Major Spoilers Staff Picks for August 15, 2012

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Looking for something to read this week?  Major Spoilers has looked at the new comic release list and offers up a selection of titles that you should check out.

ALABASTER: WOLVES #5
Writer: Caitlín R. Kiernan
Artist: Steve Lieber
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.50
SOLICITATION: Dancy Flammarion has survived monsters and ghosts, demons and blood—only to be trapped in a town eaten away from the inside by dark magic. Now, Dancy and her companions make their way to the heart of the darkness: the wolves’ lair, and the terrible choice that waits within.

RODRIGO: Do you read these staff pick articles? If so you know I’ve been recommending this book since issue 1. Go out and get this one if you’re a fan of creepy storytelling.

AVENGERS ACADEMY #35
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Tom Grummett
Publisher: Marvel
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: • AvX fall-out: Avengers Academy is closed…indefinitely!
• Alchemist, a.k.a. wunderkind industrialist Jeremy Briggs, offers the students a chance to
be normal again! But is there a catch? And who will accept his deal?
• Years of plot threads explode as your favorite Avengers Academy characters face their
ultimate challenges in parts 1 & 2 of “Final Exam”!

GEORGE: Avengers Academy is one of my favorite titles Marvel is currently putting out. This title has proved consistently entertaining as Christos Gage focuses on characterization over conflict. I don’t know whether this book is going to survive past the Marvel Now! business, but Gage is wisely using this time to build to a crescendo with his protagonists. Marvel has struggled in recent years to introduce new characters, but Gage cracked the code with Avengers Academy. Hazmat and Mettle in particular are heroes I’d love to read for pretty much ever.

BATWOMAN #12
Writer: J. H. Williams III
Artist: J. H. Williams III
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: J.H. WILLIAMS III returns as artist on this new story!

An adventure of epic proportions begins here, with BATWOMAN and the werebeast zealot, ABBOTT, hot on the trail of the urban legend BLOODY MARY.

The trail leads to a twisted carnival and an abandoned HALL OF MIRRORS, where they face nightmarish versions of themselves. Batwoman seeks an unexpected ally: WONDER WOMAN!

JIMMY: All you need to know is that J. H. Williams III is back on art. Between that and the beginning of a story with Wonder Woman in it, I am putting Batwoman back on my pull list for the immediate future, and you should too. J. H. Williams III is an artist whose storytelling requires his unique perspective on art; the arc without his art was bland and confusing, but with his return Batwoman moves up into my top 5 anticipated books every month.

BEFORE WATCHMEN: RORSCHACH #1
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Lee Bermejo
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: ‘What made you this way?’ And don’t miss the latest chapter of the CRIMSON CORSAIR backup epic from writer LEN WEIN and artist JOHN HIGGINS!

JIMMY: I don’t care what your opinion on Before Watchmen is, the combination of Azzarello and Bermejo on a character like Rorschach is something that could and should be absolutely phenomenal. Their work together on Luthor and Joker painted two of the best depictions of existing villains/anti-heroes that we’ve seen in years, and taking on Rorschach should be one heck of a thrill-ride.

STEPHEN: Honestly, I haven’t had the time to read any of the books in this series, but I’ll pick this up this week for nothing else than to get “those people” to roll their eyes and sigh heavily.

ZACH: The title that I have been most interested in reading during the “Before Watchmen” hullabaloo is finally arriving this week. Where this title goes should be interesting since we have been given so much back story of Walter Kovacs in the pages of Niteowl, but I’m still expecting a great read.

BUTCHER BAKER RIGHTEOUS MAKER #8
Writer: Joe Casey
Artist: Mike Huddleston
Publisher: Image
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: Just when things couldn’t get any weirder? Just when the nightmare couldn’t get any darker? Just when it you thought it was safe to go back in the comic book store, it’s the newest issue of BUTCHER BAKER! This issue: The envelope is finally pushed to the breaking point!

BUTCHER BAKER IS THE BOMB BETWEEN YOUR LEGS!

GEORGE: Hey, new Butcher Baker, Righteous Maker! What’s it been, almost a year since the last one? I don’t even remember what’s going on in this book, I just know between Joe Casey’s writing and Mike Huddleston’s art, it’s always ridiculously over-the-top nonsense, in the best sort of way.

MATTHEW: Where the hell has this book been? The last issue that I recall reading came out last September, I think, But, if you’re looking for the antidote for the bland sameness of today’s comic-books, this is the show for you, as Casey & Huddleston are delivering wild ideas in new and bizarre fashion at the crossroads where superheroes, Smokey & The Bandit and “sandwiches” meet…

DAREDEVIL #17
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Mike Allred
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: The return of someone Matt thought was gone forever! • The debut of a new menace in New York – the killer called Coyote! • And just how sane IS Matt Murdock?

STEPHEN: On the one hand, he’s a ginger. On the other hand, he’s a kick ass hero, being written by a kick ass writer. Throw in some Allred art, and I’ll be picking this issue up without question.

ZACH: Doth my eye deceive me? Could it be that we have been blessed with two Mark Waid written Daredevil tales in one month? That automatically makes for a good month in my book. Mike Allred is making a guest appearance for this issue, and while I’m not familiar with his work the Internet has been buzzing over this.

