Major Spoilers Staff Picks for March 07, 2012

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You’ve seen the list of new comics that are arriving in stores this week, but what should you pick up? Take the jump as the Major Spoilers Staff picks the books they are most looking forward to this week.

ACTION COMICS #7
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Rags Morales
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: Metropolis has been captured! To save it, Superman must push the limits of his nascent powers as never before! Aboard the ship that has the city captive, The Man of Steel finds an important tool that may help him defeat Metal-zero and his boss!

And as Superman fights foes in the sky, Steel must do what he can to protect those still in danger on the ground in a backup story by Sholly Fisch and Brad Walker!

STEPHEN: How far off the deep end can Grant Morrison take this story? Jumps in time, characters and major events have many scratching their heads, but having read Morrison’s work over the last couple of years, a pattern begins to form, and I’m sure it will all make sense by the time issue #12 arrives… I hope.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #681
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Chris Yost
Publisher: Marvel
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION:• Spider-Man And The Human Torch Are Trapped On A Space Station Full Of Octo-Zombies Plummeting Toward The Earth!
• This Best Buds Super Team-Up Is Running Out Of Air And Running Out Of Time!
• The Final Stage Of Doc Ock’s Master Plan Begins Here!

ROB: Spidey, in SPAAAACE part one was good. Now we have Spidey, Human Torch, and Col. John Jameson vs Octobot Zombies on the Horizon space station. And since the webs and the flame don’t work so hot in a low oxygen, zero-gravity environment, John is the best chance the have at saving the day.

ANIMAL MAN #7
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artists: Steve Pugh, Travel Foreman, Jeff Huet
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: “Animal vs. Man” part 1! As the forces of the Rot continue to pursue The Bakers across the backwoods of America, Cliff and Buddy decide to get in some quality father-and-son time. Plus, Buddy has a terrifying vision of things to come!

RODRIGO: Hey, a new issue of Animal Man’s coming out! This series has a very strange quality about it, you might call it a “Author-respects-his-audienceness” or a “Hasn’t-tried-to-double-retcon-itself-within-ten-issuesne-sais-quoi”. But then again I don’t speak fake french.

AVENGERS – CHILDRENS CRUSADE #9
Writer: Allen Heinberg
Artists: Jim Cheung, Mark Morales
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: The big climax that sets the stage big time for what is to come in 2012!
Deaths and departures!
The funeral of an Avenger.
The final fate of the Scarlet Witch.
A new lineup and a new direction for the Young Avengers.

MATTHEW: A finale that feels like 5 years in the making, as the swirling mess that surrounds the resurrection of the Scarlet Witch has turned into a battleground. The Avengers and The X-Men are in play, and I’ll wager that this is one of the straws that breaks the AvX camel’s back. Regardless of what happens, I like the Young Avengers, I love Jim Cheung’s art, and worst case scenario, we should finally be able to figure out the timeline on this stuff. (After all, the book started over 18 months ago, when the status quo was an entirely different beast… Half the cast either was dead then, is dead now, or has a new gimmick and I’m still unclear on the particulars of Wonder Man’s chronology.)

THE BOYS #64
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Russ Braun
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: Still reeling from the events of last issue, Hughie follows his boss to Washington DC, where the US military struggles to throw a ring of steel around the Capitol. Meanwhile, MM’s research finally bears fruit, but with all Hell breaking loose will his discoveries come too late? Billy Butcher goes off to meet his destiny, in the penultimate part of Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men.

MATTHEW: Something BAD is happening… It’s so bad that Butcher and the Man From Vought-American have made the unbelievable decision to combine their efforts against The Homelander. Garth Ennis started this series intending to shock readers, but what he and Darick Robertson (and Russ Braun and others) have created is more than just the Justice League with sex and violence. I honestly worry about the fate of the characters as this book starts to build to the crescendo, and I’m quite certain that not all The Boys are making it home…

DEFENDERS #4
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Michael Lark
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: • Who Is The Great Lost Love Of Dr. Strange’s Life?
• Why Does A Young-Gun Magician Have Strange In His Sights?
• What Is The Concordance Engine?

MATTHEW: Fraction and The Dodsons would be a good name for a band. It’s also the creative team behind Marvel’s most successful new launch, a book that is much more than the sum of its parts. If you’re holding back because you don’t know the Defenders, you don’t like Red She-Hulk, or you’re reading too many books? You’re missing out on the good stuff. Years from now, people will talk about how this was the only thing of lasting value to come out of Fear Itself…

GREEN ARROW #7
Writer: Ann Nocenti
Artist: Harvy Tolibao
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: Green Arrow’s gone looking for trouble, and he’s found it – in triplicate! Three women who give new meaning to the term “drop dead gorgeous” have our hero outnumbered and outgunned! Collectively, they’re called “Skylark,” and they’ve been sent on a secret mission with Oliver Queen as its focus! Who’s directing them, what is their shadowy goal and will Ollie let his guard down and be gulled by these beautiful and deadly adversaries? Join new creative team Anne Nocenti and Harvey Tolibao as they chart the next chapter in the life of Oliver Queen!

