39 MINUTES #1 (PILOT SEASON)
Written by William Harms
Art by Jerry Lando
Robbing a bank is easy — it's the getaway that's hard. The bank's surrounded by police officers, alarms are blaring, customers and employees are screaming, and the streets are blocked off. So what's the solution? Kill everyone in town.
Ryan: This sounds more like a done-in-one than a pilot for a new comic and it doesn’t seem like the usual Top Cow fare, but that doesn’t stop it from sounding like a tremendously interesting comic. I’m not familiar with this creative team, so it’s a major wildcard, but one that I’m glad Top Cow was kind enough to send our way for a review.
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by John Romita Jr.
The Blockbuster Marvel series continues! The Avengers travel to the far-flung future to stop the timestream from ripping itself apart. But with time unraveling more and more with every second it may be too late to put the world back the way it was. All this plus a brand new chapter in the oral history of the Avengers!
Ryan: Honestly, this could be my last issue with this series. The incredibly slow pace has been grueling as the story has barely moved forward in the last 4 issues. While I’m a huge Avengers fan and I normally dig this creative team quite a bit, I can’t help but feel like this series has been a misstep for all involved. Things need to move forward in a big way or I’ll be taking my money elsewhere.
AVENGERS ACADEMY #4
Written by Christos Gage
Art by Mike McKone
SCARED STRAIGHT—the explosive crossover with THUNDERBOLTS—continues! There's a jailbreak at The Raft, the maximum security prison for super villains, and the students of Avengers Academy are caught in the middle! But whose side are they on? Will they help the Avengers put the criminals back behind bars...or has inmate Norman Osborn made them an offer they can't refuse? Also: the origin of Mettle!
Ryan: Despite the fact that part of its ending were spoiled in the “part 1.5” crossover issue of Thunderbolts, I’m really interested in seeing what the young Avengers cadets have in store for their confrontation with Norman Osborn. This should be tremendously interesting. Plus, we get to learn more about Mettle, who has really grown on me over the first few issues of this book. This is arguably Marvel’s best ongoing right now and I expect nothing but greatness from this issue.
DYNAMO 5: SINS OF THE FATHER #4
Written by Jay Faerber
Art by Julio Brilha
Tragedy befalls a member of Dynamo 5 as the team is introduced to THE PRIMARIES, a group of heroes assembled by the US government to help Dynamo 5 defeat the alien invaders. But is that their only agenda? Plus, in our exclusive back-up series, the battle between NOTORIOUS and Omerta continues.
Ryan: Aside from a lackluster backup, Sins of the Father has been a really enjoyable miniseries and a nice follow-up to the Dynamo 5 ongoing series. With the team set to face off against a shocking team of heroes in the midst of their battle with some very powerful villains, this issue is set for the great mix of action and quality character work that made the ongoing series so addictive.
Written by Richard Starkings
Art by Moritat
There are Crocs loose in an Industrial Slaughterhouse. Flask, Hide and Blackthorne have been assigned to bring them in. Like THAT is going to go well.
Ryan: It has been way too long since we’ve seen a new issue of Elephantmen. Of course, its hard to be mad about delays with a series that always delivers incredibly high-quality comics. No matter how long I have to wait, its always worth it when a new Elephantmen issue drops—especially when its drawn by the super awesome Moritat.
FANTASTIC FOUR #583
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Steve Epting
Now joined by artist Steve Epting (CAPTAIN AMERICa) , Jonathan Hickman's tenure on FANTASTIC FOUR hits critical mass with THREE, running through FF #583-588. The War of Four Cities has begun, and when it's run its course, one member of the Fantastic Four will have breathed their last! Change is in the air as the World's Greatest Comic Magazine lives up to its motto! While the Fantastic Four have to deal with an uprising in the Forever City of the High Evolutionary, back home in the Baxter Building Val finds her father's Bridge machine and learns the Cost of Solving Everything. It's the return of Doctor Doom and the debut of superstar artist Steve Epting in THREE, part 1: 'In Lateveria, the Flowers Bloom in Winter.
Kirk: Return of Dr Doom? Steve Epting? War of the Four Cities finally starting? Everything in the run coming together? Expecting big things here.
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Francis Manapul
BRIGHTEST DAY continues with a shocking connection to the White Light as Captain Boomerang and the Reverse-Flash experience a bizarre event that ties them together. Meanwhile, it's the Rogues vs. the Renegades with The Flash caught in the middle!
