THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS @ THIRD EYE FOR WEDNESDAY 5/18/11

GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1 – A BOLD NEW DIRECTION, A BRAND NEW STORY ARC, AND A SECRET SO DARK IT’S BEEN LOCKED AWAY IN CYCLOPS’S MIND FOR DECADES!

Meet the EVOLUTIONARIES!

Sometimes when it comes to the X-MEN, they really need stories that get back to the core of the team, and this is why we’re excited about this Wednesday’s X-MEN GIANT-SIZE #1 one-shot which kicks off a brand new story arc, THE EVOLUTIONARIES, that explores the early days of the X-MEN, and a dark secret from those days that has finally surfaced in Cyclops’s psyche.

Why are we so pumped ofr this one that we’re giving it our Book of the Week tag? It’s Chris Yost, folks, and he’s quite possibly the most talented writer to work on the X-Men in the last five years. Now, don’t get me wrong, guys like Fraction and Brubaker do an extraordinary job on their own respective titles, but neither one really wowed me the same way that Yost has with their work on X-Men. For those of you who’re not as familiar with Yost, he’s the guy who was responsible for stuff like MESSIAH COMPLEX, MESSIAH WAR, and  X-MEN: SECOND COMING. In other words, three of the most well-received, most compelling X-Men storylines in the last decade.

Why is Yost’s work on the X-Men so good? ‘Cause he gets what makes them work. You know the feeling you used to get when you’d watch the FOX animated series back in the ’90s, or pick up a Jim Lee issue of X-Men…. Yost captures that perfectly, and gives the characters the kind of voice that we know and love.

And, so, when I heard that Marvel’s big summer storyline that will be colliding into the SCHISM, was Yost’s X-MEN: THE EVOLUTIONARIES saga, I got super stoked.

So, what is the FIRST TO LAST: THE EVOLUTIONARIES story arc all about?

Starting this Wednesday in GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1, the X-MEN discover some staggering consequences when Xavier’s first class arrives in the future to tackle their greatest foe: themselves? This is a story where some very dark secrets from the very early days of the X-MEN may cause a rift to form between the mutants, and cause the current X-MEN team to be the last. Two generations of X-MEN, with the original team, and the present day team, facing each other head to head.

Getting X-Nostalgic with all the hype for the upcoming X-MEN FIRST CLASS movie coming out? This is the perfect storyline to re-introduce yourself back to the X-MEN with. With Yost on board, we can guarantee the story will be fantastic, and artist Paco Medina is a perfect fit for the X-Men, and brings the characters to life in a bold way.

Click here for a preview of X-MEN GIANT SIZE #1

FLASHPOINT: BOOSTER GOLD #44 – THE FIRST OF THE FLASHPOINT TIE-INS DROPS THIS WEDNESDAY!

Okay, if you’re like me, after reading last week’s FLASHPOINT #1, you are HUNGRY for anything and everything FLASHPOINT right now, ’cause lets face it: in one issue, Geoff Johns introduced into the most compelling take on the DCU we’ve seen since KINGDOM COME. Seriously, that awesome.

And, while it’s still too early for me to drop spoilers, having a certain someone on the cover of this issue of Booster Gold tie-in has me even more intrigued.

Anyways, kicking off this Wednesday, Booster Gold, the ultimate time-traveling egomaniac (Well, on occasion), returns to Rip Hunter’s lab after the events of last year’s TIME MASTERS limited series (available both in back issues and trade paperback here at Third Eye) and finds that this world isn’t the same as the one he left behind.

From there we’re taken  further into the fascinating world of FLASHPOINT, and I cannot wait to see more on the different takes on the various characters within.

Click here for a preview of BOOSTER GOLD #44 *FLASHPOINT TIE-IN*

FROM IMAGE COMICS and MINOTAUR PRESS (publishers of ECHOES), comes A NOIR REVENGE STORY WITH A SUPERNATURAL TWIST IN LAST MORTAL #1

We were HUGE fans of last year’s ECHOES, from IMAGE COMICS and MINOTAUR PRESS, and now the same publishing imprint that brought us ECHOES (MINOTAUR), is delivering another exciting new series with LAST MORTAL #1 this Wednesday.

Last Mortal is a classic revenge story with a wicked noir streak, and a slightly supernatural twist. The story centers around Alec King, a small-time loser who has never succeeded at anything in his life, and whose fear of failure has crippled him. When his only friend, Brian, the brains and charm of their two-man con operation, convinces Alec to help him with a hit contract on a mayoral candidate his life begins to fall apart…

..and, you’re asking, where does the supernatural angle come in? Folks, there’s a GREAT twist on this one, that really sets up the entire series. I don’t want to ruin it, but if you’ve enjoyed stuff like ECHOES, or BLUE ESTATE, you’ll love LAST MORTAL. It’s a solid read, with a strong sense of modern noir.

