Each and every week “William Wallace” MK2Fac3 and “Wallace William” Henchman21 read a lot of comics. Seriously you guys, a lot of comics. Maybe too many comics. I mean, it is possible… theoretically. They look forward to some more than others, I mean, who doesn’t? So, let’s take a look into the depths of their pull lists, grab some comics, and we’ll let YOU know what the top books to look forward to are for the week of December 7, 2011. Single issues and trades, they’re all here.
Two men enter. One man leaves. These are the rules of any cage match that does not feature more than two opponents. However, if the “fight to the death” stipulation is invoked, then the rules will be changed slightly into this: Two men enter. One man lives. The best cage matches tend to have what could be considered as a “David v. Goliath” element to them in which one opponent is much larger and threatening than the other, but the smaller of the two men posses the heart to face any and all opposition without hesitation. In these situations, it’s customary for the big man to be the likely winner, but everyone is cheering for the small guy. Now you may be asking yourself, what do the rules and excitement of violent cage matches have to do with this week’s comics? I have a simple reply my friends, absolutely nothing. Here are the comics that we’re looking forward to this week!
Men of War #4 (DC Comics – $3.99): I kind of forget how much a like this book until I read it each month. In the main story, Ivan Brandon takes a look at how the military of the United States functions within the realm of super heroes. The concept of how everyday people interact with super heroes has always been something that’s really fascinating to me, and with Brandon’s Men of War, I get to see that. It’s a dramatic book that focuses a lot of attention on a realistic portrayal (to some degree) of the call of military action in war time, but it doesn’t spend too much time on that instead of telling a good story. The primary thing about how good this book is the story. My attention is never lost with the main feature and the art from Tom Derenick is solid as well. The writer and artist make a great team, and this issue features the debut of B. Clay Moore and Paul McCaffrey to the back up story. I’m not sure what the story will be about, but with the strong creative team, it should be a pleasant surprise for me. While Men of War may not be on everyone’s radar since it’s not a super hero book, more people should be picking this up to try something a little different in DC’s 52 books about capes, or should I say streamlined back piping? Either way.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micros Series #1: Raphael (IDW Publishing – $3.99): I’ve written a lot about the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic from IDW before, and I’m going to continue doing that now. I’ve been a fan. Honestly, I think that their interpretation of the new series was to get people exactly like me to enjoy it. I was a huge fan as a kid, I read comics now, and that’s pretty much all you need to know about me. But this isn’t the ongoing comic book series. I know, right? Crazy. Daisy. This is what the publishers/writers/artists/readers/editors/you-get-the-idea are calling a “micro series,” but all that really means is that it’s a series of one shots focused on each member of the turtles clan. So, I assume for the next few months will get different character one shots in the same vein as this one, but I don’t really know because I haven’t done any research, but I’m pretty sure that’s how it is! Anyway, the reason I’m excited for this comic is because each of the issues in the main story is always excited. I’m fully on board with this TMNT relaunch, so they’ve pretty much got me hooked for anything they’re doing in that line. Turtle power!
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: Must Have #1 (Marvel Comics – $4.99): What I really like about Marvel is that they want to save you money and not really take too much in. Sure, they may fool you into paying an exorbitant amount of pennies for a short comic book, but if you’re patient and as intelligent and handsome as the person writing these words, then you’ll find out that, whether they’re trying to suck more money out of collectors or not, they eventually give a casual reader of a title a break when it comes to their money accounts. You see, when Ultimate Comics Spider-Man relaunched in the past few months with the debut of the black costumed Miles Morales in the book, it had a very interesting cover price of $3.99. The series has kept this pricing stronghold in what I like to call “The Marvel Way,” with subsequent issues standing alongside that pricing model. However, with patience we learn that the first three issues of this series are being collected this week in a fun Marvel concept entitled “Must Have!” Must have? I must concur, Mr. Marvel. Because when you Ultimately charge me $5 for three comics, I must smile and thank you because I, like many others, do not like spending more money for less pages. The pun was intended.
Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus Vol. 1 TPB (DC Comics – $39.99): After exiting Marvel Comics, Jack Kirby hit the DC “NATION” in 1970 to write what can be argued by me and a lot of other people as possibly the best comic book saga of all time. Starting out with Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, a slightly weak selling comic at the time, Kirby took this opportunity to create an amazingly lavish world that created some of the best known characters in comics today, The New Gods. In Jimmy Olsen, we meet “THE FOREVER PEOPLE” which were a gang of fun-loving hippie types from another planet that came to the world to find peace alongside the human race. But they weren’t the only ones coming to Earth, the “EVIL” and “MENACING” Darkseid was on the planet, as well to discover the formula to destroy all mankind. In this collection, we see the birth of DC’s first and longest last Kirby creations with Darkseid, The Forever People and Mister Miracle. In fact, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s current Justice League story is centered around Darkseid and his presence on Earth, so if you’re curious where all of the came from, look here within these pages of Jack Kirby’s brilliance. The term epic is used a lot these days, but if one thing is worthy of the scope and magnitude that the word should imply, it’s Jack Kirby’s Fourth World. If you like to think, and if you love adventure, this collection is an absolute must read.
Defenders #1 (Marvel Comics – $3.99): Here we go again. Marvel is once again trying to resurrect the Defenders brand, but this time they have brought in one of their biggest writers, Matt Fraction, and teamed him with one of Marvel’s best artists, Terry Dodson. The Defenders, for those not in the know, are Marvel’s other team. The Defenders started out as a collection of misfit characters who didn’t naturally fit on other teams. The core of the team has generally been the Hulk, Dr. Strange, Namor, and the Silver Surfer, although there have been plenty of other members in the past. This time we get a team of Dr. Strange, Red She-Hulk, Namor, the Silver Surfer, and Iron Fist. What kind of wacky hi-jinks will these crazy kids get up to? Who can tell? The Defenders has not traditionally been a humor book, but certainly more light hearted and off-beat than other Marvel offerings, which would seem to be up Fraction’s alley, especially if you’ve read his work on Casanova. If Fraction can use that sensibility on this book, I think he could create the appropriate tone for it and make this book enjoyable. My worry is that he is not going to hit the right tone, and will instead give us a book like any other team book, and none of the flavor that has set the team apart. Very few people are going to read this book just because they follow the characters, there’s just not enough Namor fans to sustain it. However, if Fraction can make a fun book that isn’t all about the angst, he can introduce a whole new generation of fans to Marvel’s non-team. At least we know that this book will look good. Dodson’s clean style never fails to disappoint and is a great match for all the action that should be going down. I have hope for this series, and I’m looking forward to seeing if that hope is rewarded.
Venom #10 (Marvel Comics – $2.99): If you haven’t been reading Venom, you’ve been missing out on one of the best series Marvel is putting on the shelves. The last few issues were some of the finest examples of how to tie a story into a big event book, and every issue has been a fantastic character piece with a ton of emotional moments and plenty of action. Writer Rick Remender has taken all the history of classic Spider-Man character Flash Thompson, and has built upon it to show why this character is intriguing. Over the last few months, Flash has dealt with the loss of his father, while trying to juggle keeping a secret identity from his girlfriend with the increasingly corrupting influence of a certain brain eating alien symbiote. I love the mounting pressures that Flash has to deal with, and I can’t wait to see where it all leads. This issue should be a great jumping on point, as we move forward with the story, and welcome new artist Lan Medina, so check this one out, or at least see if you can find the last few issues.
G.I. Joe #8 (IDW Publishing – $3.99): This is the big finale to IDW’s Cobra Civil War story that has been weaving through all of their titles since they were re-launched 8 months ago, and that means one thing: New Cobra Commander! The main story since the relaunch has been Cobra’s search for a new Commander, and has seen various members of the terrorist organization fighting for power. Now we find out who won this little contest and will also see how the story goes forward from here. I’ll be honest, the story in GI Joe has been treading water for a few months and I am really looking forward to seeing the story advance some. The Joes have been getting their butts kicked, and I’m ready to see them go on the offensive. It’s still an enjoyable series, and this is as good a point as any for new readers to jump on. If you haven’t seen what IDW has done with the property, pick this issue up.
Criminal Vol. 6: Last of the Innocent (Marvel/Icon – $14.99): One of the best series of the year is now collected and ready to be enjoyed as one story, and if you are a comics fan, this is a story that you need to read. With Last of the Innocent, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips take their crime series into a different era, and use it to tell a story that is as much about the history of comics as it is a story of a husband trying to get some money from his rich wife. Brubaker and Phillips use this story and then apply it to the classic Archie characters, creating a story that can only be told in comics. Phillips’ art is amazing on this series, as he combines his usually rougher art style, and imitates the clean lines of the Archie style. When you see how the two styles interact, you will be blown away by this storytelling method. Criminal has consistently been great over its run, and this may be the best story arc so far. You don’t have to have read any of the other arcs before to understand what is going on here, but hopefully it will convince you to pick up the earlier trades if you haven’t. Do not pass this one over.