Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews for 01/09/13

Welcome once again to our new and improved Post-Crisis Previews!  In case you missed it last week, I'm moving to a format where I'm endeavouring to mention a number of different books of interest dropping each week - and not just the ones that I'll be personally buying (though they will also be included).  This time around, we're trying out section titles to help you navigate.  Will it be useful?  You'll have to tell me!  So please do so after you check out all these previews, which include such books as Superior Spider-Man #1, Infinite Vacation #5, Star Wars #1, and lots more!

Major Releases

STAR WARS #1
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Carlos D'Anda

This is Star Wars as you remember it... and as you have never seen it before! We're taking you back to those heady, adventure-filled days following the destruction of the Death Star—when the Empire ruled, the Rebels were on the run, and the galaxy was a dangerous place where anything might happen!

Grant: Remember that feeling you had when you saw Star Wars for the first time way back when?  That was a pretty good feeling, wasn't it?  Well, Dark Horse seems to think that they've found a way to recapture that nostalgic memory of yore in their newest Star Wars, simply titled "Star Wars".  It's a bold claim, but with Brian Wood tapped to write the whole thing, I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.  And while I'm none too familiar with Carlos D'Anda, his deviantArt has some real winners.  I just hope they can pull it off.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #1
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Ryan Stegman

THEN!...Peter Parker spent a lifetime living up to the responsibilities his powers foisted upon him but his Amazing story finally ended dramatically in the historic Spider-Man #700. NOW!...The new Amazing Spider-Man has arrived and he is better in every single way. Smarter, stronger...Superior.

Grant: It would be charitable to say I was pretty disappointed with Amazing Spider-Man #700, but despite that *ahem* lackluster issue, I'm still on board with the general concept of this new series.  Dan Slott by no means burned all his goodwill with me with that last issue, but I'm not nearly as excited for this series as I was after Amazing Spider-Man #698.  We'll see which issue this opener is closer to.  On the plus side, I am pretty excited to see Ryan Stegman take the reins on art duties.  He draws good comics, and I'm pumped to see him headlining such a big launch.

SWEET TOOTH #40
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Jeff Lemire

Gus’s journey comes to an end and the fate of the hybrids is revealed in the final issue of the acclaimed Vertigo series!

Grant: It seems like everyone time you turn around another Vertigo series is coming to an end.  While it's always sad to see a cherished title go the way of the dodo, it's infinitely better when creators get to end things on their own terms.  Fortunately, Sweet Tooth #40 is definitely the latter and not the former, as Jeff Lemire has given us years of quality stories starring Gus and Jepperd.  I haven't a clue as to how he intends to wrap everything up, but I'm eager to find out.  I'll just have to be sure not to cry too much when we have to give these characters our final goodbyes.  *sniff*

Long Overdue

INFINITE VACATION #5
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Christian Ward

This is it: the mind-blowing conclusion to the biggest sci-fi epic of 2011! As Mark comes face to face with the makers of The Infinite Vacation and discovers the startling truth behind the multiverse, he'll be forced to make a decision that will change the very nature of life itself forever! 

Grant: Considering that there's been nearly a year between publication of the last three issues (including this one), it would be easy to throw out a time-related quip about this series.  Instead, I'd like to focus on how good those first four issues were, and even if there's been a longer than anticipated wait for this conclusion (note that the series started in 2011), as long as it's as good as the preceding issues, that wait will have been more than worth it.  Nick Spencer and Christian Ward have been taking us on one wild adventure as we follow Mark's desperate attempts to not die at the hands of himself and (just maybe) get the girl in the end.  Okay, I lied.  One quip: let's hope good things come to those who wait.

You May Have Missed

ADVENTURE TIME #11
Written by Ryan North
Art by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb
Backup Story by Zack Giallongo

BRAND NEW ARC! PERFECT JUMPING ON POINT FOR NEW READERS!

Join Jake the Dog and Finn the Human in the latest of their totally math adventures! Get on board for what critics are calling 'the best series of 2012"! 

Grant: Okay, you probably didn't miss that there are Adventure Time comics, considering that I talk about it all of the time.  However, you would be forgiven for not realizing that Adventure Time #11 drops this week, as it was originally scheduled to come out last month but Diamond ordered all the copies be destroyed, so that didn't really happen.  Instead, there was a bit of a delay while new copies were printed up, meaning that you can get your Finn and Jake fix tomorrow if the mood strikes you (and it really should, because this book is comics are their best).

JINNRISE #1
Written by Sohaib Awan
Art by Tony Vassallo

Part 1: "Manifest Destiny." International student Andrew Marcus' world is torn asunder when interstellar forces, the "Kibrani," invade earth. With all hope seemingly lost, humanity's last chance may be a long-despised and forgotten race: the Jinn (otherwise known as "genies")! But are they our hope... or greatest fear? Combining the best of summer blockbuster fare and quest myths like Lord of the Rings, Jinnrise is a modern re-introduction to global myth.

