w. Geoff Johns
a. John Romita, jr.
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Because not since Jack Kirby left Marvel for DC, creating such titles and characters as the New Gods, Forever People, the Demon and a slew of others, has a defection of a creator from Marvel to it’s Distinguished Competition been so awe-inspiring. 30 years of working at Marvel, on some of their biggest title and most memorable runs, John Romita Jr. has jumped ship, and is now taking on DC’s flagship character, with none other than Geoff Johns, the man behind DC’s continued evolution of its titles. I’ve gone on at length before about why I think this is great for both DC and JRJR and if you feel so inclined you can read the article here: John Romita Jr. – Why Marvel’s Main Man is a perfect for Superman and DC Comics! and to finally see this book, and hold it in my hands… it’s breathtaking.
It starts with a tale we’re all familiar with. 25 years ago, two scientists facing the end of the world, make a difficult choice. They place their infant child inside a ship and send him off to a far away land, where he will grow strong and powerful. Only this time it’s two human scientist working on inter-dimensional research for the Ulysses Research Center, three miles under Omaha, Nebraska. Strange Matter has breached one of the containment fields in a lab and threatens to spread causing world-wide destruction.
Automatic safeties have now locked down the base to contain the spread of the destructive substance, trapping the two scientists inside the base. The new parents decide to save their child by sending him to another dimension the research team has explored, one that is conducive to life and has a sentient population.
Fast-forward 25 years later, and we see Superman kicking the ever-loving snot out of Titano, the giant kryptonite-powered, robot ape, in the middle of Metropolis, with Jimmy Olsen capturing it all on his camera (or at least a blur kicking the snot out of Titano!).
Supes switches back into Clark Kent mode, and visits the Daily Planet at Perry White’s behest. Clark quit the Planet a while back, and Perry is trying to woo him back, calling him out on his purposeful distancing of himself from the people around him. As Clark ponders his future, we catch quick glimpses of the personal lives of Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, and Clark gets some downtime and does some mundane Clark stuff.
Downtime, which of course, is soon interrupted. When his hearing picking up screams of help throughout his city, the Man of Steel takes off in a flash. What he finds is a giant ship,bombarding Metropolis with energy blasts. Superman tears his way into the ship, only to get knocked back down to earth by its inhabitant, a giant armored alien, on a power level with our favorite Kryptonian.
When it looks like Supes is about to get knocked out for the count, a being of great power, intervenes. Saving Superman and taking out the alien warrior, the new comer is stunned to find himself on Earth, in America,speaking English, Ulysses, the Last Son of Earth has returned home.
Johns and Romita are a dangerous team together. Romita is one of those artists who can expand on a writers ideas through his art style, which not only pleases fans, but also pushes the envelope for the writer, who now knows there is nothing he can write that this guy won’t capture perfectly. This is the book to keep an eye out for, DC fans across the board should e getting this, because its gonna be HUGE. When was the last time Johns wrote a series that didn’t affect the whole DCU in a profound way. Green Lantern – Blackest Night, Flash Rebirth – Flashpoint, Justice League America- Trinity War. Justice League – Forever Evil. Get the picture!
It’s the start of a new age for the DCU, for Superman and for John Romita, Jr.’s career!
GET THIS BOOK!!!
Justice League #31
w. Geoff Johns & a. Doug Mahnke
The Gist: Lex Luthor thinks Bruce Wayne is Batman and shows up at Wayne manor to prove it. Can he? Only time will tell ( read the issue to get the joke! ). Plus the new Power Ring is chosen by the evil, sentient version of the Green Lantern ring from Earth 3. Jessica Cruz, a victimized shut-in, who fears going back out in the world because it’s so dangerous, is now the New Power Ring, who can stop Earth 3 most powerful weapon when it’s in the hands of a mentally unstable woman… its not the Justice League! (hint… it’s a group of misfits with powers led by a professor… no… not those guys!)Also you get to see Alfred be a total bad ass. It involves a gun, a threat, and a certain villain’s head… and it’s awesome! And guess who the newest national hero with the highest q-ratings… well Captain Cold, of course!
Original Sins #3.1
w. Kieron Gillen & Mark Waid
a. Mark Bagley
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Because when the Orb exploded the dead Watcher’s eyeball in downtown Manhattan, it released a psychic wave of energy that revealed secrets from the past of an individual in its path. Secrets only the Watcher knew. Problem being, there were a hell of a lot of superheroes standing around him, and no one has deeper darker secrets than superheroes.
And this one is a doozy.
