There’s little denying the week’s big releases are Captain America #34, which sees the debut of the new Sentinel of Liberty, and Y: The Last Man #60, which marks the end of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s critically acclaimed Vertigo series.
But tomorrow also brings the much-anticipated first volume of Kazu Kibuishi’s new graphic novel series, Amulet, collections of two dearly missed recent superhero comics, Manhunter and Young Avengers, the debut of Jamie Delano’s sci-fi series, and the first trade paperback of Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba’s trippy Casanova.
To see what other titles Chris Mautner and I think are worth mentioning, just keep reading. As always, let us know your choices in the comments below.
Chris’ pick of the week: Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper
I’ve been more than a little harsh when talking about the Kazu Kibuishi-edited Flight volumes (I believe the word “shallow” came up more than once). And, to be honest, his other, personal work hasn’t really impressed me that much.
All that being said, I was really won over by the first volume of Amulet, an all-ages series from Scholastic about a tween girl and her young brother who are forced to travel to a fantastic land in order to save their mother. There’s a subplot about the girl being the chosen one to wield the magic amulet of the title.
Sure, it hits a lot of the typical fantasy cliches, and Kibuishi wears his influences on his sleeve (particularly Miyazaki), but he has a great sense of pacing and character development here, and I found myself quickly wrapped up in the siblings’ adventures and eager to find out what happens next. Previews can be found here.
Kevin’s pick of the week: Y: The Last Man #60
In an interview with USA Today, writer Brian K. Vaughan said, “We’re so spoiled by comics with Spider-Man and Superman and the X-Men, that sort of illusion of the third act, it goes on forever. I think finales are what give stories their meaning.” That stuck in my head this morning as I was trying to come up with something to say about the end of Y: The Last Man that wouldn’t sound like a maudlin eulogy.
He’s right, though, about us being spoiled: We often expect ongoing series at DC and Marvel to do just that — go on forever. Well, until they’re killed by low sales or “event”-induced editorial fiat (only to be relaunched months later). But Vaughan, like Neil Gaiman (The Sandman) before him and Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (100 Bullets) soon to follow, decided his story has a definite third act. Unlike The Sandman, however, there won’t be any spin-offs or sequels. With artist Pia Guerra, Vaughan has told the tale of Yorick Brown; no more needs to be said.
Here, with this 48-page 60th issue, we get to see how it all ends. (And if you want to see how it began, the first issue is still available for free online.)
Batman: The Man Who Laughs hardcover
Chris: A hardcover edition of the 2005 Ed Brubaker/Doug Mahnke story about the Caped Crusader’s first meet-up with the Joker. I remember it as being rather well done, though short, so I hope they add some extras to the package to justify the price a bit more.
Manhunter, Vol. 4: Unleashed
Kevin: This trade paperback collects what are, at least at this point, the final seven issues of Marc Andreyko’s intelligent and complex superhero series. Its appearance serves as a reminder that Manhunter supposedly received another reprieve from cancellation. However, some seven months after the release of Issue 30, there’s been nary a peep about the future of this title.
The Spirit #13
Chris: Not the debut of the Sergio Aragones and Mike Ploog, but a collection of short stories by folks like Gail Simone and Michael Golden. Darwyn Cooke handles the cover chores.
The Trials of Shazam #11 (of 12)
Kevin: I swear, it feels like this miniseries started years ago. Wait, it did! The first issue came out in October 2006.
Casanova, Vol. 1: Luxuria
Kevin: If you came in late to Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba’s fast-paced spy-fi series, or you’re intrigued by the (well-deserved) hype, here’s your chance to immerse yourself in the world(s) of Casanova Quinn.
Captain America #34
Kevin: The identity of the new Captain America won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has even passing familiarity with the title — I won’t spoil it here, just in case — but it’s a credit to Ed Brubaker’s skill as a storyteller that he doesn’t rely on “shock” for this turning point in the series. He doesn’t need to; there’s a logic and purpose to his writing that just makes this feel right.
New Avengers Annual #2
Frank Booth’s The Hood’s gang take the fight to the Avengers! Well, so says the solicitation text. Okay, not the Frank Booth part; I added that. Anyway, this continues the super-creepy Hood/Tigra storyline, and introduces the series debut of artist Carlo Pagulayan (Incredible Hulk).
