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The Top 10 Marvel Comics for September 2011

Comics, comics, everywhere, and not a book to read… until now. Marvel publishes dozens of comics a month, and while the Fear Itselfs and Spider-Islands get plenty of attention, other, equally (or possibly even more) worthy books may slip through the cracks. To counteract this, we present to you the top 10 most interesting Marvel comics for September 2011. These are the books that look the most entertaining, and this time around, they run the gamut from Victorian horror to day-glo all ages comics.

10. (tie) SIGIL: OUT OF TIME TPB

Written by MIKE CAREY
Penciled by LEONARD KIRK & PATRICK OLLIFFE
Cover by JELENA KEVIC-DJURDJEVIC
In the war for forever, time is only an obstacle. Warriors jump from century to century; their battlefields span all of history, but have led them to a stalemate. But now, a 16-year-old girl from present-day South Carolina will turn the tide. The symbol on her chest makes her part of this war, but will she save us – or damn all creation? New York Times best-selling author Mike Carey (AGE OF X, The Unwritten), and artists Leonard Kirk and Patrick Olliffe, present the next great comic epic. Collecting SIGIL (2011) #1-4.
96 PGS./Rated T+ …$14.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-5622-2

10. (tie) RUSE: THE VICTORIAN GUIDE TO MURDER TPB

Written by MARK WAID
Penciled by MIRCO PIERFEDERICI & MINCK OOSTERVEER
Cover by JACKSON GUICE
Renowned as the Victorian world’s greatest detective, Simon Archard is the most intelligent of men. But when he crosses paths with the mysterious and enchanting Emma Bishop, has the smartest man in the world met his equal? Brought to readers by superstar writer Mark Waid (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) and red-hot artist Mirco Pierfederici (TRON: ORIGINAL MOVIE ADAPTATION), this book will leave you breathless. Collecting RUSE (2011) #1-4.
96 PGS./Rated T+ …$14.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-5586-7

Crossgen is back… and the books are good. If you missed the issues, pick up these trades. The creative teams are pretty bulletproof, and the stories ended up being even better than I expected. As far as relaunching a universe goes, this is how you do it. You launch a couple of high quality titles and then slowly roll out more over time.

8. JOHN CARTER: A PRINCESS OF MARS #1 (of 5)

Based on the Novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Adaptation by Roger Langridge
Art by Filipe Andrade
Cover by Skottie Young
Variant Cover by Filipe Andrade
Captain John Carter finds himself on a strange new world where he must fight for his very life – and for the heart of a princess! Edgar Rice Burroughs’ legendary novels come to life in this actionpacked, all-new re-envisioned adventure! Meet the Tharks, terrible warrior race of Mars! See Woola, the scariest guard dog you’ll ever lay eyes upon! Gasp as John Carter battles the great white apes of Barsoom! And hold your breath as he first lays eyes upon the woman who will change his life forever – the proud and beautiful Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium!
32 PGS./All Ages …$2.99

The nice thing about comics is that every once and a while, you’ll trip over a comics adaptation of a classic book that you… let’s say you slept through that semester in school instead of doing any reading. John Carter of Mars is a series of novels that’s about to hit its hundred year anniversary, and I’ve read exactly none of them. Conan? Tarzan? Lovecraft? Sure, been there, read those. But not John Carter, for some reason. I trust Roger Langridge to deliver a good and enjoyable adaptation, rather than something dry and punishingly faithful. Andrade’s art is interesting, too. It’s very much in the same vein as Humberto Ramos or Chris Bachalo–intensely distorted proportions stacked on top of busy action scenes. It should be good for the (presumably) weird landscapes of Mars.

7. MUPPETS PRESENTS: FAMILY REUNION

Written and Penciled by ROGER LANGRIDGE
It’s the Muppet Show – and as usual, things are unusual backstage! It’s family reunion time, and the relatives are coming out of the woodwork. Scooter’s twin sister, Skeeter, shows up to make him feel like a nerd. Piggy’s nephews, Randy and Andy Pig, are causing a ruckus by trying to help backstage. Kermit’s nephew, Robin, is afraid his uncle wants to put him in the orphanage. And Fozzie’s mom visits and finds out her son isn’t the detective he told her he was. Plus: Pigs in Space, the Swedish Chef, a trip to Veterinarian’s Hospital and the Great Gonzo firing Skeeter – dressed in a chicken suit – into a giant bowl of Tapioca. What else could you want?
96 PGS./All Ages…$5.99
NOT FINAL COVER

