Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This week's comic book expectations

It's a bit of a slow week with a couple of highlights, but at least we get the end of "Battle for the Cowl." Take a look at THIS LINK.

Yes, Batman: Battle for the Cowl #3 will finally reveal who takes over the mantle from Bruce Wayne... until he eventually comes back. Will it be heavily favored Dick Grayson (who seems to match perfectly the personality of the Batman we've seen in previews for "Batman and Robin")? Will it be Tim Drake (who seems to match perfectly the personality of the titular character we've seen in previews for "Red Robin")? Will it be Jason Todd (who seems pretty dead-set on becoming an official addition to Batman's rogues gallery)? Will it be Alfred (Who would need to shave his trademark mustache in order to pull off the look)? And, by the way, will Tim Drake even live through his second-issue impalement (pretty sure he will, yeah)?

Just like most of you out there, my money is on Dick taking over the family business, even if that does conflict with his previous characterization in "Prodigal." However, Dan Didio said recently he is surprised nobody has guessed the identity of the new Batman yet (and Dan ALWAYS tells the truth ... you guys get sarcasm, right?). We'll find out this week, and then hopefully also get a better understanding of who will be staring in the many new Batman-family series coming out soon.

Supergirl #41 is probably DC's second most-anticipated book of the week, concluding the "Who is Superwoman?" arc. Last issue we solved that mystery (in somewhat dubious fashion ... ready for a spoiler? .... it's Lois Lane's sister) which means now writer Sterling Gates has a lot of explaining to do, starting with how the hell Li'l Lane has all these powers.

What has been more interesting than uncovering who Superwoman is, though, has been Gates' showing us who Supergirl is. Last issue was another big leap in re-characterizing the Maid of Might. While she was still an innocent, impetuous teenager, Kara Zor-El showed intelligence, cunning and resourcefulness in battling Reactron. Hopefully Gates is able to further show us exactly what kind of hero she is in this final showdown issue.

Other top titles from DC this week include Brave and the Bold #23 (Booster Gold teaming with Magog, written by Dan Jurgens, equals a story with loads of potential), Trinity #51 (the penultimate issue of a decent and far-out series) and Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #1 (if for some Godawful reason you're actually interested in the Super Young Team).

From Marvel, we have to begin with Captain America #50. While Bucky Barnes may be getting overshadowed a bit by other individual titles and big events (Green Lantern's "Blackest Night", Superman's "New Krypton," etc.), Ed Brubaker still has big plans for the new Captain America, and he is far from done telling the story. I'm particularly hopeful for this month's story (and no, it has nothing to do with the "milestone" of a 50th issue). This issue shows us Bucky's birthday, a day that inevitably forces us all to reflect on our pasts, and if there is one thing Bucky is good at lately, it's reflecting on his past. I expect Brubaker to deliver a whopper of a character study here, tying together Bucky's time with Cap, Bucky's time as Cap and his time as Winter Soldier.

Planet Skaar Prologue #1 may also be worth a read, as it should serve as a good jumping on point for new readers to the character before Hulk's son reaches Earth. Reed Richards will serve as our proxy in this issue, as he himself has just learned the news of Hulk's progeny and his impending trip to our planet. Expect loads of backstory in a short amount of time and a bit of a lead in to what could be a good action-packed storyline.

Other top titles from Marvel this week include Fantastic Four #566 (the first part of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's final arc on the title, and their departure could not come sooner for me), Thunderbolts #132 (a new shady killer joins the Thunderbolts, always a good time!), and X-Men Forever: Alpha (Collecting X-Men #1-3 from the early 90s, and a new short story by Chris Claremont, all leading into the "X-Men Forever" series proper).

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