AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #648 BIG TIME CHAPTER ONE - Brand New Day has ended, Spidey's monthly again, and there's a NEW Hobgoblin, a new Spidey costume, and more coming right up!
We're not going to lie, it's been a hard time being a Spider-man fan over the last few years. I've made no secret that I was one of the many who were kind of disenfranchised by the whole One More Day and Brand New Day thing. There were moments of hope for the book to get rad again (the Gauntlet did have some great highlights, and New Ways to Die was pretty kick-ass), but for the most part, the weekly schedule and rotating creative teams caused the book to lack consistency. And, that's without even considering the drastic changes that were made to the character in One More Day, including the removal of Mary Jane from Parker's life.
So, when Marvel started their hype machine rolling for BIG TIME, I was very hesitant. Spider-man had always been one of my favorite characters, and I'd been pulled in before with promises of exciting new arcs. So I've been skeptical about this one, and then I read the advance copy this past week, and now I'm feeling pretty damn good about the future of the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN title.
First off, it looks like Marvel is taking Spidey off of the three times a month schedule, and putting it back to monthly, which is, in my opinion, a smart move. Why? Well, if it's monthly, that means we can get a consistent solid creative team instead of the rotating teams and the inconsistent story arcs that really didn't synch up that well.
Secondly, it FEELS like a Spider-man book again. Writer Dan Slott has a knack for writing good dialogue, and catching the humor in comics, and he definitely brings that to Spidey, with just the right amount of wit and one-liners. It's also the first time in quite some time that the art has really fit the title. Humberto Ramos brings high energy, fluid storytelling to the book that literally has Spidey jumping off the page, and bringing his colorful rogues gallery to life.
And, that leads me to the third reason I'm excited, it's introducing a new villain, and for once, it's not some lame-o. The new Hobgoblin is looking awesome, and the Hobgoblin character is one of the few super-villain identities that is perfect for new incarnations. The entire history of the original character is steeped in the costume and identity being passed down from character to character. So, it only makes sense to see a new incarnation of the Hobgoblin appearing on the scene.
Throw in the fact that there's mention that this arc is leading to Spidey getting a new costume, and you've hit our nostalgia spot in a big way. Now, of course, we've seen new Spidey suits before, and while some come and go, this new one looks pretty cool, and it's always neat to see the what and the why of how the Webhead got a new set of duds.
But, beyond all of what I just said: I'm excited about BIG TIME, 'cause the first issue of the arc read REALLY well, and got me excited about Spider-man in a way I haven't been in years.
For those of you who haven't read Spidey in years, or got disenfranchised and fell off the title, I'd recommend picking up AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #648 this week, and giving it a shot.
BATMAN RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #6 - THE DARK KNIGHT IS BACK, NOW IT IS REVEALED HOW HE'S RETURNED, AND WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR THE CAPED CRUSADER
We know it's a little late, but better late than never, right? Hell, Morrison's work on Batman has been so good, we'll read it in whatever order he delivers it to us, 'cause after those last two issues of BATMAN AND ROBIN, we're convinced that this could be one of the best, if not the best, runs on Batman we've ever read.
Morrison's saga of re-invention for Bruce Wayne has kept us on the edges of our seats all year, and before that, we were hooked on the saga leading up to it with BATMAN AND SON, BATMAN THE BLACK GLOVE, and BATMAN RIP. Now, after what's been shown in BATMAN AND ROBIN, and RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE, it looks like the Dark Knight has returned, and the finale issue of RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE this week shows us not only the how, but the ramifications that will impact the DCU for years to come.
For those of you who aren't reading RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE, this 6 issue limited series has shown us a Bruce Wayne who, after being zapped by Darkseid's Omega Beams in FINAL CRISIS, was sent hurtling back in time, and awakening with amnesia. He's been fighting his way through the past, era by era, and it's been a real hoot. It's been fascinating to see the various incarnations of Gotham City throughout the ages, as well as the connections of pre-existing DCU characters (like Vandal Savage, or Jonah Hex) to The Wayne Family. Plus, with each chapter of RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE, Morrison has given us pieces to the puzzle he's put out infront of us about not just Bruce Wayne's supposed "death", but the literal direction of the Batman mythos for years to come.
Now, this Wednesday, everything comes to it's smashing conclusion, and after the epic read that was BATMAN AND ROBIN #16, we are totally stoked to see what's coming after RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE.
If you're looking to get caught up on RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE, we've got issues #1-#5 in stock, and then #6, ending out the run will be arriving this Wednesday.
Looking to go back further in getting prepared? Clickhere to read our blog with everything you need to know about the Return of the Dark Knight!