Gillen and Waid take a break from their monthly chores on Iron Man and Hulk, to write this team up crossover book together,starring none other than… Iron Man and Hulk!!
And Mark Bagley, regular artist on the Hulk ( and who never needs a break! ) takes up pencil duties on this Earth shattering mini that reveals a dark secret between two of Marvel oldest characters.
The vision Hulk received from the psionic blast changes his life forever, and drives a wedge in the relationship between him, and one of the few friends he has, Iron Man.
Thanks to his current membership on the Avengers, and his current invitation to join the Illuminati (as well as the spectacular on-screen chemistry between Robert Downey jr and Mar Ruffalo) Bruce Banner and Tony Stark have become good friends. But now Stark’s involvement in the early stages of Banner’s gamma bomb testing is seen, not just by us the readers, but by the Hulk. And it makes the Hulk angry. Very angry. At Tony Stark. And we all know what an angry Hulk means.. and Iron Man is about to find out.
Gillen and Waid craft a perfect tale, that ties directly into a crossover and is indicative of the crossover’s title and purpose. Stark’s Original sin is a big one, and given his well-known career in the arms business, a wholly believable one. I’m sure this will have every previous writer of the Hulk and Iron Man slapping their foreheads and exclaiming: ” Why didn’t I Think of that???”
Savage Hulk #1
w. & a. Alan Davis
The Gist: Wayyyyy back in Uncanny X-Men #66, the X-men fought the Hulk to gain a device Bruce Banner created to help aid in keeping his Hulk persona at bay. The X-men want to use the device to bring Xavier out of a coma. The Professor has been in a coma ever since using his vast mental powers to defeat an alien race invading Earth. Now in this sequel, we see the original X-men ( plus Havok and Polaris…. this was the post Neal Adams days..where Angel had a cool costume, Marvel Girl was in a green mini skirt, and Havok still had his original, and best, costume ever ), and a revived Xavier hunting the Hulk once again… but this time to help him.
Xavier linked minds with Banner through the device that revived him, and wishes to ease the man of his torments. As the X-men track down the Green Goliath, the Abomination is sent to stop them…. by the Leader!!! And who better to capture the Adams era X-men than the incomparable Alan Davis, who pencils the oh so familiar characters and costumes with a modern-day flare that is refreshing to behold, makes you want to run out and read those early issues of X-Men.
X-O Manowar #26
$5.99 ( Chromium Cover )
w. Robert Venditti
a. Diego Bernard
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Because this new arc tying into the Armor Hunters crossover is a key one. Here we will learn the origins of the Armor Hunters themselves, as well as the origin of their main target…. The X-O Armor! Aric believed his alien suit of Armor was one of a kind, finding it on the Vine home-world, and hearing its mythic stories from their priests; a powerful Armor that was given to their greatest warrior to free the Vine from their oppressors. It has remained dormant, in stasis for centuries, refusing to bond with any member of the vine, killing the wearer in the process, until a time-lost barbarian prince escaped slavery and bonded with it successfully.
Aric first heard of the Armor Hunters when he encountered Malgam, an alien warrior with what seemed like an armor similar to X-O’s, eating him away from the inside out. Filled with hatred for the Armor and spouting dire warnings about the suit, Malgam reveals the impending arrival of the Armor Hunter before being defeated by X-O and detained by M.E.R.O.
And arrived they have.
A small platoon, the survivors of a vast army of highly trained killers has come to Earth, …with one purpose, the universal eradication of all X-O Armors! And they will stop at nothing from destroying the X-O Armor…… just ask Mexico City! (seriously, read Armor Hunters #1 and see for your self what a damn good super hero crossover event this is going to be!)
These tie-ins with the X-O title will show us the backgrounds of the characters that have come to kill the X-O Armor, starting with both Primary Reebo and Malgam. The two friends (now biter enemies) are shown in their youth, care free, money-making mercenaries on the edge of known space, not the bitter, damaged veterans they are now. Tired of small jobs, they go in search of better pay, talking to a very distraught alien, everyone else is treating like a joke.
Malgam and Reebo listen to his tale; of the destruction unleashed on his planet, and it’s armies effort to halt the Armored individual that is causing it. Reebo laughs it off as an impossibility for One individual to destroy the mighty armies of a warlike, and wants to walk away from the job , especially when he finds out theirs no pay for killing the mass murderer. But Malgam is able to convince his friend of the prestige and fortunes this could lead to by increasing their reputation,…. and so, the two mercs set off on what will be their final battle as mercenaries, and a confrontation with an enemy that will scar them forever!!
