Stewart R: After a good few weeks of comic sensibility I almost ran to the hills screaming when I saw the list that confronts me this Thursday coming for I will be picking up no less than 12 (oops, 11 now... read on dear Paradox faithful) gloriously illustrated wonders. There’s a couple of new titles that may get judged quickly and harshly - wait, in fact one of those new titles appears to have been pre-judged as Edge of Doom by Steve Niles was, according to some sources supposed to be out last week, to some others it was this week and Image themselves don’t seem to have it listed at all so that's one scrubbed from the list before I've even begun! Ahh, the thin veil of truth that we walk upon being comic readers hey?
Well, one new title that is certainly hitting the stores and shops of the world this week is yet another Mark Millar Hollywood proposal in the making with Superior #1. While the premise is certainly interesting - a former high-school basketball star with friends, great looks, a small amount of fame and endless possibilities ahead of him has his future cruely torn away as he succumbs to multiple sclerosis before Golden Age hero Superior enters his life and turns it upside down - but with Marvel dubbing it a ‘smash series’ before the first issue is out and the usual rumblings of a cinematic outing on the cards, I can’t help but wonder if we’ll end up with a fulfilling comic read or simply a skin-and-bones showpiece for production company executives and agents to drool over during Los Angeles-based creative business lunches? It is Mark Millar after all, a writer and creator who seemingly enjoys turning lead into gold one moment and then reversing the process on a whim, so I guess we shall just have to wait and see.
With the debutant out of the way I get to sink into a world of consistent comic quality with a host of my favourite titles turning up. Top of the list is Thanos Imperative #5 as the perilous predicament of Starlord, Nova, Rocket Racoon and the rest of the Marvel Universe’s galactic guardians grows ever darker and more hopeless in the face of overwhelming odds and unending life. This event has quite possibly eclipsed every other that Lanning and Abnett have had their involvement in when it comes to pure, focused storytelling and the constant fear that any of our beloved heroes could perish in heartbeat has kept me glued to the page at several points. There has worryingly been little advertised beyond the end of this event for the Space Based Universe and I think it’s something of a tragedy that such a well handled corner of Marvel’s arena could be in danger of drifting out of view.
Thankfully, Marvel don’t seem too eager to break up another top-class creative team when it comes to Tony Stark’s antics and I’m anticipating once again an entertaining outing for the suit of red and gold in Invincible Iron Man #31. After last issue’s awesome face off between Iron Man, Rescue and a technologically and biologically enhanced Hammer girl I would have normally expected things to return to a slightly more sedate pace but that explosive ending has me thinking that we could end up with yet another superb repulsor-powered issue where things become even more complicated and more dangerous for Tony and Co. Recent news has confirmed the inevitable renumbering of the series in January but I don’t think that such a detail will effect the quality of possibly the shiniest jewel in Marvel’s crown.
So what’s going on over at DC this week you may well ask and I would answer “A heck of a lot dear fellow, just look at this bunch of spiffy GL titles old chap!” Admittedly I’d probably get a funny look or two for speaking in such a tone but then I suspect Green Lantern #58 and Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #3 are likely to do strange things to me as I scroll from page to page, comic to comic. Emerald Warriors has started incredibly well and Peter J. Tomasi dealing with Guy Gardner’s Red Lantern Ring-induced inner conflict is a story that I will see through to the end no matter how long it takes. Fernando Pasarin has impressed me greatly with a very clean, yet hugely detailed style that really wouldn’t surprise me should it be revealed that it was birthed within a glowing lantern of power itself. Likewise, Doug Mahnke has been ‘knocking it out of the park’ on Green Lantern for quite some time and with the latest issue promising to deal with the Blue Lantern avatar of Hope I’m expecting a delicious double helping of all things Lantern-based this week.
DC’s ‘Big Two’ also show up in my basket as I pick up Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5 and Superman #703 but I must say that I’m less optimistic of getting an unmissable read from either of these titles. Batman’s return seems to have been crawling on for an age now - fair enough he’s got the whole of human history to jump through so maybe I should be a little more patient? - and the constant change of artist hasn’t worked quite as well as I had hoped it might. Superman on the other hand has suffered just a little in the pacing of each issue and the relative lack of spectacle or anything particularly ‘super’ is intriguing but I wonder how long it will hold my interest. Straczynski couldn’t put a foot wrong with his character work on Thor but there’s only so long that the kudos earned from that effort can keep me picking up his latest offerings with the Man of Steel.
Quickly scooting through the other $2.99 and $3.99 wonders gracing the shelves and causing various notes and pennies to fly out of my pockets at a rate of knots are Amazing Spider-Man #645, X-Men #4 and Casanova #4 from Marvel and the next instalment of Mike Carey and Peter Gross’ stalwart series in Unwritten #18. It actually seems crazy now I think back some 18 months to the Bristol Comic Convention when Carey and a couple of Vertigo bods were trying to sell a somewhat muted audience a comic about a man who may or may not be the living embodiment of his father’s work of fiction in a world where the written word could be far more powerful than we had ever previously imagined. Nowadays it’s one of those monthly reads that I would have serious trouble giving up and I suspect it may be the same case for many of you.
Happy reading folks!