AMERICAN VAMPIRE #8 - The BEST Vertigo book we're reading right now, or at least neck and neck with SCALPED. :)
Stephen King and Scott Snyder launched AMERICAN VAMPIRE almost a year ago, and it completely took us by storm. I had a good feeling about this series when I first saw rough pages for it a few months before release, and we've been strong supporters of the book from day one. It's kind of cool, to be honest, to have interviewed Scott Snyder right when the book was first coming out, and now to look at it, and see that it's really cemented itself as one of the best Vertigo books out.
American Vampire is a fascinating, and compelling look at vampires, but done with the kind of craft and storytelling of comic sagas like Y THE LAST MAN and PREACHER. These are not your run-of-the-mill Twilight fare, but are instead vicious bloodsuckers who can literally feel their veins drying up and constricting when they haven't fed. Two-legged sharks with teeth growing behind their teeth.
The series starts out telling us the story of Pearl, a young actress, in the roaring 1920s, who runs afoul of some wealthy Hollywood power-players who happen to have an aversion to sunlight, and a taste for blood. Meanwhile, through King's parts, we're shown the old West origins of Skinner Sweet, the first AMERICAN VAMPIRE, and as the story continues, the two tales converge into one, as Skinner comes into Pearl's life, puts her back on her feet and then proceeds to toy with her throughout the series.
The one thing I noticed while reading the first arc of American Vampire was how damn good Snyder's writing was, and how I actually found myself enjoying his work on the book moreso than King's, not that King's wasn't up to snuff, it's just Snyder really brought something to the series. And, now, on issue #8, Snyder and artist Rafael Albequerque are continuing to make this one of the best Vertigo series we're reading.
The real hook, beyond the expert characterization and plotting of Snyder, is the interesting approach to vampires, and how various regions of the world have varying effects on the vampire infection. Skinner, we learn, does not have the same vulnerabilities that his Eastern European cousins do, and the same holds true for Pearl.
This series does for vampires, what WALKING DEAD did for zombies. It's a mature, compelling and addictive storyline that takes classic genre standards and turns them on their heads.
Folks, I could go on and on about how great AMERICAN VAMPIRE is, but all I can say is try it for yourself. We've got the first graphic novel in stock now, which collects issues #1-5, and then we've got plenty of #6, #7 and this week's #8 to get you caught up.
AVENGERS CHILDRENS CRUSADE #3
- The original creative team behind YOUNG AVENGERS continues to explore the saga of the Scarlet Witch
Young Avengers, when it first came out, was the kind of book that we had no intention of digging, 'cause lets face it: the title of the book doesn't exactly instill confidence. However, once we read the first issue, we realized that Allen Heinberg and Jimmy Cheung had something special with these characters. It's rare that you see a full roster of new faces come to life as vividly as the Young Avengers did, but a testament to Heinberg's writing, these characters were some of the best we'd seen in years.
And, after Young Avengers finished it's 12 issue run, we were pretty much forced to wait for more stories featuring these characters. Sure, there were mini-series and one-shots, but it wasn't the same without Heinberg and Cheung.
With Avengers Childrens Crusade, Heinberg and Cheung have returned to their characters, and are giving us a fantastic, solid storyline that puts a ton of emphasis on character. The story uses HOUSE OF M as a launching point, and centers on Wiccan and Speed's (the two children of Scarlet Witch that House of M referenced) search for their mother, the SCARLET WITCH. Very similar in tone to Whedon/Cassaday's run on ASTONISHING X-MEN, Children's Crusade reads like a modern, sleek take on the classic Marvel super-hero soap opera dynamic, where continuity is used but not solely relied upon.
And, it's really freakin' good. Not only do you get Heinberg's Young Avengers cast, but Magneto, and Avengers mainstays also make appearances giving the book a feel that's self-contained but still relevant to the present day Marvel Universe. And, don't think this one's slow moving, or solely about dialogue, 'cause there's some fantastic action sequences we've seen so far. Cheung's art looks as good as ever, and brings the book to life in a big way.
If you missed AVENGERS CHILDRENS CRUSADE #1 or #2, we've got both available still to catch you up.
T.H.U.N.D.E.R AGENTS #1 - A cutting edge new series by MORNING GLORIES writer NICK SPENCER - A must for fans of PLANETARY, THE AUTHORITY and SECRET WARRIORS. Would you be a superhero if it only meant you had one year to live?
