This Week's Must-Have Comics: April 18, 2012

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It's almost Wednesday, and you know that means a fresh load of comics and graphic novels! With so much stuff hitting your local comics store or digital storefront, BF is here to lead you through the woods with our handy overview of books you can't afford to miss on April 18th.

Make sure to check the site tomorrow too, as we take an in-depth look at another big release this week in our weekly Guiding Lines column: The Walking Dead #96.

Art of Amanda Conner HC
Amanda Conner (A), Desperado and IDW Publishing, $29.99

In an industry dominated by male talent, Amanda Conner is paving the way for a new generation of female artists.  A talented and modern artist, Conner’s skills have been tapped by several indie publishers, as well as the powerhouses of DC and Marvel.  Her tasteful and charming take on classic pinups has led an impressive cast of famous creators to seek her out, including Warren Ellis, Jimmy Palmiottti, Garth Ennis, and Grant Morrison. 

Finally collected in fantastic compilation of famous pieces, the Art of Amanda Conner HC captures the Irish artist at the top of her career, one that will surely continue to the delight of fans across the industry.


Avengers #25
Brian Michael Bendis (W), Daniel Acuna (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99

Tied to his concurrently running title, Avengers vs X-Men, the prolific and dedicated Brian Michael Bendis prepares to pen his final chapter in the Avengers franchise.  What began as a relaunch in 2004 has grown and evolved into Marvel’s most successful property, spinning off countless additional series, as well as numerous event titles that guided the entire Marvel Universe for almost a decade. 

Avengers #25 may prove to be more memorable for its historical departure than for its AvX content, yet Captain America’s war with the X-Men should at least be the creative inspiration for several captivating pages.


Batman #8
Scott Snyder (W), Greg Capullo (A), DC Comics, $2.99

Scott Snyder’s Batman should be on every reader’s must-have list.  The character development at the skilled hands of Snyder, the deadly new history revealed over the past seven issues, coupled with Greg Capullo’s dynamic and powerful artwork, has garnered Batman almost unanimous fan and critical acclaim.

With this week’s release, though, Snyder’s work with the Caped Crusader is about to be joined with a backup feature focused on the malevolent Court of Owls, its relationship with the Wayne family, and its history hidden in the rooftops of Gotham City.  In this prelude to the oncoming storm, Night of the Owls, Snyder and DC promise everything we know about Batman and Gotham are about to change forever.


Punisher #10
Greg Rucka (W), Mark Waid (W), Marco Checchetto (A), Marvel Comics, $2.99

The Omega Effect is in full force as part two the crossover between Punisher, Daredevil, and Avenging Spider-Man hits shelves this week.  Part One, seen in last week’s Avenging Spider-Man #6, spotlighted the amazing talents of Mark Waid and Greg Rucka, who demonstrated an impressive understanding of their respective characters.  The individual voices of the carefree Spider-Man, the gruff and angry Punisher, and the confident Daredevil revealed a fantastic chemistry between three of Marvel’s most profound street-level heroes. 

The issue didn’t merely bring the three heroes together, however, as the tenuous team struck off to take down the remaining four mega-crime organizations that plague the entire Marvel Universe.  The action is sure to reach epic proportions as Spider-Man, Daredevil, and the Punisher bring the explosive fight to A.I.M., Hydra, Agence Byzantine, and the Secret Empire in the streets of New York. 


Resident Alien #0
Peter Hoogan (W), Steve Parkhouse (A), Dark Horse Comics, $3.50

“The doctor is IN- and he’s an alien!” exclaims publisher Dark Horse Comics, and with that single tag-line a considerable amount of interest has been piqued in the new series from Tom Strong writer, Peter Hoogan.  Crash landing on Earth and forced to survive among the unknowing population of Patience, USA, the blue planet’s new resident alien hopes to live out his last days undercover, but a mysterious part of Patience may reveal the secret behind their newest citizen. 

With promises of mixing humor and heart with an engrossing mystery, Peter Hoogan’s Resident Alien just may prove to be one of this week’s best character driven stories.


Shooters HC
Eric S. Trautmann (W), Brandon Jerwa (W), Steve Lieber (A), Vertigo Comics, $22.99

With their brand new hardcover release from Vertigo Comics, co-writers Eric S. Trautmann and Brandon Jerwa set their sights on the controversial world of private military contractors, or the modern day mercenary. 

is far from an over-simplified take on the United States’ war on terror, as Trautmann and Jerwa’s story evolves into a discussion on military careers, marriage, and faith.  When joined by Eisner Award Winning artist Steve Lieber, Shooters will hopefully join the ranks of Vertigo’s most poignant and powerful works.


The Shadow #1
Garth Ennis (W), Aaron Campbell (A), Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99

Wealthy Lamont Cranston returns as The Shadow in Garth Ennis’ revival of the 1930s pulp and radio hero.  Armed with an extensive knowledge of the martial arts, the steady hands of a deadly marksman, and the ability to cloud the minds of men, The Shadow breaks onto the comics scene this week ready to strike out at criminals everywhere.  The talented Ennis is not updating The Shadow for the modern age, however, and instead plans to create almost of a love-letter for the origins of Cranston, as he firmly grounds his pulp inspired title in the setting and tone of the original era. 

Joined by the lovely dame Margo Lane, and US Army Intelligence officer Pat Finnegan, The Shadow must confront members of the Japanese Army along with a Chinese warlord, on the eve of World War II.  The Shadow’s roots run deep in the pulp era of the 1930s, and with Ennis at the helm of its revival, The Shadow will be unlike any other hero title on the stands.


Wonder Woman #8
Brian Azzarello (W), Cliff Chiang (A), DC Comics, $2.99

Diana, Princess of the Amazons, is equipping every tool and weapon in her arsenal as she prepares to march on the gates of Hell.  Planning to lead her fury to her uncle Hades himself, Wonder Woman #8 is primed to be the action-packed culmination of Brian Azzarello’s work since the heroine’s relaunch. 

Azzarello surprises each and every issue with his bold mythology-centric take on the world of the Amazons, which has gained much deserved praise and unworthy criticism, but Diana’s march into Hell to fight for the life on an innocent victim speaks to the very soul of her character.  The evil horrors trapped within the fiery pits of Hades realm will truly test Diana’s resolve and strength, but more than any recent interpretation, Azzarello’s Wonder Woman is prepared, strong, and determined to survive the test. 

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