Stewart R: 'Tis indeed the season to be jolly but who needs some mysterious, portly super-mutant with the powers of flight, animal control and shape-shifting (in order to get through crawl spaces and chimneys) dropping off loads of presents for one day of the year when each and every Wednesday (or Thursday) we’re presented with wonderful bounties by the saintly men and women of our local comic book shops? I’m thinking that perhaps the milk and cookies should be going to more worthy folks this year!
So let’s kick this show off with the one festive title that I will be picking up this week and that would be Green Lantern: Larfleeze Christmas Special #1 by Geoff Johns and Brett Booth. What on Earth could possibly happen when the Master of Avarice discovers that potentially there’s a jovial being out there with an unlimited supply of gifts and presents to be coveted and horded all in the name of the Orange Corps? This sounds like a good bit of fun and Larfleeze has pretty much been in the hands of Johns from his first appearance and he seems to have a decent feel for this alien’s extreme sense of greed. I’m not too familiar with the work of Brett Booth but here’s hoping that he manages to capture Larfleeze’s manic and unpredictable side and make this a one shot worth picking up.
I can’t quite believe how big an order I have this week with some 11 titles lined up in possibly one of the most expensive spending weeks of the year. As I look down the list though I struggle to find anything I’m not excited about reading and that for me is a sign of just how strong the creative teams are these days. One such team who are fast approaching their third year working together is Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca and Invincible Iron Man #33 marks the final issue before we get back to the feeling of yesteryear with a good old fashioned renumbering set to take place. Of course, last issue left everything in a very precarious position for Team Iron Man with Rhodey and Pepper rendered powerless and Tony being forced to make a run for it in his new company’s flagship product. While we might well get an all out fight with Tony and Detroit Steel, everything to this point has been smarter than a straight up fist fight so I’d expect Fraction to continue with our delightful guessing game and keep the surprises coming.
And speaking of surprises, I was quite taken aback by Mateus Santolouco’s brief offering in the beginning of American Vampire #9 and it seems that I’m in store for something of a treat as he’s now been given American Vampire #10 to bring us back to the life of Pearl Jones and her time as a new breed of blood sucker. This is a series that has really grown on me over the past year and Scott Snyder is crafting a very interesting vision of vampire societies and species living in a 20th Century world that really is worth a look if you should be in the market for a different take upon an old idea.
The Vertigo title is not the only vampire-focused comic that I’ll be picking up this week either as X-Men #6 by Victor Gischler and Paco Medina is out and will bring the 'Curse of the Mutants' saga to an end. I felt that last issue’s finale would have probably sufficed as a tasty cliffhanger to be left dangling as a tease to be finished off at some later date as there appear to be only a handful of plot threads left to tie up. Alas, it seems as though we need things with the big daddy of the vampires, Dracula himself, to be wrapped up before we can get on with a new arc - Chris Bachalo pitting the X-Men against Spider-Man’s newly mutated foe The Lizard no less! - and I’ll be intrigued to see just where Gischler leaves the vampire threat.
Come to think of it there could well be a third title out with Vampire themes running through it as Chew #16 hits the shelves. John Layman and Rob Guillory have dabbled with a bloodsucker dotted here and there amongst the odd cibotpath crowd and who knows what will surface this time. I’d be expecting the bombshell of Tony’s daughter to be expanded upon and am looking forward to the prospect of getting to learn more about the Family Chu who appear to be quite the odd bunch of folks. The chuckle inducing cover suggests that we could be getting a healthy portion of wry comedy and that has been the cornerstone of this title from day one.
This week sees me pick up the only Oni Press title that I have on my pull list presently as Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt lead us into the second arc of the Western-fantasy world they have created in The Sixth Gun #7. The first arc really did pick up pace and emphasis as it went along and now that the characters are established I’m looking forward to seeing what these creators have up their respective sleeves next. Bunn has ensured that Drake Sinclair is a begrudging hero who could find himself in way over his head at any given moment and that level of unpredictability makes for a quite riveting read. I really do hope that the consistency from the first arc can be maintained as this comic continues.
A quick flash through the other delights sees Mark Millar and Lenil Yu’s Superior #3 come out with the newly transformed hero seemingly faced with a truly epic disaster as the International Space Station makes an unplanned re-entry, Uncanny X-Men #531 should see everyone’s favourite mutants all tucked up in bed with hot-water bottles as a case of the genetically altered common cold plays havoc with their powers. I will also be picking up Haunt #12 from Robert Kirkman and Greg Capullo as it has been a visceral joy ride this past year and looks like it can only get better. The interaction between living Daniel and ghostly Kurt has been well written and Capullo has been really hitting some artistic highs with his pencil work since coming onto the title full-time just a few months ago. There are a handful of other titles I’ll be picking up but maybe you’ll hear about them in a stocking filler type way when the Mini Reviews hit the other side of Christmas Day. At any rate, may I and the rest of the Paradox Comics Group just wish you all a fun festive period...
'Tis the season to read comics, tra-la-la-la la, la-la la...la!