This Week in Geek 12/10

Cover of Detective Comics #851
Cover of Secret Invasion: Dark Reign One Shot
Cover of The Wonderful World of Oz #1

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.

First, a public service announcement: For those of you who, like myself, saw the Punisher: War Zone movie trailer and got excited to see a Punisher movie done right, I say to you, save your eight dollars. Sadly, the latest Punisher film from Lionsgate pictures is utterly terrible. I hated it more than Daredevil, Elektra and both Fantastic Four movies combined. To be quite honest, I felt both the Dolph Lundgren and Thomas Jane Punisher films were far superior to War Zone by far. Do yourself a favor and skip this one. Don’t get me wrong, Ray Stevenson looked great as Frank Castle, and when he was killing criminals the film was at its best. Unfortunately, there was a terrible story and some of the worst acting in recent memory that spelled War Zone’s ultimate demise, and the probable and unfortunate demise of any future Punisher films. All I can say is, why Lionsgate? Why would you hold on to the rights to The Punisher only to put out this steaming pile when Marvel studios probably could have given us the Punisher film that fans have been waiting for? Was it spite? Was it worth the $35 million you spent to make War Zone, which debuted at number 6 this weekend, pulling in an estimated $4 million? Perhaps a better question is, did you learn your lesson? Please leave all further Marvel Comics films in the capable hands of Marvel Studios.

Sincerely;

Comics fans everywhere.

Christmas is a mere two weeks away and I can’t think of a better gift than the Black Canary 13-inch Deluxe Collector Figure. That is, if you are a DC-nerd who has been collecting all the 13-inch DC Deluxe Collector Figures. I’m still kicking myself for not buying the Martian Manhunter figure. All of the figures in this collection have been amazing, and the latest Black Canary figure will make a perfect addition to the previous Green Arrow 13-inch figure. They’re married after all.

Here’s my pile if comics for the week of Wednesday, Dec. 10. As always, I welcome your criticism, praise or threats of bodily harm based on what I am or am not reading/collecting. For a complete list of this week’s new comics click here. To find a comic shop near you click here.

Action Comics #872
Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #2 of 2
B.P.R.D.: War On Frogs #2 of 4
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #20
Captain Britain and MI: 13 #8
Detective Comics #851
DMZ #37
Final Crisis #5 of 7
Green Lantern Corps #31
House of Mystery #8
Justice League Of America #27
Nightwing #151
Punisher: War Zone #1 of 6
Secret Invasion: Dark Reign
Secret Six #4
X-Men/Spider-Man #2 of 4

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.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #1 of 8; Marvel Comics; Written by Eric Shanower; Art and Cover by Skott Young; $3.99.

Why it’s hot: It seems impossible, but somehow until today there has been no complete comic book adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. J.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower and even Homer’s Odyssey were all adapted to comics, but for some reason the beloved L. Frank Baum story of Dorothy and her little dog Toto’s adventures never made the cut. There was a one-shot from Marvel in 1975 based on the movie, drawn by comic’s legend John Buscema, and even a loosely-based-dark-gritty series, titled Oz from Caliber comics in 1995, but no true adaptation of Baum’s book to date. Until today.

Why it’ll go fast: I’m guessing retailers are going to order this issue the same way they order other family friendly comics, very lightly. Kids don’t read comics anymore. Ask any comic shop owner and they’ll tell you their demographic is 18- to 35-year-old males. So why order heavy on the Wizard of Oz? The story is timeless and every comic reader with kids is going to pick up this first issue hoping their kids will love this story as much as they did when they were young. Hell, I don’t even have kids and I’m going to pick up the first issue. I’ll read it to my pugs after my fiancée has fallen asleep. It’s pathetic, I know, but they’re as close as I want to get to having real children.

Secret Invasion: Dark Reign; Marvel Comics; Written by Brian Michael Bendis; Art and cover by Alex Maleev; $3.99

Why it’s hot: If you’ve just finished reading Secret Invasion #8 then you know exactly why the “Dark Reign” storyline is going to be hot. Click here for the official “Dark Reign” trailer. Marvel is positioning Norman Osborne as their very own Lex Luthor and the fans, me included, love it. Osborne, who had been running the Thunderbolts, a team of villains working for the U.S. govt., is being celebrated as the hero after repelling the Skrull invasion, and Tony Stark (Iron Man) is the fall guy. After all it was his own Stark-Tech that failed and his Avengers that not only killed Captain America, but led to the heroes fighting amongst themselves while the Skrulls silently infiltrated their ranks.

Why it’ll go fast: Secret Invasion was a huge hit with each issue as the number #1 selling title for the month it was released. The exact sales numbers for #8 aren’t available yet, but I think it’s safe to say it will outsell Final Crisis #5, due out this Wednesday. The end of Secret Invasion #8 leads directly into the “Dark Reign” storyline and the solicits for the new Marvel Avengers comics look so good that I’m guessing no self respecting Marvel comics fan will pass on this one-shot. Retailers, who may have not known how Secret Invasion would end and whether or not fans would be exhausted by the storyline at this point, may have ordered lower numbers on the Dark Reign one-shot. As a Marvel fan I couldn’t be more excited for the “Dark Reign” storyline and can’t wait to read what Bendis has in store for us.

Detective Comics #851; DC; Written by Dennis O’Neil; Art by Guillem March; Covers by Guillem March, Tony Daniel and Ian Hannin; $2.99.

Why it’s hot: “Batman RIP” was a wild ride that arguably didn’t have a very satisfying ending. Fans are still arguing as to whether or not the main villain, Doctor Hurt, was the devil or not. Regardless of whether you think Batman was tormented by the devil or hooked up to a machine and imagining the RIP storyline it’s safe to say we all want to know what happens to Gotham City in the absence of its Dark Knight.

Why it’ll go fast: Legendary Bat-writer Dennis O’Neil returns to Detective Comics after a 28-years. He’s written some other Bat titles during that time, but not Detective. Regardless of fan backlash over what exactly was happening in the Bat-books, sales remained very strong on both Batman and Detective Comics. Now that Batman appears to be dead, fans are frothing at the mouth as to what happens next. Especially fans of the first Robin-turned-Nightwing, Dick Grayson who looks to play a large part in O’Neil’s two-part story.

It has been brought to my attention that for the life of this blog I have tended to only espouse the value, both collectible and entertainment-based, of comics produced by the largest comic companies. Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse; Corporate Comics. While sadly, the fact is that the most purchased and talked about titles will inevitably be those that have the most collectible value in the future, that does not mean that their shouldn’t be room in your collection for smaller press independent comics. In response to an email I received from an angry-indy-comic-nerd (not an insult) I am adding a new section to this blog called “The Indy Comic of the Week.” This section will be a quick look at a great independent or underground comic hitting the stands each week that you, they loyal and curious reader, might otherwise overlook.

Indy Comic of the Week

Time Management for Anarchists; IDW; Written by Jim Munroe; Art and cover by Marc Ngui; $3.99

When you hate being a boss and you hate being an employee, you have to quit your job before it kills you. The modern reincarnations of Emma Goldman and Mikhail Bakunin begin their journey of self-motivation in a steampunk-tinted world, uncovering productivity tips for creative malcontents. Written by ‘pop culture provocateur’ (Austin Chronicle) and ‘independent press icon’ (Time Out Chicago) Jim Munroe (Therefore Repent!) and drawn by underground comix talent Marc Ngui (Enter Avariz). From the Diamond solicitation.

Sound’s great right? The idea for the comic was borne from a presentation Munroe has been giving on how to be a productive anarchist. You can check out a short flash presentation here.

Well 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.