Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Francis Manapul
Co-feature written by Geoff Johns and Michael Shoemaker
Co-feature art by Clayton Henry
Superboy is back and living out his teenage years in Smallville. But all is not as it seems in Superman's hometown. And while Conner reunites with his former girlfriend, Wonder Girl, to see if they have a future together, Lex Luthor and Brainiac form a partnership that will cause havoc throughout the DC Universe. But what do their plans have to do with Conner and the other students at Smallville High?
Plus, in the Legion of Super-Heroes co-feature, which takes place all the way in the 31st century, Lightning Lad travels to the prison planet of Takron-Galtos to confront his brother, Lighting Lord. There, Lightning Lord informs Lighting Lad of a shocking family secret that sets the pieces in motion for a war that will decide the future of the universe. Yeah, the universe. No big.
Kirk: First issue was good, but very slow and methodical. I'm hoping we get some reactions from people to Superboy's return, answers as to what the series is about (in the grand scheme of things, nothing happened last issue, just some mild Superman inferiority complex syndrome and talking) and more Starman.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #604
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Barry Kitson
Look out, Spidey! Hot on the heels of his old girlfriend’s trip home, The Black Cat’s back (and front!), sexier and more dangerous than ever! The deck is STACKED as the one woman that loves Spider-Man more than Peter Parker is up to some devilish shenanigans…and nothing bugs Spidey more than shenanigans! BRAce yourself for danger, Spidey! It’s gonna be …umm…sexy?
Ryan: Mary Jane's return has been a mixed bag thus far, but has gotten progressively better with each issue. This week's issue does have a lot of momentum after the strong outing last time. It'll be interesting how Spider-Man can regain control of his life, especially in the wake of the havoc the Chameleon wrought by impersonating Peter Parker. This issue has a lot of potential.
Kirk: I'm embarrassed as a comic book reader to see one of the most popular titles on the market with a solicit as childish as that. Black Cat's back and front? STACKED? BRA (durhur boobies) for brace? Who the hell approved that and what does it have to do with MJ's return and the Chameleon story this issue is all about?
BOOSTER GOLD #24
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund
Co-feature written by Matthew Sturges
Co-feature art by Mike Norton
Booster Gold faces off against Black Beetle for the fate of the entire Justice League. But Black Beetle isn't all he seems, and his one, true identity is revealed at last! Plus, Matt Sturges and Mike Norton take Blue Beetle out of El Paso and drop him directly into harm's way in a battle against…Black Beetle!
Ryan: While I am tremendously excited to see who Black Beetle really is, I'm way more excited about getting more Blue Beetle co-features. Seriously, as good as the ongoing was, Matt Sturges and Mike Norton have totally stepped up their game. It does face the problem of page count constraints, but you still can't beat the goodness of their craft.
DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN: EXODUS #1
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Mike Deodato
The climactic conclusion to the crossover event of 2009 is here! This is it, the final battle for the Dark Avengers and the X-Men that will change the status quo for the Marvel Universe. Emma Frost’s betrayal comes home to roost. Cyclops’ plan clicks into place, but is it too late? What can the X-Men do against the Sentry and Ares?
Ryan: The penultimate issue of this crossover revealed Cyclops's final plan to be an island nation for all mutants--something that never worked in the past for various reasons. While the story may not be anything tremendously original, at least we should be in for a good fight as the Dark Avengers take one last effort to take down the X-Men. I know its a longshot, but this could seriously be our last chance for the Sentry to rid the world of Dazzler by throwing her into the sun (a boy can dream, right?).
DARK REIGN: THE LIST - AVENGERS #1
Written by Brian Bendis
Art by Marko Djurdjevic
In this first in a series of spectacular one-shots, the finest writers working at Marvel are teamed up with the most sensational artists to unveil the darkest chapters in the Dark Reign! Norman Osborn, fresh from the shocking finale of Utopia, sets his sights on the rest of the Marvel Universe. He sits down and makes a list. A list of things that are wrong with the world. Things that he needs to take care of. And the list includes almost every major player in the Marvel Universe. These specials are exciting game changers for all of Marvel Comics and represent the finest talents. This first chapter has a startling confrontation between members of the New Avengers and Dark Avengers. Clint Barton fans... you are not going to want to miss this one! Plus, a preview of the upcoming Dark Reign: The List titles!
