2 Feb 2011

Incoming... 02/02/2011

New comics are released Wednesday in the States and guess what, in the UK too! Here's a brief look at our expectations for the books we're picking up this week.

Stewart R: Highs and lows, peaks and troughs, ebb and flow, bumper week.... sparse week. Oh yes, after picking up a heap of comics to wade through last Wednesday I now find the total for the first week in February to be on the small side as only 5 titles make it onto my radar.

Marvel are going for their ‘Point One’ promotion in a big way to try and grab yet more new readers and give the uninitiated a proper stepping stone into the world of some of their biggest and greatest characters. My first and only involvement with this will come today when I pick up Invincible Iron Man #500.1 by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca. I’m no great fan of summary issues where the events of the recent past are dragged back up in quickfire succession as they tend to offer very little in the way of worthwhile plot or character development. That said, Matt Fraction is a writer who tends to make the smallest thing count when it comes to his writing, never tending to put superfluous ‘filler’ material anywhere near his 22 pages of creativity and for that reason I will be grabbing a copy of this to see just what seeds he’s planting for the next couple of year’s in Tony Stark’s life.

When it comes to Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth #18 it’s probably best not to speak about future years as it’s hard to predict things that far ahead for Gus, Jeppard and Co as their perilous situation tends to make me think each and every issue that someone may be lucky to just see out the week. Yes, the story is unpredictable - egads, how about that shocking moment last issue??? - but Lemire’s desire to break the comic mould every now and then also brings a delicious freshness to proceedings and this issue appears to be another example of that. Just as Mike Carey did with Unwritten #17 a few months back, Lemire is making Sweet Tooth #18 a landscape format book and mixing up his method of storytelling in the process - some of the preview pages out there indicate a narrated, children’s book style which should be interesting considering the post-apocalyptic setting. Using his ‘Twilight Zone’ powers to control both the vertical and for this issue, the horizontal, should mean Lemire once again flexes his artistic muscle to bring us another splendid read.

And on the subject of muscle it’s probably the perfect time to bring up Hulk #29 by Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman! Oh yes, their first proper arc on this title draws to a close this week as the Scorched Earth story comes to a close. Last issue saw Rick and Thunderbolt Ross punching their way through hordes of brainwashed behemoth’s on Monster Island and it was just a big bundle of fun. Since taking on this title Parker and Hardman have ensured that we get to look at both Thunderbolt the man and his gamma-irradiated Red Hulk persona and managed to shape this into an interesting story about reluctant retribution as Ross tries to find his place in the world following the chaotic upheaval for him over the past few years. Having taken yet another sneaky peak around the internet it looks like the creative duo may be bringing a slice of mean green to this final chapter which could raise the stakes once again.

So we come down to the last two titles of my week in comics. Amazing Spider-Man #653 carries on the Revenge of the Spider-Slayer story with Dan Slott having put the advantage of numbers right into the hands of Alistair Smythe as his army of insectoids seek to put an end to both Spider-Man and everybody’s favourite brush-headed mayor, J.Jonah Jameson. The variant cover holds no surprises of what’s going to come next as Spidey is forced to go to his little black book to bring in some much needed assistance. I’ll certainly be interested to see how Slott handles the various New Avenger characters and I’m guessing that we thankfully won’t get the usual Bendis-style talking heads syndrome that they usually experience.

Batman Beyond
will also look at a team dynamic as Terry tries to rescue his family from a lethal hostage situation with the Justice League of the future trying to take control of matters. I imagine we’re in store for a clash of personalities and ideas as the usually independent McGinnis has to play nice with the team of superheroes in order to make sure his mum and brother make it home safely. I wasn’t enthralled by the first issue of this ongoing series but I’m certainly going to give it a fair go as I love the characters and Adam Beechen impressed me with his handling of the recent miniseries.

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