Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews for 04/24/13

Let's roll out some new Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews, shall we?  Plenty of quality titles hitting comic racks tomorrow, including the inimitable East of West #2, the novel Amala's Blade #1, the inscrutable Mind MGMT #10, and plenty more.  So hit that cut and we'll go through it together.

Major Releases

Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Nick Dragotta


Following the high crimes in the debut issue of EAST OF WEST, the fallout spreads across the broken nations of America. Forces align to stave off the apocalypse, while equally powerful ones do everything they can to bring it to pass.

One of the most exciting new books of the year, this is EAST OF WEST, a brand new, ongoing, monthly comic from the award-winning team of Marvel's FF, JONATHAN HICKMAN and NICK DRAGOTTA.

Grant: Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta's East of West #1 was one heck of an opening issue.  Mixing equal parts wild west, sci fi, and end of world narratives, these two creators look to be in the process of weaving one of the year's best stories.  There is so much to like about this book that I can't encapsulate it all here, but you should definitely be checking it out.  And as a convenient bonus for those who may have missed the first issue, Image is also releasing a second printing of East of West #1 this week, so you can catch up on everything you missed with ease.

Written by Mark Millar
Art by Frank Quietly

The comic-book event of 2013 finally arrives as superstar creators MARK MILLER and FRANK QUIETLY give us the superhero epic that all future comics will be measured by. The world's greatest heroes have grown old and their legacy is a poisonous one to the children who will never live up to their remarkable parents. Unmissable.

Grant: Comic book solicitations are usually a source of some of the grossest hyperbole you'll find, but this one doesn't feel like such a huge exaggeration.  "Unmissable" might be a little strong, but Jupiter's Legacy by Mark Millar and Frank Quietly does have some great expectations coming with it.  Perhaps that shouldn't come as a surprise considering Millar's almost innate talent for creating buzz, but these two are creators  who have worked on some of the most talked about works of the past 10 years.  Can they come together to tell a worthwhile story looking at the meaning of superheroes in today's world?  Only one way to find out.

Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie

• Kate Bishop finally turns up!
• A lovely day trip to Central Park for a group of cheery youngsters.
• LIES! It's not lovely as they're being pursued by bad guys and it's not a day trip as (er) it's at night.
• A shameless retcon into Marvel Boy's history!

Grant: Oh, Young Avengers, you're quickly becoming one of the more dependable books that I pull on a monthly basis.  You can be depended on to have wonderful character moments thanks to the fantastic cast and Kieron Gillen's brilliant scripts.  You can be depended on to look like a million bucks thanks to Jamie McKelvie's incredible artwork.  And perhaps most importantly, you can be depended on to have pretty much the best solicits in any given month.  Seriously, I'm regularly blown away by how amusing these are and how accurately they capture the tone of the comic itself.  These should be held up as the gold standard to which all lesser solicitations should aspire.

New Kids on the Block

Written by Steve Horton
Art by Michael Dialynas

The kingdom of Naamaron is bitterly divided into warring factions: the low-tech Purifiers and the high-tech Modifiers. Both fear the great vizier's deadliest assassin, Amala. But for all her lethal skills, Amala’s drawing too much attention for the vizier’s taste. So what better way to deal with a troublesome cutthroat than to send her on a suicide mission?
• Nonstop, kickass fun!
• For fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Trigun, and Naruto.

Grant: Amala's Blade almost slipped under my radar, but then I realized that I knew the title from somewhere else.  After some head scratching, I remembered the delightful shorts starring Amala in Dark Horse Presents.  I hadn't realized that the character had earned her own miniseries from Dark Horse, but I'm mighty excited to work my way through it.  There's a lovely combination of fantasy and steampunk flowing throughout the world that Steve Horton and Michael Dialynas have created, and Amala stands at the centre of it all, a skilled assassin who manages to still be a sympathetic character.  Definitely worth checking out.

