Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews for 08/10/11

Welcome to yet another iteration of the Post-Crisis Previews!  This week, we have books of all genres spanning five different comic book publishers.  With DC rebooting all their titles in September, there are a lot of comics concluding this month.  After months of build-up, Marvel is finally kicking off Spider-Island in earnest.  And Image, Dark Horse, and IDW all have books dropping that I am looking forward to.  So let's stop the idle chatter and hit the jump to look at some of the comics that are coming out this week!

Written by Fred Van Lente & Greg Pak
Art by Dale Eaglesham

HEROES ON THE LAM! Having escaped imprisonment at the hands of the corrupt Unity Party, Alpha Flight find themselves hunted by the government they’d sworn to protect. Outmanned and outgunned, the Flight decide to go guerilla, but what will they do once the government raises the stakes by revealing their leverage against the team, including Northstar’s boyfriend and the child of Guardian and Vindicator held hostage?! Marvel Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, along with legendary artist Dale Eaglesham, continue their revival of fan favorite Alpha Flight in this pulse-pounding issue!

Grant: Although John Byrne's original Alpha Flight run was a little before my time, I've always found the team interesting.  As a Canadian comic book reader, it's nice to have at least a few superheroes hailing from north of the 49th parallel (Wolverine doesn't count), so I was excited from the moment they announced that this series was happening.  I was even happier to find that it was actually pretty darn good.  Van Lente and Pak have been writing a compelling tale thus far, and I've been especially impressed at all the minor bits of Canadiana that they both manage to slip in and get right.  I'm eager to see what happens next.

Written by Dan Slott
Art by Humberto Ramos

Start Webbing The News! New York City's Infestation is complete and eight million people are plagued! As someone near to Peter Parker’s life reveals their spider-abilities, the brilliantly fearsome Jackal rises from the past and begins organizing an army of Spider-powered soldiers. Spider-Man isn’t the only hero affected as the threat goon grows bigger than any one Fantastically Friendly Neighborhood Avenger can handle. Best-selling Spidey creators Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos spin a Spider-epic that turns Peter Parker’s BIG TIME into a BIG MESS. Bad romance, death-defying violence and one man facing his FINAL fearsome destiny… this one’s got it all! Simply put, pal….YOU NEED THIS!

Grant: I've really liked Dan Slott's run on Amazing Spider-Man.  Really, really liked it.  Most everything he's done with the character has tickled my fancy, and Spider-Island sounds like it's going to be a ton of fun.  That being said, this might be the last issue of Amazing Spider-Man that I'll buy.  That may not immediately make any sense, but it's due to Marvel quietly changing the page count on the book without changing the price.  So from this issue forward, instead of paying $3.99 for 30 pages of story, you'll be paying $3.99 for 22.  That's a pretty steep cut and Marvel isn't offering anything to make up for it.  Based on everything that has come before, I'm willing to give this a shot for one issue, but I don't know how comfortable I am with that kind of price point.

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Sean Murphy

The search for the vampire cure takes Cash and Felicia to the catacombs beneath an ancient castle where they find a shocking secret!

Grant: This mini-series has been a blast thus far.  Like the current arc in the main book, Survival of the Fittest is set in World War 2.  Two vampire hunters are trying to figure out whether or not the Nazis have found a cure to vampirism.  Scott Snyder is a great writer.  Sean Murphy is a great artist.  Together, they've been even better.  I can't not buy this issue.

Written by Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden
Art by Ben Stenbeck

Monsters are overrunning Europe, and Baltimore, the only one who can put an end to these horrors, must find and kill Haigus, the vampire responsible for this chaos. Following reports that Haigus is holed up in a cloister, Baltimore finds a haven full of death and black magic, and the creature at the heart of his obsession!

Grant: I absolutely loved the first Baltimore series that Dark Horse put out last year.  Set shortly after World War 1, it takes place in a world where the Great War was brought to an early end by the appearance of a vampire plague.  The book starred Lord Baltimore, a vampire hunter travelling through Europe to try to rid the world of the dark menace.  It was classic Mike Mignola.  Awesome concept.  Great writing.  Beautiful art.  If the second series is anything like the first (and I have every faith that it will be), readers are going to be in for one hell of a good time.  You'd think one vampire comic book would be enough for me, but here we are.

Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Pere Perez

Stephanie Brown has done her best to put her past behind her, but as the Repears’ mysterious client stands revealed, Batgirl’s going to learn the hard way that those who fail history are doomed to repeat it. This issue has it all: Secrets unearthed! Alliances broken! Splash pages! 

Grant: Originally starting up shortly after the death of Bruce Wayne, Bryan Q. Miller's Batgirl has been on the better Bat-books DC publishes.  Frankly, it's been one of the better books DC publishes.  This series has loads of character and is a ton of fun in a way that few superhero books care to be nowadays.  It's a crime that this book is getting canned with the reboot.  Stephanie Brown's tenure as Batgirl may be coming to an end, but her run will not be soon forgotten.

Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Sean Phillips

The best-selling crime series continues its rollercoaster ride of death and mayhem! The murder was bad enough, but the coverup will be worse than the crime, especially with a one-time boy detective hot on Riley Richards' trail and Teeg Lawless trying to stir up trouble. And remember, Criminal is filled with articles and illustrations that are only available in the single issues, making it the best bargain on the stands!

Grant: Oh man.  What else can I say?  Brubaker and Philips are great together.  This series has been perhaps their best collaboration to date, which is saying a lot.  You should be reading this.  We're only at issue #3, so if you haven't been following, tracking down the first two issues shouldn't be that hard to do.

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jock & Francesco Francavilla

This is it – the finale so twisted, so shocking we can’t even begin to give away details here! Be there for the extra-sized conclusion of the acclaimed run by Scott Snyder, Jock and Francesco Francavilla. DETECTIVE COMICS #881 is the issue everyone will be talking about. Believe it. 

Grant: It barely matters what the solicitation says for this comic.  All I know is that Snyder, Francavilla, and Jock have been collaborating for some of the best Batman stories ever.  The writing, art, and plots have all been picture perfect since these three took over Detective Comics.  With everything they've been working towards concluding in this issue, you better believe that it's going to be amazing.  Buy this book.

Written by J. T. Krul
Art by Alejandro Giraldo

FLASH FACT: And now, the final show! If the Graysons don’t survive, there may be one person who can help their cause… 

Grant: This is one of the problems with three issue mini-series.  I was pleasantly surprised with the first issue, but really underwhelmed with the second.  If this was an ongoing, I probably wouldn't be coming back for more, but since I know this story will be done after this issue, here I am.  I just hope that this issue can recover some of what made the first one so enjoyable.

Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Ibraim Roberson

FLASH FACT: The great monster hunter Miranda Shrieve will see our heroes dead before the night is done… unless they can defeat her and her army of robots.

Grant: Unlike, Deadman and the Flying Graysons, I have enjoyed every part of this Flashpoint tie-in.  Part of that is due to the fact that it has almost nothing to do with the main story, which seems to be what all the good tie-ins have in common.  I'd wax philosophical about what that means for the main book, but I'm content to enjoy Jeff Lemire's wonderful interpretation of Frankenstein, which will hopefully be an accurate preview of what's to come when he takes on the ongoing this September.

Written by John Layman
Art by Alberto Ponticelli

Detective Makoto Sato has been framed, disgraced and left on the run. But beware a desperate man... with a friend like MOTHRA!

Sato strikes back at the Takahashi crime empire and the criminal underworld is powerless to fight back against the winged kaiju. Yet before Sato can finish the job, he learns that no man can truly control a monster!

Grant: John Layman has been tearing it up writing Chew, and while I imagine far less people are reading Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths, he's doing a lot of the same here.  Except instead of policemen who are cibopaths, this series has policemen who can control Mothra.  If that doesn't pique your interest, I'm not sure what will.  This series won't redefine comics.  It's not necessarily a classic in the making.  But it is a whole lot of fun.  And sometimes that's all I ask when I'm picking up my funny books for the week.  

