Yeah Americans, listen to your Uncle Sam. Because the Fourth of July was observed on the fifth of July this year, comics won’t be waiting for you on the shelves of your local comic shop as per usual this Wednesday, but will instead be there on Thursday.
Feel free to visit your shop and buy some graphic novels or back-issues on Wednesday anyway though; your local comic shop owner might be lonely and enjoy the company/patronage. In the mean time, we have a whole extra day to think about the books below!
Avengers: Children’s Crusade #1: Marvel’s ever-swelling Avengers franchise borrows the title of a 1993 Vertigo crossover event series (Which, despite the prominent involvement of Neil “Sells Books Easier Than Any Other Name” Gaiman, isn’t currently available in trade format?!) for Young Avengers creators Allan Heinberg and Jimmy Cheung’s long-awaited return to the characters. The story? Wiccan’s reality-altering powers are getting Scarlet Witch-ish, so he goes in search of the fallen Avenger believed to be his mom. Some of his teammates and the Old Avengers think that might not be such a great idea. The nine-issue series is shipping bimonthly, and will cost $4 for 22-pages of story.
Batman: Odyssey #1: I may be mistaken, but I’m fairly positive this new limited series is about Batman’s epic sea voyage home to Gotham City after fighting in the Trojan war, while Alfred and Robin must fend off unruly superheroes who want to take the Dark Knight’s place. I am completely positive that it’s both written and drawn by the legendary Neal Adams, one of the most influential artists to ever put pencil to paper in order to produce an image of Batman. It’s a $4, oversized issue.
Blackest Night: Did you decide you would wait until Blackest Night was collected before reading it? Well then, your wait is over. Blackest Night ($30, 300 pages), Blackest Night: Green Lantern ($25, 270 pages) and Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps ($25, 265 pages) all see release this week. I was honestly a little surprised that Blackest Night and the Green Lantern tie-ins are being collected in two individual collections, as the stories are fairly integrally entwined. You can certainly read Blackest Night straight through without reading any GL—although you’ll certainly feel like you’re missing something—but I don’t think the GL issues will stand up that well on their own. Plus, while the Blackest Night art team did a pretty swell job, the GL art team of Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy and company was by far the artistic highlight of the event for me. Anyway, here’s the three central parts of the sprawling Blackest Night event/story if you were waiting for collections…if you were waiting for trade paperbacks specifically, you’ll have to keep waiting a bit.
Brigade #1: I guess we’re far enough away from the ’90s that we shouldn’t be surprised by ’90s nostalgia, but while I can kinda sorta see why some folks might be into the return of the Liefeld-drawn Hawk and Dove or Cable or Deadpool or Youngblood, a Brigade revival caught me completely off guard. So en garde! Liefeld-style heroes with names like Kayo, Lethal and Battlestone return in a new series written by Liefeld himself and drawn by Marat Mychaels. It’s a $4 comic.
Brightest Day: The Atom Special: This week will be twice as Brightest as usual, as the fifth issue of Brightest Day will be shipping alongside this one-shot written by Essex County/Sweet Tooth creator Jeff Lemire and drawn by Mahmud Asrar and Walden Wong. This is just the kick-off of their plans for Atom II Ray Palmer, and the character and creative team will show up together again in Adventure Comics, where they’ll hold the back-up slot for a while. You can see a preview of the Atom Special here…the art doesn’t look terrible or anything, but I think I would have preferred Lemire draw it as well as write it.
Great Ten #9: The ninth and final issue of what was originally supposed to be a ten-part series, but was shortened an issue…presumably on account of its pretty terrible sales. I’ve heard anecdotally that writer Tony Bedard was doing pretty interesting stuff with the Grant Morrison-created Chinese super-characters from 2006 hit series 52, but, like most DC Comics fans, I never read an issue of it. If DC looks at the book’s failure and tires to come up with a lesson, I hope it’s not that their Asian characters don’t sell or that new superheroes don’t sell (although both cases may very well be true) but rather that it’s probably a pretty good idea to strike while the iron’s hot—or at least lukewarm—instead of waiting a few years to randomly launch a ten-issue miniseries by low-selling creators and hoping against hope that it catches on.
