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[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.

Happy Wednesday, Carol and John’s Shoppers! With the weather heating up, so are the comics this spring. There are a few big entries from the Big Two, but there are a lot of diverse options for everyone, including some gems from small press companies this week also. Let’s see what’s up.

Marvel Comics

It’s part 2 to the current Banner of War crossover this week with Thor #25! “Banner’s newfound control of his rage is prolonging this fight more than Thor expected, and with Banner holding his own, Thor must get creative. Odin’s breakthrough look into Banner’s psyche seems to slow the violence, but will it be enough?” Plus, there’s more, with two separate backups in this jam-packed issue.

Gerry Duggan’s Savage Avengers was a shop favorite amongst the staff here, and we were all bummed to hear it was ending this past January with issue #28. We were excited to hear it was relaunching with a new #1 though, and that time is now with new writer David Depose and artist Carlos Magno. During the previous Savage Avengers run, Conan the Barbarian was brought into the modern-day, and he’s been stranded here ever since. But now he’s being hunted by a Deathlok for crimes against the timestream, and Conan along with Weapon H, Elektra’s Daredevil, Black Knight, Anti-Venom, and Cloak and Dagger are all dragged back to the Hyperborean Age for a new adventure. As a Conan fan, I’m excited to see what mess these characters can cause back in Conan’s time and the universe. You may have heard also that Marvel has now let the Conan license lapse, so we’re in the final days of Conan’s time with Marvel (again). We don’t know what that means for this new series, but by Crom, I’ll still be picking it up. It was a fun first issue!

Original creator David Michelinie returns for issue #2 of the new miniseries Venom: Lethal Protector. This week, it’s “Venom vs. Hydro-Man… for the first time! ‘Nuff said!” I’ll just leave it at that. This is a great series for fans who want a more back-to-basics approach for the symbiote.

DC Comics

“Just in time for the 20th anniversary of its launch, the acclaimed blockbuster that defined an era of Vertigo returns with an all-new 12-issue story, The Black Forest—a tale that picks up right where Fables #150 left off, providing a new entry point into the world of Fabletown! The dust has barely settled from the climactic battle between Totenkinder and Cinderella—and everything is far from happily ever after. A legendary new adversary has arrived, and he plans to get even with Geppetto for the mess that has been made of Manhattan. But it’s a new day… and with it, a new Jack in the Green has arrived in the Black Forest. And within the emergency room of a New York hospital… a Fable long thought dead returns!” I’ve never read Fables (outside of Preacher, I seem to be very lacking in my Vertigo reading), but there’s certainly a following for Fables and I may just have to give it a try sooner rather than later.

Chip Zdarsky’s Batman: The Knight series has been a great Batman origin retelling, that isn’t just dead parents and trees getting kicked in half Year One style. In this series, Bruce Wayne is traversing the globe and learning from the best of the best how to become something more than just a man, but even Bruce doesn’t know what he’s trying to become just yet. This issue finds Bruce and his friend Anton captured in a Russian prison after their escape from the cold mountains of Master Kirigi’s elite fighting school, where Bruce learned how to be a ninja. In this issue, he’ll learn how to be a superspy. I’m really enjoying this fresh take on Bruce’s origin that explains all the ways he learned how to kick ass. If you’re behind and looking to get caught up, last week DC released a reprint of issues #1-3 that you should check out if you’ve missed out so far.

Small Press

This week has a new Image #1 and it is for fans of Gideon Falls and Home Sick Pilots, it’s I Hate This Place (or F*** This Place is you pick up the B cover). “After inheriting a farmhouse, Trudy and Gabby are ready to start the next chapter of their lives together… except it’s already home to a mysterious force that’s attracted ghosts, aliens, and all kinds of supernatural beings for decades. Now, Gabby and Trudy must play by the ‘house rules’ in order to survive living among the most frightening creatures on Earth in this new series” from Kyle Starks and artist Artyom Topilin. The recent Image #1’s have all been great, and this series has been getting a lot of buzz before it’s release this week. Check it out.