FEAR ITSELF: AVENGERS #13HERC #3, AND INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #504 ALL DELIVER NEW PERSPECTIVES ON WHERE THE NEXT HAMMER WILL FALL IN FEAR ITSELF!

It’s a big week for FEAR ITSELF as three tie-ins to the event drop this Wednesday, and all three look pretty freakin’ rad, but of course, we’ve gotta give the spotlight to the AVENGERS tie-in. As Marvel’s flagship title, you just know that the FEAR ITSELF tie-in of AVENGERS is going to be a big one, and have some major ramifications on the events surrounding FEAR ITSELF.

With the GOD OF FEAR having arrived on Earth, and the only thing standing between him and world domination are the Avengers, how far will Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have to go to stand against an evil older than time itself?

Plus… with the Hulk being one of the two who was bestowed a hammer in FEAR ITSELF  #2, will we get to see the Red Hulk fighting on the side of the angels against the Green Hulk for once?

Totally stoked about this, as AVENGERS is already one of my favorite monthly titles, and I’m continually impressed by Bendis’s work on the book. I’ll be stoked to see how this one ties into the FEAR ITSELF.

Click here for a preview of AVENGERS #13 *FEAR ITSELF*

Next up is INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #504, which continues from last month’s #503, the first FEAR ITSELF tie-in to the series (which is still in stock and available now at Third Eye).

This one is rock solid, not just because it’s part of MATT FRACTION’s already stellar run on Iron Man that’s turned out to be one of the best Marvel books on the stands in the last few years, but it’s also a tie-in that’s officially written by FEAR ITSELF writer MATT FRACTION, so you know he’s got some killer storyline nuggets nestled away in this one.

As we continue on, FEAR ITSELF reaches its hand deep into the heart of the City of Lights. Iron Man must race to Pairs to encounter one of THE WORTHY waiting for him, but who will it be….? Judging from the cover of this one, I think we’re going to see some Grey Gargoyle action. And I can’t wait.

Click here for a preview of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #504 *FEAR ITSELF*

And, then rounding out the trio of FEAR ITSELF is the third issue of the recently launched HERC ongoing from INCREDIBLE HERCULES fame Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak. We’ve said for years that their work on this character has been one of Marvel’s hidden gems, bringing an interesting mix of humor, old-school superhero storytelling, and authentic Greek mythology to the character and his world. Where does Herc fit in the grand scheme of FEAR ITSELF.

Click here for a preview of HERC #3

SCOTT SNYDER, writer of AMERICAN VAMPIRE and DETECTIVE COMICS, kicks off this killer new 5-issue limited series WHICH SETS THE STAGE FOR A MAJOR BATMAN STORYLINE IN 2011

The Secret History of Gotham City Revealed!

We’ve been huge fans of Scott Snyder’s recent BATMAN work, and of course, his killer Vertigo ongoing series, AMERICAN VAMPIRE. Snyder really brings that kind of macabre mystery that we remember fondly from series like SHADOW OF THE BAT and LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT in a big way to books like his recent work on DETECTIVE COMICS.

Now, it looks like one of our favorite writers is about to get thrust into the limelight of the Bat-Universe with this upcoming BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM 5-issue limited series which lays the groundwork for a massive storyline that will encompass the entire Batman universe in 2011.

We’re reminded a lot of classic arcs like CATACLYSM, CONTAGION, and NO MAN’S LAND by the feel of where this one could be leading, and in my opinion, as someone who grew up loving ALL of those epic Batman arcs: I think that’s great.

So, what is GATES OF GOTHAM about? Well, when a mystery that’s as old as Gotham City itself surfaces, Batman assembles a team of his greatest detectives — including Red Robin, Owlman, and others — to investigate this startling new enigma. As clues are discovered and the mystery deepens, Batman’s team soon finds itself on a journey that explores different eras in Gotham’s history and touches upon notable Gotham families including the Waynes, Kanes, and Elliott.

This storyline spins out of recent events in the Batman titles, and will be setting the stage for some MAJOR stuff in 2011 for the Caped Crusader. There’s also some aspects that touch upon the mysterious storyline elements Morrison laid out in RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE.

Personally, I think that anything that explores the history and varying eras of Gotham City is a pretty kick-ass idea, and with Scott Snyder writing it… you can’t go wrong.

Check it out this Wednesday at Third Eye!

