THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS @ THIRD EYE COMICS FOR WEDNESDAY 11/2/11

HEART #1 DEBUTS THIS WEDNESDAY, AND RIGHT ALONGSIDE IT, OUR HEART #1 THIRD EYE VARIANT!

Get Your Copy of The HEART #1 Third Eye Exclusive EARLY for our signing with writer BLAIR BUTLER (G4TV) and artist KEVIN MELLON (LOVESTRUCK) on SAT. 11/12

The biggest IMAGE series of 2012 is about to kick off this Wednesday in the pages of BLAIR BUTLER and KEVIN MELLON’S HEART #1. And, while we may be just a tad bit biased because of how awesome Blair and Kevin are, and how stoked we are to have them out in November for the big HEART #1 East Coast LAUNCH PARTY, we gotta admit: this is still an incredible freakin’ comic.

The first issue of HEART lives up to it’s namesake as it packs more passion, and heart for the craft of good comic storytelling than nearly anything we’ve read all year. Seriously. You can almost feel the excitement that Blair Butler and Kevin Mellon bring to the book, and the enthusiasm for the art form in general as HEART grabs you by the throat right from page one and pulls you into the story with no hesitations.

The series captures the fascinating world of MIXED MARTIAL ARTS (i.e UFC, PRIDE, ect,ect.) in a way that appeals to non-MMA fans and MMA diehards alike. One of the most fascinating aspects of the book is how Blair uses the stats of the fighters to help tell the story, and effortlessly educate the reader on the world of MMA without you being able to even realize it.

Just like television shows like MADMEN use the world of advertising in the ’60s as a backdrop to tell a compelling drama with strong characters, and interesting plot twists, HEART does the same thing with modern day MMA.

So, what’s it about? Okay, okay, Steve’s gushing, rambling, and totally going off on tangents, so lets get to the nitty gritty. In HEART, we follow the story of an office drone named Oren ‘Rooster’ Redmond who’s followed his older brother into the fiercely competitive world of professional MMA. With nothing left to lose, Oren hopes to find his purpose in the ring — but does passion equal proficiency?

HEART is a great read, folks. It’s a brutal story that’s centered on what lies in everyone, and what it takes to bring it out of us.

The book has even drawn comparisons to WATCHMEN by Rich Johnston, of BLEEDING COOL fame, and I can honestly say that I see exactly what he means. The way the story’s told, the way that it breaks convention, and brings something totally fresh, and totally different to the stands… it definitely is one of the children of ground-breaking stories like WATCHMEN.

And, I haven’t even begun to talk about the artwork… Kevin Mellon wowed us with his recent graphic novel, LOVESTRUCK (alongside the very talented Dennis Hopeless who’s kicking out the jams on the new LEGION OF MONSTERS mini-series), and his work in HEART takes it up to another level again, as he manages to capture the visceral feeling of being thrown into a no-holds barred fighting atmosphere, while still being able to balance the more subtle moments of the story.

All in all, this book is great. And, this is why we’re pumped to be providing it with the only other variant cover to issue #1 aside from the NEW YORK COMIC-CON variant (which was limited to 100 copies, and literally sold out in minutes). And, we’re even more pumped to say that we’re going to be having Blair and Kevin in store to promote the book on 11/12.

It only makes sense the book is awesome though, I mean, when you’ve got a rising star rock-n-roller like Kevin Mellon handling the art, and the one and only Blair Butler (who we all know has amazing taste in comics from her incredible reviews on G4TV’s FRESH INK) writing it… it’s the recipe for a perfect read.    

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BATMAN NOEL GRAPHIC NOVEL ARRIVES THIS WEDNESDAY FROM THE ARTIST OF “JOKER”, AND HOLY… IT’S AWESOME.

You know, there’s some characters that seem to just provide endless possibilities for fantastic stories, and if there’s one character that can claim to have the highest number of MUST-READ stories under his belt…. I’d have to say it’s BATMAN.

And, this Wednesday, DC does it again, as they add another modern classic that’s sure to climb quickly to the tops of those TOP 10 BATMAN STORIES YOU MUST READ lists that tend to pop up whenever another new Nolan film comes out, with BATMAN: NOEL.

