DARK HORSE

THE SHADOW GLASS #1 (of 6)

Writer/Art/Cover: ALY FELL

FC, 32 pages, $3.99, Miniseries

A young student of England’s greatest occultist learns her real father is in league with the devil. When Rose finds out that the man who raised her isn’t her father, she ignores his warnings about the terrible secrets of her own past and seeks answers from her childhood teacher Dr. John Dee, the queen’s occult adviser.

I read and enjoyed the first issue, although I'm a bit unclear on something.

The story takes place in 1500s London. The lead character is Rosalind "Rose" Larkspur, the biological daughter of Thomas Hughes, who seduced her mother Arabella away from her father Adam, and the mother apparently died in childbirth. And yet, Rose is partly raised by the cuckolded man's best friend, John Dee, who is also a mutual friend -- and fellow occultist -- of Hughes. Shouldn't the father cut off all contact with the "best" friend? Dee was complicit in Adam's wife being seduced away, and participated in occult practices in which Hughes used Arabella for divination (and sex) -- even providing the house in which these things took place. Is this some part of 16th century English mores that I simply don't understand?

Well, perhaps it will be explained over time. But our first meeting with Hughes began with the clumsy monologue "England! Am I always to be a wanderer upon the earth ... ? Yet while I cross dark waters my path always spirits me here ... back home ..." Ugh! That was page two, so my expectations for good writing were pretty low.

But while dialogue and plot started off poorly, they improved -- or perhaps it was the art by Alastair "Aly" Fell that changed my perception. Fel, a Manchester (UK) freelance artist, provides work that is refreshingly clean, with solid figures and naturalistic landscapes. His approach to blocking and storytelling is old-fashioned, almost painterly, yet his characters adhere enough to comic book tradition to glow with life and potential action. His classic rendering seems to be influenced by the Spanish/Filipino artists that worked at Warren in the 1970s, or whatever influenced them, but with more restraint than those worthies.

In short: Still on the fence about the story, but really pleased with the art.

TOMB RAIDER II #2

Writer: MARIKO TAMAKI

Art: PHILLIP SEVY

Colors: MICHAEL ATIYEH

Cover: AGUSTIN ALESSIO

FC, 32 pages, $3.99, Ongoing

After Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft’s adventure continues with Eisner Award- winning writer Mariko Tamaki!

To discover the true nature of the soul, Lara is drawn into a hunt for a rare mushroom said to grant immortality. However, she’s not the only one in pursuit--the Knights of the Spore will stop at nothing to take Lara down!

I was pleasantly surprised by the first issue of this series, which gave us a lead character of plausible competence (and plausibly sized breasts) -- which, from her video game background, was not what I expected.

This issue, though, went in the opposite direction, with a character who can successfully jump a motorcycle off a highway overpass to the road below -- with a passenger! -- and swing around a mall on a rope like a superhero, and MacGyver her way out of any situation with duct tape, bubble gum and cleaning supplies. You know, it takes stuntmen years to learn how to do half that stuff, but this late-teens/early-twenties prodigy can do all this potentially lethal stuff on the first try while constantly being shot at without breaking a sweat or catching a bullet.

Sure, that's fairly standard fare in comics. But what I liked about the first issue is that Croft's heroics were kept in the realm of the possible, which was refreshing. This issue makes her Batman in drag.

More: Croft is ambushed by what look like a group of identical, bald, gray-skinned, rock zombies in gray jumpsuits, but when she tells someone else of the experience, she says her assailants "looked military." (Artist, please call writer. Writer, please call artist.) Finally, the art looked a bit rushed compared to the first issue.

I'll give the third issue a try, but this one nearly put me off the series for good.

DC COMICS

BATMAN V SUPERMAN VARIANTS

Here are this week's Super/Bat variants.

BATMAN #50

Written by SCOTT SNYDER

Art and cover by GREG CAPULLO and DANNY MIKI

Polybagged variant cover by JIM LEE

48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

Batman has returned to Gotham City! In this extra-sized conclusion to Snyder and Capullo’s epic story “Superheavy,” Bruce Wayne returns to the cape and cowl to battle Mr. Bloom alongside Jim Gordon for the fate of the city they both love.

This issue features open-to-order variant covers that will ship in opaque polybags.

GRAYSON #18

Written by TIM SEELEY and TOM KING

Art and cover by MIKEL JANIN

Polybagged variant cover by STEPHEN PLATT

32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

At last, the spy stands alone. Now an agent of multiple masters, Grayson must go rogue from them all, find the truth within the web of lies, and take down Spyral once and for all.

This issue features open-to-order variant covers that will ship in opaque polybags.

I haven't read any Grayson since the first trade, so I honestly don't know who half the people in this story are, or what they're fighting about, or whom they're fighting for. But DC provided a digital review copy (one of four), so I read it -- and I think I recognize a climax when I see one.

This being an espionage book, it's also full of people being revealed as double agents, and never knowing quite whom to believe. We get some pivotal fights, we get some reveals, we get some climactic dialogue.

But it's to be continued, so I guess next issue is the climax. Maybe by then I'll know what's going on!

WONDER WOMAN #50

Written by MEREDITH FINCH

Art by DAVID FINCH and SCOTT HANNA

Polybagged variant cover by MASSIMO CARNEVALE

48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

It’s a special super-sized 50th issue! Wonder Woman continues her quest to save Zeke and Olympus, but is she prepared for what she might find?  Long-buried secrets suddenly brought to light will call into question everything she thought she knew about those she loves and trusts the most.

This issue features open-to-order variant covers that will ship in opaque polybags.

CYBORG VOL. 1: UNPLUGGED (TPB)

Written by DAVID F. WALKER

Art by IVAN REIS, JOE PRADO, EDUARDO PANSICA, FELIPE WATANABE and others

Cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO

144 pg, FC, $14.99 US

In these tales from the first six issues of Vic Stone’s new series, plus the sneak peek story from CONVERGENCE: CRIME SYNDICATE #2, the machine that gives Cyborg his powers is evolving! The only problem is that machine is his body—and he has no idea what’s causing these changes!

