Judge Dredd Year One #1: IDW launched a new, ongoing Judge Dredd comic around the time Dredd hit theaters last year and it’s been a conistently crazy, fun, action packed book. Now, they are going back to the early days of Joesph Dredd with this Year One series. Only a year out from the academy, Dredd becomes involved in a mysterious outbreak of psychic activity that seems to be centered in a particular block of Mega City One. Some of the manifestations are harmless but some end in violence and Dredd may not be prepared to handle something of this magnitude. If you loved Dredd like we did, definitely check out both of IDW’s comic adaptations.
Nova #2: In an effort to get everyone up to speed on the Guardians of the Galaxy before the big movie next year, Marvel is relaunching both the comic Guardians and Nova, their constant cosmic ally and the closest thing the Marvel universe has to a Green Lantern. This new Nova is actually the son of the original Nova, Sam Alexander. Sam never believed his father’s stories, thinking they were just the ramblings of a drunk but, after a skateboarding accident, he wakes up in the hospital with Guardians Rocket Raccoon and Gamorra standing over him. He is told that his father is dead and that he needs to take up the mantle of Nova to take on an unspecified threat. This book is taking it’s time setting everything up, there’s not really any action except for Sam trying out the Nova suit. I’m definitely way more excited about the upcoming Guardians book but if this ties into that one in a significant way, I’ll probably stick with it.
Captain America #5: The Marvel Now Cap story has been one of the weirdest Cap stories I’ve ever read with Cap stuck for 12 years on a planet in Dimension Z, ruled by one of his arch nemesis’, Arnim Zola. Cap managed to rescue one of Zola’s clones and raised him as his own son, Ian, and he and Ian managed to survive with the peaceful Phrox people. Things come to a head this issue with Zola launching an assault on the Phrox while Cap and Ian try and get back to Earth before an organic virus Zola can take over Cap’s body. There’s some great action, including a fight between Zola’s daughter Jet and Cap, but seeing Cap on an alien planet full of crazy creatures just feels weird, especially after the excellent action/espionage themed run by Ed Brubaker. Hopefully this thread wraps up soon and Cap can get back to Earth and get a slightly more normal Cap arc.
X-O Manowar #11: Definitely one the series I look forward to every month is Valiant’s reboot of X-O Manowar. A Visigoth warrior from 402 AD, Aric is captured along with his men by a race of aliens called The Vine and forced to work on one of their slave ships. Aric eventually led an escape and was chosen by the Vine’s most sacred artifact, the Shansara armor, and he used to escape back to Earth. It turns out that 1,600 years have passed and Aric is in modern times. He eventually joined a Vine traitor and managed to defeat a fleet of ships that was heading to invade Earth. Fed up, this issue finds Aric heading to the Vine homeworld looking to lay waste. The interesting thing about this issue is that it makes Aric’s revenge quest seem not that heroic; the first people he kills are priests who actually want to worship him and believe in Shansara. It also give you an insight into the origin of the Vine and they actually suffered their own hardships before becoming the intergalactic empire we have seen in the book so far.
Avengers #8: After a few issues of very dense cosmic BS, it was a great breath of fresh air to just have a straight up fight this issue. Some sort of bizarre cosmic energy has turned a normal high school kid, Kevin Connor, into a super powered “herald” called Starbrand. The Avengers arrive to try and help him but he panics when he sees the devastation of his school and the dead bodies of his classmates and freaks out. It’s an old fashioned brawl with Hulk and Thor unleashing their full power on Kevin (Hulk even gets thrown from orbit by Captain Marvel, which is awesome). The issue ends though with more cosmic BS and the return of the reboot’s initial villain, Ex Nihilo.
Indestructible Hulk #5: One of my favorite new books from the Marvel Now launch has been the new Hulk. Bruce Banner, fed up with constantly being on the run and having to deal with the Hulk’s destructive aftermath, comes up with a deal with SHIELD, they give him a lab and allow him to conduct research to benefit the Earth and in exchange, they can use the Hulk on whatever missions they deem necessary. This issue wraps up the Hulk’s latest mission, stopping an Atlantean terrorist named Attuma in the middle of the Pacific ocean. There’s lots of fun underwater action as Hulk teams up with a group of rebels to take down Attuma. This book is basically “What if Hulk was a secret agent?” and it’s as awesome as that sounds.
