This is one of those weeks where I wish I made more money, ‘cause I’m not pretty enough to support a habit like this. This is just the tip of the iceberg of books that are worth your hard earned scrilla, but I’ll let you decide whether you need to eat this week. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t take a lot of calories to sit on the couch and read comics. Just sayin’.
DC gives us two noteworthy books this week, Action Comics No. 7 and Animal Man No. 7. After a somewhat confusing aside involving the adult Superman and the Legion of Superheroes, Action Comics No. 7 continues the opening Brainiac arc. Grant Morrison’s “working class” Superman has been a refreshing change of pace for the big blue boy scout. He’s presented as a kind-of-pissed-off regular guy who might make a mistake or two, as opposed to the flawless archetype in a red cape. Knowing that he might screw up makes the story interesting, so I’ll take my Superman in jeans and work boots any day of the week, especially when drawn by Rags Morales. On the other end of the art and story spectrum, Animal Man No. 7 kicks off the second arc of the series. So far the Baker family has been on the run from the Rot while trying to figure out what the hell is going on with their daughter, who can suddenly bring dead animals back to life among other things. I’m not sure why this isn’t a Vertigo book, because it sure looks and reads like one. If you haven’t read it yet, just be warned that it’s one of the more disturbing books of the reboot.
Marvel is prying the money out of our wallets by giving us a week of fan favorites. Age of Apocalypse No. 1 finally kicks off, taking us back to everyone’s favorite post-apocalyptic (literally) alternate dimension. It’s the same AoA we’re all familiar with, and Marvel has been teasing this for a while, which means by this point you probably know what you’re in for. There have been some noticeable changes in the cast, so if you didn’t read the “Dark Angel Saga” in Uncanny X-Force, you might want to give that a once over first. But if nothing else, it’s always nice to have some Jean Grey in our lives. Speaking of nice characters to have in our lives, Hulk No. 49 gives us an appearance by Sersi and the Eternals. I’d be lying if I said the thought of Jeff Parker writing the Eternals didn’t make me giddy with nerd-joy. Parker’s at his best with seemingly random collections of characters, and he has single handedly taken Red Hulk (Rulk) from a joke of a character to one of the best books out there each month. Don’t let the start of this new arc pass by without at least checking it out. Other worthy mentions from Marvel this week: Amazing Spider-Man No. 681 and Defenders No. 4. ASM is not only kicking off an epic-sounding Sinister Six arc, this issue continues a classic Johnny Storm/Peter Parker team up. Written by Dan Slott, I could read these two arguing with each other forever and not get bored. Defenders No. 4 should sell itself by the simple fact of it being a Defenders comic. But if that doesn’t do it, the focus appears to be on the fallout from Dr. Strange’s booty call with a co-ed. This is a book that lets us use “Dr. Strange” and “booty call” in the same sentence. Run, don’t walk.
Image wrings it out of us this week with three books. One of them is a must-have, one of them sounds interesting, and one of them people will buy simply because it has Jonathan Hickman’s name on it. The must have book is obvious if you read this column last week. You should be all caught up on your Fatale by now, just in time for issue No. 3 to come out. I’ll say it one more time, slowly so everyone hears it: Buy. This. Book. OK? OK. The book that sounds interesting is Hell Yeah, by Joe Keatinge and Andre Szymanowicz. According to Image, the premise is that super heroes suddenly appeared 20 years ago, radically changing the world, and now their kids are stepping up to find their place in this new landscape. It’s hit or miss with Image, but for $2.99 we’re not talking high-stakes Vegas gambling. The worst-case scenario is you’re out the cost of a cup of coffee. The best-case scenario is you wind up with another Chew No. 1 and can finance a vacation to the Bahamas. The last book, The Manhattan Projects, has me torn. On the one hand it’s about mad scientists and is billed by the publisher as “viewing history through a darker, much stranger lens”, both of which pique my curiosity. On the other hand it’s written by Jonathan Hickman, which will make you either love it or hate it without even reading it. It’s your $3.50, so do whatever makes you feel good.