Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews for 01/30/13

January is reaching its end, and as our Post Crisis Comic Book Previews show, it's bringing some mighty fine titles with it.  There's plenty of quality books for all different types of comic book readers, including Invincible #100, Mara #2, Unwritten #45, and lots more.  I'll see you beyond the cut to look at them all.

Major Releases

HAWKEYE #7
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by David Aja

• Cherry's got a gun. And she looks good in it.
• Hawkeye gets distracted. Just like you are right now.

Why You Should Care: It's a Hawkeye book.  You know it's going to be good.  While such a sentiment would have come off as ridiculous or sarcastic a scant few months ago, Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth have managed to make it a truism.  Hawkeye is quite possibly the best comic that Marvel is publishing right now, embracing how unlikely such a situation is by focusing in on Clint Barton's life outside of heroics to tell some of the smartest stories around.  It's also worth noting that (beyond some blood splattering in issue #5), these covers have been in the habit of being set to stark white backgrounds.  Could this red cover represent a shift in the story?  Only one way to find out.

INVINCIBLE #100
Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Ryan Ottley

10th ANNIVERSARY LANDMARK 100th ISSUE SPECTACULAR!

THE DEATH OF EVERYONE: CONCLUSION! It’s all been building to this. Mark Grayson’s entire life as a superhero, all he’s learned, all he’s endured, it’s all been leading to this one moment. Will he become the hero he was meant to or will he choose... a DIFFERENT path? The aftermath of this EXTRA-SIZED issue will shock you.

Why You Should Care: Robert Kirkman is kind of a big deal.  Writer of the wildly successful Walking Dead, it can be easy to forget that he just so happens to have another long running title going on at the same time.  So long running, in fact, that he's nabbing his second 100+ issue comic series here.  Whether or not you read Invincible or Walking Dead, that is a true testament of longevity, made all the more impressive by the fact that both books continue to be quite good.  This might not be the best place to start picking up Invincible, but you could definitely do worse.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #2
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Ryan Stegman

• The All-Now Supereir Spider-Man battles All-New Sinister Six!
• PLUS: Spider-Man and Mary Jane...REUNITED!
• PLUS: Slott and Stegman... REUNITED!

Why You Should Care: Marvel and Dan Slott are putting a lot of stock in their Doctor Octopus driven Spider-Man shakeup.  While I personally might not have been won over by what's happening on the page, it's hard to deny that a lot of people are digging what's been happening.  And regardless of how you feel about it, it's tough to deny that there's some real story possibilities available with how things currently sit for our Friendly Neighbourhood Wall Crawler.  Expect the status quo to remain decidedly un-quo.


New Beginnings


MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE ORIGIN OF HE MAN #1
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Ben Oliver

• Learn how Prince Adam first harnessed the Power of Grayskull!
• Witness the first battle between He-Man and Skeletor!

Why You Should Care: I know what you're thinking, but hear me out here.  I'm not a particular supporter of He-Man by any extent of the imagination, but look at the creative team on this book.  Joshua Hale Fialkov, who's been doing some impressive stuff with his titles in the New 52, and Ben Oliver, who I realized in retrospect was by far the best part of Batwing.  Regardless of how big of a He-Man fan you are, a recycled toy property from the 80s might not scream comic book excitement, but considering the talent we have on this title, I'm willing to give it a go.  Hopefully my faith is not misplaced.


You May Have Missed

MARA #2
Written by Brain Wood
Art by Ming Doyle & Jordie Bellaire

As superstar athlete Mara Prince's superpower manifestation is caught on live TV, her life rapidly starts to spiral out of control. The media descends like vultures. Her handlers go into spin mode. The footage is seen around the world, and this young woman, who only hours ago was the darling of pop culture, is now being slammed and ridiculed for being a fraud and a liar. But the more she tries to fight back, the only thing she's doing is escalating the problem. A sci-fi take on real world superheroes by the powerhouse team of BRIAN WOOD, MING DOYLE and JORDIE BELLAIRE!

Why You Should Care: The first issue was one of the few that dropped December 26th of last year, and while the story didn't knock my socks off, there was definitely some interesting concepts at play here.  A hyper competitive world that lionizes sports and military combat above all else is an intriguing backdrop for this series that may or may not be all about superpowers in the end.  And while there's still a lot to discover in the narrative, it's crystal clear that the art in this book is superb.  Ming Doyle's interiors are out of this world, and Jordie Bellaire's colours are just as good as you would expect.


UNWRITTEN #45
Written by Mike Carey
Art by Peter Gross

As the old stories die, new stories wake and stretch — without Leviathan to rein them in. And detective Didge Patterson gets pulled into a messy homicide case that brings together a strange, young boy with a wicked imagination, a pack of zombies and one very hungry vampire journalist.

