Blackest Night #4

Creative team: Story by Geoff Johns; Art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert

Villain to Watch: Sinestro

They say: Summer’s hottest event explodes in this critical issue! Hold on to your power rings, because the secrets behind the Blackest Night finally stand revealed! While Earth is evacuated, Hal Jordan embarks on a brave journey to the darkest depths to uncover the truth behind the Black Lanterns! You won’t believe what he uncovers!

I say: This week, it’s Blackest Night week in your comic shop. True, there are some Dark Reign titles on the shelves, but the main points of interest are going to be in the Blackest Night storyline. And it all starts with Blackest Night #4, which promises to be the closing point of the Second Act in this massive arc. We’re told we’re going to begin to see how Our Heroes will be able to turn back the MarvelDC Zombies. Look for big moves from the mysterious Indigo Tribe. And, my spider-sense that the writers will finally tip their hats to their reasons for this entire series. See, I’ve long held that Blackest Night is a sweeping machination to restart/reset/reboot several characters (like Batman) in the DC Universe. Now’s a pretty good time in the story for them to foreshadow how this is going to happen. Or not.

Blackest Night Teen Titans #3

Creative team: Story by J.T. Krul; Art by Ed Benes and Rob Hunter

Villain to Watch: Black Lantern Hawk

They say: With their backs against the walls of a battered Titans Tower, the few remaining Titans face their dead former teammates who have now become Black Lanterns!

Meanwhile, one Titan discovers a secret weapon…but at what price?

I say: I was lukewarm on this series, but it has turned out fairly decent, so I’m sticking with it.

I’m hanging with the Changeling and Wonder Girl arcs, but I’m really enthralled with the HawkBlack Lantern Hawk and Dove arc. Besides, Benes’ art is tight, and his work on this piece is worth the price of admission on its own.

Fantastic Four #572

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

Villain to Watch: Dr. Doom (and all of the alternate-reality Dooms)

They say: This is the shocking conclusion to dramatic first arc from Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham that spins Marvel’s first family into a bold new era of adventure. Be there to see Reed Richards solve everything.

I say: Here’s another title that I was very doubtful of. I’m still somewhat suspicious of a short-sleeved, muscle-bound Reed Richards, but aside from character design, the new creative team has been hitting ’em out of the park.

Hickman has set up a very intriguing story with his Legion of Reeds and the Prison of Dooms. Besides, take a close look at the cover. Long sleeves. The way Kirby intended it. There’s hope, after all.

Green Lantern #47

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

Villain to Watch: “Agent Orange” Larfleeze

They say: The war between the Blue Lanterns and Agent Orange implodes as the universe darkens! But a strange turn will send this epic battle in an unexpected direction when Larfleeze has something he desperately hordes taken away from him!

I say: Larfleeze has the potential to be an incredible character in the DC Universe. He’s like a ring-slinging Gollum, protecting all he holds Precious with extreme prejudice.

And I have to be honest with you, when it comes to Orange vs Blue, I’m rooting for Orange all the way. I’m hoping for a paring down of the Lantern Spectrum. And I’m hoping it starts with those Blues. It’s unlikely to happen in this issue, but I can dream, can’t I?

Ms. Marvel #46

Creative team: Story by Brian Reed; Art by Phillipe Briones

Villain to Watch: Karla “Moonstone” Sofen

They say: There’s only room for one Ms. Marvel, and both Carol Danvers and Karla Sofen will kill to take the mantle. It’s the ultimate showdown of Dark Reign as the lines between good and evil are blurred…and the last Ms. Marvel standing will face the surprise ending of the year!

I say: I’ve somewhat fallen away from this title, but it doesn’t look as if I’ve missed much. Karla Sofen and Carol Danvers are still brawling for the title of Ms. Marvel.

The solicit is foreshadowing a win for Sofen, which is actually somewhat pleasing. I’ve always liked how she has reacted to assuming the role of Ms. Marvel. And, heck, Danvers has her choice of, what, three other aliases she could fall back on? Win-win, my friends.

Honorable mentions: Dark Reign Young Avengers #5, Guardians of the Galaxy #19, Hulk #16, Incredible Hercules, Last Days of Animal Man #6, Nova #30.

Trading Up…

One-Thousand Comic Books You Must Read (Hardcover)

By: Tony Isabella

They say: The volume of stunning artistry and memorable characters in this one-of-a kind guide entices both seasoned and casual collectors. Readers will find comic books produced between 1930 and the present, from all genres, represented by cover with background details including publisher, year of imprint, series and issue numbers, intriguing story notes and the reason it was chosen for this unique book.

I say: I’ll tell you right now that Tony’s a FOB*, but I wanted to take a moment to mention his book — especially at this time of the year. If you’re like me, you take great delight in turning on your non-comics-reading friends to some good stuff that makes them into comics fans. I’ve actually turned on my wife to a few good books, and my father-in-law now knows more about comics history than he ever thought he would give brain space to. If you share my crusade, Isabella’s book is a nice resource for you. You can treat it like a catalog, spying stuff that might be useful in turning more friends and family members into rabid fans. It’s also an awesome way to look at comics history, with tremendous information on each entry by a true comics scholar.

Honorable mention: Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne.

…And One To Pass

Marvel Divas #4

Creative team: Story by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa; Art by Tonic Zonjic

Villain to Watch: Daimon Hellstrom

They say: All your questions will be answered here, True Believers! When the real intentions behind Daimon Hellstrom’s indecent proposal come to light, does it mean that once again, Patsy Walker is going to Hell? Also, now that Monica’s helped Doctor Voodoo obtain the dread monkey’s paw, does that means HE now owes HER? After Felicia’s fight with the Puma last issue, is there any way their relationship can survive? And when a blast from the past re-enters Angelica’s life, will it be at the moment of her greatest triumph or most crushing defeat? All bets are off in the heart-stopping conclusion of this high-buzz mini-series!

I say: Yawn.

Dishonorable mentions: Gotham City Sirens, Tribute to Michael Jackson, King of Pop, Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink.

*Friend Of Brad