Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews for 01/16/13

The third week of January brings with it the third edition of our new and improved Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews!  In case you missed the last two iterations, we're moving to a format that talks about a wider number of different titles each and every week - and not just the ones that I'll be buying (although they still make guest appearances).  This week also sees a slight shift in how I talk about the forthcoming books.  So hit the jump to get the lowdown on such thrilling titles as Batman #16, Black Beetle: No Way Out #1, Creator-Owned Heores #8, and plenty more!  As always, any and all feedback is welcome!

Major Releases

BATMAN #16
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion
Backup Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Backup Art by Jock

• “DEATH OF THE FAMILY” continues!
• Batman heads into his showdown with The Joker as the madman’s plan is finally revealed – in Arkham Asylum!
• It all lead’s into next month’s terrifying conclusion!
• And in the backup story, in the midst of The Joker’s assault on Batman and his allies, get a secret glimpse into what started The Crown Prince of Crime on his horrifying journey!

Why You Should Care: Scott Snyder's time with Batman have been a true high for the character.  It all started way back before DC's universe-wide reboot when Snyder had some time to kill over on Detective Comics, and since his switch over to the main book, things have only been getting crazier and crazier.  The Death of the Family storyline has featured some of the most disturbing Joker scenes of recent memory, and Batman has been one of the major sources of this.  With Alfred captured and Batman pushing away his allies, things are looking bad for the Caped Crusader.

BLACK BEETLE #1: NO WAY OUT
Written by Francesco Francavilla
Art by Francesco Francavilla

Black Beetle's investigation of two local mob bosses is interrupted when a mysterious explosion murders them and a pub full of gangsters—taking out most of Colt City's organized crime in one fell swoop. Who could pull off such a coup, and what danger might that murderous bomber do to Colt City and Black Beetle?

Why You Should Care: Francesco Francavilla is one of the best, most exciting comic book artists working nowadays, and he's been tearing it up with his various assignments over at the Big 2 these past few years.  However, at the same time, he's been putting in work on his own character, the infamous Black Beetle, protector of Colt City.  Dark Horse is calling this book Superhero Noir, and while the marketing initiative is a little gimmicky, last month's Black Beetle: Night Shift #0 showed that the comic is the real deal.  Francavillia's stories are classic pulp, and his art is something to behold.  So get out there and behold it already.

SAGA #9
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Art by Fiona Staples

The Will finally has a good day.

Why You Should Care: You should already be buying every issue of Saga at this point, so I won't go into detail about how Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples are putting out the hands down best comic at the moment.  Instead, I'd like to take a moment to profess my adoration for The Will.  From the moment I read his name, I knew that he would become one of my favourite characters, and this was confirmed shortly after his first appearance when he proved to be the badass that I knew he would be.  His sidekick (partner?), Lying Cat, is only icing on the cake that is The Will.  So while I'm pleased to see that things might finally be coming up Milhouse for the guy, I'm dubious of the truth behind this solicitation.  Vaughan and Staples seem to have a penchant for making things difficult on The Will, and I can't imagine why they'd change that now.

SAVAGE WOLVERINE #1
Written by Frank Cho
Art by Frank Cho

Wolverine awakes to find himself transported to the Savage Land and labeled public enemy number one! With no memory of how he got there, and Shanna the She-Devil his only ally, Logan must unravel the mystery that slumbers at the heart of the Savage Land before it finds a way to kill him first. This January, Wolverine is all brawls, babes, and brachiosaurs, and you'll never see the end -- or the future of the Marvel Universe -- NOW!

Why You Should Care: Frank Cho is one hell of a comic book creator, so pretty much any comic book he's on could easily be of interest to you.  Marvel putting him on a Wolverine book seems like a foolproof plan to get his work into as many hands as possible, and setting the title in the Savage Land (at least for now) seems like as good an excuse as any for Cho is draw those well-endowed women he's known for.  However, he's not nearly as well known for his writing, so it will be interesting to see how he manages on this book.
New Beginnings

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #16
Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Paco Medina

• NEW CREATIVE TEAM! NEW DIRECTION! THE SUPERIOR AGE BEGINS!
• The all new Superior Spider-Man teams with Wolverine and the X-Men!
• Christopher Yost (Scarlet Spider, X-Force) and Paco Medina (Ultimate X-Men) begin a new SUPERIOR era of Avenging Spider-Man!

