This Week in Geek 8/20

Cover of Amazing Spider-Man 568
Cover of Legion of Three Worlds #1
Cover of Doctor Who: The Forgotten #1

This Week in Geek is a weekly blog about new comics written by Worthpoint Comicbook 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

The dog days of mid-August bring with them going back to school sales, shorter lines at the theaters, rising inflation, a falling American dollar, a rising Olympic medal count and, oh yeah, there’s a presidential race going on. It’s a strange time of summer when the weather is still hot but it feels strangely like fall. Mid-August is a time we find our attentions split between many things, be it school, the Olympics (this year), politics (especially this year), football season (coming very soon!), Bigfoot corpses (I want to believe) or any number of other things that fall will bring.

Hollywood understands we’re busy preparing for the changing of seasons and new responsibilities that come with “back-to-business fall” after our long summer vacation. So instead of continuing the summer blockbuster season theater goers will find themselves offered less choices but higher quality. The comic book world has been modeling itself after Hollywood for years now, even going as far as to call reprints “Directors Cut” editions and new volumes of series “Seasons”, which in my opinion is stupid. They are completely different mediums. However, one could make a strong argument that The Dark Knight made more than any Batman comic ever has so why not mimic Hollywood?

Just as summer blockbuster season sees a reduction in the amount of films released so too do releases from the major comic companies. This week is a light one for new comics but the quality of what’s coming out on Wednesday is what we should be excited for. There’s actually a lot of high quality stuff hitting the selves this week including: Conan the Cimmerian #2, (Truman’s new take on Conan has been excellent) Air #1 (new Vertigo), Robin #177 (the best part of RIP so far), Madman #10 (if you think I have a man crush on ”Joe Casey” you should hear me gush about ”Mike Allred” some time). These are just a few of the books I’m excited for but not my picks of the week. No, my picks for this week are as follows:

”Doctor Who: The Forgotten #1”; IDW; Written by Tony Lee; Art and Cover by Pia Geurra; $3.99.

Why it’s hot: Have you ever found yourself in a conversation wherein you discovered you’ve been missing out on something great for years now? That’s how I feel now that every nerd I know has fallen in love with Doctor Who. I’ve often said “I just don’t get it” or “it’s too damn British” (which isn’t racist, I swear I have lots of British friends) when talking about why I haven’t given Doctor Who a chance. The truth is I’m becoming jealous of my Doctor Who friends and, as of late, have found myself spending a little too much time hovering my cursor over Sci Fi Network’s Doctor Who Season 1 “Add to my queue” button on Netflix.com. OK, I just added it to my queue. Regardless, Doc Who nerds are fired up for this one because it stars every Doctor there has ever been. Which, if you watch Doc Who, probably freaks you right out. For now, I still don’t get it.

Why it’ll go fast: Doctor Who has been enjoying strong cult status for like fifty-years but is still just a cult phenomenon. Doctor Who comics on the other hand have never sold well and, for the most part, are worthless. However, this latest IDW series could prove to be the exception. Much like ”Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files” (1-4 routinely sells for $25.00 and up on Ebay), which was also a Sci Fi Network cult phenomenon, I’m betting The Forgotten #1 will be under-ordered, under-printed and very hard to find in the near future. Unlike The Dresden Files, Doctor Who has not been canceled and has a much larger, and arguably nerdier, fan base. Having ”Y the Last Man” artist ”Pia Guerra” drawing the book doesn’t hurt the hype either.

”Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1”; Written By Geoff Johns; Art and cover by George Perez; $3.99.

Why it’s hot: To begin, everything ”Geoff Johns” does is hot. I have a friend that doesn’t like the way John’s revises continuity but that friend is confused and angry about internal things and misplacing his anger on awesome things like Geoff Johns storytelling abilities. He’s a nice guy, don’t get me wrong, but he’s mistaken. Geoff Johns is one of the best comic writers of our time and I’m not afraid to give a friend a fat lip if he keeps on criticizing him. Now on to ”George Perez”. I have another friend that is wiggling in anticipation of this book mainly due to the Perez art. Old comic nerds love them some George Perez and for good reason. Unlike some aging comic artists (cough-John Byrne-cough) Perez has still got it. The team of Johns and Perez are perfect to finally fix all the weird Legion continuity giving us one definitive Legion of Superheroes team and this is the comic that’s going to do it!

Why it’ll go fast: Final Crisis specials haven’t been selling like Marvel’s Secret Invasion tie-ins. That’s not to say they aren’t good, I enjoyed ”Requiem” and ”Rogues Revenge” more than the actual ”Final Crisis” book, so far. The reorders don’t lie however. Final Crisis and it’s tie-ins have been reordered on much lower levels than Secret Invasion comics. Retailers are slashing their numbers on Final Crisis orders and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Legion of Three Worlds disappear from shelves because of it.

”Amazing Spiderman #568”; Written by Dan Slott; Art by John Romita Jr; covers by John Romita JR, John Romita Sr and Alex Ross.

Why it’s hot: Well three reasons really. The creative team of ”Dan Slott” and ”JR Jr”, the return of the Green Goblin and Anti-Venom all add up to a must have issue of Amazing Spidey this week. Yes I’m still the same guy that drove spikes into my eyes after reading “Spider-Man: One More Day” and demanded the head of ”Joe Quesada”. Still me. I’m also the same guy that stood on top of my local comic shop shirtless waving an American flag and announced that I would NOT be reading anything under the ”Spider-Man: Brand New Day” banner. Yep, also me. However, perhaps Donald Rumsfeld said it best when he said “We go to war with the Army we have, not the Army we want.”. Much like the Iraq war Spider-man has been mismanaged as of late but it’s the only Spider-man book we’ve got and ignoring it is not going to make it go away. I like Dan Slott and love JR Jr. The Green Goblin, count me in. Anti-Venom, I guess I’ll find out if I hate it soon. One thing is for certain, whether you love or hate the current state of Amazing Spidey, everyone is going to pick this one up to see the new Venom, thing, person, whatever…

Why it’ll go fast: Diamond Comics, the monopolistic overlord that is responsible for shipping out everyone’s comics, released their top 300 selling comics for July 2008 and on that list Amazing Spidey, which currently ships three times a month slipped out of the top 20 with issue #565. Something that hasn’t happened for a while. Fans haven’t been crazy about the Brand New Day storyline or the three-issue-a-month shipping schedule on Amazing and sales are beginning to reflect these feelings. I personally don’t remember a time when I wasn’t buying at least one Spidey title a month. But issue #568 looks like good old Spidey fun in the Mighty Marvel tradition and dipping sales mixed with dipping orders are going to make this issue a quick sell out.

You heard it here first: Matt Baum recants on Spider-man, plans on buying issue tomorrow. Where did I leave that spine of mine? Until next week, keep the questions coming, feel free to post to the forum topics in the comic books community and tell me what you’re reading/collecting. Also, chek 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.