HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
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AZRAEL DEATHS DARK KNIGHT #1 (OF 3), $2.99, 32 Pages, DC Comics
Written by Fabian Nicieza; Art by Frazer Irving; Cover by Guillem March

With just about anyone with any kind of claim to the Batman mantle coming forward now, so it stands to reason that Azrael would make an appearance. It seems pretty clear that he will not be taking up the cowl again this time around, but it is good to see that he is getting some deserved attention. Tough to say how much it will tie into Battle For The Cowl directly, but it will certainly be running along side it. Fabian Nicieza is writing this one, so automatically it shows some promise. It should be interesting to note that this character is probably not going to be the Azrael we are all familiar with – Nicieza has said that John Paul Valley is not going to be the man in the armor. It should be interesting to see how Nicieza develops that – reworking this concept can only add color to Gotham City when it is all said and done.

DEADPOOL GAMES OF DEATH, $3.99, Marvel Comics
Written by Mike Benson, Art by Sean Crystal

You will find little complaint about Deadpool getting a few extra promotional books thanks to his part in the upcoming Wolverine movie. This one shot has some potential – Deadpool finds himself the contestant on a controversial reality show in which the winner is the last one still alive. Sure, he has been hired to find a millionaire’s son, but Deadpool’s moral ambiguity might skew his priorities in this story. Gotta hand it to Benson – this is a great concept for a Deadpool story. Of course, Mike Benson has been the man behind Moon Knight since issue #14. His run has met with mixed reviews, but he has certainly developed a following on that book. Can’t wait to see what he will do with Wade.

GI JOE COBRA #1, $3.99, 32 Pages, IDW
Written by Christos Gage and Mike Costa, Art by Antonio Fuso

Well, the movie is fast approaching, so it is best to get prepared for a slew of G.I. Joe material. This one has an interesting twist on the concept. The book focuses on an undercover agent calling himself “Chuckles” that has been sent to infiltrate the COBRA organization. The idea certainly has a lot of promise, and Christos Gage is writing it, so you can expect quality. Definitely worth giving a shot.

SPIDER-MAN NOIR #4 (OF 4), $3.99, Marvel Comics
Written by David Hine and Fabrice Sapolsky, Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

This mini turned out to be something of a surprise. Marvel frequently releases a few gimmick books like this one, but this time around all of the “Noir” books turned out to be pretty good, and in fact spurred a Wolverine: Noir book which will start out in mid-April. This one is getting wrapped up this month, but if you can’t manage to track down back issues, it is sure to see a trade release soon. It is worth tracking down if you are so inclined… this has been a very enjoyable series.

SUPERGIRL #39, $2.99, 32 Pages, DC Comics
Written by Sterling Gates; Art by Jamal Igle and Keith Champagne; Cover by Joshua Middleton

This book has taken a step forward, but it may not be quite enough. Gates really deserves a lot of credit for shifting the focus on Supergirl from eye-candy to something a little more substantial, but the New Krypton tie-in that launched his run on this book might have done more harm than good. At present, the title is solely focused on the so-called mystery of Superwoman. Trouble is, this was the moment that this book was supposed to focus on Supergirl herself, instead of jumping on a gimmick that doesn’t have a lot of legs. The “reveal” is coming very slowly, and the rest of the story just doesn’t deliver as much as it should.

Perhaps this book will continue to improve once it is out from under the shadow of New Krypton. Gates has made considerable strides, and should be commended for that, but now is the time to start making the reader care about Supergirl herself, instead of trying to convince them that they need to care about Superwoman.

ULTIMATE X-MEN #100, $3.99, Marvel Comics
Written by Aron E. Coleite, Art by Mark Brooks, Karl Story, and Edgar DelGado

Slowly we are reaching the end of the Ultimate Universe as we know it. Coliete was the final writer to take up this troubled book, and to his credit he has done a fairly good job with it. Of course, this latest arc hasn’t been quite so-well received… thus far readers don’t seem very receptive to the Ultimatum event, and the tie-in stories across the board are suffering as a result. This finale might be long-overdue, hopefully Coliete can pull it together and make a solid ending out of it. It would be great to see the title end in a way that validates a little of the promise it had when it began.

UNCANNY X-MEN #507, $2.99, Marvel Comics
Written by Matt Fraction, Art by Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, and Justin Ponsor

The entire X-Men franchise has been on a nice upswing over the past couple years. Brubaker’s Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire was a fairly decent start (and did lead to what has been an outstanding War of Kings event going on now), but Fraction’s start on this title really brought Uncanny X-Men back to excellence. Really, it has gotten to the point where any book with his name on it is worth checking out – you can’t say that about too many other writers in comics today. This is the most enjoyable the X-Men have been in quite some time.

