BATMAN: RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #5
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Ryan Sook
Grant Morrison is joined by all-star artist Ryan Sook in the penultimate issue of THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE! In this story, Bruce Wayne finds himself in the hard-boiled streets of Gotham City's past. Will his adventure as a private investigator help him take one step closer to the present day?
Ryan: This issue really should have come out quite some time ago, but when it comes to Ryan Sook interiors, I’m willing to wait as long as it takes. This miniseries has been a series of ups-and-downs with great concepts hampered by uneven execution. This issue seems like an easy home run for Sook and Grant Morrison as Bruce Wayne as a noir private investigator is the shortest step away from the core concept of Batman that we have seen thus far.
BRUCE WAYNE: THE ROAD HOME – BATGIRL
Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Pere Perez
Batgirl no more? Is Stephanie Brown's brief tenure as Batgirl in jeopardy now that Bruce Wayne has returned? Or will Bruce's homecoming mean bigger and better things for Gotham City's premier heroine?
Ryan: I’m glad to see that DC will not be shying away from the tumultuous history between Bruce Wayne and Stephanie Brown with this issue. While Bryan Q. Miller has written Stephanie as more-than-capable Batgirl in her awesome ongoing series, she has never been up to snuff for Bruce in the past (both as Spoiler and as Robin). I can’t wait to see how Miller handles Bruce seeing how much she has grown as a hero in the last year.
BRUCE WAYNE: THE ROAD HOME – BATMAN & ROBIN
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Cliff Richards
BRUCE WAYNE – THE ROAD HOME kicks off here as Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne rush to quash a damaging news item that could threaten the secret identities of the entire Bat-family! And as if that weren't enough to occupy their time, their father figure, Bruce Wayne, has returned...
Ryan: Anytime Fabian Nicieza enters into play with the Batman franchise, good things happen, so I’m glad to see that he will be the writer kicking off the actual return of Bruce Wayne rather than the brilliant but unreliable Grant Morrison. With Bruce’s return hanging on the horizon, I expect to see lots of tension between Dick and Damian as they attempt to keep their identities safe. This should be exciting.
BRUCE WAYNE: THE ROAD HOME – RED ROBIN
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Ramon Bachs
Master detective Tim Drake takes center stage in this one-shot as the one person who continued to have faith that Bruce Wayne was alive. But now that Tim's belief is proven accurate, how will that affect the important changes about to bombard the life of Red Robin?
Ryan: Scroll up to see my comments about the Batman and Robin issue of this mini-event. The same excitement applies for this issue, but perhaps in great volume because Fabian Nicieza is probably the best writer to have ever taken on Tim Drake. I’m not as thrilled with Ramon Bachs (who has a ton of trouble drawing Tim as a teenager in the Red Robin costume) as I would have been if Marcus To were the artist here, but this still has Must Read written all over it.
FOREVER #1 (PILOT SEASON)
Written by Brad Ingelsby
Art by Thomas Nachlik
In the not-so-distant future, a pharmaceutical company called Longevity has developed a drug which extends human life and counters the debilitating effects of aging almost indefinitely. When a young doctor, who owes his very life to Longevity, gets his dream job at the company, he soon learns that immortality comes at an unthinkable price.
Ryan: Of all of the books Top Cow is putting out as part of Pilot Season, I have the least pre-read interest in Forever. It’s a cool concept, but just doesn’t seem like it would translate well to comics. That being said, I’ve learned never to underestimate a great idea in the hands of the right creators. Pilot Season has been great this year and hopefully this issue will continue those winning ways.
GREEN LANTERN #58
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke
BRIGHTEST DAY continues as Adara, the Hope Entity, finds a host in a young girl who may be destined to be a great savior. Can this young student hope to contain such a powerful force – and what will drive Hal Jordan on a spiritual journey unlike any he's ever taken? Plus, the Spectre sets his sights on the Rage Entity!
