As the title indicates, two themes emerge from the comics arriving this week: space opera and Marvel’s Ultimate Ultimate Comics line. That is, if you can consider a publishing imprint a “theme.”
Space opera is delivered in the form of DC Comics’ relaunched Adventure Comics (co-starring Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes), the second issue of Blackest Night (with two tie-ins), Starstruck #1, Star Trek: Nero and the Universal War One — Revelations hardcover.
As for the Ultimate line: Wednesday sees the debut issues of the relaunched Ultimate Comics Avengers and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, plus hardcover collections of Ultimate Fantastic Four and Ultimate X-Men.
Beyond that? How about the much-discussed The Big Kahn? Or, if the stars, and Diamond, align, The Marvels Project #1? Maybe? Fingers crossed?
To see what other releases have Chris Mautner, JK Parkin and me talking, just keep reading. And, as always, let us know your picks in the comments below.
Kevin’s pick of the week: The Marvels Project #1 ( of 8 )
Ah, Diamond Comic Distributors, with your “transportation delays” and your “shipping lists.” You make writing about new releases so darned challenging. You see, the publisher thinks The Marvels Project #1 is coming out tomorrow; so do at least a few online retailers. However, some stores apparently received the issue last week — yet this week it’s nowhere to be found on the distributor’s official list.
Will it be at your local shop come Wednesday? Your guess is as good as mine. But whatever date the issue ships, it’ll surely be my pick of the week.
While Marvel has focused more attention to that other Ed Brubaker-penned summer miniseries — Captain America: Reborn — I find this one far more interesting. The centerpiece of the company’s 70th-anniversary celebration, The Marvels Project pairs Brubaker with longtime Captain America collaborator Steve Epting and colorist extraordinaire Dave Stewart for a journey to the late 1930s and the origins of the Marvel Universe. If you enjoy those flashbacks that Brubaker, Epting & Co. have peppered throughout Captain America or if, like me, you have a fondness for World War II-era superheroics — Invaders, All-Star Squadron, etc. — this miniseries is likely a no-brainer.
But if you’re one of those readers whose first question is “Where does it fit into continuity?” there may be a hook for you, too: The solicitation text teases this comic as “the defining story of the origin of the Marvel Universe, “revealing the hidden connections that unite the earliest costumed champions, and whose reverberations are felt dramatically into the present day!” You can check out a preview here.
Chris Mautner’s pick of the week: Starstruck #1
If you want a complete overview of Elaine Lee and Mike Kaluta’s highly touted, never-completed series, go here. For the short rundown: It’s an ambitious, operatic sci-fi tale in full-on Heavy Metal mode involving sex robots, galactic girl guides, pipe-smoking barons and more. It’s a knotty, intricate thing that’s been published here and there in dribs and drabs but never really completed until, presumably, now. This first issue is mostly reprints, I believe (though I understand it’s been reformatted to match the more traditional pamphlet size), but new stories are coming soon, just you wait. I’ve never really had the chance to dig into this thing until now, and I’m eager to begin.
JK Parkin’s pick of the week: The Big Kahn
Ninety Candles and Brownsville writer — and one of our colleagues when we blogged at Newsarama — Neil Kleid delivers what became sort of a buzz book at San Diego, thanks to tastemakers Calvin Reid and Tom Spurgeon. The plot revolves around a rabbi whose family finds out at his funeral that he was never really Jewish, which shakes up his already-grieving relatives. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while.
B.P.R.D.: 1947 #2 (of 5)
Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #5 ( of 8 )
Kevin: It’s a double-shot of the Hellboy universe as we get an Old-World vampire tale in the former, and classic demon-fighting in the latter. As an added bonus, we get art by the likes of Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba and Duncan Fegredo.
Adventure Comics #1
JK: It’s a sort of homecoming for Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, as they’re together again under the Adventure Comics banner for the first time in decades. And with Geoff Johns paired with Francis Manapul and Clayton Henry, there’s a lot to look forward to in this issue.
Blackest Night #2 ( of 8 )
Blackest Night: Batman #1 (of 3)
Green Lantern Corps #39
JK: Speaking of Johns, DC’s Blackest Night rolls on with three releases this week, including the launch of the Batman miniseries (written by Peter J. Tomasi). I’ve heard a wide range of reviews for Blackest Night, from people who absolutely loved it to people who thought it was too dark or uninspiring. I’m not a follower of Green Lantern, but I read the first issue of Blackest Night: Mostly I was just happy that I could follow it relatively easy without knowing the recent history of the character. As for how the series goes down, while the first issue had a few rough points, I liked it well enough to pick up this one.
Fables, Vol. 12: The Dark Ages
Chris: I am way, way behind on this series, so it will be a while before I get to this latest trade collection, which covers issues 76-82. But hey, if you’re more caught up than me, here it is. Issue 87 is also out this week if you’re reading it in the monthly fashion. You old-schooler you.
Red Herring #1 (of 6)
Kevin: Any week that delivers Philip Bond on interior art is a pretty good one in my book. This Wildstorm miniseries teams him with David Tischman and David Hahn for a conspiracy tale that’s been described as “X-Files meets The Daily Show.” Aliens, sinister corporations, Philip Bond? Yes, please.