Why You Should Care: It's easy to forget about the titles that keep chugging along, maintaining a consistently high level of quality, but to do so for The Unwritten would be doing yourself a massive disservice.  Mike Carey and Peter Gross continue to tell some of the best stories about stories that you'll find in any medium, and the endeavour has been especially impressive considering the ways they've leveraged the comic book medium at different points throughout their narrative.  This is some of the most unique comics you can find, so I'd encourage you to go out there and find it if you haven't already.

DEATHMATCH #2
Written by Paul Jenkins
Art by Carlos Magno

The battle royale continues as the world’s greatest superheroes are forced to fight each other to the death in a mysterious, otherworldly prison. Who will be crowned the victor in this month’s grudge match? More importantly, who will be the loser? And will the cabal of Sable, Meridian, Sol Invictus, and the Manchurian be able to decipher the mysteries of the prison before one of them is selected to enter the arena?

Written by industry legend Paul Jenkins (SENTRY, INHUMANS) and drawn by comics superstar Carlos Magno (PLANET OF THE APES, TRANSFORMERS), DEATHMATCH is a dark, psychological deconstruction of the superhero genre that can’t be missed.

Why You Should Care: Boom!'s attempt to cash in on the current public mania related to large groups of random people fighting to their fictional deaths turned out to be a lot better than you might expect.  While Paul Jenkins and Carlos Magno could have easily phoned the whole thing in, they dug in and found a way to build a compelling and intriguing narrative out the situation.  The death is certainly there, but the world it's happening in feels real, with the characters populating it having their own competing hopes and interests.  You could do a lot worse than this title.

The Balance

ADVENTURE TIME #12
Written by Ryan North
Art by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb
Backup written by Alexis Frederick-Frost
Backup art by Andrew Arnold

THE HOTTEST ALL-AGES COMIC CELEBRATES ITS ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!

BMO’s sick, but it’s not just any virus…it’s a magical virus! And now, Finn and Jake have to seek out a sorta-no-good-very-bad wizard to set things right! Don’t miss the latest issue of what critics called “the best series of 2012!”

Why You Should Care: Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, and Braden Lamb's Adventure Time continues to be one of the most fun comic books on stands.  There's a high level of whimsy in every issue that you just can't help but get swept up in while reading.  It makes the book a real joy to go through, and there's always fun backups to spice things up and add a little more bang for your buck.  This month we get Alexis Frederick-Frost and Andrew Arnold, and while I'm unfamiliar with their work, I'm confident that it will be just as good as the rest of backups we've seen in the past.

BATMAN AND ROBIN ANNUAL #1
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Adrian Syaf and Vicente Ciifuentes

• Robin leads Batman on an unrelenting hunt across the globe for family secrets that promise to change them both forever.
• If you think you know Bruce Wayne...think again!

Why You Should Care: For anyone searching for a done-in-one comics, DC's annuals are usually a pretty good place to look.  While I haven't been paying the most attention to Batman and Robin, there's been a lot of good buzz coming off of this title.  Peter J. Tomasi is one talented writer and Adrian Syaf is a solid artist.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the events of this issue might not actually change either Batman or Robin forever, but it could still make for an entertaining read. 

BATMAN INCORPORATED #7
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Chris Burnham

• The fight to reclaim Gotham City begins!
• Batman, Inc., takes the offensive against Talia and Leviathan!
• It’s Damian vs. Heretic — and if Damian loses, the city dies!

Why You Should Care: If my understanding of this whole Batman, Incorporated thing is accurate, the title is going to be coming to an end come June, meaning that Grant Morrison's Batman epic should be ending with it.  It looks to be building up to that eventual climax, so expect things to get dicey for our heroes.  This story has been years in the making, and it's had the incredible amount of forethought and planning go into it that you'd expect from any Morrison book.


PUNISHER: WAR ZONE #4
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Carmine di Giandomenico

• The Punisher tries to break Cole out of jail.
• The Avengers stomp him. A lot.

Why You Should Care: Greg Rucka's run on the Punisher was phenomenal.  He, Marco Checchetto, and the many fill-in artists told one of the best Frank Castle stories I've ever encountered.  Things haven't been quite as strong in this "Punisher vs. The Avengers" tale we've ended up getting, but there has been an interesting buildup of Frank facing a different member of the Avengers each issue.  This time around, it looks like he'll be taking the whole team on, so that should be interesting to see.




Pick of the Week

I'll be honest with you, a part of me really wants to go with He-Man, but it's already crazy enough that I'm looking forward to reading the book.  Instead, I'll go with the safe bet and single out Hawkeye #7 for the week.  As I say above, we all know it's going to be good.  It's not a question of if, but of how, which is the really fun part.

That's how I see things this week.  What say you of the coming Wednesday?  Any books you're itching to get your hands on?  Any that you'd forgotten about?  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.


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