually pick up an issue of it.

Written by Gail Simone
Art by Nicola Scott and Doug Hazlewood

A crisis of conscience splits the Secret Six right down the middle and puts them on opposite sides of a horrific war involving Amazons led by a deluded Artemis! But that's just the opening bout for the main event: Jeannette vs. Wonder Woman!

Ryan: Once again, things are looking good for DC’s strongest ongoing series. Gail Simone and Nicola Scott have been unstoppable with this series and it looks like they’ve got a whole truckload of awesomeness planned for this issue. This book always exceeds the hype, which has me incredibly pumped for the solicited showdown between Wonder Woman and Jeanette, who is one of the best characters to debut in 2009. This is definitely the frontrunner for Book of the Week.

Kirk: Agreeing with Ryan here. This is easily DC's strongest book right now and always one of the best books of the month, let alone week, it comes out.

Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art by Paul Pelletier

This is it – the big fight for all the cosmic marbles! Shi'Ar vs. Inhuman! Black Bolt vs. Vulcan! Who will rule? The fate of two intergalactic civilizations teeters on the brink, and the outcome of this conflict will send shockwaves throughout the Marvel Universe! Don’t miss the climactic chapter in what calls: "Action-packed but intimate and character driven…this could very well be the textbook definition of how to execute major superhero storylines."

Ryan: This is really the only issue that I think could have a chance of unseating Secret Six from the Top Spot on my Comic Book Review Power Rankings this week. The event has been phenomenal thus far, giving it a lot of momentum heading into this final issue. Could someone finally shut down Vulcan? Will Black Bolt finally step up as a true leader? Will Rocket Raccoon surprise us all by becoming the new King of the Universe? Who knows; not me, that’s for sure. The only thing for certain is that this is going to be one of the best books of the week.

Kirk: I think I'd die a happy man if this was 20+ pages of Black Bolt just beating the crap out of Vulcan. I wouldn't even care if there was a story to go with it. However, DnA have surprised me with how methodical they've been about this event. They've learned a lot since Conquest petered out a year or so ago and I suspect they've got some big things planned for this that will propel the cosmic corner of the Marvel Unvierse forward for the next year or more.

Written by Jay Faerber
Art by Adriana Melo

The royal women take center stage as we spotlight Crystal and Lilandra! When a group of disgruntled Kree launch a series of bombings aimed at the Inhumans Royal Family, Crystal is charged with quelling the violence—but can she bring the guilty to justice without causing civil war? Plus: a flashback story to one of Lilandra's earliest adventures, as the future Empress of the Shi'Ar must face a trial by fire ignited by the Brood! It’s two brand new stories that spotlight key players in the War of Kings!

Ryan: Crystal has emerged from the War of Kings event as one of the most fascinating and engaging characters in the Marvel Universe. Thanks to this, her story in this issue has a lot of potential. The Lilandra story isn’t quite as interesting to me, but it does involve the Brood and that has my interest piqued a bit. Jay Faerber certainly has the talent to make this a can’t miss issue. Let’s just hope it doesn’t fall prey to disappointing execution like the last issue of this miniseries.

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Klep said...

I want MJ and Peter back together a lot, but that's taken a back seat to the other things they've done with his character. I could probably settle for him hooking up with someone like Felicia Hardy again (though I can't see that relationship ever being as strong as Peter+MJ), but as long as Peter's still such a loser, it's going to be hard for me to enjoy Spidey the way I used to.

Crystal's story in Warriors is one that I really enjoyed, and is the best of the lot that they've fully put online. Only the first part of Lilandra's is up and it was decent, but it didn't grab me right off like Crystal's did.

Kirk Warren said...

@Klep - Now that you mention Felecia, I'm curious how she reacts to not knowing Peter is Spider-Man. Is she going back to the whole obsession/infatuation with The Spider like when she first appeared or is she going to have the "wtf, i know who you are but cant remember, but know you were a loser under the mask and dont love you" attitude (ok, maybe not that extreme ahah) like Daredevil being perplexed as to why he cant remember him? Its actually stuff like this as to why i cant get into BND, despite the best efforts of the talent involved.

Klep said...

@Kirk - Yeah, it's never seemed like they really had a plan for BND, and they've just been making stuff up as they've gone along (hell, we know they did this with Harry). Not having a plan makes for bad and hackneyed storytelling. Thus, we have a convoluted "explanation" for how he can get the FF to remember him again, but without any explanation for why they aren't annoyed with him for hiding his identity from them after he got it secret again.

Of course I'm sure at some point he'll reveal it to somebody and they'll be annoyed (because it's too obvious a story to tell), and that will be completely inconsistent with what has come before. That's what happens when you don't plan.

At any rate, I'm not getting my hopes up at all for ASM. I'll be interested again if and when they fix Peter and put him back with MJ, and very likely not before. Even then, they'll need to fix their storytelling if they want me to be interested in the stories and not just the character.

