It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the major comics publishers go buckwild with their line-wide crossovers for the summer and nothing will ever be the same again (again).
I kid, I grew up on these things. I’ve gushed before about how The Infinity Gauntlet got me into comics, and there’s nothing wrong with a big crossover, as long as the hook is interesting enough. And cosmic badasses showing up to deliver galaxy-ending beatdowns is, point of fact, my jam. Whether or not an attack by intergalactic bounty hunters (Armor Hunters) or the dirty laundry of the Marvel U (Original Sins) qualifies as “interesting” remains to be seen, but that’s what we’ve got.
And if that’s not your cup of tea, there are plenty of other fine publishers offering varied cups of tea that won’t involve labyrinthine backstories and retcons for their capes comics.
Armor Hunters #1 (Valiant Comics)
And so begins Valiant’s latest summer event and… I’m kind of less than enthused? Maybe it’s because the X-O Manowar stuff doesn’t hold my attention as much as the rest of the line does, but the promise of pissed-off bounty hunters trying to murder a Visigoth’s sci-fi armor leaves me cold for some reason or other.
It just feels too limited: I couldn’t care less about the fiction behind the armor or really the evil aliens of the Vine.
Still, if it’s a collection of weird-looking aliens coming after Aric you want, then it’s weird-looking aliens coming after Aric you’ll get courtesy of writer Robert Venditti and artist Doug Braithwaite (meaning it’ll at least look pretty enough).
Buy Armor Hunters #1 from comiXology.
Green Lantern Corps #32 (DC Comics)
DC’s Skrull Durlan invasion continues as the Lanterns something something something war blah blah.
I miss the space cop aspect to the Green Lantern franchise, but it’s been in a seemingly perpetual state of war since the introduction of the Yellow Lanterns and the Sinestro Corps War. That was actually kind of dope and upset the balance of the Lantern line for a minute, but at this point, how many more dead Lanterns can DC add to the pile before it’s just John Stewart scowling at that dick Hal Jordan?
If the breathless solicitation for this month’s issue is to be believed, we might just be stuck with Jordan with Stewart possibly making the old proverbial “ultimate sacrifice” to save the team.
Now here’s me secretly hoping that DC is simply killing John off only to reintroduce him in a big way when/if they announce him as the Lantern they plan to bring to their big screen Justice League movie.
Buy Green Lantern Corps #32 from comiXology.
The Empty Man #1 (BOOM! Studios)
Cullen Bunn creates a story about a virus which causes madness and catalepsy and leads to suicide cults.
I kind of dig these stories where disaster and/or social crisis gets deified (think the bomb worshipers in Beneath the Planet of the Apes or Suicide Club), but cults are always kind of tricky. In the hands of a bad writer, the reader has no clue why the hell anyone would ever be duped into shaving their head and cutting off their junk for dark lord Peenu. In the right hands though (see Noriko’s Dinner Table), there’s the sense of “there but for the grace of a not-wholly-made-up god go I,” and every slip down into madness feels all that more plausible.
One thing: I’m surprised that BOOM! is releasing this and not Archaia (which BOOM! owns). It just feels like a natural fit and depending on the length of the story, I imagine it would have made an excellent collected edition down the line.
Blood Queen #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
A chesty maiden becomes a chesty witch in this chesty tale from Chest McChestington and Boobs McGillicutty.
Eh, I haven’t read this one from Newsarama vet and former Fangoria Comics editor Troy Brownfield, but that cover leaves an Aspen Comics-era impression, and makes it clear what the book has on its mind (even if that’s not at all what the book has on its mind).
It’s a nice quirk of our summer entertainment scheduling that this book – detailing the origins of a fairy tale witch inspired by…
Holy shit, Elizabeth Bathory? Okay, that’s one way to go.
I was going to say this book might offer a counterpoint to the other “untold story of the villainess” tale Maleficent, but with way more cleavage and sexy ladies bathing in blood.
Buy Blood Queen #1 from Dark Horse Digital.
Avengers: Legacy of Thanos TP (Marvel Comics)
Now that Marvel has cast Josh Brolin as Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy, is that how we’ll all hear the Mad Titan in our heads? I always heard the Dr. Claw voice from Inspector Gadget, but that’s really more a MP than a YP.
Anyway, Marvel collects this bit of Thanos-related backmatter – it’s really a Nebula story – pitting the Avengers against the space pirate who’s also making her debut in Guardians. Skrulls, the Fantastic Four, and John Byrne – what more could you ask for in a slobber-knocking cosmic battle? I guess it kind of depends on how much you care about also-rans like Firelord who’s a better character design than actual character.
Buy Avengers: Legacy of Thanos from comiXology.
Original Sins #1 (Marvel Comics)
When the Watcher Uatu dies, the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe find out that the hydrocephalic creeper has been keeping dirty tapes of all of their secret doings in – and out – of costume. I mean, that’s how I’d pitch this year’s line-wide event: as a raunchy summer comedy where everyone is trying to stop the Masters of Evil from airing their dirty laundry on the 616 equivalent of TMZ. “What terrible thing does Spider-Man put in his web fluid? Find out at 11!”
Marvel’s using the mystery of the Watcher Uatu’s death to tell some untold stories about the major characters of the Marvel U in what’s surely a bit of housecleaning and continuity shifting for the line. Cool? I mean, it’s not like we haven’t read enough formative stories and “lost years” tales about its heroes and villains (hell, this month alone we get a 1.2 issue of Amazing Spider-Man introducing a new villain early in the character’s career for some reason), but really all this kind of thing does is add trauma to characters retroactively.
Hell, maybe Marvel has something more complex in mind here, but I’m guessing we’re going to get some kind of increased interconnectedness between its staple heroes – which I kind of hope isn’t the case, since that was kind of the shtick of the Ultimate line.
Preorder Original Sins from comiXology.
Those are my picks for the week. What’s on your list?