Why You Should Care: If you've been digging the new status quo that is Superior Spider-Man, here's another opportunity to bask in the glow that is the new and arguably improved Octo-Parker.  You've also got Christopher Yost coming in for the writing duties on this book after spending some time over with the (formerly new) Scarlet Spider and Carnage and Paco Medina jumping in on the art side of things to add his touch to things.  And if you're looking for more, this story's got some X-Men thrown in for good measure, so you're covered on all fronts.

DEMON KNIGHTS #16
Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Bernard Chang

• It’s the DC debut of new writer Robert Venditti (X-O Manowar, The Surrogates)!
• It’s been thirty years since the Demon Knights last rode together — and they’re less than happy to see each other!
• What has happened during this time? Who lives? Who’s dead? Who’s going to stop the massive vampire invasion that threatens all life? The Demon Knights had better find some answers fast!

Why You Should Care: Robert Venditti is the critically acclaimed writer for The Surrogates, which continues to be more than enough to warrant me taking the time to check out any book that he takes on.  I'm doubly intrigued to see what his take on Demon Knights ends up looking like due to how good this book was under Paul Cornell and this 30 year time jump that's being thrown in.  It's an intriguing choice, as it lets us get a bit of an instant understanding of how things played out after the events of Demon Knights #15, while also letting Venditti start with a bit of a blank slate, since a lot can change in three decades.  I'm definitely curious to see how this all shakes out.

THRESHOLD #1
Written by Keith Giffen
Art by Tom Raney
Backstory Art by Scott Kolins

• Introducing THE HUNTED, spinning directly out of this month’s GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS ANNUAL #1!
• Featuring the New 52 gallery of space heroes: The Star Rovers, Star Hawkins, Space Cabbie, Tom Tomorrow, Captain K’Rot, and Star Ranger!
• Also introducing Jediah Caul, a disgraced Green Lantern stripped of his power ring, who is hunted for sport on a televised reality show!•
• LARFLEEZE steals the spotlight in his first ongoing series of backup stories! What happens when Larfleeze, the ultimate hoarder, is robbed...of everything!

Why You Should Care: While Marvel is busy throwing all manner of cosmic properties at its readers, DC has been somewhat light on space-themed books, at least beyond Green Lantern titles (Legion of Superheroes doesn't count), so Threshold should be a good departure from th-- what's that you say?  This is spinning directly out of Green Lantern: New Guardians Annual #1?  And the backup feature is starring Larfleeze, who although he can at times be a pretty enjoyable character, is also from the Green Lantern corner of DC's universe?  The book still sounds worth checking out despite those facts, but it would be nice if DC would diversify a little bit, no?


You May Have Missed

CREATOR-OWNED HEROES #8
Written by Scott Morse, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray & Darwyn Cooke
Art by Steve Niles, Jerry Lando, Paul Mounts & Darwyn Cooke

A monthly feature featuring graphic strips and material by DARWYN COOKE, plus: “LEAPING TALL BUILDINGS: INDEPENDENT SPIRITS” a profile feature by CHRISTOPHER IRVING and SETH KUSHNER featuring JAMIE & GILBERT HERNANDEZ.

“KILL SWITCH,” Conclusion
The game of death continues in it’s final chapter as Kill Switch, surrounded by an army of blood thirsty assassins and dealing the last issue’s betrayal, vows to hunt down and punish the person responsible no matter how long it takes!

“MEATBAG,” Part Two
Potbelly Sanders is dead, deceased, expired. Now Detective DeSanto is on his own, and falling further and further into darkness. Part Two of “Meatbag” concludes with a twist of bizarre noir by SCOTT MORSE and STEVE NILES in their first CREATOR-OWNED HEROES collaboration.

Interviews, contests, art galleries, con photos, and original articles, all celebrating the creator-owned spirit.