Written by Jim Zub
Art by Edwin Huang

MIGHTY SKULLKICKERS: A classic relaunch that blazes a new trail with familiar fan favorite sensibilities. A bold, new direction, a continuing story and a brand new adjective! Our twenty-first issue is brand a new #1! Our B cover is a variant with the original numbering, in case readers want their issue super-duper "old school.”

P.S. Retailers: Shelf this numero uno alongside other "Mighty" comics you may have hanging around the shop. Tell them it's the latest and greatest thing, because it IS!

Grant: Okay, as you probably already know, this isn't actually a new number one, but I couldn't help myself this time around.  Jim Zub's playful renumbering and renaming of issues of Skullkickers continues to tickle my funny bone, and I will happily support any attempts to spice up boring and bland solicitations.  And, you know, it also helps that Skullkickers is a great example of sword and sorcery in comics, with some rather enjoyable laughs in each and every issue.  While it ain't brand new, it's still worth you comic buying dollars.

Fond Farewells

Written by James Asmus and Jim Festante
Art by Rem Broo

After last issue’s shocking ending — Ben is left alone to face the Antichrists! Did we mean for that to be plural? Will Ben die before having sex with Laura, the Gym teacher? Why does God let bad things happen to good people??? FIND OUT IN THIS FINAL ISSUE!

Grant: Speaking of humour, I've mightily enjoyed this miniseries from standup comedians (and comic book writers) James Asmus and Jim Festante.  The humour has been crude.  It's been rude.  And it's also been really, really funny.  I'm as big a fan of apocalypse stories as the next guy, and Asmus, Festante, and Rem Broo have taken the genre and had their way with it, creating a crazy world of good versus evil where no one truly seems to be either.  After how out of control things have gotten these past few issues, I'm excited to see how they'll wrap it all up.

Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Fernando Blanco and Andrea Sorrentino

• With this, the final issue, will Andrew Bennett survive to dawn’s light?

Grant: I only read the first issue of you I, Vampire, but apparently you ended up being surprisingly palatable.  It sounds like you managed some quality issues out of a concept that seemed pretty lackluster at the start, and for that I must congratulate Joshua Hale Fialkov and company.  Unfortunately, the dream seemingly couldn't last forever, and so with issue #19, I, Vampire is coming to an untimely end.  From what I gather, it appears that the creative team was given the time to end the book more or less on their terms, so I might have to give this run a look somewhere down the line.  For now, I send kudos your way for surviving this long as a supernatural book in a line that is completely obsessed with superheroes.  No small feat, that.

You May Have Missed

Written by Jimmie Robinson
Art by Jimmie Robinson

At the annual school festival, Tyler is caught in a battle between the Archery club and the Exotic weapons club, but a new threat emerges from outside the school that could blow his cover and ruin everything.

Grant: Jimmie Robinson's Five Weapons has quietly become one of my favourite books coming out right now.  His storytelling and his art are both amazing, and I absolutely adore the story that he's creating here.  Tyler and his wacky school of assassins-in-training is the kind of thing that shouldn't really work, but Robinson manages to get all the ingredients together into one tasty dish.  I love how this book manages to be clever without ever tricking its reader, but more than that, I love how the characters within the story all feel real and fleshed out, in spite of how ridiculous everything is.  Five Weapons is definitely worth checking out.

Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Joëlle Jones


“The draugr walks after death… and Death walks after the draugr.” Rikard is dead! Long live Rikard! Raised from oblivion by the woman he loved, Rikard takes his bloody fight to the doorstep of night hag Groa. But he discovers that not all the people cowering under Groa’s protection are the monsters he believed them to be.

Grant: While I didn't get a chance to review the first issue of Helheim, I'll tell you right now that it was a rip roaring good time.  Cullen Bunn wrote one wicked tragic opener, and Joëlle Jones drew the hell out of it.  Jones was the true hero of that opening issue, as her world of vikings and the supernatural looked every bit as brutal and true as it needed to be.  I can't wait to see how things develop after the events of two months back.

