The internet is consumed with trolls, hate speak and just general nonsense, especially in nerd culture. We all like to hate on who’s being cast in what and what doesn’t work about the latest crossover. So instead of perpetuating the hyper negative bullshit, I decided to present my favorite top 5 new releases of the big two brands, in no particular order, each week to hopefully bring some balance to the force. Here we go:
Justice League of America #7
Continuing villains month, Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates tackle Black Adam’s intricate backstory head on in a great read, especially if you’ve already been following the Shazaam adventures in the back of Justice League. Edgar Salazar’s drawings look fantastic and bring the fleshed out origin of Black Adam that might just have you questioning: who rocks the lightning bolt tights better?
Who knew the Parasite could be compelling? Well, with story and art by Aaron Kuder, it’s not surprising. Kuder brings a great European sensibility to his work, and the story is a surprisingly interesting look at the backstory of a character that usually comes off as one dimensional. The ending to this book alone is just sort of a wonderfully haunting reminder that great power, in the hands of the wrong sort of sociopath, can be a terrible, terrible thing.
Batman and Robin #23
Look, nobody likes to crap on Killer Croc more than me… I am always reminded of The Batman Animated Series episode “Almost Got ‘Em” (http://youtu.be/fYgJ5oTccWY). But Tim Seeley and Francis Portela’s “Blood in the Water” is a great read. It takes Croc seriously and has the potential for a future Croc-centric story line that could develop in a lot of fun ways. Think of Killer Croc as the Aquaman of poo water. Finally, after a life of getting rejected by every girl for having a nasty case of epidermolytic hyperkeratosis, Waylon Jones might get his due.
Wonder Woman #23
Right now if you haven’t been reading Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman, then get to it. (http://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Woman-Vol-Blood-The/dp/140123562X) I for one have never been a huge Wonder Woman solo comic fan, but this book has been an awesome addition to the 52-verse. With guest artist ACO sitting in for the ride, the First Born book is more of the same magic. Forget Ares in Injustice: Gods Among Us- I would play as First Born all the time.
Justice League #23
This Secret Society read might be a little confusing if you aren’t super familiar with the comings and goings of Earth 2 (or what’s been going on in the DC world), but the Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates writing team tackling Earth 2 stories? It works. I don’t know if it’s Kudranski’s art or Kalisz’s colors, but it looks flipping great.
Green Lantern #23
This book is a straightforward New 52 Sinestro backstory book. It follows a lot of the past Sinestro trials while cutting quickly to the more current Lantern continuity. Dale Eaglesham has a great realism in his work that brings Matt Kindt ‘s retelling to a more compelling and fascinating level. The art adds a layer that prevents this book from reading as just another fill-in during the villain takeover.
Trial of the Punisher Part 1
This book is a power house. Marc Guggenheim’s story is a caustic, realistic look at what would happen if the Punisher were put through the legal system. It’s not always easy/pleasant to read legal scenes, but with Leinil Francis Yu’s awesome pencils with the appropriately matched colors of Sunny Cho, your attention will not waver. It’s a riveting gritty approach to a character that can be really hard to write anything new for (or to try to forget all those years of white Go-Go boots), but Guggenheim shows that he remembers and understands what it’s like for Ol’ skull face chest (that nickname will take off… give it time.)
Young Avengers #10
The Kieron Gillen and wonderful Jamie McKelvie/Mike Norton artistic team have been consistently rocking this comic. For a team I never fully gave a crap about, the weird awareness and quirkiness in this book reminds me of how Deadpool comic should feel. Having a young Loki over no Loki is Loki enough for me, and with the curtain constantly being drawn on who’s manipulating whom, this comic continues to offer a teen drama soap among supes that is far more clever and compelling than some of the grown up Avengers. Much like DC’s Earth 2 stuff, though you might have to start from the beginning with this book to fully understand what the hell is even going on.
Wolverine and the X-Men #36
Not a book I normally dig but it’s continuing children of the atom- nuff said. P.S. Marvel, stop making alternate X-Men teams… No but for real. Stop.
Superior Spider-Man Team Up #3
Say what you will about Doc Ock’s “Superior” Spidey arc (though apparently Parker will be back soon), what first drew me into this book (aside from Paolo and Joe River’s cover) was Michael Del Mundo’s epic art. The stylistic art and colors of the first panel alone show a motion and look that has a cool blend of artistic styles with full-on awesome. My interest was kept beyond the pretty pictures, though, with the complexity of Robert Rodi’s story. Dealing with this Octo-Spidey can be a difficult task but I like Rodi’s smart approach to the character and appreciate the added twist in the end from a new persona with big potential (oh man read this story just to get my pun… you won’t thank me.)
I love Brian and Gerry, sincerely I do. I even listen to their Nerd Poker D&D podcast (No judgments) but their Deadpool run hasn’t completely impressed me. I am a stickler when it comes to the Merc with a Mouth, he’s the Bugs Bunny of the Marvel Universe with guns… Ok I just described Howard the Duck, but, either way, over the past 5 or so issues, Brian and Gerry have kept me going. I really liked their silly 70’s arc team-up spoof with Iron Fist and Powerman. This current run (The Good the Bad and the Ugly) with a Cap/Wolvie team-up, based on a Korean weapon X program, has all the right ingredients for things to get weird. Also Declan Shalvey’s work on this run gives a great look to the pages.
What can I say, I’ve always liked A Man–er… kid called Nova. Especially when drawn in by an awesome cover of a young Sam Alexander in Thanos’ excellent grasp. This book has surprised me since its inception, and continues to keep my interest with Wells/Medina’s teenage Spidey-esque approach to the Nova helm. Though this theme has gotten a bit redundant amongst some of Marvel’s creations, I still dig the approach a ton here. And besides, any book that has the Watcher (even with his silly almond-eyed look) and hints at a New Warriors comeback, I am in.
So I’ve got a Brian K. Vaughn thing bad.. . He will be in this section a ton, but if you’re not familiar and you want to try something recent of his (without leaving your couch!) head over to panlsyndicate.com and download Private Eye. This book is full-on awesome with some big concepts and a dynamic world. It is “pay what you like”, so feel like paying normal cover price? Pay it. Feel like supporting an awesome story? Double that! Feel like being a cheapskate, or just want your first taste to be free? Don’t pay a cent. Just get it. It’s swell.
That’s all for my first installment— hopefully I’ll be able to get this out quicker and on the regular if folks enjoy reading it… and don’t forget the following adage, per Adam Scott:
“Nerd culture is mainstream now, so when you use the term ‘nerd’ derogatorily, you’re the one out of the zeitgeist.” (Thanks Parks and Recreation)
Feel free to hate on me @peterwgacek in the twitterverse