I understand the necessity of diversity in today's comics, especially at DC, where the bulk of their characters were created in the 1940s, when pop culture was exclusively white. But when they dragged Cyborg into the revamp of the Justice League's origin -- displacing poor ol' J'onn J'onzz, the Rodney Dangerfield of DC -- I felt it was a poor choice.

Not that DC had a wealth of black characters to choose from. But surely they could have done better than Cyborg, whose utility in combat is severely limited. Sure, they play him as a strong guy, but the League is full of strong guys. Plus, it really tests my suspension of disbelief, in that I can't believe the connections between his robot parts and his organic parts could really withstand a hard blow. (You want to tackle somebody with a prosthetic limb? Not me.) But moreover, despite being a character with the potential to be as well-armed as Iron Man, Cyborg nearly always falls back on his sonic cannon -- and nothing else. Evidently, nobody cared enough about this character to develop his arsenal beyond that, which fairly shouts "supporting character."

Also, the boo-hoo-I'm-half-a-man and Daddy issues have worn paper thin, more cliche than characterization. Again, nobody has bothered to develop the character much beyond his introduction 36 years ago.

This series goes a few steps to help with that. For one thing -- the best thing -- is that his mechanical bits are no longer static. They are quasi-alive, able to replace as much of him, or as little of him, as he wants, with flesh or metal. Think Bloodshot's nanobots, and you get the idea.

That means self-repair and organic resistance, which means I can finally believe in Cyborg's combat viability. Further, it means -- SPOILER! -- he can be as human as he wants at any time, relieving us of the tedious Pinocchio syndrome and allowing Victor Stone the full options of life. He can -- gasp! -- actually have some characterization now!

This book doesn't get into that, and mostly deals with an invasion of techno-monsters from a parallel Earth, which is in part responsible for Stone's transformation. I've read enough stories of this nature -- especially the techno-virus storyline in Marvel's X-books, plus virtually any story where people meet doppelgangers -- that I found it a bit derivative. The art, by Ivan Reis, is fairly generic DC house style (read: Jim Lee), so it's professional and superhero-y, but feels overly familiar.

The upshot is that I wasn't particularly crazy about Cyborg Vol. 1 -- but am hopeful that they've finally laid the groundwork for me to enjoy the character in the future.

ROBIN: SON OF BATMAN VOL. 1 – YEAR OF BLOOD (HC)

Written by PATRICK GLEASON

Art and cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY

176 pg, FC, $22.99 US

THE FIRST COLLECTION OF THE NEW DC SERIES IS HERE!

Before he was Robin, Batman’s son Damian Wayne was raised by his mother, Talia al Ghul, to lead the vicious League of Assassins. In these stories from issues #1-6 of his new solo series, plus the Sneak Peek story from CONVERGENCE: WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #2., the son of Batman has freed himself from that destiny and is about to embark on a globe-spanning quest to atone for the horrible acts he committed during the most brutal portion of his old life, The Year of Blood!

Boy, I hated Damian Wayne when he was introduced. How is it I love him so much now?

He's still the most wretchedly abrasive, verbally abusive little punk in the world. But where that used to bug me, now I find it hilarious. Yeah, he's a snotnose brat. But he's also an impressive ass-kicker, and a more plausible one than Dick Grayson at that age, so his insults work because he can back them up.

Which he surely does in this first collection, where we learn more about his training under Talia al Ghul. We have been led to imagine it was pretty awful, and sure enough, it was. Now we see Damian deliberately choosing a road of redemption to offset the evil he's done, which gives him the right to wear that "R" -- plus, he gets to beat people up while insulting their combat skills. Bwah-ha-ha!

So we have some globe-trotting; plus a giant, red, furry man-bat; plus a welcome resurrection that will surprise no one; plus -- as Popeye would say -- insulks. Good fun. I could have lived without the female supporting character introduced here (played as a "sister" of sorts), who never rose above the ordinary, but is virtually certain to become part of Damian's supporting cast anyway. 

Ah, well, nothing's perfect. The giant, red, furry man-bat makes up for any and all faults!

SECRET SIX #12

Written by GAIL SIMONE

Art and cover by DALE EAGLESHAM

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+

Tragedy from the past strikes at Strix, just as she has found a new family of oddballs in the Secret Six. Even worse, the League of Assassins wants to recruit her and refuses to take “no” for an answer! Can even the deadliest Talon face the impossible threat of Shiva?

I can see why DC chose to release a DRC of this issue: If you're a long-time DC reader, we get a reunion in this issue you've been hoping, praying and waiting for since 2004. I won't spoil who it is, but if you're in a position to appreciate it and/or have been following this book, you've probably already guessed.

It was spoiled a bit by having one character not look like his usual self, and then by the introduction of one of the ugliest superhero suits I've seen since ... well, probably the last time this character wore a superhero suit. Why can't this guy get a decent tailor? I hear there's a guy in Central City named Gambi who could use the work ...

Oh, there's also a story about the ex-Talon Strix being forcibly recruited by the League of Assassins, with Lady Shiva single-handedly taking on the team (plus Batgirl) to do it. Pretty cool stuff, especially with the trademark Simone characterization involved.

Any book written by Gail Simone is always recommended from this corner, so naturally I'm recommending this one. But the reunion mentioned above gives it a little extra oomph. Go read it (and bring Kleenex).

TEEN TITANS #18

Written by GREG PAK

Art and cover by IAN CHURCHILL

Variant cover by PHIL JIMENEZ

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for details.

“Who Is Wonder Girl?” Cassie finally learns the truth about her father and her powers — but her mission puts her on a collision course with Wonder Woman, and it may change the Teen Titans forever!

Homage cover alert (to Fantastic Four #249)!

