AVENGERS ACADEMY #5
Written by Christos Gage
Art by Jorge Molina
The Avengers Academy: exposed to the public? The existence of the school has been kept secret...and the fame-hungry Striker isn't happy about that at all! But it may be a moot point as the obsessed super-criminal Whirlwind blames Hank Pym for the death of the woman he loved, Janet Van Dyne, and comes seeking revenge on Hank's inexperienced students, who are out on a field trip! And hey, who's that locking lips with Justice? All the drama, action and intrigue you can handle, from the new breakout series which WeeklyCrisis.com says has "a solid premise, interesting new characters, and a superb creative team. I look for this comic to be criminally underestimated, but tremendously satisfying."
Ryan: I really cannot stress enough how awesome Avengers Academy has been, especially to those of you that have yet to check out this superb series. A new storyline kicks off this week, which makes it a great jumping on point, though I highly suggest picking up the first four issues already released (you should not miss out on the awesome). With all of the great beats discussed in the solicitation, I suspect this issue will continue the title’s winning ways (even though we have a fill-in artist this month!).
CHAOS WAR #1
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Khoi Pham and Reilly Brown
Bigger than THE INFINITY GAUNTLET! More cosmic than ANNIHILATION! Since the end of SECRET INVASION, the CHAOS KING has amassed his army of alien slave gods--and the time to strike Earth is NOW! Only the greatest Marvel heroes can oppose him--all led by the newly-returned god of heroes...HERCULES! But are even his incredible new powers enough to stand against the greatest threat the Marvel Universe has ever seen – a mad god who seeks to destroy Reality itself?
PLUS: While thought dead, Hercules was trapped in a dangerous world that threatened his very sanity. Find out the secret of his exile in a special extra story penciled by PRINCE OF POWER's Reilly Brown!
Also contains CHAOS WAR SAGA.
Ryan: I really love Marvel’s cosmic end and I had a lot of fun with the issues of Incredible Hercules I have read, but for some reason this mini-event just doesn’t interest me that much. Still, its hard to go wrong with the creative duo of Fred Van Lente and Khoi Pham. This will be an in-store decision, as I’m really on the fence.
Kirk: Chaos War just kind of snuck up on me. Hard to believe it is here already. While Amedus Cho was good in Prince of Power, it's been too long since I read a story with Herc in it. Can't wait to read this.
CROSSHAIR #1 (PILOT SEASON)
Written by Jeff Katz
Art by Allan Jefferson
After settling into the life of loving husband and devoted father in the suburbs, a former assassin for the CIA learns he's been brainwashed to kill the President of the United States. To his horror, Justin Weller has discovered that in less than 48 hours something or someone will trigger his suppressed program and send him into deadly and irreversible action. Weller must discover his triggering mechanism and uncover who is behind the conspiracy that will pitch the world into chaos.
Created and co-written by Top Cow founder Marc Silvestri (X-Men/Dark Avengers: Utopia) and co-writer Jeff Katz (Booster Gold) with art by Allan Jefferson (War Machine), Crosshair introduces a new kind of action comic.
Ryan: Top Cow’s Pilot Season has been a lot of fun so far and I’m really grateful of them for hooking us up with review copies. Last week’s Asset #1 was a total win for me and it’s going to take a really great comic to steal my vote away. Jeff Katz did some great work with Geoff Johns on Booster Gold and I did the complex premise behind this book—could that be enough, though?
FREEDOM FIGHTERS #2
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Travis Moore
It's the war of Americana! The Freedom Fighters face the ancient threat of the Renegades, whose magic may be too much for the heroes to overcome. Has the Lost America conquered the Living America? Find out in this second issue of the new ongoing title starring the fan-favorite super-team!
Ryan: I was totally blown away by Freedom Fighters #1, which was one of the most action-packed books of the year, but still did a great job of balancing out with strong character work as well. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray rarely have an “off” issue, so I’ve got faith that the explosive first issue of this series was not a fluke. Even so, the bar has been set extremely high for this series from the get go. If this issue can reach that same plateau, this is my frontrunner for book of the week.
GI JOE #23
Written by Chuck Dixon
Art by Robert Atkins
Helix arrives in the Pit to join the JOEs' struggle against the threat known as COBRA, and proves she's tough enough in combat with the deadliest JOE. Also, STALKER and his team go mano a mano in a fight to the death with a COBRA strike team.
Ryan: The last storyline for GI Joe was extremely uneven, but there are two things in this solicitation that make me believe it’ll be back on track here—the awesome Agent Helix joining the Joes and the return of artist extraordinaire Robert Atkins. Those aspects alone should be more than enough for this issue to revitalize the series.
