Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews for 02/27/13

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but mostly, it was the time for your Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews.  Lots of dandy comics hitting shelves this Wednesday, including Comeback #4, Nemo: Heart of Ice, Uncanny Skullkickers #1, and lots more.  Check behind the cut to check out some of the many lovely books coming your way!

Major Releases

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Chris Burnham

• Everything Grant Morrison has been planning since the start of BATMAN, INCORPORATED leads to this stunning issue!
• You must not miss this one!

Grant: Rumours have been swirling wildly about what may or may not be going down in this issue of Batman, Incorporated, but from the sounds of it, it seems as if this might be one time where the solicit's hyperbole might actually be warranted.  We'll see if Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham can rise to such an occasion, but either way, it certainly appears that this will be an issue to remember.

Written by Jim Zub
Art by Edwin Huang

The UNCANNY SKULLKICKERS: Two hard-headed mercenaries kill monsters and cause havoc in their search for money, fame and adventure! A bold new direction! A perfect jumping-on point! A newly added adjective! Our nineteeth issue, but also a new issue #1! It's all here, people! Don't make us use more exclamation marks!!

P.S. Retailers: Rack this comic beside other "Uncanny" comics you may have hanging around and sell a ton of copies. Do it.

Grant: As I alluded to during my chat with Jim Zub yesterday, this is my favourite solicitation in a long time, if not all time.  It manages to both capture the ridiculousness of continuous relaunches and reboots and talk about what this series is actually about.  The solicit also happens to be pretty darn funny, which is par for the course when it comes to a series that has routinely been among the funniest on stands.  I'm really looking forward to what's next for our skull kicking heroes.

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. 

Grant: So I actually already tried to talk about this title last month when I forgot that Hawkeye #7 was going to be the Hurricane Sandy relief issue.  Those words remain true a month on.  Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth have brought a respectability to Hawkeye that is still kind of mind boggling.  Without exaggeration, Hawkeye might very well be the best book that Marvel is publishing at the moment, and it's all about the work that those three gentlemen have done together.  And while Hawkeye #7 was also a solid comic, I'm mighty eager to have Team Hawkeye back together for this issue.  It's going to be good - there's just no way around it.

New Kids on the Block

Written by Jimmie Robinson
Art by Jimmie Robinson

13-year-old Tyler finds himself in a specialized school where assassins send their kids for education and training in one of the five deadly weapons. Tyler doesn't have a weapon or any fighting skills, but he still plans to graduate by beating every weapon master in the school because he has a powerful ability that nobody can match: his razor-sharp mind! JIMMIE ROBINSON twists the insanity of BOMB QUEEN in a fun new series that will keep you guessing to the end.

Grant: This series almost flew under my radar, but I'm glad that I managed to catch it.  I haven't actually read any of Jimmie Robinson's Bomb Queen, but the concept behind Five Weapons sounds really compelling and like it will make for some solid comics.  I'm always game for new series, so I'll definitely be looking into what's up with Five Weapons.

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Steve McNiven

Move over Avengers…the Guardians got this.

Star-Lord. Gamora. Drax. Rocket Raccoon. Groot. …and the Invincible Iron Man?!

The Marvel Universe just got bigger as the legendary cosmic epic returns in the hands of superstar creators Brian Michael Bendis (Avengers, All-New X-Men) and Steve McNiven (Civil War; Old Man Logan).

In this special prelude issue meet the man behind the Guardians: Star-Lord… and discover how this child of Earth became the leader of the rag-taggiest of teams in all the Galaxy. All setting the stage for next month’s historic Guardians of the Galaxy #1. This is the start of something big, Marvel fans.

