X Marks the Spot

New Comics this Week

This week, Marvel Comics dominates the list of greatest comic books for the week, with the release of several new issues of our favorite X-Men titles, as well as the long-awaited conclusion to Superior Spider-Man. Still, DC makes an appearance with the latest issue of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Let's get to the reviews, and see exactly why these books are the best of the week.

(Adjectiveless) X-Men Issue No. 13

Bloodline Part 1 of 6

This volume of X-Men, which launched with the unparalleled art talents of Olivier Coipel on penciling duties, once again welcomes a true superstar artist to the roster with the arrival of Clay Mann. Mann, who has had previous runs on an Elektra miniseries and the latest Gambit solo series, focuses here on the female squad of X-Men led by Storm. And from the very first page of this issue, it should be clear that Mann has the chops to deliver an exciting visual story, starting with a prison escape scene right out of an action movie (the military hardware in this scene is drawn particularly well).

After that gritty first scene, the action shifts to a danger room training scenario at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, followed by scenes featuring more military-grade hardware, such as the X-Men's SR-71 Blackbird jet. And you could be forgiven for assuming from this review that Mann's only skill is in drawing cool tech, but he's got much more than that up his sleeve. Psylocke, Storm, and especially Monet St. Croix are all characters who have arguably never looked better than when Mann is drawing them.

Plus, the X-Men play baseball. Face it, true believers, this issue has it all! Let's just hope Mann sticks around for not only the next five parts of the "Bloodline" storyline, but stays on an X-Men title indefinitely. Be sure to show your support for Mann by picking up a copy of this issue of X-Men.

Uncanny X-Men Issue No. 20 Variant Cover
Credit: Adi Granov and Marvel Comics

Uncanny X-Men Issue No. 20

Cyclops: Still Right After All These Years

And speaking of X-Men titles, for those of you whose appetites for all things X simply cannot be satisfied by one book, fortune favors you this week with the release of Uncanny X-Men issue no. 20 by Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo. This issue continues the deadly, sexy game of cat and mouse between Cyclops (James Marsden) and S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders). Will Cyclops and Hill lay down arms and find true love in each other's arms? Or will S.H.I.E.L.D. continue to antagonize the vigilant mutant team until they are all dead or in custody. This issue won't tell you the answer for sure, but what it will tell you is exactly where Magik has been storing her soul sword when not in use. So, that's something...

Batman Issue No. 30

Still No Clue Why A Raven is like a Writing Desk

Riddle me this, comic book fans! What floats, spends, and forgets? If you answered "amnesia cash," then congratulations, it seems as though you have already perused the latest issue of Batman, featuring the deadly enigma known as E. Nigma, the Riddler. For everyone else, it might be time to pick up a copy of Batman issue no. 30, continuing the Zero Year storyline, and pitting the Dark Knight against the surprisingly deadly menace of a man who enjoys riddles just a tad too much to be healthy.

The story by Scott Snyder continues to be a good one, and fans of the Arkham (Asylum, City, Origins) series of of video games starring Batman will probably be excited to see the similarities between the Riddler's presentation here and his role in Batman: Arkham City. Green question marks pepper Gotham City, and the Riddler is holding the whole island hostage if they cannot present him with a riddle he is unable to solve. So, Batman could do that, or he could just punch Riddler in the face. See what tactic the caped crusader employs in the latest issue of Batman.

Superior Spider-Man Issue No. 31

Spock No More!

Did you know that for the past couple of years, Dr. Octopus' mind has been inhabiting Peter Parker's body and posing as Spider-Man? Well, if that's news to you, try not to get too used to it, as Parker has returned, just in time for a new volume of Amazing Spider-Man (and also just in time to coincide with the release of the sequel to the hit movie). Yes, Peter Parker is Spider-Man again, and as he says in this issue, he is probably going to have to get pretty used to apologizing to people for acting so rudely in recent months.

The issue opens with Parker, as Spider-Man, apologizing to two Carlie Cooper and Sajani, and the apologies just keep rolling from there. Aunt May gets one, Spider-Man from the year 2099 gets one, even Hobgoblin gets...well, no, Hobgoblin gets kicked in his glass jaw. As it should be.

With most of the apologies sorted out, that leaves plenty of room for a confrontation between the one, true, Spider-Man, and the one, true Green Goblin, and the anticipation for this battle is at an all-time high. So, who wins, who loses, who lives, and who dies? There's only one way to find out, and that is by reading the latest, and last, issue of Superior Spider-Man.

Other New Comics This Week

Amazing X-Men and Solar

Fans of Valiant and Gold Key hero Dr. Solar might want to check out the premiere of the character's new series with Solar: Man of the Atom issue no. 1, by Frank J. Barbiere and Joe Bennett. 

And if you want EVEN MORE X-MEN in your weekly diet of comic books, Amazing X-Men issue no. 6 was also released, featuring the reunion of recently resurrected Nightcrawler and his erstwhile mother, Mystique. This one is by Jason Aaron and Cameron Stewart.