Each and every week “The Undisputed Champion” MK2Fac3 and “The People’s Champ” 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 February 1, 2012. Single issues and trades, they’re all here.
I’m going to just skip the BS and tell you that a lot of great comics are coming out this week, folks. We’ve got all sorts of great single issues and collected editions that are coming out of the woodwork to get you all twisted into a much more awesome and better-looking version that you were before. I don’t know how that’s possible, but I’m pretty sure that it’s what’s going to happen. Anyway, like I said, there are so many good books this week. We’ve got some awesome stuff coming in Dark Horse Presents, hopefully a good starting point for Animal Man, the second part of Superman’s origin in Action Comics, the newest issue of “The Best Comic In The World” Locke and Key, the second issue in what could be the best new comic of the year in Fatale, another strong candidate for comic of the year with Winter Soldier, and even more in single issues, you guys. That’s not even touching the collected editions, but we’ll get to that later. Some of the comics mentioned above will be chosen, but which ones are as yet undetermined, so read forth young geeklings to find what books that we have picked out for you… within The GoD List.
Animal Man #6 (DC Comics – $2.99): I talk about Animal Man from Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman a whole freaking lot, y’know? But that’s only because it’s an incredible comic that makes the DC Relaunch worth it. The thing is, its greatness is not the only reason I’m picking it this week. I’m making this my number one pick because it very much should be a good starting point. Jeff Lemire will still be writing this, but John Paul Leon will be stepping in for the majority of the issue to provide art for the independent super hero movie in which Animal Man starred. That’s right, the small blurb that we saw in Animal Man #1 about the title hero starring in a movie will finally be addressed in this issue, and we actually get to see it on the printed page. It’s a bold move for a mainstream comic, but as we’ve said on the Comics of Doom podcast, Animal Man, at its heart, is an indie book. This should allow readers an in if they weren’t already reading this comic, as it’s been described as a break in the story. So, hopefully that’s the case, but if it’s not, I’m sure that I’m still going to love this comic. It’s one of the best on physical and digital stands, so make sure to pick this comic up.
Dark Horse Presents (Dark Horse Comics – $7.99): I know, I know, I know. I feel a little bad suggesting Dark Horse Presents because of the absolutely terrifying list price, but the thing is, it’s 80 high quality pages that showcase an host of amazing comic book properties. If you’ve been keeping up with Geeks of Doom, you’ll know that Steve Niles will have his brand new Nosferatu Wars within these books, and Henchie McHench-a-lot will be addressing this comic’s all new Brian Wood story, but the main reason that I absolutely have to pick this comic up is because of the almighty return of Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s Beasts of Burden. I’ve loved this comic since I picked up a random issue from Grand Adventures Comics in Murfreesboro, TN, and I haven’t been let down, at all. Well, with the exception of the fact that it comes out in either anthology format, as a crossover or a mini-series, but if I’m being honest with myself, it probably works better for this story, anyway. If you’re unfamiliar with Beasts of Burden, it’s a team up book where the heroes fight all kinds of supernatural threats, and unfortunately things don’t always happen the way we as readers would like them to. Also, the team is made up of a group of dogs and a couple of cats. It’s one of my favorite comic books of all times, and if you trust me on that, check out the Dark Horse Comics app, check your local comic book shop or head over to TFAW, because you’re certain to find all these comics somehow. I mean, they even had a crossover with Hellboy! How could that be bad? Breaking News: It’s not bad, it’s good. Now, I’ve heard that coming within the pages of Dark Horse Presents that one of the animals’ fate is not something that I’m looking forward to, but as long as it’s not the pug, I’ll survive. Please Evan and Jill, don’t let anything bad happen to Pugs! Seriously guys, I’ll probably cry anyway, but if it’s Pugs and it happens in this issue, I’ll be really depressed and probably miss my job interview which would literally ruin my life. I’m just saying.
Locke and Key: Clockworks #4 (of 6) (IDW Publishing – $3.99): Time travel. Magic. Locke and Key. Best Comic Book In The World. It’s that simple, buy this.
