Batman Widening Gyre #2

Creative team: Story by Kevin Smith; Art by Walter Flanagan and Art Thibert

Villain to Watch: Etrigan

They say: Once again, Kevin Smith – the fan-favorite creator behind Green Arrow and Daredevil – teams up with Walter Flanagan – the artist on the acclaimed series Batman: Cacophony – for an all-new adventure starring The Caped Crusader. The stakes are high as Batman encounters a new vigilante under his wing amidst what Smith describes as a ‘backdrop of romance, intrigue, and geek-bait guest stars galore.’ Trust us when we say that it’s as awesome as it sounds. Batman; The Widening Gyre is just the start of things for Kevin in the Bat-Universe so get on board now!

I say: This series has had a very nice lift-off, and this is the issue that’s going to determine whether it’s going to be an exciting flight or a crash-and-burn. Smith’s last series, Cacophony, kinda sputtered out, in my opinion, but Gyre has a tremendous amount of promise. Smith’s treatment of Poison Ivy was inspired. We can only hope Catwoman will be making her appearance soon.

Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #3

Creative team: Story by Frank Tieri; Art by Mateus Santolouco

Villains to Watch: Absorbing Man, Grim Reaper

They say: The mysterious circumstances surrounding the final showdown between the Lethal Legion and the Dark Avengers are finally revealed!

What could have happened that day that forever altered Marvel’s criminal underworld as we know it? Twists, turns, terror-and a shocking conclusion you won’t want to miss!

I say: Legion hasn’t been a phenomenal stand-out, but it’s been a pretty solid read nonetheless.

I’ve been in for two issues, and this one promises a Big Reveal, so I guess I’m in for another round. They’re laying the hype on heavily, so I’ll be extra disappointed if it doesn’t live up.

Dark Reign: Sinister Spider-Man #4

Creative team: Story by Brian Reed; Art by Chris bachalo

Villain to Watch: Venom

They say: Mac Gargan vs. well, just about everyone. The Dark Avengers! The Redeemers, er, Redeemers! J. Jonah Jameson! It’s a fight to the finish as your Frightening Neighborhood Spider-Man eats as many people as possible in 22 pages.

I say: Unlike Lethal Legion, this is one of the Dark Reign books that has surpassed expectations.

The art and the writing on this series has been exemplary. And the little touches like Venom horking a rabid squirrel that he was unable to digest? Priceless.

The Redeemers took it hard on the chin last ish, and, I’ll be honest, if this next issue is more masticating madness, I’ll be perfectly happy.

Green Lantern #46

Creative team: Story by Geoff Johns; Art by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy

Villain to Watch: Sinestro

They say: For months, Mongul has wrested control of the Sinestro Corps. Now Sinestro wants a word with him. And Hal wants a word with Sinestro. But in the midst of Blackest Night, they’ll all become the hunted as the fallen Sinestro Corps members rise. What will happen? Here’s a hint: Sinestro gets some serious payback.

I say: And Green Lantern book with Sinestro is a good Green Lantern book. A book in which the yellow-ringed-one exacts revenge is guaranteed gold. (See what I did there?) Say, if Black Lanterns hunt Sinestro Corpsmen… and if, as it’s been intimated in previous Blackest Night books, Black Lanterns can be damaged by combining the lights of the emotional spectrum… can a Hal Jordan / Sinestro team-up be far behind? I’ll go one further, could this be a modicum of redemption for Sinestro? After all, if Jordan can be redeemed, what’s to say that Sinestro couldn’t take a shot?

Secret Warriors #8

Creative team: Story by Jonathan Hickman; Art by Alessandro Vitti

Villain to Watch: HYDRA

They say: Nick Fury and a long-dormant spy now reactivated continue their top-secret mission while the kids get in way over their heads as they go up against members of the Dark Avengers and the Thunderbolts…and while no one else is looking, HYDRA’s grand plans continue to unfold. All that and Ares is finally reunited with his son – watch the sparks fly!

I say: I’ve been running hot-and-cold on Secret Warriors, but I have to say that Nick Fury is one of the most interesting figures in the Marvel Universe for this past six months or so. The development between Ares and him has made that fact even stronger. In a week with a significant number of strong contenders, I’m putting this title on the list at the expense of a couple others.

Honorable mentions: Dark Reign: Hood #5, Blackest Night Titans #2.

…And One To Pass…

Avengers / Invaders tradepaperback

Creative team: Story by Jim Krueger and Alex Ross; Art by Steve Sadowski

Villain to Watch: Red Skull

They say: Legends Live Again. The original Invaders (Captain America, Bucky, Human Torch, Toro, and the Sub-Mariner) return in an all-new tale by the award winning team behind Earth X, Justice and Project Superpowers. The greatest super-team of World War II finds themselves transported from the battlefields of the Second World War to a future they never imagined! Now, the Invaders find themselves confronted by two teams of Avengers who want desperately to believe these heroes are who they say they are, while Tony Stark faces his greatest challenge since the Civil War as he must deal with the “return” of Steve Rogers. Confronted by a world they barely recognize, the Invaders will have to show two teams of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes just what kind of power, courage and sheer determination it took to defeat the forces of unrelenting evil in the Twentieth century. In fact…they may just have to do it again in the Twenty-First.

I say: This series lost me quickly. I thought it was rendered beautifully, but the plot was murky and hard to follow, and I quickly lost interest.

DisHonorable mention: Marvel Divas #3, Gotham City Sirens #4.