April Graphic Novels!
In the mood for some great graphic novels? So are we! Here’s a collection of some of the cool things that have flown into the store, both in April and over the last few months.
Just in time for the build-up for Iron Man 3, we have the final volume in Matt Fraction’s epic run on old shellhead life and times, appropriately-entitled The Future. It’s been a very tumultuous few years, what with the Civil War, the reign of Normal Osborn, putting his life back together after the Siege, and having that uneasy peace shattered again by Fear Itself. But now, after succumbing to the bottle once more during that last crisis, Tony Stark faces the ultimate indignity: he’s been stripped of his armor and his free will, and forced to work for his arch-enemy, The Mandarin.
Stuck in the powerful tyrant’s city, harried by modified foes, and threatened with pain and death every time he steps an inch out of line — or, worse, even slightly disappoints — Stark toils to create mega-weapons for this singularly dangerous man. But what is the Mandarin really up to, and can he stop the man’s dire plans with his head wired up?
Up against the ultimate deadline, Stark forges a coalition of friends and foes. Will it be enough? And if he wins, what shape will the future take…?
As ever, Salvador Larroca’s art is brilliant, and acts as a perfect medium for the satisfying finale of a well-done run that’s been just as brilliant, and paves the way for the new Marvel we’re currently enjoying. If you’ve been snapping up the collections as they’ve been coming out, you’ll want to get this as soon as possible. And if you’re new to Iron Man, you’ll want to go back to the start, just to be able to understand how good a book this has been.
Speaking of brilliant runs, the latest collection of Mark Waid’s run on Daredevil is another work not to be missed. After the events of Shadowland, Matt Murdock was just getting his life back together, but then he came across a piece of dangerous technology, which painted a very large target on his back. The Omega drive has a lot of incriminating and complete information on the world’s major science terrorist groups, and they’re all sending their soldiers out to get it from him, any way they can.
Faced with such a terrible team-up, Daredevil turns to a good friend (Spiderman) and a pair of allies he’d rather not have (The Punisher, and his new recruit). But will his plan to deal with his multiple antagonists actually work, given that the seeds of betrayal are already within his band?
And if he does survive his plan, what — or who — is waiting in the wings for him?
(See the cover for helpful hint)
Fans of hornhead will enjoy this latest chronicling of Murdock’s complicated life; the series has continued to get stronger — playing to the strengths of the character and his backstory — and the crossovers with Spiderman and the Punisher are timely and well-executed. Even if you’ve only had a passive interest in the character, you might want to grab Volume 3 and see if it doesn’t just make you a believer.
Meanwhile, over at DC, the march of 52 titles continues! You think you know the story of Jaime Reyes, better known as the Blue Beetle? Well, maybe you do, but in this post-reboot DC universe nothing is certain — especially since there was no Ted Kord around to be BB before him, now.
As before, Jaime’s a decent kid trying to get by in a less-than-decent world. He makes the mistake of falling for the right girl with the wrong family, and this gets him in the wrong place at the right time to be claimed by a powerful piece of alien technology — the sort of thing that can conquer the world, or maybe save it.
Normally, this would be a cool thing. But the scarab that bonds with Jaime is a terrifying thing with its own ideas, and a very hefty amount of baggage and enemies. And these enemies aren’t above coming for Jaime, his family, and his friends, which means things get really dangerous and tragic really quickly.
Worse, the right girl’s aunt is a dangerous woman with a craving for power, and quite the collection of puissant artifacts. And this puts poor Jaime right in her cross-hairs, because she wants that scarab, and will stop at nothing to get it…
Sounds great? Well, it is — the art is awesome, the story is compelling , and the character was, as no less than the New York Times noted, “off to a good start.” Which makes it all the more tragic that DC cancelled this series before it really hit its stride and got going. If there was any title that deserved a break, it was Blue Beetle, but hopefully we will see more of Jaime somewhere else in the DCU, and hopefully they let Tony Bedard write for him.
His time in Gotham City put him in the way of some dangerous and spooky goings-on, and hooked him up with a smart fellow by the name of Amadeus Arkham. And now, after making some friends — and a whole lot of dangerous enemies — the pair have high-tailed it to New Orleans to deal with some unfinished business.
However, some of the business they left unfinished in Gotham is coming after them, and with trouble ahead and behind they’re going to need more than one pair of guns to save them. Lucky for them, Nighthawk and Cinnamon are in town and willing to help. But when they get back up North they’re going to be heading right back into trouble, again — and not all of it unfriendly.
All Star Western has been nothing short of a revelation. Not only is it a successful and enjoyable revival of the 1970’s DCU Western series, it’s been packed with enough shout-outs to modern-day costumed antagonists (especially the Court of Owls) to keep people who might otherwise be less-inclined to read a “Western” comic to pick it up, go “oh, yeah! I know them” and keep reading. Add that to Palmiotti’s excellent writing, a bevy of artists who suit the mood of each story, and intriguing backup features that re-introduce or re-invent other Western-era DCU characters (as well as create new ones) and you have a title that has amazing possibilities.
That’s all for this time! Be sure to check out the graphic novel sections in our stores for old classics, new entries, and the occasional surprise or rare gem.
– Jim Tremlett