Prejudged! 01.12.10

Welcome to another installment of Prejudged!, the only place where you can find a douchebag reviewing comic books before he has the chance to read them. This week features a new issue of Matt Fraction’s Eisner Award winning series, The Invincible Iron Man, Geoff Johns’ and Francis Manapul’s last issue of Adventure Comics, a preview issue of Alan Moore’s new horror series, the Neonomicon Hornbook, and the second issue of Daytripper by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon. For a look at a complete list of this week’s releases, you can visit the always reliable iFanboy.com Comics page. Now, on with the judging.

First we have the cover to Adventure Comics #6 by Francis Manapul

Francis Manapul, God love him, knows how to create eye-catching covers. At first glance, you feel an immediate sense of danger, what with the image of a T-Rex’s gaping jaws and the always tricky use of a wordballoon on a cover. The direness of the situation is, although, balanced with the vibrant colors and Krypto’s playful smile, which is characteristic of how this series has been so far (excluding the last two Superboy Prime issues). This is apparently the final issue for Johns and Manapul on the main feature (they might still work on a Superboy second feature) and also the end of the first story arc about Superboy’s life in Smallville after his resurrection. Here, I assume that Conner Kent finally gains the sense of identity he’s been searching for and finds his place in Smallville and in the greater DC universe. I’m guessing that he realizes that being a hybrid clone of both Superman and Lex Luthor doesn’t mean that he has to model his life based on either and that he has his own path in life and his own destiny to fulfill. This has been one of my favorite stories of 2009 and you can expect it to be bittersweet whichever way the story ends. I will always remember this arc as one of the most endearing and most beautifully drawn stories I’ve ever read.

Next, we have the cover to Daytripper #2 by Gabriel Ba

Going through the solicitations for this week’s titles, I, immediately, was drawn to this cover. I always found that a clever use of whites greatly helps a comic book cover stand out in contrast to all the blacks that most other titles have on theirs. I also really appreciate how the dreamscape-like imagery on this cover already gives us a good idea of where the story is headed after last issue’s surprise ending. To a certain degree, the cover could even be setting the tone for the entire series. Personally, I can’t help feeling like I’ve stumbled upon something great in Daytripper. It’s a fantastic new title with amazing artwork and what feels like the beginnings of a powerful story. I highly recommend picking this book up to anyone, be you comic book fan or not.

And now, the cover to Invincible Iron Man #22 by Rian Hughes and Salvador Larroca

Nothing else on the stands even remotely comes close to the recent covers of Invincible Iron Man. That fact alone would be enough reason to pick this issue up. But then we also have Matt Fraction at his best, weaving a tale of how a broken man is able to bring together former allies. It strikes me how Captain America and Thor, seemingly without the slightest hint of hesitation, come to Tony Stark’s aid, despite everything that’s happened since Avengers Disassembled. Remember that these are three people who have had the biggest falling-out in comics history, even to the point of almost killing each other, and here they are ready to lend a hand (or hammer) (or shield) when one of them is in great need. It goes to show how certain bonds are too strong for any sort of ideology to break.

In what a lot of people would call a “light week” in comics is actually a week of special reunions, sad goodbyes,and sweet Hellos. I’d say that’s pretty heavy stuff.

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