Since the stack this week is truly ginormous I am only going to review the best of the best and some random titles that deserve a little extra attention like Marvel’s “Point One” series, a one-shot or two, and one or two specialty issues. However, if you’re looking for some good old fashioned fun comic reading without worrying about reviews then pick up Doctor Solar #6, Conan: Road of Kings #4, Ruse #2, and probably my favorite indie title Warlord of Mars #6. One title you can either take or leave this week is Wonder Woman #610, which you can honestly probably continue to leave on the back burner until the current Straczynski arc is over. Now, on to the full reviews!
Captain America #617: With Bucky in a Russian gulag it’s up to 3 of his best friends, Steve, Sharon, and Tasha, to get him out. And there seems to be something the American government is hiding from good ol’ Steve. Specifically someone named Henry Peter Gyrich. Something Russian, me thinks. So perhaps there’s a darker reason why Bucky was turned over to the Russians without so much as a “wtf?” While he’s in the joint, though, Buck has some serious surviving to do since more than a handful of his enemies are either imprisoned with him or running the facility. Oh dear, silly Russians. They certainly know how to make a guy feel welcome. $3.99.
Deadpool #36: There is nothing overly new and exciting about this week’s issue of Deadpool, but it is simply the Merc with the Mouth returning to Earth in a grand fashion with Macho Gomez and a slew of enemies there to greet him. So what does Wade do to his friend? Sit and think about the reason they’re all there and then try to kill them all, of course. It’s great writing from Daniel Way, the only person I ever want writing Deadpool ever again, and a bit of an interesting look into Wade’s psyche. It’s simply a good book. Period. Now go buy it, my little lemmings. $2.99.
F.F. #2: It seems strange that there are only 2 issues of this title so far, but Jonathan Hickman is doing a fantastic job of making me really love a team that I never cared much for previously. In this issue it seems that the brainy people on the team want to invite Doctor Doom to help them out, but first they have to restore Doom to his previously annoying and omnipotent self. The real question is, after all the hell that Doom has unleashed on the team, after all the crap he’s put them through and all the suffering they’ve endured at his fingertips, will they really help him? No spoilers, suckas! You’ve got to read this for yourself to find out, but trust me when I say this is an amazing title and one that you should definitely be reading. $2.99.
The Mighty Thor #1: Well, Thor and Sif are at the root of the World Tree trying to secure it, Loki is a kid trying to be a kid, and the people of Broxton are trying to figure out exactly what the Asgardian gods in their back yards are. It seems to beckon to a more dramatic and epic story yet to come, but for now it’s just kind of a weird mesh of Thor and Galactusness. Yeah…meh. The real interest will be to see if issue #2 is any good and moves the story in a more linear fashion than this that doesn’t really do much other than suggest Galactus is coming back to take on Asgard. We shall see. $3.99.
New Mutants #24 (Age of X tie-in): This is Mike Carey’s final issue of the Age of X run and what has easily been the best X-title mini-series in years. Without spoiling the fun I’ll just say that everything finally goes back to normal and the mutants are all returned to Utopia with a few awkward memories of their lives in the Age of X universe. The real question is where do they go from here? Brilliant! $2.99.
Secret Avengers #12: Ed Brubkaer wraps his final issue on the Avengers title with this little number that explains exactly what happened to John Steele and why he turned against his country. It’s Brubaker and Steve Rogers, so get it while the getting’s still good and Nick Spencer (nothing personal buddy, I just love me some Ed) takes over. $3.99.
Secret Avengers #12.1: No, you’re not seeing things and I did not make a mistake. This is Nick Spencer’s first issue and intro to the Secret Avengers team. It’s also a good place for new fans to start if you’re looking to jump in on this title. As all of Marvel’s “Point One” titles have meant to be, this is kind of an introduction to the team, except it’s not really. It’s more of a one-shot issue with them and showing what it is that they do with the added bonus of a little Steve versus U.S. Agent action. It’ll be interesting to see where Spencer goes from here with the team, and though I’m very sad that Brubaker is leaving I so far approve of what Nick is trying to do. $2.99.
Tomb of Dracula Presents: Throne of Blood #1 (One shot): I have to say…this is a pretty damned good story. I certainly wasn’t expecting a feudal Japan vampire story, but rather something involving, oh…I don’t know…Dracula? Being in the title and all. But hooray because this is great! Victor Gischler weaves the tale of a warrior and his brother who go out to kill a legendary leader who’s been working his way across the countryside leaving only devastation in his wake. Though they succeed in their quest they come back home with a little more evil then they bargained for and it takes their whole clan by storm. It’s actually a very well written thought out story that almost made “pick o’ the week!” but was narrowly beaten out. It’s difficult to find good vampire stories these days, so if you’re a vamp fan then this is one you definitely need to pick up. Hell, even if you aren’t a vampire fan you should pick it up. $3.99.
Venom #2: Rick Remender continues to blow your mind away with this new and improved Venom, and this week he brings another Spidey villain into the mix, Kraven the Hunter. Bring in a little Savage Land and a mission impossible and we’ve got ourselves one hell of a ride! Don’t even hesitate to pick this up when you see it because it’s nothing but awesome and, if you’ll pardon the cliché, Venom as you’ve never seen him before! $2.99.