As regular readers know, I'm a big fan of Brian Azzarello's upgrade of Wonder Woman as a demigod. Now Greg Pak is doing something similar for Wonder Girl. I won't spoil the particulars, but it works for me. And with Azzarello's Wonder Woman as a guest star -- and with strong references to that continuity -- WW readers should feel right at home.

Speaking of familiarity, this is a Teen Titans series. We had to have a "Who Is Wonder Girl?" story sooner or later, didn't we?

WE ARE ROBIN #10

Written by LEE BERMEJO

Art by JORGE CORONA

Cover by LEE BERMEJO

32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

The Jokers have taken over Middleton High! Duke and Riko are trapped inside as average students—can Dax and Izzy get to them in time? And could Dre really have joined the side of the Jokers? In a final showdown between the Robins and the Jokers, Duke and his team will be put to the ultimate test of loyalty.

This isn't a title I've followed regularly, even though I argued for years that "Robin" is a title that a lot of street kids should share, and it should refer to a group along the lines of the Baker Street Irregulars. This new series is closer to that than previous Robins, so by rights I should like it. But I think I'm just too old.

Case in point, this issue, which is essentially a scene-setter between the Robins (which for some reason have been disbanded) and The Jokerz (like in Batman Beyond), who plan to shoot up a high school. We get to re-meet each of the major Robins (which, I assume, is why DC offered a DRC of this particular issue), mainly through (sigh) text messages. And teen angst. Loads loads of of teen angst.

As I say, I'm probably just too old for this. But if you're a more modern type, spending most of your time on your phone, then it might be in your wheelhouse. As for me, I think it's time for my nap. Nurse!

IDW PUBLISHING

G.I. JOE DEVIATIONS (ONE-SHOT)

Writer: PAUL ALLOR

Art/Cover: COREY LEWIS

Subscription Variant; BRIAN SHEARER

FC • 40 pages • $4.99

In a world … where COBRA rules the planet! COBRA COMMANDER’s forces have won, the entire planet Earth now submits to COBRA rule … but the burdens of ruling over billions of people make COBRA COMMANDER anxious to the good old days. And he decides there’s just one group that can bring chaos back to this totalitarian order: G.I. JOE!

• Extra-length one-shot!

• Find out what happens in a world … where COBRA turns the table on G.I. JOE … but they can’t wait to bring them back!

• Part of IDW’s Deviations 5-week event!

I've only had time to read one of these "Deviations" books, so I hope some Legionnaires are reading them, and get around to commenting on them.

 

STAR TREK/GREEN LANTERN: THE SPECTRUM WAR

Writer: MIKE JOHNSON

Art: ANGEL HERNANDEZ

Cover: STEPHEN MOONEY

TPB • FC • $19.99 • 140 pages

Two iconic franchises collide for this blockbuster crossover event! The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise meets the Green Lantern Corps for the first time in an all-new adventure that spans the cosmos! Kirk and Spock make a most unusual discovery on a lost world... igniting events that will change the fate of empires!

“This is the most exciting summer event series out there.” –AdventuresInPoorTaste.com

The X-Men/Star Trek crossover worked so poorly -- the Trek crew were thoroughly overshadowed by the brightly-costumed characters with super-powers -- that I had low expectations for this book, which would have the same imbalance going in. But surprise, surprise, writer Mike Johnson took some big gambles to make this story work -- and it did work so well I kept checking the credits to make sure Ron Marz wasn't involved somehow.

I refuse to spoil any of it. I'll just say that if you enjoy either Green Lantern of the new Trek franchise, I believe you'll enjoy this book.

 

TRANSFORMERS: ARMADA OMNIBUS

Writers: CHRIS SARRACINI, SIMON FURMAN

Art: JAMES RAIZ, PAT LEE, GUIDO GUIDI, DON FIGUEROA

Cover: GUIDO GUIDI

TPB • FC • $29.99 • 416 pages • 6” x 9”

The DECEPTICONS, feeding off the energy of captured Mini-Cons, are about to begin a hostile takeover of the TRANSFORMERS' home planet, CYBERTRON. Do OPTIMUS PRIME and the heroic AUTOBOTS stand a chance of defending the planet against these super-powered villains? And will the Mini-Cons ever get their freedom back? The action is so explosive that the shockwaves will shake not only CYBERTRON but even planet Earth right down to the core. All 18 issues of Transformers: Armada are collected in this omnibus.

Back in print!

I've never been much of a Transformers fan, but if I was, I expect I'd want to buy this. So heads up, Transformers fans!

IMAGE COMICS

CIRCUIT-BREAKER #1 (of 5)

Writer: KEVIN MCCARTHY

Art/Cover: KYLE BAKER

32 PAGES / FC / T / $2.99

Bestselling writer Kevin McCarthy and artist Kyle Baker (Plastic Man) team up for an all-new series, CIRCUIT-BREAKER, launching from Image Comics this March.

CIRCUIT-BREAKER #1 is set in the aftermath of World War IV, where the heroic robots that saved Japan during war are outlawed. Now they’re turning against mankind, waging a campaign of terror across the last city on Earth.

“If Circuit-Breaker isn’t the best Shakespearean-Sentai, shōjo-shōnen superhero, soap-opera satire on the market, it’s at least in the alliteration. I mean, the conversation,” said McCarthy.

Meanwhile the vengeful robots’ original creator builds one more soldier—disguised as his teenaged granddaughter—and tasks her with dismantling the marauding mechanical militia. But as she begins to question her programming, will she be the last hope for humanity, or the final nail in our coffin?

McCarthy went on to describe the creative process of working with Baker. “The real hero here is my fellow Circuit-maker, Kyle Baker. There’s a lot going on in this book, and he took every one of my crazy ideas and obscure references and brought them to (artificial) life. I’m excited for everyone to see this book.”

McCarthy added: “Readers can expect our story to take a lot of left turns. So many in fact, that we made a complete ... circuit? (Sorry.)”