JIMMY: While I haven’t read any of Ann Nocenti’s work, I’m really excited for her to take over this book. Ever since the relaunch, Green Arrow hasn’t had a consistent direction, but ideally this creative team will be on the book for a while and develop Oliver Queen in the world of the relaunch.

HELLBOY TP VOL 12 THE STORM AND THE FURY
Writer: Mike Mignola
Artist: Duncan Fegredo
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $19.99
SOLICITATION: Hellboy cuts a deal with the devious Baba Yaga that may secure the survival of mankind in this climactic follow-up to 2009′s lauded Hellboy: The Wild Hunt. But when war ensues between the forces of good and evil, Hellboy must finally confront the Queen of Blood in a battle that will change the fate of the world! CollectsHellboy: The Storm #1-#3 and Hellboy: The Fury #1-#3.

Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo conclude their epic collaboration that began in 2007′s Darkness Calls–a saga that changes everything for Hellboy

ROB: Hellboy is one of the most entertaining and fascinating characters in all of comics. Every chance you have to get more Hellboy stories is worth doing, and this is no different. I just with is it was here already.

HELL YEAH #1
Writer: Joe Keatinge
Artist: Andre Szymanowicz
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: THE LAST GENERATION OF HEROES IS HERE!
Twenty years ago, the first-ever superheroes debuted without warning and forever altered our global culture! Now, the generation born in their wake fight to claim their place in a world evolved beyond them! Written by Eisner & Harvey award-winner JOE KEATINGE and illustrated by ELEPHANTMEN and POPGUN’s ANDRE SZYMANOWICZ, HELL YEAH combines the over-the-top excitement of the original Image Comics launch with modern, innovative storytelling.

GEORGE: Advance reviews of this book have been very positive. Telling the story of the second generation of heroes in an all original world, this is billed as a labor of love from writer Joe Keatinge (perhaps best known for editing PopGun). The first issue of his reintroduction of Image’s Glory was well received, and I’m ready to see what he can do with a world of his own imagining.

RODRIGO: I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. The premise seems interesting, but there’s something bugging me. It may be that the only thing more common than superhero deconstruction is superheros played straight, but only by a small margin. It’s interesting that this book involves superheroes in a world that has outpaced them.

INFESTATION 2 TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #1 (OF 2)
Writer: Tristan Jones
Artist: Mark Torres
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: The sewers of NYC have always been home to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… but what else has been nesting in the deep dark? A series of strange occurrences leads the Turtles into long forgotten tunnels. What they find there should have been left alone, for as light fades ands wall narrow- bone chilling terror awaits!

ROB: After how great the D&D story was or Infestation 2 I’m definitely looking forward to watching my favorite mutants tangle with a tentacled monster that isn’t a talking brain.

IRREDEEMABLE #35
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Diego Barreto
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: THE FALLOUT FROM THE REVELATION OF THE PLUTONIAN’S ORIGIN CONTINUES! As the Plutonian struggles with his past, the world is on the brink of nuclear apocalypse. Is there anything on earth that can save the human race now? Or will that savior come from…somewhere else? A gripping installment of Mark Waid’s Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated superhero saga.

JIMMY: Mark Waid’s entering into the home stretch with Irredeemable, and in the last issue we may have caught a glimpse of his game plan for how to wrap up the series. I’m curious to see where it will go, as I’m sure it’ll have a few curve balls from the initial telling. This is one of the best stories being told in comics right now, and after a temporary slump it looks to be picking up so it can go out on top.

iZOMBIE #23
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Michael Allred
Publisher: Vertigo
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: Once upon a time, Gwen’s biggest concerns were finding a brain to snack on and worrying whether her boyfriend would find out she was a zombie. Now, with undead secret agents and monster hunters teaming up to stop a mad scientist from bringing about the end of the world, and her friends stuck right in the middle of it, Gwen has bigger problems on her hands. But can a girl help save the world without losing everything in the world she loves?

ZACH: Since Chris Roberson was on the Major Spoilers podcast a couple weekends ago, I have been intrigued about his book iZombie. In this issue’s solicitations it mentions undead secret agents, monster hunters, and mad scientists, so that sounds exciting. That’s all I have to say about that.

KIRBY GENESIS: CAPTAIN VICTORY #4
Writer: Alex Ross, Sterling Gates
Artist: Wagner Reis
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: When Captain Victory brings a mysterious wounded woman on board the Dreadnaught Tiger, it’s up to the mysterious amphibious Orca to discover just what
happened to her! As he trawls through black waters of the planet Dok searching for clues, however, Orca’s memories begin to surface. Will his past catch up to him just in time to drag him down? Or will Victory lose another crew member in a tragic accident?