Fatale #2 (Image Comics – $3.50): It’s not that I didn’t think that I would love Fatale. Of course I would love Fatale, I mean it’s Ed Brubaker and freaking Sean Phillips! Those two make up one of the best creative teams in comic books today. I am a huge fan of their work a huge fan of their work including Gotham Noir, Criminal, Incognito and thanks to Chris McHenchman, Sleeper, as well! So, again, I totally expected to love the first issue, but when I actually read what was going on in that comic, I was blown the Hell away. Seriously. It’s the hard boiled crime that we’ve come to know from Brubaker and Phillips, but with some of the most disturbingly horrific images to build this story as a legitimately one of a kind comic book. I’ve never read anything like this, and I’m onboard forever. Also, if you haven’t read the first issue, it’s getting a reprint and Brubaker/Phillips always adds incredible back matter in each issue that never make it to the trade release, so make sure to pick up these comics in single issues, you won’t regret it. I mean, it’s only $3.50, that’s less that a two liter of soda and a chicken sandwich. Choose wisely, choose Fatale.
Yeah, there’s a lot of books that are awesome and that are hitting stores this week. Want a list? I got a list!
Batman: Gates of Gotham (DC Comics – $14.99): It was a simpler time in comics, a time before we were all worried about relaunches, women in red and the number 52. Okay, well maybe we still cared about the number 52, but it wasn’t really that big of deal. Anyway, Gates of Gotham took place while Dick Grayson was still Batman and Bruce Wayne was off galavanting across the globe within the pages Batman Incorporated. Remember that? Well, this comic was rad. I don’t want to go too much into this, but it’s Kyle Higgins, Scott Snyder and some of the most awesome art I’ve ever seen from Trevor McCarthy, Agustin Padilla, Andres Guinaldo and Lorenzo Ruggiero. HALFTONE PATTERNS GALORE! WOOO! I loved this comic, so check it out. It’s a quick read, but a good read.
John Romita Amazing Spider-Man Artist Edition HC (IDW Publishing – $75.00): Are you seriously confused why I’m telling you about this? Dude, original pencil art from Romita’s Amazing Spider-Man run! Duh.
Locke and Key Special Edition Vol. 1: Welcome To Lovecraft (IDW Publishing – $100.00): Oversized. Best. Comic. In. The. World.
Madman: 20th Anniversary Monster HC (Image Comics – $100.00): Let’s just put it this way, geeks and Geektresses, this is worth more than the retail price. Don’t believe me? Here are some names that’s contributed to this comic: Mike Allred, Michael Avon Oeming, Darwyn Cooke, Jeff Smith, Graig Thompson, Matt Wagner, Eric Powell, Frank Quitely, Frank Miller, Jack Kirby and that’s not anywhere near all the names that are involved! Oh yeah, and it’s oversized. How could you not want that?
Aaaaaaaaaaand, last but certainly not least, one of my favorite comic books from last year, it’s none other than:
Xombi TPB (DC Comics – $14.99): I seriously freaking love this comic with all of my heart. It’s one of the most interesting and intriguing comics of the past few years. It’s written to perfection in an insane world created by John Rozum with hauntingly beautiful art from Frazer Irving. It’s bizarre, complex and gorgeous, and that’s the perfect combination to make be love a comic book. It was criminally underrated and didn’t get anywhere near the sales that it should have gotten, and was thusly cancelled, which was simply a crime against humanity. When cancellation comes to comics like this, it’s a constant reminder that companies care about sure bets that will make them money rather than putting effort behind an insanely good and progressive comic. In fact, a certain friend of mine that is totally awesome stopped reading DC Comics alongside the relaunch because a book like Xombi got cancelled. Instead, we got about 40 subpar “new” comics that didn’t really feel like anything new at all. It’s an offense to humanity that this comic didn’t sell well in single issues, but with your help and mine, hopefully it will find its place in the collected edition market.
Henchman21 (is a little teapot)
Winter Soldier #1 (Marvel Comics – $2.99): Spinning out of Marvel’s last event, Fear Itself, we have the first issue of the continuing stories of a quack who’s gone to the dogs. No wait, that’s Veterinarian’s Hospital. I’m thinking of the further adventures of Bucky Barnes, the one-time Captain America, one-time Cap sidekick, and now two-time Winter Soldier. Winter Soldier #1 puts Bucky back where he should be; as a black ops agent working undercover, taking out the bad guys. My hope for this series is that writer Ed Brubaker will bring Bucky back to the kind of stories we were getting just after his resurrection. Brubaker’s Cap run was at its best when he was telling what were essentially espionage stories with a thin veneer of superheroics, and that seems to be what this series is going for. That feel will certainly be helped by the art of Butch Guice, who’s style lends itself to action/adventure stories that are rooted in at least some realism. I have enough faith in Brubaker that I will check this issue out and see if it lives up to what I am looking for.
