Another week, another pile of comics to enjoy. This week, there isn’t very much in the way of new series or good jumping-on points, so for the first time ever, I give you an all-graphic novel list of recommendations! Those that have been left out in the cold the past couple weeks with my single-issue picks, your time has come! Keep in mind, these will ONLY be available in comic book shops this week. If you’re ordering from somewhere like B&N or Amazon, expect a week or so delay, or who knows, they may surprise you and have them in stock.
Doomed from the beginning, likely due to being wrapped up in the crap Fear Itself crossover that dominated way too many Marvel titles this past summer, the re-launched Alpha Flight book was a true diamond in the rough. I too ignored it at first since it had that giant “Fear Itself” header slapped on the top of the covers, but I couldn’t stay away for long being an Alpha Flight junkie in my youth, and I was happy to see the book had very little to do with the event and was easily understood on its own. Marvel tickled our asses with the idea that it was going to expand from an 8-issue series to an ongoing, but the idea was quickly scrapped. A real shame, as everyone involved, from writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, to artist Dale Eaglesham, showed that they all had a true love for these characters and served the fond memories many have of the original series damn well. “Canada’s premier super-team returns to action! The original Alpha Flight reunites to face a threat unlike any other, as the impact of FEAR ITSELF is felt in Canada! Resurrected from the dead, Guardian, Vindicator, Shaman and Marrina rejoin Sasquatch, Snowbird, Northstar and Aurora in defense of the Great White North. But the Canada they return to looks a lot different than the one they left as a new political regime rises to power and brands Alpha Flight traitors! Betrayed from within, Canada’s champions are hunted by the government as they battle to release their fellow citizens from the grip of fear and win back the True North, strong and free! Collecting ALPHA FLIGHT (2011) #0.1 and #1-8.” – ALPHA FLIGHT: THE COMPLETE SERIES // $29.99 // MARVEL COMICS
Oh, I hinted at this one last week? Well, I’m here to remind you in case you forgot. Frankenstein and his team of Creature Commandos, which includes a winged vampire, a gill-woman, a werewolf, a mummy medic (seriously), and his 4-armed, gun-slinging Bride, fight all sorts of wacky threats on Earth, under the sea, and on other planets. Also, their base of operations is microscopic and hovers above Metropolis, thus they all need to be shrunk down to the size of an atom to reach it. There’s weird synthetic humans too that run the base, and they may be getting minds of their own. Do I need to really sell this shit to you? It’s ridiculous, over-the-top, and just a blast to read. A book that’s almost impossible to be disappointed in. “Collecting the DC COMICS – THE NEW 52 series! It’s all-out war as Frankenstein and his new field team, THE CREATURE COMMANDOS, uncover an age-old conspiracy at the heart of Bone Lake! Collects the new FRANKENSTEIN: AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #1-7.” – FRANKENSTEIN: AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. VOL. 01: WAR MONSTERS // $14.99 // DC COMICS
For whatever reason I was never a big Hulk fan as a kid. I guess even then I wanted more than mindless destruction, which is what I perceived him as being famous for. I didn’t really get into the character in solo-form until Greg Pak’s epic run, and in hindsight, some of those 80s and 90s tales were damn good, especially the bulk of Peter David’s stuff. But when Pak decided to wrap up his time with the Hulk, I wondered if maybe I would too. Then I heard Jason Aaron was going to be picking up the reigns, and I thought better of it. And boy am I glad I stuck around. Notwithstanding the shaky artistic foundation this story arc stands on (Marc Silvestri couldn’t keep up, and others were brought in to rush through things to avoid delays, and it shows), the writing in this volume is top-notch. The idea of Banner and Hulk being separated and going to war is incredibly intriguing, and Aaron delivers through on things. I don’t want to spoil anything, but just to whet your appetite, I give you this little morsel you’ll find within these pages: Hulk, Doctor Doom, and an Adamantium chainsaw. Yep, I just heard you click the “order” button on Amazon. “Marvel Architect Jason Aaron joins forces with legendary artist Marc Silvestri! The Hulk and Bruce Banner are now separate entities – but Bruce wants the Hulk back. The Hulk is assigned to take Banner down, but Bruce isn’t going without a fight. As the Hulk makes an alliance with mad scientist hunter Amanda Von Doom that changes his destiny forever, Banner unleashes his army of Hulked-out monsters! It all culminates in the fight everyone’s been waiting for: HULK VS. BANNER! Collecting INCREDIBLE HULK (2011) #1-7 and material from FEAR ITSELF #7.” – INCREDIBLE HULK VOL. 01 HC // $34.99 // MARVEL COMICS
If you’re already a fan of Frankenstein (and Sweet Tooth), you obviously have a man-crush on Jeff Lemire (like I do), so pay attention. One of his earliest works, Lost Dogs, is getting a reprint and you should really take notice of it. First off, it’s over 100 pages of Lemire goodness for only $10. It’s also remastered with Lemire’s approval, so those that have already read it might want to give it a second look as well. While this may not have the bizarre nature of his more recent fare, it does boil with his amazing dialogue and runs over with raw emotion, to the point where I can say this is one of only a handful of comics that emotionally moved me. I don’t say that lightly, and if you give this a chance, I believe you’ll be saying the same thing. “Long out of print, Jeff Lemire’s Xeric Award-winning Lost Dogs now returns in a completely remastered edition, soaked with blood and ink. This 104-page mythic yarn follows a family man who’s larger than life – but even he may not be powerful enough to prevent the loss of everything he’s ever known. Bold, brutal, and emotionally raw, Lost Dogs represents an acclaimed storyteller’s first professional work – an early exhibition of the gifts that have made his Essex County and Sweet Tooth so phenomenally popular.” – LOST DOGS // $9.95 // TOP SHELF PRODUCTIONS
X-Man: The Man Who Fell to Earth is a bit of an odd pick for me, simply because I need to warn you that I have no idea how accessible this would be for someone coming in blind. It spirals out of the VERY cool Age of Apocalypse event all of the X-Men titles participated in (the first four issues were a part of it, and they aren’t included here), and I haven’t read this in so long I don’t know if it would prove to alienate newbies, but I remember loving this series a lot, so I’m including it. The book was very cool to me for a number of reasons, the biggest being it was one of the only holdovers of the Age of Apocalypse event; to be totally honest, I was and still am enthralled with that universe (thanks for bringing it back, Marvel!) Also, history would turn this book into one that a who’s-who of future comic book superstars worked on. This volume alone will see writing from Jeph Loeb (when he was tolerable) and John Rozum, and early art from Luke Ross (The Dark Tower), Salvador Larroca (Invincible Iron Man) and Ian Churchill (The Ravagers). And if this entire series ends up getting collected, you’ll see stuff from Warren Ellis, Ariel Olivetti, J.H. Williams III and more. If you dig 90s X-Men, give this one a look. “Straight from the Age of Apocalypse comes the saga of Nate Grey, the X-Man! Flung from his home dimension into the Marvel Universe, Nate must come to terms with being a stranger in a strange land. The powerful young man soon finds himself at odds with a host of major players – including Blaquesmith, the X-Cutioner, Excalibur, Mr. Sinister, and fellow AoA refugees Sugar Man and Dark Beast. And psionic sparks fly when Nate meets Madelyne Pryor, clashes with Professor X – and comes face-to-face with his counterpart, Cable! Collecting X-MAN #5-14, EXCALIBUR (1988) #95 and CABLE (1993) #29-31.” – X-MAN: THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH // $34.99 // MARVEL COMICS
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