Major Spoilers Staff Picks for August 29, 2012

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If you are looking for something to pick up this week, take the jump for a plethora of recommendations from Major Spoilers.

AVX VS #5
Writer: Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Publisher: Marvel
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: The premier tie-in to AVENGERS VS. X-MEN marches on! • BLACK PANTHER VS. STORM! • ANGEL VS. HAWKEYE!

ROB: AVX is on hold for a bit longer before the last two issues, but this should be a fun hold over in the meantime. Besides, it’s the lovers spat of the century with the King and Queen of Wakanda going at it. Seriously, just the big fun of heroes fighting is enough for me.

AXE COP: PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD #2
Writer: Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle
Artist: Ethan Nicolle
Publisher: Dark Horse
Cover Price: $3.50
SOLICITATION: Axe Cop has taken the comics world by storm! The cop with an axe fights bad guys by any means necessary! Written by 8-year-old Malachai Nicolle and drawn by his 31-year-old brother Ethan Nicolle, this brand-new Axe Cop story promises a mind-bending joy ride of imaginative fun!

JIMMY: Axe Cop is sheer joy. Don’t go into it expecting anything other than the kind of ridiculous story that can only come from an 8 year old and a 31 year old playing pretend together. Ethan’s art was great at the beginning of the Axe Cop webcomic, and it’s only improved since then. This is your comic book equivalent of a popcorn movie right here, except besides having crazy action it’s also ridiculously absurd and funny.

MATTHEW: The world of Axe Cop never ceases to be funny for me, even as the sophistication level of the young writer expands. There’s a peculiar logic to everything that happens in the book, without the filters that a grown-up writer would bring to the table, and big brother Ethan’s art style is wonderfully evocative. I’m thrilled to see Axe Cop making it’s way to cartoon form soon, if only so that all of our inner hipsters can talk about how we liked it before it was cool…

RODRIGO: Axe cop is always a delight to read, not only is it hilarious it is also super hilarious. If you have no idea what Axe Cop is then I suggest you jump in head first and enjoy.

BEFORE WATCHMEN MINUTEMEN #3 (MR)
Writer: Darwyn Cooke
Artist: Darwyn Cooke
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: “I’m not here to bust you, I’m here to recruit you. How’d you like to work for your Uncle Sam, Eddie?” And don’t miss the latest chapter of the CRIMSON CORSAIR backup epic from writer LEN WEIN and artist JOHN HIGGINS!

ROB: Still the most entertaining, justified, and well thought out of the series, Minutemen has been a good read. With Cooke giving us both parts I’m sure we’ll continue to get another great story.

COURTNEY CRUMRIN: THE COVEN OF THE MYSTICS
Writer: Ted Naifeh
Artists: Ted Naifeh with Warren Wucinich
Publisher: Oni Press
Cover Price: $24.99
SOLICITATION: Fan-favorite and critical darling Courtney Crurmin is back in a series of newly remastered, full color hardcover editions! When the night things of Courtney’s community start causing trouble, it’s up to her to find out why. The town’s powerful coven of mystics thinks it knows who to blame, but Uncle Aloysius doesn’t believe their simple explanation. His misgivings start Courtney down a twisted path that leads to the true mastermind behind all the horror! But does Courtney stand a chance against a being that powerful and manipulative?

STEPHEN: Until we reviewed the first collection on the Major Spoilers Podcast, I had never heard of Courtney Crumrin, but now that I have, I’m interested in reading more of here all ages adventures. This collection seems to hit the spot and earns a place on my list this week.

GREEN LANTERN ANNUAL #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
SOLICITATION: The conclusion of “THE REVENGE OF BLACK HAND”!
Everything changes here! EVERYTHING!

ZACH: To be honest I haven’t read the last two of three issues of Green Lantern. I’m not sure why I stopped, I just did. But now that the annual is here I’m going to jump back on it and possibly read the issues I missed. It’s also nice to see Johns and Sciver back working together since they did the first GL story I ever read with Rebirth.

