Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This week's comic expectations

Ladies. Gentlemen. Prepare for one whopper of a week for DC Comics. I can barely count the number of DC books in this week's buy pile on my hands, and I need to take my socks off to count all the books I'm taking home. Check out the full list at THIS LINK.

So, where to begin? On any other week like this, "Blackest Night" would have to take center stage — and there is plenty of "Blackest" to go around — but I am going to have to give Adventure Comics #1 the nod for where to start this time. What's so intriguing about this book is, even on the eve of its release, I'm still not sure what exactly we're going to get. On the one hand, it's a Superboy main feature with a Legion of Superheroes co-feature. On the other hand, the Legion will play a role in the main feature, as will Superboy's former Teen Titans teammates. On the other hand, we should expect to see all three different Legions in these pages in the months to come, and Superboy Prime by the fourth issue. Oh, and on the other hand, Francis Manupal said this book will reek of Americana. That's a lot of hands!

But enough about the mystery which is "Adventure Comics." As I said, there is a lot of "Blackest Night" to go around, starting with Blackest Night #2. When last we left our heroes, the Dibneys had just killed the Hawks, consequently making the Hawks black lanterns themselves. Scar had taken the rest of the Guardians hostage, Ray Palmer was freaking out missing Jean Loring (don't worry, Ray, I betcha you'll see her soon!), and Aquaman was about to get turned to the dark side (not to be confused with Darkseid. Oh, and Hal Jordan and Barry Allen were just about to face off with former teammate J'onn J'onnz, but that fight has already been won by the Martian in the last issue of "Green Lantern." All caught up? Good, because I don't have a clue of what Geoff Johns will be pulling out of his rear this time around!

Green Lantern Corps. #39 will be the first issue that really deals with the Green Lantern-specific side of "Blackest Night," as a good part of the issue will be centered on the situation on Oa — dead Green Lanterns turned Black. I'd also bet we'll see the next step in the Sinestro/Mongol showdown here, as well as Sodam Yat's story fighting Mongol on Daxam. I'd also bet "GLC" will be the place for seeing more on the ongoing "War of Light" between the other color lanterns, so this is one must-read book if you're following "Blackest Night."

The "Blackest" content also spills over into the first of the six three-part mini-series to come, Blackest Night: Batman #1. Two reasons to read this one: 1) Deadman, a longtime member of Batman's supporting cast, has got to have some fun things to say about these black rings. 2) Dick Grayson vs. the Flying Graysons. Need I say more?

I'm also psyched (yes, I used the word "psyched" past 1994) about JSA vs. Kobra #3, the next part in the six-issue mini-series depicting Kobra's beatdown on the Justice Society. Well, so far it's been a beat down. We all know the good guys will come back. But, in the meantime, writer Eric Trautman has been spinning an expert tale by narrating from Kobra's point of view for a change, which has really helped show the reader just how far ahead the bad guys are right now. No JSA fan should be sitting this mini out.

Other top DC books out this week include Red Robin #3 (which features Ra's Al Ghul), Action Comics #880 (the second part in the "Codename: Patriot" crossover) and Booster Gold #23 (which begins to reveal the secrets behind Black Beetle).

Marvel's offerings this week are far more sparse, with a couple of exceptions. The Marvels Project #1 may turn out to be a decent series, even if it's just the latest in a growing and lengthy list of "Secrets of the universe's origin!" tales. This particular series will look at the dawn of the Marvel Universe proper, and the origin linking The Invaders in 1939. Why could this one actually be good for a change? Look no further than the creative team, writer Ed Brubaker and artist Steve Epting, the guys who brought Captain America back to prominence.

That said, I'm trade-waiting this one, since I have so little faith in these "secret origin" stories.

And speaking of Marvel stories I have no faith in, the relaunch of the Ultimate Comics Universe continues this week with Ultimate Comics Avengers #1 and Ultimate Comics Spider-man #1. The good news is, Mark Millar is back on Avengers and Brian Bendis is still on Spidey. The bad news? Can anything undo the stink left on the Ultimate Universe by "Ultimatum?" The Ultimate Universe was built as a continuity-free playground where writers like Bendis and Millar could stretch their creative legs. Did anyone at Marvel actually think the way to reset that universe was by killing off tons of characters and decimating the land? Isn't that just a crapload of continuity to work around?

Also of note from Marvel this week is Cable #17, Uncanny X-Men #514 (the fourth part of the "Utopia" storyline), and Incredible Hercules #132.

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