Action Comics #898What it’s about: Paul Cornell is still in the middle of his epic exploration into the life of Lex Luthor. Usually an adversary of Superman, Luthor is the focus of Cornell's latest book as he tries to uncover the power of the Black Lanterns. Action Comics gets better with every issue, as Luthor's characterization is both sadistic and engrossing.
What to expect this month: Lex Luthor comes face-to-face with the definition of avarice, Larfleeze. This is a battle that has been brewing since 2009’s Blackest Night miniseries, and to see these two characters, who are both very similar in their respective motivations, finally come to blows will be this week's comic highpoint. And with the historic Action Comics #900 just a few weeks away, Cornell is sure to be building to something huge in these next two issues.
Detective Comics #874What it’s about: Focusing on Dick Grayson’s adventures as the Caped Crusader, Scott Snyder has crafted the best monthly Batman book in a long time. His portrayal of the Dark Knight is so fresh because the hero is also so flawed. Lacking confidence, and perhaps a little unprepared for the rigors of the job, Dick Grayson makes for a Batman that is both troubled and fascinating. While Bruce Wayne is usually portrayed as near superhuman, Grayson is a hero who bleeds, breaks, and doubts himself.
What to expect this month: This installment of Detective Comics deals with Commissioner Gordon as he tries to unravel the mystery behind a long unsolved case. While the mystery begins to grow so do the skeletons in Gordon’s closet. It'll be interesting to see how the reappearance of Gordon’s estranged son is connected to all of this. Here's a great chance to jump onboard the best Batman book available.
Captain America #615What it’s about: After the original Captain America (Steve Rogers) was seemingly killed following the events of Civil War, James “Bucky” Barnes, his former partner, has taken over the Cap mantle. Ed Brubaker has been crafting this Captain America opus since 2005, and his work has redefined a character that is sometimes the victim of bland characterization.
What to expect this month: This issue is what a lot of Ed Brubaker’s recent Captain America run has been building towards. With the world turned against Bucky because of his sordid past, the result of his trial and the Red Skull’s daughter’s terrorist attack all still need to be dealt with. #615 will be one of the most important issues for the character in a long time, as we will finally see how the justice system deals with Bucky and how all of this sets up Marvel’s upcoming crossover event, Fear Itself. Not only is this going to be a milestone issue of Captain America but it will also be a tipping point for where the Marvel Universe will be heading in the next couple of months.
Fantastic Four #588What it’s about: Enjoy it while it lasts because the Fantastic Four as we know it is coming to an end. This is the last month for the long-running series; next issue, the title will be re-launched under the name FF. Jonathan Hickman is the man responsible for one of the freshest takes on the First Family of Marvel since Mark Waid was on the book in the early 2000’s. While this may be the book’s last issue, don’t expect these characters to disappear, with FF looking to continue the story that Hickman started in Fantastic Four.
What to expect this month: Still reeling from the death of the Human Torch, the Fantastic Four must come to grips with this loss. This issue will serve as breathing room in between the Torch's demise and the team's re-launch next month. The Fantastic Four has a rich history of emotional one-off issues; this one could perhaps be the most poignant of them all. #588 should be a great issue for people looking to see an epilogue not just for Johnny Storm but also for the team as a whole. By the way, don’t be surprised if Marvel re-launches the Fantastic Four after 12 issues of FF to take advantage of Fantastic Four #600.
Incredible Hulks #623What it’s about: It’s been a rough couple of years for the Hulk and his fans. The series has seen a massive influx of new characters, some that are good and others that are downright ludicrous. The stories have also been a little overblown and unfaithful to the basic struggles that make a good Hulk comic. However, these issues would have been a lot worse if not for writer Greg Pak. Pak is the man behind the brilliant Planet Hulk storyline and has been the voice of reason in an otherwise misguided franchise. Focusing on the Hulk's relationship with his son, Pak delivers epic adventures while keeping an emotional anchor intact.
What to expect this month: Coupled with superstar artist Dale Eaglesham, Pak’s Incredible Hulks is looking to break out in a big way. And what bigger way is there than to have the Hulk and his son, Skaar, fighting Dinosaurs in the Savage Land? With an absurd premise like that, there's no reason not to pick this up. Just imagine all of the smashing that'll take place. If the prospect of two gamma-powered behemoths throwing haymakers at a group of T-Rexes doesn't excite you, check your pulse.
Invincible Iron Man #501What it’s about: Check the method: Matt Fraction, one of the best writers working at Marvel today, assigned to one of the company's most important characters. There really isn’t any better recipe for success. Unsurprisingly, Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man has been one of Marvel's best books for the last couple of years. Armed with sharp humor, complex sci-fi ideas, and a strong emotional core, it's perfect for longtime fans of the character, as well as fans who've just recently discovered Ol’ Shellhead.
What to expect this month: This is the start of a brand new story arc and it's the perfect place for fans to begin picking up the book. Tony Stark has always had to deal with criticism about his technology. There is always an outcry from some people who say that no one man should be able to possess such a large amount of weapons and tech all by himself. People believe Stark’s tech should be a gift to humanity rather than one man’s personal toy chest. Well, Marvel is planning on exploring this very issue as they claim, “A familiar threat in other corners of the Marvel Universe comes demanding answers—and salvation—from Iron Man.”