If you're one of those readers in the United States whose comic store had Captain America #600 waiting for you on Monday, you'll probably be making another pilgrimage in the next couple of days. Oh, don't act like you won't.
In all likelihood, it'll be worth it. After all, this week brings more Ed Brubaker than you can shake a stick at: In addition to Captain America, there's a collection of the first Sleeper series and a new issue of Incognito, both by Brubaker and Sean Phillips.
What's more, there's Brian Fies' follow-up to Mom's Cancer, Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?, a new Dead@17 miniseries from Josh Howard, a second volume of Julia Wertz's Fart Party and -- wait for it -- a collection of the original Power Pack series, by Louise Simonson, June Brigman & Co.
To see what other titles Chris Mautner, JK Parkin and I think are worth checking out, just keep reading. And be sure to leave your picks in the comments below.
Kevin's pick of the week: Captain America #600
With all of the build-up and secrecy and early release, I had hoped this issue would signal something more than the inevitable return of Steve Rogers. I wanted something out of left field, like a member of the Bradley family from Truth: Red, White & Black taking up the shield, or even a ruse that left Bucky Barnes wearing the stars and stripes (yes, there would've been message-board riots but, hey, I like Bucky ... more than I do Steve). What we get instead is the setup -- or is it a commercial? -- for the Reborn miniseries, which debuts on July 1. Despite my (slight) disappointment, I have faith in writer Ed Brubaker, who hasn't made a misstep on Captain America since he helped to relaunch the title in 2005.
This anniversary issue, which marks the title's return to its original numbering, also includes stories by Roger Stern and Mark Waid, a full gallery of covers, and an essay by Captain America co-creator Joe Simon. You can read Benjamin Birdie's review for CBR here.
Chris Mautner's pick of the week: Sleeper, Season 1 trade paperback
I have no doubt that the answer to Captain America's $60 million dollar question will be very good. Brubaker is a great writer and he's turned Cap into a smart, sharp thrill-ride. Still, for my money, this is easily the Ed Brubaker book you want to get this week. In Sleeper, Brubaker and Sean Phillips take a handful of third-string Wildstorm characters, a good-sized chunk of noir, a double agent who lacks the ability to feel any pain (allegory alert!) and turn it into a real work of art and one of the best superhero books ever made -- and noIamnotkiddingwhenIsaythat.
Seriously, if you like Brubaker's work on Cap and Daredevil, set aside an extra $25 and go check this puppy out.
JK Parkin's pick of the week: Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? hardcover
This would have been my pick of the week based on the fact that it's by Brian Fies, the creator of the Eisner-winning Mom's Cancer. Brigid Alverson's review of it on Saturday, however, was the icing that sealed the deal. Go check out her thoughts to see why this sounds like an incredible book from an incredible talent.Batman: The Black Casebook trade paperbackKevin: This collection of classic stories "that inspired recent events in the Batman universe" is actually a pretty good idea. It features an introduction by Grant Morrison and a nice cover by Alex Ross.
Batman: The Streets of Gotham #1
Kevin: There are two big reasons to recommend the latest entry in the new wave of Bat-titles: a lead feature by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen, and a Kate Spencer/Manhunter back-up by Marc Andreyko and Georges Jeanty (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). That combination is difficult to pass up.
Ex Machina #43
JK: Brian K. Vaughan's superhero-turned-mayor romp has never failed to entertain, so it'll be sad to see the book wrap up with issue #50.
Hitman, Vol. 1: A Rage in Arkham trade paperback (new printing)
Chris: Is DC finally getting around to re-releasing the cult fave Garth Ennis/John McRea series about a hired gun in Gotham City? Sure looks that way. I've heard a number of good things about this series, enough that I'll probably pick this up sometime soon.
The Question: The Five Books of Blood trade paperback
Chris: I'd have to dig out my issues to be sure, but I seem to remember this as being one of the more entertaining 52 spin-offs, though there was a bit too much of the "prophecies written in dull Biblical style" for my tastes. Still, a good bet for Rucka and Montoya fans.
Will Eisner's The Spirit Archives, Vol. 26 hardcover
Chris: And so we come to the end of DC's massive and lavish reprinting of Will Eisner's seminal comics character. This book collects several hard-to-find post-1952 stories from a variety of publishers. Probably not for casual fans, but then if you've already got the first 25 volumes you're far from a casual fan, aren't you?
