Raf’s Birthday Picks for 5.25.2022

[Self-editor’s note from last week. While talking about the new Savage Avengers series that launched, I mentioned that Conan the Barbarian and other heroes like Elektra Daredevil, Cloak and Dagger, and Black Knight were going back to Conan’s time, the Hyperborean Age. It’s actually the Hyborian Age. The Hyperborean Age is from Greek Mythology and is the far north. For all the Conan I’ve read, I clearly still haven’t read my Official Handbook of the Conan Universe, so forgive me for confusing the two. As the Conan guy at the shop, I feel pretty embarrassed about the mix-up.]

[But anyway, we’ve got new comics this week!]

Hey there, Carol and John’s Shoppers! Raf here and today is my birthday! You can figure out my age by this little anecdote: on my 21st birthday I wasn’t at a bar waiting to buy my first drink (it wouldn’t have been my first anyways), but rather I was at my local comic shop back home in PA at a midnight release for DC Universe: Rebirth #1. We’ve got a lot of great books to talk about, so let’s see what you should all be pulling this week.

DC Comics

Batman is my favorite hero, but I’ve had plenty of debates about whether he’s really a superhero or not, or how could he even fight toe-to-toe with Superman anyways. Well new this week, when the Big Blue Boy Scout is MIA, Bruce is there to save the day. “When an unknown alien ship enters Earth’s atmosphere, disrupting global power and communications and plunging the planet into chaos, the world is left wondering… where is Superman when he is needed most? In the mysterious absence of the Last Son of Krypton, Batman must rally the rest of the Justice League to counter the alien threat… but first, he must quell a crime wave on the blacked-out streets of Gotham! Gary Whitta (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and Darick Robertson (The Boys) have joined forces to tell a brutal and shocking adventure that will turn everything you think you know about Superman upside down!” It’s the beginning of a new 8-issue miniseries with Batman Fortress #1 this week.

DC has been putting out a lot of great, new original series that have been turning the DC Universe on its head (DCeased, Dark Knights of Steel, Jurassic League) and DC Vs. Vampires keep the momentum going. Readers were left with quite the cliffhanger after last issue’s finale in #6, but while we wait for the second half of the story to continue in #7 this July, we’ve got a one-shot this week featuring Damian Wayne: Vampire Hunter in DC Vs. Vampires: Hunters. Damian Wayne becomes the Blade of the DC Universe, what else do I need to say??

Marvel Comics

Jason Aaron’s Punisher series has been totally kickass in just the first two issues, with Frank Castle having now become the Fist of the Beast and leading the ninjas of the Hand. But in this week’s issue #3, we’re treated to a flashback to Frank’s very first kill, and it is not what you may expect. Aaron’s writing is always stellar, but the artwork in this series doesn’t get talked about enough. Main artist Jesus Saiz and flashback artist Paul Azaceta really deliver a Punisher series unlike any you’ve read before. Frank is back, and with a vengeance.

“In the wake of one of the most visceral Daredevil, nay, Marvel stories EVER, the Marvel Universe’s New York City stands remade and reforged — if not in Wilson Fisk’s image, then at the very least in his spirit! After a battle that nearly tore the city and its citizens apart, New York’s superheroes have no choice but to try to adapt to the new and dangerous paradigm they find themselves operating under — with eight million people turned against them!” It’s the grand finale to the Devils Reign event with this week’s Omega issue. Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto aren’t done quite yet with the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen though, with a new Daredevil #1 to come this July, so stay tuned for that.

Small Press

Written by Garrett Gunn and Christina Blanch and drawn by Kit Wallis, Source Point Press’s Good Boy has become a cult favorite. The hyperviolent John Wick-esque series even sparked a World Tour (okay, maybe just U.S. Tour), and the team even stopped here in Cleveland, Ohio at CNJ’s back in February. Since then, we’ve all been waiting for the series to return and it finally does with Good Boy Vol. 2 starting this week. “With revenge in his rearview mirror, Flint heads for The Farm; a peaceful community for retired and deactivated Guild members. But his dreams are short-lived when he finds the facility in rubble after an attack by a mysterious canine named Tucker who will stop at NOTHING to repay a decades-old vengeful debt.” Count me in.

Since it came back, Saga has been a collective first-read for everyone in the shop every time a new issue comes out, the last week of the month. And Fiona Staples and BKV were just so nice enough to deliver me a new issue for my birthday this year. The series is back like it never left, with plenty of laughs, heartache, and surprises that every comic book reader should experience. It’s the penultimate issue of this first story arc since its return, and the fish on this cover will break your heart. Sorry, not sorry.

It may not sound like too much, but there are plenty of exciting things hitting the new comic table this week at CNJ’s. Our captain Ben is on a much-deserved vacation this week, so it’s just John Shearer, Kyle, Andrea, and I (and maybe even a Felipe sighting or two) guiding the ship this week. Oh, and John Dudas too of course! Thanks again for tuning in. This week and every week, be more like Amber and read more comics.