ADVANCE SCOUT: Pulpy Pals and Leading Ladies

ADVANCE SCOUTWHAT IS ADVANCE SCOUT?

Each week, the Capeless Crew picks out those books that we think are most worthy of your dollars and attention. These books are chosen based on a variety of qualities, including relevance to real-world issues of the day, their sheer excellence as examples of the medium, and often with an eye towards the importance of a given book within the context of the comics industry.

SITUATION:

It’s the week after Comic-Con, and everyone is probably feeling more than a little bit of burnout. Having been inundated all weekend with news of upcoming titles, forthcoming movies, and everything nerdy in the ‘verse, we’re here to take things down a notch and point your gaze toward several books that may be flying under your radar. There is definitely a pulpy flavor to this week’s list, but all of the titles come to you from writers known for composing excellent character pieces, and these latest offerings are sure to be no different. Read on!

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS:

1. “Lazarus #2”

Lazarus #2 Image Comics (w) Greg Rucka (a) Michael Lark 32 Pages, $3.50
“Lazarus #2”
Image Comics
(w) Greg Rucka
(a) Michael Lark
32 Pages, $3.50

This book’s place on this list should come as no surprise to regular readers. The first issue of Greg Rucka’s ongoing series set in a futuristic economic dystopia arrived to near-universal acclaim last month, and the second issues only raises the stakes.

There is enough in the back-matter alone to keep the comic reader who possesses an eye for socioeconomic commentary busy for the next month, not to mention an edifying look into the inner machinations of the Carlyle family.

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2. “Hawkeye Annual #1

Hawkeye Annual #1 Marvel Comics (w) Matt Fraction (a) Javier Pulido $3.99
“Hawkeye Annual #1”
Marvel Comics
(w) Matt Fraction
(a) Javier Pulido
$3.99

It’s been a heck of a year for Marvel’s battling bowman. After nearly a decade on the back-burner, he has stormed back onto the scene thanks to the award-winning work of Matt Fraction and David Aja.

In this first annual, the creative teams takes a brief break from the everyday adventures of Clint Barton-everyman, choosing instead to direct our gaze to Kate Bishop, Clint’s co-star and co-Hawkeye, as she has her first solo adventure in this book.

Kate has become a fan-favorite over the course of the series’ run, thanks to the witty repartee between her and Clint, but also due to her own strength as a capable, competent, and cool customer.

Fans of the series are sure to love this issue but so is anyone who likes seeing a lady who knows how to handle trouble in a situation that she may struggle to escape.

Honestly, if you haven’t been reading Hawkeye for the last year, you really ought to jump on board. It is consistently one of the best books Marvel puts out each month, which is why it is a regular staple on this feature.
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3. “Rocketeer/Spirit: Pulp Friction #1”

Rocketeer/Spirit: Pulp Friction #1 (w) Mark Waid (a) Paul Smith IDW Publishing 22 Pages, $3.99
“Rocketeer/Spirit: Pulp Friction #1”
(w) Mark Waid
(a) Paul Smith
IDW Publishing
22 Pages, $3.99

It’s a meeting of old-fashioned heroes, one of whom is an historic archetype that has inspired generations of writers and artists, the other a latter-day science fiction hero in the oldest tradition. A meeting between The Spirit and The Rocketeer is one of those things that seems like it should have happened ages ago. If there is any justice in the world, then the only reason that it took this long was to afford super-scribe Mark Waid an opportunity to pen their first meeting himself.

Waid is coming off a much-heralded run on Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom (not to mention about a half-dozen other excellent titles the man puts out each month) and now adds an even bigger feather to his cap in taking on The Spirit, Will Eisner’s original street-level hero.

This book has all the classic team up tropes on full display, from the requisite misunderstanding fight to jealous love interests swapping beaus. Beyond even that, though, Waid manages to somehow slip in some very relevant commentary on not only the issues facing the communications industry of the era but issues that remain relevant and important to this day. This title looks to be a ton of fun and is well worth your time and money.

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4. “Lobster Johnson: A Scent of Lotus #1”

Lobster Johnson: A Scent of Lotus #1 Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Sebastian Fuimara, Dave Stewart, Tonci Zonjic Dark Horse Comics 32 Pages, $3.50
“Lobster Johnson: A Scent of Lotus #1”
Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Sebastian Fuimara, Dave Stewart, Tonci Zonjic
Dark Horse Comics
32 Pages, $3.50

He’s back! No, not Indiana Jones (those old enough to remember some movie promos from the ’80s will get that, maybe), Lobster Johnson, Mike Mignola & John Arcudi’s rough and tumble, most certainly shoot first and maybe ask questions after seriously grey area protagonist/hero. For his last adventure Satan Smells a Rat, Jeff discussed (which you can read here) the idea of  what might make a “pulp” hero–this time, no such fanciness: Lobster demands it!

Check out Jeff Hayes’s complete Advance Review here.

5. “Uncanny #2”

Uncanny #2 (w) Andy Diggle (a) Aaron Campbell (a) Sean Phillips Dynamite Entertainment
“Uncanny #2”
(w) Andy Diggle
(a) Aaron Campbell
(a) Sean Phillips
Dynamite Entertainment

Andy Diggle is one of the new shining stars of comics, and Uncanny puts all of the best reasons on full display. The dialogue is tight and the plot compelling. Coupled with the magnificent art of Sean Phillips (who is as at-home as ever in his pulp noir style), Uncanny may well be one of this year’s sleeper hits.

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ANALYSIS

It’s the kind of week that you will love if you’re a fan of hard-boiled characters written by some of the most talented wordsmiths in the biz. As the saying goes, “everything old is new again”, and these creative teams are proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that old-school stories have definitely made a big comeback.

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Thanks for checking out ADVANCE SCOUT! Be sure to check back next week for more recommendations, and don’t forget to share the link below!

Josh Epstein

Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and resident of a real-world Smallville.

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