If certain retailers are to be believed, this week's new comic releases mark a peculiar milestone, as a certain troubled publisher finds its main rival mounting a serious attack on its real-estate of shelf space. But outside of what's either a bold grab for market share or a coincidental clusterfuck of shipping dates, it's another relatively quiet week for new releases in this week's comic stores as the industry begins to prepare in earnest for next month's San Diego Comic-Con. More about the conspiracy theory of release dates and what you may (or may not) find in your local store under the jump.
According to Canadian retailer Chris Butcher, the number of this week's Marvel releases seem unusually high in comparison to DC's:
Retailers reading over their invoices for comics and graphic novels shipping [this]week will be shocked to discover that Marvel Comics is shipping about 34 titles next week, to only about 17 titles from DC Comics. It's a rare thing for Marvel to ship that many titles in a week ([last] week, for example, they only shipped about 17 or so), but to double the output of their closest competitor? That's very rare indeed… Until you stop to consider that one of DC's titles shipping [this] week is the next installment in their summer crossover Final Crisis... In addition to numerous Marvel comics scheduled to arrive in the month of June that were seemingly pushed from their original on-sale date to this week (including both [Brian] Bendis [scripted] Avengers books, both X-Men books, [Ed] Brubaker's Captain America & Daredevil, [Mark] Millar's Fantastic Four & Marvel 1985, and [Warren] Ellis' last Thunderbolts) this week also includes three of Marvel's largest lateness-plagued titles: Hulk #4, Ultimates 3 #4, and even the final issue of Joss Whedon's Runaways all drop next Wednesday. Plus another 20 comics.
Is it some kind of attempt for Marvel to bury the second issue of Final Crisis, or just the result of trying to get late books out at least in the month they were originally scheduled to appear? We may never know, but at least it'll mean that Marvel fans have a lot to pick up this week. For everyone else, there's always Final Crisis #2, as well as the following:
Dark Horse's Indiana Jones Adventures takes George Lucas' eponymous ode to archeology and pretends that it had a Saturday morning cartoon spin-off that they're then adapting; imagine a version done by Batman: The Animated Series' Bruce Timm or Clone Wars' Genndy Tartakovsky, and you're not a million miles away from what they're aiming at. If you'd rather your childhood heroes were treated with fewer kid gloves, then you owe it to yourself to pick up the first hardcover collection of DC's All-Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder, in which Frank Miller cashes the checks as he gleefully creates the world's oddest Batman parody. "What are you, dense? Are you retarded or something?" as the saying goes... He's the goddamn Batman.
More respectful versions of familiar icons can be found at the apparently overbearing Marvel - Captain America: The Chosen sees Rambo creator David Morrell write about an alternate end to Steve Rogers' career, while Mythos: Captain America gives another look at his origin as America's favorite soldier. Alternatively, you could pick up the collected edition of Marvel Atlas and find out where all of Cap's origin takes place - Is Marvel's Germany in Europe, or has it been forced out by Latveria?
The two best buys of the week happen to be new books: Warren Ellis' new series No Hero brings superheroes to San Francisco to see which one survives, while Marvel's charity book What If - The Fantastic Four Tribute to Mike Weiringo completes the unfinished final story by artist Mike Weiringo - who died last August - with new art by artists like Art Adams, Alan Davis, Mike Allred and Stuart Immonen with all profits going to The Hero Foundation, which helps current and former creators without insurance or benefits.
As is always the case, you can find the complete list of everything hitting stores here and then find out where said stores are by going here and putting in your zip code. Just remember: Buying a non-Marvel comic this week isn't just a good idea - It's the right thing to do if you want to fight back against big publisher bully tactics. Potentially.