Maybe it's the heat talking, but this week's shipping list reads a lot like a slate of Hollywood summer blockbusters. There's a post-apocalyptic drama, a couple of new takes on an old franchise, some sci-fi action plus, y'know, Star Trek.
And not just any Star Trek, but The Wrath of Khan (which was released 25 27 years ago last week).
Where was I? Oh, right: Khannnnnnn!
The big releases, at least from a superhero-comics standpoint, may be Batman #687 and Red Robin #1, which continue DC's efforts to establish a post-Final Crisis, post "R.I.P," post-Battle for the Cowl status quo for the Batman Family. Oh, and X-Men Forever #1, in which Marvel pretends Chris Claremont never left X-Men.
Yeah, I don't know, either.
To find out what other titles Chris Mautner, JK Parkin and I think are worth noting, just keep reading. And feel free to tell us your picks in the comments below.
JK Parkin's pick of the week: The Unwritten #2
The new Vertigo series from Mike Carey and Peter Gross really got off to a great start, so I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next. The first issue set up the scenario, as we were introduced to Tommy Taylor, the son of a famous author who named his title character after his son. Maybe. The question is, is Tommy a real boy, or is he the wizard brought to life?
Carey’s created an instantly likable loser in Tom Taylor, as Peter Gross brings both the magical world of “Wizard” Tommy and the mundane world of “Real World” Tom to life. It’s almost like there are two different artists working on this book.
So the setup was well done; now it’s time to see where this ride is taking us.
Kevin Melrose's pick of the week: Resurrection, Vol. 2 #1
Oni Press, and writer Marc Guggenheim (now with artist Justin Greenwood), return to an Earth devastated by a 10-year alien conquest in a second volume of the well-received 2008 series. Unlike the initial run, this volume of Resurrection is in full color. Like the first series, this one centers on what happens to humanity after the alien occupiers suddenly leave. Expect plenty of mystery, recrimination -- oh, and Bill Clinton.
You can see a preview of the first issue, and an interview with Guggenheim, at Comic Book Resources.
Chris Mautner's pick of the week: Detroit Metal City, Vol. 1
A young musician dreams of making it big as a bubblegum pop star, but finds the only job available is for the death-metal band known as Detroit Metal City. Worse yet, he finds he's actually quite good at it and soon has a hard time separating his on stage persona, the makeup-laden Krauser II, from his real, more effete life. Doncha just hate it when that happens?
B.P.R.D.: War on Frogs #3 (of 4)
Kevin: B.P.R.D. is, month in and month out, one of the most solid and entertaining comics published at the moment. In the third issue in this series of one-shots, artist Karl Moline joins John Arcudi and Mike Mignola for a story that views Liz Sherman through the eyes of a new recruit to the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense.
Kevin: I'm not sure Battle for the Cowl requires a 40-page "special epilogue," but here it is, courtesy of the new creative team of Judd Winick and Ed Benes. So, uh, when's the next issue of Batman and Robin come out?
Billy Batson and the Magic of SHAZAM! #5
Kevin: Tiny Titans creators Art Baltazar and Franco are joined by artists Byron Vaughn and Ken Branch for the first in a series of issues designed to keep the title on a monthly schedule and help Mike Kunkel get back on track.
Booster Gold #21
Kevin: In what may be the biggest test of DC's "co-feature" initiative, Blue Beetle debuts in his 10-page backup story in Booster Gold, a title that isn't exactly setting the charts on fire. Will fans of Jaime Reyes, who apparently weren't numerous enough to sustain a solo series, to lift sagging sales of Booster Gold?
Final Crisis hardcover
JK: DC’s big spankin’ event gets collected into a big spankin’ hardcover. In addition to the seven issues of Final Crisis, this collection also includes the Submit one-shot and the Superman Beyond two-issue miniseries, both also written by Grant Morrison. The Superman mini, in particular, plays a big part in the series, so it’s helpful that it’s included.
The Flash: Rebirth #3 (of 6)
JK: I wasn’t wild about the first issue, but the second one really sucked me in. This issue features the return of a classic: Superman racing The Flash.
