7 DAYS FROM HELL #1 (PILOT SEASON)
Written by Bryan Edward Hill and Rob Levin
Art by Phil Noto
Pilot Season Begins anew as a 6 Week Event in 2010! Ex-pat turned mercenary John Bishop is mortally wounded, but spared from Hell by a renegade demon seeking redemption. The price of John's salvation? He's reborn as the demon's personal assassin and charged with ridding humanity of our worst criminals, sadists, and murderers...with a seven-day deadline for each kill. Redemption can take a lifetime. John Bishop only has 7 days.
Ryan: Remember when the Punisher was an “avenging angel?” Well, that would have been so much cooler had the story followed this premise instead. With a very solid premise and promising creative team, this last entry in Top Cow’s Pilot Season 2010 could potentially top my personal favorite, Asset from Week 2.
BATMAN AND ROBIN #15
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Frazer Irving
In the final chapter of ""Batman Must Die,"" all is lost and everything has gone to pieces! Is Dick Grayson alive? Will Damian make a pact with the devil? And what will happen after the final confrontation with Dr. Hurt?
Ryan: My comments on last week’s Return of Bruce Wayne caused a passionate reaction from the loyal Morrison-ites; could this week be a repeat of that? Morrison’s recent output has always favored conclusions and if Frazer Irving’s work is amazing when he is “on” (I’ve been a bit underwhelmed in this storyline), so there is a good chance that this book could make a run at the top spot. The key for this book is going to be focus and clarity—if its got that, we could be in for a treat. Although, seriously, what is with Damian’s hair on the cover of this book? For shame, Quitely!
Kirk: The preview of this looks amazing. Frazer Irving has been doing some of his best work on this arc. That opening Joker/Damian sequence in the preview is worth the price of the book for me. It can only get better from that.
BRUCE WAYNE – THE ROAD HOME: CATWOMAN
Written by Derek Fridolfs
Art by Peter Nguyen
The last time Selina Kyle saw Bruce Wayne, she was lying in a hospital bed, her life having just been saved by the man she loved. Can Catwoman handle Bruce's return after having mourned his death?
Ryan: While I’m perfectly familiar with Derek Fridolfs as an inker, I have never read anything he has written, which makes this issue a major wildcard this week. Peter Nguyen’s art is always serviceable, so I have a feeling that this issue is going to live-and-die at the output from the writer. I just hope that Fridolfs can tackle the highly emotional end of this story without shortchanging Selina’s capability as a character. Catwoman is a highly complex character, especially in her relationship with Bruce, but it seems like many, many writers miss the mark by treating her two one-dimensionally in this regard.
BRUCE WAYNE – THE ROAD HOME: COMMISSIONER GORDON
Written by Adam Beechen
Art by Szymon Kudranski
For several months now, Commissioner Jim Gordon has known he's been working alongside a ""different"" Batman. But with Bruce Wayne now returned, what will that mean for the future of Gotham City and their own crime fighting chemistry?
Ryan: I know that Adam Beechen takes a lot of flack for some of his more controversial storylines (some editorially mandated, mind you), but I’ve always been a big fan of his character work, especially during his run on Robin. Hopefully he can work that magic in this one-shot, as I have no idea what to expect from artist Szymon Kudranski.
Written by Zeb Wells
Art by Clayton Crain
CARNAGE IS BACK! The fan-favorite villain returns to rock the Marvel Universe, with the Amazing Spider-Man and the Invincible Iron Man first on his hit list. But just why - and how - has Carnage returned, and how many of Marvel's heroes will it take to stop him? Superstar creators Zeb Wells (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, NEW MUTANTS) and Clayton Crain (GHOST RIDER, X-FORCE) team up for the Spider-Man epic that'll leave jaws on the floor! Literally!
