I'm going to go back and get some marketing courses one of these days just to figure out what the deal is with this practice. For those interested more in what comics we'll be reading, our thoughts on each release and suggesting books Ryan and I should be reading for the upcoming week, hit the jump!
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Francis Manapul
Co-feature Art by Clayton Henry
It's the return of one of DC Comics' longest running books and one of its greatest modern-day heroes – Conner Kent! In our first heroic issue, Superboy can't wait to jump back into his life – but which life will it be? With a clarity he's never had before, Conner makes a beeline for the greatest place on Earth...Smallville?
Plus, in the wake of FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS, Starman heads off on an all-new mission in the present. And it's one that will not only impact Superboy, but the future of the DC Universe itself. Fortunately, the off-kilter Legionnaire won't be dong it alone! And in the upcoming months of ADVENTURE COMICS look for Lex Luthor! Brainiac! Lightning Lad! Superboy's pal Simple Simon! Sun Boy and Polar Boy! Ultra, the Multi Alien! Wonder Girl! Black Lantern Alexander Luthor! And many, many more new and familiar faces!
Ryan: I’m still on the fence about picking up this issue. On one hand, you get Geoff Johns teaming up with one of the top young artists in the business with extremely intriguing premise in the return of Superboy. On the flipside, I have almost no interesting the back-up story as I’m not a huge fan of the Legion of Superheroes. I may pick this one up as a “try-out,” but if I decide to continue on with the title, another DC book might get the axe from my pull list.
Kirk: While I'm a big fan of the Young Justice crew, after Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, I'm not sure if I'll be picking this comic up or not. I'll take a look at it in the shop and make the decision there.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #602
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Barry Kitson
THE CHAMELEON returns with a terrifying new mission that has MAYOR J. JONAH JAMESON squarely in his sights! Meanwhile, the ANTI-SPIDER SQUAD narrows its dragnet around the Wall-Crawler, and Peter Parker gets a brand new job...will it bring him closer to the newly-returned MARY JANE, or push her further away?
Ryan: After the could-it-be-true bombshell of last week’s issue, I’m extremely excited to see where Fred Van Lente and Barry Kitson go with this issue. As a big fan of the post-One More Day world of Spider-Man, I’m really hoping that the implied idea that Mary Jane knows about her deal with Mephisto doesn’t mean a reset button could be in the near future. While that most certainly wouldn’t come to fruition for some time now, I look forward to seeing what affect, if any, that implication has on the current storyline.
Kirk: While I had some quams about last issue, I'm actually still fairly interested in seeing what's in store for Mary Jane and her return to the Spider-Man titles. Does she know Peter is Spider-Man? Does she remember the deal with Mephisto?
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Mark Bagley and Rob Hunter
"Long Shadows" continues! Batman forges ahead in his battle to retrieve the escapees from Arkham Asylum, while Two-Face begins a ground war of his own. Elsewhere, Penguin wants to become Gotham City's new king of crime, but to do so he has to make a deal with the devil.
Ryan: Judd Winick’s return to Batman has been the weakest of the post-RIP Bat-titles and I’ve got a feeling that trend will continue with this issue. I don’t really understand it either. Winick’s original run on the title was great, he wrote Nightwing very well in Outsiders, and he is teaming up with Mark Bagley who did great work at Marvel over the last few years. You’d think it would be a sure-fire formula for a great read.
BLACKEST NIGHT #2 (OF 8)
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert
The event of the summer continues! The dead rise across the DC Universe, bringing terror and darkness with them. What are the Black Lanterns? What do they want? Will Earth's greatest heroes survive long enough to find out – or will they join the Black Lantern Corps?
Ryan: Blackest Night #1 was one of the best comics of 2009 thus far, which gives this issue a lot of momentum and makes it one of my most anticipated books of the week. Now that the dead have risen and claimed their first victims, I can’t wait to see where Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis take the story from here, especially after the brutal attack on Hawkman and Hawkgirl at the hands of Ralph and Sue Dibny.
