Major Spoilers Staff Picks for April 11, 2012

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Looking for something good to read this week? The Major Spoilers Staff has sifted through this week’s releases and have picked a number of books you might want to check out as well.

ALABASTER: WOLVES #1
Writer: Caitlin R. Kiernan
Artist: Steve Lieber
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.50
SOLICITATION:  International Horror Guild Award-winning author Caitlín R. Kiernan brings one of her most enduring and popular creations to comics!

For nearly as long as she can remember, Dancy Flammarion has fought monsters, cutting a bloody swath through the demons and dark things of the world, aimed like a weapon by forces beyond her control or questioning.

RODRIGO:  If you listen to the MSP then you heard me wax poetic about Alabaster. If you want to see some heck-blazer/sandman level treatment of old myths then you should really check out this book.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: HOOKY #1
Writer: Jeffrey C. York
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
SOLICITATION:  Spider-Man Vs. The Horrific Tordenkakerlakk In The Dimension Of Cloudsea! •Can Spidey And The Spirited Spindrifter Overcome A Foe That Becomes More Powerful — And More Terrifying — Each Time It’s Defeated? •A Macabre Masterpiece Illustrated In Disturbing Detail By Horror Master Bernie Wrightson! •Reprinting Marvel Graphic Novel #22: Spider-Man — Hooky.

ZACH:  This is a reprint of Marvel Graphic Novel #22 from 1986 so it’s not technically a new issue, but it does give Marvel another chance to slap a #1 on an issue. On the other hand, the subtitle to this is ”Spider-Man Vs. The Horrific Tordenkakerlakk In The Dimension Of Cloudsea” so that obviously makes me want to read it.

BATWOMAN #8
Writer: J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman
Artist: Amy Reeder Hadley
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION:  Six lives moving through different points in time, all heading toward a crossroads. Batwoman faces gnashing teeth, claws and otherworldly powers. But can she defeat the villains of Gotham Harbor? Maro, an arcane wizard, harnesses violent magics to create the vile creature known as The Hook. Kate Kane struggles with living multiple lives and how that affects her relationship with Maggie. Detective Maggie Sawyer transports a double agent named Sune.Jacob Kane still holds onto hope for a life that he so desperately needs in his.DEO Agent Cameron Chase covertly aids Batwoman in abducting one of the villain Falchion’s inner circle.The creative team’s unique take on spy stories continues!

JIMMY:  J.H. Williams III’s art was the big draw for me to this book at the start of the relaunch, and the enjoyability of his story was just a bonus. Now though, since Amy Reeder is on art it puts a lot more focus on Williams’ story, and sadly it hasn’t held up as well as I would’ve liked, but Reeder’s art has been reasonable enough that I’m still enjoying the book.

CARNAGE USA #5
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Clayton Crain
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION:
• It’s “America The Brutal” As The Massive Hit Mini-Series Concludes… Paving The Way For This Summer’s Secret Symbiote Event!

• Spidey, Venom And The Avengers Take On Carnage With A City At Stake And The Souls Of Hundreds On Their Shoulders.

GEORGE:   This is the closing issue of this dark, bizarre and creepy miniseries.  I’ll miss the imaginative covers, for sure, but also what turned out to be a great story. Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain’s preceding Carnage miniseries didn’t live up to its potential, but this one sure did. I’m salivating to see how this one wraps up.

DEMON KNIGHTS #8
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Bernard Chang and Diogenes Neves
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: Just how exactly did Madame Xanadu become the paramour of both Jason Blood and Etrigan, the foul demon trapped inside him? On the road to Alba Sarum, there’s nothing but time for tall tales…and this one’s as unbelievable as they come! Featuring guest art by Bernard Chang (DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS)!

JIMMY:  With Vandal Savage’s face-heel-face turn over the course of this series, coupled with a well-written Etrigan and Paul Cornell’s typical British sensibilities, Demon Knights has been a great fantasy title month in and month out. If you haven’t been reading this, the last issue ended with a Pyrrhic victory for the team, and this ought to be a good jumping on point for what is one of the best books of the DC Relaunch.

FANTASTIC FOUR #605
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Ron Garney
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION:
• “The Fantastic Four Of 3030”
• One Thousand Years In The Future, Who Are The Fantastic Four?
• Why Are There No More Villains?
• What Happened To All The Heroes?

MATTHEW:  Hickman’s work on this title has brought it to peaks that we haven’t seen since Byrne left the book.  It’s a truism of recent years that Fantastic Four is more important historically (i.e. the first 104 issues) than it is as a monthly title.  It is to the creator’s credit that this is no longer the case, and I’m even more impressed that this run comes on the heels of the most disappointing FF revamp ever, the Millar/Hitch run.

