Tug's Pick of the Week

AVENGERS VS. THUNDERBOLTS #1 — Click for a Larger ImageAvengers vs. Thunderbolts # 1

Currently, the Avengers are fighting the JLA.  (Sorry, I have no idea when that last issue is coming out!)  Pretty soon, they’ll be fighting the rich and famous mutants of X-Statix.  But this week, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes take on Marvel’s Most Unpredictable (Marvel’s tagline, not mine) in Avengers vs. Thunderbolts # 1.

This six-issue mini-series is made possible by the writing team of Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, with pencils by Barry Kitson.  Busiek and Nicieza both had great runs on Thunderbolts before that title fell victim to NuMarvel thinking and became some ridiculous Fight Club knockoff.  Of course, neither writer is a stranger to the Avengers.

Busiek and Nicieza decide to take this book in a direction that’s becoming pretty familiar in this post-Authority world:  The Thunderbolts have decided to go into a made-up Marvel country and destroy their nuclear program, "making the world a safer place" but raising the eyebrows of the entire world in the process — especially Captain America and crew.

The writing is spot-on, and fans who have been clamoring for the return of the Thunderbolts need wait no longer.  The story so far is very T-Bolts-centered.  (After all, the Avengers still have their monthly book.)  The only real drawback is that if you’re not 100% caught up on your T-Bolts history, then there’s a chance you'll miss some references here and there, but nothing that will completely ruin your comic-reading experience.  And with that awesome Barry Kitson art, you can’t go wrong.  If you liked Kitson’s work on Empire (written by Mark Waid), then you’ll dig this book as well.

This week was a close one for Tug’s Pick, though — I’d also heartily recommend these little four-color gems:

JSA #59 — Click for a Larger ImageJSA # 59 — Let’s face it, if you haven’t heard from everyone you know yet that this is the DC book to read, then you may need to get your ears checked.  Geoff Johns brings us a nice epilogue to the phenomenally successful “Black Reign” story (a previous Tug’s Pick), but the main reason to pick this bad boy up is the jaw-dropping art from Sean Phillips (Sleeper). No offense to the other artists on this book, but unless Carlos Pacheco decides to come on, then I want Sean Phillips on this book all the time!

STORMWATCH: TEAM ACHILLES #20 — Click for a Larger ImageStormwatch: Team Achilles # 20 — This is a book that I recently jumped on because of the just-finishing Coup d’Etat series.  And despite some mediocre-to-bad art throughout, this is a really great book.  This issue stands out for a couple of reasons.  For one thing, it’s a great jumping-on point (especially if you read Coup d’Etat) that finds the Stormwatch team outlawed by the Authority.

The best reason to give this guy a try, though, is the cover by Jason Pearson. This cover is one of a very, very few in the past few years to feature (gasp!) dialogue.  And I, for one, am happy to see cover dialogue trying to come back.  I’m sick and tired of cover after cover of glorified "iconic" pin-ups that tell you nothing about what the comic inside is like.  This cover does a great job of showing the excitement that the return of cover dialogue could bring to New Comics Day.  Just look at it!  While this exact situation doesn’t happen in the comic, something similar does (no spoilers), and it just plain makes you wonder what the heck is going to happen when you open up this book.

Well, I’m climbing off the soapbox for this week.  See ya on Wednesday!

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