Kirk: I share Ryan's anticipation for this issue. I was blown away with the first issue (my review here) and the follow-up Green Lantern tie-in only left me wanting more. With this, and the numerous other great books coming out this week, it's a good time to be a comic fan.
BOOSTER GOLD #23
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund
Co-feature written by Matthew Sturges
Co-feature art by Mike Norton
"Day of Death" continues! Booster Gold reveals the Black Beetle's plan to wipe out the entire JLA by going after their most incompetent former member – Booster Gold! Plus, Blue Beetle comes face to face with the mad scientist who created the robot army that's destroying Texas!
Ryan: While I’ve really only been picking up this series for the superb Blue Beetle co-features, the idea that Booster Gold will have to save the JLA by saving himself from the villainous Black Beetle is pretty hilarious. After all, it’s not every day that you save a highly powerful organization by ensuring the safety of their most bumbling member. This issue should be pure fun and a nice palate cleanser after the utter grimness of Blackest Night.
GI JOE SPECIAL: HELIX
Written by Brian Reed
Art by Joe Suitor
Introducing a brand-new Joe! G.I. Joe is the best of the best. But that’s not good enough for Hawk. Enter Special Agent Helix: a deadly young woman who may well define the future of G.I. Joe’s combat operations — if Duke can keep her alive long enough. This special tale ties in with the new G.I. Joe videogame!
Ryan: The fact that this ties-in with the GI Joe videogame makes me a bit nervous, but the idea of Brian Reed creating a brand new character for the GI Joe franchise is more than enough of a reason for me to pick this one up. Given how strong his Red Sonja work has been, I expect big things from Reed’s “deadly young woman” set to debut in this one-shot.
GI JOE #8
Written by Chuck Dixon
Art by SL Gallant
No one holds the Baroness against her will… not even Destro. Scarlett remains on trial and the evidence is mounting. Mainframe and Snake Eyes on a roadtrip? The Joes invade the relocated Castle Destro only to find someone — or something — deadly at home.
Ryan: This series just keeps getting better. Chuck Dixon is hitting his stride and putting some great new spins on the classic characters to keep the series fresh for longtime fans, while still being engaging for newbies to the franchise. This issue promises lots of action, a big confrontation between Baroness and Destro, and more on Scarlett’s trial—there is no way for me not to be excited about this one!
GREEN ARROW AND BLACK CANARY #23
Written by Andrew Kreisberg
Art by Mike Norton, Bill Sienkiewicz and Josef Rubinstein
"Big Game" part 1 of 2! In the main feature, Green Arrow investigates a crime with all the earmarks of his old nemesis known as Big Game – which is made extra-mysterious by the fact that Cupid killed Big Game. And in this issue's co-feature, Black Canary attempts to save her rival's life when Cupid is attacked in police custody!
Ryan: While I am disappointed that Green Arrow and Black Canary have been split up in this title, I know that the individual stories going to be very strong thanks to the creative team involved. Andrew Kreisberg is capable of developing a strong balance between the two stories and, from the looks of it, the fates of the two characters will remain intwined as their stories spin out of the same events. Plus, on the bright side, we’ll get to see Mike Norton’s work finished by not just one, but two legendary creators in Bill Sienkiewicz and Josef Rubinstein.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #39
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason and Rebecca Buchman
Just when things couldn't look any darker after the death and chaos of the Sciencell riot, Blackest Night descends on Oa! The black rings tear into the planet and the Lantern Crypt causing all the dead Corps members to rise and wreak havoc as a new and deadlier battle threatens to engulf not only the Corps, but the Universe itself!
Ryan: What’s that you say? This issue is about dead Green Lanterns coming back to take on living Green Lanterns? Oh, and it's drawn by Pat Gleason? Do you really need to ask my opinion on this one, when you know that I’m 99.9% certain that it is going to be awesome?
Kirk: As Tomasi and Gleason has been doing superior work to Johns's "main" Green Lantern title (which was still good) and a much better job seeding the whole War of Light, I'm actually anticipating this issue as much as the main Blackest Night title. Can't wait to see what both do now that the main event is here.
