Aliens vs Parker #1: Paul Scheer, of The League, NTSF and How Did This Get Made?, enters the world of comics with Aliens vs Parker. Following the nerdy, rag tag crew of a space delivery ship, the book is super geeky and super fun, feeling like a mix of Aliens and Ghostbusters. Parker and his buddies spend their boring days on the ship playing a video game called Warfighter but they may have to put their gaming skills to the test in real life when a group of space marines arrives with a classified delivery. There’s lots of great back and forth dialogue and you immediately get a feel for each of the characters personalities, definitely a fantastic first issue.
Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #6: The Before Watchmen series has sort of sputtered to it’s various conclusions after some delays and a seemingly “meh” reaction from the comic world. The Ozymandias series has been one of the most interesting, following Adrian Veidt’s rise as a superhero to him building his master plan to save the world from nuclear Armageddon. The last pieces of the puzzle come into place in this issue, with Adrian hiring a “film crew” to help him develop the fateful alien squid that will be unleashed on the world and the Comedian discovering Adrian’s hidden island. There isn’t a lot of tension, since we know he ultimately suceeds, but it is interesting to see the many steps that are required for his plan to be successful. The art of the book has also been fantastic.
Batman #18: Following the Death of the Family arc and *spoilers*, the death of Damian Wayne, Batman has been on the warpath against the lower level criminals of Gotham, operating non stop for days on end. One of the many people he’s helped, Harper Row, introduced earlier in new Batman run, becomes concerned and has been using her knowledge of Gotham’s electrical grid to track him. Harper might become an interesting character but it feels a little like her character was created by checking off a list: gay brother, check, dead mom, check, dad in jail, check, edgy piercings and tattoos, check. They are obviously setting her up as a future member of the Bat family, maybe a new Oracleesque character, but I’m not really feeling her right now. We are definitely still in a bit of a limbo state following the unbelievable Joker story that just wrapped up, so hopefully the new arc will start soon.
Suicide Squad #18: Suicide Squad has been one of the best New 52 books since it started, action packed, fun and always throwing out crazy situations and twists. Currently, the Squad is sent by their handler, Amanda Waller, to rescue a key VIP being held by the sister of Squad member, Yo-Yo, who has powers similar to Plastic Man or Mister Fantastic, Red Orchid. The Squad’s arch nemesis, Regulus, the leader of the terrorist group Basilisk, is in league with Red Orchid and a massive battle ensues. In typical Suicide Squad fashion, one member doesn’t make it out of the issue alive and it’s another solid, action packed issue.
Age of Ultron #2: Marvel’s big event is still trying to set up the world it has created as we head to San Fransisco, just as destroyed as NYC and find Black Widow and Moon Knight trying to survive in one of Nick Fury’s old safe houses. Back in NYC, Peter Parker fills the surviving heroes on what he witnessed on the day Ultron attacked with what seem to be a massive, city wide ship or machine. Captain America snaps out of his funk and declares that they finally have a plan when they learn that the local street gang has been selling “persons of interest” to Ultron. There are ten issues of this story so I wouldn’t mind one more issue of world building before the plot kicks into high gear and the heroes take the fight to Ultron.
Avengers Arena #6: A blatant rip off of The Hunger Games and Battle Royale finds the teens of The Runaways, Avengers Academy and Britan’s Braddock Academy locked on an island and tasked with killing each other by the villainous Arcade. If you have read or know any of the characters featured in this book, it will probably be much more interesting and possibly tense for you but I don’t really know too many of the kids in this book, although some of them are interesting and you do learn a little about everyone every issue. It has some fun action and Arcade is always a great villain but I kind of hope it kicks into high gear soon, as most issues are just the characters wandering around or hiding and occasionally getting into fights.
Fantastic Four #5: The new Fantastic Four book finds the Richards family going on an intergalactic family vacation, with the ulterior motive of Reed Richards trying to figure out what is causing the alarming degeneration of his powers. The book has been really fun so far, with a great classic Star Trek feel of exploring “new worlds and new civilizations” and this latest issue finds the Richards traveling back to Ancient Rome to witness the death of Caesar (a little morbid for a family field trip, but whatever). Ben Grimm, Johnny Storm and the kids, Franklin and Valeria, head out to meet Caesar and learn that the real Caesar died years ago and a time traveling alien historian has been going through the motions of Caesar’s later life to make sure nothing changed in the timeline.
