The best of FREE COMIC BOOK DAY
Free Comic book day has come and gone for another year, incidentally it was on the 4th of May this year (May the fourth be with you), so it was quite apt that one of the free offerings was a Star Wars comic, featuring an attempted assassination of Darth Vader. Not a great comic, nonetheless, still very apt.
What this article will seek to do is pick out the best of the free stuff and give you a heads up of what to look out for in the coming months. Let’s begin with the big two DC and Marvel.
DC gives us the DC Nation Super Sampler, featuring two previews of animated series to be coming to cartoon Network. Beware the Batman and Teen Titans Go! In the Batman introduction we see him tangling with Tobias Whale and his thugs in Gotham Harbor. Alfred seems to have been given a more active role in this series, and some youthful rejuvenation. Whereas Batman appears to be a wise cracking slimmer version than we may be used to. There is definitely a lighter side to the Dark Knight at play here and I think it is a good thing. The major villain is revealed to be Mr Anarchy. All signs point to a good animated series.
Teen Titans return here in a very, very children friendly version. I think this will go down very well with the younger audience, as the Titans themselves are kids, the do chores and laundry; even the half demon Raven is mellow. They will be relatable and I think this will make for a successful DC venture. Expect to see Deathstrike and Darkseid as the main bad guys for this series.
Marvel also gives us a glimpse into two new animated series. Both attempting to profit from the success of the Avengers and affiliated films, for a younger audience. Firstly we have Avengers Assemble, which sees the movie Avengers line up thrown into an animated series. This was a short preview, but you can be sure they will pull all the bad guys out and hopefully some other Avengers too.
What I am quite excited about is the introduction of Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. As the title suggests, this is a Hulk based series, which sees him team up with other Gamma bombed heroes to fight the forces of evil. In the preview we see Hulk and Rick Jones beat back Annihilus and Skaar, joined in the venture by Red Hulk. We also see Jones blasted by a Gamma core explosion, now based on this and the cover art then we will see A-Bomb in this series. Also joining the team it looks like She-Hulk. I think there is a lot to be excited about with this series.
While on the topic of Marvel there was a preview for an August six issue event series featuring Thanos, S.H.E.I.L.D, The Avengers and the X-Men. This preview shows us the way in which Thanos conquers worlds and then his assassin (Outrider) landing on Earth overlooking Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Storm and S.H.E.I.L.D. You do not get much more information, but do you really need it to commit. It looks like a pivotal story thread in the Marvel Universe.
Arcana comics have introduced us to the Steam Engines of Oz an event from their Steampunk Originals line and I am loving it. This more than any other comic is what I wanted on the day, and was the first one I grabbed, after getting SpongeBob for my youngest son. I was not disappointed. It does what an introductory comic should do. It sets up the characters and the world and leaves you wanting more. All the cast looks as if they will make an appearance at some point and the art is excellent. Yay for Arcana!
Comix Tribe have an offering that looks pretty good. They describe it as a Super Hero Murder Mystery, and why not. The title The Red Ten. Free comic book day gave us issue #0 of 10 and while they were at it a little jab at The Avengers and Justice League and super teams in general, not a bad start. The maniacal psychopathic Oxymoron looks to be taking aim at the latest super team the Alliance (comprising 10 members) and it seems he will be picking them off one by one.
This looks brutal and interesting.
The Walking Dead is worth a mention as it gives anyone who is a fan of the television series some very cool back stories of some loved and hated characters. This includes the Governor and Michonne. A very simple comic, but well worth the read, from Image Comics.
I got the Mass Effect comic mainly because it was Dark Horse and read it dutifully, it did not interest me in the least. I liked the game, but the comic left me flat. What was in this most excellent preview book was two other future releases which I cannot wait for. The first I will talk about is R.I.P.D. This future release will be the prequel to the new feature film to be released later this year (Trailer available here). The Free comic offering is a snapshot showing what the Rest in Peace Department does and how they do it. The film stars Ryan, Kevin Bacon, Jeff Bridges and Mary-Louise Parker. Read the comic and see the film….I will be.
The second and possibly more highly anticipated release if from the people who bought you Umbrella Academy, Gerard Way (MY Chemical Romance front man) The Killjoys. This is a different world, one policed, with extreme prejudice by scarecrows and vampires……Yep you read that right scarecrows and vampires. This is another strange tale from Way and is the sequel to My Chemical Romances album Danger Days. If the preview is anything to go on I will be pre-ordering this one.
Finally back to that Star Wars comic. The Star Wars story itself was entertaining enough, but I have never gotten into the comic book series, so it was of little interest to me. Within the pages of this title was a preview/teaser to the new Dark Horse Captain Midnight series to be released in July. It shows a little of the old, him taking out some Nazis, but then we learn Midnight is back and a security threat. Not the most exciting title to be released, but it has a great deal of potential and a feeling of the Marvel Civil War days, so we will wait and see.
All-in-all the gifts that the publishers have bestowed were plentiful and they set the stage for some good series. I am most excited about the Killjoys and the Steam Engines of Oz.
What are you looking forward to?