COBRA CIVIL WAR CONTINUES WITH IT’S THIRD CHAPTER IN THIS WEDNESDAY’S SNAKE-EYES #1 – EVERYONE’S FAVORITE SILENT ENFORCER GETS HIS OWN ONGOING SERIES!

We’re loving the new direction of the GI JOE books with IDW’s new COBRA CIVIL WAR, a storyline where Cobra Commander has been killed, and now the Cobra organization is tearing itself apart to determine who will be the new Cobra Commander.

And, the third chapter of the cross-over hits this Wednesday with the first issue of the brand new SNAKE-EYES ongoing series. Who doesn’t love the silent yet deadly Joe? He’s way up there on everybody’s cool list with characters like Boba Fett (before that whole thing about him being a kid, and a clone and who knows what else happened), Soundwave (the coolest Transformer ever), and Scorpion (Sorry, I’ve had MORTAL KOMBAT on the brain).

Missed the first two chapters of COBRA CIVIL WAR? We’ve got copies of chapter 1 and chapter 2 in stock to get you caught up.

UNCANNY X-FORCE #10 *PROLOGUE TO THE DARK ANGEL SAGA*– THE DARK ANGEL SAGA BEGINS THIS WEDNESDAY IN ONE OF OUR TOP 5 FAVORITE MONTHLY MARVEL BOOKS

We are so stoked about this one, folks. Uncanny X-Force has been one of the best monthly Marvel titles we’re reading since it’s launch, and each and every issue has delivered in a major way. A streamlined, self-contained, totally kick-ass read with razor-sharp characterization, loads of fan-favorite villains, and a team of some of the best artists working, this is probably one of the best Marvel books you could be reading, and most definitely, the best X-Book.

Now, the storyline we’ve been waiting for since it was originally first mentioned a few months ago, THE DARK ANGEL SAGA. A reporter prepares to release photographs of X-Force killing military personnel leaving the squad with one of the hardest choices of their lives, how to deal with her? Nothing can prepare you for the decision they make, or the ramifications as X-Force find themselves forced to unite with a former servant of Apocalypse…. and all of this, will be leading into the DARK ANGEL SAGA, which shows us the rise of Arc-Angel’s DEATH persona, and we’ll be learning that Archangel’s condition won’t be curable with any of the technology available in the main Marvel Universe reality of Earth 616, which means that the X-Force must travel to the AGE OF APOCALYPSE for answers. Psylocke’s past experience with dimension hopping and the Exiles is why they’re looking to her for assistance, and her former Exiles team-mate, AGE OF APOCALYPSE Sabretooth.

Dude, this is GOING TO KICK-ASS. I think that many of you are like myself and fondly remember AGE OF APOCALYPSE, and the world it created. It’s been a long time since Marvel’s successfully ventured back there, but with a great creative team like Rick Remender, Jerome Opena and Billy Tan handling it… we cannot wait to read this one.

Jump aboard one of Marvel’s best monthly series this Wednesday with the DARK ANGEL SAGA. #10 is a perfect jumping on point to find out why everyone raves about this series.

Click here for a preview of UNCANNY X-FORCE #10 *DARK ANGE SAGA PROLOGUE*

THE RED HOOD RETURNS THIS WEDNESDAY IN BATMAN AND ROBIN #23,  AS THE SERIES KICKS OFF A BRAND NEW STORY ARC! A PERFECT JUMPING ON POINT FOR NEW READERS!

From the writer of the graphic novel that inspired the animated film, BATMAN UNDER THE RED HOOD, comes the latest and greatest in the premiere Batman title, BATMAN AND ROBIN, with chapter one of THE STREETS RUN RED this Wednesday.

Who isn’t a fan of the bloodthirsty Red Hood? And, when we saw he was returning in this week’s BATMAN AND ROBIN #23, we had to give it props. Plus, the creative team on this one is WICKED, and this issue serves as a great jumping on point for anyone who’s been curious about checking out one of the best Batman books on the stands, with BATMAN AND ROBIN.

So, what’s the scoop on this latest arc? Jason Todd — Batman’s one-time sidekick, currently the anti-hero known as the Red Hood — has been imprisoned in Arkham Asylum for the past several months. But after a period of good behavior, will a transfer to a lower security prison mean reformation for Jason Todd, or an excuse for him to escape and finish what he started with Batm and Robin?

We love BATMAN AND ROBIN as a series here, and we love the Red Hood, so we’re pretty stoked about checking this one out this week.