Morning Glories has been one of the raddest new books we've seen here at the shop, and we've been completely hooked on it from the get-go. So, we've been paying close attention to this Nick Spencer guy who's made a real breakout name for himself on Image's new #1 hit. When we first heard that his next project was going to be the T.H.UN.D.E.R Agents, a weird little Silver Age oddity originally published by Tower Comics, we were a bit puzzled.
However, after seeing some advance pages, and hearing a little about what Spencer plans to do with the series, we think that this could be one of the biggest breakout DC titles of the winter, in terms of sleeper hits.
A fresh start, for a team that hasn't been used in decades, Spencer starts his relaunch with a new batch of recruits who've been asked to take on the mantle of the original THUNDER (The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserves) Agents. From what we can tell, the THUNDER AGENTS are like no other team the DCU has seen, and the book looks to truly test the very concept of what heroes and villains really are.
The book does not read like a standard superhero book, and actually reminds us a lot of Planetary or The Authority, and feels almost like a world apart from everything else that's happening currently. The first issue is a great jumping in point, especially for those of you who've never read the original THUNDER AGENTS stuff, and the new look and feel for the book and it's characters is great.
What's the premise? It's simple: what if you had either made some mistakes in your life or had something happen to you that left you in a place where you were basically at the end of your rope? You're out of options, and there's no way to fix things, and life is basically ruined, and then bam, someone comes up to you and offers you a choice. You can do great things, be absolved of your sins, redeem yourself in the eyes of the world, and become a hero, but if you take this path, you'll die within a year. And, that's where things get interesting, as these characters are given this choice, and have to deal with their decision to accept it.
Spencer also plans to incorporate classic THUNDER Agents as well as their villains, and we'll see NoMan, who's been moving from cloned body to clone body throughout the years, but as he moves from body to body, he loses a little bit of himself, becoming more detatched and less human each time. By the time this new series starts, he's in a very strange place.
As for the rest of the roster, a few of the characters Spencer has talked about are Lightning, who has super-speed, but every time he accelerates, it shortens his life. Every time he hits a certain speed, minutes and hours chip off of his lifespan, and he's aware of this each and every time. There's also Dynamo, who has super-strength and invulnerability, but again, every time he uses his abilities, he's gradually eroding his nervous system and doing severe damage to his body. And of course, the previously mentioned NoMan, who we've already talked about. These new characters have basically assumed the previous mantles and codenames of the original Agents that preceded them.
Spencer has proven with MORNING GLORIES that he has a knack for writing fresh, compelling new characters, and really bringing them to life on the page. As for the art, WAR OF THE SUPERMEN artist CAFU brings a fantastic, bigger than life widescreen almost Bryan Hitch-esque vibe to the series, and his art totally fits the kind of weird and different superhero story that Spencer is telling.
T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents hits this Wednesday, and from what we've already read, we highly recommend picking it up. We know that you guys appreciate good comics above all else, and are always game for an innovative new take on the superhero genre, so we really think you guys will dig this one.
FORGETLESS TRADE PAPERBACK - Before he did MORNING GLORIES, Nick Spencer rocked out this kick-ass limited series with art by the very talented Marley Zarcone.
Forgetless flew under a lot of folks radar last year, but this series turned out to be one of our favorite reads from Image last year. It's also cool, because it was a sign of things to come for one of the hottest new writers working today, Nick Spencer, who is now writing the kick-ass MORNING GLORIES series for Image.
Forgetless is the biggest party in New York, but now it's reaching it's end, and on the final guest list you've got Sara and Sonia, struggling models turned professional killers, as well as Derrick, a failed t-shirt maker and hypnotist's assistant turned Youtube adult film maestro. Of course, their twisted paths cross, and it's a rush to see if any of them actually survive to see the end of the series.
The first thing you'll notice about Forgetless is the killer design aesthetic to how the book is laid out and presented, the next thing you'll notice is the sleek modern art style that fills it's pages, and then once you start reading it, you realize you're hooked into one of the best page-turning modern crime stories you've read.
The story centers around a night club known as Forgetless, and an agency who hires out of work models and trains them to be assassins. One of the assassins gets dispatched to Forgetless to take someone out, but she's not quite sure if it's the right guy. And, why is there a Furry interrupting her work?
The book has a nice mix of dark humor, and Tarantino movie-esque violence that pairs up nicely with the cliffhangers that Spencer delivers at the end of each chapter. This series serves as a nice look at a writer who's about to break out, and the same kind of knack for dialogue and fascinating character development you see in Morning Glories is present here. Plus, we have to give a shout out to the kick-ass art by Marley Zarcone in the book. Keep an eye out for more work by her, 'cause she has a fresh and unique style that we're hoping to see on more books in the future.
