A reader writes... Q: I am a 25-year-old man, and I have always been single. I do have girlfriends, but to them, I am always "the brother they never had" -- which results in some awkward moments. I know I am not one to look at, but I'm a funny guy with a heart of gold -- the kind of guy that would get up in the middle of the night to help my friend out, if needed. I always hear that this is what women like in a man, but for some reason I always tend to be just the friend. What should I do?
They say: From the pages of Amazing Spider-Man! The last Jackpot died in combat alongside Spider-Man - so who is the New Jackpot putting fear into the hearts of street criminals? Why has Boomerang targeted her for death? And how is the Rose involved? Find out this January as founding Web-head Marc Guggenheim returns to the Spider-Verse alongside rising star Adriana Melo to bring the next great Marvel heroine, Jackpot!
I say: I guess the big hook, here, is the question: "Is jackpot Mary Jane?" She's a redhead, her codename, "Jackpot," is reminiscent of her famous "Tiger, you just hit the jackpot," line upon meeting Peter parker for the first time. So, if she's not MJ, the writers are throwing an awful lot of red herrings around.
All of that to the side, it's been a long time since I've seen Boomerang in action, so this book is a pull is for no other reason than nostalgia.
They say: Deadpool gets his freak on when he's hired to bump off Ed McGrady -- a.k.a. 'Lobster Boy' -- the mayor of Freaksville, USA. But things get a little bit complicated when one of the Fallen decides to take over the town and, quite possibly, the rest of the world. Luckily for Deadpool, the Ghost Riders, Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch, just happen to be in town too. It's the end of the world as we know it...unless the Merc with a Mouth can play nice with the Spirits of Vengeance and send this demon back to hell in a hand basket. Which is harder than it might seem...
I say: I still haven't hit Deadpool saturation. And I'm still darned entertained by the Deadpool team-ups. They won me over with the previous issue -- which featured a wrestler/brother mercenary team I had never heard of. If I can read an issue like that and be entertained, then an issue featuring Ghost Rider holds plenty of promise.
Seige #1 Creative team: Story by Brian Michael Bendis; Art by Olivier Coipel
Villains to Watch: Norman Osborn and Loki
They say: Beginning with the ravaging affects of Avengers Disassembled and following the aftermaths of House of M, Civil War and Secret Invasion, culminating with the evil Reign of Norman Osborn, the Marvel Universe has been left with its greatest villains holding more power and control than ever before. On the brink of madness, Osborn, in his final bid to take total control, targets the final obstacle in his mission...Asgard. Events are set in motion forcing our heroes to put aside the deep rifts that have grown over the past seven years. Opposing them stand a horde of evil that has begun to take down the gods of the Golden Realm! "Siege" will rock the foundations of every super hero, villain and team in the Marvel Universe. As an era ends, one word will ring above all others...'SIEGE.'
I say: Well, we're well into the thick of Bendis' far-reaching plot, and I have to say, this has been a really gripping storyline. The idea of the villains taking over the Marvel Universe -- sending the heroes underground -- has been masterfully turned by Marvel writers. I'm happy to see it coming to a climax, but I'll be a little sad when things eventually -- inevitably -- return to "normal."
Suicide Squad #67 Creative team: Story by John Ostrander & Gail Simone; Art by J. Calafiore
Villain to Watch: the Fiddler
They say: John Ostrander and Gail Simone resurrect The Suicide Squad as they take on Blackest Night and the Secret Six! The Fiddler has risen from the dead, and he's targeting Deadshot and anyone who stands in his way. But someone else has targeted Deadshot - the Suicide Squad! Everything is about to hit the Wall (Amanda Waller, that is) - and this Wall hits back! Continuing this month's one-issue revival of classic DC Universe titles, this epic story carries into January's Secret Six #17!
I say: Any solicit that has the words "Secret Six" and "Gail Simone" is an instant pull, for my taste in comics. This one has all that and more. How about these words: "Amanda Waller"? And it has this very important word: Fiddler. A suitably campy Silver Age baddie. Remember what Simone did with the Mad Hatter? Remember how creepy and twisted she reimagined him as? Just wait 'til she sinks her teeth into the Fiddler.
They say: There's a new killer prowling Gotham City preying on the homeless. Batman has his suspicions, but is his normally rational mind playing tricks on him? When The Caped Crusader finally meets his suspect face-to-face, he finds that the creature knows much more than he should. Prepare for a stunning 4-part storyline written and illustrated by fan favorite Sam Kieth!
I say: Look at those ears. I think we need to start a scale that compares the length of the bat-ears and compares it to the quality of the book itself. And I say we start with this one.
They say: Spider-Man has just met one of his deadliest foes. But does he even know it yet? In the crossroads of 1934 America, organized crime cuts a bloody swath through the streets, while political movements like the American Nazi Party promise a vision of a safer world ahead. And with the promise of science to improve Americans' lives, Peter Parker is blinded to the evil of his new role model. Will Spider-Man wise up in time and fight?
I say: When you say "noir," I think Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, stale cigarettes and cheap whiskey. It's black-and-white. Not red-and-blue. It's fedoras and trenchcoats; not spandex and webs. I just can't make the leap on this one.