The First Issue Sweepstakes has slowed a bit lately, but here's a new Image title that looks to have a lot of manga influence.

SONS OF THE DEVIL #6

Writer: BRIAN BUCCELLATO

Art/Cover: TONI INFANTE

32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99

SONS OF THE DEVIL TACKLES A NEW CHAPTER

New York Times bestselling writer Brian Buccellato (Detective Comics, The Flash) and artist Toni Infante will launch a new story arc in their ongoing psychological horror SONS OF THE DEVIL this March.

Previously in SONS OF THE DEVIL, average guy Travis discovered he had family ties to a deadly cult.

In SONS OF THE DEVIL #6, the second arc begins with Travis looking to reconnect with his biological family while his father, David, continues to assemble the pieces for his devil’s sacrifice.

I drifted away from this title after the first couple of issues, mainly because the art was so murky I couldn't tell what was going on. (Hey, I already admitted I'm old.) But it's launching a new story arc, which means we get this press release.

MARVEL COMICS

AVENGERS: STANDOFF TIE-INS

The preview to the Avengers book is kinda sweet. And homage cover alert (to Fantastic Four #73)!

ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS #7

Writer: MARK WAID; Art: ADAM KUBERT; Cover by ALEX ROSS; Women of Power Variant TBA

32 PGS / Rated T+ / $3.99

A STANDOFF tie-in!

The ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS vs the UNCANNY AVENGERS! Why? How?

HOWLING COMMANDOS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. #6

Writer: FRANK BARBIERE; Art/Cover: BRENT SCHOONOVER

32 PGS / Rated T+ / $3.99

A STANDOFF tie-in!

• The Commandos search for their missing ally, ORRGO!

• Secrets are revealed when the team encounters an enemy who can manipulate reality itself!

NEW AVENGERS #8

Writer: AL EWING; Art: GERARDO SANDOVAL; Cover by JEFF DEKAL

32 PGS / Rated T+ / $3.99

A STANDOFF tie-in!

• The New Avengers are a global rescue force – but what happens when they have to rescue someone ...

from S.H.I.E.L.D.?

• Answer: THIS MEANS WAR! And the beginning of the three-part conflagration that changes EVERYTHING!

• PLUS! The traitor -- REVEALED! And the twists keep coming! Who -- or WHAT -- is the AMERICAN KAIJU?

CIVIL WAR CAVALCADE

Yup, three more. That brings us to 12 Civil War collections this month, and there will be more.

CIVIL WAR: YOUNG AVENGERS & RUNAWAYS (TPB NEW PRINTING)

Written by ZEB WELLS & ANTHONY FLAMINI; Penciled by STEFANO CASELLI; Cover by JIM CHEUNG

160 PGS / Rated T+ / $19.99

As the tide of public opinion turns inexorably against Marvel’s heroes, the gears of Civil War threaten to crush the young heroes known as the Runaways. But when the Young Avengers offer their assistance, can the Runaways believe they’re on the same side? The warden of the prison called the Cube wants both teams taken down — and he sends his most powerful weapon to do it: Noh-Varr, the young Kree known as Marvel Boy! Can the two teen teams put aside their differences and work together to free their captured teammates? And what happens when Marvel Boy busts loose? This CIVIL WAR tie-in has lasting repercussions for both popular teams! Plus: Look deep into Iron Man’s classified files and learn all about the major players of CIVIL WAR! Collecting CIVIL WAR: YOUNG AVENGERS #1-4 and CIVIL WAR FILES #1.

CIVIL WAR: MARVEL UNIVERSE (TPB NEW PRINTING)

Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS, PAUL JENKINS, DAN SLOTT, KEVIN GREVIOUX, CHRISTOS GAGE & MORE; Penciled by MARC SILVESTRI, TOM RANEY, PAUL SMITH, GUSTAVO, HARVEY TOLIBAO & MORE; Cover by MARC SILVESTRI

184 PGS / Rated T+ / $24.99

CIVIL WAR is encompassing the entire Marvel Universe, and the

effects are being felt by every hero, villain and civilian. Wild cards like Venom, Ant-Man, Iron Fist, U.S.Agent and even Howard the Duck must take a stand, while the Sentry is confronted with a past he can’t leave behind — and one of Marvel’s greatest heroes must face their own fearful future! Whose side will Marvel’s top superhuman lawyer, She-Hulk, fight for when the war threatens the rights of every American super hero? And in the war’s aftermath, Tony Stark must begin building a new Marvel Universe! Plus: What if things had gone very differently? Collecting CIVIL WAR: THE INITIATIVE #1, CIVIL WAR: CHOOSING SIDES #1, CIVIL WAR: THE RETURN #1, SHE-HULK (2005) #8 and WHAT IF: CIVIL WAR #1.

CIVIL WAR: HEROES FOR HIRE/THUNDERBOLTS (TPB)

Written by JUSTIN GRAY, JIMMY PALMIOTTI & FABIAN NICIEZA; Penciled by BILLY TUCCI, FRANCIS PORTELLA, DAVE ROSS & TOM GRUMMETT; Cover by TOM GRUMMETT

240 PGS / Rated T+ / $34.99

As CIVIL WAR rages, an unlikely group of heroes gather to hunt down fugitive superhumans who refuse to register. Misty Knight and Colleen Wing use their bail-bonds skills, underworld connections and government funding to lead an all-new Heroes for Hire: Black Cat, Shang-Chi, Paladin, the new Tarantula and more! It’s action, adventure, crime, beautiful women and kung-fu chaos! Then, the Thunderbolts may be known criminals, but they sure can get good publicity by hunting down renegade heroes! Now, it’s time for the T-Bolts to kick some spandex butt! But why have so many newly “recruited” Thunderbolts agreed to Baron Zemo’s plans? What role does the Grandmaster and his Squadron Sinister play? And can there be anything worse than having the universe’s fate lie in the hands of Zemo? Collecting HEROES FOR HIRE (2006) #1-5 and THUNDERBOLTS (1997) #101-105.