IRON MAN SILVER CENTURION STATUE
Manufactured by: Bowen Designs
Seller: Sideshow Collectibles
Price: $224.99
SOLICITATION: Sideshow Collectibles is proud to present the outstanding Marvel statues and busts created by Bowen Designs. These high-quality polystone, detailed collectibles feature your favorite Marvel characters as they appear in a wide range of comics. Standing over 16 inches tall, the Silver Centurion Iron Man Statue is cast in high-quality polystone, a great addition to any Marvel collection!
Iron Man TM & (c) 2012 Marvel & Subs

MATTHEW: Growing up in the 1980′s, I have a few peccadilloes about comics that people in other eras might not share. For me, Monica Rambeau is Captain Marvel, She-Hulk is part of the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man wears a black costume, and Iron Man? Iron Man looks like this right here. This was the first I.M. armor that really read as ARMOR for me since the gold Mark I armor from 1961, and the Mark Bright rendition of this Silver Centurion uniform is a treasured memory of my childhood. For decades, Marvel seemingly denied the existence of this armor (it was even destroyed by a nuclear weapon in it’s final appearance), but as people my age start to demand the things they grew up with, the Silver Centurion armor is making a comeback, and I for one couldn’t be happier. I wouldn’t normally even consider a statue purchase, but this is one of the few that’d change my mind. (Ask Stephen about the comics convention where we spent the whole day looking for the action figure version of this’n…)

JUSTICE LEAGUE #12
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: ‘THE VILLAIN’S JOURNEY’ part four!

The team struggles to stay together as they try to combat their newest foe. A shocking last page that will have the world talking! Continuing the origin of SHAZAM!

JIMMY: It was a tossup as to my third place staff pick between this and Superman Family Adventures, but the fact that the JLI annual ties into this gave it that ever so slight edge. I’ve been enjoying the Justice League book reasonably well, though the pacing is very drawn out, as per usual for Geoff Johns. Also this is the issue where Supes makes out with Wonder Woman, which is probably that “shocking last page” that the solicit mentions and will no longer be a shock to anyone because comics publishers feel it’s necessary to spoil things in order to build hype prior to a comic coming out (thus enticing people that don’t understand how comics work to go into a shop when the issue hasn’t even come out yet, leaving them confused and probably comic-less) instead of waiting until it hits the stands and THEN taking advantage of the pre-existing buzz to draw in new readers. Nonetheless, this is likely an important issue, so it’s worth picking up. Plus the SHAZAM story has had beautiful art.

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jason Fabok
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
SOLICITATION: Will this issue be the final adventure ever for JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL? The true nature of O.M.A.C. revealed! Ties in to the shocking events of JUSTICE LEAGUE #12! Guest-starring BLUE BEETLE!

JIMMY: Dan Jurgens writing on JLI (especially his Booster Gold, which is tragic considering he created the character) was abysmal, and is the sole reason in my mind that title failed, since Aaron Lopresti’s pencils were gorgeous. Now Geoff Johns is taking this annual and giving us our last story of the JLI title, which (based on the solicit and rumblings from twitter) will probably be helping to set up The Trinity War. I’ve always loved how Johns writes Booster: the post 52–event, not relaunch–ongoing stands as one of my favorite titles of all time, so it’ll be nice to see him take on the character again. I’m not usually one for buying annuals of books I’m not actively reading, especially given the price point, but I will absolutely be picking this up.

ROB: Back for one final hurrah, the best Justice League is taking on one of its own. This is your last chance to see a number of these characters, at least for awhile, so go ahead and give ‘em one last shot, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

LOCKE AND KEY GRINDHOUSE ONE-SHOT
Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: THIS is the blood-splashed, bare-knuckled Locke & Key standalone story you’ve been waiting for! In the glare of a Depression-era summer, three Canuck gangsters pull the heist of their dreams and take off for the perfect hiding spotÖ an isolated mansion on the tip of Lovecraft Island known locally as Keyhouse. Locke & Key: Grindhouse includes an expanded ‘Guide to Keyhouse,’ revealing every dark corner and secret room in America’s most frightening mansion! *Retailers: See your order form for incentive information.

STEPHEN: For those wondering what will happen when Locke & Key ends – here is your answer; stand alone stories set in the world of Locke & Key and featuring more keys, more mystery, and some damn find storytelling. Why isn’t this the pick of the week? Because everyone else hasn’t discovered the magic that is Locke & Key.

PHANTOM LADY #1
Writers: Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti
Aritsts: Cat Staggs, Richard Perrotta
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION:
• The female FREEDOM FIGHTER debuts in her own miniseries!
• Featuring her partner-in-crimefighting, the diminutive dynamo known as DOLL MAN!

JACK: Look at that cover! WOOOOOOOO! Give me Amanda Conner art any day of the week for a quick sale. I also understand there are a pair of writers that spin some fantastical stories that always grab my interest. Will I make it past the cover? I’ll let you know.

