Major Spoilers Staff Picks for August 22, 2012

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If you are looking for something to read this week, and are completely lost as to what to pick up, Major Spoilers picks their favorites for the week.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #692
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $5.99
SOLICITATION: Join us for a once in a lifetime event: the one, true 50th Anniversary Issue of the Amazing Spider-Man. • A special over-sized issue harkening back to the legend the legend that started it all! Get ready for an all-new tale about a different kind of power and responsibility… • Plus original stories by Dean Haspiel, Joshua Hale Fialkov & Nuno Plati!

GEORGE: It was Spider-Man that first got me into comics, and what better way to celebrate his 50th Anniversary than with a giant-sized issue? It will also introduce Spidey’s purported sidekick, Alpha, which is something I’m not quite as jazzed about. Still, as long as Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos are doing Spider-Man stories, I’m on board.

ROB: Dan Slott is still here, Humberto Ramos is back, we have the greatest Spidey team available to give us his 50th anniversary outing. At the very least this is going to be fun, but I will guarantee it being so much more. If anything, drop by for the anniversary celebration and get yourself hooked.

STEPHEN: This is the big anniversary issue that we’ve been waiting for for our entire lives… unless you are over 50, in that case… geez… you are old. Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos team for the big, big story, and after reading this, the only thing I’ll be left wondering is what happens NOW!

ZACH: 50 years. The world’s greatest superhero has been slinging web looking over the citizens of NYC for half a century now and to celebrate we are getting a super-packed issue. But the best reason to pick this up is the wonderful Humberto Ramos is back! The art alone will be worth the price increase to $5.99.

ARCHIE #636
Writer: Tania del Rio
Artist: Gisele, Rich Koslowski
Publisher: Archie Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: “The Great Switcheroo” – Growing up as a teenage boy can rough! But not more so than a teen girl, right? Upon overhearing the guys and gals of Riverdale grumbling over how the other half has it easier, Sabrina’s mischievous cat Salem turns the town upside down when he dishes out the ultimate genetic makeover! Chaos ensues as the teens discover it’s not as easy to walk in each other’s shoes (or heels!) as they originally thought, so it’s up to Sabrina to set things right! Will Salem’s spell wear off, thus giving the gang a new appreciation for who they are, or will the switch up become permanent? Find out in this off-the-wall issue guest-starring Sabrina the Teenage Witch!

MATTHEW: Archina? Really? Even with that silly nomenclature, the appeal of this crossover cannot be denied, especially with the sort of subtle gender politics involved. (Archie with two girlfriends is an All-American boy. What happens if she’s a girl with two boyfriends?) Add in art by Gisele Lagace of webcomic fame, and this is a book I want to read, if only for gender-swapped versions of Jughead and Moose.

STEPHEN: There is something oddly appealing about the hook for this issue. Maybe it is the art, or maybe it is simply Sabrina’s hijinks going all wacky again, but I have a feeling this is going to be a big seller this week.

BATMAN: The Dark Knight #12
Writer: Greg Hurwitz
Artist: David Finch
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: BATMAN has been captured by THE SCARECROW, who wants THE DARK KNIGHT to be his guinea pig for the ULTIMATE fear toxin. • Don’t miss revelations about THE SCARECROW’s past!

JIMMY: This is a good week for Batman; if you dropped off this title back when David Finch was writing it, you really should start picking The Dark Knight up. Gregg Hurwitz got off to a great start with TDK #10, and while #11 didn’t knock it out of the park to quite the same level Hurwitz is crafting a very promising story about The Scarecrow in a similar way to his Penguin: Pain and Prejudice.

ZACH: I have started picking this title up again since the creative team had a small tweak starting in issue 10. So far I love the gritty tale that is being played out with the Scarecrow as the big bad. I haven’t been the biggest fan of Finch’s art, but not to a point that I don’t want to read it. If you are looking for a dark Batman tale you should pick it up.

BATMAN INCORPORATED #3
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: The DC COMIC – THE NEW 52 debut of…MATCHES MALONE?? BATMAN is hot on the trail of whoever is trying to kill DAMIAN – and he’s not going to like what he finds! This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.

JIMMY: Batman Incorporated is the title I was most excited about in The New 52, and it hasn’t disappointed. Grant Morrison is on the downhill slope of his Batman epic, and Chris Burnham is drawing it wonderfully. If you haven’t been paying attention, this was originally solicited for last month, but in the wake of the Aurora tragedy retailers were asked to hold onto their copies until this month. Many didn’t comply, but my LCS did, so I’ll finally be getting my copy! This also is going to be the reintroduction of Matches Malone to The New 52, and Grant’s take on a classic “character” should be fascinating to read.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SPIKE #1
Writer: Victor Gischler
Penciller: Paul Lee
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: Having fought to regain his soul after falling in love with the Slayer Buffy, the once-terrifying vampire villain Spike has been a bit less fearsome (to humans, at least). On his own adventure, Spike is forced to examine the man he once was, the man he is now, and the man he still hopes to become.
As master of a steampunk ship filled with loyal, oversized alien cockroaches, Spike embarks on a journey to the dark side of the moon, setting into motion an adventure filled with demons, witches, and others who brew new evil in the world without magic!
* Spike visits the dark side!

MATTHEW: Okay, so it’s not the ongoing series that the character needs, but it’s good to see Spike out from under the thumb of his Slayer-crush again. The character’s arc from minor villain to big bad to antogonistic ally to friend is one of the most fascinating in Buffy history, and the arguments over whether he’s a better match for Buffy than Angel are probably still raging somewhere right now. Given Spike’s prominence in Buffy Season 9, I’m excited to see what’s up next for the former William The Bloody…

INVINCIBLE #94
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Ryan Ottley
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: The new Invincible faces defeat at the hands of the Flaxan Army! The Guardians of the Globe have fallen! What is Monster Girl and Robot’s part in all this? How are they responsible? More of their past in the Flaxan dimension is revealed. And where is Mark Grayson during all this?