Written by Mike Mignola
Art by Duncan Fegredo

With her tower in ruin, and her body a vessel for the Ogdru Jahad, the Queen of Blood shows no mercy to Hellboy as their final battle meets a stunning conclusion!
The conclusion of the epic story that began in 2007’s Darkness Calls.
“Everything in Hellboy for the last ten years or so has been building to something big—and this could be it. I can’t wait.”—Comic Book Revolution

Grant: Mike Mignola is a genius.  Almost everything he does - whether it's writing, drawing interiors, or creating covers - is fantastic.  The man is so good that I sometimes get jealous just reading through his works.  Fortunately, it also means that said works are all top notch.  Hellboy, one of his earliest creator owned properties, is one of the best examples of this.  The series has been rock solid since Seeds of Destruction, and it honestly feels like everything has been building up to this issue.  Maybe not the most approachable issue for first time readers, but I know I'm going to enjoy The Fury #3.

Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Joe Eisma & Rodin Esquejo

He's the Glory everyone loves to hate: This issue, learn all the secrets behind Manhattan's most devious young socialite!

Grant: Nick Spencer's Morning Glories has been phenomenal.  Every issue seems to offer more information about the crazy, mysterious school the kids have been brought to or the kids themselves, but for the most part, it's still unclear what the heck is going on.  Fortunately, that's a good thing, because the inscrutableness of the title is a big part of the appeal thus far.  Even after 10 issues, I don't really know where this story is going, but Spencer's masterful storytelling has ensured that I'm not too broken up about that.  Can't wait.

Written by Shane Houghton
Art by Chris Houghton

Reed Gunther and his best bear buddy Sterling are separated when the legendary steel-driving man, John Henry, returns from the dead while the sneaky Mr. Picks escapes to the East Coast with the mysterious monster-creating Idol.

Grant: As you can see in the solicit, this book stars Reed Gunther, who is a cowboy, and his friend Sterling, who is a bear.  Let me repeat that one for you: it stars a cowboy and his bear companion.  What more could you want?  An all-ages comic, this book is a ton of fun.  And with my qualms about the pricing / page count on Amazing Spider-Man, it's worth noting that the last issue had 32 pages of story with no ads.  That alone is enough to get me interested.

Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Emma Rios

The fan-favorite, critically acclaimed team of Nick Spencer (IRON MAN 2.0) and Emma Rios (OSBORN) answers the overwhelming demands of readers, and puts the beloved heroes Cloak & Dagger back in action…in SPIDER-ISLAND! Everyday citizens fall prey to a mysterious infestation, and Manhattan is quarantined! Cloak & Dagger are at the front line, in the streets. Thousands of people are gifted with great power…and it’s a disaster!

Grant: So I'm not super familiar with Cloak and Dagger.  I think I've read one mini-series featuring the characters and seen them in a handful of books here and there.  This purchase is based solely on the creative team.  As established above, Nick Spencer is pretty great.  Additionally, Emma Rios was amazing on the Osborn mini.  So I'm excited to see what these two can do together.

Written by Dan Slott, Christos Gage & Fred Van Lente
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli & Minck Oosterveer

The JACKAL is back and with the entire population of Manhattan quarantined, he has the perfect control for his twisted experiments. The hypothesis? If GWEN STACY returns, then Peter Parker can’t be too far behind. Elsewhere in the city, the HOBGOBLIN attacks young love – but he better be prepared to meet his match when he faces of super powered reporters! This deadly duo of sensational stories reveals the secret schemes of the fearsome foes of Spider-Island!

Grant: This is another shot in the dark.  I figure if I like Dan Slott on the main book, a Spidey one shot should also be worth my while.  It also help that I'm a a pretty big fan of most of the other people contributing to the book.  I don't imagine it'll be groundbreaking, but I believe I've made my penchant for fun books pretty clear with some of the other titles I'm picking up.  Looking forward to giving this a gander.

Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Mike Grell & Nick Dragotta

The T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents make a final stand against The Iron Maiden in the present, as a bitter truth about the villainess and Colleen is revealed in a look back at the past. One of the most critically acclaimed books of the year reaches the shocking finale of its latest chapter, but trust us, this ain’t the end – not by a long shot!

Grant: And with this book on my list, I complete the Nick Spencer hat trick for the week.  While it's mildly ridiculous that I'm intending to buy three different books by Spencer from three different companies, his writing is generally so good that I'm not too worried about it.  Especially when the third book is T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.  I first encountered Spencer's work on this title, and it remains my favourite book that he works on.  I'm incredibly excited to see how this story arc concludes.  I'm even happier to know that T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents will live on past the DC reboot, reappearing in October.

Written by Mike Carey
Art by Peter Gross & Vince Locke

While the cabal continue their seemingly motiveless murder spree, Tom researches his father’s journals to uncover the secret connections between Wilson Taylor and his deadliest enemy, Pullman – as well as a hint at an eighty-year-old atrocity that could be a clue to Tom’s own nature and origins!

Grant: I have been following The Unwritten since the first issue came out over two years back.  The series has come a long way since the reader was first introduced to Tom Taylor.  What seemingly started as a Harry Potter-esque story has quickly become a far larger tale, encompassing the importance of fiction and what it means to the world.  The English Literature major in me can't say no to that.  That the book has quality writing and art only makes it easier to pick up every issue.

And with that, we find ourselves at the end of this week's previews.  Wow.  With all those books above, I feel like I'm buying all of the comics.  However, I know that there are still plenty that I'll be missing out on.  Is it as big a week for you?  Are there any books that I should be considering adding to the list?  Let me know below!

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brandon said...

PunisherMax is a must read IMO. It tops Criminal and even Hellboy at the top of the pile.

Others for the week are American Vampire, Unwritten, Star Wars and Green Lantern Aftermath.

My fringe books are Fly, Red Wing, Layman-Godzilla, Incredible Hulk & X-Men Legacy.

Should be a very good week.

CombatSpoon86 said...

Great Picks this wk. Alot of these books I'm trade waiting but worth it. Amazing Spider-man 22 pgs for 3.99 thats a bummer ugh. The last issue of Snyder's Detective, this is a can't wait issue.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

I'm picking up American Vampire SotF #3, Criminal #3, Fear Itself #5 (I'm so close to the end...ugh), and Vengeance #5.

Don Winslow said...

One thing that has been noted by the editors, who btw, don't control pricing, they just learn about it, was that certain marquee books were going to be 3.99. Some creators decided to do extra pages for !free! for the books, for as long as ASM was a book that went 3.99 and Slott wrote extra material out of the goodness of his heart. Nothing sneaky. Sneaky would be solicited at 2.99 but showing up at shops at 3.99.

TL;DR - Those 30 pagers had free stuff in them!

Grant McLaughlin said...

@brandon - Maybe I'll have to give PunisherMax a look. I enjoyed one of the one shots, but haven't taken a serious look at the ongoing.

@Combat - I cannot wait for Detective. It should be good.

@Ryan - Along the same lines, if you're reading American Vampire, you should give Snyder's Detective a try (they're releasing the whole run later this year in hardcover...).

@Don - Interesting. I hadn't heard anything to that effect. If that's the case, I feel like Marvel could have been more proactive in explaining what is going on instead of just changing the pages without any explanation, leaving it open to frustrated interpretations such as my own.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Grant - gah, brain freeze. I'm definitely picking up the final Detective Comics issue, I've loved Snyder's run.

Markus said...

As awsome as the 8-extra pages for backup stories were, they weren't the main reason why I'm following Amazing Spider-Man.

Dan Slott + Humberto Ramos = its worth the price!

CombatSpoon86 said...

Surprised Red Wing wasn't on this must for this wk. It was great 2nd issue. Actually know Nick Pitarra. Great guy and working hard on this book.

American Vampire, Detective, Amazing Spiderman, Red Wing, even the deadly foes one shot. all great.

Fear Itself meh, and Im a big marvel fan.

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