Grant: While IDW is often thought of more in conjunction with their licensed properties, when they turn to original content, there's often some interesting stuff going on there.  Jinnrise certainly has the interesting part down pat, described by its author as blending "Middle Eastern myth with Western fantasy".  It's always a challenge to know if a new book is going to be worth your time, but with a concept like that, Jinnrise could be worth a look.  It might also not be, but since it's a 6-issue miniseries, it's not as big an investment as an ongoing would be should you find yourself hooked.

POINT OF IMPACT #4
Written by Jay Faerber
Art by Koray Kurnael

MINISERIES CONCLUSION

The mystery is solved! All of the questions are answered ... but who will survive the fallout?

Grant: Jay Faerber and Koray Kurnael's excellent black and white crime miniseries reaches its conclusion this week, and considering the stories that Faerber has been telling in the pages of both Point of Impact and Near Death before that, if you like crime fiction, you should be checking this out.  Faerber knows his stuff on that point and Kurnael does the black and white page great justice.



THE END TIMES OF BRAM & BEN #1
Written by James Asmus and Jim Festante
Art by Rem Broo

What would you do if you were caught in the Biblical End Times? When Heaven raptures total bastard Bram Carlson in a “clerical error” – he’s sent back and immediately uses Armageddon to his benefit! Can his anxious roommate Ben save Bram from himself – AND the gathering forces of Armageddon?
Extra-long debut issue! This apocalyptic buddy-comedy from writers JAMES ASMUS (THIEF OF THIEVES, Gambit) and JIM FESTANTE is recommended for fans of CHEW and BATTLE POPE.

Grant: This title came to my attention by happenstance, as I completely missed the Kickstarter that got it - ahem - kickstarted (I bet no one has ever made that joke before!).  However, I'm mighty glad that I did stumble across this book, because it is a ton of fun.  Its humour does remind me quite a bit of Chew, but also of Shaun of the Dead and Arrested Development.  Both James Asmus and Jim Festante come from stand-up comedy backgrounds, and it shows in the writing as the pages are rife with laffs.  Expect a review later today and check it out for yourself.

The Balance

ANIMAL MAN #16
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Steve Pugh, Timothy Green II & Joseph Silver

• “ROTWORLD: THE RED KINGDOM” part four!
• Animal Man has Constantine, Steel, Black Orchid, Beast Boy, Frankenstein and a whole army of patchwork men and women at his back — but is that enough to go up against Anton Arcane at the heart of the Rot?
• Team Red sets off for Metropolis to recruit a powerful new ally!

Grant: As per the usual, Jeff Lemire has multiple books dropping this week, with Animal Man rounding out his offerings for the day.  However, while past issues have been a lot closer in terms of quality, I'm pretty sure that Sweet Tooth is going to beat Animal Man this time around.  Part of that is Sweet Tooth concluding, but this belief is also due to Animal Man losing some of its direction since the beginning of the Rotworld storyline.  I'm hoping that Lemire can right the ship, but things have been spinning out of control for some time now, so it could take a few issues to do so.

AVENGERS ARENA #3
Written by Dennis Hopeless
Art by Kev Walker

• X-23 vs. ANNIHILATION's Cammi!
• A mystery opponent vs. AVENGERS ACADEMY's Sentinel!
• Who is the killer stalking the competitors in their sleep?
• Plus: Darkhawk equals death!

Grant: Avengers Academy has been stirring up some controversy with all the killing of younger Marvel characters it's been getting up to, but I've been hearing good things from the creative team of Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker.  The two seem to be the right pair to shepherd such a concept to its (potentially) bloody conclusion and hopefully they'll be able to continue to walk the line between solid storytelling and wasteful exploitation.  We'll see.

BPRD HELL ON EARTH #103: THE ABYSS OF TIME #1

Written by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie
Art by James Harren

A group of agents enter an abandoned warehouse in Chicago, only to discover the site of a hundred-year-old magical ritual and an old Hyperborean weapon, which leads to shocking revelations about man's prehistory and the legacy of the Ogdru Hem!

Grant: I think I can say with confidence that this issue of B.P.R.D. takes the award for most confusing comic book numbering.  Seriously, what the heck is going on up there?  I mean, I understand that this issue is part one of a two part story, but I feel like you either need to accept the decision to renumber to 100 or go back to smaller miniseries with new numbers 1s every few months.  The fact that this issue actually takes place before #102 doesn't help matters much.  On the other hand, B.P.R.D. is an excellent title known for its quality writing and with James Harren on art, it's excellent art record should continue unblemished as well.

BRAVEST WARRIORS #4
Written by Joey Comeau
Art by Mike Holmes
Backup Story by Ryan Pequin

THE NEW SERIES FROM THE CREATOR OF ADVENTURE TIME IS NOW ONGOING! DON’T MISS THE BODACIOUS CONCLUSION TO THE DEBUT ARC!