Kirk: Zeb Wells has been my favourite writer on Amazing Spider-Man for the Brand New Day era (he did the Lizard revamp in Shred and that snow ninja/demon team-up with Wolverine) and I loved his Dark Reign: Elektra miniseries. While Carnage doesn't interest me all that much, I have faith Wells has something interesting to tell us with this story. Clayton Crain's art on X-Force was showing signs of being rushed and looked dark and washed out to the point you could barely tell what was going on, but he blew me away with his recent Ghost Rider one-shot for Shadowland. If it looks half as good as that issue did, I'll be in half a mind to frame most of this issue.
CHAOS WAR #2
Written by Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak
Art by Khoi Pham
The premiere event of the fall continues! When the greatest threat the Marvel Universe has ever seen lays waste to reality and brings Earth's mightiest heroes to their knees, who you gonna call? That's right: the all-new, all-different, all-divine GOD SQUAD! The fan-favorite team from SECRET INVASION returns, led by Thor and Hercules. And check out the cosmic heavy-hitters they choose to round out their sacred strikeforce: Galactus, Silver Surfer, Venus, Sersi and Hellstorm! Plus: After the shocking death of a major Marvel character last issue, you'll never believe who the Chaos King has next on his hit list!
Kirk: The first issue of this didn't impress me. Too much recap, a lot of grand standing, but no major draw or even the humour and action that made the regular Incredible Hercules (and Prince of Power miniseries) one of my favourite books. Hoping this issue is a return to form for the title.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #6
Written by Paul Levitz
Art by Yildiray Cinar
The first storyline ends here after issue #5's shocking last page! (Didn't see that one coming, didja?) Legion leader Cosmic Boy makes a drastic decision, that will affect the next year's worth of LEGION stories. And the quest to build up the 31st century Green Lantern Corps continues!
Ryan: After the shocking revelation that Earth Man has been having an affair with Shadow Lass, this issue has a lot of questions to answer. Again, I have to fall back on the fact that Paul Levitz has done a brilliant job of making this series accessible in my recommendations on it. I’ve never been a huge Legion fan prior to this, but Levitz and artist Yildiray Cinar have made this one of my absolute favorite comics. I expect nothing less than awesomeness.
MORNING GLORIES #3
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Joe Eisma
While the rest of the Glories prepare for their first day of classes, Jade finds herself trapped in the Nurse's office and about to undergo a ghastly procedure. But when she attempts to make her escape, she stumbles across the deadliest secret yet found within the hallowed halls of Morning Glory Academy!
Ryan: I can’t stress enough how awesome I find Morning Glories and how excited I have been to jump into this issue after the incredibly shocking final page of issue #2. Nick Spencer is building a brilliant mystery here and Joe Eisma’s art is fine fit. After just two issues, its clear that you’ll never know what is coming with this series and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is definitely the frontrunner this week.
RAGMAN: SUIT OF SOULS
Written by Christos N. Gage
Art by Stephen Segovia
Rory Regan has long struggled to reconcile the burden he carries as the Ragman, protector of society's forgotten, with his own strained faith. Could the souls he has consigned to redeem themselves within his mystic suit have the answers he needs about what lies beyond — and about the mysteries kept from him by his own father? Christos Gage (STORMWATCH: PHD, Avengers: The Initiative) and Stephen Segovia (Wolverine) provide a look inside one of the DCU's most peculiar Super Heroes in this standalone one-shot!
Ryan: Ragman is definitely one of DC’s most unusual, interesting, and underused characters, so I’m glad to see that he is getting a one-shot this week. While I really wish that one of Ragman’s biggest fans, Phil Hester, would be involved one way or another, Christos Gage is sure to do Rory Regan justice here. I’ve yet to see a character that Gage can’t write well and he has certainly been on a roll lately with his Avengers Academy work…
Written by Jim Zubkavich
Art by Edwin Huang
The Skullkickers are on the hunt for a famous corpse, and the twisted trail they follow is littered with troubles aplenty — grave diggers, patchwork zombies, horse thieves and dark magic. Trust us, skulls will be kicked. If you like D&D or Hellboy, SKULLKICKERS is waiting for you.
