ADVANCE SCOUT: Science, Science Fiction, and B-Listers Done Right (5/15/13)

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:

After a lackluster week from most publishers, this week’s release list was simply chock-full of quality titles from all over the market. In a rare moment for this space, we are not pushing any Marvel titles this week, preferring to focus on a range of titles, including books from Dynamite, Image, Top Cow, and DC in our top picks. If you read all the way through to the end, you’ll see we’re back promoting one of our favorite revival characters. If you’re wise, you’ll nab pretty much everything on this list. Now, on to this week’s picks!

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS:

1. “Nightwing #20”

nightwing#20coverIt’s rare that we place a DC title on this list, given the company’s propensity for avoiding any actual relevancy in its titles, but this week is a little different.

Veteran fiction scribe Kyle Higgins, in talking over the title, has made the decision to remove the character from his longtime Gotham home and set him up as the resident hero of DC’s version of Chicago.

This not only represents a major turning point for one of DC’s oldest characters in Dick Grayson, but marks one of the very few occasions in which a DC character will operate out of a real-world location.

It should be very interesting to see what Higgins has in store, so be sure to check this one out.
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2. “Dream Merchant #1”

dreammerchant#1cover This is, by far, one of the eerier books that Image Comics has released this year. With art by Konstantinos Novosadov, the book gives off an ethereal vibe that lends a sense of unreality that is perfectly suited to the gripping tale contained in its 52 pages.

It is that page count, more than anything, that rocketed this book onto this week’s list. In a market saturated with 22-page books at $2.99 or $3.99, the fact that this book contains so much quality work at the relatively low price point of $3.50 is a huge mark in its favor and goes to show why Image is steadily climbing the market share rankings.

The story itself is quite compelling, and it should come as no surprise to see series writer Nate Edmonson achieve great success with this indie offering.

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3. “Think Tank #7”

thinktank#7coverThough it may not seem possible, Matt Hawkins continues to push the boundaries with one of the best books on shelves that you’re probably not reading.

If you haven’t picked any of the previous issues up, or you haven’t been following this column for long, odds are that you’ve been missing out on a book that contains equal parts scientific, geopolitical, and military analysis the likes of which you would be hard-pressed to find in any other book, past or present.

Hawkins is aided ably by co-creator Rahsan Ekedal, whose uncolored work may put readers off at first glance, but is worthy of a much closer look if you enjoy true realism in sequential art.

Simply put, if you care at all about things like drone warfare, biological warfare, or are worried that the US Army might be reading your thoughts, this is a book that merits an immediate addition to your pull list.

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4. “Battlestar Galactica #1”

battlestar01How do you take an aging version of a popular science fiction franchise and make it so good that readers of this generation will be almost sure to pick it up?

If you’re Dynamite Comics, you go and grab the best cosmic comic duo of their generation in Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Since Marvel didn’t see fit to let them continue their runaway success with Guardians of the Galaxy, the pair have found a home bringing the classic Battlestar Galactica crew and designs into the modern age for new readers to enjoy.

Even if you’ve never heard of Abnett and Lanning and are simply a fan of this tried and true universe, be assured that the series is in good hands and get yours on this book immediately.

5. Aquaman Volume 1: The Trench

AQM_Vol1When’s the last time you laughed at an Aquaman joke?

Well, it turns out the ocean is an awesome force and Geoff Johns gives the son of Poseidon and King of the Seven Seas his just due. We’ve written about this series at length over its run so far and even pointed out when this volume was released in hardback several months ago. While a fan’s reluctance to spend $25 on a hardcover is definitely understandable, now that this epic opening act has been collected in trade paperback at a much more reasonable price point of $14.99, to deny yourself a chance to see how this stellar creative team brought a character so laden with the stigma of Superfriends tomfoolery a second chance at stardom would be simply criminal. Give Aquaman a chance!

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ANALYSIS

It’s a wonderfully varied week on this column, and should be at your local shop as well. If you’re primarily a reader of “Big 2” books, then you may want to take this opportunity to branch out. Give one of these a try and you’re sure to enjoy. If you don’t, then blame us. Loudly. Publicly. We can take it.

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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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