New comics are released Wednesday (in the States at least; we have to wait until Thursday in the UK!). Here's a brief look at our expectations for the books we're picking up this week.
Stewart R: Phew! After two stupidly heavy weeks for my pull list things creep back down to a more manageable level this Thursday, which sees only six titles hovering upon its glorious radar. I love comics, I really do, but trying to wade through a dozen or more titles in the space of three days before writing about several of them while sticking to a Sunday night deadline, well it can make you long for the quieter weeks when you can enjoy one of your favourite pastimes at a more leisurely pace... and read comics too!!! Baddum-tish!
The biggest and tastiest blip on my comic radar is definitely Green Lantern: Emerald Warrirors #2 by Peter J. Tomasi and Fernando Pasarin. The first issue was so strong in its characterisation of Guy Gardner, Ganthet and Red Lantern Leader Atrocitus, and smile-inducing with its level of visual quality, that I've actually been hoping each week when I check the roster of incoming titles that I might see the its name staring out from the screen at me. The second issue promises to be a tense affair with Red Lantern Bleez being sent to 'aid' Gardner in his mission into the unmapped territories and Guy's lingering connection to the hate-fuelled Corps. Tomasi was responsible for making Guy's previous recruitment by a red ring so mesmerizing and I bet that this series is going to give us a long hard look at what the repercussions of that temporary deputization are going to be.
And speaking of repercussions, it seems that the fallout of Terry and Bruce's bickering may be realised in Batman Beyond #4 this week as the murderer who may or may not be Batman's old nemesis Hush continues his lethal rampage through the nefarious ranks of Bat-villains. I have been enjoying this trip into the future of Gotham and Adam Beechen has captured the frequently strained teacher/student dynamic that was found in the animation and taken it a step further, almost allowing us to believe that these two crimefighters could go their separate ways at any time. The mysteries surrounding the new Catwoman and Hush still remain at this point and I hope that we get insight into at least one of those this time around before the story goes much further.
Stories are where it's at with Mike Carey's brilliant Unwritten series from Vertigo. We'll be getting our hands on Unwritten #17 this week and it promises to be another classic issue of experimentation. This series has employed some interesting techniques through the run so far but #17 now drops a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' gimmick into the mix to help us learn more about the mysterious Lizzie Hexam during this extended, oversize issue. Carey and Gross haven't really put a foot wrong with the previous sixteen issues and I can't see this failing to be another thoroughly enjoyable reading experience that could possibly bring this creative duo yet another Eisner nomination at some point.
Struggling to pick up any awards at all is likely to be the situation for Amazing Spider-Man #643 which really will have to pull out the stops to impress me this week. After the utter rubbishness of the ‘One Moment In Time’ finale #641, the following issue proceeded to disappoint with its somewhat over-the-top nature which brought several dozen Spider-foes into the fray and all working together - kind of - to grab Lily Hollister and Norman Osborn's newborn son. I've already vowed that I will stick with this comic until I get a taste for what Dan Slott is going to bring to the title but this is currently Mark Waid territory and I still have hope that he can bring things around.
So this just leaves two titles to cover before I sign off for yet another week. Thunderbolts #148 takes a small wander into the realms of the Shadowland as Matt Murdock's old pal Luke Cage decides that it's time he stepped in to help his long time friend shake off the madness that has befallen him. Of course that's never going to be easy and Cage inevitably has to call in the Thunderbolts to assist, which could be a recipe for disaster. While Parker remains on writing duty for #148, regular - and superb - artist Kev Walker steps aside for an issue or two to allow Declan Shalvey to pick up the pencil and show us what he can do. Having seen the preview art it seems that Shalvey's style falls somewhere between Walker's and that of Jefte Palo (see his work on the current Taskmaster series) and it could fit quite well.
And finally I stumble across Joe The Barbarian #7, the penultimate issue of Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy's brilliant Vertigo miniseries. It feels like quite some time has passed since the last issue hit shelves but I do remember things taking a turn for the decidingly strange as Joe's two worlds seemed to merge when Joe's situation became more precarious by the minute. The world of wonder that both writer and artist have brought to the page has been nothing short of mind-boggling and as things start to come to a head it'll be interesting to see how Morrison chooses to bring the story to its conclusion.
So, there we have it; a smaller week in terms of number of titles but one that once again bubbles with potential quality. I wish you all a funtastic comic reading experience!!