Comic books still exist. And there are new ones today. You can buy them in shops. You can download them digitally (legally!). Just don't buy bad ones.
Please allow me and Evan Narcisse to make a few suggestions...
Comics You Should Consider Buying (from comics shops)
Avengers X-Sanction #1 I've enjoyed the writing of Jeph Loeb (the stuff he did with artist Tim Sale mostly, including the way underrated Challengers of the Unknown mini-series. I've enjoyed the art of Ed McGuinness, too. But I've never been excited about a Loeb/McGuinness combo. There's now this new one. I'll try it. Official summary: "How has Cable been reborn? Where has he been since 'Second Coming'? And what dark event has driven him to destroy the Avengers? The answers are just the tip of an iceberg that threatens to smash the Marvel Universe to smithereens!"
Batwoman #4 Yes, you should buy the new issue of the best-drawn monthly comic currently being published.
Star Wars: Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse #1 I must tell you that I like writer John Ostrander's work a lot. For a generation of comics readers he will always have our confidence due to his extraordinary run on the 1980's edition of Suicide Squad. In that series, Ostrander dared to take a batch of D-list super-villains and tell a story about a U.S. government program that would offer incarcerated super-villains sentence reductions if they'd go on dangerous special missions. Ostrander's comic turned DC Comics' most obscure and/or ridiculous characters into fascinating... people. He's taken that same touch and now applied it to several runs of Star Wars comics, telling tales of obscure casts of characters, weaving their personal dramas and grand adventures through months and years of complicated storytelling. After a brief hiatus, he's back. This is a long way of saying that, while the premise of this new series is basically James Bond, Star Wars-style, because it's Ostrander I don't care if that sounds absurd. I'm 100% on board.
Walking Dead #92 I still haven't read past the first issue, though I did buy all the collections virtually a couple of months ago. When will I find the time?Let me share the official summary of the new issue with you. Ready? Here: "Get ready for some action."
Comics With Video Game Connections (new this week in comics shops)
DC Universe Online Legends #19 Official summary: "With Brainiac's final play revealed, the Justice League - minus Superman - must find a way to stop this final threat to Earth. Can the newly empowered civilians from The Daily Planet building help? Where will Earth turn in this dark hour?"
Dead Rising: Road to Fortune #2 Official summary: "Based on Capcom's mega-popular zombie survival game! As Frank West and Rebecca Chang meet to form their conspiratorial alliance, the mysterious Pheonotrans director Marian Mellon and her fearsome head of security, Harjit Singh, initiate a gruesomely deadly plan against Las Vegas! More gory Dead Rising secrets revealed in this issue."
And Over On The iPad/iPhone/Droid/WebBrowser…
Lots of day-and-date comics from Marvel, DC and Image are on the ComiXology app, plus they're always adding interesting back catalogue comics including six more issues of Scott Snyder's celebrated American Vampire period fiction/horror comic, more of Keith Giffen's Doom Patrol (read this, people!), Mike Grell's old classic Jon Sable: Freelance, and Darwyn Cooke's wonderful hard-boiled adaptation of Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunder. Also: Dark Horse Comics, which sells books through its own app instead of ComiXology, has been getting closer to selling its whole line day-and-date digitally. If that didn't kick in today, they're close, with the aforementioned John Ostrander Star Wars comic possibly hitting their app today (I say "possibly" because the app has an ad for it, but no product listing yet).
And the best comic
I Evan Narcisse read in the past week….
Swamp Thing #4: One thing that worried me most about DC's New 52 initiative was how it was going to fold the publisher's Vertigo characters back into a superhero paradigm. But, as I wrote a few weeks ago about Animal Man, I've wound up liking the melding of mature horror and metahuman plotlines in most of the former Vertigo books. No book's had as much working against it in terms of institutional import as Swamp Thing, though. Think about it: the core sensibility of what became the Vertigo comics imprint started in Swamp Thing and the character ushered Alan Moore to stardom in the American comics business. But, surprisingly, writer Scott Snyder finds a vein all his own to tap in his take on Alec Holland.
Snyder and his creative collegaues wisely veer away from much of the characterizations and canon set out during the Moore run. The big strokes remain—the idea of a global vegetative hivemind called the Green, the Swamp Thing as a human/plant hybrid champion throughout the ages—but Snyder turns things on their ears in ways that still honor the beats and tones of previous Swamp Thing interpretations. When I saw Abigail Arcane return as a bad-ass shotgun-wielding biker chick, I thought for sure that development would drive me off the book. But, her characterization and the reasoning behind it made sense, and added a nice tension between Abigail and Alec Holland. And like Lemire on Animal Man, Snyder shuffles previous continuity into a separate yet connected room and turns it into a reason for Alec Holland to be extremely reluctant to embrace his photosynthetic destiny.
Snyder's got a thing for creepy little boys. In his run of Bat-comics where Dick Grayson wore the cowl, he gave readers James Gordon, Jr. as a quietly terrifying homicidal man-child to parallel Grayson's younger Batman. Here, a younger Arcane brother becomes the avatar for the Rot, the necrotic force growing in opposition to the Green and the Red. Scenes of multiplying putrescence and deterioration run amok—drawn by Yanick Paquette and, later, Marcos Rudy—make me sicker to my stomach than any horror movie or TV show in recent memory. The idea that a cavity could suddenly explode so rapidly to take a person's life is enough to make me book weekly dentist's visits for the rest of my life. That chill will also send me right goes back to back to Swamp Thing month after month, eager to see how Snyder and crew continue to make the book their own.
That's it for this week. Next week, I'll be back with new comics recommendations for all of you.