STAR WARS: JEDI THE DARK SIDE #1 – TWENTY ONE YEARS BEFORE THE EVENTS IN EPISODE 1, QUI-GON JIN MUST RESIST THE DARK SIDE! THE STORY OF THE FIRST PADAWAN OF QUI-GON

The DARK HORSE Star Wars titles are always top notch, and we’re stoked to see a brand new series launch from them set in that universe.

Kicking off this Wednesday, we get STAR WARS: JEDI – THE DARK SIDE #1, which is a brand new series that takes place 21 years before the events in SW: EPISODE 1 THE PHANTOM MENACE. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn is dispatched to prevent the outbreak of a civil war on the homeworld of his Padawan Xanatos — whos father is king. It is a mission that will lead Qui-gon into close contact with the Dark Side and start him on a quest that will have a major impact on the future of the Jedi Order.

This is a great opportunity to get onboard with a new Star Wars series set in a wide-open era of the Star Wars mythos. Much like when KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC first launched, this is the kind of series where very little actual lore has been established before-hand, so tons of exciting new stories can be told. Plus, we get to see the story of the Padawan that Qui-Gonn had before Obi-Wan.

Click here for a preview of STAR WARS: JEDI – THE DARK SIDE #1

ALPHA FLIGHT RETURNS THIS WEDNESDAY IN THE BRAND NEW ALPHA FLIGHT #0.1 *MARVEL POINT ONE*

After a very long absence, the fan-favorite super-team of Canada, returns this Wednesday in the brand new Alpha Flight ongoing series which kicks off with ALPHA FLIGHT #0.1, and what better way to start a new ALPHA FLIGHT series than a POINT ONE issue to get us up to speed. PLANET HULK writer GREG PAK, and INCREDIBLE HERCULES writer FRED VAN LANTE deliver this great starting point for new and old readers alike who’re stoked to see ALPHA FLIGHT back in action.

Click here for a preview of ALPHA FLIGHT #0.1

THE ROCKETEER RETURNS THIS WEDNESDAY IN ROCKETEER ADVENTURES #1 – DAVE STEVENS’S CLASSIC PULP HERO IS BACK, AND WE’RE TOTALLY STOKED!

Dave Stevens ROCKETEER was one of the coolest things from back in the day, and his loving tribute to all things pulp, was a true work of art. Not to mention the man’s artwork was INCREDIBLE to begin with. But, the world he created with the ROCKETEER was a true pulp masterpiece, and we loved every second of it.

And now, returning this Wednesday, THE ROCKETEER flies again, courtesy of some of comics all-star talents. This new limited series features comic talents ranging from Alex Ross, and John Cassaday to Mike Allred, Kurt Busiek, Michael Kaluta and Mike Mignola.

It’s the ROCKETEER, it’s got loads of great creators on board.. how can this one NOT be awesome?

Never read the ROCKETEER? Start by trying out the first issue of this limited series, and then if you dig it, we’ll turn you onto the hardcover collection of all the original Dave Stevens stuff, which to this day, is still amazing looking.

DEATH OF ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN CONTINUES THIS WEDNESDAY AS WE GET CLOSER TO THE FINAL BREATH FOR THE ULTIMATE WALL-CRAWLER WITH ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #158 and ULTIMATE AVENGERS VS NEW ULTIMATES #4

Now here’s a storyline that has really ramped up over the course of the last few months. I have to admit, THE DEATH OF ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN arc, began with a bit of a slow burn. It was definitely some of the best ULTIMATE stuff we’d read in ages, and with original ULTIMATE pioneers, MARK MILLAR (KICK-ASS, OLD MAN LOGAN) and BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (AVENGERS, SIEGE,ect) writing it, we knew it’d be good. But, it didn’t really grab us by the throat and hold us until the last couple of issues. I gotta tell you though, Third Eye Faithful, those last few issues have been AMAZING, and from all the buzz I’m hearing about the upcoming ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #160 (where he’s going to bite it), now is the time to jump onto this one.

Just like with the FANTASTIC FOUR, the back issues that made up the arc leading up to the death became near impossible to find, so before this thing blows up, we’d recommend getting caught up on these while we’ve got them all ready and available here at Third Eye.

And, now, moving ahead, this week we get two more chapters of the DEATH OF ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, with ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #158, and ULTIMATE AVENGERS VS NEW ULTIMATES #4…. we’re getting closer to the end, Third Eye Faithful! It’s been one hell of a ride!

Click here for a preview of ULTIMATE AVENGERS VS NEW ULTIMATES #4

Click here for a preview of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #158

Click here for our official THIRD EYE DEATH OF ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN CHECKLIST

WALKING DEAD, INVINCIBLE and SUPER DINOSAUR writer ROBERT KIRKMAN’S SCIENCE DOG IS BACK THIS WEDNESDAY IN SCIENCE DOG #2

Robert Kirkman is the kind of name that will pretty much make us read ANYTHING. No matter what, we know that the Kirk Man (can’t believe I just went there) will deliver.