Just when I needed a new manga, there’s a new one in print this week that I’ve been looking forward to for a minute, it’s Crazy Food Truck from Viz. “The owner of a food truck in a postapocalyptic world nearly runs over a naked girl sleeping in the middle of the desert. When he gives her a lift, he inadvertently takes on her baggage too – an armed militia hot on her trail… and her even more problematic appetite. If one doesn’t take him out, the other surely will!” I’m wrapping up Alita: Battle Angel, Gantz, and Chainsaw Man now, so I’m excited to get something new. I’m getting some cool Mad Max/foodie vibes from this one.

“The year is 1977. The King is dead, and the world mourns. But… When a mysterious briefcase turns up in his dressing room, Bruce, a coke-addled Elvis impersonator finds himself wedged between a Mob boss out to avenge the death of his only son, and a government conspiracy with far-reaching, world-ending ramifications, all in an attempt to discover the true identity of his father’s killer.” We don’t feature a lot from Behemoth Comics (although plenty of you are enjoying Heavy Metal Drummer at the moment), but this new trade paperback collection of Pop Star Assassin seemed too cool to pass up on. If you ask me, it looks like a blend between Scumbag and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I’m excited to read it and find out.

That’s just some of what we’ve got in store for you all this week. We’ve got plenty of cool new figures also, including plenty of Toddy Mac DC Multiverse figures (Clayface, Joker Titan, Dark Knight Returns, and Endless Winter characters to name a few), some Masters of the Universe figures, and a badass King Spawn figure that comes with his throne. If I had room for any of it, I’d probably pick up a few of these figures. Please buy them so I don’t have to fight the temptation to make room. We’ll see you all around.

Hi there, Carol and John’s Shoppers, and welcome back! Free Comic Book Day 2022 has come and gone, but we’ve got another Wednesday and more great books to talk about. The weather is too nice this week here in Cleveland, so let’s not waste any time and just get into it.

Marvel Comics Header

“CAPTAIN AMERICA SOARS AGAIN! Sam Wilson picks up the shield once more — and enters a world of trouble! Following a lead from Misty Knight, Sam intercepts a mysterious group hijacking what appears to be an empty train. As he digs deeper, he discovers that the plot may be connected to a crucial piece of Captain America history… and, surprisingly, Wakanda. The world is ready for two Captain Americas — but is Sam Wilson ready for what comes next?” Spinning out of last month’s Captain America #0, both Captain America’s will be getting their own series, with Symbol of Truth being Sam Wilson’s action-packed adventure. Look for Steve Rogers in Sentinel of Liberty next month.

To celebrate the 60th anniversaries of both Hulk and Thor, writer Donny Cates and artist Martin Coccolo are teaming up to smash the two of them together for old time’s sake. Both heroes (currently written by Cates too) have been through a lot of changes in the past couple of years, and now both new leveled-up versions of the classic characters will face off and show off their new powers and try to finally prove who’d win. This week sees the beginning of the Hulk vs Thor Banner of War crossover with the Alpha issue, followed by issues in the Hulk and Thor main series. It’s the crossover battle of the spring, and it all begins this week.

The Moon Knight Disney+ show brought a lot of attention to this classic character, and while the Moon Knight main series has been a huge success here in the shop, what we’re REALLY excited about is this newest entry in Marvel’s Black, White, and Blood series: it’s Moon Knight Black, White, and Blood. A collection of short stories written by some of Marvel’s best talents, each story is told in stark black and white with only splashes of red… which may or may not be blood. In this first issue, “Jonathan Hickman and Chris Bachalo introduce the all-different Moon Knight of the future! Marc Guggenheim and Jorge Fornés tell a Moon Knight adventure in reverse! And Murewa Ayodele and Dotun Akande team the white-clad crusader up with the Amazing Spider-Man for a harrowing night of adventure!” These BWB miniseries are pretty cool and highlight some of Marvel’s more brutal characters in great fashion.

