It’s hard to get new readers into the comic stores and when you do stage a coup and get them across the threshold there so rarely much that seems approachable. Most superhero comics have continuity longer than anyone can reasonably chase down, and many indie comics are going the same way. But there are jumping on points to be found and this column is going to highlight them. Sometimes it might be a new number one, other times a creative team change or new direction. No matter what, we’re dedicated to finding perfect points for you and your friends to try new comics without being weighed down by too much.
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Tony Moore
Man, this is a perfect jumping on point. Venom, the symbiote, has been around the Spider-titles for some time. He’s been wrapped around a variety of Spider-villains and now he’s doing something a little different. He’s starting afresh, if you will, and this is a great time to see what happened because that creative team you see listed above is rock solid gold. They haven’t failed me yet.
Venom is a symbiote scorned by Spider-Man and Flash Thompson is a man who idolises Spider-Man, and yet spent his youth picking on the man in the costume, Peter Parker. Here we get the two put together in a superspy espionage tale of insanity meets cool that’s sure to please. Venom has been a villain, he’s been a Lethal Protector, he’s been a Thunderbolt and a Dark Avenger, but now Venom might just be something new again, he might be smooth. He might be the best spy the world has ever seen.
I’m not personally all that excited for Flash to be the man in the suit but the rules of the game are that someone can only use the suit 20 times so I’m kind of hoping someone else gets a chance soon.
In total, Venom = Flash Thompson = SuperSpy. That’s a comic that could be a breakout hit and you get the very first slice this week. I will not hear anything about Spidey 654.1 – this is the jumping on point, people. Right here!
Prior Knowledge Needed – The Venom suit is an alien goo that tries to bond to its host – and has been successful in the past as a variety of Spidey villains. Flash Thompson was a high school friend of Peter Parker (Spider-Man). Rick Remender and Tony Moore are damn fine comic creators. Have a little faith in them.
Uncanny X-Force Apocalypse Solution One-Shot
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Jerome Opena
This isn’t just a jumping on point, it’s THE jumping on point. So far, five issues of this series have shipped, and to critical and fan acclaim, and this one-shot gives you the first three issues (which would have set you back $12 retail) and only asks for five of your dollars. That’s good math no matter how you split it. You get issues 1-3 in this thick package that you simply must use to catch up if you haven’t tried this title yet. I’m sure your LCS will have issue #4 that wraps this introductory arc. This title is the best X-book shipping right now.
This X-Force relaunch came right after the previous X-Force incarnation ended yet this version, the Uncanny team, isn’t really that heavily related to what came before. A few characters carry over, and there was no Deadpool or Fantomex before, but in total this is pretty much a new title. It’s not often that happens but you can see it needed to because Remender is far too awesome to be linked to what came before.
The art in this book is phenomenal and it perfectly matches and accentuates the crazy story on offer as this new X-Force sets out to stop Apocalypse from being brought back. Having actually read these issues I can vouch for their level of quality. You really need to jump on this one-shot even if you don’t stick with the title, it’s great value and some of the best stuff Marvel’s put out in recent times.
Prior Knowledge Needed – There’s a few things it actually helps to know coming into this, let’s look at them. All of these X-Force characters have been used before. Angel is struggling with holding his two disparate personalities apart, and his lady love Psylocke (a telepath) is helping with that. Deadpool is terribly saturated in the market, and yet he’s written much better here than most other places. Fantomex is just plain awesome – and one of his powers is to make others hallucinate around him. Wolverine, well, he’s mostly what you know and are expecting. Finally, Apocalypse is one of the biggest and baddest X-villains of all time. He must be stopped.
Captain America and the First 13
Art by Ramon Perez
There’s a Cap flick coming through so of course Marvel want to put out a bunch of Cap related product for the movie going public to find and pick up. For this to work the Cap material needs to be accessible. Jason Aaron’s current Ultimate Cap mini – that’s a bad example and not only doesn’t give readers something accessible, it doesn’t even give readers the Steve Rogers from the movie. Poor form. Hopefully this series of one-shots will hit the spot. The creative teams have certainly sparked interest.
Immonen has been tapped to write a WWII tale of Peggy Carter and Cap. It seems like it should be fun. It’s a rollicking spy tale that certainly sounds like it wants to stand alone and as much as it plays with the prior relationship between Peggy and Cap it also sounds like it wants to redevelop that relationship. That sort of creation should mean you can just pick up this comic and get all you need.
Prior Knowledge Needed – Captain America started in World War II. He’s a current hero now, sure, but he originated as a super soldier in WWII. He got frozen in ice, thawed out, assembled a kooky quartet, became a werewolf, renounced the shield, died, came back, fought a giant Red Skull, but that all takes place after this one-shot. Well after it. For now, just remember he started in WWII and don’t get confused that this tale is time travel or something.
Written by Brian Azzarello and Matteo Casali
Art by Jim Lee
What if Batman were poisoned and his only chance for survival was to team with the Joker and travel across Europe to get the cure? That’s a pretty intense elevator pitch and the fact it comes from Azzarello adds it so much more gravity. This comic has the chance to really be something cool and special.
Picking up a Batman title can be a bit of a crap shoot as to whether you need to know plenty before or not. Obviously, it doesn’t hurt to understand Batman to a general degree, perhaps seeing the flick would be more than enough, but it seems like the rest of this story should stand alone. You don’t need to know what happened in Morrison’s fourth issue or which aspect of canon Kevin Smith supposedly ruined. This isn’t building from anything else, this is just a cool idea and each issue will offer a new artist; Lee starts and then we’ll get Giuseppe Camuncoli, Diego Latorre, and Jock. If anything, this should be one pretty four issue mini.
Prior Knowledge Needed – A rough idea of the Batman concept, as well as who the Joker is, but I think if you miss the specifics you’ll still get the thrust of this project. You might miss out on the odd reference, perhaps, but overall if you want to sample the Bat this would be a good place to start.
If you pick up any of these issues please let us know what you thought of them in the comments below.