COMIC BOOK NEWS: All the news about print that’s fit to print.

I had so much to gab about—I’m such a cape-yenta—that I split the news column this week into one about movies/TV and one about print.  This is the print one.  The other one came yesterday.  So unless you like reading (i.e., are over the age of 30), you probably don’t want to …

Hit the break for news about The Walking Dead; Captain America joining Alpha Flight; the end of Batman, Inc.; the return of the Human Torch; and two new Avengers teams!

THE NEW ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN.  Everyone’s talking about it, so I feel like I “should” mention something.  So here it is: The Ultimate Universe has pretty much sucked farts out of dead baby bats for years.  The one title, the one shining light, was Ultimate Spider-Man.  So what did they do?  They broke something that wasn’t broken.  I can’t say I care all that much about it (although using diversity as a stunt is a little demeaning), and I’m pretty sure I won’t bother to read it.  I’d rather try to catch up on back issues of The Boys.

CAPTAIN AMERICA (CANADA) COVER VARIANT.  In August, Captain America get’s renumbered at #1 (the second Captain America #1 written by Ed Brubaker—this is just stupid and ridiculous).  And there will be a Fred Eaglesham variant cover sold only at the comic-con in Toronto.  Way to reward your fanbase, Marvel…I want one.

BATMAN, INC.  I’m a Grant Morrison fan, but I also tend to think his stuff reads a lot better in trades, where his complicated, decompressed, I-think-you-should-know-what-I-am-thinking-but-often-you-just-feel-stupid writing style can be digested in chunks.  So, I can’t say I’m disappointed that Batman, Inc. will end not with issues #9 and #10, as originally solicited, but with a double-sized one-shot titled “Leviathan Strikes”.  It will be a cliff-hanger on which Bruce Wayne will dangle until 2012, when Morrison’s Batman: Leviathan will be released as a 12-issue series that will culminate everything Morrison has ever done with Batman and will, presumably, end his involvement with the character.  We need an omnibus before that, please.

S.H.I.E.L.D.  Is anyone other than me reading this series?  I’m lovin’ it.  Writer Jonathan Hickman reports that he will wrap the series in five more issues—with a complete finish.  If you’re not reading this, you’re missing an extremely complex and fascinating attempt to turn Leonardo DaVinci into a superhero (trust me, it works), as well many other famous historical characters, and the incredible art of Dustin Weaver—some of the best comic book art I’ve ever seen.

FUTURE FOUNDATION BECOMES FANTASTIC AGAIN?  See the teaser?  Marvel figured out that the only way to get people to buy Fantastic 4 comics is to make events.  Coming in November, they’re 4 again.  Could be Human Torch coming back.  Could be just the end of the FF and the return of an F4 book with #600, with the current lineup.  The book is promised to be “quadruple sized,” whatever that means.  (I think it means it’ll cost eight bucks.)  No word on whether this means the “FF” books is being cancelled, or whether it’ll be like Avengers Academy (i.e., about the FF kids in school learning to be supergeeks).  The promo pix include Spider-Man, so apparently someone needs to tell Marvel that 1+1+1+1+1=5, not 4.  But my highest hopes are that Spidey is off this team.  It’s ridiculous having him carry two of his own books and be on two teams as well.  Who the hell does he think he is, Wolverine?

SCOTT SNYDER IS A SELLOUT.  By which I mean that the American Vampire/Detective Comics author’s new Image comic book, Severed, sold out its first issue.  It’s always good when new books sell.  A second printing is on the way September 9, along with issue #2.

THE REVENGERS … Was the name of a superhero comic I made when was eight.  Seriously.  But it’s also the name of the latest Avengers spin off by Brian Michael Bendis and Gabriele Dell’Otto.  The team looks a little bit like a poor-man’s Defenders.  Or even a poor-man’s Great Lakes Avengers.  Wonder Man (Simon Williams) is team leader, joined by D-Man (the guy who looks like yellow Daredevil and used to work with Captain America); Anti Venom; Virtue, a.k.a. Ethan Edwards (a skrull); a new Goliath; Atlas; Devil Slayer; Century; and Captain Ultra.  All guys who either used to be criminals or who, at a minimum, have beef with one or more Avengers.

THE RETURN OF NORMAN OSBORN AND THE DARK AVENGERS.  Doesn’t that sound like a great name for a band?  Norman Osborn is returning in a storyline that will cross between New Avengers and The Avengers, beginning in Avengers 16.1—which features the art of Neal Adams!  It’s being called “The Hammer War,” and Brian Michael Bendis promises a huge cast—with Osborn uniting Hydra, AIM and the Hand—and team shake-ups that will bring Daredevil and two other “classic” heroes joining Avenger teams, as well as members of the now-defunct (and sorely missed) Secret Warriors series, such as Daisy Johnson.  Perhaps the best news about the crossover is that John Romita, Jr., is leaving Avengers.  I’m a big JRJr. fan, but his work on Avengers has…Sucked.  He’s being replaced by Daniel Acuña, while Mike Deodato will be pencilling “New Avengers.”  Based on the teaser, I’m guessing Skaar is one of the Dark Avengers…

SPEAKING OF SPIDEY….SPIDER ISLAND HAS BEGUN.  With the weakest issue of Amazing Spider-Man (#666) since the “Big Time” arc began.  I’m getting less and less impressed by this book.  Spidey’s got no spider sense anymore and he’s relying on gadgets.  That’s just not who I want to read about.  It’s not as bad (yet) as the spider-armor stories, but we’re getting close.  The bloom is starting to fade off this rose…Will Spider Island do for Spider-Man what Shadowland did for Daredevil?  Let’s hope not.

LEGION FLIGHT RINGS.  Retailers who order at least 25 copies of Legion: Secret Origin #1 will get a bag of 50 rings, and additional bags for each 25 additional issues ordered.  Please, Jeff at Victory Comics, set one aside for me?

NOWHERE MAN RETURNS.  No, not the (terrific) Bruce Greenwood UPN series that ended abruptly leaving all kinds of questions unanswered, but the 2008 Marc Guggenheim Virgin Comics series that ended abruptly leaving all kinds of questions unanswered.  Rising from the ashes as Liquid Comics, the same crew from Virgin (now no longer funded by Richard Branson) have managed to convince Guggenheim to finish off the story line about a future world where the cops arrest you before you commit crimes (a la Minority Report).  Nowhere Man is the one dude whose mind they can’t read.  It’s a cool concept.  On the art will be Jeevan J. Kang (Spider-Man: India and the upcoming Silver Scorpion).

THE WALKING DEAD WITHOUT PICTURES.  Robert Kirkman is releasing a “real” novel titled “Rise of the Governor” about, um, the rise of the Governor character from the comic book series.  It’s co-authored with Jay Bonansinga.

STAR TREK MEETS THE LEGION OF SUPERHEROES.  Yes, you read that right.  Coming from IDW Publishing, a 6-issue mini with no release date announced.  If successful, it will be followed by “Deep Space 9 and the Legion of Substitute Superheroes.”

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