HYPERION #1

Written by CHUCK WENDIG

Art by NIK VIRELLA

Cover by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO

Action Figure Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER

Variant Cover by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO

Black Panther 50th Anniversary Variant by KERON GRANT

Hip-Hop Variant by SHAWNA MILLS

32 PGS / Rated T+ / $3.99

HYPERION IS BACK!

Or is he? The high-powered hero is hiding in plain sight, driving a truck across the U.S. to learn about the country he has adopted. Along the way, he picks up a lone runaway named Doll, who has more baggage than he anticipated. Doll is in danger, chased by a pack of freaks and lunatics known as THE CARNIES. Will Hyperion reveal himself to save her? Maybe! Will he use a tractor trailer as a baseball bat? Probably!

He is not from here. He is Earth’s new protector. He has adopted humanity as his children. But the truth is – he doesn’t understand them. He is Hyperion, and he’s exploding out of the pages of Squadron Supreme and into HYPERION #1 this March! Written by New York Times Bestselling Author Chuck Wendig (Star Wars: Aftermath) with art by Nik Virella (1872), be there as the man without a world takes on the worst the humanity has to offer, but also discovers what makes them great.

“Hyperion is a man who lost his universe. He doesn’t belong anywhere. And as a result he lost himself and hasn’t yet found who he really is,” says Chuck Wendig in an interview with Marvel.com. “So he adopts America and its people as his children. But he doesn’t understand them, and this is about Hyperion going out into the country to find out who these people are. And, by proxy, who he really is, too.”

But corruption lives in the heartland of America. And Hyperion will root out the worst of it. Through the long nest of roads and highways and small strange towns – Hyperion travels America, posing as one of us. Helping people. Exploring. All in pursuit of the answer to that one question – what does it mean to be human?

Can he save these people from themselves? He has adopted humanity – but will humanity adopt him back? Find out this March as he soars solo into comic shops with HYPERION #1!

They should add Nighthawk, and change the title of the book to Earth's Finest Comics. Seriously, how do they get away with these pastiche characters?

OTHER PUBLISHERS

ASSASSIN'S CREED: TEMPLARS #1

Publisher: TITAN COMICS

Writer: FRED VAN LENTE

Artist: DENNIS CALERO

Cover A: MARK LAMING

Cover C: DENNIS CALERO

Cover D: DENNIS CALERO

Cover E: MARIANO LACLAUSTRA

32 pages / $3.99

All-new adventures from the world of Assassin’s Creed. In 1927 Darius Gift arrived in Shanghai on his first assignment for the Templar Order.  A minor misstep means he soon finds himself mixed up in the shadowy underworld of the International Settlement, and mixed up with the mysterious, enigmatic, Black Cross …

Titan is really pushing the Assassin's Creed books, which I guess is a fairly popular video game. (I'm assuming this because I saw a TV commercial for the game, which suggests it's making good money.) I'm not into video games, but if you are, check 'em out and let us know if they're any good!

BLOODSHOT REBORN ANNUAL 2016 #1

Written by JEFF LEMIRE with RAY FAWKES, MICHEL FIFFE & BENJAMIN MARRA, and PAUL MAYBURY

Art by KANO with RAY FAWKES, BENJAMIN MARRA, and PAUL MAYBURY

Cover A by KANO

Cover B by RYAN BODENHEIM

Variant Cover by ROBERT WILSON IV

Variant Cover by KERON GRANT

$5.99 | 64 pgs. | T+

This spring … Valiant's first-ever annual-sized extravaganza is bursting at the seams with 64 pages of all-out action from BLOODSHOT REBORN visionary Jeff Lemire and a star-studded cast of comics talents!

Valiant is proud to present BLOODSHOT REBORN ANNUAL 2016 #1 – a giant-sized thrill-ride beginning with an extra-long tale of mayhem by Jeff Lemire (Extraordinary X-Men, Descender) and acclaimed artist Kano (Gotham Central)! On March 23, dive deep into Bloodshot's bullet-ridden history here as Valiant's unrelenting commando goes head-to-head with America's most notorious slasher … and then unloads a dossier's worth of top-secret revelations past, present and future with Joe Bennett (52), Jay Fabares (X-O MANOWAR), Michel Fiffe (Copra), Ray Fawkes (Batman Eternal), Benjamin Marra (Terror Assaulter), and Paul Maybury (Sovereign)! Join one of the most acclaimed ongoing series in comics today right here with A PERFECT JUMPING-ON POINT for the series that Ain't It Cool News calls "a perfect mix of action and emotion"!

First: terror doesn’t wait for Friday at Camp Silver Lake! A masked menace has stalked this camp for years, but what happens when one unstoppable killing machine comes up against another? Bloodshot is about to bring his bloody brand of justice to the quiet shores of Silver Lake to take on America’s most notorious slasher!

Then: Jeff Lemire, Joe Bennett, and Jay Fabares present a very special Bloodsquirt solo adventure, alongside a never-before-told chapter of Camp Silver Lake's horrific past by Ray Fawkes, a new vision of "THE ANALOG MAN"'s gasoline-soaked future by Paul Maybury, and a mind-bending salvo of blood, guts, and metal by Michel Fiffe & Benjamin Marra!

From his black-ops past to his heroic present and into the uncharted future, Bloodshot's place at the center of the the Valiant Universe gets blown sky high right here in a dynamite-laden series of stories too explosive for a single issue! Bloodshot's 64-page spring spectacular starts with a scream right here on March 23, only in BLOODSHOT ANNUAL 2016 #1 – featuring covers by Kano, Ryan Bodenheim (The Dying & The Dead), Robert Wilson IV (Bitch Planet), and Keron Grant (Fantastic Four)!

Check out the preview, which pits Bloodshot against Jason Voorhees of Camp Crystal Lake the unkillable killer of Camp Silver Lake!