BATMAN: NOEL is a new original graphic novel from the extremely talented artist of 2008’s “JOKER”, which has earned itself a place alongside THE KILLING JOKE as one of the most important JOKER stories of all-time. And, if you guys have already read JOKER, then you know that BERMEJO does a fantastic job of bringing the dark world of Gotham to life in gritty, painted detail.

Hitting store this Wednesday, BATMAN NOEL loosely adapts Charles Dickens’s classic ‘A CHRISTMAS CAROL’ in a form familiar to fans of Gotham City. The book is NOT an adaptation of THE CHRISTMAS CAROL with Gotham characters, but instead uses the themes of Christmas Past, Ghristmas Present, and Christmas Future to illustrate some really kick-ass BATMAN tales featuring some of our favorite BATMAN bad guys.

In this spectacular, oversized graphic novel, BATMAN must come to terms with his past, present and future as he battles villains ranging from the campier 1960s fare to the dark, and brooding menaces of today, all the while exploring what it means to be the Dark Guardian of Gotham City.

We’ve read the previews, we’ve thumbed through the advances, and all I can say, Third Eye Faithful: if you’re even remotely a BATMAN fan… PICK THIS BOOK UP. You will LOVE it.

And, for those of you who have yet to read JOKER… do yourselves a favor, and snag yourself a copy. You’ll love it.. a dark tale of the Joker seen through the eyes of one of his underlings… very good stuff.

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 UNCANNY X-MEN #1 *X-MEN REGENESIS* – THE HISTORIC DEBUT OF UNCANNY X-MEN #1 HITS THIS WEDNESDAY, KICKING OFF ONE OF MARVEL’S MOST ICONIC TITLES AND THE NEW DIRECTION OF CYCLOPS AND HIS BLUE TEAM

Dude.. it’s crazy how good the X-Books have gotten in the last few years. Seriously. I remember when I was younger, the X-Books were not firing on all cylinders, and it’s been a long time since we’ve seen them THIS good.

The decision to split the teams into a Gold team and a Blue team, with one team allying under Cyclops’s banner (with his more MAGNETO-esque philosophies) and the other team allying under WOLVERINE’S banner (who’s upholding Xavier’s original ideals, and has returned to the Mansion, renaming it the JEAN GREY INSTITUTE OF HIGHER LEARNING), it’s very freakin’ cool to see the dynamic that’s being formed here.

The events of REGENESIS are the outcome of X-MEN: SCHISM, where the final nail in Wolverine and Cyclops’s friendship and working relationship was driven as a result of the machinations of the newly reformed HELLFIRE CLUB.

Now, Cyclops, who’s taken a much more militant stance on mutant affairs, has put together his own team of X-Men who uphold a philosophy much more in line with that of Magneto.

In the pages of this week’s UNCANNY X-MEN #1, Cyclops and those who have stayed with him on Utopia rise from the rubble of X-MEN: SCHISM renewed and refocused. Cyclops has created the most powerful X-Men team ever gathered, and called them the X-Tinction Team.

How badass is that? 🙂 Seriously.

But, wait, it gets cooler: MR. SINISTER. YES. MR. SINISTER! returns, and brings some old school X-Men awesomeness…. and you know, when terms like X-TINCTION get thrown around, Mr. Sinister can’t be far behind.

A true return to form, with a renewed focus on classic X-MEN members and villains, UNCANNY X-MEN is looking to really deliver the goods in a major way.

Plus, it’s UNCANNY X-MEN #1.. how often can you say you snagged that? 🙂

Click here for a preview of UNCANNY X-MEN #1

Click here for our official X-MEN REGENESIS Checklist.

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BARNABAS COLLINS RETURNS IN DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT’S NEW ONGOING DARK SHADOWS SERIES WITH DARK SHADOWS #1 

We’ve been totally impressed by Dynamite Ent. and their recent releases like WARLORD OF MARS, GAME OF THRONES, and more… and it looks like they’re bringing an awesome new title to the mix with the return of the cult classic vampire drama DARK SHADOWS.