Why You Should Care: Creator-Owned Heroes has been a fun book since it first dropped, offering quick looks into different creator owned worlds and stories alongside a unique perspective into the world of the comic book industry.  Unfortunately, despite the unique combination of comic book storytelling and behind the scenes articles, this book did not manage to find a big enough audience and is ending with this eighth issue.  If you haven't had the chance to give this book a gander, I'd urge you to do so tomorrow.

FASHION BEAST #5
Written by Alan Moore, Malcolm McLaren & Antony Johnston
Art by Facuno Percio

Alan Moore and Facundo Percio continue to spin the complex tale that was nearly lost to the sands of time! The web of Celestine’s mysterious factory spins deeper around Doll and Jonni. Though the two despise each other, their anger and frustration over the machinations of the mystic designer draw them closer to the truth. There is a reason for everything le Patron does and his ultimate goals are shifting into place. Doll’s destiny has been revealed in the tarot cards, but only time will tell whether she has drawn the Fool or the Magician from the deck.

Why You Should Care: If you're looking for comic written by Alan Moore, the only other option at the moment is periodic League of Extraordinary Gentlemen releases, and while those have been pretty decent, they aren't coming out on a monthly basis the way Fashion Beast has been.  And while this comic is technically adapting an old screenplay by Moore and Malcolm McLaren, it definitely still reads like an Moore title.  It's also worth noting that this is both the weirdest and most interesting adaptation of Beauty and the Beast that I could possibly imagine, which also sounds like something Moore would do.

INSURGENT #1
Written by F.J. DeSanto and Todd Farmer
Art by Federico Dallocchio

• In the near future, the American government, using a powerful new form of nanotech, builds a secret military force composed of unknowing ordinary citizens…what would happen if a mysterious terrorist group started ACTIVATING these sleeping super soldiers for something far more sinister?
• Former government-sanctioned bounty hunter John Ravane is the one man who could possibly stop the second American Civil War…but that’s ONLY if he can be convinced—or coerced—into returning to active duty!
• Cutting-edge science fiction and hi-tech military action collide in this explosive new original miniseries!

Why You Should Care: While originally announced at New York Comic Con, there hasn't been much in the way of chatter from DC regarding Insurgent since that time.  However, this book has an interesting backstory to it, as it was originally slotted to be released under the Wildstorm imprint before that was closed down, but Jim Lee liked this book enough to save it and find a way to get it on stands nonetheless.  This makes it pretty much the only creator owned title DC is publishing that isn't tied to Vertigo or its main universe, a rather unique claim to fame.  It's hard to say how this title will turn out, but it certainly sounds like there' something there.

TODD, THE UGLIEST KID ON EARTH #1
Written by Ken Kristensen
Art by M.K. Perker

This series, a collision of comedy, sex, and violence, follows the misadventures of America's most dysfunctional family as they go head-to-severed head with an Oprah-loving ax murderer, a cult-crazy soap opera star, and a neo-Nazi prison gang.

First issue: Todd wants desperately to make friends, but every kid he approaches winds up decapitated. Or worse. Meanwhile, Todd's mother is on a mission to get even with her husband who she believes is having an affair.

Why You Should Care: As you may have noticed, Image has a pretty good track record when it comes to new series at the moment, and Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth looks like it could very well follow in that path.  The solicitation hints at the incredibly amounts of potential wackiness contained within this book, which reads similarly to Eric Powell's work on The Goon, combining equal parts mundane with the absurd for some out of this world comics.  It might not be for everyone, but those who like it will probably like it a lot.

The Balance

ALPHA #0.1
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Humberto Ramos

• A special encore presentation of the instant-classic AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #692!
• Get ready for an all-new tale about a different kind of power and responsibility...
• WHO IS ALPHA?!

Why You Should Care: Marvel is looking to launch an Alpha miniseries, so in the lead up to that, they're reprinting the characters original appearance from Amazing Spider-Man #692 (which actually wasn't that long ago considering that the book was shipped twice monthly).  If you've been following ASM religiously, you can probably give this one a miss, but if you did miss Alpha's first appearance, it might be worth looking into, since things could get quite interesting between him and Superior Spider-Man in the months to come...

ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #6
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Emanuela Lupacchino

The all-new Geomancer must battle the “Wrath of the Eternal Warrior.”