Flip The Page said...

You say Crystal emerged as one of the most engaging and interesting characters of the marvel universe in this?

You really should read the setup for the inhumans rise to power in Secret Invasion: Inhumans. That managed that just before all the war of kings stuff

Daniel Woburn said...

How come nobody's reading Chew? I keep hearing insanely good things, and i'm going to be picking up the #1 and #2 reprints along with the new #3 this week.

Ryan Schrodt said...

Daniel - I've heard great things as well and I hope to pick it up in trade. My shop is notorious for only ordering Marvel and DC books, with a small selection of Dark Horse and Image books and those are usually the most mainstream titles for those companies. Sadly, that means its harder for me to get a hold of a lot of great indy books unless I order them online. Let us know what you think of it though!

Daniel Woburn said...

@Ryan - will do! unfortunately, a quick look at my funds says being a poor student does not always allow the money for comics... but hey, maybe i'll just go without beer this week.
also out is Greek Street #2 - the first ish was good, if a tad confusing. some of the art was a bit muddy but I like the general idea of it.
and, a question that's always been on my mind, and seeing as the latest issue of Buffy Season 8 is out, now seems like a good time to ask - is no one around here a fan? I guess if you didn't like the tv show there's no reason you'd be picking up the comic, but come on! everybody loves Buffy!

Ryan Schrodt said...

I know how it goes about being a poor student and needing comics money. When I was in college I faced the same problem, which was made worse by the fact that I had to drive 45 minutes to get to a comic book shop. My recommendation? Cut down your beer budget by switching to 40oz of King Cobra. It may look and taste like a mix of gasoline & swamp water, but it'll free up some funds for comics.

I can't speak for everyone, but I've only ever watched about half an episode of Buffy. I'm sure I'd like it if I watched more, but since I never got into the show, I never got into the comics.

Matt Ampersand said...

I am a big fan of Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men, but absolutely hated his take on Runaways. I was never really interested in Buffy and/or Angel.

Nathan Aaron said...

"I’m really hoping that it won’t cause the great new supporting cast members of this series to be brushed aside." Are we really talking about Amazing Spiderman? Harry is obnoxious. Lily is well, insane (and a villain), Vic is a (rhymes with Vic), Carlie was a nice cast member until she too decided to join in on the "I hate Spiderman" bandwagon. Way too many people riding that broken down wagon; Nora has finally actually become interesting (one!), and J. Jonah Jameson's father is pretty cool. But I think they have a ways to go before they reach "great new supporting cast members" level, unfortunately. (IMHO)

Kirk Warren said...

@Nathan Aaron - At least there's an attempt at a supporting cast these days. For too long it was just Spider-Man stories with the odd feature of Peter. MJ and Aunt May might have shown up, but the book had become a Spider-Man story first, Parker second. My favourite periods of Spider-Man are when Peter and his supporting cast is the focus for like 70% of the issue and Spider-Man is just a vehicle for stories. BND is at least attempting to get back to basics on that end, to varying degrees of success.

brandon said...

a) my thoughts were completely echoed here about ASM and Cap Reborn. I am on the verge or dropping Reborn for the reasons Ryan and Kirk mentioned. I picked up ASM 600 and plan to continue because of MJ but if the mocking of OMD is the highlight then I'm dropping it.

b) I read Chew and its fantastic. The hook is that he eats things and can see the past for that thing (whether's its food or flesh). But the beauty of the series is the character work. Small, growing cast with interesting characters and interactions. If the team keeps this up it will be a great book. Afterall, here are only so many crimes you can solve by eating someone's finger. I've loved the first two issues.

c) Am I the only left considering buying Loeb's Hulk?

Anonymous said...

I love that "War of Kings" variant cover. Who'd ever thought you could do a cover portraying a tender moment between Crystal, Medusa and... Groot?!?!

Ryan Schrodt said...

@Matt - Glad to know I wasn't the only one who hated Whedon's run on Runaways. I too loved his Astonishing X-Men and had high hopes, that story was just abysmal.

@Nathan Aaron - I'm really enjoying how the writers have been developing Spider-Man's supporting cast and, like Kirk said, at least at it is an attempt. I thought that if there was anything the main story in ASM600 did was show how deep the supporting cast has become. I'd like to see more of that rather than the Pete-and-MJ-drama show over the course of the next few arcs. But, I am also one of the few people to stick with ASM since OMD and enjoy it!

@Anonymous - I'd like to see Groot become the new talking ape of comic covers. What cover wouldn't be better with Groot?

Rawnzilla said...

Ryan, I think you should stop right now. If I see "Groot Variant Cover" on my invoice from Marvel I'm going to kill myself.

Matt Ampersand said...

@brandon: Obviously you are not the only person buying Red Hulk, it keeps charting near the top every month!