Hellboy: The Storm: Writer/cover artist Mike Mignola and interior artist Duncan Fegredo reunite for a new, three-issue miniseries following the events of Darkness Calls and The Wild Hunt (Preview here). What’s that? You follow Mignola’s Hellboiverse, but only in trade? Well then, Dark Horse has something for you this week as well—BPRD Vol. 13: 1947, an $18, 160-page trade paperback collection of the five-issue miniseries by Mignola, Joshua Dysart, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon. Preview here.
Hit-Monkey #1: Marvel’s hitman who is also a monkey gets his own three-issue miniseries, courtesy of Daniel Way and Dalibor Talajic.
Troublemaker Book One: Alex Evanovich joins her mother, extremely popular bestselling prose author Janet Evanovich, and artist Joelle Jones for an original graphic novel starring the Alex Barnaby character from Evanovich’s Metro Girl and Motor Mouth. Preview here.
Marvelman Family’s Finest #1: For mysterious reasons known only to Marvel, the publisher will begin exploiting their current control of the Marvelman character with a project sure to interest next to no one—a six-issue series of $4, 40-page, black and white anthology comics reprinting old stories featuring the Marvelman family of characters. No, the Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman stuff isn’t in here.
Shadowland #1: Pushed beyond his limits, C.S. Lewis faces off against his archenemy Bullseye for the final time, in a battle that will ignite a citywide war and changed the streets of Marvel’s New York City forever. Wait, wait, wait…I think I’m mixing this up with something else….Daredevil! It’s Daredevil who faces off against Bullseye for the final time and et cetera et cetera. This five issue event series will feature Spidey, Luke Cage, Iron Fist Punisher and others, and slowly spin-off into a bunch of related miniseries, but is going to be a smaller-scaled Marvel Universe event/series…closer in scale to the space stuff than the Avengers stuff. Andy Diggle writes, Billy Tan draws and will cost $4 for the introductory, 22-page chapter.
The Smurfs #1: Smurfnapper: Papercutz’s Smurf graphic novel program will kick off in earnest this September with The Purple Smurf and The Smurfs and The Magic Flute, but in the mean time, here’s a $1 comic book preview of what to expect from their republication of Peyo’s classic comics. You can click here for a look.
Spider-Man/Fantastic Four #1: The Spider-Man/X-Men creative team of Christos Gage and Mario Aberti reteam for a new series with a similar team-up through the years premise, with Marvel’s First Family filling Marvel’s merry mutants’ role from the first series. This is a $4 book.
Stan’s Soapbox: The Collection: Just like the title says, this is a $15, 145-page collection of every single one of Stan Lee’s “Stan’s Soapbox” columns from 1967 to 1980.
Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #1: Fantastic Four artist Dale Eaglesham jumps ship to join Ed Brubaker on a miniseries focusing on Steve Rogers’ new post-Captain America life. It’s a $4, over-sized comic.
Thor: The Mighty Avenger #1: I’m not gonna lie, this is the book I’m most looking forward to this week. Roger Langridge, writer of the ridiculously good Muppet Show Comic Book, and Chris Samnee, most recently seen drawing Glenn Beck/Volstagg team-up book Siege: Embedded, team up for an all-ages, contunity-lite new series featuring Marvel’s god of thunder…who is himself soon to be a motion picture!
X-Men #1: What, no adjective? This new X-Men title by Victor Gischler and Paco Medina kicks off the X-Men versus vampires story/event, so maybe they could have went with Vampiric X-Men or Vampire-Fightin’ X-Men? No? Nothing? Just plain old X-Men? Okay Marvel, I assume you know the business of selling X-Men comics infinitely better than I ever will. This is a $4 book, but it’s also oversized.
X-Women: Classic X-Person writer Chris Claremont is joined by artist Milo Manara for a special $5 one-shot focusing on a handful of X-ladies. The selling point here is Manara’s sexy art here being applied to sexy superheroines, although form the looks of the preview the contents aren’t any more exploitive/sexy than you rtypical Big Two super-comic—just much, much better drawn.