Written by Brian Reed & Fred Van Lente
Art by Yanick Paquette & Javier Pulido
In Issue #605 don’t miss the special “Red Headed Stranger” Epilogue! MARY JANE WATSON has returned to New York ... and all the worse for her because of what THE CHAMELEON is about to do to it! Time is running out, no one knows whose face the Master of Disguise is wearing now, and Everyone's Friendly Neighborhood-er is locked in a death-duel with Mayor J. Jonah Jameson's all-new SPIDER-SLAYER SQUAD.
Ryan: Last week’s Amazing Spider-Man #604 was essentially an epilogue to the Red-Headed Stranger story considering it was more about setting up new story beats than resolving those introduced during the story, so I’m really not sure how this one is going to play out. The issue does promise some new complications for Peter’s love life, which could be a lot of fun thanks to Fred Van Lente’s charming approach to the characters.
Kirk: Solicit sounds like it was switched with last issue's, which had no Black Cat in it. Last issue also had the Spider-Slayer Squad death-duel with Spider-Man, which ended with them quitting, and the whole Chameleon thing wrapped up, too, making the solicit make even less sense for this issue.
ATOMIC ROBO: SHADOW FROM BEYOND TIME #5
Written by Brian Clevinger
Art by Scott Wegener
An experiment gone wrong opens Tesladyne HQ to a surprise attack by the Shadow From Beyond Time. The future and history of the universe hang in the balance as Atomic Robo teams up with, uh, Atomic Robo in a last ditch effort to protect reality itself!
Kirk: Last issue was quite possibly one of the best Atomic Robo issues to date. Based on how last issue ended, these events are all taking place across time simultaneously and the various Robos are all going to team up to stop the big bad. That many Robos in one place can only be a good thing. Another fun fact, the two scientists on the cover appear to be Brian and Scott in comic book form.
Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott
As the new Batgirl continues her nightly mission, the mystery of her secret identity intensifies. Now she has become the target of both Gotham City's heroes (who don't take kindly to a new person wearing the cape and the cowl) and its villains (who want to see the entire Bat-family six feet under)!
Ryan: The reveal of Stephanie Brown as the new Batgirl was not a major surprise, but the surprise inclusion of Barbara Gordon in the supporting case of the first issue was. I look forward to seeing where Bryan Q. Miller takes their relationship, especially now that Babs hasn’t been in the spotlight much since Birds of Prey was canceled. The strong first issue gave this series some nice momentum, now its just a question of whether or not the title can maintain it.
Kirk: I didn't hate the first issue of Batgirl and am pleased that Stephanie is getting some time in the spotlight after years of, well, being shoved in the crisper box. If they can reconcile the whole Cassandra getting kicked the curb as Batgirl (at least a cameo or some kind of recurring role!), I'd be much more inclined to stick with this new title.
BATMAN AND ROBIN #4
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Philip Tan and Jonathan Glapion
Meet the Red Hood and his sidekick Scarlet, Gotham City's vicious new "protectors," in the start of a new arc! This dangerous duo is out to destroy the very reputation and legacy of the Batman by replacing it altogether. Writer Grant Morrison (FINAL CRISIS) teams with hot new artist Philip Tan (GREEN LANTERN) to bring you what's sure to be the new Batman and Robin's biggest challenge yet!
Ryan: Given my utter hatred for Grant Morrison’s run on Batman, my enjoyment of this series has been a pleasant surprise. I felt that Frank Quitely’s misshapen designs really held back the first three issues, so I look forward to Philip Tan coming on board as the artist for this story arc. The “new” Red Hood should make an interesting foil for Dick Grayson as Batman, especially if my suspicions are correct and it turns out to be Jason Todd under the helmet.
Kirk: By this point, if you aren't reading this title, there's not much else I can say to change your mind. Unlike Ryan, I'm actually dreading Tan taking over if his recent Green Lantern work is any indication of the quality we will be seeing. His Agent Orange storyline say issues devoid of backgrounds and details and looked rushed and sloppy. Hopefully he was just working harder on this title than his GL work and we'll see a much better effort this time around.
BATMAN: STREETS OF GOTHAM #4
Written by Paul Dini
Co-feature written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs
Co-feature art by Jeremy Haun
With Batman's recent "Bruce Wayne" problems barely contained, Gotham City's new Dark Knight must now deal with the most lethal arm of Black Mask's growing empire – Victor Zsasz!
