Written by Ron Marz
Art by Michael Broussard
Top Cow's biggest event gets even bigger! While Witchblade bearer Sara Pezzini and Darkness host Jackie Estacado form an uneasy alliance to search for their missing daughter, more of the all-powerful Artifacts are brought into play as Magdalena, Tom Judge and the Angelus join forces. But unbeknownst to any of them, the unseen villain is manipulating people and events to bring about the end of the world. From Top Cow Universe architect Ron Marz (Witchblade, Angelus) and Top Cow superstar artist Michael Broussard (The Darkness) comes an event series, which will literally shake the Top Cow Universe to its foundation.Each issue will also feature a Top Cow Origin backup written by Marz and drawn by a superstar collection of artists.
Ryan: Despite being waist-deep in the entirety of the Top Cow universe, Ron Marz has done a great job of making Artifacts perfectly accessible to new readers and, in turn, has had a highly successful and enjoyable event comic. As Witchblade and Darkness start gathering the troops to find their daughter, things should start getting very exciting. So long as Marz maintains that accessibility, the building tensions should mean a highly entertaining comic.
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by John Romita Jr.
I AM AN AVENGER! Plus: another chapter in the oral history of the Avengers!
Ryan: Not much to go off on this solicitation, is there? Of course, you don’t need words when you have the visual of the ever-controversial Red Hulk (Rulk) joining the Avengers team. For those not in the know, Rulk is actually General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross—an interesting addition to the Avengers to say the least. I wasn’t terribly impressed by the opening arc of this series, so I’m hoping that this new addition will help kick things into great for what should be Marvel’s premiere title (but, unfortunately, hasn’t been).
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Tony Daniel
Welcome back Tony Daniel as regular writer/artist on BATMAN! Bruce Wayne may have returned, but Gotham City remains Dick Grayson's to protect as Batman. And when an aging but wealthy technology developer comes to Gotham with his beautiful daughter, it turns out he's in search of a joint project with WayneTech. DNA tracking is the name of his game, and there are others interested in his proposal. But when the developer goes missing, Batman finds that his tracks stop in the city's violent Chinatown neighborhood, where a new deadly Triad gang has taken root. Guest-starring I-Ching!
Ryan: I find it very interesting that DC would tap Tony Daniel to write and draw the continued adventures of Dick Grayson as Batman in this series when his previous arcs featured Daniel struggling to find the right voice for Grayson and continually falling back on characteristics and personality traits of Bruce Wayne as Batman. Hopefully in his time away from the series, Daniel can find that voice to go with his gorgeous artwork.
BATMAN, INC #1
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Yannick Paquette
Grant Morrison continues his earth-shattering run on the Batman titles with this exciting, new ongoing series! Featuring art by the remarkable Yanick Paquette (SEVEN SOLDIERS: BULLETEER), BATMAN, INC. marks the next stage of evolution for The Dark Knight. This can't-miss series will star not just Bruce Wayne as Batman, but also a huge number of guest-stars! Don't miss out on this all-new start to a stunning direction for Batman!
Ryan: While I feel like Batman is done best as a very contained, street-level hero, I’m actually pretty excited to see Grant Morrison’s imagination run wild as Batman sets up a franchise of Batmen all over the world. The “Club of Heroes” arc he did with JH Williams was the strongest storyline in his entire run and I’m hoping he can bring that same magic to this thematically similar new series. Would this work better as an Elseworld’s concept? Absolutely, but hopefully won’t stop this series from being pretty fun, especially now that Morrison can get away from the trappings of his intricately convoluted Batman versus Doctor Hurt storyline that encompassed his entire run with the character thus far.
BATMAN: THE RETURN
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by David Finch
The event of the year is here! Bruce Wayne made his long journey back through the timestream in RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE, Dick Grayson and Damian uncovered important secrets in BATMAN & ROBIN, Gotham City's bravest heroes made their mark in BRUCE WAYNE – THE ROAD HOME...and now it's time for BATMAN to return! What happens to Dick Grayson now that the ""real"" Batman is back? How will Bruce Wayne handle a reunion with his son, Damian? This special one-shot bridges two exciting eras of The Dark Knight and sets up a surprising new status quo that's just on the horizon.