ZACH: Whelp, Jonathan Hickman’s three year run on Fantastic Four comes to an end this month, which means a  new creative team is just around the corner. This issue doesn’t pick up where the last left off, but 1000 years in the future. Hopefully this team will keep up the good work because I have been loving me some Fantastic Four lately.

GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS ALICE IN WONDERLAND #4
Writer: Raven Gregory
Artist: Robert Gill
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION:   The Queen of Spades stands fully revealed as the grand manipulator behind the events of Alice’s escape from the Jabberwocky. But what are her intentions? The answer is revealed and it will set Alice on a path to insanity from which she may never return. Elsewhere the armies of Wonderland are closing in on Alice and in order to prevent the madness of Wonderland from escaping into our world, Alice will have to lead an army of her own against the very creature she fears the most. Zenescope’s twisted version of Wonderland continues! Follow us back down the rabbit hole!!

JIMMY:  Four issues in, I’m still not sure how well I like this title, but at the very least it is an interesting read. It’s a sexy-horror take on Alice in Wonderland, like a horny re-imagining of American McGee’s Alice, and it marks a sharp contrast with Boom! Studios’ Snarked which I also read on a monthly basis, yet it is telling an interesting story with a lot of promise.

NORTHLANDERS #50
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Danijel Zezelj
Publisher: Vertigo
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: “The Icelandic Trilogy” concludes with “Waygone,” rounding off the epic, centuries-spanning tale of the Haukssons, Iceland’s notorious organized crime family, also bringing Brian Wood’s critically acclaimed series to an end.

GEORGE:  This is it – the final issue of the great Viking comic is coming to a close. It also signals the end of a nine-part multi-generational epic spanning the settling of Iceland to the coming of Christianity. I will miss this series greatly.

RESURRECTION MAN #8
Writer: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Fernando Dagnino Guerra
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION:  Someone has been following Mitch Shelley, the Resurrection Man, everywhere he goes. Someone has been keeping tabs on where he’s been and what he’s doing. But who? This story serves as a lead-in to next month’s crossover with SUICIDE SQUAD – and you don’t want to miss that!

MATTHEW:  I’m glad to see Mitch Shelly avoid the first DCU cuts, and if you’re not reading Abnett and Lanning’s contribution to the DCU, you’re missing a ride.  I love it when a book that’s ahead of it’s time gets a second chance (see also:  the 90′s run of Hawk & Dove, Robin’s solo book, X-Men circa 1975 and Grant Morrison’s Steed & Mrs. Peel) and this is one of the better monthly reads of the New 52.  If you’re only interested in “Core Characters,” you’re missing some great stuff.

SAUCER COUNTRY #2
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Ryan Kelly
Publisher: Vertigo
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION:  Arcadia Alvarado is the Governor of New Mexico, she’s running for President, and she just released a bombshell: She was abducted by aliens. As her campaign tries to deal with this startling new information, they must seek help from a disgraced Harvard UFO-ologist who might not be completely sane. The West Wing meets The X-Files in an adventure through the strange and fascinating world of UFO mythology.

GEORGE: In case you didn’t read my review, I greatly enjoyed Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly’s work on the debut issue of this original series. It’s best described as West Wing meets X-Files – fans of political drama and/or alien abduction stories will find plenty to like here. If the second issue is as good as the first, this has the makings of a great series.

SCARLET SPIDER #4
Writer: Christopher Yost
Artist: Ryan Stegman
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION:  Kaine aka the Scarlet Spider, prepares for an onslaught unlike any he’s ever faced before! The ruthless Assassins Guild has arrived in Houston with one objective- take down the Scarlet Spider at any cost! Will Kaine’s super-human abilities be enough to outwit the band of murderous assassins gunning for his head?

ROB:  I’m not normally a fan of the anti-hero, but Kaine has got me hooked.  The first few issues were quite good (and deserve another reread) and I am happy to have a piece of the Marvel Universe not tied into everything else going on, despite the fact that I actually currently like the big hullabaloo.  This has been good so far, and looks to continue that way for some time.

SECRET #1
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Ryan Bodenheim
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.50
SOLICITATION: “TEETH, WITH WHICH TO EAT”
A man gets shot in London, a law firm gets broken into in Washington, an accountant gives away the password to his computer, and something put to sleep 20 years ago awakens. What is the unsavory relationship all these things share, and how could it bring down two of the largest governments in the history of the world?

It’s SECRET, a brand new, ongoing, monthly comic from the creators of A RED MASS FOR MARS.

Brought to you by award-winning writer JONATHAN HICKMAN and break-out talent, RYAN BODENHEIM, SECRET is an espionage thriller that takes a deep look into the shadow world existing between the government and private security firms.

ZACH:  Jonathan Hickman is writing it. Need I say more?

