Batman #19: A fun new arc is kicked off in this issue as it starts with the crazy scenario of Bruce Wayne robbing a bank, taking hostages, and gunning down Jim Gordon. Flashing back a few days, Batman is tracking Clayface, whose abilities have evolved to the point where if he gets any trace genetic material, he can become an exact duplicate of that person, down to the genetic level. In the back up story, Batman and Superman investigate a bizarre supernatural occurance.
The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror #3: The penultimate issue of this mini series finds Cliff sans rocket pack but fortunately his buddy Peevy has been working on a spare. It’s a little more bulky than the one Cliff is used to but he’ll need all the help he can get to save Betty from the villainous Otto Rune. Throw in a cameo by a famous comedian (who is also apparently the comic’s narrator) and this book continues to be pulpy fun.
Aliens vs Parker #2: Paul Scheer’s comedic take on Aliens/Ghostbusters continues as the crew of Space-Ex crashes their shuttle on the planet they just transported a group of marines to. Parker and his friends come face to face with the horrible truth of why the marines are there and have to cowboy up to save themselves, and maybe the day as well.
Age of Ultron #5: Halfway through this epic Marvel event, the surviving heroes regroup in the Savage Land and find Nick Fury holed up in a bunker. Their last ditch plan involves sending a team to the future to try and stop Ultron using Doctor Doom’s time platform tech. Wolverine wants to go in the opposite direction and kill Hank Pym before he even starts to create Ultron and seems like he’ll do whatever it do it.
Thor: God of Thunder #7: After learning the origins of maybe his most dangerous foe to date, the latest issue of Thor finds the present day and future Thors teaming up to launch a final assault on Gorr the God Butcher, who is holed up on his own planet constructing some sort of device. The Thor of the past is captured and forced to work on the device as well, which is most likely a bomb that will kill every god in the universe. The art and story of this book make it easily one of the top books of the Marvel Now line.
Avengers #9: The cosmic insanity continues in the latest issue of Avengers as Adam and Starbrand learn that the “villain”, Ex Nihilo’s attack on the Earth was actually an attempt to turn the planet sentient, with the various sites around the world evolving into different body systems. Adam and Starbrand arrive at the first site to discover the Earth’s “brain” growing. The Avengers arrive as well and a battle ensues when Starbrand loses control of his powers again.
Avengers Arena #7: Marvel in on this strange kick of fleshing out the backstories of their villains with the issue of Thor about Gorr, the new Thanos mini series, an Ultron mini series and now this issue of Avengers Arena where we learn about how Arcade got the idea and set up his murder game. They blatantly say that he got the idea from Battle Royale, thanks to his latest assistant and that his powers that he revealed at the beginning are from a combination of tech in the arena and that anywhere else, he’ll just be normal, insane, Arcade. Unlike the Thanos or Gorr backstories, you don’t really feel any sympathy or get insight into Arcade, he’s an asshole who becomes a more powerful asshole. It is fun to see a bunch of the Marvel super villains at Arcade’s birthday though.
Fantastic Four #6: The FF’s cosmic field trip continues this issue as the Richards family heads out to witness the Big Bang but instead find one of their old foes being condemned to die. After that, it’s a pretty straight forward fight issue, with the villain, Blastaar, who is defeated by Franklin unleashing his god like powers. There’s an interesting sub plot going on as well with Ben getting more frequently occuring incidents of him getting more powerful but also launching into a blind rage.
Secret Avengers #3: AIM has been kind of a running joke in the Marvel universe but the latest incarnation of them in Secret Avengers is deadly serious. Setting up and getting a soveriegn nation recognized by the UN, the new Scientist Supreme disrupts a weapons convention and steals the Iron Patriot armor used by Norman Osborne. Meanwhile, Coulson, Black Widow and Hawkeye head to the destroyed AIM base to uncover any evidence and find a clone of Jocasta, Ultron’s “wife” and a ton of dead AIM scientists. If the regular Avengers are the Army, the Secret Avengers are the Green Berets.
Wolverine #2: Wolverine tracks down the young boy who is possession of a deadly alien weapon this issue and figures out the weapon itself may be mind controlling it’s victims. Logan saves the boy but the weapon flies away after Nick Fury shows up. Things really get crazy when a Watcher shows up, meaning this incident has more wide spread implications than just a couple dozen bodies.
Star Wars #4: If you want classic Star Wars adventure, this is the book you should be reading. Luke and Leia are part of a top secret squad of X-Wing pilots who are trying to locate a new base for the Rebellion but are constantly ambushed by Imperials, leading them to suspect a traitor in the Rebellion. Meanwhile, Han and Chewie are on the run in Coruscant after a mission to secure supplies goes bad. The book is set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and as some fantastic art and action. Eventually the Star Wars license is going to Marvel but definitely check this book out while you can while it’s still at Dark Horse.
Constantine #2: John Constantine heads to Myanmar to find the second piece of the mysterious and dangerous Croydon’s Compass and runs afoul of the villain Mister E. He also gets on the bad side of the mysterious Spectre, who allows Constantine to finish his quest for the final piece of the compass, but will take his soul afterwards. Constantine heads to London for the final piece. This book has a lot of characters you normally don’t see from the magic side of the DC universe and the globe trotting, artifact hunt makes Constantine seem like a magical Indiana Jones, which may be a little out of character but it’s fun.
Mars Attacks #9: IDW brought back the Martians last year and the comic has been following the efforts of the few surviving humans, loosely following and expanding on events depicted in the classic Topps card set. This issue follow boy genius, Tommy Bailey and gangster Avery Hendershoot as they set out to rescue brilliant scientist Professor Walters, who has developed a weapon that could stop the martian invasion. This arc concludes next issue and should be a violent, over the top battle to the finish.
Suicide Squad #19: Possibly big changes to the Squad potentially this issue as the group escapes the aftermath of Yo-Yo’s sacrifice and find Amanda Waller out in the field, on the hunt for Regulus. She deactivates their neck bombs and gives the team the choice to either help her or be hunted by her later and, obviously, everyone takes the former choice. The team is ambushed in the sewers of Gotham by a Swamp Thingesque entity called the Sewer Angels and a new leader emerges when the super solider, Unknown Soldier, arrives to rescue the team but immediately “kills” Deadshot when he goes against him. Deadshot has been killed before and come back and Waller was doing all kinds of experiments with Regeneration Man, a hero who can be killed and comes back with a new power, so who knows what Waller might have done with that and Deadshot.
Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #4: The final issue of the movie prequel series finds Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise trying to regain control of the ship from the insane former captain, Robert April. A last minute bit of engineering by Scotty lets Kirk and Spock regain the bridge right before a Klingon landing party arrives to board the ship. The crew is forced to leave the planet of Phaedus IV in the hands of the Klingons and April is turned over to the nearest space station, with Kirk told to forget about it. April mentions that this is just the start of a larger war and we cut to London where Benedict Cumberbatch’s John Harrison is gaining access to the Starfleet archives located there. Other than that, it doesn’t feel like it ties into the movie that much, unless there is a group of separatists like April who are planning the attack led by Harrison in the movie. The prequel for the original JJ Abrams movie followed the backstory of Nero and Spock and really fleshed out that character so it’s a little disappointing this didn’t do that for Harrison, although that would also destroy this ridiculous amount of secrecy they’ve built up.