Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This week's comic expectations

Well, it finally happened. A slow comic book day. And while I love a good comic as much as anyone, frankly my wallet can use this break after buying 9-11 books a week for what feels like the last two months straight.

Even as slow as it is, though, there are still a few books worth keeping an eye on.

The biggest book of the week is Green Lantern #34, the penultimate chapter (is there any geekier a word lately than penultimate?) of Geoff Johns' "Secret Origins" arc. Of course, at this point the "Origin" story is full-fledged spilling over into the upcoming "Blackest Night" crossover. If you've been avoiding this arc so far, due to the seeming inconsequential story title, this is the issue you want to jump back on board, since Hal Jordan and Sinestro are about to track down the someday Red Lantern King himself, Atrocitus. You can be sure we're going to get plenty of backstory knowledge in this one.

Also from DC is Detective Comics #848. While I would never call this arc necessary reading in the least for the "Batman R.I.P." story, this "tie-in" has been pretty strong on its own so far, with Hush making his own move against the Caped Crusader. You have to give Paul Dini credit for still telling a compelling Batman tale even amidst all the "R.I.P" hysteria.

Another "R.I.P." "tie-in" this week (and I again use the term loosely) is Nightwing #148, which features Dick dealing with a gunshot wound and big problems with Harvey Dent. This series has clearly been the weakest of the three tie-in series, but it's still been a pretty interesting read.

Also, don't forget that DC and Gail Simone are relaunching a series this week with Secret Six #1.

Next, we have a couple of Stephen King books, Dark Tower: Treachery #1 and The Stand: Captain Trips #1. Personally, I loved "The Stand" back when it was in book form, so I'm curious to see how the content transfers over to the comic form. And the "Dark Town" series has just been consistently strong, so both of these first issues may be worth your time and money if you like the previous Stephen King work.

The Children of the Atom carry the week for Marvel, with the X-Men's Manifest Destiny #1 and X-Men: Return of Magik. While the former begins a short mini-series supposedly incapsulating the new X-Men movement of "Manifest Destiny," I've yet to see any evidence that this mini is worth the attention. The book will focus on Bobby Drake's problems, and while I do appreciate Ice Man, I really feel like Marvel simply thought up a good Ice Man story and wanted it to get better sales than it otherwise would, so they slapped the "Destiny" banner across the front. If you don't love Bobby Drake, don't bother here.

On the other hand, Illyana Rasputin's return to the 616 world may be a huge moment in X-Men lore. Personally, I think the original Illyana, who starred in "New Mutants" was one of the greatest characters and story arcs of all time, from her descent into the depths of limbo to her eventual redemption in "Inferno." Likewise, her later death as a toddler in "X-Men #303," a victim of the Legacy Virus, was one of the most touching and meaningful deaths in the history of comic books. I darn near cried while reading Jubilee's narration, as written by Scott Lobdell.

What I'm basically saying is, if this return doesn't feel authentic, realistic and meaningful in it's own right, creating a great story, then I am going to be one mad fanboy. I'm fine with resurrections, but only when it will create a good story, not simply a rehash of what's been done better before.

Speaking of Milking a Franchise, be warned, Sub-Mariner: Depths #1 is NOT a sequel from the fantastic Namor mini-series of last year. This is more in the style of the recent "Captain America: The Chosen." In other words, you probably don't want to waste your money getting a sea captain's point of view on Atlantis.

Finally, Marvel Apes #1. If any of you out this buys this book, thus encouraging Marvel to put out more of this sort of crap, I'll be on you like white on rice. For God sakes, this book is probably going to beat "Final Crisis" in sales.

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