Ryan: I really don’t care much for the Brightest Day nonsense, so I’m not exactly thrilled to see that this issue will be dedicated to it. I’m hoping that ends up as an afterthought to the Rogues versus Renegades battle that is sure to be pretty awesome. Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul have been on a roll with this series, so I’d hate to see it be derailed by tying into something I’m not interested in.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #52
Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Ardian Syaf
BRIGHTEST DAY continues as the final part of the "Revolt of the Alpha Lanterns" features a confrontation between Cyborg Superman and Ganthet! Will the villain finally get the eternal sleep he so desperately seeks? Meanwhile, the Weaponers of Qward attempt to tap into the White Energy from the construct left behind by Deadman's battle with the Anti-Monitor.
Kirk: Green Lantern Corps continues to be good under Tony Bedard's tenure. I just wish the art wasn't such a huge drop in quality from Patrick Gleason. Syaf's done better work than what he's doing here. I'm not sure what the problem is, but I'm not liking the art direction the book has taken.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #5
Written by Paul Levitz
Art by Yildray Cinar
The final fate of Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad's twin children is revealed here! Tensions between the team and Earth-Man come to a boil, and an all-new Green Lantern is revealed. Will it be Earth-Man – or someone else entirely?
Ryan: If this is an all-new Green Lantern, then the question of the solicit is pretty ridiculous to folks actually reading the book, as we’ve already seen Earth-Man as a Green Lantern. I wouldn’t say that Levitz has shown his cards for any other Legionnaires we’ve seen to be a runaway candidate; given the wealth of characters he has to choose from, the possibilities are pretty endless at this point. As long as its not Brainiac 5, who has not impressed me as character whatsoever, I’m cool with any choice.
SECRET AVENGERS #5
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by David Aja, Michael Lark, and Stefano Gaudiano
A secret foe has been revealed - or has he? Find out everything you need to know about the OTHER Nick Fury as Secret Avengers continues to explore the volatile landscape of Marvel's new Heroic Age!
Ryan: I think we learned a lot from the first storyline of Secret Avengers. For starts, we now know that no matter how good your first issue is, your comic isn’t guaranteed to be awesome and could tank quite quickly. We also learned that its extremely frustrating to reveal Nova as a member of your team only to mishandle the character and quickly drop him from the title after the first storyline. We never quite learned why Ed Brubaker bothered to put War Machine, Valkyrie, Black Widow, Moon Knight, Beast, and Ant-Man on this team when he clearly only wanted to write Steve Rogers and some random aliens though. With these lessons in mind, I’m really not sure if I’ll pick up this disappointing series. I loved the first issue, but things tanked quickly. I really want this comic to be great, but I can’t help but wonder if my money would be better spent on Black Widow or something.
Kirk: I'm in pretty solid agreement with Ryan on his assessment of the book so far. Fantastic first issue with a lot of wasted potential since then. I'm mostly picking this up to see if he can right the ship now that the first arc is over and to find out what the deal is with this "other" Nick Fury. LMD gone rogue I guess. If so, I think I'm done here.
Written by Jim Zubkavich
Art by Chris Stevens, Edwin Huang, and Misty Coats
ONE THOUSAND OPAS AND A DEAD BODY—No one knows where these two warriors came from. The only thing that's clear is that they're two of most ornery, trouble-making $%@# that have ever lived. SKULLKICKERS is a fantasy action-comedy: Two mercenaries are entangled in a high-class assassination plot and nothing—werewolves, skeletons or black magic—will stop them from getting paid. If you love tabletop fantasy RPGs or movies like Army of Darkness, SKULLKICKERS is waiting for you!
Ryan: I’m really not sure that I’d be interested in this comic if not for the major hype and speculation heading into its debut this week. When a comic sells out before its even been launched and starts selling for 5x the cover price online, I think it warrants checking out. Of course, given my shop’s lackluster history of ordering non-Big 2 comics, I can’t guarantee that I’ll get a chance. In other words, if you are associated with this book and you want someone to review it, let me know! I want to check it out!
THE SPIRIT #6
Written by David Hine and Brian Azarello
Art by Moritat and Eduardo Risso
The dealers of Central City's most dangerous new high, Frost, don't follow the rules of the game...and when innocent children are taken hostage, it's The Spirit who has to jump into hot water to save them. Did we say hot water? We meant burning, molten steel!
