|Amazing Spider-Man #616
Creative team: Story by Fred Van Lente; Art by Javier Pulido
Villain to Watch: Sandman
They say: The Sandman has vacillated between good and evil over the years, joining the Sinister Six and the Frightful Four...as well as becoming a reserve Avenger and a member of Silver Sable's Wild Pack. But as of this issue, and forever more, he will always be known as a villain -- one of the worst in the Wall-Crawler's Rogues Gallery -- and it's all Spider-Man's fault! Find out the shocking reason why in this issue as "The Gauntlet" continues!
I say: Wanna tell who's the old-school Marvel in a crowd? mention a character like Sandman, and watch the smile spread slowly across their face. Sandman has a wonderfully conflicted and tortured history -- befitting of the Marvel philosophy of comics -- that he's hard not to love. The solicit is... well, it's just that -- a solicit. But, man! It holds a lot of potential. Van Lente delivered on Electro. I can't wait to see what he has in store for Sandman.
Avengers Initiative #31
Creative team: Story by Christos N. Gage; Art by Rafa Sandoval
Villain to Watch: Taskmaster
They say: Months of story threads finally weave together as Norman Osborn offers Taskmaster a seat at the Cabal's table...the Avengers Resistance uncovers a horrifying secret...and members of the Initiative are called up for an assault on an enemy of incalculable power!
I say: This must be the week for fantastic, old-school Marvel characters. Taskmaster has been playing a solid, supporting role in the Dark Reign storyline, and I'm very interested in seeing how he handles promotion. His handling by the Dark Reign writers -- as a no-nonesense, mercenary, drill sergeant -- has been really fun to read so far, so I'm happy to see him stepping up.
Fall of the Hulks Gamma #1
Creative team: Story by Jeph Loeb; Art by John Romita Jr.
Villain to Watch: The Leader
They say: It's almost here! With the Hulk family growing exponentially over the past year, it was only a matter of time before things came to a smashing head. But what could set all of these characters into a rage that has them turning on each other, and on the world? Whose death starts this? Just what role do Skaar, A-Bomb, the She-Hulks and the Marvel Universe play in this story? One thing's for sure-things are about to get incredible!
I say:You had me at Alpha. This series has serious legs. And this is coming from someone who has already admitted that the Hulk is one of his least-favorite Marvel-U heroes.
Fantastic Four #574
Creative team: Story by Jonathan Hickman; Art by Neil Edwards
Villain to Watch: TBA
They say: All the Marvel cool kids show up at the bestest birthday party ever! We got X-kids, Power Pack, and Spider-Man in the house as Franklin celebrates his birthday!. Who cuts the cake? Who brings the best present? And who's the special guest of honor? It's Days of Future Franklin!
I say: Can you stand one more story from an old-school Marvel fan? Remember when
What If Spider-Man House of M #1
Creative team: Story by Sean McKeever and Frank Tieri; Art by Dave Ross and Brian Haberlin
Villain to Watch: Scarlet Witch
They say: Gwen Stacy meant everything to Peter Parker...and then she was gone, murdered by the Green Goblin. When the Scarlet Witch shifted reality in "House of M," Peter got to live the dream of marrying Gwen and raising a son...but soon that, too, was gone. But what would happen if Gwen didn't vanish along with the rest of the "House of M?" In other words, "What If Gwen Stacey Survived the House of M?" In the first feature, questions about what would happen between Gwen and Peter, between Peter and Mary Jane, and, indeed, what would happen to reality itself are answered as only Sean McKeever can. In the second feature, Peter Parker returns home from the House of M reality -- but he's not alone. Gwen and Richie have made the trip as well -- along with something far more problematic. Far more sinister. And it will threaten to destroy not only himself and his loved ones, but everything Spider-Man stands for! Plus a 'Say What?' comedy strip.
I say: Oh, who am I kidding? These What-Ifs are marketed directly to us old-schoolers! And crimminey! For the most part, they'd been rock-solid reading! These two look engaging as all get-out. Now, I've given that "comedy strip" a second (and third) chance. It's just not for me. I'm not saying that you're not going to find it humorous. But don't buy the book for the third feature. Buy it for the classic storytelling that makes you remember why you love comics.
Arkham Reborn #3, Black Widow and Marvel Girls #2 , New Avengers #60,
Green Lantern #49, Guardians of the Galaxy #21, Wonder Woman #39.
Mini Marvels Ultimate Collection
Creative team: Story by Sean McKeever, Paul Tobin, and more; Art by Chris Giarrusso
Villain to Watch: Whomever put the kibosh on this series.
They say: All-ages fun featuring the wild and crazy kid counterparts to Marvel's greatest heroes! Featuring Spidey, Wolverine, Iron Man, Hulk and more Marvel favorites - reimagined for an all-ages audience! ALL your favorite Mini Marvels adventures collected in one hilarious and action-packed collection! Be there when Spidey gets the Paperboy Blues, Wolverine goes on a Cereal Quest, Hulk goes on a date and the Fantastic Four are impersonated by Skrulls. Plus: Spidey gets in over his head when he babysits Power Pack, but he gets by with a little help from his Amazing Friends Iceman and Firestar!
I say: It's no secret that Chris is a buddy of mine, so I'm biased here, but gosh darn it.. Mini Marvels is such darned strong work -- and mostly on the basis of the art. When the writing is McKeever and Tobin, you know it's going to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. There's one writer who writes the kind of humor that completely misses me. But -- and I really do think this is an amazing testament to Chris' work -- I still end up enjoying the installment for the endearing visuals.
Dark Reign Sinister Spider-Man.
...And One To Pass...
Grimm Fairy Tales #43
Creative team: Story by Joe Brusha; Art by TBA
Villain to Watch: Belinda
They say: A mythical creature of intense power finds itself needed by both the forces of good and evil. When the last unicorn appears in central park both Sela and Belinda are enlisted to find the magical creature for very different reasons. Sela seeks to protect the creature and guide it back home while Belinda needs it for her own evil plot. But unknown to both women a third party with malevolent plans for the creature is set to enter the game. Sela find herself in a race against time to bring the last unicorn back to its own realm before her rivals can accomplish their goals.
I say: Y'know... if the art inside these comics was one-quarter as good as the cover art, this would be a darned good series. Every time I ever picked up one of these books, I got halfway through and had to check the cover to make sure I actually had the right book in my hands.
Sherlock Ninja #1.
*Thanks to JD for the helpful jog of the memory.
POLL: The title I'm most looking forward to is...
|5% (4)||Amazing Spider-Man #616|
|5% (4)||Avengers Initiative #31|
|1% (1)||Fall of the Hulks Gamma #1|
|8% (6)||Fantastic Four #574|
|8% (6)||What If Spider-Man House of M #1|
|1% (1)||Black Widow and Marvel Girls #2|
|4% (3)||New Avengers #60|
|26% (18)||Green Lantern #49|
|4% (3)||Guardians of the Galaxy #21|
|14% (10)||Mini Marvels Ultimate Collection TPB|
|2% (2)||Dark Reign Sinister Spider-Man TPB|
|4% (3)||Grimm Fairy Tales #43|
|11% (8)||Sherlock Ninja #1|
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