OK. Some medical issues and the start of the holidays have had me away from here for a bit but I’m going to try to catch up as quickly as I can. My comic stack has been a bit higher lately. Marvel’s new titles are coming out now that Secret Wars is over. What? It’s not over? Leave it to Marvel to mess up their schedules. We’re getting the post-event stories before the event is even over and we see the fallout. Well, let’s get this going…

Amazing Spider-Men #1 – Things are starting out with an oversized issue. It begins in Shanghai where Spidey teams up with Mockingbird to take down Leo of the Zodiac because of a security breach. We move from there to a Parker Industries event including a gay wedding. That was a cool thing to find in the issue. It’s good to see stuff like this in a Marvel comic. We also see Prowler in the Spider-Man costume, filling in for Peter while he’s overseas. It turns out that Doc Ock is still around as a ghost in the machine, a robot to be specific. The second have of the book is short lead in stories to Spider-Man 2099, Silk, Spider-Woman, The Web Warriors (the heroes from across the “Spiderverse”), and Spider-Man/Miles. It’s not a bad comic. I’m not a spider-Man fan so I won’t be continuing with it, but I was a big Exiles fan so I might take a look at the Web Warriors. This title, of course, shows that all the Earths seem to be back (at least 50101 of them given the Spider-Man Earth count.) so there’s one revelation from Secret Wars.

Avengers #0 – This book has a bunch of short stories like the end of Amazing Spider-Man leading up to the different Avengers titles. The background story is about the Squadron Supreme as they discuss the Avengers. The members are the Hyperion from the Avenders, Nighthawk from the MAX series. Blur from the New Universe (as opposed to a Whizzer character), Zarda (supposedly from Secret Wars) and a female Doctor Spectrum. The books we see snippets from are Vision (in a new costume I don’t like), Scarlet Witch, Captain Marvel (working with “Alpha Flight” though no actual members are seen in the staff), New Avengers (including a reveal of the Maker/Ultimate Reed Richards as another Secret Wars spoiler), Deadpool (which includes him getting an Avengers ID so he can be in Uncanny Avengers), and the Ultimates. Lots of details and hooks to draw people in. There are a few titles I want to check out like Squadron Supreme, Scarlet Witch, and New Avengers (because of Wiccan and Hulkling).

Contest of Champions #1 – If we’re going to revisit the Secret Wars name, why not hit up Marvel’s first mini-series starring every hero in the Marvel Universe. That series introduced a number of new characters from various countries other than the US to mix things up. I wonder if they’ll do that in here too. The book is in 2 parts. The first part seems to be regarding a battle already in progress that Outlaw (the British version of the Punisher) gets pulled into. Already in the action, he runs into Gamora, Iron Man, the grey Hulk/Joe, and the old Venom while the Collector and an old bearded Hulk watch. I’m not sure what the rules of this contest are or how good this will be. I’m guessing they are pulling people from all sorts of time periods given the grey Hulk. We’ll just have to see what’s up.

Doctor Strange #1 – I’ve been a big fan of Doctor Strange since back when I first ran across him in a Defenders comic and read his own comic after that. I was glad to see him getting a title back. (Well, it means he survives Secret Wars even though he is dead there. Another spoiler.) The art reminds me of something out of a weird Vertigo title. We start out with Doctor Strange taking on a tribe of soul eaters in a kid’s spirit. Then, after fighting some spectral creature on the way, he gets to a bar for mystics where he meets Scarlet Witch, Brother Voodoo, and Shaman. He gets the lecture about laying the cost of magic which is supposedly the theme of the book and why he will be fighting with weapons soon. Then it’s on to a meeting with a girl who has grown demonic mouths on her head. We close with a hint of some weird guy trying to take down magic. The story fits the artwork but I’m not all that enthused about the artwork. I would have loved a good title along the lines of his old series but it seems like everything is about going as weird as possible instead of telling a good story.

Green Arrow #45 – Oliver and Tarantula make a run for it from the Skulls who are killing people, stealing artifacts, and leaving marking in blood everywhere. Overall, not too interesting an issue.