Want a solid re-imagining of the crime genre that kind of channels the humor of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Give Forgetless a try.
THOR #617 - The third installment of Fraction and Ferry's killer run of Thor hits this week, and we are loving where this book is heading. Modern day comic magic that channels the spirit of the classic Simonson and Kirby runs of Thor.
Thor is always up and down for us here at Third Eye. We loved Romita and Jurgen's stuff years ago, and that got me into Thor, personally, but then things got kinda weird, and I lost interest for a while until J. Michael Straczynski took the reigns. We dug Kieron Gillen's run, but it wasn't the kind of must-read magic we were used to with Straczynski, and now Matt Fraction (writer of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN) has really turned things up 100% with Thor again.
Starting with sisue #615, Fraction and Ferry have managed to bring back that cosmic science fiction element that creators like Jack Kirby and Walt Simonson brought to Thor back in the day. Ferry's art fits the book perfectly, and he brings an otherworldly magic to the nine realms, and Asgard.
It all begins with the fact that Asgard is now in ruins, and empty from the aftermath of Siege. Now, couple that with the fact that Asgard is still kind of chilling above the planet Earth, and it ends up making itself a prime target for an invading force crazy alien dudes with giant battle axes and laser cannons, and they want one thing: to siege Asgard and take it as their own.
From the moment that I saw the ice elf people trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues, and then having it turn to blood falling from the skies above, I knew that this was going to be an awesome run, and two issues in, it has not disappointed yet.
Fraction brings his talent for crafting compelling characters, and writing bigger-than-life action sequences to the world of Thor, and Pasqual Ferry makes all of these out there ideas look damn near awe-inspiring.
Want to jump onboard? Pick up #615, and #616, now available at Third Eye, and catch up to this week's #617. We think you guys are going to really dig this series.
ATTN: DOCTOR WHO & DC UNIVERSE FANS: YOU MUST READ KNIGHT & SQUIRE! Knight and Squire #2 hits this Wednesday by DR WHO Television writer PAUL CORNELL - One of the quirkiest, most fun books we've seen in a while.
We weren't really sure what to think of KNIGHT & SQUIRE when it first debuted, but after reading it, we were sold. This book is just plain fun. Paul Cornell, the writer of that kick-ass Lex Luthor ACTION COMICS run, single-handedly created the entire UK corner of the DCU in one issue. That's impressive. And, the best part is he actually made it work. He made it interesting, and I mean, he did it in a very entertaining way.
For those of you who don't know, Knight and Squire are some old school Batman characters who Grant Morrison brought back during his BATMAN AND ROBIN run. They're essentially the British versions of Batman and Robin. Now, what makes Knight and Squire so cool is that Paul Cornell has brought a very quirky, DR WHO kind of vibe to the UK end of the DCU, and really given these characters personalities all their own.
The first issue basically sets up in this pub where the super-heroes and super-villains find themselves often meeting, and due to "truce magic", they cannot fight each other, cannot follow each other home, or harm each other in any other way. So, they just tolerate each other, have a pint, and hang out. Of course, that all goes to hell by the end of the first issue when the truce magic suddenly disappears and all hell breaks loose.
But, what makes KNIGHT AND SQUIRE so much fun is it's quirks. The fact that the older British super-villains are all "cover versions" of American super-villains, like Jarvis Poker, the British Joker, who just doesn't have the stomach to commit the crimes his inspiration does, or the crime cartel made up of cricket players that's huge in Australia, the UK and the Indies, but never really caught on in America.
If you missed issue #1, pick it up, and give it a shot, 'cause we thought Knight and Squire was one of the most fun books we read last month.
NORTH 40 TRADE PAPERBACK HITS WEDNESDAY - Small-town Cthulhu awesomeness in this killer read - Check it out! A great survival horror read!
North 40 was a series that came out last year that we really dug, and we think a lot of you may have missed, so you should definitely scope out the trade this Wednesday. Aaron Williams and Fiona Staples (who's art is INCREDIBLE) starts with a young small town couple as they gaze upon a restricted volume on loan from the Vidette U. Library. The book, which I think we all can guess what it is, has a tentacled Cyclops face on it's cover, but the young couple figure it's just something an enthusiastic horror fan put together.
Of course, upon, as it's said "weakening the bindings of an ancient power", all hell breaks loose on the small town, and the entire rural county is blocked from the rest of the world. And it's kick-ass. Imagine people turned into grotesque Lovecraftian creatures, while others are turned into beings with preternatural powers, and the few wholly human remnants struggle to survive in the chaos.
