Written by Judd Winick
Art by Mark Bagley and Rob Hunter
Penguin ups the ante in his bid to become Gotham's top crook and enlists a few of Arkham's finest to keep Batman busy. Meanwhile a mysterious presence enters the scene to aid the Penguin – or is there another motive at play? And Two-Face takes a massive leap forward in uncovering one of Batman's greatest secrets.
Ryan: The return of Judd Winick to the Dark Knight (or rather “A” Dark Knight) has brought little more than unfocused storytelling and a series of disappointing issues from artist Mark Bagley. While I’m looking forward to seeing what the Penguin has up his sleeves, I can’t imagine this creative team will do much to impress me here. Let’s just hope I’m wrong and that the downward spiral for this title ends here.
GHOST RIDERS: HEAVENS ON FIRE #2
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Roland Boschi
The quest to save the Anti-Christ continues, as Johnny Blaze, the Son of Satan, occult terrorist Jaine Cutter and the all-new Caretaker team up to battle the minions of the evil angel Zadkiel in the streets and corporate towers of New York City. And just what sort of dark dealings does Danny Ketch have in mind? And who's this guy with demons for arms? And is that a steam shovel with eyes on it?
Kirk: First issue of this (my first Ghost Rider issue, well, ever) was excellent. Easy enough to get into with a few quick solicit/recap summaries and just some great fun to be had. Depending on how the event turns out, I'm more then likely going to go back and pick up the trades for this series.
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Sean Phillips
THE HARD-HITTING CONCLUSION TO THE MOST TWISTED SUPER-VILLAIN STORY EVER! It all ends here. All of Zack Overkill's planning and scheming has brought him face-to-face with his own past, and now he's the one man left who can save the world... but does he care enough to even try?
Ryan: After rereading issues #1-5 of this series in succession, I can honestly say that it will read much, much, much better in trade than it has in singles. As such, I’ll be approaching this final issue with a reinvigorated sense of excitement. The story still isn’t as strong as Brubaker's and Phillips’s Criminal, but I think it is worth noting that the final issues in almost every arc of Criminal were the strongest of the story. If this issue follows suit, we could be in for a treat.
Kirk: And that is why I've been trade waiting this title, as well as Brubaker's Criminal. They just read so much better in trades.
IMMORTAL WEAPONS #2
Written by Cullen Bunn & Duane Swierczynski
Art by Daniel Brereton & Travel Foreman
Her heart pumps the coldest blood imaginable…and she is host to horrors inconceivable to mortal men. The Bride of Nine Spiders is perhaps the most enigmatic of the Immortal Weapons. Yet men would risk life and sanity to plumb the mysteries of this porcelain beauty and the alien land from which she comes. When a disturbing relic surfaces at a most exclusive auction house, the Bride’s secrets are revealed in a tragic tale fusing martial arts mayhem and gothic terror!
Ryan: This is going to be another in-store decision for me. As excited as I was about this miniseries, the previous installment left such a bad taste in my mouth that I’m hesitant to go back. However, having Dan Brereton draw a mix of horror and martial arts is a major pull for me. Since the Bride of Nine Spiders was the least developed of the Immortal Weapons, Cullen Bunn really had a clean slate to work with here, which is pretty intriguing. In a light week like this one, it won’t be a major issue to pick up one extra book, but I’m definitely going to give this one a thorough look before I make my decision.
Kirk: Loved the Fat Cobra-centric first issue of this. Bride of Nine Spiders is one of the more mysterious Immortal Weapons. Really looking forward to this, but am a bit hesitant with the writer change.
MICE TEMPLAR: DESTINY #3
Written by Michael Avon Oeming & Bryan Glass
Art by Victor Santos & Michael Avon Oeming
Karic and Cassius enter the splendor and terror of the Bright Realm, the day world which night-dwelling creatures cannot enter save by random accident, or through utilizing ancient Templar secrets. Is there a price to be paid for bypassing the Guardians of the Worlds? While the druids' obsession with the secrets of Death Magic continues, One-Arm Leito rallies the prisoner mice in a desperate all or nothing escape from the dungeons of King Icarus and Boris the Torturer.
Ryan: The second volume of Mice Templar is quickly shaping up to be even better than the first and this week’s issue should provide more of the same excellence. As we’ve only seen the Twilight Realm of nocturnal creatures in the series, it will be neat to see the creative team branch out with some new concepts here. As per usual, you can expect this issue to be incredibly ambitious. Don’t be surprised if this frontrunner easily walks away with my Book of the Week honors this week.
STRANGE TALES #1
Written by Various
Art by Various
At long last, the wait is over!! Marvel is proud to present the debut of this hotly anticipated three issue anthology showcasing Marvel’s greatest characters re-imagined by the best and brightest talents working in independent comics today. Don’t miss what’s sure to be one of the most exciting collections of comics short stories ever produced!!! Every issue stars a stunning array of the best, most exciting cartoonists on the planet—showcasing the Marvel Heroes as you’ve never seen them before! Featuring the long-awaited Peter Bagge “Incorrigible Hulk” serialized over all three issues!
