All right, comic lovers, this is our week!
In a mere 48 hours the day we wait all year for will arrive. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Saturday is Free Comic Book Day. For those not in the know, on the first Saturday in May you can walk into just about any comic shop, as well as several libraries and independent bookstores, and walk out with free comics. Nearly all of the publishers have a free offering, so the range of books is pretty impressive. Everything from superheroes to Elvis to LGBT politics is covered, and none of it will cost you a dime. Click HERE for more information. If you’ve been away from comics for a while, or if you’ve been contemplating making the leap, it’s the perfect day to jump on board!
Since you’ll need something to tide you over until Saturday, let’s start with DC. The second wave of New 52 titles launches this week, specifically Dial H and Earth 2. Both of these books have impressive names attached to them. China Mieville (the prolific sci-fi/horror author) is handling Dial H, while James Robinson (of Starman fame) is at the helm of Earth 2. Those names alone should be enough to at least make you curious. As the title would suggest, Dial H is yet another reboot of the old Dial H for Hero series. An odd book to begin with, it told the story of a young man who found a dial that would turn him in to a different hero each time he used it. He turned in to some truly inspired creations in the original series, all while using the phrase “Sockamagee!” in almost every sentence. Seriously. I’m going on record right now as saying that if “Sockamagee!” doesn’t at least get a nod or reference of some kind, I’m going to be incredibly disappointed. Come on DC—don’t disappoint me like Marvel did with its “I say thee nay!”-less Thor movie. Another throwback series, Earth 2 is one with which most people will be more familiar. This marks the long-awaited official introduction of the Justice Society of America to the New 52 continuity. Robinson has already demonstrated his JSA chops in Starman and the pre-reboot Justice Society of America, so this new version holds promise. He’s also set a pretty high standard for himself, so here’s hoping he can pull it off.
It’s the start of a new month, which means it’s also the start of several new Image series. Epic Kill No. 1 and Mind the Gap No. 1 both drop today. From what little info I’ve seen, these books are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Epic Kill is about a teenage super-assassin who makes—wait for it—epic kills. Any books that calls out its own title in the description sounds epically ridiculous enough to grab my attention. On the other, less epic end of the spectrum, Mind the Gap is billed by the publisher as a “…psychological thriller that will leave you guessing at every turn!” There’s not much info out on this one, but the story apparently focuses on a young woman who was left in a coma after being the victim of a mysterious attack. If you like mysteries more than (epic) action, this one might be the way to go. The biggest selling point or disincentive for this book is that Rodin Esquejo from Morning Glories is handling art duties. I’ll let you decide if that’s a good or bad thing.
Marvel isn’t giving us too many jumping on points today, but the one it is providing promises to be a good time. Exiled No. 1 kicks off the crossover between New Mutants and Journey into Mystery. These books are two of Marvel’s best at the moment, so the thought of collaboration between the two sparks a Pavlovian response in me. Longtime readers will remember that this also isn’t the first time the New Mutants have crossed paths with the Asgardians. Take note, Marvel: This is a premise I will never, ever get tired of. These smaller event books have tended to be better than the huge crossovers lately, so don’t trade-wait this one! This is the kind of thing we want to reward.
I just noticed, with the exception of Image, this was another throwback week. That wasn’t intentional, but Dynamite keeps in line with that theme by giving us The Spider No. 1. This is hot on the heels of their re-launch of another pulp classic, The Shadow, from just a few weeks ago. I’m surprised to say I’m excited about David Liss handling the writing. Being totally honest, I wasn’t a fan of Liss’s recent take on Black Panther. He took a decidedly pulp-free character and tried to pulp the crap out of him, with mixed results. But on The Spider? A character that’s as stuck-in-your-teeth-clogging-your-straw pulpy as they come? That has a bit more promise. The Shadow is off to a good start, so this one deserves at least giving the first issue a chance. If nothing else, the cover art by Alex Ross will look fantastic in a frame. Screw the ‘90s—let’s make pulp the next retro-cool thing!