Batman and Robin #2

Creative team: Story by Grant Morrison; art by Frank Quitely

Villain to Watch: Professor Pyg

They say: In a blazing Gotham City police department, the new Batman and Robin face the bizarre, fighting freakshow that is the Circus of Strange and find that they don’t make as good a team as Batman had hoped! Meanwhile, the mysterious Sasha escapes from Professor Pyg and vows vengeance on the people who killed her father.

I say: The “Batman & Robin” relaunch has been well-received by Bat-fans everywhere, but I have to admit, I’m a little skeptical. The art has been gangbusters and the writing has set up some interesting concepts, but I’m gonna need a bit more than the gross-out / slasher mentality that the new villain, Professor Pyg, seems to promise. I’ll hang with this one for a little while longer, but I’m hoping to see less body count and more character development before I’ll have it added as a permanent Pull.

Captain America Reborn #1

Creative team: Story by Ed Brubaker; art by Bryan Hitch

Villain to Watch: Red Skull

They say: Following the events of Captain America #600, Steve Rogers’ closest friends and allies may have found a way to bring back the original Captain America. Or is what they found something more sinister? The Red Skull’s greatest plan to destroy Captain America has been in motion and its completion is almost at hand. Will Captain America be lost forever or will he be REBORN?

I say: This one’s a no-brainer. You’ve got to pull this series, if for no other reason than to say you were there for it. Just be careful. Marvel is going to be throwing a metric ton of Captain-America-related books onto the shelves this summer. Be sure to page through the books before you plunk your money down so you don’t wind up at home with some kind of thrown-together re-print anthology crap.

Fantastic Four #568

Creative team: Story by Mark Millar and Joe Ahearne; art by Bryan Hitch

Villain to Watch: Marquis of Death, Dr. Doom

They say: The penultimate chapter of “The Masters of Doom” storyline, as Reed Richards is offered a Solomon’s choice by the triumphant Marquis of Death!

I say: This arc has been as rock-solid as Benjamin’s kiester. Hitch’s draftsmanship is top shelf, and the writing has been gripping. The set-up is firmly in place, so this issue (and the next) promises to be an excellent adventure. I’m a tremendous Dr. Doom fan, and I’m waiting with bated breath (Yes, I spelled that correctly) to see him rise up from the ashes with a can of family-sized smackdown for the bony Marquis.

Green Lantern Corps #38

Creative team: Story by Peter Tomasi; art by Patrick Gleason and Rebecca Buchman

Villains to Watch: Red Lanterns, Sinestro Corps

They say: The sciencell riot causes a new law to be doctored into the Book of Oa as Kyle and Guy fight against it. What fate awaits the honor guards, and who will be left standing from the riot that shook Oa to its core?

I say: Both GL books — Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps — have lost a little steam in the lead-up to the highly anticipated “Blackest Night” arc. It’s like being near the apex of the roller coaster. We know we’re in for some thrills, but this is truly the most taxing part of the ride. Luckily, we have some tasty Gleason/Buchman art to see us through. Consider these titles the same way you consider that tan-in-a-can stuff. Not particularly exciting, but you’ll want it to be ready for the summer.

Marvel Divas #1

Creative team: Story by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa; art by Tonci Zonjic

Villain to Watch: Common sense

They say: Diva (dee-vah), noun: An unusually glamorous and powerful woman. See: Patsy ‘Hellcat’ Walker; Felicia ‘Black Cat’ Hardy; Angelica ‘Firestar’ Jones; and Monica ‘Photon’ Rambeau. What happens when you take four of the Marvel Universe’s most fabulous single girls and throw them together, adding liberal amounts of suds and drama? You get the sassiest, sexiest, soapiest series to come out of the House of Ideas since Millie the Model! Romance, action, ex-boyfriends, and a last page that changes everything! Let your inner divas out with this one, fellas, you won’t regret it!

I say: We keep hearing the pitch: “It’s ‘Sex in the City’ meets Super-heroes. And, if you’re like me, you roll your eyes every time. Still, I’m a sucker for such a shamelessly overt cheesecake cover. And the interior art looks pretty solid, too. So what if we’re going to have to put up with a few obligatory references to drinking Manhattans and buying Louis Vuitton bags? My Spider-sense is saying this is gonna be a sleeper hit. And if not, it will still be easy on the eyes. (Here’s hoping Marvel’s not putting all its marbles behind that last one, eh?)

Secret Six #11

Creative team: Story by Gail Simone; art by Nicola Scott and Doug Hazlewood

Villain to Watch: Mockingbird

They say: A former Wonder Woman is now a slave? That’s just the first shock as the Secret Six face a new enemy with a heart of ice and an entire country at his command! All this plus the return of Mockingbird! It’s all heading towards a confrontation against one of DC’s biggest powerhouses, and the Six don’t stand a chance.

I say: I know this is technically a sixth, but in my book it doesn’t even count because it’s such a no-brainer. I say it month after month, this is consistently one of the best series on the stands. And I’ll say it again this month. And next. This is a permanent Pull. ‘Nuff said.

…And One to Pass…

Solomon Grundy #5

Creative team: Story and Art by Scott Kolins

Villains to Watch: Solomon Grundy, Professor Ivo and Amazo

They say: With Grundy mortally wounded, can he fend off the revenge of Professor Ivo? It’s super science versus evil power! And the bad blood between them forces Cyrus to face his past head on. Will he see through the madness and discover his killer? The end is coming, and it doesn’t look good for Solomon Grundy!

I say: This series has already made a Grundy/Bizarro match-up boring. I don’t have high hopes for the Grundy/Amazo undercard. Solid Pass.

Fair Trade

Was Superman a Spy?

Writer: Brian Cronin

They say: Demystifies more than 200 urban legends of interesting stories, unbelievable anecdotes, wacky rumors, and persistent myths that have piled up like priceless back issues in the 70+ years of the comic book industry.

I say: Cronin’s feature, Comic Book Legends Revealed has been a must-read at CBR since he started it about 213 installments ago. I’ve linked to his column from the Evil Inc Comics Blog on several occasions. Having already paged through an advance copy, I can verify that the book is a tremendous read for anybody with so much as a passing interest in comic-book history. If you see it, grab it. Excellent throne reading.