If you're here in the Panel Discussion programming block, you might be a lapsed comics reader, trying to find a way back to the JLA Satellite. Or you might someone killing time until you pick up your weekly Wednesday pull list. Or maybe you've said goodbye to dozens of longboxes to embrace the promise of digital comics. Whichever it is, you're still interested in the good stuff.
Welcome, then, to the Panel Discussion
Dozen Sextet, where I pick out just-released or out-soon comics that I think are worth paying attention to. Ready? Then, let's meet the sequential art that'll be draining your wallet this week. Be sure to chime in with the books you'll be picking up or that you think everybody should be reading in the comments.
Amazing Spider-Man #698
Another big status quo change-up is happening for the wall-crawler, starting with the upcoming launch of a new title called Superior Spider-Man. This issue—which finds a terminally ill Dock Ock angling for a final revenge against Spidey—supposedly sets up the new storyline. Judging by Doc Ock's word balloon on the cover, Aunt May's favorite nephew may not be safe in his costume or out of it.
Maybe this will be the issue that reveals whether Matt Murdock is actually insane or not. Or maybe it won't. I've been loving the tension that Mark Waid and his collaborators have sown around the question that Daredevil might not be able to deal with the stresses of superheroing. He's had breakdowns before but the twist here is that he insists he's not having one now.
My favorite new comic from Marvel barely feels like a superhero series. Instead, the adventures of Clint Barton feel like a paper version of TV shows like The Rockford Files or Magnum, P.I. where the lead is a highly capable everyman. The fantasy elements of the surrounding universe peek through but never to the point of dominating the proceedings. The dialogue's been killer and the art—whether by David Aja or Javier Pulido—has managed to do frantic action and be coolly kinetic at the same time. Who needs Jeremy Renner?
Journey into Mystery #646
I've already read a review copy of this title's new direction and it's already utterly brilliant.
Kieron Gillen Kathryn Immomen and artist Valerio Schiti deliver a version of Sif who doesn't shy from battle. In fact, her desire to be a warrior without peer provides a roiling subtext for the story in the issue. The book rests heavily on creating a wondrous yet eerie mythological feel for this version of Asgard and deepens it significantly by the time you reach the last page.
Nexus Omnibus, Vol. 1
The beginnings of one of the best sci-fi concepts to ever come out of comics get collected here. The high concept: Horatio Hellpop is plagued by dreams of serial killers and finds himself empowered to use ultra-powerful fusion energy to seek them out and kill them. But Nexus isn't any kind of sadistic kill-crazy saga. Mike Baron and Steve Rude's collaboration produced a pop-art-influenced futureverse full of savvy media critiques and really endearing characters. Highest recommendation!
Wonder Woman #14
Brian Azzarello is finding fertile ground in one of the truisms of Greco-Roman mythology: the gods are just as randy and liable to produce uncared-for children as humans are. Wonder Woman's encounters with the half-human children of Zeus continue in this issue, which provides more of the noir-meets-horror-meets-soap-opera formula that's made the book a joy to read.