JIMMY: Every week that Invincible is available, it will be in my Staff Picks. This title brands itself as “The Best Superhero Comic Book in the Universe” and while there are some contenders that can make a case for the title, Invincible is absolutely in the running. Image has been on a marketing blitz for issue #100 with their “The Death of…” images (all of which can be found right here on Major Spoilers!) and I’m wondering if the big threat is going to be this Flaxan Army, which I can’t really see going on for another seven issues personally, or if we’re going to see the return of any one of a handful of major Invincible villains that Kirkman’s been keeping on the backburner. No matter what it is, I’ll be there, and you should be too!

MIND MGMT #4
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Matt Kindt
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: After following his trail around the world, Meru has finally found the missing passenger from the Amnesia Flight, but as he tells his story, she learns the mystery goes much deeper. In the first of two parts, witness the history of the secret MIND MGMT agency, revealed by the psychic spy who nearly destroyed it from within. And as Meru listens, the Immortals are only a few steps behind!
• From the creator of 3 Story and Super Spy!
• Each issue features bonus stories that won’t be in the collections!

GEORGE: MIND MGMT continues to provide some of the best value on the stands, packed to the brim with clues that deepen the story and heighten the paranoiac atmosphere. Last issue ended with Meru finally tracking down the mysterious Henry Lyme, who promised to tell her the history of MIND MGMT. I’m excited.

ROCKETEER: CARGO OF DOOM #1
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Chris Samnee
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: Dave Stevens created the Rocketeer in 1982 and it has proven to be a uniquely enduring Character. Now Cliff Secord and the Rocketeer take to the skies once again as Mark Waid and Chris Samnee spin a yarn in the best tradition of Dave Stevens, bringing us a tale of great adventure, suspense and humor!

A ship docks in Los Angeles harbor from a far-off and exotic locale—with a big, mysterious… and living… cargo! Danger and mayhem abound as our hero leaps into the fray! Plus, we introduce a lovely new character who will be vying against Betty for Cliff’s affections!

MATTHEW: Mark Waid? Chris Samnee? Dave Stevens’ Rocketeer? A full-length miniseries? Why, IDW, I do believe you have yourself a sale, here!

RODRIGO: Everyone loves the Rocketeer! Everyone loves Mark Waid! Everyone Loves Cargo! How can this be anything but great!? Either way, we’ll see soon enough!

STEPHEN: Mark Waid!? Chris Samnee!? Dave Stevens’ Rocketeer!? IDW, you made a sale right there!

PLANETOID #3
Writer: Ken Garing
Artist: Ken Garing
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: Having made a stand against the cyborg militia, Silas must now lead the tribes in building a settlement.

RODRIGO: I’m behind on this one, never got around to #2, but I’m sure I can track it down at some point. Issue 1 was good enough and all the Dark Horse minis I was reading just ended!

SUPER DINOSAUR #13
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Jason Howard
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: “ESCAPE FROM INNER-EARTH,” Part Two
As The Exile runs test after test on Derek Dynamo, Super Dinosaur and friends meet the natives of Inner-Earth. That’s right – it’s Super Dinosaur versus actual Dinosaurs! Who will win?!I

ROB: I cannot recommend this book enough. With fun super heroics, a cool concept, and a great story there is no way I’m missing this book. As long as Super Dinosaur exists, I’ll be reading it.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ONGOING #13
Writer: Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman
Artist: Andy Kuhn
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: The forces of good and evil marshal on multiple fronts as the “Sins of the Fathers” arc begins! Casey Jones’ worsening home life tempts Raph to dangerous action— and Splinter decides to set a new course for his son’s way of life. Plus, what dark secret is the Shredder hiding — even from his own Clan?! Change is afoot!

GEORGE: TMNT still continues to entertain. I like how this title is telling a fresh story, employing characters that fans of the movies or cartoons will recognize, but not being afraid to add new wrinkles. Andy Kuhn replaces Dan Duncan on art, and while I’ll miss Duncan’s art, Kuhn is a pretty good replacement. If you’re looking to scratch that old turtle itch, this monthly isn’t a bad way to do it.

ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #14
Writer: Samuel Ryan Humphries
Artist: Billy Tan
Publisher: Marvel
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: Someone is working behind the scenes to divide the country, but who?! • Ultimate Cap, Ultimate Iron Man, and Ultimate Thor finally reunited! ULTIMATES ASSEMBLE! • A crisis in the United States forces the Ultimates into action! • DIVIDED WE FALL continues to rock the Ultimate Universe!

ZACH: Thanks to Ultimate Spider-Man being so darn good I’m picking up Ultimates so I can get more of the United We Fall storyline. And with the “big” Marvel announcement that issues 15 and 16 will “change the Ultimate Universe FORVER” I just have to see what that means.

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #129.1
Writer: Stuart Moore
Artist: Damian Scott, Rob Campanella
Publisher: Marvel
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: Celebrating 50 Years of the Great Responsibility of his Great powers, The Spider-Man 50th Anniversary Series collects the Webbed Wonder’s greatest heretofore secret history! Spanning from his earliest days as a hero to the heyday of the heralded Big Time era and everything in between, a collection of Marvel Legends, venerated comic creators and awe-inspiring artists shine the spotlight on everything that makes Spider-Man the World’s Greatest Superhero!

ROB: Another part of Spidey’s 50th anniversary, the .1 issues of his classic titles. These have been quite good so far and have a connecting story, so I’m picking this up too, and so should anyone who likes Spidey.