Also, excited for the next issue of Cap. In Bru we trust!

Jonathan M Perez said...

@ the Buffy chat: My wife loves Buffy (and has made me pick up Angel: After the Fall and all its plethora of spinoffs), and I caught up watching all of the episodes. I think the comic is very entertaining. I will say that I think Joss Whedon, while having done some unquestionably excellent work, is the most overrated writer in comics and TV.

The non-Whedon arcs (especially the Drew Goddard one) on Buffy Season 8 have been the best. His Buffy/Fray arc was unbearable and brought out all of his worst tendencies as a writer. I loved his Astonishing X-Men through issue #7, after that it went downhill and only got exponentially worse with each issue. The Giant Sized issue that concluded his Astonishing arc was hands down the worst comic I read last year. Kitty Pryde phasing a giant bullet? That was the stupidest thing I read in a looong time.

Looking forward to War of Kings and Wednesday Comics. Cap Reborn had better be vastly improved. Issue #1 was the biggest letdown of the year so far.

Anonymous said...

Doom Patrol looks really good. Previews indicate that Giffen is making it as far out as ever. And u get the bonus of the JLI team on Metal Men.

jocutus said...

I had to chuckle when you called Brubaker's run on Cap "grounded", as if there were no reality-altering Cosmic Cubes, mind-controlling telepaths, giant robots destroying London or cybernetic Nazis with holographic faces on their bellies. Heck, Bru's first issue had the Red Skull shot dead, the Winter Soldier came into the room , checked the body and everything. Dead, dead, dead. Since then he swapped his consciousness via COSMIC Cube to Lukin, then to a robot body. He was using a freakin Time Platform supplied by Doctor Doom to try to put his consciousness into Captain America back in WWII or some such nonsense (I'm still not sure) when he got trapped in the robot.

But now that Cap has gone all Slaughterhouse Five on ya, NOW ya think it's gone too far?? this is par for the course. If this is too much, maybe it's time to quit the whole super hero genre. I hear one comic out there has magic rings that is bringing EVERYONE back from the dead. Again, I just find it amusing . . .

Having said all that, I'd be quite contented to have another 2-4 years of BuckyCap. I would particularly like to see him be the one to topple Osborn's "Dark Reign". He's never had the opportunity to be held up before the public of the Marvel Universe as the true successor to Cap. As far as the public is concerned he's just some underground vigilante guy running around in a modified outfit. He deserves some respect.

Ethereal said...

Secret Six and World of New Krypton from DC. Most looking forward to World of New Krypton because of the cliffhanger ending last issue.

Marvel has some interesting stuff that I might be interested in, but I'm definitely getting War of Kings (So excited!), ASM 601, and Captain America: Reborn. I'm going to agree with jocutus here and say that this is just another storyline from Bru. Hype hurt it more than anything. Might start reading Invincible Iron Man because I want to see if it justified an Eisner.

Kirk Warren said...

@jocutus - While, yes, it had it's share of outlandish super hero concepts, Brubaker's run on Cap did not go outside of any Captain America stand bys for story and plot points with those cosmic cubes, etc. It stayed, very much, grounded in how it portrayed everyone, the stories treated these things as common to the universe and played it straight like the super hero action/spy adventure it was built up as.

With Reborn, the story went off the rails and started using time bullets in magic science guns, introduced dozens of characters that had not been in the main Cap book prior to this and are only there to explain the story to new people and the book no longer reads or feels like the Cap book I was reading before.

It's similar to Immortal Iron Fist. That was a high octane kung-fu action story with Brubaker and Fraction at the helm. Sure, it had crazy lady with a body of spiders and everyone doing insane non-kung-fu things but it was still just an epic kung-fu story at heart.

When they left, the new writer introduced a character to the mythos that was practically an alien and wanted to eat the Iron Fist and did anything but kung-fu in comparison. They then went off on a mystical adventure to a new city with more alien-like creatures that really just turned me off of the book since it didn't fit with what had come before.

ANother instance similar to this was JMS on Spider-Man who went about systematically devauling everything that made Spider-Man unique by turning his origin into a magic based totem nonsense and introduced new Spider-Men from throughout time and other magic nonsense that has no place in Spider-Man stories, despite the various insane concepts that make up his "street level" stories.

In the concept of a super hero genre, Captain America, much liek Spider-Man, is a grounded story. Dr Strange or Fantastic Four or what have you would be the ones dealing with mystical or cosmic/time travel based insane stories. Adding those concepts to a 50+ issue run that had not even really been broached upon or really introduced to any signifigance prior as a cop out to a death that had a huge effect, all kinds of fall out and emotional impact on readers is not what I was looking for.

Perhaps I should have clarified more in my 'grounded' comment, but what is going on Reborn does not mesh with what came before, despite being from the same writer, and is the biggest turn off for me, aside from the bad taste of the almost guaranteed Rogers return.

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