 
SECRET AVENGERS #25
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Gabriel Hardman
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION:  The Descendants live by a simple creed: Serve Father. Protect The Core. Kill all Avengers! Against all odds, it’s up to Hawkeye’s fractured team to stop this superhuman threat from achieving their sole objective–contagious robotic evolution! To what lengths will the Secret Avengers go to save all humanity as we know it?

MATTHEW:  Rick Remender has done some impressive universe-building (or perhaps sub-universe building) with his recent Marvel works, tying Venom, Uncanny X-Force and this book together into an interesting corner of the Marvel Universe.  Or, to put is more succinctly, they’re making me look forward to a book featuring Venom.  That’s pretty spectacular…

SECRET SERVICE #1
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Dave Gibbons
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION:  From The Writer Of Kick-Ass And The Artist Of Watchmen Comes A Collaboration Decades In The Making. Says Millar: —“Secret Service Is The Ramifications Of [How] America Is Struggling On The World Stage, Funding Is Being Seriously Undercut To Balance The Books And Some People Are Trying Their Best To Take Advantage Of The Fragile Global Situation. The Hero—And Sidekick Guys Who Lead The Book Are, I Think, The Best Characters I’ve Written.”‌

RODRIGO:  There is always something interesting in Millar’s stuff. Even if it’s just a fleeting moment of brilliance in a sea of f-bombs and macho posturing. And so I endeavor to find it in this new book. I’ve been told there’s no symbiote t-rex in this one. But I’ll believe it when I see it.

SHADE #7
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Javier Pulido
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION:  The Shade, with his new allies La Sangre and Montpelier, must stop The Inquisitor from enacting his doomsday plan to literally bring hell to Earth. Plus: your first glimpse of the men responsible for the creation of The Shade!

ROB:  Shade is good.  Reading this I now understand why Robinson has been praised for so much.  The book easily finds its way to the top of my pile every week and is often the first one I reread as well.  Now, with the fate of Le Sangre I’m even more excited as to where this will turn.

SMOKE AND MIRRORS #2
Writers: Mike Costa and Jon Armstrong
Artists: Ryan Browne and Jenny Frison
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION:  ENTER THE WORLD OF MAGIC! With just his slight-of hand skills, stage magician Terry Ward finds himself in a world he didn’t make—a world where sorcery is real! When he befriends a kid from this world, will danger come calling? You bet it will!

RODRIGO:  Magic, mystery, this book has everything… that is old and boring nowadays. Then again, it does come with a FREE MAGIC TRICK INSIDE! I really hope it’s something cool like a “Disapearing Quarter” or a “Contact Dead Relatives.”

STEPHEN:  The notion that magic is real, and is all around us, is not a new idea in comics, but the approach Costa and Armstrong took with the first issue, grabbed me, and I want to read more… which probably explains why Smoke and Mirrors is on my pull list this week.

STAR WARS AGENT OF THE EMPIRE IRON ECLIPSE #5
Writer: John Ostrander
Artists: Stephane Roux, Rulien Hugonnard-Bert
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.50
SOLICITATION:   Jahan Cross finally learns the truth about the deadly project called “Iron Eclipse.” Now all he has to do is defeat the crazed mastermind behind it all, keep his allies from double-crossing him, and escape the Corporate Sector with his life!

All in a day’s work for an Agent of the Empire!

ROB:  More of the Star Wars story without the Jedi, I’m sold.  The conclusion to the first story for Jahan Cross, and if this is as good as the rest of the arc, we should be in for a treat.

SUPERMAN MIGHTY WALLET
Dynomighty Design
Price: $15.00
SOLICITATION:  The Mighty Wallet® is tear-resistant, water-resistant, expandable and recyclable. Made from Tyvek® (think express mail envelopes), these cool wallets resist tearing because of thousands of interlocking plastic fibers spun in random patterns, giving them incredible strength.

The ingenious origami construction was and is the original folded Tyvek® wallet designed by Terrence Kelleman. The stitch less design reinforces the materials own strength and allows these very slim wallets to instantly expand and adapt to your own personal storage needs. The Mighty Wallet® will expand right before your eyes.

Because of the slim, lightweight and water resistant features, you can take these cool wallets anywhere. They make great “night out” wallets for a slender silhouette and the writable surface conveniently acts as a quick note pad on the go.

STEPHEN:  A wallet made out of paper? Indestructible paper!? And it features Superman!? Well, it’s probably better than my wallet made out of duct tape… I wonder if it will have enough space to hold all of my credit cards, old lottery tickets, and pictures from 1985?  For $15.00 I’ll give it a shot.

ROBOT OVERLORD:  And there you have it, 18 items to check out this week.  And now for the big question – What are YOU looking forward to this week?