10 Aug 2011

Incoming... 10/08/2011

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: When first looking at the week’s delivery list this morning I had thought about leading with the end of some truly great DC titles...but that was before American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #3 arrived in my eye-line and I knew I couldn’t resist kicking things off with some love for this great series. The first two instalments of this 5-part series have been superb with #1 reintroducing us to Felicia Book and Cash McCogan and #2 covering their daring and near-lethal journey to Nazi-occupied Romania. Now finding themselves in the very heart of the enemy’s territory, Felicia and Cash look set to explore the catacombs below their creepy castle lodgings in search of the cure for vampirism and I wouldn’t be surprised if Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy didn’t move away from the 20th Century adventure feel of the last issue and head towards a survival-horror theme for this outing. Bringing Murphy onto this project was a stroke of genius and I’m sure that the caves and foundation surroundings will just ooze with menace and the unknown. Those and of course the fang-toothed nasties lurking about!

So, anyway, back to DC and two titles that are saying goodbye to their long serving and dedicated creative teams with a bang today. Over on Detective Comics #881, Scott Snyder, Jock and Francesco Francavilla will be wrapping up one of the most tense and mind-blowing arcs that I’ve ever read involving Batman and Jim Gordon. Alternating between the two very different crime-fighters of Gotham and the two different artistic styles of Jock and Francavilla in turn has worked tremendously well and I’ve a suspicion that this bumper-sized finale could well blow our collective socks off. One thing is for certain and that I know a fair few people who won’t be picking up Detective as eagerly next month!

The other title reaching the end of it’s creative team’s road is Bryan Q Miller and Pere Perez’s Batgirl. #24 is the grand finale for Stephanie Brown’s tenure in the suit as she faces off against a foe/nemesis that took me by surprise; her father! This title has been brilliant fun from the start and Miller has kept me coming back for more thanks to his brilliant depiction of the lead character. He has taken a talented yet unsure teenage girl and turned her into a skillful, maturing young woman over the course of two years who truly does deserve to wear her superhero uniform with pride. While I suspect everyone will be buzzing with excitement over the end of the current Detective Comics run, I wouldn’t be surprised if a far more bittersweet feeling fills readers of Batgirl once they’ve reached the final page of one of DC’s most consistent comics of the past few years.

Marvel readers that I have spoken to recently may be taking issue with Fear Itself as an event and particularly the main comic but I’m sure that consistency is probably not the problem as it does seem that we’ve received four pretty similar doses of Asgardian hammer action and decimation involving different parts of the globe. The big, glaring complaint has been that an explanation for the Serpent’s motives has still yet to surface properly and with Fear Itself #5 it may well remain the case. It’s strange but the prospect of Thor duking it out with a transformed Hulk and Thing would have at one point really got the hairs on the back of my neck to stand to attention but thanks to the lack of exposition that we readers have received so far from Matt Fraction has left me a little unexcited by it all. It’s certainly not a terrible event by any means and already stands head and shoulders above the abysmal Secret Invasion but I just hope that Fear Itself #5 raises the bar a touch today and that we get an insight into just what the Serpent and Odin have planned to bring this conflict to a head.

With the main title floundering somewhat it’s come as something of a relief that most of the tie-in’s and mini-series associated with the Fear Itself event have actually been ‘worthy’ of our attention. I wasn’t 100% sure that handing the mutant wetwork team over to Rob Williams for a three part series was going to be the best idea but what he delivered in the debut last month really did come across nicely and I’m certainly looking forward to getting stuck in with Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #2 later on. Bringing the Purifiers in as the additional villains of the piece whose fear and violent prejudice during this global crisis has now widened to the greater superpowered community, blaming them for bringing such danger to the world, is a really nice touch while Simone Bianchi’s keen pencilling is a decent fit for this group of lethal mutants. I’m now a little more confident that this won’t be just another excuse for a few issues of bloodbath mayhem and that we might be getting a story with a good amount of emotional weight behind it.

Just briefly scanning through the rest of the titles out there today I see that I’ll be getting Red Wing #2 from Image and I’ll be hoping that Jonathan Hickman gives us a greater insight into just why this time travelling conflict is taking place. I’ll also be picking up Blue Estate #5 and hoping that the multi-threaded story of drugs, guns and general criminality in Los Angeles manages to keep some sort of cohesion and direction as previous chapters have been all over the shop with the huge cast of characters on show. And speaking of huge casts of characters, this is of course the week where we end up with a couple of million Spider-Men and Women webbing, leaping and wall-crawling their way across Manhattan Island as Dan Slott’s Spider Island kicks into gear in Amazing Spider-Man #667. Following the terrific prelude that was #666 and the tagging in of Humberto Ramos on artistic duties, my spider-sense is tingling and telling me that this will be $3.99 well spent!


ian walker said...

Hi Stewart,sorry this is not about what you've picked up this week but I've just read on the net that Disney has made the decision that Marvel UK will be no more as they want all Marvel comic stories to originate from the States and not the UK, I think this is very sad news as this is indeed the end of an era, I'm sure that many of you like myself grew up on the old black and white Marvel reprints so I was just wondering what your thoughts are on it.

Stewart R said...

It is a shame that Marvel UK is no longer going to be around, more so from a historical perspective as many great comic creators got their big breaks through that avenue and went on to find work in Marvel's US arm.

That said the Panini deal in the late 90's saw less original material based on Marvel characters being produced in the UK comics alongside reprints and it must be said that a good amount of UK originating talent is doing well currently finding work in the US comics market AND at the same time delivering a British feel. In particular I'm thinking of Kieron Gillen and Rob Williams who seem to be getting regular work with Marvel - Gillen especially - and both like to drop knowing nods to their country of birth every now and then. Gillen also likes to nod at the heyday of the Marvel UK era when he gets opportunity. (Death's Head turning up in SWORD for example).

With Marvel UK gone but 2000AD currently getting a little more exposure Stateside I'm also guessing we could maybe see more talent crossing over and succeeding which can only be a good thing and keep a UK-tinged finger in the Marvel 'pie'.