Kirk: I'm actually not overly interested in Clint "IM GOING TO KILL NORMAN OSBORN BLARG!" Barton as written by Bendis of late, so not sure why I'm getting this issue in particular. I think it's collector mentality as I'm very interested in the other The List titles, like Punisher, Spider-Man, Secret Warriors, etc, etc. Djurdjevic on art duties for the issue should make it worth while to pick up, but honestly think I would have preferred Jim McCann to handle Clint after the enjoyable New Avengers: The Reunion.
DEAD@17: AFTERBIRTH #4
Written by Josh Howard
Art by Josh Howard
Nara has been reunited with Asia. Together they confront Pitch and finally fulfill their role as Gemini, resulting in a shocking finale.
Ryan: Josh Howard's first Dead @17 miniseries with Image comes to a conclusion this week. It's been a bumpy transition over from Viper Comics, but the twists of the last few issues should have longtime readers excited about this one. My only worry is that more casual fans will have turned away due to the book being inaccessible for new readers.
Written by Richard Starkings
Art by Boo Cook
“KILL, KILL, KILL”
Ebony prepares to spend a quiet day at home... but a MAPPO sleeper cell has other plans for him.Ryan: Ebony has been one of the most gentle of the Elephantmen, which makes the solicitation and preview cover for this issue quite a shocker. It's been a long time since this image was revealed, but the intriguing solicitation and the return of artist Boo Cook has kept my excitement fresh. This could be the book to beat on this week's Comic Book Review Power Rankings.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #40
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason and Rebecca Buchman
The battle continues on Oa as the honored dead of the Green Lantern Corps and the recently deceased Sciencell convicts who lost their lives in the riots have all become Black Lanterns and will not rest until the bloody hearts and minds of the Green Lanterns are literally in their hands. Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardener and John Stewart resort to their most brutal fighting yet as the Blackest Night threatens to envelop Sector Zero and send the universe reeling into chaos.
Ryan: Honestly, I'm starting to feel a bit Black Lantern-ed out. The event is fun and the gruesomeness has been enjoyable, but its time to see a bit more than redesign characters ripping out each other's hearts. I'm hoping the unleashing all the dead Green Lanterns as Black Lanterns could reveal what the next stage of this event is going to be.
Kirk: Sector Zero is Oa in case anyone was wondering if that was some secret new sector they hadn't heard of yet. Also, with what was basically a recap of Blackest Night #1 for GLC last time, I'm looking forward to seeing some new stuff this time around, particularly with Jade and Kyle.
INCREDIBLE HERCULES #134
Written by Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Art by Reilly Brown
"The Replacement Thor" continues as the Mighty Hercules, wearing the Thunder God's togs and towing a most unexpected guest star along to provide the pyrotechnics, descends to mysterious Svartalfheim to save the day from a new threat among the Dark Elves. But everything changes when the wicked Elven Queen turns out to be as languorously lovely as she is lethal! What Would Thor Do? Probably not what happens in this book!
Kirk: This twice a month Hercules is fantastic. I can't believe Marvel is actually going through with something like that for a non-big name character. Kudos to them for this. With the action shifted back on Herc and Zeus, it's a tough call between this and Secret Six as my most anticipated issue this week.
Written by Mark Millar
Art by John Romita Jr
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE! Dave Lizewski has had better days. When he first pulled on the Super Hero suit, it was the thrill of a lifetime. Since then, he’s been banged-up, beaten, broken, bludgeoned, and all sorts of other b-words. He’s met a 9-year-old assassin and been on a super hero team-up. He’s watched people die and seen himself become an internet celebrity. But all that means nothing—compared to tonight. MARK MILLAR and JOHN ROMITA JR.’s foul-mouthed super hero saga continues!
Ryan: If it weren't for all the news regarding the movie this summer, I probably would have forgotten about this series. It's a lot of fun, but these delays are simply ridiculous. Needless to say, I'm approaching this one with a bit of fanboy baggage and that does not bode well.