Thunderbolts #6: Kind of Marvel’s answer to the Suicide Squad, the Thunderbolts is a team of antiheroes who don’t answer to any organization or government. Red Hulk himself, General Ross, has recruited Deadpool, Elektra, Venom (Flash Thompson), and The Punisher and the team has been working on liberating an island nation from it’s dictatorship. The true reason for the team’s involvement is revealed in this issue, when the team finds that the gamma powered villain, Madman, has been trying to uncover his brother Samuel’s, aka the Leader’s, knowledge that has been deposited in various data clutches on the Internet. The island also houses one of the few gamma reactors in the world and Madman created something that left the island by boat three days ago, so the Thunderbolts are in pursuit. There is something a little off about the characters in this book, Deadpool doesn’t feel as unhinged, Punisher isn’t as relentless and vicious, it’s all kind of watered down. If this had been a Max book, oh man, it could have been awesome.
Secret Avengers #2: The most bad ass, secret and lethal Avengers team debuted a few weeks ago with Black Widow and Hawkeye joining Agent Coulson(!) and Nick Fury Jr to take on various super powered terrorist threats. One of the interesting things revealed in this issue is that a weird island nation formed and run by super villains has sprung up and the SA have to go in to rescue/recruit the villain Taskmaster to the team. It seems like the first arc is going to be dealing with AIM’s Scientist Supreme, who has some sort of world threatening technology he’s working on.
Thor: God of Thunder #6: The new Thor series has easily been the best of the Marvel NOW books, with an epic story, a deadly new villain and fantastic art. This issue takes a break from the action to detail the origins of the new villain, the alien Gorr, who lived life on a harsh desert planet with a mother and wife who constantly put their faith in the gods and were seemingly punished for it. After many years of suffering, Gorr sees a battle between two gods and manages to gain dark powers from one of the fallen gods and sets out on his millenia long vendetta against all gods. This issue does a great job of making you understand and almost sympathize with Gorr’s beliefs but you still hope that Thor will be able to stop his rampage soon.
Wolverine #1: Wolverine is two issues into a pulpy adventure in the Savage Land with Savage Wolverine (co-starring Shanna the She Devil) and now we have a new solo series for Logan. Starting in media res we find that Wolverine has gotten himself into a hostage situation with a maniac with a disintegration weapon, willing to kill even his own son for unknown reasons. Wolverine manages to stop him but either the weapon itself or something in the son causes him to blast Wolverine and escape. Logan takes it personal and heads out to hunt down the kid and figure out what is going on. It seems like it could be a good series but this issue feels like the pre-credits sequence and hopefully it will get into the actual storyline in the next issue.
Avengers Assemble #13: If you can’t wrap your head around the cosmic craziness of Avengers, then Avengers Assemble is a slight more straightforward way to get your Avengers fix and is also more in line with the movie universe. The storyline that wraps up this issue finds Black Widow, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman in a Russian sewer confronting an army of lizard people, one of whom is the daughter of a man Black Widow killed during her time as an assassin. Going to Russia to try and clear “some of the red from her ledger”, Natasha instead gets her throat ripped out but Spider-Woman notices the healing properties of the lizard people and Hawkeye injects Black Widow with a mega dose of the serum, transforming her into a gigantic monster. Instead of killing the woman who tried to kill her, Natasha takes them both to the girl’s mother’s house, where they detox off the serum together. Avengers Assemble started off with a bang, with The Avengers teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to take down Thanos, in a potential preview of Avengers 2, and the preceding storylines have felt a little small scale in comparision. This is still a solid series and definitely the best pick for fans of the movie Avengers or just straight forward superhero action.
Ghostbusters Vol 2 #2: IDW’s Ghostbusters series has been absolutely fantastic, taking in all the best parts of the movies, the game and the show and putting out hilarious but also action packed issues every month. For the new year, they’ve shaken things up by putting Ray, Winston, Egon and Peter into limbo, kidnapped by ghostly clones of themselves and forcing their long suffering secretary, Janine, to take up the Ghostbusting charge with new characters Kylie (Ray’s book store employee/researcher), Melanie (an FBI agent) and Ron (creator of a rival team called the Ghost Smashers). The first test of “the New Ghostbusters” finds them taking on the ghost of a notorious serial killer who terrorized Central Park.
The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror #2: Any Rocketeer related media is fantastic and the second mini series put out by IDW finds Cliff Secord possibly in over his head against the Lovecraftian cult leader, Ollie Rune. The art of this mini series is extremely cartoony, which might be a turn off to some people but it is fully embracing it’s pulpy roots with a pair of married detectives, mad scientists and an omnipresent narrator (who claims to be a washed up actor) providing his take on the whole situation are just a couple of the things that pop up.