This Week in Geek 4/2/09

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.

Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide

Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide

This week Marvel begins a month-long celebration of Wolverine’s 35th birthday with a selection of variant covers for Marvel comics shipping in April. The covers feature artists painting Wolverine in the style of classical artists of time past. The first two ship this week and pay homage to the art of Edward Munch and Gustav Klimt. See my picks of the week section for more on these variants and check back later this week for a story about Wolvie’s 35th birthday.

So there’s the good news. Now, some bad news. Diamond Comics publishing imprint, Gemstone comics, seems to be in some financial trouble. Monday reports leaked that Gemstone, who publishes The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, along with Disney and EC comics, would be shutting down after the new Overstreet Guide ships. As the story began to spread on the net Gemstone executive editor, Jeff Vaughn, posted a quote saying that Gemstone would not be closing but was going through some “painful changes,” and that Disney and EC comics would continue in one form or another. Vaughn went on to say that he couldn’t comment further on the story, but that he had some “very positive” news about the Overstreet Guide that would be revealed later.

In the good news for the Overstreet Guide, Heritage Auctions is offering a digital download version of the new Overstreet Guide available now. For $25, which is $5 off the cover price, you can download a searchable PDF version of the Overstreet Guide. This is big step in the right direction for Overstreet, but I would still like to see a subscription-based website that would update prices on a monthly basis. I still think the guide is a great tool for pricing older comics, but when it comes to newer titles or titles that heat up during the year after the guide’s publication, Overstreet can be all but useless. There’s a niche here that Overstreet could be filling that might even help Gemstone publishing to see profits from it’s guide all year, rather than just in April when the new one hits the stands.

Before we get into this week’s comics, a retraction: Last week I listed Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #5 as one of the new comics arriving in shops that Wednesday, and went as far as to suggest you pick it up. Stupid me; issue #4 hasn’t even shipped yet. It seems the program I’ve been using to monitor new comic shipments was showing me the initial shipping date of issue #5, not the actual shipping date, which is now very, very late. Let’s chalk it up to an early April Fool’s joke and not my early-onset Alzheimer’s. With that said, let’s have a look at the comics actually coming out this Wednesday, April 1. To find a comic shop near you click here. Below you’ll find my pile of comics I’ll be lugging home with me.

Agents of Atlas #3
The Astounding Wolf-Man #14
Batman: Battle For The Cowl: Man-Bat
Black Panther
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #24
Cable #13
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #2 of 5Preview Available!
Deadpool #9
The Destroyer #1 of 5
The Flash: Rebirth #1 of 5
The Invincible Iron Man #12Preview Available!
Justice Society Of America #25
Secret Warriors #3Preview Available!
War of Kings #2 of 6

New stuff in the pile this week worth mentioning includes Robert Kikrman’s Destroyer #1 from Marvel. I haven’t been a fan of his Marvel stuff but love Kirkman’s Invincible, Walking Dead and Astounding Wolfman titles at Image Comics. It seems Kirkman has some trouble when writing other people’s creations, and I have to wonder if Marvel reigned him in a little too much while writing the likes of Spider Man and others. The Destroyer, not the magical-sentient armor from the pages of Thor, but a guy dying of cancer, set in the adult Marvel Max imprint, may be just the original creation Kirkman needs to give us a great Marvel story. And then there’s Man-bat. Starring one of my favorite bat-villains and with a Jose Ladronn cover, I can’t help but find The Battle for the Cowl Man-bat special irresistible. I love Man-bat and have for as long as I can remember, although I can’t seem to remember the last time he popped up. The 2006 Man-bat miniseries? Click here for the skinny on Man-bat.

Agents of Atlas #3: Marvel Comics

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Solicitation: Back in the 1950’s, our heroes fall deeper into the mystery of the Dragon’s Corridor, leading them to Communist plots and two mysteriously familiar bodies on ice. In the present day, a similar trail of intrigue winds back to secret plans of the Atlas Foundation. The Agents look to be building a hellish arsenal for Norman Osborn, and they’ve just gotten the attention of none other than CAPTAIN AMERICA!