Sandman by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby hardcover
Chris: Attempting to make the Golden Age Sandman more … superheroey, Simon and Kirby pasted some of their Captain America trademarks onto him (kid sidekick, brightly colored costume) and cranked out a series of slam-bang adventures. I don’t know where these tales sit exactly in the Kirby pantheon, but I would find it hard to believe they aren’t at least extremely entertaining.
G-Man: Cape Crisis #1 (of 5)
Kevin: Chris Giarrusso (Mini Marvels) returns to his all-ages G-Man character with this miniseries, which finds our lil’ hero’s magic cape falling into the wrong hands.
Dominic Fortune #1 (of 4)
Chris: Howard Chaykin alert! Chaykin returns to his World War II soldier-of-fortune character, as he becomes a bodyguard for three Hollywood stars and ends up in a lot of trouble. It’s a MAX title, so expect some classic ’80s-era Chaykin sex and violence. Man, Chaykin, Kirby, Kaluta. Is this old-home week?
Incredible Hercules #132
Kevin: And so begins “The Replacement Thor,” the story arc that will shift the series to a twice-monthly schedule. (Robot 6’s Tim O’Shea interviewed co-writer Fred Van Lente earlier this week.)
Marvel Divas #2 (of 4)
Kevin: I remain skeptical about the “shocking revelation”/cancer storyline. However, this issue features Doctor Strange and Night Nurse! I really enjoy that pairing and hold out hope for a series involving the two of them traveling cross-country in a classic convertible, solving supernatural mysteries and providing medical aid to the needy. As that’s not likely to be announced anytime soon, this issue will have to do.
Thor by J. Michael Straczynski, Vol. 2
Kevin: Issues 7-12 and 600 of the well-regarded run by J. Michael Straczynski, Olivier Coipel and Marko Djurdjevic are released in trade-paperback form.
Ultimate Comics Avengers #1
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1
Kevin: I’m not sure that the “destruction” of the Ultimate Universe and the renaming of the imprint as “Ulimate Comics” — or, hell, that whole last volume of The Ultimates — was necessary, but here we are, with the reboot of the line’s two most noteworthy titles.
Ultimate Comics Avengers brings The Ultimates writer Mark Millar back into the fold after more than two years, pairing him with Carlos Pacheco who, judging from the preview, appears to be nudging his style closer to that of original series artist Bryan Hitch. When The Ultimates debuted in 2002, it made its mark as a “real-world” take on Marvel superheroes. Since then, however, the Marvel Universe proper has changed significantly, and the core titles have shifted in tone and subject matter to become a lot more like … The Ultimates. So it should be interesting to see what Millar and Pacheco do to differentiate Ultimate Comics Avengers from the rest of the Marvel stable.
And then there’s the Ulimate imprint’s flagship title, which relaunches as Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, even though it really didn’t need a start-over. But Brian Michael Bendis, who’s been writing the book since its very beginning in 2000, appears to be making the best of the situation, bringing in a new supporting cast, new villains and (as the solicitation text teases) “maybe even a new Spider-Man.” Better still, the shift brings with it new artist David Lafuente. You can see a preview here.
Chris: Didn’t this come out already? Must have been my imagination. Anyway, this is an adaptation of the classic Ray Bradbury story about a police state where books are continuously burned, and the one “fireman” who begins to question his job. Adapting chores are by one Tim Hamilton, who got approval from Bradbury himself. Initial previews looked interesting. These sorts of projects tend to fall flat, but this could be decent.
Garth Ennis’ Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle Preview
Chris: Garth Ennis returns to his favorite anti-christ in this new six-issue miniseries from Avatar. Oscar Jiminez handles the art chores this time around.
Geronimo Stilton, Vol. 1: The Discovery of America
Geronimo Stilton, Vol. 2: The Secret of the Sphinx
Chris: This popular children’s series about a mouse reporter/adventurer was almost a comic to begin with, so it’s no surprise that NBM/Papercutz would attempt to put out a related series of graphic novels. I have no idea who’s handling the art chores on this one (the books coyly credit Stilton) or if it’s the same folks who work on the original series of books. Kids will probably like it all the same.
GrimJack: The Manx Cat #1
JK: Originally serialized on ComicMix, GrimJack jumps from the computer screen back into print — where he began in the 1980s. Also, if you’re looking for a way to support John Ostrander after his recent eye surgery, here’s another way to do so.
Some New Kind of Slaughter hardcover
Chris: Flood tales, or diluvian myths, if you prefer, as seen through the eyes of MP Mann and A. David Lewis, who brought you The Lone and Level Sands. I’m certainly intrigued enough by the concept to give the book a look-see. Previews here.
Star Trek: Nero #1
Chris: IDW sent me a preview of this comic and, not having seen the film or really having thought about Star Trek in a decade, I found myself utterly and completely lost. There are comics that try to be as new-reader-friendly as possible and then there are comics that just don’t give a shit. Guess which one this is?
The full list of items arriving in stores this week can be found here.