ESSENTIAL WARLOCK VOLUME 1
Writer: Chris Claremont, Roy Thomas, Jim Starlin
Publisher: Marvel
Cover Price: $19.99
SOLICITATION: Adam Warlock. Part super hero spectacle and part spiritual allegory, Warlock must struggle with his inner demons as he strives to oppose such dreadful threats as the Man-Beast, the Magus and Thanos of Titan. Collecting: Marvel Premiere 1-2, Warlock 1-15, Incredible Hulk 176-178, Strange Tales 178-181, Marvel Team-Up 55, Avengers Annual 7, Marvel Team-Up Annual 2

MATTHEW: Sure, people talk about Cosmic Marvel as it’s own thing now, but back in the day, you had to WORK at your cosmic, with a little Strange Tales here, a little Marvel Premiere there, a little Warlock over there. None of that “Part 1 of 4″ crap in the Bronze Age, Faithful Spoilerites, you dug through the back issues and you suffered for your collection, dangit! Uphill! BOTH WAYS! You kids today can (and should) just buy this Essentials volume and read it, but Thomas Perkins and I remember what it USED to be like!

GAME OF THRONES COFFEE MUG: GREYJOY
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $12.99
SOLICITATION: As HBO heads into season 2 of the award-winning television series Game of Thrones, we continue our line of products featuring the sigils of the various families. We offer two patches, a mug, and a coaster set, which includes four coasters with the sigils for Greyjoy, Tully, Arryn, and a new Tyrell sigil, as seen in season two.

RODRIGO: At the risk of seeming like a poseur (barely having watched the 1st season of the show, let alone red any of the books) I still want to get this because it’s a cool mug with a big yellow squid on it. People at work drink coffee out of mugs they’ve gotten at conferences or promotional giveaways, they say things like “PBS SHOWCASE 2011″ and “CPB” Me? Cephalopod. Creepy Quote. Nerd Reference. Rodrigo.

HOMECOMING
Writer: David Wohl
Artist: Emilio Lasio
Publisher: Aspen Entertainment
Cover Price: 3.99
SOLICITATION: Nobody ever said being a teenager was easy… Just when you thought it was safe to go back to High School…Aspen Comics proudly presents an all-new series created by Michael Turner, Scott Lobdell and David Wohl. HOMECOMING! Hunter Wilson is just an average American teenager in an average American town, but when the beautiful and amnesiac Celeste arrives in his backyard, Hunter’s life will change forever. He discovers that Celeste had disappeared from that very house 10 years earlier, and now she’s back with little memory of who she was–but with strange, fantastic abilities and the knowledge that dark forces are rapidly approaching! Now, Hunter must help Celeste regain her memory while he tries to keep himself and his friends safe–and if that wasn’t difficult enough, Homecoming is just a week away and he doesn’t have a date to the dance yet!

RODRIGO: The unfortunate thing about super mysterious premises is that they offer very little guarantee of actual quality. I’m down for one issue though.

THE MANARA LIBRARY VOLUME 3 HC
Writer: Milo Manara, Federico Fellini, Silverio Pisu
Artist: Milo Manara
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $59.99
SOLICITATION: Milo Manara’s collaborations with legendary filmmaker Federico Fellini take center stage in this latest volume of The Milo Manara Library! Together, these two masters produced the beautiful, surreal stories “Trip to Tulum” and “The Voyage of G. Mastorna,” the latter of which is presented in English for the first time! Completing this volume is Manara’s collaboration with Silverio Pisu on the satirical update of a Chinese fable, “The Ape,” as well as a large selection of short stories displaying the maestro’s illustrative versatility!

MATTHEW: Milo Manara is a certified genius, and his treatment of the human form is awesome. This volume is the one I’ve most been looking forward to, as it collects the collaborations that Manara did with Federico Fellini (!) and material that never made it into English before. Going back to my college days when I stumbled across his work in a (ahem) gentleman’s magazine, I’ve been willing to go to great lengths to read anything Manara draws, because… Damn.

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #12
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Kenneth Rocafort
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: STARFIRE has made it all the way to TAMARAN only to find herself caught between the forces of THE BLIGHT and the political maneuvering of her sister, BLACKFIRE.

How will JASON protect ISABEL on what has become an intergalactic date from Hell?

JIMMY: From the very start this comic has been a bizarrely enjoyable buddy movie. Scott Lobdell has made it plain to see that he has no qualms about taking beloved DC characters and arbitrarily changing them for no reason, which is why Roy Harper now sports a trucker hat. The current arc involves Starfire taking command and being a Strong Female Character, while Roy and Jason tag along. Unfortunately Jason was on a date, and the girl has reacted strangely to the whole “unexpectedly being taken on an intergalactic joy-ride culminating in being involved in a planetary war for a race of people you previously knew nothing about” incident. So they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.

SAGA #6
Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Artist: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: The epic hit series continues, as Alana and her baby finally reach the legendary Rocketship Forest, where everything changes forever.

ZACH: A new issue of Saga is out! High Five! Chest bump! Butt slap! Fist pump! Victory lap! Celebratory dance! Awkward beach volleyball hug! Sorry, I watched a lot of the Olympics over the last two weeks. At least NBC hasn’t spoiled Saga #6 for me.

SAUCER COUNTRY #6
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Jimmy Broxton
Publisher: Vertigo
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: In this special stand-alone issue, discover the history of the UFO myth in all its brilliant, contradictory, terrifying detail. Real-life stories, extraordinary theories and some horrifying conclusions abound. Meanwhile, Arcadia’s team is in place to kick off her presidential campaign, but her enemies are circling too…

GEORGE: I’ve been digging on Saucer Country since Day 1, and the title has yet to disappoint me. This issue is billed as a stand-alone, with Jimmy Broxton subbing in for Ryan Kelly on art, so this one shuffles the deck a little. I do love my flying saucers, and Cornell has been drawing deep from the conspiracy theory well in entertaining fashion, so I’m betting what is billed as “the history of the UFO myth” will be a good read.