Agents of Atlas #5: Is this issue a perfect jumping on point? I don’t know, but I’m going to say it is in the hope that it means more of you will try this series out. In this issue, the Agents battle the New Avengers, and since New Avengers has like 70,000 more readers than AoA, hopefully the guest-appearance will lead to more folks checking out this issue and sticking around for future ones. Here’s a six-page preview.
The Big Book of Barry Ween Boy Genius: Otherwise known as “Judd Winick’s good comics.” This Oni Press omnibus collects all 12 issues of Winick’s Barry Ween series in a 375-page, $19.95 package.
Batman: Battle for the Cowl #3: This is it! The one you’ve been waiting for, whether you’re on pins and needles about who the new Batman is going to be, or you just can’t wait for this event to end so all the cool new Batman titles and creative teams that follow it can get started. Here’s my guess: Dick Grayson and Jason Todd are both different, opposing Batmen, Damian al Ghul is Robin ( working with the good Batman Dick Grayson), and Tim Drake is Red Robin (provided he survived having a batarang shoved all the way up his chest cavity at the end of the last issue). Tony Daniel writes and draws this final, over-sized $3.99 issue.
Batman: Mad Love and Other Stories: You know, I have all of these comics and I still find this collection of them awfully tempting. The title story is Paul Dini and Bruce Timm’s excellent Batman vs. Joker vs. Harley Quinn story, and the book is filled out with some of the best Animated Series-style Batman stories, including works by Timm, Glen Murukami, Mike Parobeck, Matt Wagner, Dan DeCarlo and Klaus Janson. It’s $20 for about 200 pages of some of the best Batman comics of the last decade or two.
Boys: Herogasm #1: I fell really, really, really far behind on The Boys when I decided I’d start reading it in trade (I’ve noticed sometimes deciding to wait for the trade isn’t all that different from dropping). Anyone who’s totally up on it know how easy or hard this miniseries might be to follow? (I know Sarah dug it). I can generally trade-wait Garth Ennis comics, but I’ll have a much harder time being so patient when said Garth Ennis comics are being illustrated by his Hitman collaborator John McCrea…
Captain America #50: Ed Brubaker’s universally praised Cap series reaches its fiftieth issue, which would ordinarily be a big anniversary issue in which the writer might want to shake up the status quo by, say, bringing the dead title character back to life or something. However, Marvel has one of their crazy renumbering schemes planned for the title, and June’s issue will jump all the way up to #600, which would make that a bigger, better anniversary. This hopefully over-sized issue (it’s $3.99) will deal with Bucky’s birthday, and will feature his favorite and least favorite birthdays. Luke Ross provides the art.
Clover Omnibus: It’s been a good long time since I’ve read any of manga-collective CLAMP’s Clover, but I didn’t care much for the two volumes I tried. The art was typically great, and they were really nice well-designed books, but the storyline was amorphous to the point of incoherent. I thought it worked out okay as a heavily illustrated mood poem, but not so much as a comic book. But like I said, it’s been a while, and you may think I’m full of crap anyway. It deals with a government agent of some sort charged with rescuing/escorting/hanging around a young girl who is sometimes kept in a cage like a bird, and there are lots of delicate illustrated images of birds, cages and clockwork technology. This new Dark Horse edition collects the whole shebang in a 500-page, $20 softcover collection. You can preview the first few pages here.
Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #1: Of the quartet of Final Crisis Aftermath books DC is in the process of rolling out, this one seems like the most natural extension from the original series, as it stars the Super Young Team, the Japanese fan version of the Justice League that creator Grant Morrison set-up as a new, modern version of Jack Kirby’s Forever People. Joe Casey writes, ChrissCross draws and however it turns out, at the very least you can go in assured that it definitely co-stars a character named Most Excellent Super Bat, whose super-power is being rich.
G-Man Vol. 1: Learning To Fly: Chris Giarrusso, the man behind the Mini-Marvels, has his own humorous super-characters, and you can catch them in his creator-owned G-Man comics. This $10, 100-page trade collects the G-Man one-shot, Christmas special, plenty of comic strips and more.
Johnny Hiro Vol. 1: I sung the praises of Fred Chao’s amazing comic book about two young people living in New York facing the various giant monsters, gangs of blade-wielding kitchen staffers and other obstacles to their love in this space back in January, so I won’t go into it all again here. This trade collects the first three issues, which AdHouse Books released as comic books, and adds two more issues worth of material at the end, adding up to a $15, 190-page collection. You can dowload several previews of it here.
The Photographer: Into War-Torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders: This seems interesting. The war that is doing the tearing in Afghanistan isn’t the current conflict involving the U.S., but was the 1980s one involving the Soviet Union. A French photojournalist went into the country with the titular non-governmental organization, chronicling their journey with his camera. This First Second collecion of the original French releases features an unusual mixture of Didier Lefèvre’s photos with comics panels created by Emmanuel Guibert (Alan’s War). You can read an excerpt here, and an interview my colleague Michael C. Lorah did with Guibert back in March here.
Pluto Urasawa X Tezuaka Vol. 3: Everyone’s reading this, right? Everyone should be reading this. It’s Naoki Urasawa loosely adapting Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy story “The Greatest Robot on Earth” in his own style, and it is something else. The volumes have been coming out at a quick clip too, so there’s very little lag time between volumes.
Skrull Kill Krew #2: Okay, so it’s a revival of a short-lived 90′s concept only really notable for its writers (who aren’t involved this time), and a spin-off that keeps beating the Skrull-fighting horse months after Secret Invasion has ended and everyone’s totally sick of Skrulls. On the other hand, here’s what Tyler Kirkham’s variant cover looks like for this particular issue:
Andrew Felber writes, Mark Robinson draws, and Marvel asks for an extra dollar.
Tiny Titans #16: Based on the cover, this issue apparently features a race between Supergirl and Kid Flash, and. Based on DC’s Source blog, it might also contain the “Battle for the Cow.” If you need to chatch up, this week also bring Tiny Titans Vol. 2: Adventures in Awesomeness, a $13, 144-page book collecting such tiny titanic tales as report card day, Blue Beetle’s birthday party, the one where Beppo steels Zatara’s wand and turns everyone into monkeys, Batgirl and Supergirl’s tea part, lunch lady Darkseid’s “Finals Crisis,” Deathstroke and Trigon’s “Faces of Mischief” team-up and many, many meetings of the Tiny Titans Pet Club.