29 Dec 2010

Incoming... 29/12/2010

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, we’ve reached the end of the road for 2010’s year in comics and to see us out there are some old friends and some newer faces, some titles I’d once given up on and have since been convinced need a further look. It’s also the end of the road for one particular miniseries so I guess it makes sense to start off with a look at Nemesis #4!

This Mark Millar series has been entertaining and frustrating in fairly equal measure but the most annoying thing has to have been the ludicrous amount of time between issues. It’s usually down to illness for three months to pass between the third and fourth issues of a four-part mini and Steve McNiven has had a rough year in that department so I do have a little sympathy but it has definitely taken the edge off of a comic relying on breakneck pace to set it’s tone and feel. Things will certainly come to a head as Chief Morrow is forced to play Nemesis’ game, probably taking a shotgun or two to the party, but the most intriguing thing will be whether we’ll end up with a good ol’ fashioned fist fight considering the display of unarmed lethality that Nemesis displayed last time. Millar of course is a writer who likes to throw many surprises into usually predictable situations so we’ll see whether we get an explosive finale or something of a damp squib.

As I previously mentioned I have been convinced in recent months by my Paradox peers that two titles formerly on my pull list have reached or maintained a level of quality to ensure that they grace that weighty list once more. The first is Detective Comics #872 after the last issue received many kind words about Scott Snyder and Jock’s efforts on a title that I had followed back when Greg Rucka and J H Williams III had been really hitting the high notes. The fact that Snyder’s story now focuses on Dick Grayson is certainly a plus for me as I likethat DC elected to place him in the cowl once Bruce Wayne had disappeared into the annals of time. Snyder appears to know exactly what kind of Batman Dick would make having been trained by the best but also showing his own individual talents. Jock’s art style is perfectly suited to such a dark and broody plot and character and I’m hoping that this team get a decent length of time to make this comic their own.

The second title is Hulk #28 where Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman have been coming up with a whole manner of awesome since being handed the reigns on #25. I really, REALLY did not like how Jeff Loeb and Ed McGuinness started this series almost two years ago and dropped it pretty quickly but since the mystery surrounding the identity of the Red Hulk has been solved and writing duties have been placed in the reliable hands of Parker things have been far better. I like the fact that Steve Rogers has given Thunderbolt Ross a new lease of life as a powerhouse to be pointed at problems needing a soldiers’ perspective and a gamma-infused fist and the tense team-ups that Ross is forced to make keeps things very interesting indeed. The back-up story has also been pretty cool, offering a lighter, comedic feel to things as Rick Jones as A-Bomb tracks down bizarre creatures on Monster Island and it appears as if Ross’ partnership with Namor might be over in double quick time as he may well get drafted in to lend Rick a giant red hand.

While we’re on the subject of giant red things it looks like Hal Jordan might have a problem or two getting to grips with the embodiment of rage as the Red Lantern entity, the Butcher, squares up against the Spectre in Green Lantern #61. After last issue’s cliffhanger reveal I’m looking forward to seeing where Geoff Johns takes things as the various Lantern Corps attempt to free their own captured entities and Jordan rushes to prevent the last free animal-avatar from falling into the hands of Krona the Renegade Guardian. Having been picking up the three main Green Lantern related titles for the past six odd months or so it’s been clear that a lot of thought has gone in to the interweaving plot threads that Johns, Peter J. Tomasi and Tony Bedard have been playing with as the various lanterns try to rebuild in a universe shaken by the events of the Blackest Night. With so many Lantern Corps, supporting characters and villains it could have all gone hideously wrong with the different stories becoming bogged down under the weight of too large a cast but some focused writing has helped to avoid that problem thankfully.

In fact, that praise lavished at the creative nous and trusty wordsmithery of the DC boys should also be applied to a pair of writers at Marvel who both happen to have two titles each hitting the shelves this week. It’s probably just a coincidence but I seem to recall a few occasions in the past where Ed Brubaker and Jonathan Hickman both had a couple of comics come out in the same week and each time I’m fairly sure that they received some good reviews - well they are accomplished writers after all! Brubaker’s deuce this week is Captain America #613 where Bucky is still behind American bars while Sin, daughter of The Red Skull, is not (having been freed), and Incognito: Bad Influences #2 where Zack Overkill goes back to villainous surroundings, this time undercover and working for the good guys.

Hickman meanwhile has me picking up Secret Warriors #23 where we finally get to find out what has happened to Sebastian Druid since he was dropped from Fury’s team of Caterpillar’s all those many issues and gorgeous Jim Cheung covers ago. Since Hickman has taken us back to Phobos’ previous predictions about the futures of each member of the team it’s been Sebastian who I’ve been looking forward to learning about the most, having seemed to be the least equipped for life as a superhero and having not been heard of for a good six months or so. Big John’s other comic is S.H.I.E.L.D. #5 which should be another dose of ‘big science’ fun as we get another look at just what part Nathaniel Richards and Howard Stark had to play in the continued running of S.H.I.E.L.D and just what happened when the man named Night Machine came looking for his son Leonid.

*Phew* and that should about wrap things up for my comic reading in 2010! Here’s to some great titles in 2011, the $2.99 price point and seeing if Marvel’s Fear Itself event can reignite my faith in big crossovers! Thank you all for reading and adding your comments this past year!

1 comment:

Stewart R said...

Bah! It appears that we in the UK may not be privvy to all of Marvel's wonders this week as we're only getting access to Nemesis, Incognito and apparently 'Thunderstrike' (whatever one of those is!) so it'll be a super bonanza next ....FRIDAY! Double BAH!