INCREDIBLE HERCULES #132
Written by Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Art by Reilly Brown
Beginning a storyarc so earth-shattering, so momentous, so, well, incredible, we just had to give it to you TWICE A MONTH! (Well, for the three months, anyway). When terrible threats rise in Svartalfheim, the land of the Dark Elves, only Mighty Thor, Son of Asgard, can hope to triumph! But what happens if the Odinson is temporarily...unavailable? It's Hammer Time for Hercules as the Lion of Olympus gets his thunder on! Meanwhile, in Incredible Hercules 133, the Secret Origin of AMADEUS CHO begins! Who really killed Amadeus' family? What is his true relation to Hercules? And, most importantly, what is the connection between him and The Twelve's MASTER MIND EXCELLO? Everyone's favorite irascible boy genius is after the answers himself -- but to get them he's going to have to go through his arch-nemesis, PYTHAGORAS DUPREE, the sixth-smartest man on Earth!
Kirk: I love that cover. And this book. And puppies. Er, ah, I mean guns and cars and other macho things. Moving along, if that cover and the constant critical acclaim from myself and other reviewers doesn't have you picking up this book to see what the heck is going on, I'm not sure what will. Maybe the recent announcement of the Assault on New Olympus? Either way, this is a book you should be reading, either in trade or singles, so give it a shot if you can, please?
MARVEL DIVAS #2
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Art by Tonci Zonjic
After last issue's shocking revelation, Angelica "Firestar" Jones seeks out medical advice...from none other than Dr. Stephen Strange. (Paving the way for yet another diva to enter the fray: The nocturnal Night Nurse!) Meanwhile, Monica "Photon" Rambeau and Patsy "Hellcat" Walker are drawn back into the lives of their ex-boyfriends of the damned: Brother Voodoo and Daimon Hellstrom, respectively. And Felicia "Black Cat" Hardy contemplates a return to her life of crime...the claws are out as this mini-series continues!
Kirk: The first issue of Marvel Divas, despite all the controversy over portrayal of women leading up to it, was surprisingly not bad. Considering I was expecting an unmitigated disaster going in, I was quite happy with the final product up until the very end when the cancer card was played. Depending on where they go with that out of place in a comedy book bomshell will determine if I continue reading the rest of this series.
MICE TEMPLAR: DESTINY #2
Written by Michael Avon Oeming & Bryan J. Glass
ARt by Victor Santos & Michael Avon Oeming
Karic and Cassius must answer for ancient crimes of the Templar in the underground kingdom of the Mole Goblins. Yet a horror from the Haunted Wood stalks the tunnels, hungry for flesh and souls, and only a pair of condemned Templar stand in its way. While in the capital city of the mice-Dealrach Ard-Vale-mad King Icarus asserts his control; but is his Highness oblivious to the schemes of his own court, or is he intentionally pitting ally against ally to maintain his position. And Druid Priests use 'Death Magic' to unlock the power contained within the swords of fallen Templar.
Ryan: Two weeks ago, Mice Templar: Destiny crushed the rest of that week’s releases to take the Top Spot in the Comic Book Review Power Rankings and is the early favorite to do so again this week. According to the solicits, Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass look to expand the focus of this volume in this issue, which bodes well do to Mice Templar’s rich and full mythology and already epic scope. I’ve got a feeling it will take one amazing book to unseat this issue from the Top of the Rankings.
RED ROBIN #3
Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Ramon Bachs
"The Grail" part 3 of 4! "Batman Reborn" continues, but is Red Robin's quest to find Bruce Wayne at an end? Because in a German museum, answers await. But to get to those answers, Red Robin has to go through the Global Guardian known as the Wild Huntsman. Making matters worse, Red Robin's got an unwanted ally – Ra's al Ghul! Also, discover what happened in the days after BATTLE FOR THE COWL?