CARPET SWEEPER TALES

Writer/Art/Cover: JULIE DOUCET

Paperback • 184 pages • 5.5" x 6.4" • B&W • $15.95 USD/$19.95 CAD

Julie Doucet is an artist who has mastered many voices and styles, from her groundbreaking early comic-book series Dirty Plotte and the classic graphic novel My New York Diary, to her linocut and collage work, to her impeccable zines, prints and other ephemera. In Carpet Sweeper Tales, we see this multi-faceted artist combine her many talents into one genre-defying masterwork. Here she revisits the comics form, pulling images from 1970s Italian fumetti, or photonovels, to create her own collage comics, dwelling on femininity and the modern world.

I'm not familiar with Doucet's work -- I was just attracted by the retro cover, which indicates a good sense of humor.

CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED

Geez, these things are coming out in a flood!

INVISIBLE MAN

Writer: H. G. WELLS; Art: NORMAN NODEL; Cover: GEOFFREY BIGGS; $9.95

H. G. Wells's tale of the mad scientist who discovers the secret of invisibility and wields its awesome power to his own ends. Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colorful comic strip form, providing an excellent introduction for younger readers. Also includes theme discussions and study questions.

LES MISERABLES

Writer: VICTOR HUG; Art: NORMAN NODEL; Cover: GERALD MCCANN; $9.95

Victor Hugo's novel of early 19th-century France, as told through the experiences of the ex-convict, Jean Valjean. Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colorful comic strip form, providing an excellent introduction for younger readers. Also includes theme discussions and study questions.

MACBETH

Writer: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE; Art: ALEX A. BLUM; $9.95

Shakespeare's tragedy about the rise and fall of Macbeth, the Scottish Lord who is prophesied to become king. Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colorful comic strip form, providing an excellent introduction for younger readers. Also includes theme discussions and study questions.

TREASURE ISLAND

Writer: ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON; Art: ALEX A. BLUM; $9.95

Stevenson's great tale of pirates and buried treasure. Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colorful comic strip form, providing an excellent introduction for younger readers. Also includes theme discussions and study questions.

THE COMPLETE CREPAX: DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN AND OTHER HORROR STORIES (HC)

Writer/Art/Cover: GUIDO CREPAX

$75.00 | Hardcover  | 440 pages | B&W | 10 1/4" x 14"

Fantagraphics Books is proud to announce a 10-book series beginning November 2015 collecting the comics of Italian maestro Guido Crepax, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the creation of his character Valentina. A composite of Louise Brooks, Anna Karina and his wife, Crepax's depiction of Valentina's sensuality is so sophisticated that it undeniably legitimized erotic Eurocomics. Just as with Tom of Finland, he blew apart the boundaries of the medium.

Crepax: Dracula, Frankenstein and Other Horror Stories is the first book in the series. It features the artist's take on the eponymous literary works by Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley; a half dozen stories, some never before published, starring Valentina -- arguably the strongest and most independent female character in European comics up till that time -- from the '60s and '70s, and shows how Crepax influenced fashion, architecture and the French New Wave.

Only a handful of Crepax's works have been reprinted in English, none currently available-until now. With more than 440 pages each of comics and contextual material from consulting editor Manuel Espírito Santo, comics historian Paul Gravett, erotica scholar Tim Pilcher, and testimonies of Guido Crepax heirs, these books will be the most complete and unabridged collections of the award-winning cartoonist Guido Crepax's work ever assembled.

Born in Milan, Italy, Guido Crepax (1933-2003) was an internationally acclaimed cartoonist. After he got his degree in architecture, he worked on national publicity campaigns for Shell and Dunlop, and illustrated book covers and record jackets. He began contributing to the seminal Italian comics magazine Linus in 1965, where his pop art and psychedelic surrealism-inspired graphics exploded into the public consciousness.

I get the impression that it was guys like Crepax that made soft-core porn acceptable in European comics. I only had one page of preview art, but it was a little too naughty to post.

CURSED PIRATE GIRL

Writer/Art/Cover: JEREMY BASTIAN

Adventures on and under the high seas lead a cursed pirate girl to encounter mythic creatures, gnarled and crusty pirates, and ghostly apparitions as she tries to find her lost father, one of the dreaded Pirate Captains of the mythical Omerta Seas. A whimsical swashbuckling tale of wonderland journeys and unimaginable dangers, starting in Port Elisabeth, Jamaica in the year 1728, and quickly heading across – and beneath – the waves. The first three issues are collected with an all-new epilogue.

 “It’s all too rare that I see work that is truly original -- and I almost never see work THIS original -- Jeremy Bastian is a genius.” -- Mike Mignola

 “A throwback to classic storytelling that any age can enjoy.” -- David Petersen

 “Clearly he’s kidnapped his own inner child, plied her with enough Victorian sweets to keep her up for days, and then chained her to a drawing board in a tiny room …” -- Jackson Publick

 “I LOVE Cursed Pirate Girl -- it is a bright light in a vast sea of sameness!” -- Charles Vess

 “Authentic and timeless and wonderfully bizarre- this looks like something from 1892 but is totally ahead of its time -- I wish I’d thought of it!” -- Gerard Way

 “Combines the endearing qualities of classic children’s books with a modern-day sensibility. The results are whimsically naive and genuinely hip!” -- Gary Gianni

 “Cursed Pirate Girl is our generation’s Alice in Wonderland.” -- Gail Potocki

This looks like fun.

DELETE #1

Publisher: DEVILS DUE /1FIRST COMICS, LLC

Writers: JIMMY PALMIOTTI, JUSTIN GRAY

Art: JOHN TIMMS

Cover: AMANDA CONNER

Mature/$4.99

In the near future, where science can implant or remove human memories and the government uses brain scan technology in criminal investigations, a mute girl witnesses a multiple murder and must turn to a handyman for protection from the police and an army of killers. From the Harley Quinn  team of writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey and artist John Timms, with covers by Amanda Conner.