Ryan: After seeing the awesome power of Parallax and Ion when bonded with a host, it will be really neat to see the power of Hope amplified when Adara takes a host this week. Hope is perhaps the hardest of the Lantern abstracts to portray in comics, so it’ll be interesting to see how Johns and Mahnke pull this one off. This series has been on a major high since Blackest Night ended and I can’t imagine it will end here (especially if Larfleeze shows up!).
GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD WARRIORS #3
Written by Peter Tomasi
Art by Fernando Pasarin
The power of BRIGHTEST DAY surges through EMERALD WARRIORS as Guy Gardner, Kilowog, Arisia and Red Lantern Bleez travel to Odym to pay the Blue Lantern Corps a visit. What is the purpose of this venture – and what does Brother Warth want with Gardner?
Ryan: After Bleez attacked Guy Gardner at the end of the last issue, I can’t imagine she will join up Guy’s caravan very willingly. I do think her spastic, violent nature will be an interesting addition though, especially with Guy still struggling from the residual force of the Red Lantern ring he wore during Blackest Night—unless Brother Warth can cleanse Guy as the team visits Odym.
INCREDIBLE HULKS #614
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Barry Kitson
As the Hulk's long-lost son Hiro-Kala rockets towards us across the solar system, Steve Rogers and the Secret Avengers face a much more immediate threat--three tons of Incredible Hulks cutting loose right here on Planet Earth! Forced to choose between his son and his planet, whose side will the Hulk take? And how will that affect his fragile bonds with his savage son Skaar and his even more savage wife, the Red She-Hulk? No one can save you like your family. But no one can drive you crazier. And when you're talking about a family of Hulks, it's that second part that makes the whole world tremble in fear. Written by ""Planet Hulk"" scribe Greg Pak and featuring the Hulk debut of fan favorite penciller Barry Kitson. PLUS: the first two installments of the S.M.A.S.H. FILES, secret stories of the Incredible Hulks!
Ryan: This is one of a few books this week that I’m on the fence about. I’ve given the last few issues of Incredible Hulks (my first regular reading since the end of World War Hulk) a shot, but I have yet to be really sucked in. Now that Hulk is aware of Hiro-Kala’s existence, things might pick up, plus it’d be great to see Barry Kitson tackle the art chores, but on a heavy-week, I’m not sure if that is enough for this one to make the cut.
KNIGHT AND SQUIRE #1
Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Jimmy Broxton
Just as Gotham City has Batman and Robin, London has Knight and Squire – the British heroes and frequent allies of The Dark Knight! In a secret bar within the city where peace is kept magically, heroes and villains gather to enjoy a pint and talk about their day. But what happens when the magical barriers that disallow fighting are dropped and a building full of heroes and villains confront each other all at once? Knight and Squire have to keep the peace and save both friend and foe in this 6-issue miniseries from hot writer Paul Cornell (ACTION COMICS, Captain Britain and MI:13) and up-and-coming artist Jimmy Broxton (THE UNWRITTEN).
Ryan: Knight and Squire have been a lot of fun since Grant Morrison pulled them out of obscurity during his initial run on Batman, which sparked my interest in this miniseries. If there is anyone that has the chops to write the characters, Paul Cornell is a wise choice. Unfortunately, this is a really bloated week for me, which has me questioning the purchase. This is definitely going to be fun, but in an already packed week, I’m not sure I have room for a “just for fun” miniseries.
STAR WARS: KNIGHT ERRANT #1
Written by John Jackson Miller
Art by Federico Dallocchio
A new series in a new era, introducing a new female hero to Star Wars! John Jackson Miller is also writing a Knight Errant novel for Del Rey starring Kerra Holt in an original adventure! See her here first! More than one thousand years before Luke Skywalker, a dark age grips the galaxy as an ineffectual Republic abandons entire systems to Sith control. A newly knighted Jedi on her first mission, eighteen-year-old Kerra Holt has joined a band of Jedi volunteers traveling deep behind enemy lines, with no support from the Republic and little chance of survival. She thinks she is prepared for anything. She's wrong.