These came out from Boom! Studios a while back, but Marvel apparently landed the rights to the material when they were bought by Disney. This is material that’s already been proven to be great, but simply by being published by Marvel, it’s going to reach more eyes than it did before. Business issues aside (well, one more: I hope Roger Langridge is getting paid handsomely for the reprint), this is good comics. The Muppets are loved by just about everybody, particularly us ’80s babies, and these stories are simply dead on in tone, art, and jokes. Everyone behaves exactly as you’d expect, and want, them to behave, and almost all your favorites make appearances. You want this comic, believe me. Buy it for yourself, then kick it down to a kid to enjoy.

6. ANNIHILATORS: EARTHFALL #1 (of 4)

Written by DAN ABNETT & ANDY LANNING
Penciled by TAN ENG HUAT & TIMOTHY GREEN II
Cover by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
Variant Cover by TBA
MARVEL’S COSMIC HEAVY HITTERS COME TO EARTH-AND FIGHT THE AVENGERS! What has brought Gladiator, Quasar, Ronan, Ikon and Beta-Ray Bill to our planet…and why are they at odds with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? All this, plus each issue will feature a five-page chapter of an all-new, all-hilarious Rocket Raccoon & Groot story!
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

It looks like Annihilators paid off. DnA are back with another chapter in their years long space saga, and they’re bringing the fight to Earth. I’m not exactly sure how the Avengers are going to contend with a fistful of god-class superhumans making demands (What’s Captain America going to do about it? Get blasted into cinders?), but DnA are a writing team you can trust. Tan Eng Huat’s art is going to make sure that everything’s appealingly gross and otherworldly, too. I’m sorta sad to see the Rocket Raccoon & Groot short be reduced to five pages, but hey, we can’t have everything. I’ll settle for seeing Gladiator beat the bone marrow out of some heroes, personally.

5. CRIMINAL: The Last of the Innocent #4

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips with Val Staples on colors
It’s the big finale of CRIMINAL’s most ground-breaking storyline yet! Riley Richards has committed crime after crime to get what he wants… Now what will he have to do to keep all the things he’s killed for? It’s a twisted look at crime, comics, nostalgia, and obsession… all in the award-winning CRIMINAL style.
And remember, every issue of CRIMINAL has articles and illustrations that are only available in the single printed single issues, making it the best bargain on the shelves!
CRIMINAL: The Last of the Innocent #4 — 32 PGS/ No Ads/ Mature Content … $3.50

I took a quick look at the first issue of this series earlier this month, but it bears repeating: this is good, good stuff. We’re looking at one man’s downward spiral while he’s trying to restore his life to its former glory. Brubaker’s script nearly kicked me in my guts on that first issue, and Phillips is one of the most dependably good artists in the industry. The two make a fantastic duo, and I’m hoping that they stick the landing.


4. DRACULA GN-TPB

Written by ROY THOMAS
Penciled by DICK GIORDANO
Cover by JELENA KEVIC-DJURDEVIC
Dracula lives! Since 1897, Bram Stoker’s DRACULA has mesmerized audiences as a novel, in movies – and in comics. Now, this definitive comics collection tells the tale of Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray, Abraham Van Helsing and Count Dracula in the story that invented the vampire genre: the classic DRACULA! This volume from master comics artisans Roy Thomas and Dick Giordano spans more than three decades of work, starting in Marvel’s DRACULA LIVES! magazine in 1974 and concluding in STOKER’S DRACULA in the 21st century. Thomas and Giordano’s brilliant adaptation is presented here in color for the first time, brilliantly rendered by June Chung! Read the greatest comics adaptation of one of literature’s greatest works! Collecting DRACULA #1-4.
208 PGS./Parental Advisory …$16.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-4906-4
Trim size = 5-3/4 x 8-7/8

Remember what I said about classic novels and comics adaptations? That goes double here. Dick Giordano’s art is lovely and pitch perfect. It’s been a while since I read these comics, but I remember Thomas’s script as being very much of its time, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As a piece of vintage culture, an adaptation of Victorian horror produced in the ’70s and then transplanted to today, this thing is great. It’s scary, sexy, and creepy. The addition of color is interesting. June Chung is a great colorist, and you’ve probably seen her flat, subdued work with Jae Lee over the past few years. She’s a good choice. One thing, though… “Presented here in color for the first time?” This is a reprint of a four issue miniseries. Interesting definition of “first,” isn’t it?