MATTHEW: I have always loved the Quality Comics stable of heroes, even though by this point they’ve been in DC’s universe longer than they were ever in print under the QC banner. Phantom Lady is one of the most visually recognizable of those heroes, and has the distinction of being the most revived of that Quality batch (with the possible exception of Plastic Man.) Although I’m disappointed to find that Amanda Conner is only doing cover art for this book, I’m still on board with what I hope to be a full-scale Freedom Fighters revival, preferably one that blows up huge and everybody wants to read. This will be step one, so keep yer fingers crossed…

RODRIGO: Phantom Lady has had nakeder costumes, but I won’t let that dissuade me. The #1 selling point for me is that this is a miniseries, which means that we’ll at least see some kind of attempt at a concise story arc.

STEPHEN: I have always been impressed with everything Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have written, so I’m going to grab this issue because A) I like the writers, B) Amanda Conner does the art work, and C) New 52′s Phantom Lady looks a like like OldDCU Terra… but not THAT Terra.

PROPHET #28
Writer: Brandon Graham
Artist: Giannis Milonogiannis
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: Great grandfather Prophet hunts a younger clone of himself while searching for his old Starship.

GEORGE: Prophet is consistently in my top five list of monthly comics. If you’re missing out on Prophet, you’re doing yourself a disservice. This is mind-bending, strange future sci-fi done as close to perfect as anyone can get. Read it!

SIXTH GUN #24
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Brain Hurts
Publisher: Oni Press
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: Winter Wolves, Part 1. Together, Drake Sinclair and Becky Montcrief hold five of the Six—a set of pistols that can rewrite all of creation. This makes them targets for the living and the dead…for the human and the inhuman. As otherworldly spirits align against them, Drake and Becky find themselves trapped at a trading post frozen in a preternatural winter. If the cold doesn’t kill them, the hideous beasts lurking in the shadows will!

ZACH: I have heard nothing but great things about Sixth Gun so far. Even the guys working the Oni table at GenCon were pointing everyone to the title, and that was with the new color edition of Scott Pilgrim sitting less than a foot away. This weeks issue is the start of a new arc, so it seems like a great point for all of us to start reading together.

SKULLKICKERS #17
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Edwin Huang
Publisher: Image
Cover Price: $3.50
SOLICITATION: Somebody DIES! Or, everyone DIES! There’s lots of DYING! Oh man, it’s some kind of DEATH-fest goin’ around. It’s all epic and brutal and a major character DIES so you better order a ho-jillion copies. No, seriously, someone DIES. Big DEADING in the house. Also: The end of our incredible third story arc. Sweet.

ZACH: Skulkickers is a series that I decided to check out when comiXology had a sale for the series, and after reading two issues I bought every issue released. If you are looking for looking for some humor and violence in your fantasy then you have to check Skullkickers out. And apparently a major character dies, so I can only assume this issue will have just as big of a last impact as Amazing Spider-Man #121.

SPACEMAN #9
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Eduardo Risso
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
SOLICITATION: “It’s over, Orson… Over!” Vertigo’s noir-fi series comes to an end as Orson’s life crumbles around him – but everything’s not as bad as it seems. No, gentle reader… it’s much, much worse. Earth sucks. Mars, though…

GEORGE: This nine issue series is coming to a close, and I am going to miss it. Azzarrello’s tale of a drowned, failed future is populated by reality TV stars, LOLspeak-spewing street urchins and genetically-engineered men meant for a mission to Mars that never happened. It’s all been brought to incredible life by Risso’s superb artistic talents, and the end result has been a worthy entry into the field of SF dystopias. Look for a review this week.

UNCANNY X-FORCE #30
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: David Williams
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: • It’s all built to this: “Final Execution” enters its last act!
• The new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants makes their move!
• Fantomex’s deceptions come back to haunt the team!

GEORGE: Rick Remender’s shown a great talent for writing endings to his arcs, creating a sense of thematic closure while creating the change that comic books sometimes struggle to produce. Remender’s character Genesis (who is a sort of blank-slate child Apocalypse) is one of the more interesting ideas to come out of Marvel in some time. I love how Remender works when he pulls all these strange threads together; great villains, alternate universes, time travel – this one should be good. David Williams’ art looks great in the previews too.

WITCHBLADE: DEMON REBORN #2
Top Cow Comics
Writer: Ande Parks
Artists: José Luis
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
SOLICITATION: The Demon has been to hell. Now he’s back, ready to take revenge on the person who sent him there: Sara Pezzini. As the Demon continues to taunt and test Sara with a horrific series of murders, Sara’s fragile grip on her home life starts to slip. Meanwhile, the Witchblade screams for justice against another sadistic criminal who has been set free. Sara must struggle to control her own desire for vengeance. When ghosts from the Witchblade’s bloody past invade Sara’s home, she may finally lose control altogether. The road to hell beckons, with the Demon as Sara’s personal guide.

RODRIGO: Hey it’s time to check back on Witchblade… I’ll let you know how it turns out…