Off the Shelf

Since I’m in a bookstore frame of mind these days, I thought this week we’d take a look at some of the new trade paperbacks and hardcovers that came out last week and immediately caught my eye and found their way home to the Comics 101 HQ Library.

New from DC last week was GREEN LANTERN: SECTOR 2814, Volume 1, by Len Wein and Dave Gibbons.


Collecting the first part of Wein and Gibbons GREEN LANTERN run from 1984, SECTOR 2814 is a retro breath of fresh air in today’s world of bloody, overwrought, straining, impalement-heavy superhero comics. Telling the story of Hal Jordan’s return to Earth after a yearlong forced exile from his home world at the dictate of his bosses the Guardians of the Universe, we see Hal resume his civilian life and reunite with his love Carol Ferris, and track his decision to resign from the GL Corps once and for all in pursuit of a normal life with the woman he loves.


The writing is crisp and fast-paced, and the art, well, what do you expect? The art is Dave Gibbons, it’s beautiful. Here’s hoping sales are strong enough that we see a Volume Two. Better yet, let’s give Wein and Gibbons a chance to tell some new Green Lantern stories, now that both are back in the DC fold.

Now, despite what I said, above, I have no problem with gritty, bloody superhero comics, as long as they can bring something new to the table. Which is exactly what Image’s DANGER CLUB, VOLUME ONE: DEATH does.


Written by Landry Q. Walker and drawn by Eric Jones (a duo best known for their all-ages work on books like SUPERGIRL: COSMIC ADVENTURES IN THE 8TH GRADE and LITTLE GLOOMY), DANGER CLUB has a can’t-miss premise, which they set up on the series’ first page:

Three months ago.

The universe was in deadly peril. The world’s greatest heroes were summoned into space to battle reality’s ultimate evil.

Our mentors. Our guardians. Our parents. Our teachers.

They left.

And they didn’t come back.

The notion of teen sidekicks left with the keys to the planet and at a loss for what to do with it is a great starting point, and the story takes many unexpected twists as you’re drawn into this new world, including the introduction of the sinister American Spirit, a doddering, ancient ex-superhero turned President:


It looks as though DANGER CLUB is just getting warmed up. One of my favorite new series.

Fans of Ed Brubaker’s crime work on books like CRIMINAL, GOTHAM CENTRAL and the current (and excellent) FATALE will want to pick up the new hardcover re-release of SCENE OF THE CRIME, one of Brubaker’s earlier works with artist Michael Lark, original published by DC’s Vertigo imprint back in 1999.


While it’s not as polished as their later work, Brubaker and Lark tell a very compelling little noir tale here, well worth your time, especially in a package as pretty as this, which includes production notes, development artwork, and an additional short story.

My top pick of the week by far, though, is Marvel’s new hardcover collection of SPIDER-MEN, by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli.


When I first heard about this project, I was a little skeptical, and frankly, with the creators involved, I should have known better. Rather than being a big universe-crossing event-type comic, this is almost entirely a character piece, at the heart of it being about Peter Parker’s reactions to seeing a world where not only has he died in the line of duty, but he’s already been replaced. And when it comes to emotional scenes of characterization, there’s no one out there better at conveying it than Pichelli. This scene of Peter saying goodbye to Gwen Stacy, getting that moment that none of us ever really get, of one more stolen moment with a lost loved one, is worth the entire price of admission, if you ask me:


Highly recommended.

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And finally, a thought: best wishes to everyone out there for a safe and happy Thanksgiving with your families. It can still be a scary world out there, as our friends in New York and New Jersey can attest. Be thankful for what you have, and try and help out those who have less, any way you can.

Scott Tipton likes a nice hardcover. If you’ve got questions about comics, send them here.


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