After last week's skip week by Diamond, 2010 kicks off with several new series, not the least of which is the first issue of Marvel's Siege event and its accompanying mini-series, Siege:Embedded. They've also got a Jackpot spin-off mini-series. Dark Horse, meanwhile, kicks off a new B.P.R.D. series, along with the video game adaptation Mass Effect: Redemption, and Image has the first issue of James Stokoe's Orc Stain.
There are also new issues of Haunt, Conan, Buck Rogers, Echo, Savage Dragon, Deadpool Team-up and Doom Patrol. And two series come to an end, so to speak, as DC revives Suicide Squad and Weird Western Tales for one month only, giving both a new last issue, I suppose.
If you're looking for something with a spine, there's a List hardcover from Marvel, collecting all the stories of Norman Osborn going up against various heroes. Unwritten and Marvel Divas get collected, while Fantagraphics releases The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century and The Troublemakers. First Second, meanwhile, kicks off George O'Connor's Olympians series with the first book about Zeus. On the manga front, look for a ton of One Piece, Shutter Island and The Box Man, among others.
To see what Kevin, Chris and I think of this week's releases, read on ...
Kevin Melrose's pick of the week: The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity
If you've paid any attention to the countless best-of-the-year lists, you'll notice this metafictional conspiracy-fantasy -- that's a genre, sure -- mentioned again and again. The surprise hit (by Vertigo standards, at least) by Mike Carey and Peter Gross centers on Tom Taylor, the inspiration for his father's series of insanely popular boy-wizard fantasy novels. As an adult, Tom has more or less come to terms with his fictional counterpart, settling into a life as a minor celebrity who eeks out a living on the convention circuit. But when a scandal hints that Tom may actually be the boy-wizard, he comes into contact with a clandestine group that's kept track of him his entire life. That's when fiction and reality really begin to blur.
I'm still playing catch-up on the series -- you can download the first issue from the Vertigo site -- so I'm looking forward to reading this first collection. It should be arriving any day now ... (DC/Vertigo)
JK Parkin's pick of the week: Orc Stain #1
Wonton Soup creator James Stokoe brings to Image a series about a "one-eyed orc with the ability to find the weak spot in any structure has started to notice cracks in the endless war and conquest of orc existence." Stokoe has a fun, richly detailed art style that fans of Brandom Graham or Geof Darrow should appreciate. And it sounds like we will finally get a story from the orc's point of view, something our culture has been lacking ever since Dungeons & Dragons and Lord of the Rings have painted them as one-dimensional warmongers. Don't believe the propaganda!
But seriously, this looks like a lot of fun, both story wise and of course visually. (Image Comics)
Chris Mautner's pick of the week: The Box Man
Drawn and Quarterly has really become the place to go to in order to slake your alt-manga thirst, so I'm very excited to check out this new collection of work by Imiri Sakabashira, who absurdist, at times downright bizarre work has reportedly earned him a following among the Garo crowd back in Japan. (Drawn and Quarterly)
B.P.R.D.: King of Fear #1 (of 5)
Kevin: Is this the beginning of the conclusion to the loooong-running frog menace story arc? Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and Guy Davis send the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense off the Ural Mountains to confront one threat while Kate Corrigan heads to Australia to rescue Johann, who's possessed by the ghost of Lobster Johnson. You can see a preview here. (Dark Horse)
The Chill hardcover
Kevin: Author Jason Starr (Twisted City, Tough Luck) and artist Mick Bertilorenzi lead the second wave of Vertigo Crime books with this thriller about a cop with a secret who may hold the key to solving a series of ritualized murders in New York City. (Vertigo)
Batman Confidential #40
JK: Sam Kieth! The creator of The Maxx and a lot of other cool comics comes aboard for a new story arc. (DC Comics)
Jonah Hex #51
Kevin: Featuring art by the legendary Dick Giordano! (DC Comics)
The Mighty #12
Kevin: The first "season" comes to its conclusion, but it's unclear whether sales hovering well below the traditional "line of death" -- Issue 10 sold an estimated 5,700 copies -- a second season seems unlikely. (DC Comics)
Suicide Squad #67Weird Western Tales #71
JK: With Blackest Night proper taking a break this month, DC revives several "dead" titles in a move that I thought was kind of clever in a "meta" kind of way. Plus it gives John Ostrander a chance to play in the Suicide Squad sandbox again, which should be fun. (DC Comics)
Daffodil #1 (of 3)
Kevin: Marvel rolls out another reprint of a title from French publisher Soleil -- this time Frederic Bremaud and Giovanni Rigano's comic about a vampire assault on a distant town. (Marvel)
JK: I had a hard time not making this my pick of the week, and I even considered calling it a tie. But I gave the Siege Cabal some POTW love a few weeks back, and hey, there's always issue 2-4.