The original reluctant vampire, Barnabas Collins, returns, and is readjusting to life under his vampiric curse. Haunted by terrifying dreams of his age-old lover and nemesis, Angelique, and fighting his bloodlust, Barnabas fears danger lis ahead for all who live at Collinwood. Meanwhile, Barnabas’ ally and trusted friend Dr Julia Hoffman is harboring secrets of her own…

One of the biggest cult sensations of the ’60s and ’70s, DARK SHADOWS, paved the way for modern day serial horror storytelling on television (i.e SUPERNATURAL, BTVS, ect,ect.), and the stories of Barnabas Collins and his ilk are still just as enthralling today as they are then.

Never seen or heard of DARK SHADOWS? You’d still get a kick out of this one if you appreciate a good gothic horror comic, as it delivers a very cool, well-done, and well-crafted vampire story with a unique focus on the characterization and depth of the characters and their relationships with one another.

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ACTION COMICS #3 – One of the DC NEW 52’s FLAGSHIP titles continues this Wednesday in the pages of ACTION COMICS #3 – A personal favorite of our’s at Third Eye!

I have to tell you, Third Eye Faithful, I’ve never been the biggest Superman fan, but… ACTION COMICS kicks ass. This is probably one of the most anticipated New 52 titles of the month for me, and each issue seems to get better, and better.

The amount of care and craft that Morrison is putting into his take on Superman is so, so, so amazing that it’s hard to NOT like the character after reading ACTION COMICS #2. I mean, not only are we seeing a scientific explanation of how Superman’s powers work (the military testing out all their firepower on his cape, and seeing it as bulletproof was a very nice touch), but we’re also seeing what makes him TICK as an individual.

But, I think just as much as I’m digging Morrison’s take on Superman, I’m digging his take on Luthor. Luthor is truly a villain in this, and while past depictions of the character have cast him in a somewhat empathetic light… there’s no such portrayal in Morrison’s ACTION COMICS. Luthor is neurotic, yet highly intelligent. He’s irrational, but highly functional. He’s a walking contradiction, and his own paranoia, and neurotic tendencies are already obviously the barrier to what could be a very accomplished individual.

In other words: he’s the perfect foil for a young, inexperienced, and quick-tempered Superman.

ACTION COMICS is also interesting in that it’s providing the definitive groundworks for the NEW 52 DCU, much like JUSTICE LEAGUE is, as it’s set 5 years prior to JUSTICE LEAGUE, which is already set in the past. It’s interesting to see the redefining of many past elements of the DCU.

But, enough rambling: do yourselves a favor, and snag issues #1, #2, and catch up to this week’s #3.. ’cause this is some of the best new stuff coming out of DC.

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 THE END HAS YET TO ARRIVE AS FEAR ITSELF CONTINUES TO SWEEP THE MARVEL UNIVERSE IN FEAR ITSELF #7.1 THIS WEDNESDAY

After the shocking conclusion to FEAR ITSELF in FEAR ITSELF #7, we weren’t sure how else Marvel could top themselves… but… dude: the chaos continues, as Marvel follows up the event with this special epilogue issue, FEAR ITSELF #7.1.

With Bucky Barnes being one of the fallen soldiers in FEAR ITSELF, Captain America finds himself having to deal with this giant loss.. and the Marvel Universe as a whole is calling out for vengeance. We got 7 issues of the Marvel heroes getting the snot beat out of them, so now it’s time to see some serious retribution, and some serious ass-kicking courtesy of the Marvel U’s finest.

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STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE #2 – SUPERHERO OR SUPER-SLASHER? A MUST-READ FOR FANS OF KICK-ASS, THE CAPE, AND THE BOYS

IMAGE COMICS has really made a reputation for itself as delivering top notch titles in the last few years, ranging from smash hits like CHEW and MORNING GLORIES to long-time favorites like WALKING DEAD and INVINCIBLE.

And, last month, they added another heavy-hitter of an awesome title to their line-up with STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE. A totally violent, totally over-the-top, and totally awesome take on a nerdy teenage who finds himself gifted with incredible powers… and, the ability to punch people’s guts out.

The thing that makes it such a compelling read is that we’re never sure just how much the victim’s of Luther’s rage deserve the beating he’s throwing down on them… as we’re shown glimpses of a character known as The Librarian, who is manipulating Strode.