Ultimate Secrets #1
Kevin: For fans of the Ultimate line and the Marvel Handbook series, here’s your guide to all things Ultimate-y.
Young Avengers hardcover
Kevin: Like the Manhunter trade paperback, this collection serves as a reminder of a very good superhero comic that’s apparently in some hellish limbo. It’s a shame, really.
Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters #1
Chris: Man, I remember when this book first came out way back in the ’80s, and was held aloft as a stunning example of all that was wrong with the black-and-white market at the time. Now it’s back again. I’m not nearly smart enough to figure out quite what that means, but I’m not sure it’s anything good.
Baghdad Journal: An Artist in Occupied Iraq
Iraq: Operation Corporate Takeover
Chris: The first book comes from Drawn and Quarterly and is a collection of photorealistic drawings and illustrations that artist Steve Mumford did during four trips to Baghdad between 2003 and 2004. I don’t remember it getting a lot of press when it was first released, which may well be why it’s being offered through Diamond now (if it was at all the first time, my memory’s a little hazy).
The second purports to be a “cutting edge graphic novel about the corporations who are profiting from the conflict in Iraq.” Your mileage will obviously vary according to your own feelings about the current state of the war.
Black Summer #5 (of 7)
Chris: The new issue of this Warren Ellis’ dystopian superhero series is out and about.
Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang
Chris: A reprint of a 1922 edition of the classic risque (for its time) humor magazine. For me all that name does is conjure up memories of The Music Man.
Hell Girl, Vol. 1
Chris: Here it is, not even the end of January, and what will surely be regarded as one of the worst manga series of the year (at least in my house) comes tromping through the gates. It’s a shojo horror series about a magic website where if you type the person’s name at midnight, they will be sent to h-e-double-hockey-sticks. Thus, we have lots of dew-eyed pubescent girls who seek revenge on the mean veterinarians who killed their wittle doggie or stole their cake recipe or what have you. Trust me when I say you have better things to do with your money than spend it on this.
Narcopolis #1 (of 4)
Chris: Jamie Delano fans will want to note the debut of this new sci-fi Avatar series, about futuristic cities and terrorism. That’s about all I cold gleam from the summary. Jeremy Rock handles the art chores.
Warriors, Vol. 2: Warriors Refuge
Chirs: More stories about talking cats from Tokyopop/HarperCollins. This is a real popular series with the kids, so I bet it sells like gangbusters everywhere but comic shops.
Here’s the full list of comics shipping this week:
DARK HORSE COMICS
NOV070022 CONAN #48 (MR) $2.99
AUG070161 KOTOBUKIYA GENERAL GRIEVOUS EPISODE III VINYL MODEL KIT $199.00
AUG070159 OH MY GODDESS VOL 28 RTL TP $10.95
OCT070044 PREDATOR OMNIBUS TP VOL 02 $24.95