Throughout all of human history, the sacred lineage of the Geomancers has protected Earth from all who would seek to do it harm. But, now, a new Geomancer has been chosen – and she’s stuck keeping Archer & Armstrong out of harm’s way! But why has Kay McHenry been selected to wield this exceptional power? And just what is her connection to the Eternal Warrior’s blood vendetta? Only Gilad knows for sure…but he won’t be answering until he’s left Archer & Armstrong bloodied, broken and brutalized by his own fist and steel.

Plus: more of the Eternal Warrior’s exploits throughout history revealed!

Why You Should Care: Fred Van Lente's time on Archer & Armstrong has seen a slow building of these two characters and the relationship they share.  It's also done a nice job of mixing in a decent amount of humour to punctuate all the action and drama our titular heroes have been getting into.  While the Geomancer arc looks to shake things up a bit, that balance of laughs and liveliness looks to remain firmly in place.

COMEBACK #3
Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Michael Walsh

Mark Thomas has lost Kelly, the woman he's been sent back in time to rescue. His partner Seth is MIA and his boss is demanding that Mark hunt down and kill an FBI agent in order to save RECONNECT, their illegal time travel operation.

Why You Should Care: Ed Brisson and Michael Walsh have been telling one of the best crime stories that comics has seen in a good long while.  Amazingly, they've also simultaneously been telling one of the best time travel stories.  Taking cues from both genres, Comeback has been the perfect combination, infused with Brisson's razor sharp writing and Walsh's gorgeous pages.  All around comic book colouring superstar Jordie Bellaire's inclusion on this title simply puts the whole thing over the top.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #12
Written by Brain Wood
Art by Declan Shalvey

Unable to obtain a cure for the deadly illness afflicting Bêlit and the crew of the Tigress, Conan feels the fear of loss for the first time. With no hope and a broken heart, the Cimmerian is horrified at how appealing he finds Bêlit's order to abandon the ship and his queen! The haunting conclusion of "The Death"!

Why You Should Care: Brain Wood seems to be every at the moment, and that is a Good Thing.  His writing has been top notch on every book he's come onto, and Conan the Barbarian has been no exception.  Each arc has added yet another stone to the amazing architecture that Wood is slowly constructing, and while the full plans aren't yet clear, it's been a joy to follow.  Bringing on Declan Shalvey to the book will only improve a comic that's already benefited from a long list of talented artists for its interiors.

FRANKENSTEIN AGENT OF SHADE #16
Written by Matt Kindt
Art by Alberto Ponticelli and Wayne Faucher

• Don’t miss this final issue finale!
• Frankenstein and his team of misfit S.H.A.D.E. agents are sent in to stop a group of superpowered biological terrorists from detonating a dirty bomb in Central City!

Why You Should Care: Matt Kindt's star continues to rise, and his arrival on Frankenstein was but one of the many indicators of this fact.  While the book he's been shepherding for the past few months may be coming to an end, I don't imagine that will impede his continued ascension too greatly, so why not stop in to see how he finishes the whole thing off?  With a cover like this, there's got to be something cool going on, right?

MARS ATTACKS THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS
Written by Erik Burnham
Art by Jose Holder

Something even stranger is in the neighborhood when the restless spirits of some merciless Martians are stirred from their slumber to attack again! It's up to the REAL Ghostbusters to save New Jersey from this angry red threat. Well... if they must.

Why You Should Care: The whole Mars Attacks attacks the entire IDW line of books is pretty darned gimmicky, but we all know that gimmicky doesn't always mean bad.  And if there's one franchise that flourishes on gimmicks, The Ghostbusters would be it, so that's a definite boost in this book's favour.  Frankly, there's something to be said for checking out this comic just to see how Erik Burnham and Jose Holder manage to shoehorn these two concepts into one coherent narrative (if they can manage it, that is).

Pick of the Week

Any week that Saga comes out is a week where it could easily be the best thing on stands, but instead of going with the obvious choice I'm going to single out Creator-Owned Heroes #8.  Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray came up with something fresh and exciting with this comic / magazine, and while it's coming to an early end, I'll treasure the short time we had together.

What about you?  Which books are you just dying to get your hands on?  Any on this list or are you jonesing for something that's been overlooked?  Hit the comments to share your thoughts if the mood takes you.


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