Plus.. it’s bloody as all get out, and we can’t help but dig that.

The combination of Jordan’s sharp dialogue, and smooth storytelling with Tradd Moore’s kick-ass pencils… makes for one heck of an awesome read.

Highly recommended, Third Eye Faithful, if you missed #1, we’ve got copies in stock to catch you up this week.

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 SEVEN WARRIORS #1 – FLASH ARTIST FRANCIS MANAPUL DELIVERS A KILLER NEW CREATOR-OWNED SERIES WITH A KILLER ALTERNATE HISTORY STORY IN THE VEIN OF ‘300’

We’re big fans of the amazing artwork of Francis Manapul, and his recent work on FLASH has been really turning us into big fans of his. And, now, he’s kicking out the jams on a brand new series from BOOM! STUDIOS by the title of 7 WARRIORS.

In 6th century Libya, the capital of an ancient nation is surrounded by the Persian and Byzantine armies. Seven women are chosen to save the heir to the kingdom. And, from there, the mayhem begins!

Manapul delivers a breath-taking, action-packed tale in the vein of ‘300’, and we love every second of it.

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DETECTIVE COMICS #3 – ANOTHER FLAGSHIP DC NEW 52 TITLE ARRIVES THIS WEDNESDAY WITH THE EXCITING THIRD INSTALLMENT OF DETECTIVE COMICS

Another breakout hit of the NEW 52, DETECTIVE COMICS, delivers the kind of over-the-top, action-packed, dark-toned Batman that we all know and love from things like ARKHAM CITY and Nolan’s DARK KNIGHT films.

Just like ACTION COMICS and JUSTICE LEAGUE, this one is another foundation-builder of the DC NEW 52, and Tony Daniel is doing a fantastic job thus far with it. The cliffhanger ending of issue #1 where we’re left with the Joker’s face nailed to a wall is priceless, and we cannot wait to see where that plot thread leads.

Now, Batman is on the trail of a new villain, the Dollmaker, who was involved in the Joker’s little de-facing.. and, things are getting very interesting.

Looking to add a Batman title to your DC NEW 52 reading list? Snag yourself a copy of DETECTIVE COMICS #1 & #2 (both in stock now), and catch up to this week’s #3.

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AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #673 – SPIDER ISLAND EPILOGUE PAVES THE WAY FOR DAN SLOTT’S NEXT SPIDER-MAN EPIC

Dan Slott has worked wonders on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN since he came on with the BIG TIME story arc last year, and he really hit his stride with this summer’s SPIDER ISLAND.

The combination of Slott’s pitch-perfect writing of Spidey and his world, with some of the best artists in the biz (Caselli and Ramos) has made us look forward to each and every new issue of Spidey that’s hit the racks since #666. Heck, since #648 (Slott’s first issue) even.

Now, a brand new day (no pun intended!) begins, as Peter Parker ventures out from the aftermath of SPIDER ISLAND, and determines how to clean up the mess of an entire city of Spider-Men.

Wanna catch up starting with SPIDER ISLAND? We’ve got issues 666-672 in stock and available to catch you up.

Click here for a preview of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #673

Click here for our complete SPIDER ISLAND Checklist.

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 OUR LOVE IS REAL ONE-SHOT DEBUTS THIS WEDNESDAY – THE INDIE SMASH HIT GETS WIDE RELEASE UNDER IMAGE COMICS! A MUST-READ FOR FANS OF TRANSMETROPOLITAN, AND OTHER CYBERPUNKY SCI-FI 

Another surefire hit from IMAGE this Wednesday is the brand new alternate future sci-fi story that is finally getting a wide release under the IMAGE banner.

And, I gotta tell you, Third Eye Faithful… this one is going to be a sleeper hit, I’m calling it right now. The concept is awesome, the book itself is great, and I can guarantee you that it’s going to go out of print mad fast.

In OUR LOVE IS REAL, the future is here. Plantsexuals riot in the streets for equal rights. Crystals are more than just jewelry. And, a chance encounter on the job changes a riot cop’s life forever as he finds himself caught in a bizarre love triangle that blurs romance, crime and lust beyond recognition.

A wild, innovative new comic, this one is a MUST-READ for fans of books like CHEW, and STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE. A very quirky, very fun new read from IMAGE COMICS.

