Well, Free Comic Book day is now a week behind us and we’ve all had a chance to fully enjoy the books and other stuff we got during the event. I personally hope everyone had a great FCBD and I am already looking forward to next year’s event. In the meantime we decided to put out this Bullet Reviews Extra and cover a selection of FCBD titles. There were plenty more great books offered by more great publishers. We are by no means saying these are the best of them, although it is hard to beat Archaia’s Mouse Guard hardcover, these are just a sampling of what some of our team picked up.
AVENGERS #0.1 (Marvel)
Marvel have come up trumps with this years FCBD offering! Avengers #0.1 is a self contained roller coaster ride of a prologue onto what I would imagine will be one of the biggest Avengers related events in Marvel history.
Having teased the outcome of this story way back in the one shot “Point One” a collection of preview for Marvel arcs and events for the months to come, we finally get a lot more than we have bargained for with Avengers #0.1 which starts with the assault and kidnap or everyones favourite agent of S.W.O.R.D, Spider-Woman. The “Intelligencia” as they have called themselves, a collection of super villains with astounding intellect have come across the body of the “Spaceknight” and intergalactic being that has crash landed on earth, they attempt to resurrect it and exploit it for their own personal gain, “supervillain 101 right there”, kids!
As we examine the “Spaceknight” upon the operating table, there are striking similarities to a certain shiny, deadly and perhaps forgotten son of Pym. Have the Intelligencia been incredibly stupid? They are supervillains, blinded by their own arrogance and self assurance, so of course they have!
Just as the giant floating head known as MODOK is about to revive the fallen Spaceknight, a cry of “Avengers Assemble!” announces the arrival of our heroes. But just as they think the day is won, a stirring in the room and a sudden surge of energy announces the arrival of the Avengers most formidable opponent, Ultron.
After receiving a beatdown from Thor, a newly revived Ultron retreats flees to fight another day and bring the fight to the Avengers and the world on his own terms. Sooner rather than later, the imminent human apocalypse will ravage the earth. Avengers Assemble! For the Age of Ulton is upon us! -Simon Peter Curran
THE HYPERNATURALS (BOOM! Studios)
This is all you need to know about this one: Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Cosmic Stories. What? You think you need more? Alright, try covers by Francesco Mattina, Nova cover artist and interior art by Brad Walker from Guardians Of The Galaxy. This 16-page prelude which, according to BOOM!, will not be reprinted in the first issue of the series when it debuts in July, takes place in a future where humans have colonized the galaxy and have created a group of heroes called the Hypernaturals to protect them from any and all threats. This book sets up the current incarnation of the group as they are sent out on their first mission, one that may be their last mission when they face a threat that is unknown and seemingly unstoppable! If you’re a fan of DnA’s Marvel Cosmic work like Annihilation, Annihilation: Conquest and the above mentioned ongoing books then you know the type of story to expect from them here. This prelude is little more than a running start for a book that I’m most likely going to be checking out, especially is BOOM! continues their buying friendly $1 first issue program! -Skott Jimenez
IMAGE 20 (Image Comics)
This is one of those books where, after reading it, you think, “this publisher knows how to take advantage of FCBD!” Image 20 is a ‘jam book’ meaning it has short stories from various Image titles, some currently running and other coming soon. It features G-Man by Chris Giarrusso which is set to continue in G-Man, volume 3, Guarding The Globe created by Robert Kirkman which is a teaser for the upcoming series debuting in September, Crime And Terror by Steve Niles and Scott Morse which is a short story featuring a kid driving through a cemetery getting stopped…rudely, Revival by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton which puts a highly interesting twist on the zombie comic, one that will have me willing to check out the first issue! Next up is an all time favorite: Mike Allred’s It-Girl and The Atomics! Allred’s hipsters turned heroes by way of alien spores has always entertained me and learning there is a new series featuring these characters on the way has me very excited! Rounding this book out is Near Death by Jay Faerber and Simone Gugliemini which gives just enough of the series, currently on #9, to make me want to at least check out any upcoming collection for it. This is a book that shows any reader that Image Comics truly has something for everyone! It certainly had one for me! -Skott Jimenez
INTRINSIC #1 (Arcana)