And in the Manhunter co-feature, now that Kate has Jane Doe under arrest, what does Jane have to say about why she killed the former DA? Will she flip on her actual leader, the Black Mask – or will she continue to point the finger at Two-Face?
Ryan: I’ve liked Paul Dini’s new twists on Victor Zsasz, I’m really hoping we’ll get to see the solicited story from issue #3, which was to focus on the developing relationship between Hush and Harley Quinn.
It looks like the Manhunter co-feature is going to start tying closer to the rest of the Bat-books, which should be interesting, and with Jeremy Haun now on board as the artist, it should look good to boot.
Kirk: Zsasz stepped up last issue and is starting to look more fleshed out than he's ever been before, similar to how Dini made Firefly compelling in the opening issues (at least, until the end of the second when he simply jobbed the poor guy out after all that build up). I'm actually looking forward to seeing what they have in store for Zsasz for the first time ever.
BLACKEST NIGHT #3 (OF 8)
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert
As the dead attack in full force, Green Lantern is faced with an impossible decision and the scattered remains of the Justice League suffer a terrible loss. Who can stop the Black Lanterns? Why are they rising? And how can the Spectre help?
Ryan: With two main issues and countless tie-ins of the Black Lanterns rising and attacking, I’m really hoping that this issue finally kicks the story into high gear. The hook of undead characters was successful, but now its time to start moving forward. The solicitation seems promising, though, which is good as I really don’t want to be disappointed by this event.
Kirk: I've enjoyed this event so far, but, as my thoughts on last week's Green Lantern Corps made clear, the execution is starting to wear thin for me and I'm hoping we move beyond simple 'dead hero comes back, kills someone, rinse repeat' formula we've been strapped with in every issue and tie-in so far.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: REBORN #3
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Bryan Hitch
Dr. Doom and the Red Skull together again! And what is the fate of the original Captain America, Steve Rogers -- and how can he help save himself from the accidental trap he's found himself in? All this and more -- as the Avengers and the FF battle insane odds to save Marvel's Fallen Son! By the astonishing team of Brubaker, Hitch, and Guice!
Ryan: The first two issues of this miniseries were so ridiculously over-convoluted and featured such uneven art by Bryan Hitch that I’m really not sure how much longer I will be picking up this issue. I’m a HUGE Captain America and Ed Brubaker fan, but if this series doesn’t find something to hook me on in this issue, I won’t be sticking around.
DARK AVENGERS #9
Written by Brian Bendis
Art by Mike Deodato
Poor Marvel Boy... he had no idea how sinister a gang the Dark Avengers actually is. And now he is running for his life. And poor Ares, he has no idea where his son goes while he is off being an Avenger. And now he is going to find out. And when he does... there will be hell to play. Guest-starring Nick Fury and the Secret Warriors. Oh, you heard that right. Ares versus Nick Fury! You know when Stan used to say 'nuff said? This is the kind of thing he was 'nuff saiding about!
Kirk: I dropped this title when Matt Fraction took over and it became embroiled in a crossover with the X-Men for the past few issues. Going to take a chance and come back to the title, but only due to Nick Fury showing up in it and seeing how it will tie into the upcoming God of War/God of Fear storyline in Secret Warriors.
DARK REIGN: THE LIST - DAREDEVIL #1
Written by Andy Diggle
Art by Billy Tan
After the shocking events of DAREDEVIL 500, Norman Osborn’s eyes turn to Hell’s Kitchen – and he doesn’t like what he sees. Now Osborn dispatches the only assassin he can rely on to kill Daredevil – Bullseye – but all is not as it seems. It’s a fight that’s been brewing for years…featuring the DAREDEVIL debut of writer Andy Diggle, and the superstar talents of artist Billy Tan! Plus, a preview of Daredevil #501, Andy Diggle's first issue of DD, and character designs!
Kirk: Daredevil #500 was amazing. Previews for this issue shipped with last week's The List - Avengers issue adn with DD #500 and looked promising. From what I understand, this will basically be Daredevil #501 in everything but name, so I'm very interested in seeing the new status quo with Daredevil leading the Hand and how Norman Osborn reacts to that.