DC Comics Header

“You know the story: an infant escapes the destruction of its home planet and is deposited on Earth to be raised by human parents. A goddess from a lost city defends truth. A Tyrannosaurus rex dons the visage of a bat to strike fear into evildoers’ hearts. This heroic trinity, alongside a league of other super-powered dinosaurs, join forces to save a prehistoric Earth from the sinister machinations of Darkseid. Wait… what? Okay, maybe you don’t know the story. So join us and bear witness to a brand-new—yet older than time—adventure and experience the Justice League as you have never seen them before!” Written by shop favorite Daniel Warren Johnson, this is one of the strangest but coolest Justice League series I can remember.

When the Milestone Universe was brought back last summer, there was one title many fans felt was missing. But now the Blood Syndicate is back with their very own Season One. Wise Son and Tech-9 are back in Dakota City, but the streets have changed, and so have they, since they’ve come back from tour in Afghanistan. Since the Big Bang, there’s been rival gangs popping up on the streets of Dakota with Holocaust and his growing super-powered army vying to take control of Paris Island, a part of town where heroes like Icon and Rocket aren’t around. Wise Son and Tech-9 have secrets of their own and a role to play in the future of Paris Island as the gang war spills into the streets and threatens to tear the city apart. Did any of that make sense to you? If not, check out this first issue of Blood Syndicate and see why this series was so sorely missed during the initial relaunch of the Milestone Universe.

James Tynion IV’s Nightmare Country has become one of DC’s best surprises of the year. Playing with dreams and nightmares, thoughts and imaginations, and the monsters in our heads and in reality, this series is definitely creepy nightmare fuel indeed. Each issue features a guest artist drawing a Dreaming sequence, and issue #2 this week has Andrea Sorrentino of Gideon Falls, Primordial, and more. We’ve still got some copies of #1 in store, and this series might just be the push I need to finally read Sandman in its entirety.

Small Press Header

New from Image and the creative team behind Curse Words, Charles Soule and Ryan Browne bring you the darkly comic Eight Billion Genies. “If you had one wish… what would you wish for? Now, what if everyone else had one wish too?… At exactly the same moment, everyone on earth gets a genie and one wish. All hell breaks loose, in a very entertaining way… and that’s just the beginning. Buckle in for the wildest ride of the year!” This new 8-issue limited series has a pretty ridiculous concept, and I’m excited to see just how messed up the world turns when everyone has their way with just one wish.

Ben and John Shearer ABSOLUTELY LOVED this series. Written and drawn by Guillem March, Karmen is the story of life, death, and the afterlife and is full of intriguing twists and metaphysical musings. It’s right up there with another classic, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s Daytripper, and is an emotional and thoughtful look at life and death beautifully written and drawn by comics superstar Guillem March. We had a hard time getting restocked on issues of this miniseries, so we’re excited for the full collection to finally be available, and the dustjacket has a bonus page inserted in it too!

Frank Frazetta is the “Godfather of fantasy art” and one of the most famous illustrators of the 20th century. You’ve almost certainly seen a Frazetta painting before, regardless of how big a comic book fan you are. He’s most famous for his Conan the Barbarian paperback covers, and his art was even used for the first Wolfmother album, but his most recognizable piece is the “Death Dealer.” Now in collaboration with Sara Frazetta and the Frazetta Girls, the Death Dealer rides again in a brand-new miniseries that’ll spark a new multiverse featuring some of Frazetta’s most famous creations. This first issue is pure fantasy action and is just as awesome as the cover. My sister bought me a Frazetta calendar this past Christmas, and funny enough “Death Dealer” is this month too, my birth month.

We just wanted to say thank you to everyone who came out this past weekend for Free Comic Book Day! It was a huge success, Jim Shooter loved Cleveland, and we sold a ton of back issues. We’re mostly caught up on sleep since then, but it was all worth it. The fun continues at the shop this week, like every week, with new titles and exciting stories, so we hope to see you back around soon. Until then, take care.

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