Grant: Clearly I haven't been paying close enough attention, because I could have sworn that Star-Lord was still dead from Andy Lanning and Dan Abnett's Guardians of the Galaxy run.  Anyways, comic book character death is clearly beside the point, as we have here yet another example of Marvel vamping up its cosmic books in preparations for that eventual Guardians of the Galaxy movie.  I don't know if this technically counts as an opening issue, as Marvel's numbering scheme hasn't made a ton of sense since they started throwing in those .1s everywhere, but with Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven working on this title, it'll probably be pretty solid.

Written by Alan Moore
Art by Kevin O'Neil

In the grim cold of February surfaces a thrilling new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen book - Nemo: Heart of Ice, a full-color 48-page adventure in the classic pulp tradition by the inestimable Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill.

It's 1925, fifteen long years since Janni Dakkar first tried to escape the legacy of her dying science-pirate father, only to accept her destiny as the new Nemo, captain of the legendary Nautilus.

Now, tired of her unending spree of plunder and destruction, Janni launches a grand expedition to surpass her father's greatest failure: the exploration of Antarctica. Hot on her frozen trail are a trio of genius inventors, hired by the megalomaniacal Charles Foster Kane to retrieve the plundered valuables of an African queen. It's a deadly race to the bottom of the world - an uncharted land of wonder and horror where time is broken and the mountains bring madness.

Grant: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century trilogy was an enjoyable romp with some of the characters we know and love from earlier books in the series, but it was also pretty big on the metaphor, allegories, and commentary.  Is it too much to wonder if Nemo: Heart of Ice might be more of a straight adventure story with some wacky literary complications?  Maybe, but I'm willing to give it a look either way, because Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neil make good comics together, whether their brows are high or low.

Written by Roger Langridge
Art by J. Bone

You wanted more Rocketeer... and you've got it! Missing scientists! Plucky girl reporters! Betty and Cliff on the rocks! The mysterious Church of Cosmicism! And who is the sinister Otto Rune? Pulp thrills the way you like them as the Rocketeer comes up against a brand-new adversary in... "The Hollywood Horror!"

Grant: The creative team of Roger Langridge and J. Bone alone is enough to get me interested in this miniseries.  Langridge has written some of the best comics of the past few years, including Snarked! and Thor: The Mighty Avenger, and J. Bone's expressive art is always eye-catching.  And while my personal experience with the Rocketeer is minimal, I've always enjoyed the character's aesthetic and style, so I'm game to get my hands on some Rocketeer comics.  This should do nicely.

You May Have Missed

Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Michael Walsh

Things go further upside down for RECONNECT Agent Mark Thompson. His partner is dead and his mission failed. Now both the FBI and his former employer, a man more frightening than any government agency, are hot on his tail. One wants him in jail, the other wants him dead.

Grant: I mean, I hope you didn't, because Comeback continues to be absolutely amazing.  Ed Brisson and Michael Walsh's time travel / crime book gets better with each and every issue, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this one will be no exception.  We're two issues out from the conclusion, and it still feels like anything can happen.  That is a great feeling to have while reading a comic, and I can't wait to see how the miniseries outdoes itself next.

Written by Justin Jordan
Art by Tradd Moore

The true enemy has been revealed, leaving Luther and Petra to fight against foes they don't have a chance of beating. As the brawl continues, an ancient evil says hello. The hit series continues.

Grant: Justin Jordan's been all over the place, seemingly writing books left and right, but Luther Strode is still the comic where you'll find him at his best.  I think it's safe to say that Tradd Moore plays a big role in that, because these two guys just seem to get each other.  Jordan's crazy, violent, and crazy violent ideas are perfectly realized through Moore's brilliant artwork, and while part of me wondered whether The Strange Talent of Luther Strode really need a sequel, these two have shown with a resounding "YES" that it did.

Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie

• Has Wiccan made a horrible mistake that comes back to bite everyone on their communal posteriors? Spoilers: Yes.
• Does this guest star the Uncanny Avengers? Spoilers: Also Yes.
• A figure from Loki’s past emerges. Friend? Foe? What will it be? Spoilers: It’s Foe.
• And much more from Marvel’s most critically acclaimed book. Yes, we’re saying it’s critically acclaimed and it’s not even out yet. We are very bad.