Ryan: With Star Wars: Legacy ended (at least until the War miniseries begins), I’ve been missing my Star Wars comics and figure the launch of this new title could be the perfect place to catch up with the franchise from a long time ago and a galaxy far, far away. I’ve never regularly read any of the Old Republic-era comics (though I loved Knights of the Old Republic for my PC back in the day), so this is a brand new era for me. This should be fun and, if its not, I guess I’ll reread some of those old Legacy issues.
THANOS IMPERATIVE #5
Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art by Miguel Sepulveda
Thanos lives, but now Lord Mar-Vell moves in for the kill! The Undying Lord of the Cancerverse has underestimated the tenacity and fury of his adversary, but no longer! The Mad Titan is outnumbered and outgunned by the Cancerverse forces, and his unlikely allies—Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon and the other brave misfits—find themselves making a last stand to save the galaxy's #1 villain!
Ryan: Somehow I missed the announcement that Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy won’t be continuing after Thanos Imperative (which will, presumably, launch a different set of Marvel cosmic titles). While that won’t affect my enjoyment of this issue, that is a huge bummer! What isn’t a bummer, though, is how excellent this series has been and what excited I am to see Marvel’s cosmic heroes banding together to save Thanos (never thought you’d see that, did ya?).
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Pasqual Ferry
What kind of hell is coming for Asgard? What does Asgard's presence on earth mean? Only one man knows for sure and he can't get anyone to take him seriously. The reconstruction of his fallen city are first and foremost in the God of Thunder's mind as an evil more terrifying than even he could imagine comes roaring down the World Tree. The Dark Gods are coming for Asgard. Here is blood! Here is thunder! HERE IS THE MIGHTY THOR!
Ryan: The debut issue of Matt Fraction and Pasqual Ferry’s run on Thor was a nice primer on the current Asgardian status quo that was clearly meant to set the tone for upcoming stories. I was impressed with the craftsmanship, knowing full-well that the story itself wouldn’t start in earnest until this issue. It looks like big things are on the horizon for this title and I’m pumped to see how they unfold.
THOR: MIGHTY AVENGER #5
Written by Roger Langridge
Art by Chris Samnee
Thor tests his might against the strange and powerful (and slightly blue) SUB-MARINER. The God of Thunder vs. King of the Seven Seas, and YOU'VE got the front-row seat!
Ryan: This series has not had an “off” moment since its debut as the brilliant charm of Roger Langridge and the beautiful art of Chris Samnee have combined to make this one of the best books of 2010. Their version of Thor has been a fantastic addition to the Marvel mythos, as have all of the other characters that have appeared in the book. We get to see Sub-Mariner for the “first” time in this issue and, not surprisingly, I’ve got a good feeling about this.
Written by Victor Gischler
Art by Paco Medina
With thousands of vampires poised to attack Utopia, just waiting for the word from their leader, Xarus, the X-Men's best hope for survival just might lie in a most unlikely new ally: the newly resurrected Dracula, who has more than a bone to pick with his traitorous son. But the problem cuts even deeper: The X-Men have lost one of their greatest warriors, fallen victim to a vampire bite. Brace yourself for Vampire Wolverine!
Ryan: The unfortunate fact is, despite having a ton of momentum following the end of Second Coming, the new X-Men series has fallen flat in its first three issues. I think that Victor Gischler does have what it takes to write great X-Men comics, but I don’t think that this is the right storyline for him to show that off—especially if it is drawn by Paco Medina, whose work has been extremely rough here. I’ve only been marginally enjoying this series, so I’m not sure that I can justify the purchase any longer (especially if it comes down to a choice between this and the Knight and Squire miniseries).
Kirk's Pull List This Week
Apologies, but I didn't have time to type up my list and comments on each. Here's what I'll be getting though:
Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #5
Bruce Wayne: The Road Home - Batman and Robin #1
Daken: Dark Wolverine #2
Green Lantern #58
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #3
Knight & Squire #1
Strange Tales II #1
The Thanos Imperative #5