COMICS WE’RE BUYING THIS WEEK: Crabapples, Breast-Feeding, and Aliens. We Have Win!

Come one, come all into the rodeo of splash-page-ultra-narrative death. This is Comics We’re Buying This Week, the column where we gather in a neat circle and share the new funny books that are exciting us. It’s communal. Like the showers. Like the water fountain. I go first. Don’t lag behind.  This week is replete with eccentric wunder-artists, premiere issues, and breast milk. It’s going to be fun.

Don’t know what’s coming out this week? Hit up ComicList. Excuses removed!

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Variant Covers: Xombis Ate My Neighbors!

Ride me with! We have ourselves a rootin’ tootin’ motherfucking pull list to spit about. This is Variant Covers, the weekly column where us of the nerd predilection spout off the comic books we’re snagging tomorrow.

After a hiatus last week in which I graded final exams, wrote my own bullshit papers, and generally wept at the Sky Gods for forging such an unfavorable existence, I’m stoked to be back. There is a good goddamn backlog of comics I haven’t gotten to, and I’m using the semester break to tear gleefully into the ass of my Stack’o’Funnies. I’m coming for you, Detective Comics, Cowboy Ninja Viking Vol. 2, Black Hole, and hopefully others.

But this week, let’s gab about this week.

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Images & Words – FF #1

[images & words is the comic book pick-of-the-week at OL. equal parts review and diatribe, the post highlights the most memorable/infuriating/entertaining book released that wednesday]

After some deliberation, I’ve made the executive decision that OL is going to officially endorse FF #1 as the comic book of the week.

So why the hesitation? Well, I guess I was concerned that my choice would be scrutinized, determined to be nothing more than a declaration of pure fanboyism. After all, I did award the Images & Words honors to the final issue of Fantastic Four. And then I interviewed Nick Dragotta, said comic’s illustrator. And since I’m coming completely clean, I might as well admit that I featured the penultimate issue of Fantastic Four, as well.

So I didn’t want to come across as yet another Internet mouthbreather, shamelessly celebrating his current favorite bit of entertainment.

But after reading and re-reading FF, there’s no denyin’ that Jonathan Hickman has got me hooked. Indefensibly. The dude scripts the First Family with an earnestness that makes me weep. Forreal. As I read this issue, I can feel my heartstrings being yanked on with a violent fervor, reminding me that at its best science fiction is a genre concerned with the human condition. Hickman understands that the most outlandish of scenarios can resonate sympathetic.

Hell, even interdimensional conflicts and premonitions from the future can be imbued with familial strain.

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Variant Covers: Sue Storm Wants Cthulhu To Move His Tentacles.

The skull threatens to crack. Athena surely rests inside. The caffeine isn’t cutting it, and I have a mental list to transcribe into a word box. This is Variant Covers, the column where I tell you the funny books I’m buying on a given week. This is also Caffeine Powered, exhausted, with a splitting headache, cursing the Christian guilt that won’t let him skip a week. I can detach myself from the Bearded Floaty Guy, but I can’t remove myself from the morals drilled in by the indoctrination process.

Save me.

In the interest of saving my rotting synapses, I’m going to be succinct this week. A mere one-week trifling attempt to counteract my raging verbosity. Shit, I’m blowing it already.


Finder Library Volume 1.
When Carla Speed McNeil’s Finder: Voice came out this year, I became aware that I was missing out on something fantastic. It happens a lot. Never stops me from feeling shitty about myself, or from feeling surprised. Gasp! I missed something else? I’m a philistine, man. Anyways, this may be the place for me to start. Finder Library Volume 1 collects the first four Finder books. It’s a massive motherfucker. For $25, you can snag 616 pages of what is purportedly awesomeness. I’m being vague as fuck, I know. Caffeine interested! Caffeine want!

Want a premise? Boom!

