This Week in Geek 4/22/09

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. Also, feel free to post your comments in the new “comments” section below.

wolvndy_mphc_mediumThe list of the top 300 comics in sales for March came out this week and with it, I can breathe a little easier. After months of biting my fingernails and worrying about the future of comics like Guardians of the Galaxy (58th) and Nova (62nd), I was happy to see both titles moved up in sales, possibly fueled by sales of War of Kings #1, which checked in at the 14th spot on the chart—much higher than I expected. Other titles that saw big jumps were Deadpool #8 (26th) and Thunderbolts #130 (30th), which are currently in the midst of a crossover. The top two comics were once again Avengers titles—Dark Avengers #3 and New Avengers #51—and in the number-three spot was Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1. I was shocked to see Ultimate Wolverine Vs Hulk in the number-nine spot, with it being more than three years late. It just goes to show, as much as we complain about late comics and grossly missed shipping dates, we comic fans love the abuse. Besides, Marvel wouldn’t beat us if they didn’t love us, right? For the complete list, click here.

Speaking of Wolvie, as you know, the new “Wolverine Origins” movie premiers next week and Marvel has released a barrage of titles staring the Old Canuklehead in conjunction with the film. One of my favorite Wolverine stories has been reprinted and is hitting stores this week. Wolverine: Not Dead Yet, by Warren Ellis and Lenil Francis Yu, has been collected and is being released in a Premiere Hardcover format. The story deals with a mercenary from Wolvie’s past named the White Ghost who has seemingly returned from the dead. It’s a wonderful tale of espionage and superheroes as only Warren Ellis can tell. Not Dead Yet reprints Wolverine #119-#122 and retails for $19.99.

Lots of great new comics this week to talk about so let’s get to it. Below you’ll find the list of titles I’ll be picking up this Wednesday, April 22. For a complete list of this week’s new comics click here. To find a comic shop near you click here.

Astonishing X-Men #29
Avengers: The Initiative #23
Batman and the Outsiders #17
Daredevil #118
Dark Reign: Elektra #2 of 5
Detective Comics #853
Guardians Of The Galaxy #13
Hulk #11
Immortal Iron Fist #25
Incredible Hercules #128
Mighty Avengers #24
New Avengers #52
Supergirl #40
Thor #601
X-Force #14

There’re a few titles on my list this week that are on “last chance” status before they are dropped. Avengers Initiative isn’t bad, but since the end of Secret Invasion, has felt a little directionless. Also on the list is Hulk. I’m starting to wonder why I read this title. It’s not bad and a fun read usually, but is far from the Incredible Hulk title written by Greg Pak that it was spun-off from. We, the readers, still have no idea who the Red Hulk is, and after 11 issues, I’m not sure I even care anymore. Rounding out the list is Dan Slott’s Mighty Avengers. I want to love this title, I really do. I’m just not sure we, the readers (again), need this title. Presently, the New Avengers title is telling the story of the Avengers proper, while Dark Avengers is showing us the bad guys masquerading as Avengers while the Mighty Avengers has a cast of B-listers. Yes; as much as I love him, Hercules is a B-lister on some type of magic adventure on the trail of the Scarlet Witch. I just don’t know if I care, but, like I said, I’m giving each of these titles one more shot.

For those of you chasing the Wolverine Art Appreciation Variant covers, make sure you look out for the variants of Amazing Spidey #592, Hulk #11 and Daredevil #118.

Now, here’s my Speculator Picks for the Week. These are comics that, for one reason or another, I’m predicting will sell out very quickly only to resurface on the web for ridiculous prices.

New Avengers #52 Bachalo Variant: Marvel Comics

newavengers52variant

Solicitation: Who is the new Sorcerer Supreme? The entire Marvel Universe hangs in the balance as the Avengers race to help the fallen Doctor Strange battle the forces of the Dark Dimension as they make their earthly power play.

• 32 PGS
• $3.99 US
• FEB092493
Written by Brian Michael Bendis; Pencils by Billy Tan and Chris Bachalo; Cover by Billy Tan; 1:15 Variant cover by Chris Bachalo.

Why it’ll go fast: It’s simple math: If you look at last months sales numbers on New Avengers—95,340—and divide that number by 15, you end up with 6,356 variant covers. That’s a pretty rare comic. The trick is getting the variant for the right price. If you can grab a 1:15 variant cover of a comic like New Avengers for under $8, I would recommend doing so. If you can get it for cover price I want to know where you shop. These variants are already rare, there’s no question of that. The real question is will they hold their value? In the sense that a 1:15 variant will be worth thousands of dollars some day? Probably not. Will they be worth more than $8? Without a doubt.