Parental Advisory …$2.99
• 32 PGS
• $2.99 US
Written by Jeff Parker; Pencils by Clayton Henry and Gabriel Hardman; Inks by Gabriel Hardman; Cover by Adi Granov; 1:15 Variant Cover by Ed Mcguinness; Wolverine Art Cover Variant by Gerald Parel.

Why it’ll go fast: Issue #1 of Agents checked in at 59 on the top comics ordered for February and sold out very quickly. While actual numbers aren’t available for issue #2 yet, it also sold out and has a second printing shipping next week. What does this mean? Agents of Atlas is as good, or possibly even better, than I told you it would be. Jeff Parker’s group of pulp-inspired heroes are a refreshing shot in the arm for super hero comics and fans are loving them. If you haven’t picked up issues #1-#2 you’ll probably have to settle for the second printings. Issue #3 also ships with one of the Wolverine Art Appreciation variant covers by Gerald Parel in the style of Edward Munch, which retailers are allowed to order one for every 10 issues of the regular cover.

The Flash: Rebirth #1 of 5: DC

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Solicitation: Through the decades, many heroes have taken the mantle of The Flash, but they all ride the lightning that crackles in the wake of the greatest hero the DC Universe has ever known, the man who sacrificed himself to save the Multiverse: Barry Allen!
Following the events of FINAL CRISIS, Barry has beaten death and returned to a fast-paced world that a man out of time wouldn’t recognize. Or is it a world that is only just now catching up? All the running he’s done before was just a warm-up for the high-speed race that he and every other Flash must now run, because even though one speedster might have beaten death, another has just turned up dead! From Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver, the visionaries responsible for the blockbuster GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH and THE SINESTRO CORPS WAR, comes the start of an explosive and jaw-dropping epic that will reintroduce to the modern age the hero who single-handedly birthed the Silver Age of comics! DC history will be made, and the Flash legacy will be redefined!

• 40 PGS
• $3.99 US
Written by Geoff Johns; Pencils by Ethan Van Sciver; Cover by Ethan Van Sciver; 1:25 Variant Cover by Ethan Van Sciver.

Why it’ll go fast: AFTER 3 YEARS OF GARBAGE, GEOFF JOHNS IS GOING TO FIX THE FLASH! I hope. Since Johns left the Flash in 2005, a lot of bad decisions were made resulting in the Flash franchise crashing into the side of the mountain with the last re-launch. For those of us who love the Flash, it’s been awful. Dreadful even. I know who I blame for the current state of the Flash, but that is beside the point. Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver are going to fix everything! Johns has been one of the few points of light in the current disconnected and confusing DCU and fans have been waiting for this new Flash project for more than two years. Flash: Rebirth should be the highest-selling comic of April. If for some reason it’s not, we’ll have further evidence of how badly mismanaged DC is of late. Issue one also ships with an awesome 1:25 variant cover that I can’t see myself being able to resist.

Secret Warriors #3: Marvel Comics

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Solicitation: The most talked-about new Marvel series continues as HYDRA’s plans pick up speed while more remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D. fall. Nick Fury reconnects with an old colleague and finds out that the balance has shifted between him and some of his former soldiers. All that, and the Warriors suffer their first casualty of war.

• 32 PGS
• $2.99 US
• FEB092498
Written by Brian Michael Bendis and Jonathan Hickman; Pencils and Inks by Stefano Caselli; Cover by Daniele Rudoni; Wolverine Art Appreciation cover by Gerald Parel.

Why it’ll go fast: Secret Warriors caught on quick and issues #1 and #2 have sold out quickly. As I’ve been saying for almost a year now, Jonathan Hickman is for real and, if he’s not already, will be one of your favorite writers very soon. This issue also ships with one of the Wolverine Art Appreciation variant covers by Gerald Parel in the style of Gustav Klimt.

The Indy Comic of the Week will return next week.

Nerdy Question of the Week:

A couple of weeks ago I asked you if you thought having Superman leave his two ongoing series for a year was a good thing or bad. Now that we’ve seen the first issues of Action Comics, Superman, and Superman: World of New Krypton sans Supes, are you on board? What did you think of Supes replacements and will you stick around for the story?

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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