Ryan: I really felt that, aside from the last few issues of The Return of Bruce Wayne, the return of Bruce was handled extremely well. The Road Home one-shots were spectacular and the last issue of Batman and Robin was one of my favorite Grant Morrison comics of the last few years. This one-shot, presumably, will feature a lot of setup and a lot of explanations, which makes me think that someone like Fabian Nicieza would be better suited as the writer, but it’ll still be interesting to see how Grant Morrison pilots the transition for the Dark Knight into a very new direction.
Written by Richard Starkings
Art by Moritat
Hip Flask versus agents of MAPPO—and Flask has nothing left to lose.
Ryan: A new issue of Elephantmen? That’s all you really need to know. It’s new. It’s Elephantmen. It’ll be awesome.
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Francis Manapul
BRIGHTEST DAY dashes on with the stunning conclusion of ""The Dastardly Deaths of the Rogues!"" With Barry caught between the Rogues and the Renegades, the resurrected Captain Boomerang's role in the adventure is revealed! You won't believe how this leads to the upcoming FLASHPOINT...
Ryan: It’s been two months since the last issue of Flash and, honestly, that takes a lot of the momentum away from the series as it concludes its opening arc. With Barry battling both the Rogues and the time-traveling future-police Renegades in this issue, Johns and Manapul should be able to make up for lost time rather quickly with high quality action, but I’m a bit nervous that the delay may negatively impact my enjoyment of the issue (unless I dig out Flash #5 as a refresher).
GI JOE: COBRA #10
Written by Mike Costa and Christos Gage
Art by Antonio Fuso
At last we return to the story of Chuckles, who was last seen in the custody of none other than Cobra Commander! But is he a prisoner...or an honored guest? Can the man whose life was ruined by pretending to join Cobra have finally given in?
Ryan: The awesomeness of the concept from the last GI Joe: Cobra story arc just barely carried me through its less-than-thrilling execution. The series is changing direction with this issue and, thankfully, also changing artists; I hope that can also revitalize the book. I really dug the first story, but after that last one, it’s going to take a strong flip-through in the shop to get me to buy this third arc.
GREEN LANTERN #59
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke
BRIGHTEST DAY blazes on as the New Guardians seeking the Indigo Entity are shocked to discover a sedated Black Hand. Can Hal Jordan trust the Indigo Tribe to house the herald of Nekron? Plus, another exclusive first look at a member of the GREEN LANTERN CORPS from 2011's live-action GREEN LANTERN film!
Ryan: While Blackest Night was an incredibly satisfying event, my biggest complaint would be that the Indigo Tribe was use as a deus ex machine at multiple points in the story. As carefully plotted the story was and as well developed the players were, it was disappointing to see this glaring purple mark across the entire story. Now that Hal discovers the less-than-compassionate fate of Black Hand in the clutches of the Indigo Tribe, I’m hoping that long overdue development will finally come about. If not, the frustration that I suppressed before could seriously hamper my enjoyment of the issue.
KILL SHAKESPEARE #7
Written by Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col
Art by Andy Belanger
The play's the thing...it's Twelfth Night and the Prodigals celebrate their first victory over Richard. The festivities bring music, merriment and a magical carnival-as well as a mysterious ringleader that sheds impossible insight into Hamlet's past, forcing the Prince to come face-to-face with a shameful secret that may turn Juliet and others against him forever.
Ryan: Kill Shakespeare turned a major corner last issue with Hamlet firmly choosing a side during the first big battle between Juliet’s Prodigals and Richard III’s forces. With the larger war finally taking shape, I’m glad to see that we will finally see how Hamlet’s past comes into play in this strange amalgamated world (especially since, in the original play, Hamlet was kind of a major prick to just about everyone).
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #7
Written by Paul Levitz
Art by Yildiray Cinar
The first strike of Durlan assassins arrives on Earth! Their goal: kill the United Planets leadership as revenge for R.J. Brande's death...while posing as Science Police officers!
Ryan: As a newbie to the world of Legion of Super-Heroes, I honestly have almost no idea what this solicitation is talking about. What I do know, though, is that if the Durlan’s are some sort of alien, the xenophobia sweeping Earth should make for some great tension and the surprisingly compelling Earth-Man is likely to get caught in the middle. That should be pretty awesome.