Dark Horse Presents #8 (Dark Horse Comics – $7.99): My dark lord and hamster master MK2Fac3 already talked about Dark Horse Presents but he focused on the new Beasts of Burden story, which is well worth checking out, but I want to speak to another feature in this issue, which is the start of Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson’s The Massive. This issue kicks off a three issue prologue of sorts for the main series that will come later this year and deals with the crew of a boat of wildlife rescue organization workers and what their lives are like after the Earth becomes flooded. It’s not quite a post-apocalyptic story, but seems to be very much in the vein of Wood’s recently ended series DMZ, in that it uses a near future scenario to examine modern day issues. This is a story right in Wood’s wheelhouse, and if you were a fan of DMZ, you’re definitely going to want to check this out. And if you never read DMZ, then it’s time to get on board. Wood is a fantastic writer and he is entering a new phase of his career and if you’ve read any recent interview with him you can tell that he is looking forward to his new projects and has a lot of enthusiasm about them. So you’ve got The Massive to check out in this issue, Beasts of Burden, and a bunch of other stories that make that 8 bucks you just dropped for the issue feel like money well spent.
X-Factor #231 (Marvel Comics – $2.99): X-Factor. Oh man, do I hope Marvel never cancels this book, and that’s why I may talk about it until everyone who reads the GoD List is buying it. Because X-Factor is great. To be fair, we’re a bit back in the rotating artists carousel that has plagued this book pretty much from the beginning, as this issue features guest art from Emanuela Lupacchino, but Leonard Kirk is the regular artist and he’ll be back in the next few issues and he can’t draw every issue when Marvel is trying to release roughly 23,456 issues of every X-Men series a year. What writer Peter David has done with this series is frankly amazing. He has taken a simple concept (Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, investigates crimes) and turned it into the premier team book that not enough people are reading. David is constantly infusing the series with new team members and each addition brings a new aspect to the series. The last issue returned Havok and Polaris to the team, and who knows how the other members will react. Reading this book for a long time, as I have, really leads you to become invested in the characters like a collection of old friends. X-Factor continues to be surprising and exciting at every turn and never fails to draw me in and keep me entertained. And I really hope that it never goes away, so I need you people to start buying it. Don’t make me beg. Because I will.
American Vampire Hardcover Vol. 3 (DC/Vertigo – $24.99): Wow, another great week for trades, although a bit expensive. For all you people out there with money falling out of your bottoms, you could buy the John Romita’s Spider-Man Artists Edition from IDW, or the Special Edition of Locke & Key Vol. 1, also from IDW. On the cheaper side you have a paperback of GI Joe with the Cobra Civil War storyline, or the collection of the Gates of Gotham mini from DC, both of which are very good. There is one book that stands out for me though, and it is the third volume of Scott Snyder’s American Vampire. Volume 3 collects issues 12-18 of the main series, as well as the 5 issue Survival of the Fittest mini-series, so that is a whole lot of comics. Contained in those issues is some spectacular art from Rafael Albuquerque and Daniel Zezelj on the main series and Sean Murphy on Survival. For those who’ve never read the story, American Vampire deals with the emergence of a new race of vampires in the Americas, and focuses on two characters, Pearl, a young woman who is turned into a vampire in the first story and Skinner Sweet, the vampire who turns her. The series starts in 20’s, and has progressed through time. The stories in this volume take place during World War II, and show what happens in the two main theaters, Europe and Asia, or at least what our characters deal with in those areas. I’ve read the Survival mini-series as it came out in issues and can testify to its amazing art and exciting story. I mean, it’s got Vampire Nazis, and there has never been a bad story that involves Vampire Nazis. Sean Murphy is one of the most exciting new artists of the last few years, and this is some of his best work yet. I haven’t read the main story yet, but judging from the first two hardcovers that I have read, I know I am in for an exciting ride highlighted by fantastic art from Albuquerque. American Vampire is the best series from Vertigo these days, and is well worth checking out.