First issue alert!

And given the creative team, a book that should appeal to most Legionnaires.

THE DEATH-DEFYING DOCTOR MIRAGE: SECOND LIVES #4 (of 4)

Written by JEN VAN METER

Art by ROBERTO DE LA TORRE

Cover A by JELENA KEVIC-DJURDJEVIC

Cover B by KEVIN WADA

Cover C by JULIAN TOTINO TEDESCO

Variant Cover by MAËLLE DOLIVEUX

$3.99 | 32 pages | T+

The living. The dead. The good. The wicked. And a husband and wife trapped in the middle, the only ones who might prevent them all from crashing together …

An evil spirit, dead for decades, has usurped all the power of the enchanted scroll that Shan and Hwen Mirage needed to save their lives together. Now they have no scroll, no power, and an unstoppable enemy with the power of death at its fingertips. As this specter of doom leaps from body to body, leaving extinction in his wake, the Mirages know the only way to defeat him … win or lose, live or die … is by making the ultimate sacrifice.

Jen Van Meter and Roberto de la Torre deliver the dizzying, devastating climax for Valiant’s Harvey Award-nominated adventurers … and, for the living and the dead, nothing will ever be the same!

Good stuff!

EVIL DEAD 2 #1 REVENGE OF HITLER

Publisher: SPACE GOAT PUBLISHING

Writer: IAN EDGINTON

Art: OSCAR BAZALDUA & Various

Cover: KEVIN J. WEST & Various

$3.99

Everybody's favorite badass is back. Oh, and Hitler, too. The Evil Dead 2 universe expands with the first in a series of "Revenge" one-shots. Adolf Hitler had the Book of the Dead tattooed onto his body so that he could live forever, except it didn't quite work out that way. After he died in Berlin in 1945, it took someone to actually read the tattoo to reanimate him. Now he's back in the present day, and the Hellish Powers are forced to recruit Ash to put an end to his reign of terror before history repeats itself, this time with an undead army!

Why have we not had zombie Hitler already? We've had Hitler's brain, zombie Nazis, Hitler's head, zombie Nazi heads ... but no zombie Hitler. I'm glad to see this gross oversight addressed!

GRIMM FAIRY TALES: HELLCHILD #1

Publisher: ZENESCOPE ENTERTAINMENT INC

Writers: JOE BRUSHA, RALPH TEDESCO

Art: ANTONIO BIFULCO

Cover A: EDGAR SALAZAR

Cover B: HARVEY TALIBAO

Cover C: MIKE KROME

Cover D: JASON METCALF

$3.99

SERIES PREMIERE!

ANGELICA BLACKSTONE is half-Greek god, half-vampire, and she's pissed!

When she is brought back from the dead and given a new lease on life by monster hunter Liesel Van Helsing, Angelica joins a gang of Viking vampire junkies living in the underbelly of New York City. But she has a hell of an ax to grind with her absentee father, Hades, who she blames for her death. All hell is about to break loose!

This March, the newest badass hero arrives in the Grimm Universe ... Angelica Blackstone is the Hellchild.

First issue alert!

I'm guessing Liesel Van Helsing somehow got Mandrake's top hat (or Zatara's), which would explain why it never falls off.

GRAVEYARD QUEST (GN)

Publisher: ONI PRESS INC.

Writer/Art/Cover: K.C. GREEN

$19.99

Running the family business in the shadow of your father can be a drag, especially when you're a gravedigger and that shadow is actually your dad's overly critical ghost. From creator KC Green's hugely popular webcomic Gunshow, Graveyard Quest follows a blue-collar skeleton and his mole buddy on their journey to Hell and back to retrieve his most prized possession. It's a story about the things we do for love, and the many mistakes we make along the way.

This is a bit too far over the cartoony line for me, but maybe not for you. Check out the yuuuuuuge preview and make up your own mind.

THE IMITATION GAME: ALAN TURING DECODED (GN)

Publisher: ABRAMS COMICARTS

Writer: JIM OTTAVIANI

Art/Cover: LELAND PURVIS

$24.95

English mathematician and scientist Alan Turing (1912-1954) is credited with many of the foundational principles of contemporary computer science. The Imitation Game presents a historically accurate graphic novel biography of Turing's life, including his groundbreaking work on the fundamentals of cryptography and artificial intelligence. His code-breaking efforts led to the cracking of the German Enigma during World War II, work that saved countless lives and accelerated the Allied defeat of the Nazis. Award-winning duo Jim Ottaviani and artist Leland Purvis present a detailed account of Turing's life and groundbreaking research -- as an unconventional genius who was arrested, tried, convicted and punished for his openly gay lifestyle, and whose innovative work still fuels the computing and communication systems that define our modern world.

If you're looking for terrific art, this isn't the place. It's mediocre, and completely in service to the story, with numerous talking-head scenes and lots of word balloons explaining early computer science. But it's a fascinating story, and Ottaviani even managed to keep this computer idiot in the loop on what Turing was doing. It's well worth reading.

INDEPENDENCE DAY #1

Writer: VICTOR GISCHLER

Artist: STEVE SCOTT 

Cover A:  Movie Cover

Variants: DIO NEVES, LEE GARBETT, JOHN MCCREA

Blank Variant available

Publisher: TITAN COMICS

32​pp​ / $3.99

The brand-new comic series set between the smash-hit 1996 Independence Day film and the upcoming Independence Day: Resurgence -- in theatres June -- is written by Victor Gischler (Wolverine, Sally Of The Wasteland) with art by Steve Scott (Batman, X-Men)!

As our world unites against invaders from beyond the stars, beneath the Atlantic Ocean, another mysterious craft prompts a top-secret investigation by the US military, one which could prove the key to humanity's survival ... or its ultimate destruction.   

Issue #1 comes with a host of covers by top comics talent including Dio Neves, Lee Garbett and John McCrea!

