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Greetings, Nerd Bastards readers, Jake here from The Hall of Comics – where heroes shop. I’m a bag and boarded professional. My passion (and business) is to read, write about and sell comics. In an alliance forged in the stars, The Hall of Comics will be dropping by Nerd Bastards weekly, to bring you the latest word and the weeks best pulls in comics. So sit back, grab a snack, and check out what latest comic titles you should be reading.

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Justice League #40 is the prologue to Darkseid War and it proves what I guessed a few weeks back: writer Geoff Johns should have been the architect of DC’s Convergence event. The entire issue is back story and exposition to set you up for this story arc, an issue #0 if you will. Johns does it thru the eyes of the New Gods character, Metron, and makes it very compelling. There are references to past multiverse events, much like in Convergence, as well as a reference to Convergence itself. Johns’ writing is concise and full of anticipation, not repeatedly going in circles. Simply put, it has a plot that goes somewhere and makes sense in an exciting fashion, something big crossover events often lack. It doesn’t hurt that the art chores are shared by Jason Fabok, Kevin Maguire, Phil Jimenez and Dan Jurgens. I’d stepped away from JL for a while, and this really pulled me back in. I’m looking forward to seeing this arc in full swing.

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If you stepped away from Superior Iron Man, or never tried it because you didn’t like the idea of seeing Tony Stark as a bad guy, it’s time to rectify that decision. Granted, when Tom Taylor first started the engine on this series it took a couple of tries to turn over. But she’s revvin’ up real good now. In the most simple terms, it’s classic Good Tony vs modern Bad Tony (although “corrupt” is a more fair description.) It’s a lot of fun seeing the world’s smartest engineer, who has endless funds, try to outsmart himself. Tony Stark makes a fascinating antagonist, someone with different goals & aspirations than your typical super villain. The B story with Teen Abomination is a nice one, but it sometimes feels shoehorned into the A story, the two never really assisting each other. I particularly enjoy the fact that each version of Tony is aware how many traits they share. But in the good one’s case it’s a source of shame, while bad Tony knows it’s part of his strength and revels in it.

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This week’s new series from Image is Pisces. It’s a sci-fi/horror yarn with touches of 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Dead Zone, crossed with The Deer Hunter. Sounds good, right? It is, although I wasn’t entirely sure what I was reading while I read it. It moves thru time, jumping back & forth in the memories of former fighter pilot and Vietnam War vet Dillon Carpenter. I enjoyed Johnnie Christmas’s art here just as much as I did on Sheltered. His faces are expressive to the point of exaggeration, but it works really well in this context. It might have benefited from a more muted color palette than what Tamra Bonvillain used. Writer Kurtis J. Wiebe’s other book right now is Rat Queens, but don’t be fooled. This is a much different story with intense violence and a very dark overtone.

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It’s sad when things end. Unless they end well, then it’s awesome. So let’s talk about endings ’cause there are two biggies this week. It can’t truly be said that Jonathan Hickman’s run on Avengers is ending, since he’ll seamlessly morph the story into Secret Wars, but this double-sized book is the final issue of Avengers. I’ve stuck with Hickman through his entire opus on the title and its sister book, New Avengers, because I’d put too much in the pot and I had to see his cards. I’m sure many of you walked away from what became endless rehashing of moments with weighty gravitas and poetic explanations of each character’s fated roles. If you did leave half way thru, treat yourself to a satisfying climax and pick this up. Hickman redeems himself (not sure tho’ that he really needed to) and achieves the impossible. He brings it all back ’round full circle in a grand confrontation of Shakespeare-like proportions without a lot of the overly wordy, scientific mumbo-jumbo that the book has become known for. The issue also acts a prologue to Secret Wars, smartly written so that readers who haven’t been keeping up with events in Avengers could pick this up and understand how things get to where they do. This ought to be remembered as one of the most dramatic, character wise as well as cosmically, Avengers books ever. (NOTE: Read this week’s New Avengers #33 first, then Avengers #44, then Secret Wars #0 comes out Saturday for Free Comic Book Day, followed by #1 next Wednesday.)

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Fear not, my review of Batman #40 will be spoiler free. It’s also entirely pointless because if all the buzz and general consensus on this series’ level of epic-ness hasn’t already made you read it, then nothing I can say here will. A few observations, though: When a team has already established as good a run as Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have, they can’t really get much better. So remind yourself how consistent their quality has been and temper your expectations. I will say, however, that Capullo does manage to wring every last bit of flavor out of every line he puts down. The ferocity and detail in the fight between Batman and the Joker (or is it the Batman and just Joker?) won’t soon leave your memory. Unlike many DC comics in recent memory, especially Batman issues, this book is already sold-out at the distributor. And not just the regular cover, but all of the variants as well. Folks expect a lot from this ending to the Endgame story arc and the anticipation is high – will it live it up to it? I’ll wager that most will find it satisfying. If you don’t, then ask yourself, what would you prefer had happened instead?

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In case you didn’t know already, this Saturday is Free Comic Book Day. It’s an industry wide event that most comic shops participate in. There are loads of comic books from just about every publisher that are made to be given away, no strings attached, specially for this day. Some of them are glorified ads, some of them are honest-to-goodness stories that introduce a new series or give you a taste of an existing tile. Regardless, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the medium. Go check out a shop you haven’t been to before or support your regular one, or both. Better yet, drag a friend with you who doesn’t know the first thing about comics and thinks he or she doesn’t like ’em… yet. For retailers, this is our Super Bowl and we love celebrating it with you, the fans. Enjoy it!

Alright kiddies, that’s it for me this week. Tune in next week for another addition of “Meanwhile at The Hall of Comics”. Wanna know what else is out this week? Check out the full list of releases at The Hall of Comics NEW RELEASE page HERE.

*The Hall of Comics  is the comic book fan’s ideal store. We strive to earn the respect of every collector who walks through our doors, from long time fanatics to speculators to brand new fans. This always-passionate, always-original community is what we thrive on. We’re excited to inspire our fellow fans and share with them our love of reading as well as collecting.

The Hall of Comics is located at 3 Turnpike Road in Southborough, MA!

Category: Comics, Featured, reviews

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