JIMMY: Sterling Gates has been knocking it out of the park on this title, writing a compelling space opera with some classic Kirby characters. It’s a twist on the DC battle between Darkseid and Orion, pitting Blackmass against his grandson, Captain Victory. While I didn’t love the art in the first two issues (it was passable, but not great), there was an artist change in issue three and from the solicits it would appear issue four has the same artist.

THE LONE RANGER Volume 2 #3
Writer: Ande Parks
Artist: Esteve Pols
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: The “Hard Country” arc continues with its first multi-issue story. The Lone Ranger is pitted against a new enemy who hides behind the symbol the Lone Ranger holds most dear: a Marshal’s badge. Tasked by a federal agent to stop a murderous gang of train robbers, Lone Ranger and Tonto find themselves ambushed and betrayed. The hard country that is the old west just got harder for its two greatest heroes.

STEPHEN: I simply love this new volume of The Lone Ranger. Ande Parks has captured the spirit of the old west, and given it a protector who walks through the adventures, interacting and acting when he is needed. This volume features the Lone Ranger and Tonto, and while they are the stars, Parks has them step back, and let the other players draw the reader in.

THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS #1
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artists: Nick Pitarra & Cris Peter
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.50
SOLICITATION: What if the research and development department created to produce the first atomic bomb was a front for a series of other, more unusual, programs? What if the union of a generation’s brightest minds was not a signal for optimism, but foreboding? What if everything… went wrong?

Welcome to THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS, a brand new, ongoing, monthly comic from the creators of THE RED WING.

Brought to you by award-winning writer JONATHAN HICKMAN and possibly the best new talent of the year, NICK PITARRA, THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS is a look at history through a darker, much stranger, lens.

BRUCE: As a big fan of conspiracy theories, I often enjoy tales putting a ‘secret history’ spin on actual events. This book looks to take the collection of scientists working on the atom bomb and give us additional conspiratorial tales within that framework. I like the idea of super science barely under control and there are lots of interesting places a concept like this could go. From the preview pages I’ve seen, Nick Pitarra and Cris Peter’s art on this is detailed and absolutely gorgeous.

GEORGE: Johnathan Hickman and a secret history of the beginning of the atom bomb? Count me in. It boasts one of the coolest covers I’ve seen in a long time too – reminiscent of a minimalist pulp cover from the 1960s. The previews promise the greatest minds our nation has ever known risking madness as they work on occult projects from beyond space and time. As the first issue asks, “what could go wrong?” Hickman is never boring, and Nick Pitarra did a standup job on their collaboration from last year, The Red Wing.

STEPHEN: What do you want to bet I can make it to the comic book store before the rest of these guys, and snag the only copy of The Manhattan Projects that our local store is going to receive? I’m willing to trip each of them into heavy traffic to make it happen, that’s how interested I am in reading this book, because I’m a sucker for time traveling, alternate dimensions, conspiracy theory, Jonathan Hickman type books.

ZACH: Image is starting a new, monthly, ongoing series with The Manhattan Projects. The premise of the new series is that the team put together to build the first atomic bomb was actually a front for “other, more unusual, programs”. Take that and throw in Jonathan Hickman, the writer doing wonders with Fantastic Four and FF, you can guarantee I’m buying this Wednesday.

VAMPIRELLA VS. DRACULA #2
Writer: Joe Harris
Artist: Ivan Rodriguez
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: Mysteriously transported to 19th Century Europe, Vampirella must team with Jonathan Harker and his band of vampire slayers to navigate a familiar, but twisting narrative in order to track down Dracula. But who, or what, is behind this strange temporal loop that’s ensnared them, or the evolving, shifting storyline they appear destined to follow? From the smoking battlefields and impaled victims of Vlad Dracul’s Wallachia to the unsuspecting underbelly of modern-day New York City, these two vampiric titans cross paths. Hunting like enemies, warring like lovers scorned, each seeking to break free of the tragic destiny that’s ensnared them both… or die trying!

RODRIGO: Some of the promotional materials make it sound like the characters are aware that they’re in a story, I wonder if this one’s going to end with Vampirella jumping out of the page and beating up the writer and artist. I hope not, because otherwise they’d be ripping off my fanfic in which Vampirella jumps out of the page and beats up the author.

WOLVERINE AND X-MEN ALPHA AND OMEGA #3 (OF 5)
Writer: Brian Wood
Artists: Roland Boschi and Mark Brooks
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: Quentin Loses Control Over The Construct. Logan’s Health Further Deteriorates, While In The Real World The Berserker Invades The Jean Grey School. Quentin Enters The Construct As A “Player” To Try And Regain Control Over His Creation.

GEORGE: So far, this has been a thoroughly enjoyable miniseries. It illustrates the Kid Omega/Wolverine rivalry Quentin Quire’s perspective, as the powerful young telepath sucks the ol’ canucklehead (and bystander Armor) into a mindscape populated by the teen’s pop culture obsessions. I dig how Wood is writing Quire – he captures the right mix of brash hubris and pathetic insecurity that defines the character. And the art detailing his anime-influenced mental landscape is a lot of fun.