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This Week in Geek 12-24-08

by Matt Baum (12/26/08).

This Week in Geek is a weekly blog about new comics written by WorthPoint Comic book Worthologist Matt Baum. Every Wednesday Matt takes a look at the week’s new comics from a collector’s point-of-view and discusses which books may be hard to find in the near future and why. Make sure to click on the hot links for previews and more information on the comics, characters, story-lines and creators discussed here.

Welcome to a very special X-mas Eve/3rd day of Hanuka edition of This Week in Geek. I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a happy holiday of your choice and remind you that with the end of the year upon us it’s time to start discussing the best and worse of 2008. Also, as of January, this blog is officially 1-year-old. Please email me your birthday wishes or feel free to respond to the blog below in the new “add a comment section.” I’ve been begging for this feature for about a year now and finally the WorthPoint programming overlords have listened. So use it, nerds! Tell me what you think, what you’re reading, how stupid I am or how smart you are. All feedback is appreciated.

Before we get into this week’s comics, I should mention that I will be available for most of the day tomorrow if you need any last minute gift ideas for your nerd. My email will be forwarded to my phone until about 4:00 pm Central Time and you can contact me here.

Here’s my pile if comics for the week of Wednesday, Dec. 24. As always, I welcome your criticism, praise or threats of bodily harm based on what I am or am not reading/collecting. You may have noticed a new section below where you can respond to this article, it’s the perfect place to agree with or lash out at me for all to see! For a complete list of this week’s new comics click here. To find a comic shop near you click here.

Batman #683
Daredevil #114
Guerillas #3 of 8
Hulk #9
Immortal Iron Fist #21
Mister X: Condemned #1 of 4
New Avengers #48
Nova #20
Punisher: War Zone #3 of 6
Thor #12
The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #2 of 6
Vigilante #1
Wonder Woman #27

Now let’s talk speculation. As you may or may not know, the purpose of this part of This Week in Geek is to arm the comic nerd with the information he or she needs to make an informed and quality new comic purchase every week. While they might not be worth piles of money, these issues may be pretty hard to find in the near future.

BATMAN #683; DC Comics; Written By Grant Morrison; Art by Lee Garbet; Covers by Alex Ross and Tony Daniel (1:25 variant).$2.99.

Why it’ll go fast: THIS IS THE ISSUE WHEN WE WILL FINALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENED IN BATMAN RIP. I think. I do know that this is Grant Morrison’s final issue on Batman until after the upcoming “Battle for the Cowl” storyline. In true Morrison fashion the whole patchwork of his Batman story should (let me stress the word “should”) come together to form a large and involved quilt that will answer all our questions. Namely questions like, “So is he dead?”, “Was this all in Bat’s head?”, “Am I too stupid to understand a Batman comic?” All should be answered. If not, then you can come throw rocks through my windows and tell me to go live in Scotland with my drunk boyfriend Grant Morrison. I talking to you specifically, Ryan.

HULK #9 Santa Hulk Variants; Marvel Comics; Written by Jeph Loeb; Art by Arthur Adams and Frank Cho, Covers by Adams and Cho (50:50 variant) Santa Variants and Santa wraparound variant (1:100) by Ed Mcguinnes; $2.99.

Why it’ll go fast: I don’t know what the deal is but it seems when Marvel puts a character on the cover in a Santa-Suit comic collectors eat it up. How will you find the Hulk Santa Variants? Well it could be difficult. Retailers needed to exceed their orders on Hulk #4 with their orders of #Hulk #9 to be eligible to order the Santa-Hulk-variants. So say your local shop ordered 50 copies of Hulk #4. If they order 51 copies of Hulk #9 they can then order all the Hulk-Santa variants they want. However, it’s unclear if the variants, there’s two of them (a red Hulk and a green Hulk cover), will ship at a 50:50 ratio or not. What happens if a store only orders one? We’ll find out for certain tomorrow. What does this mean? Some shops will have stacks of the variants while others will have none. Start calling your local shops now if you’re interested. The Black and White wraparound Santa-Hulk variant is a 1:100 incentive cover, meaning retailers will receive one Santa-Hulk-Wraparound cover for every 100 of the regular comics ordered. I have no idea if the regular, color Santa-Hulk-variants count toward the 100 order mark or not. Could this be anymore complicated? I’ll bet covering international money markets isn’t this confusing.

MS MARVEL #34; Marvel Comics; Written by Brian Reed; Art by Paulo Siqueira; Cover by David Yardin; $2.99.

Why it’ll go fast: The “Dark Reign” sellouts start here. For the most part it seems that Marvel fans are excited for the new “Dark Reign” storyline. No doubt this week’s New Avengers #48 will be one of the top selling comics for December but I expect DR tie-ins like Ms Marvel to move back up in sales from 84th on the top selling comics for November to the lower 50′s as it did during the “Secret Invasion” storyline. Series artist Siqueira reminds me of a young Tony Harris with his heavy-lined-realism and interesting point-of-view. Pair the excellent artwork with the writing talent of Brian Reed setting up the first stages of “Dark Reign,” along with retailers cutting back their orders after “Secret Invasion,” and you have a sellout at the comic stands.

Indy Comic of the Week:I

MISTER X: CONDEMDED #1; Dark Horse Comics; Written and Drawn by Dean Motter; $3.50.

I’ve been a fan of Motter’s since I first read his work on the DC/Vertigo series Terminal City. Motter’s Mr. X character first appeared in the 1980′s and became a cult sensation. Mr. X is a radical architect living in Radiant City, a city of the future inspired by Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. The original Mr. X series is still considered to be one of the most influential comics of the 80′s along side Watchmen and the Dark Knight Returns. I highly recommend checking out Motter’s latest offering. Here’s the solicitation from Dark Horse.com

“Twenty-five years ago, Mister X debuted with a concept so clever and a character so captivating that it influenced an entire generation of comics fans and creators. Today, Motter reclaims the reins and sets out to inspire a whole new generation with Mister X: Condemned, a completely fresh introduction to the elusive Mister X and his dystopian home—Somnopolis, the City of Nightmares.

With influences from Film Noir to German Expressionism, this story of a city gone mad and the never-sleeping man who’s obsessed with saving it will amaze anyone interested in masterpiece storytelling born from the vision of a single iconoclastic creator.

One of the most iconic characters of alternative comics—Mister X—is reborn in a new four-part series by his original creator, legendary designer Dean Motter!

“Perhaps the first legitimate combination of science fiction and German Expressionism seen in comics.” —Frank Miller

“A sharp mixture of Raymond Chandler, Blade Runner, Peyton Place, and a post-punk Dante’s Inferno.” —Blitz magazine

That’s all for this week true believers. I truly hope this blog has inspired you to pick up at least one comic book you may have passed on otherwise. If not, email me and tell me what I’m doing wrong. I love criticism, both creative and purely insulting. Also, the end of the year is almost upon us and I want to know your favorite comic of 2008. It can be a single issue, new series, or one-shot. Email me and let me know. Until next week, keep the questions coming. Also, check out my other blog The Comic Speculator, where I discuss classic yet still affordable back-issue comics. If you have any questions about these books or anything else in the comic book world feel free to contact me or post your question in the Comic Book community forum. Want to know what your comics are worth? Join WorthPoint for free and post your titles in the “Ask A Question” section. Remember to post the title, issue number and cover price.

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