Blue Beetle #36: The ongoing series starring Blue Beetle III reaches its final issue, which no doubt bums out some Jaime Reyes fans, but I’m more impressed that it lasted this long than I am sad to see it go. DC’s last ongoing Blue Beetle series, the 1986 one starring Blue Beetle II, only made it 24 issues, after all. Matthew Sturges and Carlo Barberi will be dragging the title across the finish line, but don’t cry for Jaime! You can still see him in other comics, including two that come out this very week. He teams up with Batman in Batman: The Brave and The Bold #2 by Matt Wayne and Phil Moy, and, in Teen Titans # 68, Jaime joins Kid Eternity to try and explain to Kid Devil that no one has worn a backwards baseball cap for at least 15 years now in a tale by Sean McKeever, Eddy Barrows and Ruy Jose (Behold Kid Devil’s terrible fashion choices in this preview).
Fantastic Four #564: A “very special Christmas issue”…in the last week of February? Why on Earth would they…oh right, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch are still on FF, right? I guess that makes sense. This is part 1 of a two-part story, so look for the very special Boxing Day issue sometime around mid-April.
Larry Marder’s Beanworld Book 1: Wahoolazuma!: At one point this was scheduled for release a few weeks ago, I swear. That’s why I reviewed it here back when I did. But now it looks like it’s really, truly, actually coming out this week, so you can now buy and read it if you want. It’s probably the best thing I’ve read so far this year, but no sense getting into all that again here. This 270-page hardcover collection assembles the first nine issues of Marder’s unique series under one cover, and will cost you $19.95. Dark Horse has a brief preview here.
New Avengers #50: Why it seems like only yesterday fans were howling about Brian Michael Bendis’ radical new direction for the Avengers team, a strategy punctuated by taking all of the Avengers off of the team, putting in some of the most popular characters and/or ones Bendis just happened to like, and focusing on decompressed, written-for-the-trade, street level “adventures” (note the scare quotes) that mostly involved talking. Wait, it probably was yesterday, wasn’t it? At any rate, you can’t argue with success—enough people dug what Bendis was doing that New Avengers has not only become one of the most popular superhero comics in the direct market, but it’s made it all the way to 50 issues. This is a (hopefully) oversized anniversary issue that will run you $4.99. Art comes courtesy of Billy Tan and Matt Banning. It’s only one of three Avengers releases this week (Not counting trades and second printings). In Avengers: The Initiative #22, the old New Warriors show up to throw down against Clor, and in Mighty Avengers #22, Dan Slott and Khoi Pham continue to try to put the Avengers back into one of the books bearing their name.
Savage Dragon #137 (Fourth Printing): Jesus people, four printings? Really? This is the issue in which Savage Dragon endorsed Barack Obama, back when he was still running for president, rather than the president elect. Larsen, like Todd Nauck and Phil Jimenez, draws a pretty bad likeness of Obama, but at least he’s fixed the tie. I found the fact that Larsen and Amazing Spider-Man editor Stephen Wacker were arguing about their books’ use of Obama a few weeks back kind of amusing, but credit where credit is due—Larsen (and his character and his book) endorsed Obama the candidate instead of just slapping together a pretty embarrassing cash grab after America had already decided which presidential candidate was more popular.
Savage Dragon #145: And speaking of Larsen, Savage Dragon and Obama, in this issue the big green title character returns to his home town of Chicago, which also happens to be the home town of you-know-who. Obama appears in the story, which promises to be a “great jumping on point” and a lead-in to the upcoming “Image United” storyline, and the variant cover features a daps exchange between the Dragon and the president. Larsen’s gotten a bit better with drawing Obama apparently, and the cover is rendered in the Shephrd Fairey, “Hope” poster color scheme.
She-Hulk #38: The final issue of another superhero series that will be joining Blue Beetle in that great spinner rack in the sky. Steve Scott and Vicente Cifuentes illustrate writer Peter David’s last script for the series.
Sonic Universe #1: Archie Comics launches a new ongoing series intended to clarify and extend the now epic-length story of Sonic the Hedgehog and his many friends, foes and alternate versions. Ian Flynn writes, Tracy Yardley writes and Sonic endures. Preview here.
Tales of The Green Lantern Corps Vol. 1: DC milks the current popularity of the Green Lantern franchise with this $19.99, 160-page trade paperback collection of a 1981 miniseries of the same name, plus a whole mess of back-ups from Green Lantern. There’s no arguing with a talent roster that includes Mike W. Barr, Carmine Infantino, Len Wein, Kurt Busiek, Dave Gibbons and plenty of others, though.
Youngblood #8: Soon to be a major motion picture! I guess! The latest issue of the mostly Rob Liefeld-free Rob Liefeld book by Joe Casey and Derec Donovan also has something to do with Barack Obama this month. Why? Because the fine print in the stimulus bill mandated by law that at least two comic books a week must feature the president’s likeness on the cover. This Obama cover image also doesn’t look much of anything like Obama either—is photo reference of the guy that hard to find?—but considering the fact that this is a Youngblood cover, it could have been much, much worse. We’ve got a preview of it here; count how many times the same panels are re-used on each sad, sad page.