3. WOLVERINE: DEBT OF DEATH #1

Written by David Lapham
Art & Cover by David Aja
WOLVERINE FIGHTS FLYING BATTLEROBO SUITS IN JAPAN!!!! By David Lapham (DEADPOOL MAX) and David Aja (SECRET AVENGERS)!
48 PGS./One-Shot/Parental Advisory …$3.99

This solicit is a little light. I don’t think that sort of high concept pitch works any more. “It’s Wolverine in Yojimbo meets A Fistful of Dollars!” “Yeah, but is it any good?” Here’s a better pitch: David Aja is one of the best artists working at Marvel these days. He’s got a flawless sense of action, layout, and storytelling. If he’s drawing a comic, it is, at a bare minimum, worth buying just to look at and soak in the art. David Lapham wrote Stray Bullets, the scariest, grossest, tensest, bestest crime comic you ever missed out on reading, and he’s currently tearing up Marvel comics over on Deadpool MAX with Kyle Baker, the meanest cape comic on the stands. Together, I expect these two to deliver some traumatic jokes, great action, and a book that’s actually worth $3.99.

2. CASANOVA: AVARITIA #1 (of 4)

Written by MATT FRACTION
Penciled by GABRIEL BÁ
Cover by GABRIEL BÁ
From the writer of Marvel’s smash hit FEAR ITSELF and the artist of the best-selling book Umbrella Academy comes the FULL-COLOR rebirth of the coolest comic of all time — CASANOVA IS BACK and NOW YOU can see what everybody’s been talking about. THIS ISSUE: The world’s sexiest and savviest superspy kills his way from dimension to dimension in a high-stakes, action-packed adventure that cannot be described in a mere hu-man “solicitation.” !!! 32 ALL-NEW FULL-COLOR PAGES. PREORDER THIS BOOK! IF YOUR RETAILER CAN’T READ YOUR MIND, YOU CAN’T READ ‘CASANOVA.’
40 PGS./Mature …$4.99

I’m not a super huge fan of Fraction’s recent Marvel work, but Casanova? That’s where the real juice is. The previous two series were done at Image and then re-released as part of Marvel’s Icon imprint with all new colors from Cris Peters. Avaritia is the first new Casanova series in years, and I haven’t read it, but I’m predicting big things. The critic Sean Witzke pulled apart the most recent Casanova story on his blog and found quite a bit of depth in those eight pages. This bodes well for the new series, which is named after one of the seven deadly sins. The solicit is all hype, which is to be expected, but this might actually be a book that pays off huge. Great art and great writing is all we really want out of comics, isn’t it?

1. DOROTHY & THE WIZARD IN OZ #1 (of 8)

Written by ERIC SHANOWER
Pencils & Cover by SKOTTIE YOUNG
Variant Cover by NICK BRADSHAW
Variant Cover by ERIC SHANOWER
The great 1906 San Francisco earthquake swallows Dorothy alive-no kidding! It also swallows Dorothy’s kitten Eureka, Dorothy’s cousin Zeb, and his horse Jim. They’re trapped underground in a strange land of glass where everyone can walk on air. Time for the Wizard of Oz to come to the rescue! Eisner award winners Eric Shanower and Skottie Young continue to delight audiences of all ages! Find out why these books are one of the best Oz adaptations yet.
32 PGS./All Ages …$3.99

Do you see that cover, with Dorothy and Oz and a cat leaping into the air, jumping for joy? That is exactly what happened in my office in the ComicsAlliance mansion when I saw this solicit. These books have been great throughout, definitely one of Marvel’s top three books. I figure this one will be just as good. While Shanower’s scripts are always good and never needlessly wordy, Skottie Young ups the art ante every time one of these comes out. The figures, the faces, and the emotions that made the past books so great are undoubtedly going to stick around. As far as I’m concerned, I’m buying these until they’re done, and then sticking with the team for whatever they do next. If you try it, I bet you’ll agree.

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