And in the SPIRIT: BLACK & WHITE co-feature, FIRST WAVE mastermind Brian Azzarello rejoins his 100 BULLETS collaborator Eduardo Risso to bring you ""The Man I Love,"" a knockout story starring Ebony as you've never seen her...heartbroken and vulnerable!
Ryan: So, not only do we get another awesome installment of the main story by David Hine and Moritat, we also get Brian Azarello reuniting with Eduardo Risso for the black-and-white backup? This comic just went from its usual place as a “Must Read” to “The Comic to Beat This Week.”
Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Jamal Igle
Just as Supergirl was getting used to being on Earth again, it's back to the stars as Bizarro Supergirl drags the Girl of Steel to Bizarro World! But when the pair discovers a monstrous threat to the square planet's existence, will they be able to save the day? And now that the threat has seen Supergirl, how soon until Earth is its next target?
Ryan: This once-mighty series has lost a lot of steam after spending the over a year being embroiled in crossover-after-crossover-after-tie-in-after-crossover. I’m hoping that Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle can regain their footing with this issue as we return to Bizarro World for the first time after Geoff Johns teamed with Eric Powell to deliver an awesome storyline a few years back. If they don’t, I might potentially drop this series from my pull list in favor of something a bit more consistent.
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Pasqual Ferry
Fraction! Ferry! Heroic Age! The perfect jumping-on point as THOR's all-new creative team and all-new era kick off HERE! In the wake of SIEGE, Asgard must take its proper place as the Golden Realm, most glorious of the nine worlds of myth. But that means Thor's home isn't just a beacon...it's a target! And what happens to the Asgardians and the denizens of all nine worlds -- including Earth! -- when a dark, destructive force from another reality comes on the warpath?
Kirk: Was really pumped when they announced Fraction was taking over this book way back when. I loved his Ages of Thunder miniseries and other random Thor one-shots or appearances. However, now that his run is finally beginning, I'm more disappointed Kieron Gillen's had to end than that his is starting. Not Fraction's fault, I suppose. I'm still going to give this first issue of the new team a chance to wow me though.
ULTIMATE COMICS: SPIDER-MAN #14
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by David Lafuente
The Chameleons have done as much damage to the world of Spider-Man and Peter Parker that could possibly be done. They have ruined him. Will his friends come to Peter's aid or will they gang up to bring him down? Brian Bendis and David Lafuente pull out all the stops and deliver a finale like you've never seen!
Ryan: So far, this storyline with the two Chameleons have only provided us with the usual plot points that we see in stolen identity superhero stories that feature shapeshifters. It’s been a far cry from the inventive approach that Brian Michael Bendis has taken with this series. I’m hoping that he and David Lafuente will add some fun twists to spice up this finale—if not, we might be looking at the first “failed” storyline of this relaunch. Though, to be truthfully, even at its weakest, this series is one of the better comics on the stands.
UNCANNY X-MEN #528
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Whilce Portacio
SECOND COMING is nearing it's end, so you'll soon get all kinds of info as to what's coming from Matt Fraction (IRON MAN) and Whilce Portacio (HULK). Here's something to whet your appetite - Kitty Pryde & Emma Frost's first encounter since Kitty took her trip in a bullet.
Ryan: Uncanny X-Men has been a major mixed bag since the end of Second Coming. I really dig the plot with Hope finding the newest mutants, but the craftsmanship just hasn’t been up to par. With relatively hum-drum writing and disappointing art, I’m on the verge of dropping this time once again. Let’s hope that this issue’s confrontation between Emma Frost and one of my all-time favorite X-Men, Kitty Pryde, is enough to keep me on board.
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Kenneth Rocafort
The Pilot Season Winner is Back! As the members of Cyberforce lay dying from a fatal techno-virus, their only hope for survival is their teammate Velocity. Carin Taylor has never been more in need of her super-speed as the races around the globe, trying to find and cure her teammates before the same virus kills her.
Ryan: Having never read Cyberforce, my main draw on this series is the awesome work of Kenneth Rocafort (and the fact that Top Cow was cool enough to shoot me a review copy). The first issue was a lot of fast-paced fun and was fairly accessible for new readers. As long as this issue plays to those strengths, it should be well-worth reading.