A dead hero, four divas and a crusty sailor walk into a comic shop …
It’s also New Comics Day, which means Captain America: Reborn #1 won’t be alone on store shelves. Fighting the much-publicized issue for attention will be the debuts of Greek Street, Justice League: Cry for Justice, Marvel Divas and Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels.
In addition, there’s the penultimate issue of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s run on Fantastic Four, the second issue of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s Batman and Robin, the conclusion of Roger Langridge’s Muppet Show miniseries, and Kevin Cannon’s Far Arden. For starters, obviously.
To see what other comics might deserve a second look, just keep reading. And, as always, be sure to leave your picks in the comments below.
Kevin Melrose’s pick of the week: Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels #1 (of 5)
Titles like Captain America: Reborn, Justice League: Cry for Justice or, heck, Marvel Divas probably will receive the lion’s share of the attention this week. However, I’m most interested in reading the adventures of Sir Edward Grey.
For those not steeped in the world of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Grey is a Victorian occult detective who’s been glimpsed occasionally in B.P.R.D. and Hellboy, and in a short story on MySpace Dark Horse Presents.
This five-issue miniseries, written by Mignola and illustrated by Ben Stenbeck (with colors by Dave Stewart), finds Grey in the service of Queen Victoria and confronting the mysterious Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra. Beyond that, I don’t know what’s in store, which is how I like when dealing with the Hellboy universe. You can read a 10-page preview here.
JK Parkin’s pick of the week: Chew #1 (second printing) and Chew #2
I was pleasantly surprised to see that Chew #1, the new Image title by John Layman and Rob Guillory, was a sellout. I knew I was looking forward to it, but it’s great to see that a lot of other people were, too.
This is also one of those books that really exceeded my expectations. I mentioned earlier this year that it was one of the projects I was looking forward to coming out of WonderCon, based on the high concept, the excellent artwork and Layman’s enthusiasm for it at the show, and the first issue didn’t let me down. It’s a fun, odd story with a great main character who has one of those disabling superpowers that’s both amusing and disgusting in its application. And Guillory’s artwork just adds to the fun.
In addition to Issue 2 hitting the stands, a second printing of Issue 1 is also out this week. So here’s your chance to read the story thus far if you missed out last month.
Chris Mautner’s pick of the week: Brat Pack New Edition trade paperback
Aw, yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ about. If you’re looking to deconstruct some superhero tropes old school-style you could do a lot worse than this noteworthy series about teen sidekicks, courtesy of the King Hell man hisself, Mister Rick Veitch. This remastered edition sports a new cover, and an introduction by Neil Gaiman.
If you’re the sort who likes their superhero funnybooks clean and pure, you’d best stay away from this one.
Batman and Robin #2
Kevin: Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s wild, and well-received, ride continues as the new Dynamic Duo face the Circus of Strange. Plus, undoubtedly, we’ll see more of the bizarre Professor Pyg.
Greek Street #1
JK: Another $1 first issue by another returning Vertigo writer, as Peter Milligan takes us to Greek Street. Mike Carey hit a home run with The Unwritten, and I could use another Vertigo comic on my pull list, so let’s see how this one goes. CBR has a preview.
Justice League: Cry for Justice #1 (of 7)
JK: All I can say is “Finally.” Okay, that’s not all I can say: The art is beautiful, but the main draw here for me is James Robinson. This should be a good indication of what we can expect when he takes over the main Justice League title later this year. Check out the preview here.
Existence 2.0 #1 (of 3)
JK: Do reviews sell comics? Do bad reviews — or, more appropriately, mediocre reviews — sell comics? Dunno, but a less-than-stellar one certainly caught my eye this week. Don MacPherson at Eye on Comics had an interesting review of the first issue of this new Image series. Overall, he seemed to like it, but he only gave it six out of ten stars because he found the main character so thoroughly unlikable. Which really makes me kind of curious to check this one out.