The series is set in a vastly depopulated far-future Earth where numerous hunter-gatherer cultures, some human and some not, surround densely overpopulated domed city-states of recognizably modern urbanites functioning at a high technological level. Our own civilization and its considerably more advanced successors are lost to prehistory save for a few twentieth-century pop cultural artifacts conveniently recovered by well-paid psychics.

I’m sure it’s generalizing a lot. But when  Laura Hudson of Comics Alliance calls the series “one of the best comics ever“, I pay attention. Smarter minds with sharper opinions garner my intrigue.  Martyn Pedler also has an awesome interview with McNeil over at io9.


Future Foundation #1.
I never thought I’d live in a universe where the most hotly awaited title of a week would be a Fantastic Four-based comic. Such is the power of Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting. Fucking Hickman, man. Dude is a philosophical warrior, somehow managing to plot roughly a thousand arcs at once, while mixing in utilitarian philosophy, the Negative Zone, and outstanding emotional moments starring a dude who has been one-dimensional for god knows how many years – yeah, I’m still weeping over Johnny Storm.

This is the fucking title I want. I want it tomorrow. I want it now.

If you’re not down with the cosmos, the First Family of Marvel, or Sue Storm in a skin-tight minimalist costume, I don’t know. I respect your opinion, but I’m positively losing my cool over it.

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Marvel Sneak Preview of FF #1; Spidey and The Fantastic Go Future Foundation.

The final arc of Fantastic Four had some serious fans around OL. Serious. Fans. Rendar threw inter-splooge all over the final issue in I&W, and I dedicated a good five-hundred words to fawning all over it. That ultimate arc paved the way for the forthcoming FF #1, where Reed and the rest of the family along with Spider-Man set up to solve tomorrow.

The Gods at Marvel, or perhaps more specifically the Marketing Gurus, have seen fit to drop the first six pages on our gaping asses. They’re fantastic, and I can’t help but be slightly aroused when Sue Storm calls Peter Parker “young man.”

Hit the jump for the preview if you’re so inclined.

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Funk The Odds!; My Take On Fantastic Four #587.

[The Brothers Omega are way late on the FF #587 tip. Apologies.]

I can understand the consternation people feel when fucking offing characters. I get it. I’ve been embittered by it. You kill off Jean Grey. She rises. You kill off Magneto. He’s back. You off Spider-Man. Whatever.

I really get it.

But this storyline felt much different. It didn’t feel driven by an editorial mandate. Maybe it was, but we’ll never know. It didn’t feel that way, and that’s what matters. Hickman didn’t off Johnny Storm on a whim. He was meticulous in building towards this climax.

The great irony is that when the nucleus of the First Family split up and went its separate ways, it was the two Best Friends who had to stem the tide of the actual threat. Saving Nu World turned out to be incredibly easy, and Sue Storm stemmed her problem with a fucking pimp slap.

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Images & Words – Fantastic Four #587

[images & words is the comic book pick-of-the-week at OL. equal parts review and diatribe, the post highlights the most memorable/infuriating/entertaining book released that wednesday]

It’s been over a week since the release of Fantastic Four #587. In that time, the comic has inspired a few mild debates here at OL and no doubt countless others across the globe. Hell, maybe even the galaxy! But it’s to be expected, as this issue has long been designated as the comic in which one of Marvel’s First Family would be killed off.

Do superhero deaths ever last? No. Absolutely not. The decision to kill a character is almost always rooted in the hopes of driving up sales. After all, there’s nothing more attention-grabbing than “HEY, KIDS, YOUR FAVORITE HERO IS GOING TO DIE!” Hell, when old Kal-El bit the dust millions of comics were sold and the story hit the news:

Even in the news clip, it’s no secret that Clark Kent would eventually return. And you know what, I’m okay with that. I don’t mind the deaths and resurrections of caped heroes, provided that they are treated appropriately. If it seems like a hollow cash-grab, then count me out. But if it seems like a creator is murdering or reviving a character to tell an affective story, then I say go for it. `Cause the fact of the matter is that although rare, it can be done.