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 SWAMP THING #3 *DC NEW 52* – ONE OF OUR PERSONAL FAVORITES, “BATMAN” writer SCOTT SNYDER DELIVERS A CHILLING, AND HORRIFIC READ WITH HIS NEW ONGOING SWAMP THING SERIES

Another one of our favorite of the NEW 52 arrives this Wednesday in the pages of SWAMP THING #3. Scott Snyder has really brought his A-Game between this one and his work on the new flagship BATMAN ongoing, and I gotta tell you: if you’ve ever questioned getting into SWAMP THING.. you need to dismiss those thoughts right now, and jump on board this one, ’cause it’s one of the best written, best illustrated, and most compelling of the DC NEW 52.

Much like ANIMAL MAN, Swamp Thing brings a very dark, very cool horror/superhero hybrid kind of tone to the DCU, and Yanick Paquette is seriously channeling the horror greats with his surreal, lush artwork that brings the horror of the Green to life in a big way.

Missed #1 & #2? We’ve got copies of both in stock to catch you up.

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THE BLUE TEAM ASSEMBLES THIS WEDNESDAY IN X-MEN #20 *X-MEN REGENESIS* and NEW MUTANTS #33 *X-MEN REGENESIS*

NEW MUTANTS #33 paves the way for Blink’s Return in NEW MUTANTS #34

Like I was saying earlier about UNCANNY X-MEN #1, it’s an exciting time to be an X-Fan, and we’re seeing a full on BLUE TEAM formation this Wednesday as the other two BLUE TEAM titles arrive alongside UNCANNY X-MEN.

First, in the pages of X-MEN #20, we see WAR MACHINE making a special guest appearance, and coming face to face with the X-Men in Eastern Europe, as sentinels are being traded on the black market. But things aren’t exactly as they seem, and the X-Men and War Machine may need to team their efforts to stop a truly terrible plot.. plus.. crucial elements of the Blue Team’s formation are revealed.

And, then, in the pages of NEW MUTANTS #33, we see the New Mutants finding themselves at a crossroads in the aftermath of SCHISM. A decision needs to be made that will change their lives forever… and, the stage is set for fan-favorite AGE OF APOCALYPSE / EXILES character BLINK’s return in NEW MUTANTS #33.

Click here for our official X-MEN REGENESIS Checklist.

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GIANT-SIZE ELEPHANTMEN ONE-SHOT SERVES AS A PERFECT JUMPING ON POINT TO ONE OF OUR FAVORITE SLEEPER HITS

Some comics are just plain cool. There’s just something about them that’s just… well.. cool. You know, you can’t always put your finger on it, it may be the story, it may be the art, it may be the cover design, heck, sometimes it’s just the way the pages are layer out… but, there’s an unexplainable sense of coolness you see and feel when it catches your eye.

This is how we feel about ELEPHANTMEN, which is a criminally overlooked IMAGE series that’s been building it’s cult status for a bit now.

And, now, available this Wednesday is the GIANT-SIZE ELEPHANTMEN one-shot which collects the entire MAN AND ELEPHANTMAN story line that serves as a PERFECT introduction to the world of Elephantmen.

What is ELEPHANTMEN? Well, some two hundred into the future, the MAPPO Corporation, headed by the misanthropic and megalomaniacal scientist, Dr. Kazushi Nikken, breeds human/animal hybrids in a secure, top secret facility somewhere in North Africa. The Hybrids are composed of numerous African animal species including warthogs, elephants, camels, zebras, rhinos, hippos, giraffes and crocodiles.

Once born, these Elephantmen are trained from birth to be soldiers and killers, they are indoctrinated in an Orwellian mindset to think of themselves as property of the MAPPO Corporation and to deny any concept of free thought.

The Elephantmen end up being freed, and from that point forward, must integrate into society around them. Some of them turn into half-way decent individuals, while others stone cold killers.

It’s a freaking awesome series, and this one-shot is a fantastic opportunity to try it out. So snag yourself a copy this Wednesday. If you dig it, we can point you to the trade paperbacks.

