AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #648
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Humberto Ramos
BIG TIME BEGINS! Big changes are happening for the Amazing Spider-Man: Bigger threats, bigger guest-stars, and a big opportunity that could turn Peter Parker's life around! Which cast members are staying and who's saying goodbye? Find out as we're introduced to new characters and reintroduced to a number of Spidey villains as they make the triumphant return to the book! Plus: New developments for Mayor J. Jonah Jameson, the staff at Front Line, and The Sinister Six! The next chapter in Spider-Man history starts here! Guest starring THE AVENGERS and THE FANTASTIC FOUR in a giant-sized, 39 page lead feature! PLUS! An All-New Adventure featuring the All-New SPIDER-GIRL! PAUL TOBIN & CLAYTON HENRY bring a tale of action & intrigue, and make a strong argument for why you can sometimes send a Spider-GIRL to do a Spider-MAN's job...
Ryan: I dropped Amazing Spider-Man after the quality to quanitity ratio got out of balance midway through The Gauntlet storyline. I simply couldn’t justify picking up the series three times a month when only one out of every five or six issues was all that great to me. That being said, I’ve missed the ol’ wall-crawler and I’m excited to jump on board with Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos (one of my favorite artists)—even if its still a twice monthly expense. Plus, even though I’m in the minority on this, I’m glad to see Peter with Carlie Cooper!
Kirk: I dropped Amazing Spider-Man (again) midway through One Moment in Time, but I'll be picking this issue up specifically for the Spider-Girl story. I'll likely stay for an arc or two with Slott now as the sole writer.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP #1
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Salvador Espin
Two of Marvel's smallest heroes must join forces and get over one BIG elephant-in-the-room! Eric O'Grady once STOLE the Ant-Man suit from Hank Pym. But now, Eric is the only one who knows about a secret AIM plot to steal Pym's greatest invention! Can the two men get along long enough to save the soul of the former GOLIATH, Bill Foster? Tim Seeley, creator of 'Hack/Slash' brings us the big story of the two smallest Avengers! And make sure you check out this adventure before the astonishing events of AVENGERS ACADEMY #7 next month!
Ryan: I’m really on the fence with this miniseries. On one hand, I really don’t want to take on any more books than I already am, but on the flipside, Tim Seeley is a fantastic writer and I’d love to see what he can do with Eric O’Grady (a character that hasn’t been the same since the original Robert Kirkman/Phil Hester series that was criminally overlooked). Plus, Salva Espin impressed me with his work on Generation Akira…I mean Generation Hope last week. This will be in an in-store decision.
Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Dustin Nguyen
It's a new year and a new look for Batgirl as superstar artist Dustin Nguyen (DETECTIVE COMICS) joins the creative team! The unsinkable Stephanie Brown's second semester at Gotham U. starts like any other - new classes, new allies, a vigilante stalker - everything a gal could want! But what Gotham City's Batgirl isn't prepared for is the arrival of the mysterious 'Order of the Scythe.' Who are they, and why have they set their sights on her? 'The Lesson' begins here!
Ryan: My love for Bryan Q. Miller’s Batgirl series is well-documented and I’ve been a huge fan of Dustin Nguyen for years now. As much as I hate to see Lee Garbett leaving this series, I could not ask for a better replacement. This should be an excellent jumping on point for new readers and I highly recommend you give it a shot if you haven’t before. I can guarantee this series is so much better than you’d ever expect—it’s easily amongst DC’s finest titles!
BATMAN: RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #6
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Lee Garbett
Grant Morrison and BATGIRL artist Lee Garbett deliver the final chapter of this time-spanning epic! With Bruce Wayne just steps away from returning to present day Gotham City, the timestream might have a few more surprises in store for The Dark Knight! Do not miss this issue, as it paves the way for the shocking future era of Batman!
Ryan: Honestly, with all of the Road Home one-shots behind us, plus Batman and Robin last week, I’ve lost all interest in this storyline. Bruce Wayne is back and ready to kick criminal tail once again. I really don’t care about him being a time displaced super weapon or anything like that at this point. I’d probably skip this if not for the art from Lee Garbett, who kicked all sorts of ass on Batgirl over the last year.
Kirk: Gonna have to agree with Ryan here. Batman and Robin rocked the house for me last week with the conclusion to the Hurt story adn whole Batman Incorporated reveal and the Road Home one-shots have pretty much killed all the suspense and momentum from Return of Bruce Wayne. I'll still be picking this up, but going to take a lot to get me excited about it again.
BIRDS OF PREY #6
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Alvin Lee
Dinah Lance struggles to clear herself of murder charges, leaving Huntress and Lady Blackhawk in Thailand to face the invincible Shiva without the aid of the Black Canary! And a major moment occurs in the lives of Hawk and Dove!
Ryan: Birds of Prey has been a tad disjointed since returning earlier this year, which has been hard for a lot of longtime fans to swallow. The character work has been as solid as ever, but the plotting has been quite haphazard. I’m hoping that things turn around for the series starting with this issue, as I’d love to see this once-mighty book return to being one of DC’s strongest books.
GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD WARRIORS #4
Written by Peter Tomasi
Art by Fernando Pasarin
Green Lantern battles Green Lantern and a new villain storms the scene. But what are his plans and what association does he have with a tiny, mysterious hooded figure? Plus, Guy Gardner's rage boils up!
Ryan: This series has been surprisingly slow out of the gate, but things started to pick up last month with Bleez joining Guy Gardner’s quest after a stop off to visit the Blue Lanterns. So far we have only seen setup, but if things start coming together to form a more concrete plot, this series will finally start reaching towards its potential and could be very hard to beat. Will it happen in this issue? I sure hope so.