Reebo and Malgam’s first encounter with an X-O armor is detailed in visceral, explosive glory here, in Diego Bernard’s spectacular renderings. I’ve seen plenty of artists evolve and get better over time, but not at the speed Bernard has done. I once considered him just a Hitch-clone, but he has taken that style and made it his own, leaving hitch far behind when it comes to layouts and sci-fi detailing. If your already getting Armor Hunters, you need this book…. if not, just check out the art and let it convince you for itself!
See ya Next Week Folks!
Dream Thief: Escape #1
w. Jai Nitz & a. Gregory Smallwood
John Lincoln is back, the titular star of last year’s acclaimed miniseries has returned with a spectral vengeance and a hankering to figure out what it has to do with his father. Ever since stealing an Aboriginal mask from a museum, Lincoln has found himself possessed by the recently deceased…. but only when he falls asleep. He awakens, having already completed an act of vengeance, with full awareness of what he did, and all the skills and knowledge of the murdered spirit that possessed him.
Now Lincoln and his pal… are looking to get in touch with Lincoln’s father, who was a Dream Thief as well. It’s a bit tricky since Lincoln’s father is dead, and his spirit currently possess the body of a convicted felon in a maximum security prison! Find out… did Lincoln find the mask….or did the Mask find him? The only way to find out….break his dad out of prison
Alien Legion: UnCivil War #1
w. Chuck Dixon a. Larry Stroman + a little “Soul” from Carl Potts
Knowing my love of GI Joe and all things cosmic, my friend Hagan lent me his whole run of Alien Legion when I was 17, toting it as “GI Joe in Space”. I devoured the awesome issues featuring Force Nomad and it’s crew of bad ass space mercenaries, kicking Harkilon ass and taking names all in the name of Peace. From diplomatic escorts, political assassinations, to full-scale interplanetary warfare,Force Nomad is there, aboard the un-ironically named PieceMaker, ready to get loud and bloody, all in the name of good!
The Harkilons ( a cross between Klingons and Shape-shifting Durlans ) have turned their martial ways upon themselves, making war among themselves in an intergalactic civil war…. with Force Nomad stuck in the middle. The Legion is given orders to safely escort all refugees from the massive battle to neutral space, which includes thousands of ships n the run. While inspecting the ships,keeping an eye out for an ambush, Force Nomad runs into something they never thought they’d see…. Peaceful Harkilons! This group of Pacifists escaped the Harkilon war and wants political asylum….. or is it all just a trick! Find out in this new reader friendly next chapter in the ongoing Alien Legion saga!
Last Weeks Surprise Pick:
Sorry folks forgot to pick one… but here is a few more honorable mentions
New Avengers #20
w. Jonathan Hickman a. Valerio Schiti
It’s the Avengers vs. The Justice League!!!!… okay well it’s the Illuminati vs. The Great Society, analogs of the Distinguished Competition’s main super team. It’s all here: Doctor Strange versus The Norn (Dr. Fate). The Hulk versus Sun-God (Superman) Namor versus the Jovian (Martian Manhunter). Black Panther versus The Rider (Batman) Blackbolt versus Dr. Spectrum (Green Lantern) and Iron Man versus Boundless (The Flash). In order for One team’s Earth to live, the other’s must be destroyed!!!!
DC Comics $2.99
w. Cullen Bunn a. Dale Eaglesham & Rags Morales
While asserting control over his corps, Sinestro seeks out the remaining survivors of his home planets destruction. But do the Korugarans want the help of the person they fear the most! Do they have a choice? Meanwhile, forces of the Pale Bishop continue to hunt down those who use emotion as a power, and now they have crossed paths with members of the Sinestro Corps. Can a confrontation with Sinestro be far behind? Check out Green Lantern’s greatest villain return to power!
Star Wars : Rebel Heist #3
Dark Horse $3.50
w. Matt Kindt a. Mark Castiello
Kindt’s awesome tale of the Empire and Rebel Spy intrigue rockets on in this issue, starring everybody’s favorite wookie… Chewbacca!! That’s right. Master storyteller Matt Kindt is writing a story that focuses mainly on Chewbacca, as his part in the Rebellion’s extraction plan comes into play. With Han and Leia captured already, is it up to the Wookie and his Rookie to rescue them?… or is there a greater plan in play then we could even guess! Knowing Kindt, it’s the latter! Check out this action adventure spy story, that just happens to take place in the Star Wars Universe! Lot’s of fun!