X-Men #10: This issue concludes the Spidey/Lizard arc that Gischler planted while some of the X-Men were out and about in New York. It’s actually been a very entertaining story for the past several issues and the real love in this particular issue comes from the banter between Spider-man and Emma Frost. It’s seriously worth reading just for that alone. It’s not the best place to pick up on if you’re thinking of reading this title in the future, but it IS a good Spider-man story if you’d like to read it for that, and as I said, worth it for the banter alone. $3.99.
Action Comics #900: This massive 96-page anniversary issue will cost you $5.99, and I have to say right now that unless you’re a big Superman fan or just love Action Comics then you can probably pass. Paul Cornell’s ongoing storyline completes in this issue with Lex Luthor and Doomsday (and I have to admit that the Luthor part was pretty cool), while 5 other stories written by Damon Lindelof, Paul Dini, Geoff Johns, David Goyer, Richard Donner & Derek Hoffman. My favorite of all the additional stories was Damon Lindelof’s “Life Support”, telling the story of Kal’s father as he tried to build a life support system for his infant son before Krypton died. Even the Paul Dini and Geoff Johns stories were kind of weak. Otherwise, if you’re looking to spend $5.99 on comics this week you could go buy 2 other titles that add up to that price rather than buy this one, that is unless, as I said before, you’re a huge Superman fan or like to collect certain issues of numeric importance.
Batman, Inc. #5: The real highlight of this issue is not the battling between Batman and any foe of his, but the work Morrison is doing with Batwoman and the Hood. Unfortunately, that’s really the best part about it. Honestly, the first 2 issues of this title were amazing, just fantastic, but now…I’m kind of lost. Things jump about more often then they should, and what has potential to be a wonderfully complex story that ends up being a mish-mash of ideas clumped together with only occasional cohesive thought. Alas, I was sold early on but this title has run me a little too far beyond Neverland and I’m ready to come home. $2.99.
Detective Comics #876: Scott Snyder does it again! I’ve never been a huge Batman reader, but there’s something about Snyder’s insight into the characters that really draws you into the story, more so than other recent writers on this title. This issue starts a new arc involving someone who could potentially be a connected to Dick’s past, a woman by the name of Sonia Branch. No spoilers. The real mystery here is that a giant killer whale somehow got into Gotham Global Modern Bank and ended up dead on the lobby floor. Who ya gonna call? Nope, not the Ghostbusters, Wayne Enterprises! And it’s only a matter of time before Batman goes out to get the bad guys and finds himself in a bit of a hairy situation. Good stuff all around on this one. $2.99.
Justice League: Generation Lost #24: Well, this is it. The final issue of Generation Lost is here and it ends magnificently. How, you might ask? Well, let’s just say that we’re getting a new team out of the deal and it’s one you’re all probably going to be happy with: Justice League International is back, baby! Woohoo! At the end of the issue it says it will be “coming soon,” but there’s no official word from DC as to when or who will be writing it. But yay anyway! The story itself is a great tying together of all that’s been happening for the last 23 issues and all of Judd Winick’s finely laid plans are laid on the table for everyone to see. And it is glorious, giving Justice League: Generation Lost this week’s “pick o’ the week!” $4.99.
Xombi #2: If you’ve ever wondered what the Catholic Church would be like with a few bad ass superheroes of their own then this is your comic, my friend. Being raised Catholic I’ve gotten a lot of giggly entertainment from this John Rozum title that really isn’t supposed to be based in religion, but it seems to be pulling a lot of ideas from just that. There are lots of mystical battles and hellish creatures in this title that really need to be seen rather than explained, so I’m going to leave you to do just that. I’ll only say this: Xombi has been a much more entertaining title than I expected and if you like weird religion type stories that actually don’t have a whole lot to actually DO with religion, then you’ll enjoy this. $2.99.
American Vampire #14: If all other comics in a week fail I’ll always have American Vampire to lift my spirits and help me remember how awesome comics are supposed to be. Pearl’s wife Henry is off to an island in the Pacific during WWII to clear out a tribe of vampires with a select few others who know their way around the blood suckers. But it seems there’s a stowaway. Good ol’ Skinner Sweet, you just can’t keep that man down! Though it’s not my “pick o’ the week” this week, it is always in the top 3 and always worth reading, so go get your grubby little hands on it. $2.99.
New York Five #4 of 4: This issue concludes Brian Wood’s brilliant 4 issue mini-series about 4 NYU college students who have had one seriously amazing Freshman year. Their trails and tribulations, family affairs and secret affairs, school and other shenanigans have been the focus of this series, as well as a very thoughtful tour guide of fun places to see in New York and the 5 Burroughs. It truly has been a great ride watching the evolution of the characters through only 4 issues, but Brian Wood and his partners Ryan Kelly and Jim Rugg have done an amazing job on what could have easily been a very boring story. They made it exciting and thoughtful, they make you care for the girls you’re reading about and appreciate the issues they’re working through. It’s a human story that almost anyone can relate to and it’s fantastic. Easily one of Vertigo’s best mini-series this year and one that should be picked up in trade form if you haven’t had a chance to read issue by issue. $2.99.