This Week’s Winners

Uncanny Avengers #1. Not being a huge Marvel reader, like I was in the ’90s, I only pick up stuff from the publisher when it’s a fresh start or landmark issue really. This ish is the first of the Marvel NOW! initiative that sees a few new series debuting over the next few weeks. Rick Remender writing, with John Cassady pencilling a series starring a team made up of Captain America, Thor, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, Wolverine (of course! every team must have him!) and Havok is intriguing enough. Cassady won’t stay on this series for long I’m guessing, but whenever he does superheroes, it’s worth a look, although Cap’s costume still looks a little weird. In fact, they all, except Wolvie, have (slightly) new costumes, although that’s not mentioned in the story. It’s not a great jumping on point, but does follow the events of AvsX, which I didn’t read. I do know that Professor X died at the hands of a Phoenix Force-possessed Cyclops, which isn’t fully explained here.

Logan speaks at Xavier’s funeral, Cap and Thor enlist Havok (or try to) before fighting mutant Earthquake (fresh from brain surgery!), and Havok goes to talk to his cynical brother Cyclops in priosn. Oh, and Rogue and Scarlet Witch almost get into a fight at Xavier’s grave before some new baddies shown up, including, “The Goat-Faced Girl.” Yep. Not a lot really happens, the team isn’t forced yet and the fate of Xavier’s body is gruesome, but at least it looks good.

Oh, and when Cap asks Havok to lead the new team of mutants and humans, he refers to Wolverine’s “checkered past.” Shouldn’t that be, “chequered past?”

Batman and Robin #13. If the title of this issue (Zombie Moon Rising) wasn’t enough, then thankfully the pages following it live up to expecattions, although the credits page names this issue, “Eclipsed.” Writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason have been telling Bruce and Damian Wayne’s intense and bizarre adventures for a long time now, so it’s a safe bet that any issue of theirs will be a winner.

It begins with father and son venturing up, up and away to prepare a satellite that’s linked with the Batcave for any temporary disruptions that may come with the eclipse, and with the Joker’s return they need all the resources at their command. While Batman and Commissioner Gordon check out some possible zombie attacks at a graveyard, Robin fights off a bounty hunting monster before some zombies fight him. The last 5 pages are pencilled by Tomas Giorello and it’s jarring as his style is so different from Gleason’s. It’s unfortunate, especially as Robin looks much older when Giorello draws him. Hopefully Gleason can draw the remainder of this story arc, as it’s setting up to be an entertaining one.

Creator-Owned Heroes #5. A new venture form Image Comics that acts like a magazine and anthology, this is a good idea, with stories from various creative teams running for a few issues. In his month’s release there are 3 new tales. Killswitch by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and artist Jerry Lando is the first and follows the titular assassin as he kills his latest target aboard a plane and befriends his not-so-grieving widow. It’s a good set up, especially the aftermath and the banter between the blonde widow and professional killer is great.

Next up is Black Sparrow. Set in a farm in the 1880s it centres on a recently hanged evil boy (so we’re told) whose body is returned to his family for burial. There’s only one more part in this story by Steve Niles, Jay Russel and Andrew Ritchie so I hope the end is a doozy. It’s certainly creepy so far, thanks to the desolate and haunting artwork of Ritchie.

The last story is by Gray, Palmiotti and Norberto Fernandez. Retrovirus follows scientist Zoe Wallace as she begins her new job at a research facility in Antarctica to help study a frozen and scary looking Neanderthal.

Also included is an interview with artist Amanda Conner, a few fan questions answered by Palmiotti, the first part of a writing comics tutorial by Steve Niles, and an editorial/behind the scenes piece by Gray. It all adds up to a good place to start for comics veterans or newbies.

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