Kirk: Also not feeling the love for this title after so many delays. Don't even care enough to add it to the pull list.
RED ROBIN #4
Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Ramon Bachs
"The Grail" part 4 of 4! In this explosive conclusion to the debut arc, Red Robin's search leads him to the deserts of the Middle East with the League of Assassins by his side. How many lines will he cross to prove that Bruce Wayne is alive? One journey ends, but a far deadlier one begins as Red Robin learns the truth – although he may not survive to tell anyone, because back in Gotham City, Red Robin faces off with the one man who could stop his quest: Batman!
Ryan: With Tim Drake's darker tone as Red Robin, it was only a matter of time before he faced off against Dick "New Batman" Grayson. This series has been superb so far, so I really can't think of any reason that this installment will be anything less than fantastic. It's a confrontation I've been dying to see, written by one of the best writers out there. Who could ask for more?
SECRET SIX #13
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Nicola Scott and Doug Hazlewood
War breaks out on the new Devil's Island and the Six are split in half. Now they're on opposite sides and ready to die (or kill) for their cause! But what in the world are they fighting over that's strong enough – and brutal enough – to take down Wonder Woman?
Ryan: I don't have to read the solicitations to know that this one will be good. Secret Six, quite frankly, is the best ongoing series on the market today. This issue will be amazing and will feature some of the best character writing of the week. Don't question it, just go to your local comic book shop and buy it. You won't regret it.
Kirk: Goign to mirror Ryan's comments and say you should be buying this, it is that awesome and you're missing out on the best ongoing from DC, possibly in all of comics, by passing on this title.
THE MARVELS PROJECT #2
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Steve Epting
The award-winning and best-selling team of Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting bring you CHAPTER TWO in this definitive tale of the origins of the Marvel heroes. As 1940 hits the world is already changing -- The Human Torch is on the run, The Angel makes his masked debut, The Sub-Mariner stalks the surface-worlders who have targeted his people -- and a young soldier named Nick Fury saves a German scientist from the Nazis and leads him to the USA. The battle-lines drawn in this race to create superhuman weapons of mass destruction still reverberate today in the Marvel Universe -- as this epic espionage thriller continues to unfold and reveal new twists!
Kirk: Contemplating dropping this instead of picking up this issue. Not because it's bad, but because I get the feeling this will be a slow paced trip through the early days of the Marvel Universe that will just plain read better in trade format. With Epting's beautfiul art and the style of the book so far, I'd also love to have it in trade on the shelf. I'm not too invested in the title yet, so I'll make a call at the shop as to whether or not I'm going to do this. If things pick up fast, I'll buy it. Otherwise, I'll trade wait it.
Written by Andy Diggle
Art by Miguel Angel Sepulveda
Norman Osborn! Black Widow II! Songbird! Nick Fury! When you finally learn how these four powderkegs intersect and collide, you will be picking your jaw off the floor! Secrets will be uncovered, agendas will be exposed, and heads will roll in the latest wicked installment of the book ComicPants.com calls "Bold and awesome. Diggle has woven a tale of underhanded evil and it truly is a great thing to behold.”
Kirk: What's interesting about this Secret Warriors crossover, in comparison to the recent Deadpool one, is that it's not actually a crossover. Nick Fury is off doing his own thing in the Thunderbolts story and you can come here for more information or you can just read the Secret Warriors if you want to follow their actions and the upcoming Ares/Phobos storyline. Feels much more organic and not like I have to buy this book, even though I want to, just to get the whole story.
ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS #2
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Carlos Pacheco
ENTER THE RED SKULL! Reeling over his near-fatal encounter with the Skull, Captain America takes matters into his own hands in pursuit of his terrifying new adversary and his terrorist employers! Meanwhile, Nick Fury reveals the horrifying truth behind the Red Skull and kick-starts Project Avengers in earnest with the arrival of Gregory Stark, Tony’s older, richer and smarter brother! Join MARK MILLAR (ULTIMATES) and CARLOS PACHECO (X-MEN) for the next pulse-pounding issue of the biggest, baddest book of the summer!
Kirk: An Ultimates-like book coming out on a monthly schedule? Will wonders never cease...