Red Robin #1
JK: The renovations continue to the Bat titles, as a hero gets a new identity and goes off on a quest to find Bruce Wayne. Things got off to a great start last week with Batman and Robin, but we’ll see if the momentum can continue.
Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter #1 (of 3)
Kevin: I've never understood the appeal of the horse-faced alien worthy enough to wield Mjolnir, but somebody apparently likes him, as he pops up again and again. This go-around, writer Kieron Gillen and artist Kano send Bill after Galactus which, I'll concede, should be entertaining enough.
Captain Britain and MI13: Hell Comes to Birmingham
Kevin: I admit it, I'm part of the reason Captain Britain and MI13 was canceled. (Sorry!) I swore that I was going to buy the first collection, and then gather up the single issues, but I never did. Maybe if enough of us pick up the trade paperbacks -- this is the second one -- Marvel will hurry the return of the title as an occasional miniseries.
Excalibur Visionaries: Alan Davis, Vol. 1
Kevin: I'd stopped reading Excalibur long before Alan Davis took over as artist and writer in 1991 with Issue 42. (I was only around for the early issues, written by Chris Claremont and penciled by Davis). This trade paperback collects the first leg of that run, with issues 42-50, which involves Technet, the interdimensional bounty hunters Davis introduced in Captain Britain, and the Anti-Phoenix force.
Miss America Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special
Chris: Have there been 70 issues of Miss America Comics and I missed it? Or is this simply a funnybook celebration of the beauty pageant? And if the latter, how do you properly honor 70 years of swimsuits, sashes and runny mascara? And what about Bert Parks? Does he get to narrate the story or is he just relegated to a cameo role? Or is this just a comic honoring some long-forgotten third banana superheroine? So many questions.
Uncanny X-Men #511X-Men Forever #1
JK: Something old, something new … Uncanny’s cover features the Phoenix, which seems a bit like a red herring, don’t you think? Or maybe that’s what this whole “reborn” thing is really about next week?
Speaking of reborn, Chris Claremont returns to X-Men as if he never left, picking up a storyline from 15 years ago. I’m still waiting for the “April Fools!” on this one, it’s such an odd premise.
Absolution #0 (of 6)Anna Mercury 2 #1 (of 5)
JK: Two new series from Avatar kick off this week; the first, Anna Mercury 2, is a follow-up to the original by Warren Ellis and Facundo Percio. I actually have the trade for that first one sitting on my “to read” pile, but Michael May reviews it right here.
Absolution is the second, and is about what happens when a government-sanctioned hero develops post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s by Christos Gage and Roberto Viacava, and I believe was originally supposed to come out last December.
The Art of Harvey Kurtzman hardcover
Chris: How nice that we're at a point in our industry where someone as important and talented as Kurtzman can finally get his due, at least in coffee-table book form. Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle honor their mentor in this 256 page biography and art book. Spinal Tap bassist Derek Smalls does the introduction.
Black Lagoon, Vol. 6
Kevin: My lord, how I love Rei Hiroe's hyper-violent, and humerous, series about pirate-mercenaries who sail the seas of Southeast Asia. Sometimes it's fun just to shut off part of your brain and enjoy the senseless gunplay and ridiculous situations.
Buck Rogers #1
Chris: No smart-talking robot and Gary Coleman guest appearance for this space hero! Writer Scott Beatty and artist Carlos Rafael bring exciting tales of 25th century derring-do involving "pop culture's first hero," which must makes Doc Savage feel special right about now.
The Color of Water
Chris: Korean author Kim Dong Hwa continues his fictionalized story of his mother's sexual awakening -- didn't that just send a shiver down your spine? -- courtesy of First Second. The first volume was actually a lot more nuanced and considered than my previous sentence suggests, and I imagine the second book will only continue down that path. It's definitely something manwha fans and those interested in non-traditional manga should check out.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan #1
Kevin: A quarter-century later, IDW Publishing adapts the second, and arguably best, Star Trek film. Khannnnnnnn!
The full list of items arriving in stores this week can be found here.