DARK WOLVERINE #78
Written by Marjorie Liu & Daneil Way
Art by Stephen Segovia
As an Avenger, Daken is supposed to be one of the good guys˜to the public, anyway. But when a tape revealing his true colors is leaked onto the internet, Daken will be forced to clean up his act...and confront the possibility that being a hero might just be more difficult than being the villain!
Ryan: Marjorie Liu and Daniel Way have done an amazing job of developing Daken into one of the most fascinating and intriguing characters in all of Marvel by pitting him against anyone and everyone with his self-serving schemes. He has been a delightful bastard and its made this a can’t miss book. If this solicit isn’t a swerve and he actually has to start acting like a hero, Liu and Way have a perfect opening to add even more delightfully deceptive layers to the character.
GREEN ARROW AND BLACK CANARY #24
Written by Andrew Kreisberg
Art by Mike Norton, Josef Rubinstein and Bill Sienkiewicz
The main feature this month focuses on the DC Universe's bizarre answer to Thelma and Louise as Black Canary and her rival Cupid end up on the lam from both Big Game and the Star City Police! Meanwhile, this issue's co-feature sees Green Arrow doing his best to bring down Big Game himself before the baddie can find either woman in GA's life!
Ryan: I’m glad to see that Black Canary and Green Arrow will be swapping out the main feature in this title. That gives me faith that the two aren’t splitting up for good and gives me hope of seeing other co-features getting an expanded page count once in a while. The unlikely Cupid/Black Canary team up is intriguing, but it’s the art team of Mike Norton being finished by Bill Sienkiewicz and Joe Rubenstein that really has me excited about this one.
MIGHTY AVENGERS #29
Written by Christos Gage & Dan Slott
Art by Khoi Pham
"SECRETS & LIES" It's all out action at the Avengers new headqarters as RONIN and VISION face off against the SCARLET WITCH! Readers already know the Scarlet Witch is secretly LOKI, but could this be the issue where STATURE and the other MIGHTY AVENGERS find out? Also, on the outskirts of Tibet, QUICKSILVER and a longtime Avengers villain uncover THE UNSPOKEN'S plan to dominate all life on Earth. What is the secret origin of The Slave Engine? And what horribly, freakish thing has it done to the U.S. AGENT? Guest Starring: RONIN and THE YOUNG AVENGERS
Ryan: So, the creative team of Christos Gage and Khoi Pham definitely piques my interest, as does the guest starring Young Avengers, and Loki finally being confronted by the Avengers for pretending to be Scarlet Witch. What really has me excited for this issue though is the horrible, freakish thing the Slave Engine does to U.S. Agent. He has been a total waste and one of the few low points of this series, so whatever happens to him, its well deserved!
Kirk: I keep spotlighting this series in the Moments of the Week everytime it comes out, but gave up on it after the first issue or two when Slott took over and it shifted to Hank Pym's team. I might give it another shot with this issue to see if my opinion of it has changed since that first impression.
TINY TITANS #20
Written by Art Baltazar and Franco
Art by Art Baltazar
Raven conjures a black hole to get to school on time, and soon black holes are popping up everywhere! The Titans try to avoid them, but they keep falling in and ending up...who knows where? Also: black holes aren't the only way to travel – some of the Titans discover the joys of jetpacks!
Ryan: Tiny Titans is always insanely cute and enjoyable, so this week’s issue should make for a nice palate cleanser after the grimness and intensity of Blackest Night. Seriously, this book is so much fun that there is no reason for anyone to miss it. Awww yeah, Titans!
X-MEN: LEGACY ANNUAL #1
Written by Mike Carey
Art by Daniel Acuna & Mirco Pierfederici
Rogue takes over the driver’s seat of X-MEN LEGACY with a bang. But she’s not alone. Her new role with the X-Men puts her in close contact with the Legacy of the X-Men, the students. It’s up to Rogue to foster the last generation of mutants, but can she even keep them alive? A classic X-Villain returns in this giant-sized special that kicks off X-MEN LEGACY’s NEW DIRECTION!
Ryan: Since gradually switching the focus from Professor Xavier to Rogue, X-Men: Legacy has gone from being the worst book in the X-franchise to one of its strongest. This issue officially kicks off the new direction and sole focus on Rogue, so I’ve got high hopes for it.
Artist Daniel Acuna is the only major wildcard here, though, as his art is always extremely strong or extremely weak—there is no middle ground with him. Unfortunately, his work is so polarizing that it could make or break my enjoyment of this issue and the new direction of the series.