AUG070130 STAR WARS DARK TIMES #8 $2.99
NOV070010 STAR WARS KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC #25 $2.99
NOV070194 ACTION COMICS #861 $2.99
NOV070187 BATMAN #673 $2.99
SEP070214 BATMAN THE MAN WHO LAUGHS HC $19.99
NOV070180 BLACK ADAM THE DARK AGE #6 (OF 6) $2.99
NOV070250 CARTOON NETWORK BLOCK PARTY #41 $2.25
NOV070172 COUNTDOWN TO ADVENTURE #6 ( OF 8 ) $3.99
NOV070168 COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS 13 $2.99
NOV070289 CROSSING MIDNIGHT #15 (MR) $2.99
JUN070298 DC ARMORY SER 1 AQUAMAN AF PI
JUN070299 DC ARMORY SER 1 BATMAN AF PI
JUN070300 DC ARMORY SER 1 NIGHTWING AF PI
NOV070177 DEATH OF THE NEW GODS #5 ( OF 8 ) $3.50
OCT070252 EL DIABLO TP (MR) $12.99
NOV070206 GREEN LANTERN #27 $2.99
NOV070293 JACK OF FABLES #19 (MR) $2.99
NOV070211 JSA CLASSIFIED #34 $2.99
OCT070200 MANHUNTER TP VOL 04 UNLEASHED $17.99
OCT070190 OUTSIDERS CHECKMATE CHECKOUT TP $14.99
OCT070226 PENGUIN REVOLUTION VOL 05 $9.99
OCT070185 SPIRIT #13 $2.99
NOV070220 TRIALS OF SHAZAM #11 (OF 12) $2.99
NOV070275 Y THE LAST MAN #60 (MR) (NOTE PRICE) $4.99
OCT071974 CASANOVA TP VOL 01 LUXURIA (MR) $12.99
AUG072018 MADMAN ATOMIC COMICS #6 $2.99
NOV072052 PROOF #4 (MR) $2.99
SEP072008 SUBURBAN GLAMOUR #3 (OF 4) $3.50
OCT072042 WITCHBLADE CVR A CHOI & OBACK #114 $2.99
OCT072043 WITCHBLADE CVR B BASRI #114 $2.99
NOV078192 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #546 BND 2ND PTG VAR $3.99
NOV072136 AVENGERS INITIATIVE #9 $2.99
NOV072137 CAPTAIN AMERICA #34 $2.99
NOV072138 CAPTAIN AMERICA CHOSEN #6 (OF 6) $3.99
NOV072140 DAREDEVIL #104 $2.99
NOV072143 FANTASTIC FOUR #553 $2.99
NOV072146 HOUSE OF M AVENGERS #4 (OF 5) $2.99
NOV078193 HULK #1 2ND PTG VAR $2.99
NOV072154 MARVEL ADVENTURES FANTASTIC FOUR #32 $2.99
NOV072125 MARVEL SPOTLIGHT ULTIMATES 3 $2.99
OCT078066 MARVEL ZOMBIES ARMY OF DARKNESS HC 2ND PTG DM VAR $19.99
NOV072165 MIGHTY AVENGERS #8 $2.99
NOV072201 MMW SILVER SURFER HC VOL 01 $54.99
NOV072202 MMW SILVER SURFER HC VOL 01 VAR ED 15 $54.99
NOV072166 NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #2 $3.99
NOV072211 NEW AVENGERS PREM HC ILLUMINATI $19.99
NOV072222 NEW AVENGERS TRANSFORMERS TP $10.99
AUG072280 RED PROPHET TALES OF ALVIN MAKER #12 (OF 12) $2.99
OCT072080 SPIDER MAN SWING SHIFT DIRECTORS CUT ONE SHOT $3.99
NOV072131 SPIDER-MAN WITH GREAT POWER #1 (OF 5) $3.99
NOV072126 ULTIMATE SECRETS $3.99
NOV072121 ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #118 $2.99
NOV072122 ULTIMATE X-MEN #90 $2.99
NOV072223 UNCANNY X-MEN TP RISE & FALL OF THE SHIAR EMPIRE $29.99
NOV072178 WHAT IF SPIDER-MAN VS WOLVERINE $2.99
NOV078080 X-FACTOR #26 2ND PTG VAR (PP #798) $2.99
NOV072190 X-MEN EMPEROR VULCAN #5 (OF 5) $2.99
NOV072207 X-MEN HC ENDANGERED SPECIES $24.99
NOV072209 YOUNG AVENGERS HC $29.99
NOV072197 ZOMBIE SIMON GARTH #3 (OF 4) (MR) $3.99
SEP073267 MARVEL ZOMBIES 2 #1 CGC 9.8 PI
DEC073288 WIZARD MAGAZINE #197 DARK SECTOR CVR $5.99
DEC073286 WIZARD MAGAZINE #197 FINAL CRISIS JG JONES CVR $5.99
