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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The GeekRex Comic Buyer's Guide (8/13/14)

We know walking into your local comic shop or browsing the new titles on Comixology can be harrowing, particularly with the rising prices of comics. The GeekRex team feels your pain, so that's why each week two members of our team will collaborate and highlight the "must-buys" of every Wednesday, and we'll make sure we keep the tab under 20 bucks. Props to MultiversityComics for coming up with the great idea–we hope you like our spin on it!

Week's Team: Kyle & Shane

 Batman #34 - $3.99 - With the year long Zero Year finally over, Batman has just one issue before launching five years into the future in September.  So what do you do?  Why a one shot with none other than Matteo Scalera on art!  This probably means we will not see Capullo's art on this book until issue 35 in October, but two months absence isn't so bad.  With the main Bat-book having to catch up with everything going on in Batman Eternal, hopefully this isn't too jarring a read for readers who haven't been following the weekly series.

Hulk #5 -$3.99 - It didn't take very long, but Hulk is changing writers already.  To be fair, Mark Waid has been writing the character since Indestructible Hulk at the beginning of Marvel NOW.  Now long time Deadpool scribe Gerry Duggan takes over the reins, with Mark Bagley staying on art to smooth the transition.  Marvel teases that this issue may see the Hulk stay with Banner never to return now that the monster's mind has been vastly improved with the help of Extremis.  With a gorgeous Alex Ross cover to boot, this should be a nice jumping on point.

Justice League United #4 - $3.99 - DC's most fun comic continues to roll on as we see the final installment of "Justice League of Canada". In truth, I'm mostly excited about this for its lead-up to the upcoming "Infinitus Saga" which will feature Lemire tackling The Legion of Superheroes for the first time. Regardless, JLU continues to carry the torch and feel of the DC Animated Universe. If you feel disaffected at all with the current direction of Justice League, I really urge you give Lemire and McKone's book a gander, you might be surprised with how delightful a series it is.

Zero #10 - $2.99 - Last month's installment of Zero may very well have been my favorite single issue of 2014. Much like last year's Pizza Dog issue of Hawkeye and Thor: God of Thunder #12, it's gotta be followed up on. Luckily, Ales Kot is the kind of writer that doesn't let momentum slow. Zero is a bit like an espionage version of Planetary and is quickly becoming an essential read each week. Expect this to land pretty highly with me in my end of the year list.

Original Sin #7 - $3.99 - In what feels like one of Marvel's quickest summer event books ever, Original Sin only has two issues remaining.  Previously, we had learned that Nick Fury has been secretly keeping Earth safe from whatever creatures threatened the planet and is now looking for a replacement (good money says it's Winter Soldier).  This job put Fury in direct conflict with the Watcher, tying us back into the whole point of this arc.  With the Avengers seemingly playing a big role again, it should be fun to see this story come to a close.  Hopefully Jason Aaron can hit a home run where others have failed.

Total Price: $18.95

Pick of the Week:

The Doom Patrol Omnibus by Grant Morrison, Richard Case and various artists

We've been talking about "Moz" a good deal on the site lately, and with good reason, as he's one of the few consistently great writers still working in Big Two superhero comics. Along with Warren Ellis, who is edging out of Marvel again for more creator-owned Image work, he's about all that's left of the Alan Moore-Neil Gaiman-Peter Milligan-Jamie Delano "British Invasion" class of writers that still produce regular work in mainstream comics. Doom Patrol was one of his earlier assignments for DC, and followed very closely on the heels of his classic run on Animal Man. What differs between the two though, is that rather than attempt to ape other writers (as Morrison admits to being highly influenced by Alan Moore for the early issues of Animal Man), Doom Patrol embraces that earlier series' mind-bending back-half from the very beginning.

Working with artist Richard Case for the majority of the series' duration, Morrison reinvented the classic 60's Doom Patrol lineup, a team that somewhat resembled the outcast status of Marvel's X-Men but in a much uglier, art-deco kind of way. Taking this concept a step-further, Morrison reinvented the team as a stand-in for the "outsiders" in society, including Robotman (who acted as a metaphor for the struggles of those living with physical disabilities), Crazy Jane (representing mental illness), Rebis (gender dysphoria), and Dorothy Spinner (physical deformities). This is a series that challenged readers ideas of what is considered "normal" and did it through the lens of infusing the low brow of comics with high art, including embracing post-modernism and the art meets philosophy of Dada. In many ways, Morrison and Case's work on this series was the next logical step after Jim Steranko's all too brief work on Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

While Animal Man introduced a number of concepts that would reappear in Morrison's work for years on end, Doom Patrol is the first time we get a chance to see Morrison truly unleashed on the world of superheroes and its absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in just how far the genre can stretch

It's a bit pricey, but an essential tome of DC lore, and can be purchased here.

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