I know, I know; you want to get into comics, but you don't know where to start. And who can blame you? This week alone sees the release of more than 100 comics and graphic novels, many of which are unspeakable dreck. What you need is someone smart to give you a heads-up on what you should be spending your time and money on. Instead, you have me.
Nonetheless, let's press ahead, shall we?
Probably the big book of the week is IDW's Angel: After The Fall #1, which follows in the footsteps of Dark Horse's Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Eight in letting Joss Whedon himself (co-writing with Brian Lynch, with art by Franco Urru) tell you what happened after the cancellation of the Angel TV series. You can learn more about it here, if you're so inclined.
Other multi-media crossover books this week include Marvel Comics' Iron Man: Director of SHIELD Annual #1 - written by Law and Order's Christos Gage - and Incredible Hulk #111 - written by io9 favorite Greg Pak - laying the groundwork for next year's big summer blockbuster movies. If you're more of a video game person, then Image Comics' Dark Sector #0 might be your thing if you're the kind of person who wonders where your black ops avatar got his super-powers ahead of the game's release at the start of next year. Alternatively, you could pick up the long-delayed second issue of Marvel's adaptation of the Halo franchise, Halo: Uprising, which manages to make it into stores only two months late. Hey, space carnage takes time.
If alien war is your thing, then Marvel are also putting out the third collection of their Annihilation series, in which bug-like aliens decimate various alien planets while space-bound superheroes get their asses kicked trying to stop them (Imagine Star Wars meets X-Men, but with more death). There's an interlude of Earth War in DC Comics' very enjoyable 52 Volume 4, but you might miss it in between the other moments of sci-fi genius (Parallel earths! An island populated by mad scientists doing the bidding of a giant evil talking egg!). Equally idea-packed from DC is Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Volume 3, which takes you into the last half of the inspiration for the successful part of George Lucas's career.
My pick of the week, however, would be Casanova #11. Matt Fraction's post-post-modern mash-up of every spy movie, science-fiction book and superhero comic ever made continues to amuse and delight with every new issue, and this latest chapter promises no change. How could anyone resist this come-on?
Her name is Suki Boutique, and she runs the most powerful and glamorous criminal casino on Earth. Through her bank flows the countless illicit fortunes that keeps the underworld turning on its axis. Through her doors pass a veritable who's who of fabulous supercrime. And tonight, Zephyr Quinn has come to collect a bounty. Has she met her match?
All of the above are available tomorrow where all good comics are sold. If you don't know where that might be, then go here and find out and, no, you don't need to thank me for giving you something to do while everyone else is watching Miracle on 34th Street on Thursday.
Angel image courtesy of IDW Publishing, Casanova image courtesy of Image Comics