Caleb's Pick of the Week - Kick-Ass #1

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

This week I've got to go with Kick-Ass. There are certainly other books of note, but I chose this one for a number of reasons. First, Millar and Romita are obviously having fun creating this comic...and that experience translates to the reader. Unfortunately it's rare to be able to discern how much a creator is enjoying a comic, not from what they say in interviews or at panels, but from the work itself. Kick-Ass is a blast of a concept, the creative team's having a blast making it and I'm having a blast reading it. Second, this is a first issue and I'd feel remiss as your retailer if I didn't at least try to help you get on at the ground floor before the sell-outs start hitting, which they will. And third, this book has the highest order numbers of any book yet from Marvel's Icon imprint and I think it's important to support these books with our dollars so we can see even more passionate creator-owned titles such as this and Criminal.


Speaking of Criminal, I have to mention it as my runner-up this week. This comic is fantastic and it's a real shame if you've somehow missed it. But this month is an over-sized stand-alone story and the perfect chance to jump on the series for only $3.50 and discover what you've been missing.


Vito's Personal Pan Pizza Pick of the Week - 2/27/08

I'll admit that I haven't gone through my entire stack yet (it's a HUGE week!) but with only four comics read, I can tell you I'm not picking any other book than ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #119.

Don't get me wrong. This pick could have easily been DAREDEVIL, or CAPTAIN AMERICA, or CRIMINAL (you all know I'm a Brubaker fan). It could have easily been CRIME BIBLE (I'm also a Rucka fan) or JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA (I love the JSA). I even almost picked KICK-ASS (Believe the's a lot of fun), but this book, USM #119, was better than all of those.

Well, better than the 3 out of the six mentioned, but that's besides the point.

I could go on and on about how well Bendis writes teens, or how great Immonen's art is, but instead, the reason this book stands out is because it's a great story. The thrill of watching Firestar emerge, and watching Peter trying to be Peter instead of Spidey, and listening to Iceman's dialogue...and the best part? None of them acted out of character!

Great book and a great storyline. Grab the last issue, this issue and the rest of the "Amazing Friends" arc!


Vito's Personal Pan Pizza Pick of the Week - 2/20/08

Friday, February 22, 2008

I wanted to pick MIGHTY AVENGERS #9, but when there's three or four double-page splashes in a well-paced comic, I feel cheated. It was a good comic, one of the better ones of the week (it reminded me of the old days, which is what this book should do) but not the pick of the week. Gerard Way, you get your first PotW from me and here's why...

When you do a limited series in comic book format, you can't necessarily "write for the trade." You can, but it's always better, from a reader's standpoint, to read a well written, well drawn comic that goes on for as long as it has to. If you invest the time and money into a book, you're hooked and you're in for the duration. Many limited series can always be longer (INFINITE CRISIS, anyone?) and rarely should they be shorter. But UMBRELLA ACADEMY was perfectly paced. Perfectly. Like a piece of music, which should be expected of Gerard Way, a musician by day for My Chemical Romance. Way somehow exceeded all expectations with this diddy of a comic, and crafted, with Gabriel Ba (of CASANOVA fame), the perfect yet quirky mini series. If you missed it, definitely get all the second printings. There were plenty of extras in the comic, and there's no telling what will be there in the trade (more, maybe less?) but this was, as you can tell from Caleb and my praise, one of the highlights of the year and is definitely heading for an Eisner.

And it deserves to win.


Caleb's Pick of the Week - Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Volume 6

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Today marks my first manga pick of the week. It's the latest volume of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, the series from the writer of MPD Psycho and the artist/writer of Mail (both fantastic manga in their own right). Each volume is self-contained, and most volumes have multiple self-contained tales within. At the same time, there is an ever growing meta-story behind the scenes, one into which this volume gives the deepest glimpse yet. This is a delicate balance to maintain between ongoing and self-contained, but Kurosagi has always pulled it off with aplomb. Tale after tale, the sheer number and sheer inventiveness of the mysteries our heroes face is quite impressive. If you're looking for a quality absurd, darkly humorous, horror-ish mystery/adventure tale, or just an excuse to try your first manga, then Kurosagi is the book for you.



Caleb's Pick of the Week - New Avengers #38

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I've made it no secret that Scalped is my favorite comic right now. Scalped writer and creator Jason Aaron has recently signed a Marvel exclusive, and today marks the day that he takes over both Wolverine (remember #56, his fantastic fill-in issue from October?) and Ghost Rider. We got the advances of both titles last week, and they're both great reads. I was all set to make one or both of them my pick of the week: the most interesting Wolverine in a long time and maybe the first take ever on Ghost Rider that's got me interested to see what happens next.

Until I read New Avengers #38 last night and, despite my love of Aaron and his work, it won out. In fact, I liked this story so much that when I finished reading it I immediately turned back to the first page and read it again.This is an amazing issue: Bendis's best script since New Avengers #22, which also happened to be a stand-alone focusing on Luke Cage and his family. Bendis's love for these characters is no secret, and it really comes through in his work. Not to mention the absolute treat of seeing Michael Gaydos drawing Luke and Jessica again. The dialogue is intense! And...well, Vito just said that. This is the first time Vito and I have had the same pick of the week, so if you still don't buy it I just don't know what else we can do for you.