DEC073287 WIZARD MAGAZINE #197 HEROES TV CVR $5.99
OCT073575 A G SUPER EROTIC ANTHOLOGY #74 (A) $4.99
NOV073453 ADOLESCENT RADIOACTIVE BLACK BELT HAMSTERS #1 $3.50
SEP073718 AMULET HC VOL 01 STONEKEEPER $21.99
SEP073717 AMULET SC VOL 01 STONEKEEPER $9.99
NOV073770 ANDREA D #1 (OF 3) (MR) $2.99
NOV073317 ARCHIE DIGEST #241 $2.49
NOV073644 BADGER SAVES THE WORLD #2 (OF 5) $3.99
OCT073486 BAGHDAD JOURNAL AN ARTIST IN OCCUPIED IRAQ HC (JUN052939) $34.95
NOV073321 BETTY & VERONICA #233 $2.25
OCT073296 BLACK SUMMER #5 (OF 7) (MR) $2.99
DEC073440 BLACK SUMMER AUXILIARY #2 (OF 7) (MR) $2.99
OCT073297 BLACK SUMMER WRAP CVR #5 (OF 7) (MR) $2.99
NOV073239 CAPTAIN BILLYS WHIZ BANG $5.99
NOV073520 DARK 48 #1 $3.99
OCT073870 DEVI #17 $2.99
AUG073611 DF COUNTDOWN PRESENTS LORD HAVOK & THE EXTREMISTS SGN #1 $19.99
SEP073607 DF COUNTDOWN PRESENTS SEARCH RAY PALMER GOTHAM GASLIGHT SGN $19.99
AUG073612 DF DAREDEVIL ANNUAL SGN #1 $29.99
SEP073609 DF DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA VOL 1 PREMIERE HC SGN $69.99
AUG073616 DF INCREDIBLE HULK SGN #111 $19.99
DEC073630 DIARY OF MOLLY FREDRICKSON VOL 1 GN PEANUT BUTTER (O/A) (A) $9.95
DEC073445 DOKTOR SLEEPLESS AUXILIARY #2 (MR) $3.99
NOV073390 DRAGON CROSS #3 (MR) $3.25
OCT073576 ELEMENTS GN (A) $19.95
OCT073467 FIST OF JUSTICE #1 $3.99
NOV073405 FUTURAMA COMICS #35 $2.99
NOV073648 GENE SIMMONS ZIPPER #3 $3.99
AUG078159 GFT RETURN TO WONDERLAND #1 (OF 6) NEW PTG VAR CVR $2.99
AUG078160 GFT RETURN TO WONDERLAND #2 (OF 6) NEW PTG VAR CVR $2.99
SEP073572 GI JOE STORM SHADOW TP VOL 01 SOLO $18.99
DEC073825 GOOD AND EVIL TP $12.95
NOV073485 HELL GIRL GN VOL 01 $10.95
NOV073886 INDIA AUTHENTIC #9 KARTIKKEYA $2.99
DEC073504 IRAQ GN OPERATION CORPORATE TAKEOVER $10.00
NOV073324 JUGHEAD #187 $2.25
DEC073303 KIDS OF LOWER UTOPIA GN VOL 01 $21.00
NOV073693 KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #135 $4.99
OCT073321 LADY DEATH 2007 SWIMSUIT SP JEWEL CVR $39.99
OCT073404 MERCENARIES #3 (MR) $3.99
DEC073433 NARCOPOLIS #1 (OF 4) (MR) $3.99
DEC073434 NARCOPOLIS #1 (OF 4) WRAP CVR (MR) $3.99
OCT073425 NEGIMA GN VOL 16 (MR) $10.95
SEP073919 NEXUS ORIGIN S&N ED PI
OCT073386 PROJECT SUPERPOWERS #0 $1.00
DEC073868 RT COMICS TP VOL 01 YEAR ONE (MR) $16.95
SEP073453 SALEM #0 (OF 4) $3.99
NOV073334 SONIC X #29 $2.25
NOV074113 SOUTHLAND TALES THE PRELUDE SAGA LTD HC BK $79.95
NOV074029 STEPHEN KING DUMA KEY HC $28.00
NOV073729 SUCKULINA VAMPIRE TEMP $3.50
SEP073348 SULLENGREY TP VOL 01 CEMETERY THINGS (MR) $19.95
NOV073416 TAROT WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #48 (MR) $2.95
NOV073392 TEMPEST #3 (MR) $3.25
DEC073783 TEMPLAR ARIZONA GN VOL 01 GREAT OUTDOORS (MR) $15.00
OCT073407 TERMINATOR 2 INFINITY #6 (MR) $3.50
NOV073811 TOKYOPOP PRE-PACK BESTSELLERS 1 (JUL078240) (MR) PI
SEP073448 VIOLET ROSE #1 $3.50
DEC073685 WARRIORS GN VOL 02 WARRIORS REFUGE (OF 3) $6.99
NOV073415 WHAT WERE THEY THINKING TP VOL 01 (RES) $14.99
OCT073602 WORMWOOD CALAMARI RISING #1 $3.99
SEP073565 XOMBIE TP VOL 01 REANIMATED $18.99