Case in point? Bucky Barnes. Ed Brubaker took a dead sidekick, turned him into a villain, and then made him Captain America’s replacement. And while this might seem like a gimmick, the quality of the comics has always been way above most superhero books. Will Steve Rogers eventually reclaim the shield as his own? Certainly. But the ride we’ve been taken on is damn amazing.

It’s this same sense of enthusiasm that I find flowing through my veins when reading Fantastic Four #587.

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Spider-Man Joining The Fantastic Four In “Future Foundation.” [F4 Spoilers]

Spider-Man is joining the Fantastic Four in Future Foundation, the title effectively replacing F4 in the Marvel line. Let’s talk more after the break, where the dying member of the F4 will be exposed. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Marvel Teases New Beginning for Fantastic Four? Hickman Boner.


For months Hickman’s excellent Fantastic Four has been building up to what I’ve assumed is a death to one of the members of the F4. So what happens to them after the Countdown to Casualty hits? It seems a beginning.

Issue one though? Is it a new monthly? Are they rebooting the numbering of F4? I must know! I must! Know!

My ridiculous excitement over this vague teaser is a testament to Hickman’s run on F4. His ability to bring wonder back into the overly status-quo and rote Marvel universe through intergalactic adventures has me sweating the comic book every month. In a world where everything seems beaten to death, and tropes ground into paste, he has managed to make the Marvel Universe feel enormous. There’s potential behind every door, universes to explore. Whatever the fuck this is, I want in on it.


Variant Covers: All of Asgard Hates Us Negligent Bastards

This is Variant Covers. Keep your fucking fingers off the cover. Mind the spine, yo. The comic book column where I spit with vitriol, glee, and mostly confusion about the books dropping this week. Hit the comments section with derisive, witty, or contributory recommendations and comments.



Thor: The Mighty Avenger #6
My friends, we have failed. As comic book reading collective, we have failed. Failed hard. Last weekend news leaked out that Thor: The Mighty Avenger was getting axed. This is nothing sort of a calamitous disregard for one of the most wondrous, beautiful mainstream titles hitting shelves. Canned, canned, canned. While other titles are hitting the shelves, depleted of quality, offering nothing new to existing mythos. I am significantly bummed out about this. Half of me wants to recommend nothing more than this title. A militant stance. But alas, there’s other worthwhile shit dropping, and that would be unfair to them.

But!, please, check this shit out tomorrow. The good news is that apparently they’ve been given the ability to wrap up the storyline by the final installment in January. You’re only six issues behind. It’ll cost you nothing more than something like twenty-four Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers. It’s a refreshing take on an existing origin. The dialogue is great, the artwork is gorgeous. Both of these creators, Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee will assuredly continue on doing dope work somewhere else.

But still. Hit this while you can.


Elsewhere In the Marvel Universe:
Thankfully, I don’t think we’re failing in regard to following Hickman’s current work on the Fantastic Four. Tomorrow sees the release of Fantastic Four #585, which promises to work towards the conclusion of the “Three” storyline. I have a good idea that someone is going to die. I think maybe the storyline’s name gives that away. Hickman’s continues Reed Richard’s desire to solve everything while grounding it with a thunderous round of heart and humor. Last month when Ben Grimm got his one-week of humanity back, and went to see Alicia? I teared up. I know, fuck me.

Also dropping is Captain America #612 which follows Bucky as he goes on trial for his crimes as the Winter Soldier. While I like the story, and generally everything Brubaker does, I’m wondering how long he’s going to examine Bucky’s guilt over his past. Fair enough it’s been introspective to this point, and now he’s dealing with the public outrage regarding it. As I said, I still dig it. And finally, Invincible Iron Man #32 promises to be a slobberknocker, as Iron Man throws down with Detroit Steel. Fraction penned action scenes being realized by Salvador Larroca? I’m there.

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