If you're a fan of killer horror comics, especially stuff that puts new spins on the Lovecraft mythos, you have GOT TO read North 40, 'cause it reads and looks great.
Check it out this Wednesday in trade paperback at Third Eye!
ULTIMATE THOR #2 - The best Ultimate book we've read since Millar and Hitch's original run on the Ultimates, Jonathan Hickman's take on Thor is freakin' crazy!
One of the things we've always dug about Marvel's Ultimate Universe is that we're able to see different versions of familiar characters. Millar originally brought us a fresh take on Thor in THE ULTIMATES, that while had the basics of the character, also had enough variations to make him interesting.
And now, Hickman has kicked off a series that looks to develop and explore Thor's past, as well as the history of Asgard in the Ultimate Universe. It's a damn good thing that they got Jonathan Hickman on board to do it too, cause he is the master of putting a fresh spin on age old concepts.
In the first issue, we were shown flashbacks to 1939, where Baron Zemo has been preparing a Nazi invasion of Asgard. And, it looks like he's got a legion of frost giants to help him.
The first issue of this really started things off with some promise, and this could be the coolest Ultimate book of the year, with Hickman handling the writing duties.
Click here for a preview of ULTIMATE COMICS THOR #2
NEW IMAGE SERIES HALCYON EXPLORES THE QUESTION: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE SUPERHEROES HAVE WON? WHAT COMES AFTER?
Image is launching another new series that looks pretty rad this Wednesday with Marc Guggenheim (Resurrection writer) and Ryan Bodenheim's HALCYON.
We haven't seen a lot on the series yet, but the premise sounds pretty cool. Basically, what happens in a world where the super-heroes have defeated all the possible causes of danger and menace, and society becomes a virtual utopia? No crime, no war, nothing. Sounds like a utopia, right? Well, Halcyon explores why a world without conflict is not always what it seems.
The cover art, and interiors look nice, but I haven't had a chance to read too much from it yet, so I'll have to give it a look at the shop this week. Could be a cool read, especially for those of you like myself who dig stuff like IRREDEEMABLE.
THE BOONDOCK SAINTS RETURN THIS WEDNESDAY IN BOONDOCK SAINTS: HEAD OF THE SNAKE #1
Who doesn't love The Boondock Saints? One of our favorite cult flicks, we're stoked to see the Saints live on in comic book form.
This week, a brand new limited series follows Noah and Luie as their mission begins to make some serious and bloody waves through the 1960s underground crime world. It also patches in the gaps of what Connor and Murphy were up to between the original film and the sequel.
Check it out this Wednesday here at Third Eye!
NEW AVENGERS #6 - An Avenger Must Die! Bendis's tour of the Marvel mystical universe concludes it's first arc with NEW AVENGERS #6 this Wednesday
I'm really finding myself digging NEW AVENGERS. This was the book out of the new line-up of AVENGERS titles that I had the least interest in, just because there was nothing that was new or different about it, but you know what? Sometimes it's best to stick with what works, and it's obvious from reading NEW AVENGERS, that these are the characters that Bendis writes the best.
NEW AVENGERS does a killer job of capturing a character-driven Avengers team, and delivers some of the best dialogue in any Marvel book right now. The characters are believable, and due to their history in the previous incarnation of NEW AVENGERS, they practically leap off the page at you.
As for the current arc that kicked off NEW AVENGERS, it's actually been really cool. I'm normally not big on the whole mystical end of the Marvel U, with the Dr. Strange and Dormammu stuff, but Bendis and Immonen have done a great job of making it accessible and interesting.
What's the overall hook here? Well, you know how Dr. Strange had that whole Eye of Agomatto thing, right? Well, turns out, there's a real deal Agomotto, and he wants his eye back, and he's unleashing some otherworldly madness on the New Avengers to get it.
In last month's #5, we saw things end out with the entirety of the NEW AVENGERS being channeled into Wolverine's body as a host to throw down with Agomatto.. and it was pretty freakin' cool. The Iron Fist logo mixed with Son of Satan's pentagram burnt into Logan's chest and surrounded in fire? A pretty badass visual.
Anyways, if you wanna hop on, we've got issues #1-5 in stock to catch you up to this week's #6. We recommend giving the series a go, as it's been pretty kick-ass so far.
Click here for a preview of NEW AVENGERS #6
THIRD EYE STAFF PICKS
Trish - Scarlet 3 - I think this is my favorite book right now. Maleevs art is so good and Bendis writes a good strong female lead.
TORMA - BATMAN AND ROBIN #16 - AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME. Grant Morrison sets up as much cool stuff as he wraps up in this finale to his run on BATMAN AND ROBIN.