Robot 6

Cheat Sheet | From ‘March: Book One’ to ‘THUNDER Agents’

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Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. With the buzz of D23 Expo dying down, we now turn our attention to Wednesday’s comics, which include the much-anticipated debut of March: Book One, which contributor Corey Blake says “isn’t just the release of the week, it’s the release of the year.”

To see what our other contributors pick, keep reading …

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THUNDER Agents #1

IDW becomes the latest publisher to try its hand at a THUNDER Agents revival, this time courtesy of writer Phil Hester and artist Andrea DiVito. Both have solid superhero credentials, and judging by this CBR interview [http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=44636] longtime fan Hester is especially enthusiastic. Still, the THUNDER Agents have been a tough sell in the past. DC’s recent efforts emphasized the Agents’ transitory nature, taking a more cynical approach. Hester wants to emphasize a “timeless now” in order to welcome new readers, but the question will be whether those readers are ready for yet another superhero revival. I like both Hester and DiVito, and I especially like Hester’s energy, so I’ll be eager to see if this time THUNDER Agents finds an audience. – Tom Bondurant

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Outliers #1

As a big fan of Alternative Comics when it was run by founder Jeff Mason, I’m reassured by Outliers that the company is in safe hands with new publisher Marc Arsenault. I’ve had a chance to read an advance copy of Erik T. Johnson’s comic about a friendless boy who makes a connection with a mysterious giant who lives in the woods. It’s the kind of concept that can go a couple of different ways, but Johnson makes it work with strong characters, inventive creature designs, and a brushy style that will please fans of Paul Pope and Sam Hiti. The book is pricy at $5 for the single issue, but Johnson’s designed it as a work of art in itself with metallic-ink covers, high-end paper stock, and a color dust jacket. It’s worth the price and has me eager for more. – Michael May

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Wolverine and the X-Men #34

For the past few issues, the usually good Wolverine and the X-Men has gotten great, as the Hellfire Club formed its own rival school to Wolverine’s and set about teaching the next generation of mutants to be evil, all as part of a plan to sell more Sentinel robots. Issue 34 brings the X-Men looking for their own kidnapped students, and I think what I’ve liked about this whole storyline — heck, what I’ve liked about the book since it started — is that it a) never takes itself too seriously, and b) throws all sorts of crazy shit at the reader without really worrying about whether or it always make complete sense. Like we’ve got all these teenaged students learning how to be evil mutants at a school run by pre-teens? Anyhow, Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw ratchet up the insanity each issue but manage to somehow keep the whole thing grounded in the character moments that have come to define Wolverine, his relationship with his students and their relationships with each other. I didn’t think things could get much better than Issue 30, where we saw Eye-Man jump out of an orbiting Sentinel head to blast vampires, but this storyline has done it. Can’t wait to see how it ends. – JK Parkin

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March: Book One

Five years in the making, the first installment of a planned trilogy of graphic novels about the life of Congressman John Lewis and his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement is released this week. Nate Powell brings his evocative atmosphere and deft storytelling to unlock the fascinating development of a historic figure and his character. Co-written by Lewis and Andrew Aydin, the book aims to pick up the baton handed off by the 1957 comic book Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story that was used to spread the philosophy and protest strategies of non-violence. Lewis is the last living member of the Big Six, the prominent civil rights leaders instrumental in coordinating the March on Washington and other events that led to the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of the ’60s. As such, this graphic novel serves as a crucial firsthand document of a seminal moment in American history that all but guarantees its place in schools and libraries. For me, this isn’t just the release of the week, it’s the release of the year. – Corey Lewis

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