SPOTLIGHT PICK OF THE WEEK

AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL #30, $3.99, Marvel Comics
Written by Ton DeFalco, Art by Ron Frenz, Sal Buscema, and Bruno Hang

Once again, we have the final issue of Spider-Girl. This time around, there seems to be little push to “save” this book. The fact that Spider-Girl is moving over to become a regular part of Amazing Spider-Man Family seems to be mostly responsible for the lack of fan outrage. Still, it is sad to see this ongoing book disappear – Spider-Girl has had its ups and downs over the years, but it always remained remarkably consistent. It was never wrapped up in overhyped event nonsense, and at several points in its long history, it was actually the best Spider-Man book on the market, certainly the closest to what made Spider-Man such a great concept. It will be missed, though not too much since the character will still be around.

DARK HORSE

KULL #5 (OF 6) $2.99 Now: $2.69
STAR WARS KNIGHTS O/T OLD REPUBLIC #39 DUELING AMBITIONS $2.99 Now: $2.69

DC COMICS

AZRAEL DEATHS DARK KNIGHT #1 (OF 3) $2.99 Now: $2.59
BLACK LIGHTNING YEAR ONE #6 (OF 6) $2.99 Now: $2.59
MYSTERIUS THE UNFATHOMABLE #3 (OF 6) $2.99 Now: $2.59
OUTSIDERS #16 $2.99 Now: $2.69
SUPERGIRL #39 $2.99 Now: $2.59
TINY TITANS #14 $2.50 Now: $2.19
WORLD OF WARCRAFT #17 $2.99 Now: $2.59

IDW

ANGEL #19 $3.99 Now: $3.59
GI JOE COBRA #1 $3.99 Now: $3.49

IMAGE COMICS

INVINCIBLE #60 $3.99 Now: $3.49

MARVEL COMICS

AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL #30 $3.99 Now: $3.49
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #588 $3.99 Now: $3.49
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN EXTRA #3 $3.99 Now: $3.49
DARK AVENGERS #3 $3.99 Now: $3.49
DEADPOOL GAMES OF DEATH $3.99 Now: $3.49
ETERNALS #9 $2.99 Now: $2.59
MIGHTY AVENGERS TP VOL 03 SECRET INVASION BOOK 01 $14.99 Now: $11.99
MOON KNIGHT #28 $2.99 Now: $2.69
PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL TP VOL 04 $16.99 Now: $12.99
SPIDER-MAN NOIR #4 (OF 4) $3.99 Now: $3.49
SQUADRON SUPREME TP PRE WAR YEARS $16.99 Now: $13.99
SQUADRON SUPREME TP VOL 01 POWER TO THE PEOPLE $16.99 Now: $13.99
ULTIMATE X-MEN #100 $3.99 Now: $3.49
ULTIMATUM #3 (OF 5) $3.99 Now: $3.49
UNCANNY X-MEN #507 $2.99 Now: $2.69
UNCANNY X-MEN #507 GOLDEN VAR $39.99
WOLVERINE #71 $2.99 Now: $2.69
WOLVERINE ORIGINS #34 $2.99 Now: $2.69
X-FACTOR #41 $2.99 Now: $2.69
X-FORCE #13 $2.99 Now: $2.69
X-MEN FIRST CLASS TP WONDER YEARS $19.99 Now: $15.99
X-MEN LEGACY #222 $2.99 Now: $2.69
YOUNG X-MEN #12 $2.99 Now: $2.59

DC ANNOUNCES ‘CO-FEATURES’

Mark me down as someone who really likes this idea. More content in a comic book is always a good thing, and this idea is a great way to give exposure to some underselling characters, and tell a good story about a character in a team book that doesn’t necessarily get the solo treatment otherwise. So far, DC has announced that we will get Metal-Men back-ups in the new Doom Patrol series, Blue Beetle in the current Booster Gold book, and Ravager will be backing-up the current Teen Titans book.

Yes, it would seem that this is a way of softening the blow of what appears to be an inevitable increase to $3.99 for DC and Marvel books (something you have seen predicted here for some time), but if they are going to increase the price, increasing the content to match seems a good way to do it. Hopefully this is a long term thing, and we don’t see them try to go back to 32 page books a couple months down the line.

The opinions in this article are the writer’s alone, and no not necessarily reflect the views of X-World Comics or comiXtreme.com.