This first issue set in the Independence Day universe (and between the two movies) could just as easily be set in the Alien universe -- and that's not a complaint. There was an element of cheese in Independence Day which is largely absent here. Instead, there's the straightforward suspense of an intrepid group (partly military, partly not) trying to figure out how to deal with a largely unknown alien threat in an alien (they're under the Atlantic Ocean) environment. That says Aliens or Prometheus to me, and with high-quality art, an enjoyable read.

MONSTER WORLD #3

Publisher: AMERICAN GOTHIC PRESS

Writers: PHILIP KIM, STEVE NILES

Art/Cover: PIOTR KOWALSKI

$3.99

Barrymore recalls his first meeting with the makeup artist they call John Price -- 20 years previously, on a World War I battlefield. But his memories of the night are muddled, and he decides to pay World Studios a visit. Soon everything comes to light as Barrymore is exposed to the secret that has kept the studio running for years!

First issue alert!

Good art and the promise of horror to come in the No Man's Land of World War I. Can't wait!

OH, HELL #1

Publisher: OVERGROUND COMICS

Writer: G. WASSIL

Art/Cover: DAVE HAMANN

$3.99

Angela's parents have had it with her, and are shipping her off to boarding school. What no one knows? The school is in Hell, where it's pass or fail. The Geekie Award Winner for best graphic novel finally comes to you monthly from Overground Comics!

First issue alert!

I'm growing weary of stories where high school is a school for assassins, or is hellish, or is literally in hell. But like all fads, this too will pass.

OH, KILLSTRIKE

Publisher: BOOM! STUDIOS

Writer: MAX BEMIS

Art/Cover: LOGAN FAERBER

What's to Love: Say Anything frontman Max Bemis writes a love letter to 1990s superhero comics in this tongue-in-cheek homage to the era, featuring the art stylings of Logan Faerber -- reminiscent of works by Chip Zdarsky and Jeff Lemire. Much like Polarity, Oh, Killstrike is very personal to Bemis. Part twisted buddy comedy, part profound coming-of-age story, we couldn't stop smiling when reading Oh, Killstrike.

What It Is: Jared, a new father, fears parenthood. An old comics fan, he turns to them for comfort. But when he unwittingly lets loose his favorite character, Killstrike -- a single-minded, vengeance-loving anti-hero -- onto the world, Jared must find a way to send him back before he harms all the people he loves the most.

Collects the complete mini-series, issues #1-4.

Unless I miss my guess, this is essentially a satire of Rob Liefeld's early Image comics. This Killstrike has a very Liefeld-esque name -- two words smooshed together, usually involving "kill" or "death" -- and a Deadpool-ish mask, plus there's the borderline-cartoon ultraviolence. Yep, that's Liefeld all right.

OUT THERE VOL 1

Publisher: BOOM! STUDIOS

Writer: BRIAN AUGUSTYN

Art/Cover: HUMBERTO RAMOS

$19.99

What's to Love: Collected in its entirety for the first time! From acclaimed Crimson creators Brian Augustyn (Batman: Gotham By Gaslight) and Humberto Ramos (Spider-Man) comes the first collection of Out There, returning readers to the haunting of John C. Fremont High School, featuring a brand-new cover and a new story by Ramos.

What It Is: El Dorado City: a picturesque town with good people. All lies. In the midst of high school's usual horrors, four unlikely students bear witness to the end times. Possessing the ability to see and hear those drifting into our word, it is up to Zach, Casey, Jessica and Mark to find a way to stop the army of demonic creatures plaguing their home. Collects issues #1-6.

If this looks familiar, it's because this 18-issue series was published by DC/Vertigo/Cliffhanger in the early naughties.

It's not especially original. A high school is partly sucked into hellish dimension (hey, that fad started early!) and only The Breakfast Club a Jock, a Cheerleader, a Bad Girl and a Nerd have sufficient knowledge to potentially end the crisis and keep everyone else safe. You can probably write the rest yourself.

So it boils down to the art. If you're a Humberto Ramos fan, you'll love it; if his art turns you off, you won't.

X-O MANOWAR #45

Written by ROBERT VENDITTI

Art by ROBERT GILL

Cover A by PHIL JIMENEZ

Cover B by STEPHEN MOONEY

Variant Cover by JEFF DEKAL

$3.99 | 32 pages | T+

Commander Trill comes down on “THE KILL LIST”!

The leader of the Vine insurgency has turned the tables on X-O Manowar and Ninjak in a way they never saw coming! By safeguarding a nation of alien refugees on his own sovereign soil, has Aric unwittingly invited a Trojan horse into his kingdom? And just when everything seems darkest … the Armorines return with a surprising new mission …

Does X-O Manowar teaming up with Ninjak feel very "World's Finest" to anyone else? They look like the Superman and Batman of the Valiant Universe, if you squint real hard.

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Nope, it was only posted for the variant covers. I didn't get a DRC of that issue.

The Baron said:

Just curious, Andrew: Was there meant to be a comment for WONDER WOMAN #50?  Or was there one, and I missed it?

Ah.

Missed this one:

ROBOT ENVY: ZENITH

Illustrated by various, produced by DAVE PASCIUTO

60+ Artists, 256 Pages

256 pages / HC / 8.5″ x 11″ /  $39.99

Leaping from the online webpages of Robot Envy, an online community of the world’s most exceptional and innovative illustrators from the film, comic and video game industries, ROBOT ENVY: ZENITH is a lush, high-end art book that celebrates the coolest robot designs you have ever seen.  From cutesy robot mascots to giant robot war machines, the pieces in this massive collection cover a wide spectrum of visual styles, but all of them are uncategorically stunning and loads of fun. We feature some of the most inspiring artists today -- like Jake Parker, Steve Talkowski, Dacosta, Brian Despain, Boris Bakliza, Emerson Tung, Bambino Monkey and Eric Joyner -- just to name a very few!

ROBOT ENVY: ZENITH - Book Trailer 2016 from Neurobellum on Vimeo.

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