Amazing Spider-Man #599

Creative team: Story by Joe Kelly; art by Marco Chechetto

Villain to Watch: Norman Osborn

They say: “American Son” concludes! It’s the ultimate battle between friend and family as Spidey’s battle against the Iron Patriot and his Dark Avengers leaves one man with a choice too painful to contemplate. Plus, with wedding plans at high-fervor, Pete’s identity stands revealed to the person who stands to be most changed by the information.

I say: This has been a solid Pull since the American Son arc began. And you just know they have something big planned for issue 600. So you might as well jump in now so you’re ready for it. By the way, if you haven’t called your comic shop to have them reserve a copy of #600, this might be a good time.

Blackest Night #1

Creative team: Story by Geoff Johns; art by Ivan Reis

Villain to Watch: Black Hand

They say: Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis raise the dead in the most anticipated comics story of the year! Throughout the decades, death has plagued the DC Universe and taken the lives of heroes and villains alike. But to what end? As the War of Light rages on, the prophecy of the Blackest Night descends upon us, with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps at the center of it all. Don’t miss this 8-issue epic taking the DCU beyond the grave!

I say: This is the Must-Read storyline of the DCU this summer. The lead-up has been tight, and the stage has been set for some amazing stuff. Don’t read this because it’s an Event. Read it because it’s a Great Event.

Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1

Creative team: Story by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi; art by Rags Morales and a cadre of others

Villain to Watch: Star Sapphire

They say: Bear witness to Blue Lantern Saint Walker’s pilgrimage of hope, Star Sapphire Carol Ferris’ sacrifice for love, Green Lantern Kilowog’s courageous beginnings, Red Lantern Vice’s source of rage, Orange Lantern Blume’s bizarre creation, and the first appearance of the mysterious Indigo, leader of the Indigo Tribe!

I say: In for a penny; in for a pound.

Dark Reign: Dark Avengers / X-Men Utopia

Creative team: Story by Matt Fraction; art by Mike Deodato

Villain to Watch: Emma Frost and Norman Osborn

They say: The Dark Avengers / Uncanny X-men crossover continues. San Francisco teeters on the brink of absolute chaos and the X-Men keep getting in the way of Norman’s vision of law and order. So Norman takes his game to the next level: who are the DARK X-MEN? And will Norman’s Avengers play nice with Norman’s X-Men?

I say: I got hooked on this with the kick-off in Uncanny X-men. Part of that may have been the stunning Silvesti art. Still, it’s enough to get me in the door for this issue. Besides, Marvel’s Dark Avengers stuff has been hard to beat lately. But don’t take my word for it; check out the 5-page preview at Newsarama.

Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape #3

Creative team: Story by Ivan Brandon; art by Marco Rudi

Villain to Watch: Amanda Waller

They say: Why do you fight? Are you not happy here? Are you not provided for? The Global Peace Agency loves you. Why would you ever leave? The recent reports of torture and death in Electric City are greatly exaggerated. We will protect you. Just tell us everything you know…

I say: As I said earlier, I was prepared to hate this series and I ended up getting sucked in my the obvious homage to TV’s The Prisoner. I’m in for another ish.

…And one to Pass…

Action Comics #879

Creative team: Story by Greg Rucka; art by Fernando Dagnino

Villain to Watch: General Zod

They say: So far, Nightwing and Flamebird’s mission of apprehending Zod’s sleeper agents has gone fairly smoothly. But then they met Az-Rel and Nadira Va-Dim. Now the ‘Bonnie and Clyde of Krypton’ have turned the tables on Earth’s newest protectors. The race to prevent war with New Krypton may be over before it’s even begun! And it’s all in preparation for next month’s crossover event in the SUPERMAN books! Plus: The debut of the Captain Atom co-feature written by Greg Rucka (DETECTIVE COMICS) and James Robinson (STARMAN), the writers of SUPERMAN: WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON! Where has Captain Atom been all this time? And is he back on the side of good – or still on the side of evil?

I say: I’m so not into anything New Krypton. Somebody tell me what I’m missing.

Trading Up

Batman: What Ever Happened To The Caped Crusader?

Creative team: Story by Neil Gaiman; art by Andy Kubert

Villains to Watch: The entire Arkham Asylum gang

They say: Collects BATMAN #685, DETECTIVE COMICS #852, Secret Origins (1986-1990 2nd Series) #36, Secret Origins Special (1989) #1 and Batman Black and White (1996) #2. Written by Neil Gaiman. Art by Andy Kubert, Scott Williams, Mark Buckingham, Bernie Mireault, Matt Wagner and Simon Bisley. Cover by Andy Kubert and Scott Williams. Best-selling author Neil Gaiman (THE SANDMAN) joins a murderer’s row of talented artists in lending his unique touch to the Batman mythos for this Deluxe Edition hardcover! Spotlighting the story “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” in which Gaiman joins artist Andy Kubert and inker Scott Williams for a story that shines a new light on the Batman mythos. Also collects other Gaiman Batman stories.

I say: There’s some awfully good stuff here. It’s an excellent chance to catch up on anything you might have missed.

PvP Awesomology

Creative team: Story and Art by Scott Kurtz

Villains to Watch: The Panda, Scratch Fury

They say: Celebrating 10 years of the second best Webcomic on the entire planet. Every existing PvP collection forged in the flame pits of Asgard by Odin’s Dwarven Blacksmiths into one mighty tome. Includes PvP: THE DORK AGES, PvP AT LARGE, PvP RELOADED, PvP RIDES AGAIN and PvP GOES BANANAS. Also includes the lost, self-published, PvP collection…

I say: There are few people who have mastered the skill of cartooning like Scott has. He’s quite simply one of the best, and the opportunity to hold ten years of PvP in one hardcover volume is quite simply tremendous. It’s the One Thing I’m looking forward to laying my hands on in San Diego next week.