21 Dec 2011

Incoming... 21/12/2011

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: I’d been wondering about the December deliveries for a couple of months; in a year where I’ve picked up more DC and Image titles than ever before, dabbled with works from IDW, Oni Press and Aspen, and maintained a certainly plump, possibly overweight selection of Marvel titles there was always going to be the possibility that one or two weeks in mid-December were going to be classified as ‘mental’! This ladies and gentlemen, would be a week that quite clearly qualifies under that definition. It’s almost as if the publishers can smell the spending money in the air the week before Christmas and have decided they want a damn decent cut of the green action!

Oh ‘Ho Ho Ho’, here comes the forced segue people, for green action will of course feature heavily in that big, hard punching Marvel title this week... Invincible Iron Man #511! Everyone knows the Manadarin is green with envy over Tony’s success right? What, you were expecting another gamma-infused title to be mentioned?? (Har-de-har! Chortle chortle!) In all seriousness I’m really looking forward to seeing where Matt Fraction is going to be going with the plot now that he has brought three of Stark’s most dangerous and calculating foes together into one single co-operative, with the soul purpose of ruining him and destroying his life. Oh and they plan to take on the world while they're at it too! There are still some loose ends to be at least looked at following Pepper’s emotionally fraught entanglement with the Hammers and Grey Gargoyle in Paris, plus there’s still a mole lurking about amongst the workers as Stark Resilient to think about... exciting stuff all told and you just know that Salvador Larroca will make the whole thing look shiny!

Okay, so yes, Incredible Hulk #3 would actually be the comic that best fits under the description of ‘green action’ but it is a comic that is currently finds itself adrift in the sea that is my ambivalence. I have not been blown away by the first two issues and I’m thinking that this third instalment may be where I say goodbye. I’ve not been wowed by Silvestri’s scratchy art style and I’m finding manic, borderline-villainous Bruce Banner to be rather unappealing especially when taken as a double act with the disgruntled and isolated green Hulk. The sassy female agent who’s been sent to request the Hulk’s help in capturing Banner has added an interesting element but I’m not sure that’ll be enough to see #4 on my list for next month.

Jason Aaron’s other big title of note however, is in a different position entirely! Wolverine and the X-Men #3 marks the end of the first chapter for Logan’s new endeavour at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning and the last time that we’ll see Chris Bachalo’s epic art for a little while (he’ll return after the Nick Bradshaw run). Everything that Aaron and Marvel have said this comic would be has turned out to be the case so far and I’m certainly hungry for more. Wolverine is present but not hogging the limelight, Bobby Drake is obviously going to be getting more page time and there may be interesting romantic possibilities between some of the teaching staff at the newly opened(?)/destroyed(?) school. There’s definitely a over-riding sense of fun here which I was a little surprised about when Kade Kilgore and his Hellfire Club turned up on the grounds as Aaron seemed to be going along the serious-yet-creepy lines with these prepubescent terrors. Whatever direction he’s aiming in and mood he’s going for I dare say that we have the right writer on board for this title!

It seems that Image are looking to end their year as they started as we get yet another debut title from them in the shape of Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads The Activity #1. These creators will be looking at the affairs and adventures of a secretive, advanced intelligence agency whose mandate is to remain flexible at all times to battle all threats, using the very best in bleeding-edge tech as they go. As we’re on the cusp of a new Mission Impossible film at the cinemas here in the UK - a few of you may have seen it in the States already - I’m in the mood for some espionage, cloak and dagger action and I’ve hopes that this title might provide. Failing that I can always trust Larry Hama to offer up something similar, although a little more bold and brazen over at IDW. GI JOE: A Real American Hero #173 is likely to look at the tragic events that befell a member of the Arashikage in the last issue and to this day I appreciate the way that any death realised in these GI JOE comics really feels like a loss despite such a wide and varied cast.

There’s a wide selection of DC titles in my pile this week but I’m not quite sure which books may only be sticking around to the end of the first arc. Nightwing is looking likely to be in that category at present and I’m not overly confident that #4 is going to elevate this from being ‘reasonable’ to ‘compulsory’. Kyle Higgins is doing a decent enough job with Dick Grayson but I’m just not convinced by the shift from wearing the Batman cape and cowl to going back to his days at the circus and essentially covering those small villainous gaps that Bruce Wayne can’t cover. It feels like there has been too much of a jump to steer Dick away from his time as Gotham’s Dark Knight so come #6 I’ll be making a decision. Immune from such choices are the works of Scott Snyder and Peter J. Tomasi and I have to end this week’s piece by saying how much I’m looking forward to discovering just how Bruce Wayne will have gotten out of the Court of Owls crafty and explosive trap in Batman #4, and just how John Stewart is going to get on as a prisoner of war in Green Lantern Corps #4.

Sooooo many good comics this week! What a delightful early present from the publishers!

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