In any event, BAM!, here it is. I don't know what I can add that Benjamin Birdie didn't say when reviewing it for CBR, but I'm looking forward to seeing what Brian Michael Bendis, Olivier Coipel and crew do with this series. (Marvel)
Siege: Embedded #1
JK: Also on the Siege front is this title by Brian Reed and Chris Samnee, an up and coming artist who deserves a lot of attention and praise. (Marvel)
Big Questions #13
Chris: Hey, a new comic about snakes and birds from Anders Nilsen. Our own Sean Collins reviewed it at his site. (Drawn and Quarterly)
The Boys #38
Chris: At long last we find out the secret origin of The Female. This will probably be ugly. (Dynamite)
Bringing Up Father Vol. 1: From Sea to Shining Sea
Chris: The latest entry in IDW's great comic strip reprint series highlights the wonderful work of George McManus, whose Bringing Up Father ran for decades upon decades. This book I believe collects the strip in its hey day, when his lush, art deco-influenced work was at its peak. I'll bet it looks fabulous. (IDW)
Female Force #10: J.K. Rowling
Kevin: This biography looks just ghastly, but I don't imagine that will stop Harry Potter fans from scooping it up by the bucketload. (Bluewater Productions)
Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Vol. 01
Chris: Don Rosa's lengthy riff on the history of a certain skinflinted, web-footed millionaire is given new life thanks to BOOM! If you know of a kid who ha a birthday coming up soon, I'd recommend this for them. In a heartbeat. (BOOM!)
Missile Mouse Vol. 1: Star Crusher Copper
Chris: Speaking of kids comics, here are two from Scholastic's Graphix series. The first is a collection of Kazu Kibuishi's long-running webcomic. The second is an anthropomorphic outer-space adventure by Jake Parker. Scholastic has been really doing a good job quality-wise with this line so it would be hard for me to imagine either of these books not being perfect for their intended audience. (Graphix)
Olympians Vol. 1: Zeus, King of the Gods
Chris: More kids comics! This time from First Second and George O'Connor, who deviates from the darkness of the recent Ball Peen Hammer to start a new series dealing with Greek Mythology. I'm a sucker for Greek mythology, but it will have to be pretty good to match up to that D'Aullaires' book I read as a kid. (First Second)
One Piece: East Blue 4-5-6, Vol. 2One Piece, Vol.s 24-28
Kevin: Borrowing a page from its Naruto playbook, Viz Media speeds up its release schedule for Eiichiro Oda's bestselling comedy-adventure, cranking out five volumes each month through June in an effort to catch up to the series in Japan. On top of that, the publisher debuts the second One Piece omnibus, which collects volumes 4-6 of the series -- that's a combined 576 pages -- for the low, low price of $14.99. (Viz Media)
Chris: My other pamphlet purchase of the week. Not really much to say here; just really digging this knotty, intricate series and hope others give it a chance as well. (IDW)
Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms
Chris: Oh man. Here's your other manga must-buy of the week. One of the most poetic, heart rendering manga of recent years gets another shot in stores thanks to publisher Last Gasp. I's about Hiroshima, but really only obliquely. It's really about how average people's lives can be changed utterly by war and devastation and how healing can only be found through time and subsequent generations. It's really a fantastic little book. I can't recommend it enough. (Last Gasp)
Chris: Man, what kind of week is it where an all-new graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez doesn't get named as my pick of the Week? Oh well, here's the master's follow up to Chance in Hell and Speak of the Devil, a pulpish, noir thriller about a group of "greedy low lifes." Since it's Beto, it's very hard to imagine this not being fantastic, but then, I'm really liked Speak of the Devil. (Fantagraphics)
The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century
Chris: Dash Shaw's Mome work gets compiled into a slim but handsome hardcover, along with storyboards and sketches done for an animation project for the IFC channel. This is really stellar work overall and just underscores why Shaw is one of the more notable new cartoonists. I interviewed Shaw about the book, which you can read here. (Fantagraphics)
Check out Diamond's website to see what else is coming to a comic shop near you this week, then let us know what you plan to buy in our comments section.