Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews for 03/20/13

Alright, let's get these Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews on the road, shall we?  There's a plethora of prodigious comic books coming your way this week, including Comeback #5, Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray #1, Saga #11, and many more!  So join me on the other side of the jump to give them all a gander!

Major Releases

CONSTANTINE #1
Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Renato Guedes

• The star of JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK is unleashed in his all-new ongoing series!
• Liar, cheater, manipulator…John Constantine is all of these, and yet he uses these skills and more to protect the world from the darkest corners of the DC Universe.
• What Constantine learns in this first issue will shake the very foundations of the New 52…and only he knows how to deal with it!

Grant: John Constantine's return to the DC Universe can't be said to be taking place without its fair share of controversy.  Hellblazer was one of Vertigo's flagship titles, and Constantine's switch to more mainstream comics is unlikely to have the same edge that it once did.  That being said, Robert Venditti and Renato Guedes are both talented creators, and it will be interesting to see their take on the comic's ultimate con man.

MY LITTLE PONY MICRO SERIES #2
Written by Ryan K. Lindsay
Art by Tony Fleecs

The next in a series of spotlights focusing on everyone’s favorite Ponies! Rainbow Dash takes her job patrolling the skies very seriously, but she may have met her match when a group of mischievous cloud gremlins threaten to block out the sun! Rainbow Dash will have her hooves full when it comes to these pint-sized menaces!

Grant: I'll admit that calling a My Little Pony comic a major release is perhaps a tad unorthodox, but if you take a closer look at the solicit, you'll see why this book is getting that honour.  Written by The Weekly Crisis' own Ryan K. Lindsay, this is his first comic from one of the major publishers.  And I can tell you that he's not just a pretty face.  Ryan is a mighty capable writer, and this book is yet the latest proof of that.  This is an all-ages comic to its core, perfect for those young comic book readers in your life or anyone who digs a good story that can be appreciated by readers of all backgrounds.  Also: bronies.  If you take a chance on one book this week, may I suggest making it this one?  You shan't be disappointed.

SAGA #11
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Art by Fiona Staples

It’s an intergalactic family reunion, as Hazel’s parents and grandparents join forces to escape a dying world.

Grant: Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have been setting the world on fire with Saga.  It's no accident that this book has received near-universal acclaim, with Vaughan delivering some of the best writing of his career and Staples hitting the reader with some jaw-droppingly gorgeous art.  Last issue saw the two of them throw this book into emotional rollercoaster override, and I have a sneaking suspicion that there might yet be more feels in store for Saga readers.  Bring a box of kleenex, just in case.



X-TERMINATION #1
Written by David Lapham, Marjorie Liu & Greg Pak
Art by David Lopez

THE X-TERMINATION EVENT STARTS HERE!

• Joining together the teams from ASTONISHING X-MEN, AGE OF APOCALYPSE and X-TREME X-MEN, and spinning out of the pages of UNCANNY X-FORCE.
• AOA Nightcrawler just wants to get home…and he doesn’t care if he takes out our world to get there.
• Wolverine versus Nightcrawler!

Grant: Marvel's having itself a mini-event to get Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler out of their main universe, cleaning up one last piece of Rick Remender's Uncanny X-Force run.  I confess that I'm not following any of the books that are tying into the event, but it does sound like kind of a fun little jaunt.  Although I hope those three writers didn't literally co-write the entire script for this issue, as I feel like that might be a few too many cooks in the kitchen.

New Kids on the Block

BATWOMAN #18
Written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
Art by Trevor McCarthy

• A new story arc begins here as Batwoman adjusts to her new partner and her new role in the war on crime.
• Guest-starring Batman!

Grant: Okay, so Batwoman is by no means a new book, but we are hitting a new post-J.H. Williams III on art era for the title.  His presence is pretty much irreplaceable, and the unenviable task of doing just that falls to Trevor McCarthy who has already had a short stint on the title after Amy Reeder's sudden departure.  I wasn't over the moon for his work then, but if this cover is anything to go by, I'm mighty interested to see what he gets up to on this tour of duty.  Also, I'm just pumped to see Williams and W. Haden Blackman follow up on the many revelations we got last issue.  It's early days for this new story arc, but I think Batwoman is only going to get better.