Written by Matt Kindt
Art by Matt Kindt

Only the Futurist can help Lyme and Meru find Mind Management’s hidden training ground, Shangri-la. But how can they track a man who knows their every move before they do?
• From rising star Matt Kindt (Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E., 3 Story, Super Spy)!
• Best-reviewed comic of 2012!

Grant: Matt Kindt's Mind MGMT is perhaps one of the smartest comics coming out right now.  There's all manner of conspiracy and secret powers and what not going on, and while Kindt gives you bits and pieces of what's happening, he leaves it up to the individual reader to put them together to understand the greater puzzle.  Similar to how I feel about Jeff Lemire, while I dig Kindt's writing, I love his work way more when he draws it as well.  His style is so unique and gorgeous that I cannot say no to it.

The Balance

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Chris Burnham

• When only one can survive, which will it be: the man or the bat?

Grant: As we race towards the conclusion of Grant Morrison stupidly long run on Batman, I find myself conflicted.  On the one hand, I'm pretty pumped to see how Morrison decides to finish things up in the end.  On the other, as I said in our looks at the July solicits, I'm not looking forward to a Morrison-less world of Batbooks.  I also can't help but wonder what will become of Chris Burnham, who has seemingly become one of Morrison's de facto collaborators these past few years.  I trust that he'll land on his feet, but I hope DC recognizes the talent they have and make good use of it going forward.

Written by Mike Mignola, Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba
Art by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba

On the hunt for the vampire clan that cursed him, Simon Anders finds his answers in a small Czech town plagued by a horrific family’s past.
• A direct sequel to the critically acclaimed B.P.R.D.: 1948!
• From the Eisner Award-winning creators of Daytripper!
• From the pages of Hellboy!

Grant: The first issue in this series felt like classic Mignola, but infused with all the benefits of the uber-talented Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba.  Simon Anders has long been "their" character in the Hellboy-universe, and their latest foray with the troubled agent is shaping up just fine.  This is a pretty fine example of the great things that can happen when you just let talented creators create.  I'm eager to see this miniseries through.

Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Ryan Ottley and John Rauch

It’s Nolan vs. Thragg on the surface of the moon as still more secrets about the Viltrumite Empire are revealed.

Grant: It's only within the last year or so that I really got into Invincible, but even though I'm tardy to the party, I'm glad that I eventually showed up.  Robert Kirkman is telling the type of wide-spanning and world changing superhero story that so many comic book readers love, but because it's his characters and his world, he can do whatever he wants and that change can be meaningful.  There have been a few copouts in the last few issues (I'm looking at you Invincible #100), but the series remains solid in spite of that.  It's hard to say how much more Invincible Kirkman has in store, but things don't really seem to be slowing down.  Regardless, I'll be happy to continue enjoying it.

Written by Mike Carey
Art by Peter Gross

In part 2 of “Orpheus in the Underworld,” Tom’s quest for Lizzie has hit a major hurdle, in that he no longer remembers who either of them is. But is it possible he’s already found her without even realizing it? And who holds the true power in Hades, where masks may hide anything—or nothing?

Grant: When a series goes on for as many issues as The Unwritten has (and remember they had those .5 books for a bit, so we're actually over 50 issues at this point), there is a risk that the story can lose its focus, but I'm happy to say that, if anything, things have gotten even better of late.  This latest story arc of Tom and company finding themselves in Hades has (ironically?) breathed new life into the comic, bringing in old characters and plots and giving them new purpose.  The Fables crossover at the official issue #50 still sounds pretty sweet, but I'm happy to say that the time in between looks like it will be well spent, too.

Pick of the Week

Although there's plenty of great comics dropping this week, I'm going with East of West #2 without hesitation.  Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta are making the comic that I actually wanted to read while I tried my darndest to understand what they were getting up to in FF.  I finally feel like I'm on the same page as these two, and that page is awesome.

What are you jonesing for come tomorrow?  Is it East of West?  I feel like it might be East of West.  Even if it isn't, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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