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: Well these slim-pickings weeks just seem to be mounting up at the moment! It's starting to slow me down as my pockets reach saturation point with all this disposable income that I'm just dragging all over the place rather than spending it on a mountain of new comics! Admittedly it could go into a pot playfully labelled 'San Diego Comic Con 2011 trip' but I may not be able to stop laughing if I did that.
So what, may you ask, am I spending my money on this week? Well, currently the list is a little in flux as I'm having a little mental debate as to whether to carry on with two titles. The first is Action Comics #893 the latest instalment in Paul Cornell's Lex Luthor focused story. After a very promising start I've felt that the last two issues went off the boil somewhat with Mister Mind and Slade adding little to proceedings yet being thrown in as large additions. The involvement of a highly intelligent (and furry) super villain this time out will probably keep my interest for one further month but it's treading on thin ice for being dropped from my pull list.
One title which - now I think about it - won't be leaving the shelf of Paradox Comics this week for my loving arms is Dragon Age #5. Once again another promising start for a series has been ruined by a change of artist. For me Mark Robinson was the big appeal for this comic as his liquid style really did suit the eye-catching mage powers that the story relies upon, setting it apart from other fantasy titles. Now he appears to have been replaced with Anthony Tan who just cannot match Robinson's ability and when the main 'draw' for a limited series disappears after only three issues it really doesn't bode well. At $3.99 and with the best element conspicuous by its absence I'm afraid I'm calling time on the Dragon Age.
Of course, where would we be without a few Marvel titles flying about the place in a week's order? First of all I'll give a mention out to Amazing Spider-Man #644 for two reasons: Mark Waid's storytelling ability and one of my favourite variant covers of the year to date from Chris Bachalo. After the bitter taste left in the mouth from Joe Quesada's rather terrible 'One Moment In Time' ending to the Brand New Day concept, Waid's latest foray into the world of everyone's favourite web-swinger has actually been pretty entertaining with last issue's chase-and-fight extravaganza being the highlight so far. With only a few weeks to go until Dan Slott takes on his full-time writing duties I dare say that Waid's work may not lead to any great changes for the future of Peter Parker but I wait to be proved wrong on that particular point.
There's something of a sad farewell this week as Atlas #5 marks the end of Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman's current attempts to keep the Agents of Atlas in the comic-buying public's eye-line after a good couple of years trying to get as much fun, mysterious and dramatic international crime-fighting into 22 pages as possible. I've loved the heck out of this team's antics even with the occasionally frustrating reliance on cross-overs with Marvel's more established groups and I truly hope that we're not left waiting too long before the House of Ideas decides to give Jimmy Woo and Co - along with Parker and Hardman if we're lucky - another shot at getting a large and dedicated readership.
The remaining two books in the pile are Captain America #610 and Casanova #3 and I'm looking forward to spending the early part of my weekend reading through what Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction have to offer this month. Captain America is back to its best with Baron Zemo's slow psychological torment of Bucky and Casanova has been a bonkers, science fiction espionage thrill that has really made an impression. With artists like Butch Guise and Fabio Moon showing how high a level they can work at it for both titles it all adds up to a week of quality over quantity! Now, perhaps I should start preparing for the stupid whale-sized order that's sure to surface next week to taunt me!