FIVE GHOSTS: THE HAUNTING OF FABIAN GRAY #1
Written by Frank J. Barbiere
Art by Chris Mooneyham

A BOLD NEW ERA OF PULP ADVENTURE COMICS BEGINS HERE

After a tragic encounter with an artifact known as “The Dreamstone,” infamous treasure hunter Fabian Gray was possessed by five literary ghosts and has been granted access to their unique abilities.

Join writer FRANK J. BARBIERE and artist CHRIS MOONEYHAM for the most exciting debut of 2013 as they introduce you to a unique world full of action, black magic, exotic locales, and literary allusion!

Grant: Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham initially Kickstarted their Five Ghosts project, and since then it has been picked up by Image Comics for wider distribution and release.  This week sees the first issue of the five-issue miniseries coming out under Image's banner.  Pulp adventure through and through, Five Ghosts looks like it's going to be a mighty enjoyable time, so if a man who can access the powers of five literary ghosts sounds exciting to you, you know what book to grab come tomorrow.

Also, I can't resist anything that claims "literary allusion" as a selling point, so there's that.

GI JOE: SPECIAL MISSIONS #1
Written by Chuck Dixon
Art by Paul Gulacy

A NEW BEGINNING! The legendary team of Chuck Dixon and Paul Gulacy lead the G.I. Joe team undercover and into action! The BARONESS tries to get back into COBRA’s good graces—and it’s up to SCARLETT to assemble a team to take the villainess down!

Grant: While I played with the action figures when I was younger, my interest in GI Joe has never really moved much beyond those earlier dalliances.  If, however, yours has, GI Joe: Special Missions might be the book for you.  IDW is in the midst of relaunching their Joe titles, with Special Missions as the second issue within the effort.  IDW does tie-in series incredibly well, and GI Joe has seemed to be no exception to that habit.  These relaunches are keeping the same creative teams that were on the earlier books, simply starting fresh to give new readers a good point to jump on.  So if you're interested, feel free to do so.

JUDGE DREDD: YEAR ONE #1
Written by Matt Smith
Art by Simon Coleby

“The Long Hard Road” begins here! In an all-new adventure from Joe Dredd’s early days as a Mega City-One Judge, writer (and Eagle-award-winning 2000 AD Editor) Matt Smith presents a tale where “all the young juves, carry the news,” only in this case, the news is delivered with a lethal blow!

Grant: IDW has also been making good use of the Judge Dredd property, trying to get books out to a wider American audience.  This week sees their Year One entry with the character hit stands, potentially providing the perfect start for those unfamiliar with Mega City-One's most prominent judge.




Hard Goodbyes

ACTION COMICS #18
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Rags Morales and Mark Propst

• You don’t dare miss Grant Morrison’s stunning, extra-sized final issue of ACTION COMICS!
• It’s no small battle as Superman fights to save all of creation in this epic!
• This issue is destined to be a milestone in The New 52!
• Plus: In the backup story, whatever happened to the men of tomorrow(s)?

Grant: So I actually talked about Grant Morrison and Rags Morales' departure from this title last month, but I clearly jumped the gun there.  Regardless, this time I'm pretty sure I have it right.  There's an awful lot of hyperbole going on here, but considering that Morrison is writing and how solid Batman and Robin was last week after similar claims, perhaps they're worth investigating.

COMEBACK #5
Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Michael Walsh

With half of Reconnect on the run and the other half in the morgue, agent Mark Thomas has to make a deal with the FBI in order to save his own life. However, it may be too late – a former Reconnect agent will not stop until he puts Mark in the ground. The big finale with an ending that will shock you!

Grant: Now here's a book that I've been waiting for.  You've heard me go on and on about the wonder that is Ed Brisson, Michael Walsh, and Jordie Bellaire's Comeback, and with good reason.  This comic has been an absolutely clinic in comic book storytelling from Day 1, giving some of the best writing, art, and colours that you'll find anywhere.  While I'll be sad to see it come to an end, I'm absolutely thrilled to know how everything is going to come together.  There is no reason to miss out on this book.  None.