Walking into the comic shop on Free Comic day and seeing the myriad of comics from a number of different publishers was a great joy, but there was one that caught my eye the most. I’ve been a fan of Arcana comics for a number of years now. Like Image, they do a large variety of orginal comic content. Their Free Comic Book Day story, Intrinsic, is the first time the company has brought together most of their diverse titles into one big honking mega cross over event that would make Crisis on Infinite Earths fans shout for joy. There are so many little easter eggs and cameos from Arcana books, it a real pleasure for the fans of the company, but its also a great idea to get new readers hooked into the unquie comic universe. Instead of just teasing a big event on free comic day like the other companies did, this was actually the first issue of their epic mini-series for FREE. I can’t think of a better way to get more poeple hooked into reading the other issues. The art by Allen Otero is clean and grand. When you see all of Times Square destoryed in a battle between superpowered people, it’s a joy to see. Writers Sean O’Reilly, Erick Hendrix, and Casey Jones set up a great premise and shows a lot of respect for the various Arcana heroes. I thought it was one of the better FCBD titles and a great introduction to the Arcana Universe. – Raphael Moran
MOUSE GUARD, LABYRINTH AND OTHER STORIES (Archaia Entertainment)
Of all the books that have come out in the eleven years of Free Comic Book Day, no book has impressed me as much as this one has. This 48- page hardcover contains stories from some of the most acclaimed series in comics today. We have an all-new Mouse Guard story. Now, I’ve never read Mouse Guard and while I’ve been curious about it, I’ve never had much interest in checking it out. I had no excuse when this book was announced and I’m glad it was part of FCBD because now I’m going to be getting the collections for this series. Mouse Guard is just as fantastic as everyone says! The Dapper Men tale, which is a lead-in to the upcoming Time Of The Dapper Men, is also very well done. I’ve been looking for Return Of The Dapper Men and, after reading this, my search is going to be more focused! The Cow Boy tale from Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos was a lot of fun, if you have a kid who’s into cowboys then this is one you should be looking for! The Labyrinth story was alright, I’ve never been much of a fan of the movie but that art is certainly worth looking at! Even more so if you are one of the legion of fans this movie has! the other stories, Pirate Girl and Rust were interesting and while I may not pursue them I’m glad to have been introduced to them. My hat goes off to Archaia for going the distance and giving us a truely unique book for FCBD. The question now is: what do you do next year! -Skott Jimenez
OVERSTREET’S COMIC BOOK MARKETPLACE (Gemstone Publishing)
This release is more reference material than story. It covers some of the best horror comics of all time including the legendary EC Comics titles, Tales From The Crypt, The Vault Of Horror and The Haunt Of Fear, and the no less respected Eerie and Creepy. Also covered are The Tomb Of Dracula, The Walking Dead, and even Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Swamp Thing. This one has a specific reader in mind. Obviously if you are looking for horror comics, this is the book you need to look for. There are interviews and favorite books from industry insiders and, my personal favorite part, the story of when William Gaines opened his personal vault of EC books to allow them to be part of the world again. A truly historic moment and I will always wish I were a part of. Anyone curious about these books would be doing themselves a favor in getting this book. It’s full of great stories, history and information about the industry’s best horror comics. -Skott Jimenez
TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE #80.5 (IDW)
I love Generation One Transformers. That’s no secret. For me, everything that’s followed hasn’t been up to the standard of characterization the original ‘Formers have especially that mess Michael Bay tried to pass of as Transformers. (I call them BayFormers). This FCBD offering from the fine folks at IDW Publishing is just like one of their G.I. Joe comics in that is continues from the 80’s Marvel Comics series. This specific issue is kind of a refresher issue. It brings back the creative team of Simon Furman and Andrew Wildman so this book certainly has the feel of the 80’s series which I’ve always had a warm spot in my hearts for. If you’ve never read the Marvel series then this is probably the book you should grab so you know the score when Regeneration One begins in July since it goes through the more important stories that helped to define the Marvel run while setting up what’s to come. The Decepticons have been defeated but there are rumors they are planning something but, for some reason, Optimus Prime isn’t willing to fight? He has reasons but it’s a surprising stance for him to take. IDW it also reprinting that series in a series of trade paperbacks called, fittingly enough, Transformers Classics as well as Transformers UK Classics which are both referenced in this book. Simon Furman is one of the all time greatest Transformers writers and it’s nice to have him back on this series! this is one I’m looking forward to! -Skott Jimenez
Check out all of our Free Comic Book Day 2012 coverage!