Amazing Spider-Man #606

Creative team: Story by Joe Kelly; Art by Mike McKone

Villain to Watch (and we do mean watch): Black Cat

They say: Look out, Spidey! Hot on the heels of his old girlfriend’s trip home, The Black Cat’s back (and front!), sexier and more dangerous than ever! The deck is STACKED as the one woman that loves Spider-Man more than Peter Parker is up to some devilish shenanigans…and nothing bugs Spidey more than shenanigans! BRAce yourself for danger, Spidey! It’s gonna be …umm…sexy?

I say: Usually, I strip the all-caps out of these solicits, but in this case, I left them in so I could take a moment with the writers of these things. Writing STACKED in all-caps when the comic-in-question features a notorious cheesecake character is… kinda amateurish, but forgivable. But “BRAce yourself”?

Do better.

Solicits aside, this looks like a must-have ish in the new, post OMD, Spider-Man continuity. Black Cat has excellently played her part in a Peter Parker – M.J. – Black Cat – Spider-Man love triangle (er, trapezoid), and the cover to this book portends a re-addressing of that situation.

Even if you don’t pull this title regularly, it’s a storyline that you’re going to want to stay aBREAST of.

Fantastic Four #571

Creative team: Story by Jonathan Hickman; Art by Dale Eaglesham

Villain to Watch: Galactus

They say: Reed continues his quest to right all wrongs while Ben and Johnny prepare for a trip to Nu-Earth. Val figures out what her dad is up to and Sue wants to know ‘is that an ultimate nullifier in your pocket?’ All that and a world-eater before breakfast!

I say: I’m still pulling the FF while the new creative team proves itself. And, to be honest, I think they’re proving themselves pretty nicely. The League of Reeds concept has tons of promise. But I’m hoping for the best when I see that Galactus corpse on the cover. A Galactus corpse played a big role in the previous FF story. Even the League of Reeds — which I love — picks up a thread from the earlier arc (the exploiting of potential from FFs across a multitude of dimensions).

I’d hate to see this story become redundant by retreading too much ground from the previous storyline. The FF has always been about breaking new ground and being ahead of the curve in the Marvel U. So let’s break ground already, shall we?

Justice League of America #37

Creative team: Story by Len Wein; Art by Tom Derenick

Villain to Watch: Royal Flush Gang, Roulette and Amos Fortune

They say: It’s the epic finale of the 3-part Royal Flush arc as Roulette and Amos Fortune raise the stakes, and the JLA go all in! But with the odds against them, the team had better pray for a last-minute miracle before their chips are cashed in for good.

I say: The story has been good, but not great. However, there’s my Plastic Man right there on the cover (and not hidden like before), and that alone qualifies this a a solid Pull in my book. It’s the end of the storyline, so the real question is not going to be whether Our Heroes can stop the evil menace of the Royal Flush Gang. The real question is going to be whether these second-banana JLAers are going to stick around and become full-timers in this era of roster uncertainty.

Here’s hoping that the answer is Yes — at least for our Pliable Prankster.

Power Girl #5

Creative team: Story by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justine Gray; Art by Amanda Conner

Villain to Watch (and we do mean… well, you get it): Three sexy aliens

They say: As the trio of sexy alien marauders continue their rampage across Earth, Power Girl tries to figure out how to stop ’em! But with aliens this gorgeous, readers won’t ever want them to leave!

I say: Palmiotti/Gray/Conner is quickly becoming one of the best teams in comics. There’s something about the way the writing and the art blend so elegantly that makes this series an absolute delight to read. This series could have focused on the eye-candy aspect of the main character, and it would have sold fantastically even if it never went any further. Instead, they’ve given us some really solid writing — and cheesecakey goodness.

And they don’t write solicits that make them look like BOOBS.

So any other team that promises a character like Power Girl squaring off against a “trio of sexy alien marauders” would get an eye roll. From this team, you just know it’s going to be a good read.

Spider-Woman #1

Creative team: Story by Brian Michael Bendis; Art by Alex Maleev

Villain to Watch: Unknown

They say: The explosive Eisner award-winning team of Bendis and Maleev reunite for their first ongoing series since Daredevil! Ripped from the pages of New Avengers and Secret Invasion, watch as the gorgeous and mysterious Jessica Drew reenters a society she did not make…as an AGENT OF S.W.O.R.D. This brand new series is a perfect companion to the dazzling Spider-Woman motion comic. Containing new story and artwork not available in any other format. This is the start of a major chapter in one of the most high profile characters in all of Marvel Comics.

I say: Speaking of top creative teams, the much-anticipated Bendis/Maleev Spider-Woman run begins this week. Spider-Woman has become established as a cornerstone character in the Marvel Universe. And these two comics creators have established themselves in a similar spot among comics fans. So this book has got to be an instant Pull.

…And One To Pass…

Final Crisis Aftermath Dance #5

Creative team: Story by Joe Casey; Art by Chris Cross and Rob Armstrong

Villain to Watch: DC, for not giving this series a merciful death

They say: Something sinister is going on in the Super Young Team’s homeland of Japan. Can they put their bickering aside long enough to find the truth? Or will the promise of a more lucrative future keep them from uncovering their nation’s deadliest secret?

I say: This sorry reminder of Final Crisis still walks among us even though the life has long been drained out of it. Actually, considering the state of the DC Universe, that’s kind of fitting, isn’t it? Seriously, A couple of the Aftermath titles have been enjoyable — such as Escape — but this one is unintelligible, indecipherable and unreadable. Pass.