You May Have Missed

ADVENTURE TIME #14
Written by Ryan North
Art by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb
Backup Story by Chris Schweizer

FINAL ISSUE OF THE ARC! Finn and Jake are trapped inside a digital world...who can rescue the heroes? Find out in the latest installment of 'the best comic of 2012!' An all-ages sensation!

Grant: Guys, it's Adventure Time.  It's Ryan North.  It's Shelli Paroline.  It's Braden Lamb.  It's the end of the absolutely hilarious storyline of robots and computers and hacking.  What's not to love here?  There's seriously everything to love here.  Also, Chris Schweizer's Princess of Rad Hats story concludes in this issue, and that little tale has been an absolute joy in its own rights.  You should probably be buying Adventure Time.  I'm just saying.


CHEW #32
Written by John Layman
Art by Rob Guillory

Revelations! Fights! Milkshakes!

Grant: While John Layman and Rob Guillory's Chew is sometimes a little light when it comes to its solicitations, it never skimps on anything else.  The writing, artwork, and overall product is among the best you'll find nowadays.  Even though we're thirty-two issues into this wacky tale of comestible-based powers, I sometimes still have trouble believing that Chew is as good as it is.  I'm ever so glad that comics can support titles like this.






The Balance

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #14
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Mirko Colak

Brian Wood and Mirko Colak test Conan and Bêlit’s love like never before! Under the heat of the Shemite sun, Conan leads a suicidal raid on the fort at Ramah En Ram, while inside Bêlit heads up the fort’s defense! The mystery of Bêlit’s precense inside deepens, even as it drives Conan mad with jealousy and rage!

Grant: While I was once jilted by the constant artist musical chairs that was going on in Conan the Barbarian, it seems to have calmed down somewhat of late, only switching artists in between three-issue story arcs.  It's made for a more enjoyable reading experience, especially when Dark Horse routinely taps artists as talented as Mirko Colak.  It seems that no matter who is drawing this book it ends up looking real good.  This is especially good news, because Brian Wood continues to write some of the best fantasy-pulp stories that you can find.  Things aren't looking great for Conan and Bêlìt, and I'm eager to see how this ends up.

INVINCIBLE #101
Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Ryan Ottley and John Rauch

The Aftermath.

Grant: I'm usually pretty down on these type of terse solicitations, but after everything that happened in Invincible #100, I can't help but feel that it's pretty darned appropriate this time around.  Should be interesting to see just what that aftermath looks like, but considering how good Robert Kirkman is at writing that type of thing, I imagine this should be a pretty decent read.

MIND MGMT #9
Written by Matt Kindt
Art by Matt Kindt

The fight against the shadowy Mind Management organization spreads to the Middle East! The race is on, as former agent Henry Lyme and investigator Meru rush to recruit assets like the Musician—whose pop music influences the politics and unrest in Egypt—before MIND MGMT does!

Grant: I still can't help but be thankful that I finally took a chance on Mind MGMT back with issue #7.  This book is dense to a degree that you just won't find anywhere else.  It's also a breath of fresh air to read a book that's clearly designed for reading in singles, with Matt Kindt including all kinds of extra little things that will only appear in the monthly issues.  And at a time where the average comic book can be read in under 15 minutes, it's great to have a series that rewards rereading as much as Mind MGMT does.  If you haven't seen this book, you should really check it out.

WONDER WOMAN #18
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Tony Akins and Dan Green

• We’ve seen the history Wonder Woman shares with Ares — but what does the God of War have planned for her future?

Grant: I don't think I'll ever stop missing Cliff Chiang's presence on the interiors of this book, but I must admit that Tony Akins and Dan Green seem to be getting better with each issue they do.  Brian Azzarello's story seems to have gone a bit off the rails in the past few issues with all kinds of different things coming into play, so hopefully he can tie it all together with this issue to get things back on track.






Pick of the Week

While I'd usually go with Comeback #5 without hesitation, you better believe the horse I'm going with this week is My Little Pony Micro-Series #2.  Ryan is a good friend of mine and he is also one heck of a writer.  I also know that he put some major blood, sweat, and tears into this one-shot, so I can't wait to see what he's put together for the My Little Pony universe.  I also appreciate that it enables me to make more horse puns, and it would behoove you to do the same.


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