Green Arrow Annual #1 – I was surprised that Green Arrow was just getting an annual finally. It’s actually pretty interesting. There is a disease that is more or less like lycanthropy. Anyone bitten or clawed gets the disease. Most of the infected are kept in a quarantine town where they are given drugs to keep the disease at bay. Some people weren’t up for being treated like this and went off and let the disease turn them into wolfmen. Like with anyone who is different, a group forms out of hatred and fear of these “wargs”. This causes retaliation as the unmedicated wargs pull together the medicated ones to attack the “normals”. Meanwhile, Emiko protects one of the students at her school has it and then goes to a Halloween parade with Oliver. It’s at the parade where the wargs attack, biting and clawing others to spread the infection. Green Arrow is one of the victims. This will continue in the main title, probably after the Tarantula/skulls story.

Green Lantern #45 – There’s really not many details for this issue. It’s Hal vs. Black Hand as Hal tries to take him down without getting turned to stone. As for the others? They just sit around and wait for Hal. Not too much to really say about this. Guess they wanted an easy book to write this month.

Invincible Iron Man #1 – Another Marvel relaunch. We switch back and forth between Madame Masque and Tony Stark. Madame Masque is out doing her normal thieving and trying to pull something together. Tony is working on new armor until he is reminded of a date he has with a scientist from Sri Lanka. One thing he discovers from her is that she was able to develop a cure for the mutant gene which she found by accident and refuses to use or let the general public know of. I’m not sure if this will come up again later but it seems to be an odd title for it if it does. Tony gets warned of Whitney’s thefts and runs off to her latest location, Latveria. He’s too late when he gets there but ends up running into Victor Von Doom. There’s no armor or cape or even scars, just an apparently fully human and normal Victor. I’m not sure if this will be explained in Secret Wars but since issue #9 isn’t out yet, who knows what is going to happen to affect this reality. (Points off on this for bad release date timing.)

Lobo #11 – Sinestro Rising tie-in – We start off with Atrocitus creating some new Red Lanterns just in time for Lobo to show up. The first thing he does is kill Dex-Starr. I was pissed off enough at Rankorr but this one really got me. He goes off slaughtering everyone else there. Lobo takes off with only Bleez and the brood mother there. The brood mother starts puking up red goo and the Red Lanterns come back out, filled with rage. I’m not sure if it’s the brainless rage most start with or not since Atrocitus and Dex-Starr are back. I’m also not sure if this means Rankorr will be back too or left for dead in space. Since this has been alternating with Sinestro, it may have gotten answered there or just dropped. I have yet to look and see if the Red Lanterns’ story went any further.

Midnighter #5 – It’s more of Dick Grayson and Midnighter. I’m actually liking these guys working together. The banter between the two of them is great. They go off on an investigation and the first thing Midnighter does is handcuff them together. (I’m sure he would have loved to use the handcuffs prior to that tho.) They end up fighting a bunch of beast-man creatures like this. They move on to take care of the bad guy with a telekinetic implant from the Garden. He gets taken down but admits he’s just a middle man in all of this so Midnighter isn’t much better off than he was before. We then close with a line-up for an assassination attempt on Midnighter and his beau.

Secret Wars #6 of 8 – Yes, they haven’t even updated the cover to the announced change from 8 or 9 issues. And even thought new post-secret Wars universe stories have started, there are still 3 more issues after this one which means that it won’t end until we get well into all the new series. Things are really starting to fall apart this issue. The two Reed Richards are working together to stop Doom. Valeria is trying to figure out what is really going on when she meets the 2 Spider-Men and leaves them to find the Molecule Man. Thanos tips off The Thing (who has been a living wall) off on what things were like on Earth 616 and how he was friends with Reed and an enemy of Doom. Things are falling apart for Doom’s generals and Black Panther finds the Infinity Gauntlet. Yeah, this is not going well for Doom. With 1/3 of the series left still, how much can they drag this on, especially since the 9th issue was added on later for more storytelling time?

Tellos #1 – After Convergence, Telos is still trying to find out the truth about himself. He attacks Brainiac to get answers and get redirected to a a Coluan who is smart enough to help him. Of course, this is a trap. I was hoping that there might be something good about it but the character is too naive and uninteresting to make me want to get more. Heck, I wish I hadn’t even bought this.

Wow. This is a tough one. There were a lot of mediocre stories and total let-downs this week. Green Arrow Annual and Midnighter were both top of the line. Of the rest, I’d probably go with Invincible Iron Man since the stuff about Tony himself was kinda interesting.