MORNING GLORIES #4
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Joe Eisma
With one of their own in danger, the rest of the Glories come together secretly and hatch a plan to rescue her-and escape from the sinister clutches of the Academy together! The teacher versus student showdown starts here!
Ryan: I still can only marginally tell you what Morning Glories is about, but what I can tell you is that I’ve loved every minute of reading it. This simply told, but complexly written series is the breakout hit of 2010 for me with the creative team of Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma working absolute magic with every single page. I expect nothing but the same strong mystery and great character work that have quickly made this one of my favorite comics currently being published.
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Warren Ellis
Art by Emma Rios
BIG TIME HITS SPIDER-MAN'S GREATEST ENEMY! The world's most dangerous felon is in the world's top super-max security prison - an institution so secret even the vice president doesn't know it exists. But can any cell contain Norman Osborn? After the events of SIEGE, the former Green Goblin, Iron Patriot and power-mad director of worldwide security isn't allowed to have a toothbrush...and he's surrounded by the deadliest criminals in the world. Lucky for Osborn, they're fans. Rising stars Kelly Sue DeConnick (SIF) and Emma Rios (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) throw Osborn in the darkest hole the public's never seen! Featuring an all-new bonus story written by Warren Ellis (THUNDERBOLTS)!
Ryan: I am really torn about Osborn. On one hand, I’m already buying way too many comics this week and I really don’t have a ton of interest in Osborn after being burnt out on the character during Dark Reign. On the flipside, the “Goblin Cult” from last week’s Amazing Spider-Man is likely to tie into this and it does have one of the most exciting creative teams Marvel has put together in quite some time. I really want to have the will to pass up on this and save the $4, but Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios working together is probably going to be too awesome of a team for me not to buy this comic!
Written by Paul Tobin
Art by Clayton Henry
Spinning from the GRIM HUNT in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN! Not every fight can get resolved by punching someone in the face...but Spider-Girl's gonna punch somebody anyway, just to make sure. Follow the swinging adventures of Anya Corazon, the Splendiferous Spider-Girl, as she balances the daily grind of teenage life with the bumps and bruises brought by banging 'bows with bad guys! Guest-starring the FANTASTIC FOUR and a villain that our hero could NEVER, EVER, EVER defeat. Paul Tobin (SPIDER-MAN, SUPER HEROES) and Clayton Henry (UNCANNY X-MEN) present an all-new hero for an all-new era!
Ryan: Last week’s Amazing Spider-Man featured a great teaser for this series, which saw Anya getting some verification of her new role as Spider-Girl now that she has dropped the Arana gimmick. That got me pretty excited for this series, but what really piqued my interest was the character’s role in the awesome, and already missed, Young Allies series. If Paul Tobin can tap into the same strong personality that Sean McKeever was developing in that series, this could fill the recently vacated slot on my pull list left by Young Allies.
THE SPIRIT #8
Written by David Hine and Walt Simonson
Art by Moritat and Jordi Bernet
The widow Ophelia Ottoman is the drop-dead gorgeous heir to one of the most powerful crime families in Central City. So why did she ever marry a loser like Jimmy Bauhaus? And why does she creep into Wildwood Cemetery each night to speak to his corpse? There's a mystery buried with that dead man, and it's The Spirit's job to dig it up!
And in the SPIRIT: BLACK & WHITE co-feature, modern masters Walter Simonson and Jordi Bernet bring you 'Gemini,' the tale of twin sisters nobody could tell apart...but where one is a good girl, the other is very, very bad, indeed!
Ryan: The success of this series has really hinged upon the quality of the creative teams and, between the two stories, this issue couldn’t ask for a much better line-up. I’ve really been digging the work of David Hine and Moritat on the main story (kicking off a new storyline), but I’m even more excited for the back-up by the legendary Walt Simonson and the equally as legendary Jordi Bernet. You’ve got awesome new school, but incredibly awesome old-school taking on the Spirit here—if you haven’t checked out this series yet, there may not be a better chance.
Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Jamal Igle
Cat Grant is in trouble. And not just 'missed her deadline and Perry White's furious' trouble. Really bad trouble. And the only hero who she can turn to for help is the one she's been bad-mouthing in the Daily Planet for months - Supergirl! Will the Girl of Steel let bygones be bygones? Or should this Cat hope she still has at least one more of her nine lives left?
Ryan: This is the story that Sterling Gates has spent the last year or so building up to—Cat Grant needing the help of the hero that she created a nemesis out of, Supergirl. As Gates runs through his final issues on this series before Nick Spencer takes over, this is a great chance to write one last epic story. This series turned completely around when Gates and Jamal Igle took over and, with this strong of a premise behind this issue, it looks like they could go out as strongly as they started!
THOR: FIRST THUNDER #3
Written by Bryan J.L. Glass
Art by Tan Eng Huat
He's battled frost giants and mythic beasts in Asgard...but how will Thor react to a mutant on Earth? And can Thor defeat the mutant Sandu who possesses power great enough to make even a Thunder God kneel? Meanwhile, what part does the vengeance of Loki continue to play in discovering the truth behind Thor's banishment from Asgard? Plus, is the relationship of Don Blake and Jane Foster doomed before it can even begin? The saga of the Odinson continues, as his very presence forces the world to acknowledge that ancient myths now walk the Earth!
Ryan: Bryan J.L. Glass did an awesome job last issue of “introducing” a frighteningly cerebral Loki as he continues to retell the earliest adventures of Thor. Now that the base introductions of the players are set, it’ll be interesting to see where Glass takes the story. His take has been complex and entertaining thus far and, based upon the solicit, I think we are in for more of the same this week. I’ve been digging this thus far, I just wish he had a different artist backing him up, as I haven’t been impressed with Tan Eng Huat at all.
Written by Marjorie Liu
Art by Will Conrad
Cast adrift, and hunted by those she once considered friends, X-23 is forced to confront the Devil himself to save her soul. If she even has a soul…
Ryan: First we get Wolverine in Hell, and now we get X-23. Much like Jason Aaron’s work on the main Wolverine series, Marjorie Liu has done a brilliant job of overcoming what I consider to be a less-than-inspired plot through some crafting storytelling and fantastic character work. I’ve wanted an X-23 series for quite some time and Liu has really delivered (with great work from Will Conrad, to boot!). I just hope that this storyline doesn’t bog down her work now that X-23 full descends.
Written by Victor Gischler
Art by Paco Medina
The Vampire Nation's army is unleashed on Utopia, with vampire Wolverine leading the charge - and, boy, does he have a bone to pick with Cyclops! Meanwhile, the newly resurrected Dracula is nowhere to be found. So why is Cyclops smiling?
Ryan: I keep telling myself that I’m not enjoying it and that my love of the X-Men characters does not mean that I have to continue picking up this series. Last issue was surprisingly strong, though, but I’m afraid it might have been a fluke. In an overly saturated week, I feel like this should be the first comic on the chopping block since the story has been dull and the art has been simply atrocious. Will I have the will to overcome my nostalgic desires for this series to be better than it is? I guess we’ll find out Wednesday!
Written by Adam Beechen
Art by Chris Hardin
Zatanna just doesn't like L.A. Never did, never will. Attending the opening of Hollywood's new Magic Museum, filled with artifacts and costumes from the world's greatest sorcerers, is more of a chore than a vacation. But she'll be surprised by what she finds there--both a connection to her father, and a truly bizarre threat that she never saw coming! They say the clothes don't make the man...but what happens when the clothes have other ideas? It's one of Zatanna's weirdest adventures yet, in this done-in-one!
Ryan: Given his track record with Gotham City Sirens and Streets of Gotham, I knew it would only be a matter of time before Paul Dini would need a fill-in story to get him back on schedule. Adam Beechen’s work is pretty polarizing, and with good reason given his uneven work for DC. That being said, when he is on, he’s pretty great, as some of his run on Robin showed. I’m not expecting Dini-levels of personality and charm—the hallmarks of this super fun series—but I am hoping that Beechen can make one of “Zatanna’s weirdest adventures” one of his most readable issues.