Captain America: Reborn #1 (of 5)
Kevin: And here it is: The comic that will launch a thousand message-board debates, as readers argue the rationale for bringing back Steve Rogers, the mechanism of his resurrection and, yes, whether comic-book deaths have any meaning. If I had my druthers, Rogers would remain … wherever he is … and Bucky Barnes would continue to be Captain America for years to come. But Marvel didn’t consult me, so I’ll just have to put my faith in Ed Brubaker & Co., and continue to enjoy the ride. For those trying to figure out how Brubaker might explain Captain America’s rebirth, Graeme McMillan has constructed a theory.
Marvel Divas #1 (of 5)
Kevin: As I wrote on Friday, my skepticism about this miniseries lessened considerably after reading the preview of the first issue. Still, I had reservations about a possible breast-cancer storyline involving Firestar. And so yesterday I read this brief item about Marvel Divas on a New York Times blog — “Cancer and Cheesecake”? — and some of that initial skepticism returned. Yes, Firestar has breast cancer, because writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa thought the development “helped give the series some gravitas.” Sigh.
Runaways: Rock Zombies Premiere Hardcover
Kevin: I realize Marvel wants to get its money’s worth out of Terry Moore’s brief tenure on Runaways, but a “premiere hardcover” containing (according to Marvel’s website) just four issues of his run seems like a bit of a stretch. What’s more, the final issue in the collection — Issue 10 — wasn’t written by Moore. Ah, well, it’s the last chance they get to put “Terry Moore” on the cover in giant type.
USA Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special
JK: They had me at John Arcudi, but Steve Ellis? Totally seals the deal.
The Boys #32
The Boys, Vol. 4: We Gotta Go Now
Chris: It’s a good week to be a Boys fan, as the latest issue arrives as well as the trade collection of the recent X-Men parody storyline. I felt that recent arc was the weakest one in the series yet, but the unexpected death in the cast has me eager to find out what happens in this new issue.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Newspaper Dailies, Vol. 2 hardcover
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: The Complete Series, Vol. 1 hardcover
Chris: Huh. I wasn’t aware either of these were out and about. The first is, of course, the classic (and somewhat crude, at least in its early days) comic strip. The second is a 1960s comic-book adaptation of a popular TV show, notable mainly for the contributions of folks like Mike Sekowsky and Don Heck.
Far Arden hardcover
Chris: Kevin Cannon’s webcomic-turned-graphic novel about a crusty sailor searching for a mystical paradise seems poised to be Top Shelf’s breakout book of the year. Those who have read it certainly seem to like it, at any rate.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Chris: The acclaimed anime film gets a graphic novel adaptation, courtesy of Bandai and artist Ranmaru Kotone. It’s about a girl who travels through time, but you probably figured that out all on your own.
The Muppet Show #4 (of 4)
Chris: And with this Roger Langridge wraps up his work on The Muppets, at least for now. This series seems to have netted him quite a bit of attention. Let’s hope some of the folks who liked this series go and check out his other work as well.
Strange Eggs Jumps the Shark
JK: This is the book that was accidentally marked as “Kid Friendly” in Previews. So don’t buy it for your kids; buy it for yourself. It’s an anthology with contributions by Roger Langridge, James Turner, Ben Towle, Jhonen Vasquez, Derf and J. Marc Schmidt, so it should be worth checking out.
Chris: A new anthology of nonfiction comics, edited by Brendan Buford. Contributors include Paul Karasik and Nick Bertozzi. I liked it.
The Comics Journal #298
Chris: Lotsa good interviews in this issue, including Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba, Perry Bible Fellowship creator Nicholas Gurewitch and superhero artist Trevor Von Eeden. For me though, the meat of the issue is the wealth of daily Skippy strips by Percy Crosby reproduced in the gallery section.
Voice of the Fire
Chris: Top Shelf also has the paperback edition of Alan Moore’s first novel out this week. I haven’t read it, but I understand it’s a humdinger.
The full list of items arriving in stores this week can be found here.