After a near two-dozen comics in my personal box last week to sort through, things were easy for me to whittle down this week as there were only a half dozen. Those are the breaks in the comic world: big weeks followed by slow weeks. These five picks though are no slouches and are more than worthy to carry the load.
1) DC – Green Lantern: New Guardians #3: Kyle Rayner has become only the second being in the known universe, along with the deceased Krona, to simultaneously wield the entire emotional spectrum at once and he is furious at the Guardians. The other ring guardians though are hot on his trail, but the big question that has been looming since this started will soon be answered: Where is Agent Orange?
There is a lot of action in this comic and the big reveal at the end makes perfect sense. It sets up the series for some major impactful events that could start coming as soon as the next issue and really start driving where this monthly will go in the future. It also helps establish the Guardians as truly powerful beings again, as they’ve played the role of victims for a while now, where they shrug off most of what is thrown their way by Rayner. It’ll be most interesting to see how they handle the concentrated efforts of all these different spectrum lanterns though along with the power of the entire orange core coming down on them at once.
2) DC – Batman: The Dark Knight #3: Batman continues to follow the trail this new villain, the White Rabbit is laying out before him, which has him running into all the fan favorites in his rogues gallery. Batman’s desperation has him call in a little Justice League help from the Flash, but even his speed isn’t enough to catch the White Rabbit…yet.
It’s always interesting to see how Batman puts the pieces of a mystery together, but what’s great about this opening arc for this new monthly is that each issue has just as many questions popping up as there are answers, as in Batman, and his readers, keep falling down the rabbit hole. I still believe this has the markings of the Mad Hatter all over it, but it should be interesting to see what other twists writer David Finch has in store for us before we get to that end point or what might just change my mind. If you haven’t been reading this, it might be a hard point to jump into now, but if you’ve been reading this series, as I’ve recommended in previous weeks, then this issue is just the next leap forward in this intriguing story arc.
3) Marvel – Secret Avengers #19: Steve Rogers and his band of Secret Avengers travel to the fictional country of Symkaria in Eastern Europe to track down what they believe to be an international drug dealer, but find a more mystical and threatening substance the dealer is pushing instead.
The interesting thing about the Secret Avengers monthly is that each issue recently has been a one-shot. Usually featuring just Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter, Black Widow, and Moon Knight, this small covert ops team usually finds themselves in ever-chaning scenarios that require unusual solutions to their even more unusual problems. The question that arises from these one-shots though is if this is building up to something more and if not, how much longer can they keep this monthly interesting by only doing these one-shot stories. At the very least though, this month’s is definitely worth picking up as the team dynamic and unique adventure this group goes on is an enjoyable read from start to finish.
4) Marvel – Wolverine and the X-Men #2: As the attack on the new X-Mansion in Westchester continues from the new Hellfire Club, a series of new and old enemies emerge to test this branch off of the main X-Men and we get a cool surprise from none other than Iceman.
The second issue of this new monthly is almost sensory overload as we get wave after wave of enemies thrown against Iceman, Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, Beast, and the rest of the new X-Men. Frankenstein monsters, lizard people, and on top of all that, one of the X-Men’s oldest enemies in Krakoa arrives on the scene to push these new X-Men to the limits. All this while a weird romance seems to be brewing between Idie, one of Hope’s former lights with the ability to project fire and ice, and Broo, the abandoned Brood youngling saved from the S.W.O.R.D. satellite in Astonishing X-Men. If you’ve been paying attention to a lot of the X-Men books in recent months, this monthly is your pay off as everything seems to be coming together in an explosive way and it only looks to amp up even more in coming months.
5) Dark Horse – Hellboy: B.P.R.D: Hell on Earth: Russia #3 (of 5): Hellboy has quit the B.P.R.D. and is missing. Liz Sherman, after incinerating half the planet in order to stop the plague like spreading of the frog people has also going into hiding. Abe Sapien is in a coma. So when zombies show up northeast of Moscow and start acting very un-zombie-like, it’s down to Johann Kraus and Kate Corrigan to investigate, but even the by-the-books Kraus has been acting strangely after all the events that have transpired recently. Can Kraus and Kate get to the bottom of this new threat without losing themselves in the process?
If you are a fan of Hellboy or a fan of just some gruesome looking creatures and horrors in comics, this is a mini-series you should be reading. You can jump into this issue with minimal back-story, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice. But at the very least you’d be better off than people not reading this mini-series at all. It has a classic Mignola feel to it and you can’t help but want to push forward with the series as you get engrossed in yet another new mystery of this unique universe that Hellboy has always been set in. And with many of the characters and settings always done in a series of earth tone colors, aside from the always striking reds of blood or Hellboy himself, it gives it a noir feel that you just can’t get anywhere else in comics today.