Dead@17: Afterbirth #1 (of 4)
JK: Josh Howard's signature creation returns with a new series, this time from Image Comics, and such an unfortunate title. Check out a preview of it on CBR.
JK: Alas, poor Atom Eve, we hardly knew ye. Check out a preview on CBR.
Mice Templar, Vol. 1 trade paperback
Kevin: I bought the first issue of this Bryan Glass-Michael Avon Oeming anthropomorphic fantasy, but I just couldn't get into it. I decided to give it another chance and bought the hardcover, but I never cracked it open. Maybe the release of the paperback collection will spur me to give it a third try.
Chris: Man, this is just Ed Brubaker week, isn't it? Here's the fourth issue of his noir/pulp/superhero mash-up with Sean Phillips. I liked the first issue, but family economics is making me wait for the trade on this one.
The Irredeemable Ant-Man trade paperback
JK: Although I much prefer Robert Kirkman's Image work, this title had it moments. Kirkman's Ant-Man, Eric O'Grady, was more of a scoundrel than his predecessors (which I guess beats being a wife-beater) who stole his suit from SHIELD and used it to spy on women. He can now be found in the pages of Thunderbolts.
Power Pack Classic, Vol. 1 trade paperback
Kevin: This is totally nostalgia talking, but if it weren't for Captain America #600 this would be my pick of the week. The summer 1984 debut of this Louise Simonson-June Brigman series coincided with my discovery of the tiny, cramped and dusty specialty shop in my hometown, and helped to fuel my interest in comics. As a kid I loved reading the adventures of the Power children -- Alex, Julie, Jack and Katie -- as they traveled aboard the Smartship Friday, battling alien Snarks and meeting Spider-Man, Cloak & Dagger and other denizens of the Marvel Universe. Heck, I still have a soft spot for Power Pack. This first volume collects the first 10 issues of the series.
Thor: The Trial of Thor
Kevin: I give Marvel credit for lining up these Thor one-shots to serve as placeholders between issues of the regular J. Michael Straczynski-Olivier Coipel series. Despite being fill-ins, they're generally pretty good. This one, for instance, is by Peter Milligan and Cary Nord -- top-notch talent -- and centers on the repercussions of Thor's battle with the Frost Giants.
Young Allies Comics #1
Kevin: I'm a sucker for sidekicks, and for the work of artist Paolo Rivera. Add writer Roger Stern, and this 70th-anniversary special about young Bucky Barnes, Toro and friends, and it's an easy sell. To me, at least.
The Boys: Herogasm #2 (of 6)
Chris: As big a fan as I am of the main Boys storyline, I was a little leery of picking up this spin-off, since it seemed to be all of the crass jokes with none of the wit and heart. The initial reviews kind of confirmed my suspicions. Anyone out there have good things to say about this comic so far?
Captain Canuck, Vol. 1 hardcover
JK: A country rejoices as its captain returns! This is what everyone was talking about Monday, right? But seriously, IDW brings the 1970s Canadian hero back into print; this volume collects issues 4-10. More info on the hero can be found on his official website.
Fart Party, Vol. 2
Chris: I enjoyed the first collection of Julia Wertz's autobiographical comic strips. While's she's far from an accomplished artist, she frequently displays a good deal of heart and wit. I imagine I'll like the second volume just as much.
Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, Vol. 3
Kevin: I raved about this series a few weeks ago, using phrases like "nothing short of amazing" and "mind-blowing good." Those descriptions still stand for Naoki Urasawa's science fiction mystery. I don't care whether you're one of those "I don't like manga" types: If you're a fan of enthralling storytelling, engaging characters and wonderful art -- and, really, who isn't? -- you owe it to yourself to check out this series.
Wasteland, Vol. 4: Dog Tribe trade paperback
Kevin: I just dusted off the first volume of Antony Johnston and Christopher J. Mitten's post-apocalyptic Western to re-read it. It's hard to believe this monthly series is already on its fourth collection. It's good -- and I'm not usually big on "post-apocalyptic" stories.
Wonton Soup, Vol. 2
JK: I understand the full title of the follow-up to James Stokoe's space trucker foodie-thing is actually Wonton Soup, Vol. 2: Hyper Wonton Soup 2 Twton Soup: The Quickening 2 ... Soup. Seriously. How can you go wrong with a title like that?
The full list of items arriving in stores this week can be found here.