Young X-Men #1-3

Written by Marc Guggenheim
Penciled by Yanick Paquette
Inked by Ray Snyder and Kris Justice
32 pages, color
Published by Marvel Comics

Over the past five years, Marvel’s been seeming to struggle with what to do with the concept of a junior class of X-Men. We’ve seen a new New Mutants, followed by two pretty different takes on a New X-Men title. Now it’s being altered yet again with Young X-Men—perhaps a name change to hearken to Marvel’s MIA hit Young Avengers. With this latest attempt, though, I’m not sure this is the right direction to take.

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Wonder Woman #20-21

Written by Gail Simone
Pencilled by Aaron Lopresti
Inked by Matt Ryan
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

I always feel like I need to give credit to a new creative team, when their run follows up on what came before. It seems like a natural thing to ask for—but so often everything that existed before the new regime is thrown out (cast members, setting, raison d’étre) in favor of something new and different with which the new people can make their mark. So with Gail Simone’s taking over of Wonder Woman, she’s juggling two previous takes on the character along with her own. And here, at least, it almost seems to work.

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Superior Showcase #3

By Dustin Harbin, Brian Maruca, Laura Park, and Jim Rugg
32 pages, black and white
Published by AdHouse Books

After the fun of AdHouse Books’s Project: Superior, an anthology where independent and alternative artists tackled superheroes, it was easy to see why publisher/editor Chris Pitzer brought about Superior Showcase, a series of comics which lets more comic creators tackle the genre as they see fit. And while I’ve certainly enjoyed both Project: Superior and the issues of Superior Showcase, it’s the latest issue of the showcase book that really grabbed my attention, thanks to one story in particular.

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Abandon the Old in Tokyo

By Yoshihiro Tatsumi
224 pages, black and white
Published by Drawn & Quarterly

While cleaning house, I recently uncovered a copy of Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s Abandon the Old in Tokyo. I’d read his first collection in English, The Push Man and Other Stories, and thought it was good enough to buy the second one. And then, somehow, I’d lost and forgotten about the book. Determined to read the book that I’d misplaced for so long, I sat down and started reading it—and couldn’t stop until I was done. I certainly won’t be misplacing Tatsumi’s books again.

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Marvel 1985 #1

Written by Mark Millar
Art by Tommy Lee Edwards
32 pages, color
Published by Marvel Comics

Entering your favorite fictional world has got to be one of the top five daydreams of young kids. Books, comics, movies, television shows, you name the media, someone’s imagined being able to interact with characters inside it. That’s what Mark Millar and Tommy Lee Edwards are tapping into with their Marvel 1985 mini-series, having a character from our world discover that characters from his favorite comics are now real and in his home town. But once you get past the initial hook, is there really anything new?

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House of Mystery #1-2

Written by Matthew Sturges and Bill Willingham
Art by Luca Rossi, with Ross Campbell and Jill Thompson
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

The new revival of House of Mystery sounded so strange that I simply had to take a look at it: part running narrative about a house that pulls people in and out of its grasp, part anthology thriller with guest artists illustrating short stories. It was, to be honest, a really different hook for a series. Now that I’ve read the first two issues, though, I have to give Vertigo credit for grabbing this pitch; in a market where single issue sales are falling by the wayside, this is a book where I want to buy every issue.

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Gimmick! Vol. 1

Written by Youzaburou Kanari
Art by Kuroko Yabuguchi
224 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

There are some basic hooks for stories which we’ve seen over and over again—princess in need of rescuing, evil businessman tries to take over the world, that sort of thing. And then there are ones that, when they do show up, make you genuinely wonder why we don’t get them more often, because they’re so full of possibilities. That’s how I feel about Youzaburou Kanari and Kuroko Yabuguchi’s Gimmick!, in which a makeup/special-effects artist and a stuntman keep finding themselves solving other people’s dilemmas. When you think about the skill sets of those two characters, well, the possibilities are endless.

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Echo #1-3

By Terry Moore
24 pages, black and white
Published by Abstract Studio

When I think Terry Moore, it’s hard to not instantly think Strangers in Paradise. Sure, it’s not the only comic he’s worked on—for DC Comics he wrote six issues of Birds of Prey, and he’s about to start writing Runaways for Marvel—but the bulk of his career was writing and drawing over 100 issues of Strangers in Paradise. Now that it’s come to a close, though, his new baby is a comic called Echo. It has been so long since he’s had something from which I could jump on at the ground floor, well, I figured this was a moment I couldn’t pass up.

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Freddie & Me: A Coming-of-Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody

By Mike Dawson
304 pages, black and white
Published by Bloomsbury

I’m always a little envious of people who grew up with a singular, favorite band. It gives you a frame of reference that you get to build memories off of; what you were doing in your life when each album and was released. That’s what I was expecting from Mike Dawson’s Freddie & Me, and while that was certainly part of his autobiographical book, what I also found was in many ways the more interesting aspect of the book.

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Captain Britain and MI: 13 #1

Written by Paul Cornell
Penciled by Leonard Kirk
Inked by Jesse Delperdang
32 pages, color
Published by Marvel Comics

Poor Captain Britain. Ever since the original run of Excalibur ended, it’s been hard for him to support a comic. It’s hard to say what it is that just doesn’t grab readers. Is it the large reading population in the United States that doesn’t want to read about a British character. Or maybe just a lack of inspiration on what to do with him? Marvel seems to hope it’s the latter, and so they’re launching another attempt: Captain Britain and MI: 13. Hopefully this attempt will be a little less awkward than the title of the comic.

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