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FEAR ITSELF: THE FEARLESS #2EXPLORES THE POST-FEAR ITSELF MARVEL UNIVERSE AS SIN, CROSSBONES AND VALKYRIE RACE ACROSS THE GLOBE IN SEARCH OF THE MISSING HAMMERS

In the aftermath of FEAR ITSELF, the MARVEL UNIVERSE is reeling after the death and destruction the Serpent had brought. And, now with uber-powerful Asgardian hammers spread throughout the Marvel U, there’s a death race on to find them.

Valkyrie, Sin and Crossbones are all neck and neck in their quest to find the missing hammers, as one side wants to acquire them to bring about Ragnarok, and the other wants to acquire them to prevent it.

The first issue was a fantastic read, considering the fact that it’s penned by FEAR ITSELF writer MATT FRACTION himself, so we’re stoked for issue #2.

Click here for a preview of FEAR ITSELF THE FEARLESS #2

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ANIMAL MAN #3 *DC NEW 52* – ANOTHER OF OUR BIG TIME DC NEW 52 FAVORITES DROPS THIS WEDNESDAY WITH THE NEW ANIMAL MAN

As if you couldn’t tell, we’re loving the new line-up of DCU titles that’ve come out of the NEW 52, and there’s so many of our favorites hitting this week.

I’m a HUGE fan of the work JEFF LEMIRE (of SWEET TOOTH fame) is doing on the new ANIMAL MAN ongoing series. The way that he manages to bring slice of life drama, real life characterization to the supporting cast, and then the just outright horrific themes…. it’s pretty freakin’ incredible.

There’s a very cool parallel running, as we see Buddy Baker balancing his life as aging counter-cultural superhero icon, and (somewhat) frustrated family man, attempting to keep his family well taken care of.

The most interesting part is how we see Maxine, his daughter, developing powers of her own.. but with a very horrific twist.

Throw in a great trio of villains with the Hunter Three (that look like something out of John Carpenter’s THE THING).. and, folks, this book is AMAZING.

If you missed the first two issues, snag #1 and #2 this Wednesday when you come in to catch up to #3.

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 JOE THE BARBARIAN ARRIVES IN HARDCOVER THIS WEDNESDAY – A FANTASTIC URBAN FANTASY BY GRANT MORRISON (BATMAN RIP, ACTION COMICS, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) ABOUT A YOUNG BOY BEING PULLED INTO ANOTHER WORLD POPULATED BY HIS ACTION FIGURES

Joe the Barbarian was one of our big favorites last year, as the legendary GRANT MORRISON (What hasn’t he written?) paired with rising star SEAN MURPHY (who’s art we LOVE) to tell the story of Joe.

Joe’s an imaginative 11-year old boy. He can’t fit in at school. He’s the victim of bullies. His dad died overseas in the Iraq war. He also suffers from Type 1 diabetes. One fateful day, his condition causes him to believe he has entered a vivid fantasy world in which he is the lost savior — a fantastic land based on the layout and contents of his home.

His desperate attempts to make it out of his bedroom transform into an incredible, epic adventure through a bizarre landscape of submarine pirate dwarves, evil Hell Hounds, Lightning Lords and besieged castles. But is his quest really just an insulin deprived delirium — from which he can die if he doesn’t take his medication — or something much bigger?

Seeing all the ’80s icons action figures, like rough stand ins for Snake-Eyes, Optimus Prime, and their ilk being cast as character in Joe’s other reality is part of the fun, but this story as a whole, is just a freakin’ great read from beginning to finish.

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STAFF PICKS 

STEVE: WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #1 – I totally dug this one. I think the role Wolverine is entering as headmaster is pretty interesting, and in a weird way, makes perfect sense for how sentimental a character Wolverine can be. One of the best X-MEN first issues I’ve read in some time.

TRISH: WALKING DEAD #90 – Ahhhh… one more month! WALKING DEAD is so good it should come out two issues at a time.

TORMA: INCREDIBLE HULK #1 – The BEST book I’ve read since last year. Seriously, this was really good, and I know, I’m biased as a Hulk fan, but it was really awesome.

 TONY : ALL STAR WESTERN #2 –  The origins of ARKHAM ASYLUM are unfolding here and its pretty cool to see. Great writing, great art. Definitely check this one out.