The Bravest Warriors have to band together to defeat the most nefarious villain of all…Sadness, bro! But Sadness isn’t going down without a weepy fight! The totally awesome comic adaptation of the new show from ADVENTURE TIME creator Pendelton Ward!

Grant: After raving about the first issue, I've been conflicted as to how I feel about this series overall.  I'd say that issue #4 could make or break my continued purchasing of this book, but I am a mighty big fan of Mike Holmes' art, even if the writing can be a little hit or miss.  It's also worth noting that Ryan Pequin has been killing the backup stories to the point where they are almost worth the price of admission on their own.

BUFFY SEASON 9 #17
Written by Andrew Chambliss
Art by Georges Jeanty and Dexter Vines

Ripped from the middle of a zompire battle, Buffy finds herself face to face with Illyria and a mystical council in LA. She's been unwillingly recruited to take down a former enemy while her friends in San Francisco are left in a Buffy-less lurch with dire consequences...

Grant: I've been floating in and out of the Buffy books of late, but I can tell you that they have continued to be quite well-written, and if you have any positive feelings towards the world's best known Slayer, have been an excellent way to keep up with what her and the Scooby Gang have been getting up to.  And according to this solicitation, one of those things has been meeting Illyria, which as fan of both Buffy and Angel makes me a little excited, since I don't think the two have interacted in any meaningful way before this comic book team up.

LEGEND OF LUTHER STRODE #2
Written by Justin Jordan
Art by Tradd Moore

The trap has been sprung on Luther Strode. As he fends off the attack on his life and home, he discovers that his enemies are much more powerful than he knew, and for the first time in years, Luther Strode finds himself struggling not just to win, but to survive.

Grant: With The Legend of Luther Strode #1 last month, Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore seemed to be saying that things are steady as she goes for this book.  That is to say, there's a whole whackload of violence and gore, which was one of the series' strong points last time around.  They've also been kind enough to plant some interesting story seeds which will hopefully grow and bloom into some memorable and gruesome (and possibly gruesomely memorable?) story moments later on.  If you like testosterone filled actiony goodness, you should definitely give Luther a chance.

MARVEL UNIVERSE VS AVENGERS #4
Written by Jonathan Mayberry
Art by Leo Fernandez

• Hawkeye is the last Avenger standing. He's all that stands between Emperor Doom and a world of unimaginable horrors.
• If he falls, who will avenge our world?
• MARVEL UNIVERSE vs THE AVENGERS reaches its bloody, heartbreaking conclusion.

Grant: Marvel's latest attempt to leverage Hawkeye's newfound popularity ends this month in Marvel Universe vs. Avengers.  Admittedly, Jonathan Mayberry has been doing these "Marvel Universe vs." books since the Punisher one in 2010, so it's not that crazy of a concept to throw Hawkeye in as the latest hero.  And if this miniseries has been anything like the Punisher and Wolverine editions, it's probably been a lot of fun.

PETER PANZERFAUST #8
Written by Kurits J. Wiebe
Art by Tyler Jenkins

“PARIS” Part Three

Time is against the Lost Boys and they only have one shot to save Felix before he’s shipped to Germany. Only one problem: how do you stop a speeding train?

Grant: Things have been heating up in the pages of Peter Panzerfaust as the Lost Boys have been doing their darnest to keep at the Nazis without being overtaken by them.  It's been a little dicey in this latest storyline, and while there's been some fun character arrivals, things are still up in the air as to how it's all going to end.  If you buy one comic this week based on Peter Pan that's also set in World War 2, make it this one!

PUNISHER: WAR ZONE #3
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

• The Punisher vs. Thor.

Grant: Losing Marco Checchetto on interiors has really hurt this book, as Punisher: War Zone has read like a completely different comic than Greg Rucka and Checchetto's run on Punisher.  Admittedly, this is partly because the stakes have been raised so high, but it still strikes me as odd that Rucka would upset the status quo and style that he's been writing for this character so thoroughly for this final miniseries.  At this point, part of me is just waiting for it to end so I can know how things all shake out and move on to whatever Rucka gets up to next.  Also: these solicitations are not getting any better.  Yeesh.



Pick of the Week

While there's a wealth of quality books coming out this week, I think that Sweet Tooth #40 is going to be the best comic book on stands on the morrow.  There's plenty of other books that could contend for best book, I feel like Jeff Lemire is going to give us something truly special to close out his excellent post-apocalyptic tale of humans and hybrids.

So that's some of the books you should be on the look out for this week, and this is how the Previews column is evolving.  What are your thoughts?  Any books grabbing your eye?  And how are the sections treating you?  Helpful?  Not?  This is done with your reading in mind, so let me know how it's treating you!


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