KNIGHT AND SQUIRE #2
Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Jimmy Broxton
In this second issue, our trusty heroes venture into rural England - or as they know it, home. But when someone starts using dangerous dark magic, they spring into action only to face a surprising and unassuming enemy. Can they take down a powerful magical enemy and still make it home for supper?
Ryan: The first Knight and Squire issue was a perfect introduction to the British dynamic duo, though it surprised me by not really setting up the overarching plot of the miniseries. It felt more like a very strong one-shot or the start to an ongoing series. Of course, none of this matters because it was bloody brilliant. Hopefully Paul Cornell and Jimmy Broxton can repeat that magic this week, as I’m quick to consider this one of the frontrunners for this week’s Rankings. If you haven’t picked up the first issue, you definitely should so that you are well-prepped for what could easily be this week’s Book of the Week.
RED ROBIN #17
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Marcus To
How does the return of Bruce Wayne and the beginning of Batman, Inc. work into Red Robin's plan to initiate an international stranglehold on crime? If Batman approves of everything Red Robin has set in motion, what will he do when his protégé decides to release the gang-leader-and-maybe-undercover-cop Lynx from prison? And guess which surprise guest star you'll see when Red Robin takes a quick trip to Hong Kong!
Ryan: Tim Drake Red Robin has really become a better surrogate Batman than Dick Grayson did during Bruce Wayne’s absence, so it will be interesting to see how the return of the original Caped Crusader will the intricate plans that Tim has built to crush crime in Gotham and beyond in the most systematic way possible. I’m glad to see that we’ll see more of Lynx here, as her few appearances so far in Fabian Nicieza’s run on this title have been incredibly intriguing. While books like Knight and Squire certainly have a chance to unseat it, Red Robin is the book to beat this week!
Written by Harrison Wilcox
Art by Ryan Stegman
SPINNING OUT OF WORLD WAR HULKS! THE SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK RETURNS! Jen Walters teams up with LYRA, the all-new SAVAGE SHE-HULK, to bring the hurt down on the fugitive members of THE INTELLIGENCIA. Klaw, Mad Thinker, Red Ghost, Trapster, and Wizard tried to take over the world and now must pay for what they've done. Guest starring THE INCREDIBLE HULK in this all-new story of She-Hulk smackdown!
Ryan: To be truthful, I have only read a handful of She-Hulk comics and I can’t say that I’ve ever really enjoyed any of them. The character has just never really appealed to me. You are probably asking yourself why I’d pick up this issue then and I don’t blame you. The truth is, I’m only picking this up because it features one of my favorite artists in the industry today, Ryan Stegman. If you’ve seen any of his work lately, you’ll understand why I don’t care what book he is drawing, I’m not going to miss it!
STAR WARS: KNIGHT ERRANT #2
Written by John Jackson Miller
Art by Federico Dallocchio
Jedi Knight Kerra Holt thought she was prepared for anything that could happen on the volunteer mission that took her deep into Sith space. But now, trapped behind enemy lines, Kerra looks toward a life without the support of the Republic...and if her headstrong ways continue to lead her actions, she may end up without any support at all!
Ryan: The debut of the newest Star Wars series, Knight Errant, wasn’t terribly interesting and lacked the hook that most of Dark Horse’s comics in this franchise have built upon. I was pretty disappointed by it, but my love of the franchise is going to trump that this week as I give this one another shot. I definitely think that there is some potential for the adventures of Kerra Holt; I just hope this book finds it sooner rather than later.
THANOS IMPERATIVE #6
Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art by Miguel Sepulveda
Nova, Star-Lord, the Guardians of the Galaxy and more make their valiant last stand in this, the end...of everything! The war against the abominable Cancerverse reaches its climax. Only Thanos can decide the fate of two universes - but what choice will he make? Star-Lord believes he can use The Mad Titan as a weapon, but when you've deployed a weapon that absolute, can you ever stop it again? The staggering and shocking finale to the cosmic event of the year comes here.
Ryan: This, in theory, should be the big one! With no announcements being made on the future of Marvel’s cosmic arm, this could very well be the swansong for its architects Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. These two have made Marvel’s space-faring heroes the cream of the publishing crop and with this final issue, all of that build-up comes to a head. Which side will Thanos choose? Who will survive? How long am I going to have to wait for new Nova comics? Wednesday can’t come soon enough for the answers to these questions!
Kirk: There's a lot left to do in this cosmic story with only this final issue to wrap it all up. I have faith Abnett and Lanning will be able to finish this event off strong and consider this my most anticipated book this week.
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Pasqual Ferry
THE WORLD EATERS continue their rampage down the World Tree on an unstoppable blitz to Asgard. The magnificient residents of the nine worlds flee their rampage...coming to Asgard for protection. Can the Fallen City protect the exiles of seven worlds from an unimaginable evil? And what on earth is Thor doing in Paris? And who has he found there...? You wouldn't believe us if we told you.
Ryan: After bursting onto the scene with a great debut issue, the Matt Fraction/Pasqual Ferry era on Thor ran into some rocky territory last month with its second outing. This storyline has a great high concept, but Fraction needs to stay focused and grounded in his exploration of it, or this will run into the same issues that last month’s disjointed issue did. I’m hoping for the best, but I’m approaching it with caution.
ULTIMATE COMICS THOR #2
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Carlos Pacheco
As Asgard celebrates victory, rumblings of Ragnorok near. What shocking revelation will the All-Father unveil to his chosen son? And what does Baron Zemo have in store for the gods? Jonathan Hickman (SHIELD) and Carlos Pacheco (Ultimate Avengers) rock out another thrilling tale of Thor's thunderous debut!
Kirk: Loved the first issue of this. It featured frost giants in nazi uniforms attacking Asgard during ragnarok. That's the kind of crazy stuff I read comics for in the first place!