GI Joe #2: IDW has had a GI Joe series running for a few years now and, from what I’ve heard, it’s been excellent with the right blend of maturity to make it not seem ridiculous. Things got downright dark in the excellent Cobra miniseries with Joe Chuckles going undercover with Cobra. For all the GI Joe books though, the Joes were operating in secret but with this new series, the Joes are in the public as Real American Heroes against Cobra. This first mission in public finds Duke leading a strike team to investigate a potential Cobra chemical factory in a small town in Ohio but instead find the entire town loyal to Cobra. The team gets split up with Duke getting captured by Baroness, Shipwreck, Roadblock, Quick Kick and Tunnel Rat under fire in the middle of town and Cover Girl, Doc and Hash Tag (yes, Hash Tag, thanks Twitter) holding up in an abandoned building. The action in the book is fantastic and one of this issue’s highlights is Cover Girl, former supermodel, unleashing her bad assery against a bunch of the townsfolk. It reminds me of the excellent GI Joe: Resolute cartoon special, which added a depth of maturity and realism into the world of the Joes.
TMNT #20: I’m going to make a bold claim and say, aside from the original comics, this new series from IDW may be the best iteration of the Turtles ever. They have changed and expanded the origins and mythology of the Turtles universe in extremely smart and interesting ways and this issue wraps up their take on the Fugitoid storyline from the original comics. The Turtles get teleported to another planet currently ruled under the tyrannical fist of General Krang (way more bad ass than his cartoon version). Helping the native freedom fighters on a rescue mission to save their royal family, an all out assault on Krang’s HQ is launched. There’s a great battle between Mikey, Leo and Krang while Raph is outside with the main force distracting the rock soldiers of Krang. It’s a fun story but just like the original and also the current Captain America storyline, there’s just something off about having these characters on an alien planet, but that story is wrapped up so we’ll to see where the story goes next month.
TMNT: Secret History of the Foot Clan #4: In other TMNT books, this mini series wrapped up it’s fantastic run of fleshing out the origins of Shredder and the foot clan. *Spoilers* One of the major changes to the current TMNT comic is that the Turtles, Splinter and Shredder are all reincarnated versions of their feudal Japanese selves and this book has been delving into those early days and Oroku Saki making a deal with a demonic witch for power and immortality. The ooze is also explained and more of it’s power are revealed and in the present, the Turtles are being hunted across the city by Shredder himself, trying to keep him from regaining the ancient book that contains all these secrets. The art is amazing and the depth it adds to to the Turtles mythology is fantastic. Even if you aren’t reading the main Turtles book, this one is worth reading by its self and it will probably make you run out and buy all the back issues of the main book afterwards.
Deadpool #6: Even in the pantheon of insane Deadpool stories, this one might be the most insane. For the past six issues, Deadpool has been hunting down and killing the resurrected corpses of all the US Presidents, being led by George Washington and hellbent on destroying the country and rebuilding it from the ground up. The final confrontation between Wade and Washington takes place this issue and is suitably hilarious, over the top and violent. A cameo from The Avengers caps it off and Pool is off on his next adventure. If you are a fan of Deadpool, you have to check out the relaunch as it seems like everything you could possibly want from the Merc with a Mouth.
Constantine #1: John Constantine returns to the proper DC universe after years in the mature rated Vertigo universe. Jeff Lemire, newly on Green Arrow and also Animal Man, brings Constantine back into the fold and on a quest to recover a mystical compass that has powerful magic powers. One of Constantine’s clients, Chris, is having visions of the location of one of the pieces and he and Constantine head to Norway and the ice hotel. It’s a great reintroduction to the character, who is definitely an anti-hero and kind of an ass, and has some great, surprisingly brutal, magic action.