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This is not a drill: I will be buying no fewer than three Action Labs books this week.  To make room for them–and a sexy hardcover that I can’t possibly pass up–in the ol’ bag, I’m considering a couple of high-profile drops (Sex Criminals, Starlight).  Also looking forward to some reinvigorated interest (Zero) and an awkwardly-named under-the-radar book–the terrific Thomas Alsop–that’ll make your bag go BOOM!

  • Dark Ages #1 (Dark Horse): New series from prolific Brit writer Dan Abnett and artist I.N.J. Culbard.  They’re offering a take on the Dark Ages that’s a bit alien to us.  Dark Horse is offering a preview here.  I’m enjoying Culbard’s work on 2000 AD’s Brass Sun, so I figure I’ll give this one a try.
  • Astro City #14 (DC/Vertigo): With #13, Busiek and Anderson showed us a real good time: 24 hours’ worth of finely fractured Astro City action–a puzzle with the final piece placed oh so perfectly.
Astro City #14

Astro City #14

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #37 (IDW): Shredder and Krang?  How’s that going to work out?  This “stand alone” promises to provide the answer.  Standing in for Mateus Santolouco is Corey Smith, who’s been doing some solid work on Dynamite’s Magnus: Robot Fighter.
  • Sex Criminals #7 (Image): Congrats to Fraction, Zdarsky, and Image on the Eisner for Best New Series.  OK.  Enough of that.  I wasn’t overly–or underly–impressed with #6.  It felt like a conversation I could’ve had with my buddies, which is fine, you know, its playing nostalgic notes and all; but is that what I want out of a comic book?  Well, that’s pretty much what the series has been from the get-go, and, if I’m being honest, what caught my interest initially.  That interest, however, has waned, again, because, in the end, this isn’t a comic book as much as it’s, as the narrative knowingly reveals by disintegrating the fourth wall, an occasionally clever conversation that would be better suited as a blog or a podcast.  The “criminal” contrivance has been the comic book bait; but in the end, it’s the sex talk that sells, and I’m not buying it anymore.  Probably not.
  • Starlight #5 (Image): #4 was so far from the promise of #1 that I’m figuring Millar’ll never get back to it.  He’s fallen to formula, as usual, and, as a result, I’m leaning toward passing–as usual.  Sucks, too.  #1 was so damn good.
  • Zero #10 (Image): Speaking of living up to promise: Ales Kot’s back on track after delivering a very affecting #9, which worked its way to a Sophie’s Choice moment played out with a painfully pregnant page turn.  And now as I’m warming back up to Zero, it’s off to Iceland.
Zero #10

Zero #10

  • All-New X-Men #30 (Marvel): #29 was non-stop action rendered mostly in shades of Cyclops’s signature ruby red, which helped to sell a still suffering Scott Summers.  Happy to say, I’m still high on how Bendis is handling the X-ceptionally large cast of characters.  With all the time travel stuff going on, the most significant journey is the one I’m taking: Bendis and crew are reminding of what made the X-Men so good for so long–and what I, as a Claremont-reared X-reader loved about ’em.
  • The United States of Murder Inc. #4 (Marvel): A killer series all around.  I had my doubts after the first issue; but #2 and #3 have been a double tap to the head.
  • Archer & Armstrong #23 (Valiant): Fred Van Lente is doing it his way all the way to the end, my beautiful friend, the end–of “American Wasteland.”  I wrote about #21 here, and #22 was a mighty fine follow-up that is in the running for our Top 5 of July.  Can’t wait to see how the arc plays out.  I just know I’m gonna love it madly!
Archer & Armstrong #24

Archer & Armstrong #24

  • Armor Hunters #3 (Valiant): So far, so good.  Doesn’t claim to be anything more than what it is.
  • The F1rst Hero #1 (Action Labs): On the strength of the deific Dry Spell, I’m trying any and all Action Labs books that I can find.  I don’t know the creators, but when has that ever stopped me?
  • Midnight Tiger #1 (Action Labs): Ditto.  Brings to mind Danny Fingeroth and Mike Manley’s stab at an all-new teen hero back in the early ’90s: Darkhawk.  That book ran for fifty issues.  How many will DeWayne Feenstra and Ray-Anthony Height end up with?
  • Southern Dog #1 (Action Labs/Danger Zone): Double ditto.  Expected: immediately calls to mind Southern Bastards and, of all things, Ms. Marvel.  Comparisons are inevitable.  Most interesting of the three Action Labs titles–even if, in the end, it’s a werewolf book.  The last werebook I read–which just so happened to have Riley Rossmo on it–was the underwhelming Cursed (BOOM!).
Southern Dog #1

Southern Dog #1

  • The Devilers #2 (Dynamite): #1 wasn’t bad.  I’m willing to go another round.
  • Thomas Alsop #3 (BOOM!): Thomas Alsop.  The name doesn’t really ring, but don’t let that fool you: this book is friggin’ great.  In fact, we’re calling #2 one of our Top 5 Books of July.  One of these days, we’ll get around to the write up.  Until then, be sure to pick this up–if only to see how well Chris Miskiewicz and Palle Schmidt balance the present and the past.
Thomas Alsop #3

Thomas Alsop #3

  • The Heart of the Beast HC (Dynamite): The team of Judith Dupré (author of Skyscrapers, an award-winning book about, well, skyscrapers, don’t ya know!), Dean Motter (creator of the Innie Award-winning Mister X: Eviction), and Sean Phillips (artist of Brubaker-ian proportions; see: Fatale, Criminal, Incognito, and the soon-to-be-released The Fade Out.) make this book–celebrating its 20th Anniversary–a Must Buy.

Avery’s Picks of the Week:

  • Littlest Pet Shop #4 (IDW): The littlest pets are big on fun!
  • Doodle Jump #3 (Dynamite): My daughter’s been known to drop everything only to exclaim, “I’m a ninja!”  She’s also kind of obsessed with American Ninja Warrior.  She creates her own obstacles and attacks them, only to jump off into the “water,” which, of course, is a win.  I love my little ninja!
Doodle Jump #3

Doodle Jump #3

What are you looking forward to this week?

Turning pages,

Scott

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