HAWKEYE AND MOCKINGBIRD #5
Written by Jim McCann
Art by David Lopez
This is it, the climactic battle you've been waiting for! They've been pushed, beaten, and nearly killed—now Hawkeye & Mockingbird face off against their personal arch-nemesis, Crossfire and the all-new Phantom Rider, in no-holds barred combat! Plus: a shock ending that affects...everything!
Ryan: The first act of this excellent espionage-tinged superhero title comes to a close this week and promises big action as Hawkeye and Mockingbird take on Crossfire and Phantom Rider. The ending to this issue has received a fair share of hype, so it will be interesting if it can really be as shocking as promised. This book has been full of surprise twists from the get-go, so I’m not sure what could potentially overshadow all of the shocking things we’ve seen so far!
KLAWS OF THE PANTHER #1
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Art by Stephanie Hans
Klaw, Master of Sound, is no more dead than he is human. The killer composed of living sound is back with a new and deadly plan that will spill blood from the Savage Land to the streets of New York. Shuri, the new Black Panther, has already tried (and failed) to stop this monster - a defeat that owed as much to her own reckless rage than it does to Klaw's power. So, Shuri turns to the person who knows more about battling inner rage than anyone. If you think you know the Black Panther - you don't. So don't miss this installment of NY Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry's exciting new series.
Kirk: I was a little disappointed to hear that Black Panther (or T'Challa since Shuri is technically the Black Panther at the moment) was taking over Daredevil's book post-Shadowland as I was hoping to see what Jonathan Maberry had planned for the character post-Doomwar. The drastic status quo altering changes from that book as they pertain to Wakanda and Black Panther left a lot of storytelling potential and I was disappointed over his being shunted out of that fallout. However, I can't be too upset as Maberry will be handling this series and after how great Doomwar was, I expect great things from this series.
RYDER ON THE STORM #1
Written by David Hine
Art by Wayne Nichols
Ryder on the Storm follows Ryder, a private eye hired by the beautiful femme fatale Katrina Petruska to investigate the horrifically bizarre suicide of her lover, Michael Hudson. Ryder's journey to solve the case and finish Hudson's work leads him to discover a truth more sinister and terrifying than he could have ever imagined--demons walk among us. Now he must team up with the last demon hunter, Charles Monk, to take down the cabal of ancient evil controlling the city while struggling to reconcile with the dark side of his own nature.
Ryan: I’ve been pretty excited for this book since Radical put together an exciting little preview a few months back. David Hine and Wayne Nichols did a great job together on Radical’s FVZA: Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency, so I’m looking forward to seeing their reunion on this title. Hine’s definitely got the chops for bother the noir end of this detective story and the demon-infested end as well, which has me even more excited for this one.
SECRET SIX #26
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Jim Calafiore
It's Scandal's Secret Six vs. Bane's Secret Six in the savage secret world of Skartaris! Who is manipulating the two teams, and who has vowed to track them both down?
Ryan: While Secret Six is most definitely the best superhero comic on the stands today, I was a bit disappointed with last month’s all-setup issue. Now that the stage is set for Scandal and the Secret Six to battle it out with Bane’s Substitute Six, I think the title should return to form. I expect big action, lots of inappropriate innuendo, and, above all else, superior craftsmanship from this title.
Kirk: I've been a bit disappointed with the recent issues as well. They are good and all - definitely better than the average comic on the rack - but not up to Secret Six's usual standards. This issue sounds like a return to form as the story gets back on track after some deviations.
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Dustin Weaver
The hottest book of 2010 continues! The world is still shaking from the revelations of #3 and there are more where those came from. IN THIS ISSUE - The true history of Nostradamus, the defeat of a Celestial at the hands of a mortal man and HOW THE WORLD ENDS! Oh, and Jonathan Hickman (FANTASTIC FOUR) and Dustin Weaver (X-MEN) have also created the most troubling idea ever—THE FOETUS OF GOD!
Ryan: When this book first dropped, I was totally fine with the bi-monthly schedule. The great quality of the writing and the art seemed worth the wait. Unfortunately, now that we are heading into our fourth issue, I see that I was wrong. This book is so complex and so densely packed with ideas that it loses all of its momentum on its current schedule. I can’t tell you off the top of my head what happened in the last issue of this book (which was released in August), which is going to severely dampen my enjoyment of the series, despite its excellent craftsmanship. That seems to be a very strong argument for trade-waiting, doesn’t it?
