Typically you wouldn't expect the day before a major U.S. holiday to have so many big releases, but hey -- it's just one more thing to be thankful for when you're lapsing into a turkey coma and need something else to do besides arguing with your uncle or watching football.
This week sees the debut of Image United, the big mega-event crossover that brings together all the current and former Image partners under one comic cover (actually, multiple comic covers ... you'll have your choice of seven different ones). We've also got the return of Powers, the long-running superhero/cop mash-up, with a new #1. DC's big event continues to roll on, as both Blackest Night #5 and Green Lantern #48 hit shops, among several other tie-in titles. And you'll also find new issues of Beasts of Burden, Chew, The Goon, Detective Comics, Uncanny X-Men, New Avengers, Die Hard Year One and Fantastic Four on shelves.
On the trade front, look for collections of Chew, Justice League International, Shade the Changing Man, Incognito, Astonishing X-Men, The Winter Men and The Boys spin-off series, Herogasm.
And that's only the first course of the magnificent bounty that awaits. Keep reading to see what Chris, Kevin and I have to say about this week's releases ...
Chris Mautner's pick of the week: Ganges #3
Kevin Huizenga knocks it out of the park once more in this third issue of his ongoing Ignatz series from Fantagraphics. For those unfamiliar, the series focuses on title character Glenn Ganges, and his thoughts and fears during a particularly sleepless night. It sounds dull, I know, but Huizenga manages to make the most mundane material come alive with his ingenious layouts and penetrating insight. I've never seen insomnia portrayed so agonizingly accurately or inventively. Seriously, to try to capture these kinds of everyday emotions and experiences in prose as well as he does here would be nigh-impossible. (Fantagraphics)
Kevin Melrose's pick of the week: The Winter Men trade paperback
The solicitation for this long-awaited collection doesn't do justice to the much-delayed miniseries by Brett Lewis and John Paul Leon. It makes The Winter Men seem like one of those generic superhero comics sprinkled with bits of post-Cold War politics instead of the intricately plotted and beautifully illustrated work that it is. Sure, some 27 months passed between the release of the first issue and the last -- a 40-page fifth issue in what initially was billed as an eight-issue miniseries -- but, man, was it ever worth the wait.
As 2009 winds down and more people begin to assess the best comics of the decade, I've found myself thinking a good deal about this series, which centers on the former members of Red-11, a squad of armor suit-wearing operatives tasked with protecting Soviet interests and keeping the country's superhuman program in check. I've mentioned my love for this comic before, and Joe "Jog" McCulloch has written eloquently and at length about the series, so I'm not sure that there's anything I can add. I will say, however, that on the short list of comics from the past several years that have bowled me over, The Winter Men rates up there with Tekkonkinkreet: Black & White, Pluto and 20th Century Boys. (Wildstorm)
JK Parkin's pick of the week: Powers #1
Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming's creator-owned series returns with a new first issue and the promise of a monthly schedule. Speaking of the best comics of the decade, particularly those featuring superheroes, I'd probably rate this one near the top of my own personal list. I remember when it first debuted I counted it as one of my two favorite comics on the stands (the other being Authority) and for a long time it was my "go to" book when recommending comics to friends -- still is, actually, especially those first few trades. Anyway, it's good to see this back on the shipping list. (Marvel/Icon)
Blackest Night #5
JK: DC's big Green Lantern event is past the halfway mark, as the big bad behind all those undead Green Lanterns makes his presence felt. (DC)
Kevin: Brian Wood and Leandro Fernandez continue the eight-part "Plague Widow" storyline. Massimo Carnevale's covers for this series have been, of course, gorgeous. This one's no different. (DC/Vertigo)
Shade the Changing Man TP Vol. 01 American ScreamShade the Changing Man TP Vol. 02 Edge of Vision
Chris: Well, here's a welcome sight for sore eyes. Peter Milligan and Chris Bachalo's riff on Steve Ditko's creation became one of the seminal Vertigo titles, a lengthy, trippy and occasionally disturbing look at American culture and attitudes. An attempt was made several years ago to collect the series in trade, but that quickly fell out of print and it seemed as though Shade would remain yet another Milligan project that failed for some strange reason to make the bookshelf. But low and behold it seems Vertigo is finally getting around to collecting the blasted thing, as they've not only reprinted that first volume, but are releasing a second trade as well. Huzzah! Now let's see Egypt get a trade release. (DC/Vertigo)
Teen Titans #77
Kevin: In this issue, nothing terrible happens! Just kidding! (DC)
Image United #1
JK: Image's original seven -- including Jim Lee in the form of one of the covers -- provide the art for a Robert Kirkman-scripted crossover event that brings together Spawn, Youngblood, Savage Dragon, Witchblade and many other Image characters. And each artist drew their own characters, which has my curiosity piqued about how this will turn out. (Image)
Chris: Trade waiters such as myself see their patience pay off with Marvel's release of Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips' modern homage to the pulp era and return to the superhero antics that won them such deserved attention in Sleeper. (Marvel/Icon)
Captain America: The Death of Captain America Omnibus hardcover
Kevin: As you may guess from the title, this 480-page hardcover collects the massive storyline that began way back in April 2007 with the assassination of Steve Rogers in the wake of Civil War. (Marvel)
The Invincible Iron Man #20
Kevin: I'm sure this "Stark: Disassembled" arc, by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca, will be great and all, but I'm really just following along for the covers, by Larroca and designer/artist Rian Hughes. (Marvel)
Thor: Giant-Size Finale (by JMS) #1
Kevin: Previously known as Thor: Defining Moments Giant-Size #1, this special issues wraps up the delay-plagued, Eisner-nominated run by J. Michael Straczynski, with Olivier Coipel and Marko Djurdjevic. (Marvel)
The Boys Vol. 5: Herogasm
JK: Dynamite collects the recently wrapped-up Herogasm mini-series into trade form. I read the singles; it's filthy, hedonistic, conspiracy-rich fun that regular Boys readers should love. (Dynamite)
Doris Danger Giant Monster Adventures TP
JK: SLG releases a collection of Chris Wisnia's Doris Danger stories, which feature the title character attempting to capture evidence that giant monsters exist. (SLG Publishing)
Jericho Season 3 #1
JK: Here's another one I'm curious about, as Devil's Due resurrects the post-nuclear CBS drama Jericho. I enjoyed the TV show, especially when it focused on world-building plots and the new political order of the ravaged United States. That being said, it's been off the air for more than a year now, so I'm not sure if I'm still that interested in it ... I'm hoping the first issue will help remind me why it was such a great story. (Devil's Due)
Moyasimon GN Vol. 1
Chris: This new manga from Del Rey focuses on a fresh-faced youth who possesses the unfortunate ability to see microscopic germs with the naked eye. With an eccentric professor he sets about preventing food poisoning and uncovering illegal hooch operations. Matthew Brady reviews the book here. (Del Ray)
A Distant Neighborhood Vol. 2Years of the Elephant
Chris: Two from European manga publisher Fanfare/Ponent Mon. The first is the second volume in Jiro Taniguchi's two-part tale of a man who finds himself magically forced to relive his adolescence in the hopes of preventing his father from leaving. Think of it as "18 again," but with more wistfulness.
The second book is by Belgian artist Willy Linthout and concerns the author's attempts to come to terms with his son's suicide. Not a slap-happy good time to be sure, but the book has been garnering strong praise, both here and abroad. I picked up a copy at SPX, but have yet to dig into it. I suppose I'm trying to work up the courage. (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
For the complete list of comics hitting shops this week, check out Diamond's website ... then tell us what you're looking forward to getting tomorrow.