Dark Reign: Elektra #2 of 5: Marvel Comics

drkrelek002_cvr_medium

Solicitation: Even for a lethal ninja assassin who’s been to the far side of death and back, Elektra faces the fight of her life! Freed from her torment at the hands of mad Skrull scientists, and delivered straight into the grabby hands of Norman Osborn and H.A.M.M.E.R., Elektra’s been imprisoned, tortured, vivisected, and even replaced with a genetic double. But the deadliest woman in the world still managed to free herself, and now, hobbling and wounded, she struggles to clear her name for her impostor’s crimes even as she fights to stay alive!

• 32 PGS
• $3.99 US
• FEB092501

Why it’ll go fast: I picked up issue one on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. Issue #1 checked in at the 41st spot on the sales chart for last month. Most retailers tend to order higher on issue #1 of a mini-series than of #2, for obvious reasons. It’s always easier to sell a first issue. Look for issue #2 of this Elektra mini to sell out pretty quickly, especially with the buzz going around on how good the first issue was.

Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight #2 of 3: DC

azr-cv2_medium

Solicitation: The Suit of Sorrows worn by Azrael grants the power of wrathful vengeance. It magnifies the wearer’s sins of imperfection. It is a death sentence waiting to be exacted. So then why do so many people want it? And why does Azrael, the new soldier for the Order of Purity, refuse to give it up even when he knows it will eventually kill him? With Gotham City torn apart by BATTLE FOR THE COWL, the new Azrael seeks to fill the void left by Batman’s absence and redeem his tainted legacy, but the League of Assassins wants the suit for Talia and her own heir to The Dark Knight’s mantle. And through it all, someone watches, waiting to snatch the prize from the winner…

• 32 PGS
• $2.99 US
• FEB090160
Written by Fabian Nicieza; Pencils by Frazer Irving; Cover by Guillem March.

Why it’ll go fast: Mark another hash in the “pleasant surprise” category for Azreal. Issue one was a great read and left me wanting more. Azrael #1 checked in at #36 on last month’s sales chart, but like Elektra, I would expect most retailers to decrease their order on #2. Keep in mind that when retailers are ordering their monthly comics, they do so two months ahead of time. It’s not uncommon for a title like Azraeal, which sold well with issue #1 and was well received by fans to sell even better with issue #2, but be even harder to find due to unforeseen demand. Don’t be surprised to have trouble finding issue #2 if you don’t get to your local comic shop early.

Indy Comic of the Week:

The Beats a Graphic History: Hill and Wang

Solicitation: From Publishers Weekly: “Well researched and earnest, this book might work best as a superficial Cliffs Notes on the beats, but in no way does it inspire or open the mind as the works of the authors covered do. Much of this volume feels like leftovers from coauthor Pekar’s American Splendor, and one wonders if that magazine’s ‘drab and normal’ style of illustration is appropriate for the more adventurous/experimental/flamboyant beats. Nor does it help that the art used on the best-known authors (Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs) feels rushed, with little detail and little variation. Because Joyce Brabner’s script about ‘Beatnik Chicks’ takes a genuinely critical eye to an aspect of the beats others prefer to ignore—their rampant sexism— it’s probably the best and most passionate writing in the collection, with Jerome Neukirch’s art for the bio of proto-beat Slim Brundage being the artistic standout illustrations. Lance Tooks, Peter Kuper and Nick Thorkelson also make strong contributions, while Jeffrey Lewis’s story on poet/musician Tuli Kupferberg is a wonderful puzzle piece to work through; it’s the most ambitious entry and may be the truest to the artistic vision of the beats themselves.

Why you should care: If you haven’t read Kerouac’s On the Road, now is your chance to see why so many clove-cigarette-smoking hipsters are crazy about him and the other Beat writers. I went through a phase shortly after high school where I had to read every poem, essay and dirty limerick written by these guys. Not for the faint of heart but the Beats will certainly be an interesting read.

Nerdy Question of the Week:

Last week the rumor that Geoff Johns and Jim Lee would be taking over JLA spread like wild fire. The rumor got me to thinking. When was the last time JLA was great? Even though the title sells in the top 10 every month it’s hasn’t been great for a while. What was the last JLA story you loved or do you love the current storyline? Discuss.

Thanks again for your continued input and keep the answers to the nerdy questions coming. 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 below in the “Leave a Reply” section below. Want to know what your comics are worth? Join WorthPoint for free and post your comics in the “Ask a Question” section. Remember to post the title, issue number and cover price.

Matt Baum is a Worthologist who specializes in comic books.

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