Kirk: I'm loving SHIELD, but am feeling the hurt of the scheduling. I know it's better than delays, but the agony of waiting that extra month for a new issue really hurts. And as Ryan said, how much information each issue contains almost requires rereading previous issues before every new one comes out. Though it is pretty funny that the only thing I can complain about is not getting the book fast enough.
THOR: FOR ASGARD #3
Written by Rob Rodi
Art by Simone Bianchi
The epic adventure continues, with the god of thunder as you've never seen him before! As endless winter rages, the Asgardian court dissolves into bitter factions, and a shocking death prompts Thor to depart his troubled capitol at its moment of greatest peril. Plus: an electrifying revelation about Odin! You'll never look at the All-Father the same way again!
Kirk: Great book. Loving every page of it.
ULTIMATE COMICS THOR #1
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Carlos Pacheco
Exploding from the pages of the Ultimates, comes Ultimate Thor! Don't miss the superstar team-up of JONATHAN HICKMAN and CARLOS PACHECO as they go back to the beginning and tell the origin of Thor, Loki and the rest of Asgard! Ragnorak has descended and Asgard sits at the edge of the end. What will become of Thor and the Warriors Three? And what exactly does Baron Zemo, mysterious commander for the Nazis, have to do with it all? Ultimate Comics Thor brings you the untold story of Thor's thunderous debut!
Kirk: This book sounds like it's off the wall. Ultimate Thor? Nazis? Baron Zemo? Ragnorak? Warriors Three? Add Hickman and Pacheco to the equation and this can't fail.
UNCANNY X-FORCE #1
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Jerome Opena
Wolverine promised Cyclops that X-Force would disband--he lied. A secret society has resurrected En Sabah Nur, putting into motion events that will turn this age of heroes into an Age of Apocalypse! To hold them back, Wolverine and Archangel bring together Fantomex, Deadpool, and Psylocke to form The Uncanny X-Force! Stained by their history, they are the only ones capable of making the hard resolutions necessary. A band of likeminded friends and mercenaries set to one purpose, one big ugly task--kill Apocalypse by any means.
Ryan: Wolverine putting together a team to kill Apocalypse despite being told not to put such teams together by Cyclops? That sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Plus word has it that Deadpool will be more “merc” than “mouth” in this book, which bodes well for my enjoyment. Deadpool is a badass character, but most books I’ve sampled in the last year or so featuring the character were more about lame jokes than kicking-ass. I’m keeping my expectations low for this after being disappointed by the X-line too many times in 2010, but my hopes are high that this will be awesome.
Kirk: Going to flip through this on the rack. X-Force just grew too stale for me. Nothing but blood and death and little justification for it or exploration of characters. The only one that seems to be suffering any repercussions from their involvement in the team is X-23 and that's mostly due to getting a new ongoing to tell that story. If Remender just gives more of the same with this version of X-Force, I'll likely leave it on the rack.
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Renato Guedes
Imagine everyone Logan has ever killed over the course of his very long life, all confined to one place, all itching to get their shot at revenge. Now witness the devil give them just what they want. It's Logan versus the legion of the damned, including some very familiar faces. And with Logan's demonically-possessed body still running amuck on earth, the body count can only grow. Who could possibly stand in his way? Maybe...Mystique???
Ryan: Despite my reservations about the Wolverine in Hell storyline, I was really impressed with the first issue of this series. Jason Aaron clearly has the chops to be a one of the all-time great Wolverine writers and the art by Renato Guedes was lightyears ahead of his cringe-worthy work on the Superman-titles at DC. This issue is going to get deeper into the concept, so it should be a good indicator of if the series can keep up its momentum from issue one or if the ridiculousness of the story will bring it down.
YOUNG ALLIES #5
Written by Sean McKeever
Art by David Baldeon
This is it! Our heroes' final battle against not only the Bastards of Evil, but the shocking surprise threat BEHIND the Bastards! Will the outcome bring these young allies together--or will it push them further apart? The answer isn't as obvious as you might think!
Ryan: I’ve been incredibly pleased with Young Allies as Sean McKeever and David Baldeon have done a brilliant job of making this a can’t miss series despite the fact that I was completely unfamiliar with the characters. Its strong characterization has been the main pull, though the story has spun its wheels a bit too much for my liking. That shouldn’t be the case here, though, as the team takes on the Bastards of Evil one last time. I’m very excited.
Kirk: This is a unique title I am really enjoying that will probably have difficulty gaining traction, especially with how many Avengers titles Marvel is publishing lately saturating the market. Hopefully trade sales or the upcoming crossover with Avengers Academy will keep this title publishing longer than other recent titles, such as SWORD, with similar style and lack of marketing on their side.