Kirk: What is this pretty Paul Pope cover doing here in the solicits? Hmm, Strange Tales? Huge list of writers and artists? Anthology? Re-imaginings? Why haven't I heard of this before now? Not sure what this is or if I'll even buy it, but I'm definitely curious about it and will be checking it out at the shop.
SUPERGIRL ANNUAL #1
Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Fernando Dagnino and Raúl Fernandez
In SUPERGIRL #34, Supergirl took the new secret identity of Linda Lang. But how long until someone finds out her secret? Now, for the first time ever, witness Supergirl's initial attempt to live her double life in "Linda Lang: Day One"!
Plus! The secret origin of Superwoman revealed! What drove Lucy Lane to become the superpowered threat known as Superwoman? How did she transform from Lois Lane's little sister into Project 7734's secret weapon? Find out here!
Ryan: I’m really looking forward to this one, though I wish that Jamal Igle were taking on the art chores as he’s done a wonderful job on the title over the last year. Almost nothing has been done with Supergirl’s secret identity, so it will be nice to see that being developed here. Sterling Gates has done a wonderful job of getting this title back on track, so its about time that he starts building on that momentum by developing it into a more well-rounded title. This should be the first step in that.
SWEET TOOTH #1
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Jeff Lemire
From out of the deep woods and the mind of acclaimed indie cartoonist Jeff Lemire (THE NOBODY, The Essex County Trilogy) comes a new Vertigo monthly ongoing series like no other! After being raised in total isolation, Gus – a boy born with deer-like antlers – is left to survive in an American landscape devastated a decade earlier by an inexplicable pandemic. Even more remarkable is that Gus is part of a rare new breed of human/animal hybrid children who have emerged in its wake, all apparently immune to the infection.
Enter Jepperd, a violent, hulking drifter who soon takes in Gus and promises to lead him to "The Preserve," a fabled safe-haven for hybrid children. Along the way they'll have to contend with science militias, deadly scavengers, rival bounty hunters, and hybrid worshipping cultists as they fight to make it to safety and solve the mysteries of this deadly new frontier.
Ryan: I’m not sure if I’ll actually pick up the first issue of this title or if I’ll just wait for trade, but it sounds incredibly awesome either way. Jeff Lemire’s Essex County Trilogy for Top Shelf was an amazing series of books, so its great to see him launching this title to a potentially wider audience under Vertigo. Lemire is at his best with emotional character-focused tales and this series promises more of that, plus a unique spin on the “survivors of a post-apocalyptic world” concept. This has the makings of the next “can’t miss” series for Vertigo and at just $1, it’ll be hard to pass up.
THE BOYS #34
Written by Garth Ennis
Art by Carlos Ezquerra
Stormfront: the super-nazi, the Aryan demigod, the worst of the Third Reich's racial dreams come true... versus what's left of The Boys. Can our ragged little band defeat this dreadful ubermensch? Will the Female ever awaken from her coma? Will the cavalry arrive in time, or ever? All this and more, in the bone-snapping, gut-rupturing conclusion to The Self Preservation Society.
Ryan: Over the last year, The Boys has been an extremely uneven title and the epic failure of its spin-off miniseries (which I dropped last week) has really shaken my confidence in the title. This week’s issue will feature of the long-awaited showdown between The Boys and super-Nazi Stormfront in what should be one of the most gruesome confrontations the series has seen. I know it will be controversial, but my question is, will it be any good? As this story arc concludes, its going to take a very strong issue to revive my confidence—and interest—in this book.
ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #2
Written by Brian Bendis
Art by David Lafuente
All the shocking revelations from the first issue come to bloom in this pulse-pounding second chapter!! Who is the Shroud!!?? Who is Spider-Man?? And who the hell is Mysterio and what did he go and do to the Kingpin?!
Ryan: My first experience with Ultimate Spider-Man last month was a lot of fun and reason enough for me to return for this issue. The intrigue of the plot and sheer fun of a younger, lighter Spider-Man (with Gwen!) has me very excited for this issue. My only concern is that the Shroud seems eerily similar to the regular Marvel Universe’s the Hood, who is one of the single least interesting characters that Bendis has dreamt up. The only way I can see this issue being derailed is if Shroud becomes more Hood-like in this issue.
Kirk: The first issue of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man was a return to form for the book after months mired in delays and the nonsense of Ultimatum. Still a bit disappointed it made the jump to $3.99. I may end up moving towards trades for it at that price as it's a solid, consistent book, but hasn't really blown me away or felt like I needed to read it either. I'll give it six issues to change my mind.