And, just like last year, when Kirkman dropped a stellar one-shot featuring the adventures of everyone’s favorite heightened-intelligence, jetpack-toting canine, we’re going to get another dose of SCIENCE DOG, which includes the SCIENCE DOG back-up from INVINCIBLE #75, never before printed in any of the trade paperback collections. And, then, the all new content full-length, never-before-seen conclusion to the reprinted story from INVINCIBLE #75.

But, seriously, it’s KIRKMAN, and how can you go wrong with that?

Missed SCIENCE DOG #1? We’ve got limited copies from last year still in stock, so snag yourself one and get caught up for this Wednesday’s SCIENCE DOG #2.

IMAGE COMICS DABBLES IN VOODOO WITH DRUMS #1 THIS WEDNESDAY WITH A BRAND NEW MODERN HORROR SERIES!

IMAGE is the new house of ideas, that’s for sure, and they’re putting out some of the most compelling, and interesting titles on the stands these days.

This Wednesday, a new 4-issue limited series from IMAGE takes comics into the world of Voodoo, and we can’t wait to read this one. It looks freakin’ awesome.

What’s DRUMS all about? In our world there exists an ancient religion with many names and many disguises: Candomble, Palo Mayombe, Santeria… Voodoo. FBI agent Martin Irons is sent to investigate the sudden deaths of an entire gathering of followers at a ceremony, an assignment horrible enough before one of the mangled corpses rises and leads him to a sinister path. A new horror story with possessions, santeros, zombies.. and more.. This one looks badass!

VAMPIRELLA FACES THE SCARLET LEGION IN THIS PREQUEL TO THE NEW ONGOING SERIES WITH VAMPIRELLA AND THE SCARLET LEGION #1 THIS WEDNESDAY

The brand new VAMPIRELLA ongoing series that’s been coming out from DYNAMITE has been freakin’ great. We’re old school fans of Vampi here at Third Eye (heck, I even own the horrible live-action movie from the ’90s), and we’re loving the treatment that they’ve been giving her at Dynamite. It’s very true to the original WARREN magazines where she first appeared.

And, now, this Wednesday, we’re getting a limited series prequel to the current VAMPIRELLA series which shows us what happened between Vampi’s last series and where she is now.

DOCTOR WHO: A FAIRYTALE LIFE #2 – MORE DOCTOR WHO AWESOMENESS FEATURING THE CURRENT DOCTOR IN A KILLER STAND-ALONE STORY BY THE CREATIVE TEAMS BEHIND VERTIGO’S FABLES

Man, have you guys been watching the most recent season of WHO? How good has that been? I’m loving it. And, anytime we get an excuse to see more DOCTOR WHO awesomeness, you know we’ve gotta jump at that.

This Wednesday, the second issue of DOCTOR WHO: A FAIRYTALE LIFE arrives, continuing the story where The Doctor and Amy are stranded in a medieval fantasy world.

Missed #1? We’ve got copies in stock to catch you up!

ADVENTURES OF DR. MCNINJA TP VOL 1 NIGHT POWERS – A MUST FOR AXE COP FANS, DR. MCNINJA HAS IT ALL: AN EVIL UNICORN MOTORCYCLE, MONSTER GANG WARS, A TENNIS MATCH AGAINST A GOD OF DESTRUCTION, AND MORE!

All right, folks, if you’re a fan of the ridiculousness that is AXE COP, or the over-the-top craziness of stuff like ATOMIC ROBO, then you need to check out DR. MCNINJA this Wednesday.

Collecting all of the DR. MCNINJA comics, including a new and exclusive-to-print story WINTER WONDERDOME, the ADVENTURES OF DR MCNINJA delivers everything: Evil unicorn motorcycles, monster gang wars, and more.

All with a Ninja who makes house calls.

How can you not be curious about this one?

THIRD EYE STAFF PICKS

Steve – FLASHPOINT #1 – Oh. My. God. Best thing I’ve read of 2011 so far. EASY.

Trish – FLASHPOINT #1 –  My DCU knowledge isn’t as deep as everyone else’s here, but WOW. This one was awesome.

TORMA – FLASHPOINT #1 – Where’s issue #2?!

Tony (Prince Frederick) FLASHPOINT #1 – If I say ANYTHING, it will spoiler the awesomeness that is the first issue of FLASHPOINT.