Grant: Okay, I mean it when I say that Hawkeye is, for my money, the best book that Marvel is publishing, but Young Avengers may very well be challenging for that title.  Already in one issue Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie have grabbed my interest, and I'm pretty sure that they aren't going to let go.  Their story of teenaged superheroism hit all the right notes, and it seems quite likely that things are only going to get better from here on out.  These brilliant creators are simply too good to resist.

The Balance

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Ming Doyle and Jordie Bellaire

Seeing her friends and supporters abandon her, and instead of trying to suppress her newfound powers, Mara goes public. Openly displaying her rapidly developing abilities, she challenges the bias and discrimination. People start to see her as not a freak, but rather someone who can't be stopped, and that starts to make a lot of very serious people very concerned. Socially-aware superheroics in a world we've never seen. Brian Wood, Ming Doyle, and Jordie Bellaire bring the goods.

Grant: Mara has been a hard title to pin down.  Brian Wood has been playing his story mighty close to the chest, refusing to let the reader really figure out what's going on here.  It's an interesting choice, in that it maintains a high degree of mystery and intrigue, but if he doesn't give the reader something soon, that intrigue might very well dry up.  On the plus side, Ming Doyle and Jordie Belliare have been combining to make the whole thing look mighty purty, which helps make things more bearable.

Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

• Greg Rucka’s powerful run comes to an end. It’s time for the Punisher to face his punishment.

Grant: Ignoring all of my past qualms with Punisher: War Zone, this final issue has finally crossed the line.  How could anyone have the gall to remove Frank's beard?  We all know that in spite of the fantastic storytelling and character development that has characterized Greg Rucka's run with the Punisher that his greatest contribution was making Frank bearded.  I'm also pretty upset that he's lost the eyepatch.  Does the world know no decency?  I mean, I'll definitely read this comic, seeing as I've read the entire run up until this point, but without that facial hair and eye protector, it hardly seems worthwhile.  Who knows, though.  Maybe Rucka and Carmine Di Giandomenico will surprise me (hopefully by keeping the beard).

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Garry Brown

When explosive new information arises about the seemingly utopian oil-rig nation that has divided the crew of the Kapital, Callum Israel is forced to deal with the likely dissolution of Ninth Wave. But what does that mean for The Massive?

Grant: Brian Wood seriously seems to be writing everything under the sun right now.  While most of his work is on existing properties, he has been quietly working away on his creator owned The Massive at the same time.  And although I've found the pacing to be a little on the slow side, it's hard to deny the great work that he and his many artist collaborators have been doing on this title.  The end of a three-part arc might not be the best place to jump on, but if a group of people trying to survive the end of the world on their big ol' ship sounds like your cup of tea, you should definitely give The Massive a look.

Written by Mike Carey
Art by Peter Gross and Dean Ormston

Richie continues to help Didge with her inquiries, and the Corpse Harvest Killer strikes again—against himself! Enter Madame Rausch, with a surefire plan for stopping the rising body count. All that’s left to settle now is her price...

Grant: I don't know how Mike Carey and Peter Gross manage to do it, but things in The Unwritten seem to always be out of control.  That's definitely an apt way to describe what's been going down recently, with the ponderous death of stories and, by extension, the world slowly working its way through the pages of this book.  And that's not even to mention that trip to Hell that Tom has been on at the same time.  Things are never boring for the cast of this title, which happily means there's always something interesting to read in it.

Pick of the Week

You just haven't been paying attention if you're expecting me to pick anything but Comeback #4.  This is my favourite series going on right now, and it's purely because of the high level of workmanship that Ed Brisson, Michael Walsh, and Jordie Bellaire put into each and every issue.  The story is solid, the art is gorgeous, and the colours make everything even better than it already is.  Read Comeback.  You won't regret it.

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