Good luck squeezing into your local comics shop this week. Plenty of strangers will probably be dropping in to pick up the new Spider-Man comic with the new Spider-Man in it. But squeeze on in, because there are some cool new comics out this week. And there are some good old ones available for legitimate digital download today as well.
Read on for some recommendations:
Batman: Knight of Vengeance #3 The penultimate issue of DC's summer crossover series Flashpoint may be shipping this week, but it might be overshadowed by the final issue of its Batman spin-off. The cover reiterates the shocking revelation of the last issue. Bruce is dead. Mom and dad are Batman and Joker. This series has been extraordinary so far.
DC Retroactive: The Flash, The 80s I've yet to read DC's Retroactive comics, each of which includes a new story created in an old style along with reprints of comics from the homaged era, but I've heard very good things about many of them. This Flash issue comes from writer William Messner-Loebs and artist Greg Larocque, who were responsible for a fun run on the series in the '80s. I'm looking forward to seeing their latest. There's also a Batman '80s issue out this week, by the creative team of Mike Barr and Jerry Bingham, the team behind classic '80s graphic novel Batman: Son of Demon.
Infinite #1 Robert Kirkman and Rob Liefeld's new series about time-traveling freedom fighters. Would you get it because it's written by the Walking Dead guy or because its drawn by the Youngblood guy (who supposedly has a few issues in the can and won't be late)?
Punisher #1 They're starting Punisher over again. This time, Greg Rucka's the writer. I loved his Gotham Central, but have not loved his Wonder Woman and Superman work. Punisher should be more his speed, if he can manage to tell stories that have endings, an omission in recent work of his that I've read.
Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 In this one, we find out who the new Spider-Man is, if the national news coverage hasn't already gotten the message through to you yet.
Walter Simonson's Mighty Thor: Artists Edition I'll let publisher IDW's official description for this $125 book do the talking: "Last year, IDW Publishing released the inaugural Artist's Edition book, printing the entire Rocketeer saga by Dave Stevens from the original art and at the same size it was drawn. The book was a smash hit and quickly sold out. This year, IDW Publishing, in cooperation with Marvel Comics, is pleased to offer the second book in the series: Walter Simonson's Thor: Artist's Edition! This collection will present Thor 337-340 and 360-362-Simonson's first story, followed by one of his favorite arcs. Thor #337 is one of the groundbreaking issues in modern comics, introducing the classic character, Beta Ray Bill. It was a runaway sellout when first released and it has only gained prominence with time. Simonson went on to write and draw approximately 40 issues of Thor and his legendary run on the title is an undisputed classic. All the pages in the Artist's Edition were scanned from Simonson's personal original art to ensure the highest possible quality reproduction. While appearing to be in black and white, each page was scanned in color to mimic as closely as possible the experience of viewing the actual original art-for instance, corrections and blue pencils. Each page is printed the same size as drawn, and the paper selected is as close as possible to the original art board."
Batman: Arkham City #4 Official summary: "The miniseries that leads into the video game continues under the guidance of game writer Paul Dini. The gates swing shut on Arkham City, trapping small-time criminals and deadly Super-Villains behind its walls. As the prisoners struggle for survival, a rogue unit of Mayor Sharp's security force hunts down rival gang bosses The Joker and Two-Face. Not only must Batman save the lives of his greatest foes, he's got to fight his way through an army to do it!"
Crysis #3 Official summary: "The mysteries of Lingshan deepen as Prophet and the remnants of Raptor Team race to reach an extraction point on the far aside of the island. Their only route of escape-through the mountain stronghold of the alien creatures. What they find waiting for them there will shatter all their previous ideas about the Ceph threat and place them further from rescue than ever before."
DC Universe Online Legends #13 Official summary: "Superman's power fluctuations are out of control, and while he's battling everyone around him in a mass of confusion, a surprising figure tries to intervene! But can anyone - or anything - stop an enraged Kryptonian?"
The ComiXology Comics app and website offer a fresh batch of new and old digital comics this week (though beware that Marvel doesn't offer comics on all of the services' platforms). Highlights this week include the first few issues of Batman: Shadow of the Bat, for '90s Batman readers nostalgic for vintage Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle, a few Mike Barr and Alan Davis issues of Detective Comics, the full six issues of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's Hulk: Gray, and the 12-issue Jim Kreuger and Alex Ross series Universe X (anyone want to vouch for that one?). Plus, they added a pile of Superman comics over the weekend, including the first several issues of Action Comics, circa 1938, and the six issue Man of Steel mini-series by John Byrne that rebooted the character (and made me a lifelong comics reader) in 1986.
Secret Avengers #15. This was the best of a small stack of comics I managed to read in the last week. I've been distracted by other stuff and haven't read enough comics!. So, take this as a good one, not a great one. What it is is a done-in-one story about super agent Black Widow arguing with the staff of a tabloid news website about their report that Captain America's death was not real. Seriously. That's what it is about. It's unusual and not the most natural of stories, but the conversation goes in interesting directions. It's a good, fresh take on super-hero deaths, a tonally fitting follow-up to the previous issue's one-issue take on the death of regular people during super-hero battles.
Tell me what you're reading this week and which great comics I'm missing.