Ryan: Skullkickers #1 was an awesomely irreverent comic that took me completely by surprise. It’s clear that Jim Zubkavich and Edwin Huang are running on an “anything goes” mindset with this series, much to my enjoyment. I’m really at a loss for words on how to describe this series, but I can say that I loved the first issue and I’m super pumped for this one.
Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Jamal Igle
Showdown at Bizarro World! How can the Girl of Steel defeat a threat that has already taken down an entire planet of Bizarros? And what about BizarroGirl – can Supergirl trust her twisted mirror self to help out? Well, if Bizarros are opposites, and Supergirl is noble, brave and heroic...uh...good luck defeating the monstrous intergalactic foe by yourself, Kara!
Ryan: When reviewing last issue, I complained that it ended with Kara speeding away from Bizarro World to get help from Superman to save the planet, as I felt that I undermined the character’s abilities. I really feel that this a chance for Kara to come into her own as a hero (even if she has to rally the Bizarros) outside of Superman. It’ll be interesting to see how Sterling Gates resolves this issue and if the conclusion is detrimental to the character as I fear it will be.
Written by Josh Williamson
Art by Ale Garza
Something evil is haunting Supergirl! But whatever's causing the disturbance is nothing compared to what she's about to run into in Gotham City when she seeks help from the new Robin, Damian. Can these two get along long enough to stop the nightmares plaguing Metropolis? Find out in this special Halloween issue!
Ryan: With my ever-expanding pull list, I rarely randomly pick up the odd issue of a series I don’t normally ready, but the idea of two of polar opposites Supergirl and Damian team-up should be a lot of fun. Plus, I dug Ale Garza’s work when he drew Supergirl a few years back. This should be a fun done-in-one.
THOR: FIRST THUNDER #2
Written by Bryan J.L. Glass
Art by Tan Eng Huat
Thor's first year on Earth continues as the public gets its first view of the God of Thunder, and also experiences the horrors wrought by the terrible trickster Loki! For centuries, the God of Mischief endured righteous punishment for his many crimes, and yet blamed his hated half-brother for his own torment. Learning of the Odinson's awakening, the God of Lies engineers his escape, to wreak havoc and nightmare upon those whom Dr. Donald Blake loves! Meanwhile, when Heimdall attempts to block an angry Thor from regaining entry to Asgard, we discover if his sword is a match for the power of the mighty hammer Mjolnir! The legend reborn continues with Harvey Award-winning writer Bryan J.L. Glass (The Mice Templar) and acclaimed artist Tan Eng Huat (SILVER SURFER: IN THY NAME)!
Ryan: The retelling of Thor’s origins continues this week, apparently focusing on Loki’s relationship with the titular hero. I was really impressed with Bryan J.L. Glass’s complex, yet accessible retelling of Thor’s first appearance in the last issue, so I’m excited to see how this plays out. I was a bit underwhelmed by Tan Eng Huat’s work, but the strength of the writing is more than enough to have me pumped for this.
Written by Marjorie Liu
Art by Wil Conrad
X-23 has never been a normal teenager, but with a demonic Wolverine on the loose, her dreams of becoming that normal teen seem less possible than ever. When the images this imposter Wolverine has been filling her head with become real, who can she turn to? And where is the real Wolverine in all of this? Find out as the series you've been waiting for continues!
Ryan: The debut issue of this series was a nice introduction to X-23’s new status quo while establishing some interesting new threats via her visions. Marjorie Liu will need to delve into something more concrete with this issue, but as long as she retains the strong sense of voice that was developed in the first issue, this should be a great read. This series certainly has a tremendous amount of potential.
Kirk: I liked the first issue. Finally gave some character development to Laura that she hasn't seen since New X-Men ended. Was great seeing the entire cast of that book return and confront Laura over her X-Force "job" and see the effect its had on her. Let's see if Liu can keep it up with the second issue.