Ryan: Red Robin has been my favorite of the post-RIP Bat-books and the unlikely alliance of Tim Drake and Ra’s al Ghul from last issue has me especially excited about this one. DC knocked one out of the park by signing up Chris Yost to handle the writing chores on this series, continuing a high level of quality writing that begin with Fabian Nicieza at the helm of Tim Drake’s adventures in the Robin series prior to Batman RIP.
THE MARVELS PROJECT #1
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Steve Epting
The centerpiece of Marvel's 70th Anniversary celebration! Who is the mysterious old man who lies on his deathbed in a hospital in 1939, and how does his passing mark the beginning of the first heroic age of the Marvel Universe — and signal the rise of the superhumans? Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting unveil the defining story of the origin of the Marvel Universe, revealing the hidden connections that unite the earliest costumed champions, and whose reverberations are felt dramatically into the present day! It’s a world on the brink of war, and the race is on to create the world's first super-soldier! Witness the first days of the Human Torch, the Sub-Mariner, and many more-- how they shaped the world to come, and how the future they would create in turn shaped them! The must-read event of the season for any Marvel fan from the Award-Winning creators who redefined Captain America for the modern audience!
Kirk: I've been looking forward to this title since it was first announced. However, the recent Captain America: Reborn seems to be covering similar ground with Cap's trip through the past, most recently his return to his origin. Hopefully there isn't too much overlap with this story.
ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS #1
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Carlos Pacheco
Guess who’s back!! That’s right, kids, MARK MILLAR (THE ULTIMATES, WOLVERINE: OLD MAN LOGAN) and superstar artist CARLOS PACHECO (AVENGERS FOREVER, X-MEN) blast into the Ultimate Universe for a mind-blowing, heart-pounding and gut-wrenching event of epic proportions! When a highly-classified secret threatens Captain America, only the newly-returned Nick Fury has the tools to bring ‘em in! As the first of a series of blockbuster arcs begins: PROJECT AVENGERS is a go!
Kirk: With no Bryan Hitch on art, I'm actually going to pick this up in singles instead of trade. I hope I'm rewarded with a monthly comic this time, as it's set to have a merry go round of revolving artists, similar to Batman and Robin, but that book has already suffered delays on it's third issue, so I'm probably setting myself up for disappointment hoping for no delays on an Ultimates, sorry, Ultimate Comics Avengers comic (such a horrible new naming convention).
ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #1
Written by Brian Bendis
Art by David Lafuente
Almost ten years ago, Ultimate Spider-Man launched the Ultimate line, a reinvention of the Marvel Universe that defied the odds and every expectation. Today, it happens again: This new chapter in the life of the teenaged webslinger picks up in the aftermath of Ultimatum and completely redefines the status quo of Spider-Man for the next generation! With a new supporting cast, new villians and maybe even a new Spider-Man, this new chapter will keep you guessing month after month. Join Eisner Award-winning writer BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS in introducing new ongoing artist DAVID LAFUENTE (ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL, PATSY WALKER: HELLCAT)! You have never seen a Spider-Man like this before! Be there!
Kirk: It doesn't matter how much Jeph Loeb utterly screwed the Ultimate Universe with Ultiamtes 3 and Ultimatum, this is Ultimate Spider-Man Part Deux. You'd be a fool not to pick up what will likely still be one of the best and timely comics on the market.
UNCANNY X-MEN #514
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Terry Dodson
UTOPIA rages on! Norman Osborn’s victory in San Francisco is cemented when the Dark X-Men succeed where the X-Men can’t. All the while the Dark Avengers are forced to watch from the sidelines. But how long will Bullseye and Ares sit idle?
Ryan: The jury is still out on how much I’m really enjoying the Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men crossover is, but the solicitations do have my interest piqued. I like that it isn’t clear just who Bullseye and Ares are going to go after when they finally let loose. The X-Men are the most obvious target, but they aren’t the type to sit peacefully while the Dark X-Men fill their role as Norman Osborn’s personal attack dogs. This issue could very well be the tipping point for both the events of this crossover and my reaction to it.