This is not just good comics, this is good storytelling in ANY medium. Read it.



Vito's Personal Pan Pizza Pick of the Week - 2/13/08

You won't find a more appropriate Valentine's Day story this week than NEW AVENGERS #38.

Know what I like about this issue? It's reminiscent of the old Claremont/Byrne days on UNCANNY X-MEN. The stories in between the fights have just as much drama, and this week, NEW AVENGERS #38 has it in spades. It's more or less a two character piece, as Luke and Jessica Cage take center stage. What gets me the most is the interaction...the dialogue is especially strong here. It's almost as if Bendis had this argument before and filed it away for future use. The dialogue is almost too raw and too real. It's like watching your parents argue...some strong words are thrown and you can't take them back. Bendis has said that Luke Cage is his favorite character on the New Avengers, and it shows here...just like NEW AVENGERS #22. No Skrulls are revealed, and the Mighty Avengers have a cameo (as do Luke's teammates) but really it comes down to two people on opposite sides of an argument. There's nothing quite as real as that.

And it's always a treat when we can see the ALIAS team of Bendis and Michael Gaydos do an ALIAS related story.


Steven's Pick of the Week: Annihilation:Conquest # 4.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How goes it, folks? Steven here (aka Angry Black) from the J.H.U crew, dropping by to give you my personal (albeit tardy) pick of the week! This week, I have for you, Annihilation: Conquest # 4. Let me start off by saying that I was taken aback by how much I ended up enjoying the first Annihilation series, and was a bit worried when news of an upcoming sequel slipped out of the Marvel offices. However, thanks to the solid story by the writing team of Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, and the most underrated yet always dynamic artwork of Marvel veteran Tom Raney, we have ourselves a sequel that's shaping up to be a lot more "Aliens" than it is "Highlander: The Quickening" if you take my meaning.

The issue covers a lot of ground as it opens on the Phalanx-occupied former Kree Homeworld of Hala. Here we find our man Starlord being mentally interrogated by Ultron in a scene rather reminiscent of Han Solo's torture at the hands of Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. Meanwhile, the remainder of Starlord's intergalactic 'Band of Brothers' are attempting to avoid capture and defend his mind against Ultron's Attacks long enough so that they can finish their mission and rescue him. The action then jumps from there to Quasar, Adam Warlock, and the High Evolutionary. These three are making their way through the cosomos attempting to reach one of the High Evolutionary's secret labs on Hala. Then we shift focus again to Ronan the Accuser and his merry band of rebel fighters on Kree-Lar, where Ronan makes an important and possibly damning discovery that may save his people, albeit at a terible cost.

The writing in this issue is paricularly well done, as Abnett and Lanning are tasked with providing a good deal of re-cap and expositional dialogue, all the while making sure that we, the readers, have a steady sense of what this fight to resist the Phalanx Conquest is costing our characters. In dealing with as particularly large a cast of characters as they have here, their ability to do so is particularly commendable. And artist Tom Raney's ability to render facial expressions amidst high drama as well as dynamic action sequences is put to the test once again in this issue, and as always, passes with flying colors.

All in all, this issue of Conquest is a solid chapter in the series, it gives you everything you need out of a 'big-bang-for-your-buck' sci-fi epic, while never sacrificing the small character moments that make you care about this rag-tag band of space-fairing heroes to begin with. Onward to issue five, I say.

Till' next time, young padawans.

Steven II!


Vito's Personal Pan Pizza Pick of the Week - 2/6/08

Friday, February 8, 2008

"irrefutable" - def: impossible to refute : incontrovertible : not capable of being challenged or proved wrong

What is irrefutable? Batman: The Animated Series was quite possibly the pinnacle of super-hero animation. It's 16 years old and it is what other cartoons want to be. A reason for that irrefutable fact? Paul Dini. As one of the head writers, Dini solidified his future (and current) comic book rep by crafting great stories. This week's DETECTIVE COMICS #841 is no exception. Using the Alice in Wonderland motif for one of Batman's classic villains, The Mad Hatter, Dini does two things that matter; one, he makes you care about Jervis Tetch (the Hatter), especially at the end and two, he expands and enhances Batman's Rogues Gallery. Batman surely doesn't need a bigger group of Rogues to choose from (he's got the best set of villains this side of Spider-Man and the Flash), but when you think about it, the villains are there to make the hero more heroic, so bring in some more!

I'd be absolutely insane if I ignored Dustin Nguyen's art. From that cover (check out Batman's face) to the last page, Dustin has a great blend of Mignola-meets-Manga with a little bit of animation thrown in...which is perfect for Dini's writing. If you're like me, you always hear Kevin Conroy's voice when you read a Batman story, so this is perfect. Kudos to the rest of the art team as well.

Best part? All done-in-one. You don't have to pick up a million books to read this one!


Caleb's Pick of the Week - Scalped

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, my pick of the week is, once again, Scalped. There's a double-dose of this book on stands today, so you can pick your poison. For those of you reading the series in trade, the second collection, titled "Casino Boogie", is now available:


And for those of you reading it monthly, today sees the debut of issue #14:


As for those of you who aren't reading Scalped at all yet...well, the only person you're hurting is yourself. Get your butt in here today and pick up volumes 1 & 2!



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