Is it June already? My parents were right, I guess: Time really does fly.
The first Wednesday of the sixth month brings the debut of DC’s latest weekly experiment, Trinity, the return of Manhunter, and the end of The Midnight (the series, not the character). It also sees the third issue of Marvel’s Secret Invasion, the premiere of Ultimate Origins, and the conclusion of the first Criminal 2 story arc.
Let’s see, what else? Another issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a new Wormwood trade paperback, and a lovely looking, if pricey, Okami art book.
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.
Kevin’s pick of the week: Manhunter #31
Last seen a year ago, DC’s Little Comic That Could returns with series creator Mark Andreyko and new artist Michael Gaydos (Alias) in tow for a story that takes Kate Spencer to the Mexican border to investigate the disappearances of hundreds of women.
Two things about Manhunter‘s latest resurrection stand out: The first is DC’s decision to continue the numbering with Issue 31, instead of relaunching with a new No. 1. The second is Andreyko’s choice of story, which seems to echo the real-life murders around Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Many writers would’ve stacked the deck, bringing in popular guest stars to try to boost sales. But for the return arc, Andreyko looks to be maintaining the engaging, and occasionally challenging, character-driven plots that have been a hallmark of the series.
How will that pay off? I don’t know. Unfortunately, slow and steady rarely seems to win the race in the direct market. But I hope Manhunter can keep in the running.
Chris’ pick of the week: Criminal 2 #3
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ three-part Rashomon-style noir tale concludes in this issue. I’m not sure what to say about this, really, that I or other bloggers haven’t already said. It’s a fabulous series, quite possibly the best pamphlet comic being published, and the new, expanded format suits Brubaker and Phillips’ talents nicely. If anything’s worth your $3.50, this surely is.
Lobster Johnson, Vol. 1: The Iron Prometheus
Kevin: Mike Mignola’s pulp vigilante, long a background character in the Hellboy universe, steps into the spotlight in this trade paperback, which collects last year’s miniseries by Mignola and Jason Armstrong (plus some extras).
American Splendor Season Two #3 (of 4)
Chris: Darwyn Cooke fans alert! He provides the cover and illustrates one of the interior stories in this latest issue of the Harvey Pekar mini-series.
Fables, Vol. 10: The Good Prince
Chris: This is one of the few series I’ve actually been reading in trade format, so I’ll be adding this to my Amazon wish list, toot sweet. I’m about a volume behind in my reading, though, so it probably will be awhile before I nab this. Collects Issues 60-69 of the series, which apparently focus on the Flycatcher character.
The Legion of Super-Heroes: 1,050 Years in the Future
Kevin: The solicitation says “in the Future,” but the cover art says “of,” so I’m not sure which is correct. Whatever it is, it’s part of DC’s 50th-anniversary celebration for the 30th century’s greatest heroes. The 224-page book collects classic stories by the likes of Otto Binder, Jerry Siegel, Jim Shooter, Paul Levitz, Curt Swan and Keith Giffen, and includes timelines, character profiles, cover galleries and other extras.
The Midnighter #20
Kevin: And so The Midnighter’s solo series comes to an end. Oh, Wildstorm, what’s to be done with you?
Tom Strong, Book 6
Chris: The softcover edition of the final volume in the Tom Strong series finally lands. TS was probably the weakest link in Alan Moore’s ABC chain, but he made up for it handsomely in that very moving finale.
Kevin: I’m interested to see how this, DC’s newest entry into weekly comics, shapes up. 52, the 2006 event that kicked off the publisher’s return — after two decades — to the weekly format, was generally well-received. But the follow-up, Countdown, was largely panned. Trinity has the benefit of being much narrower in scope: It centers on Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman instead of trying to cover the length and breadth of the DC Universe. It also has at its helm, at least for the lead story, writer Kurt Busiek and workhorse artist Mark Bagley.
The Boys #19
Chris: You know, some day someone will write a lengthy thesis comparing and contrasting Mark Millar and Garth Ennis’ use of extreme violence and sophomoric humor to satirize the superhero genre. Someone will, but it won’t be me. I hope.
Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #40
Kevin: I’m an easy mark for fish-out-of-water stories, particularly when they involve Asgard. Here, Spider-Man is transported to the home of the Aesir as payment for helping a demi-goddess. Who can pass up that cover image of scrawny Spider-Man in a too-large helmet as he grips Mjolnir?
Omega: The Unknown #9 (of 10)
Chris: The penultimate issue of the other greatest pamphlet series out right now arrives this week as well. My faith in the monthly pamphlet serialization format is rewarded! For this week, at least.
Secret Invasion #3 ( of 8 )
Chris: More Skrulls. More beatings. For a good many Marvel fans, that’s all that’s needed.
Thor: Search for Odin #1
Kevin: Speaking of Asgard, here’s this comic, by Thor writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Marko Djurdjevic. I haven’t been following the regular series closely, so I have no idea how — or if — this ties into it.
Ultimate Origins #1 (of 5)
Kevin: The once-bold Ultimate Universe seems a little listless now, doesn’t it? Maybe this miniseries, which reveals the mysterious conspiracy that supposedly weaves through all things Ultimate, will re-energize the imprint. Okay, probaly not — really, do we need another comic-book cabal? — but it’s by Brian Michael Bendis, Jackson Guice and Simone Bianchi. So, it’ll be a crowd-pleaser, I’m sure.
Asterix at the Olympic Games Tie-In Album
Chris: Remember when Asterix used to be really clever and funny? Yeah, those where the days.
Chris: Fantagraphics is re-releasing a whole bunch of titles in its Ignatz line. I’m not sure why; perhaps new issues are coming down the pike any day now. If you must limit yourself to only one, I’d say Richard Sala’s Delphine — a retelling of the Snow White fable (sorta) — is your first choice, but Igort’s Baobab and Sergio Ponchione’s Grotesque are both quite compelling titles in their own right as well.
Frank hardcover (new printing)
Chris: Oooooo! A re-release of massive Jim Woodring book collecting all the wordless Frank stories. At least, I hope that’s what it is. Watch it be the story of Frank the janitor or something like that.
The Number 73304-23-4153-6-96-8
Chris: The ever-gruesome German cartoonist known as Thomas Ott dishes up another macabre tale for all you good little boys and ghouls out there … heh, heh, heh. Sorry, couldn’t help myself there. Anyway, this is a story about a man who attempts to unravel a mystery involving the numbers in the title. Expect surreal, unsettling horror and highly detailed scratchboard-style art work.
Okami Official Complete Works
Chris: Man, I loved this video game. It was, hands down, one of the best things I’ve played in years. I don’t know if that would be enough to justify the purchase of this $40 art book, but I’d at least weigh it in my hands for a few minutes before putting it back on the shelf.
Wormwood: Calamari Rising trade paperback
Kevin: Ben Templesmith’s second Wormwood series, featuring The Brotherood of the Calamari, gets a trade paperback from IDW Publishing.
Nicest Naughty Fairy
Chris: Not porn, believe it or not, but a children’s book. Sorry to disappoint.
The full list of titles shipping this week can be found here.