Our weekly visit to our local comic book store, where they know me by name and ask me, “Jesus Christ, you’re still alive?” brought us an unexpected reminder of the week before DC’s New 52 debuted. You remember – back on the last day of August 2011, when the only main line book DC released was Justice League #1… and Crisis On Infinite Midlives was in the late planning stages before our September 4th launch… and by “late planning stages,” I mean that Amanda and I were alternately asking each other, “Were we talking about starting a comics Web site? And do you have my pants?”

Well, this week’s visit reminded that we are six months old this week, because there is only one DC New 52 book – Justice League, I’m sure purely by coincidence – and regardless of how many DC books are available this week, for the 25th time, this…

…means the end of our broadcast day.

But what a week it is! We have Justice League #6, a new issue of both Avengers and New Avengers, a new The Walking Dead, and, most impressively… Ralph Wiggum #1!

But, as is has been for the past six months: before we can review them, first we need time to read them. So until then and as always: see you tomorrow, suckers!

EDITOR’S NOTE: And one last review before the comic stores open…

I tuned out of I, Vampire after protagonist Andrew Bennett left Boston for Gotham City. I figured that we just in for yet another meeting of a vampire and Batman, and besides: being from Boston, I was getting a charge out of seeing a major comic set in my town. Maybe I was being unrealistic, but I sort of hoped that we’d see Mary, Queen of The Vampires, take a bite out of David Ortiz and grow about three horse testicles in her armpits.

So robbed of the chance to see some Boston University knuckleheads get bled out on Lansdowne Street, I checked out for a little while, and I clearly shouldn’t have. Because sometime between then and now, all the shit has hit the fan.

The book opens in some kind of gothic building (A subway station? A church? Being Gotham, maybe a 7-Eleven?) with Bennett, some allies and yes, Batman, fighting about a scrillion vampires. And it is an impressive scene… and it says something about the state of the modern vampire story that I’ve written and deleted about seven different “sparkling vampires” jokes just now.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This review contains spoilers, and saying that backwards won’t make them go away.

We’re six issues into Justice League Dark now, and Peter Milligan is finally putting the actual team (mostly) together after an interminable rampup of what seemed like dozens of tiny solo adventures of the DC Universe’s most Vertigo-like heroes… just in time for a forced crossover with I, Vampire and Milligan leaving the book. Thanks a lot, Pete. Your timing sucks.

At the end of the last issue, we finally had Constantine, Deadman, Shade, Zatanna et al in one place… just in time for each of them to say, “Fuck you, Charlie” (Or in Zatanna’s case, “Eilrahc, uoy kcuf”) and disperse to the four winds. And now they’re all having nightmares; Constantine dreams of London on fire and it being his fault. Zatanna dreams of monsters putting fingers in her mouth (Meaning that, based on finger placement, her definition of nightmare has a lower threshold than mine). Deadman dreams that Dove is dead, unlike most comic fans who have been praying that Hawk would also take the dirtnap.

If you haven’t read any of the four issues of Action Lab’s comic series Princeless, stop reading this review and go buy them.  Right now, I’ll wait.  You back?  Good.  A princess who is fed up with the locked-in-a-tower trope opts to rescue herself, rather than wait for some charming irritating prince to come along.  That’s my kind of princess.

When her mother reads her a fairy tale as a child, Princess Adrienne is aghast, and makes it perfectly clear how she feels about the typical princess.  Cut to her teenage years, where she is now living the “fairy tale” life: locked in a tower by her domineering father The King, and guarded by Sparky (the cutest dragon ever!)  Shortly after berating and summarily dismissing her most recent suitor, she finds a sword hidden in her room and begins forming a plan to escape and rescue her sisters, who are locked in towers of their own.

The Flash is another one of those books that finds its way into the house that I rarely get around to reading. It’s really Rob‘s thing, more than my own. Not that I particularly dislike the character; hell, I got a kick out of watching him run around the globe in order to pick just the right amount of steam to punch Lex Luthor in the face in Justice League Unlimited. However, my DC superhero tastes tend to run to characters with the word “bat” somewhere in their names and there is no “Batflash”…and if there was it sounds more like a euphemism for an evening of rooftop sex between Bruce and Selina that ends in disappointment.

With Flash issue 6, “Best Served Cold”, I find myself again picking up a book that is smack in the middle of a story arc. And, I do mean “smack” and “in the middle” – as the book opens, The Flash is engaged in an all out brawl with Captain Cold on a frozen lake (? – I always assumed Central City was somewhere out in fly over country), with a boat themed restaurant teetering from a giant stalagmite made from ice that is protruding from the lake’s surface. Will The Flash save the trapped restaurant patrons in time? And why does Captain Cold’s beef with The Flash seem so much more personal this time?

Ahead, prepare yourself for the cold fist of spoilers. Or don’t. Whatever.

We haven’t talked a lot about Skullkickers here because frankly, it flies a little under our radar despite being one damn fun comic book. It’s a story about two fantasy adventurers – one an alcoholic dwarf, the othe an alcoholic classic Conan type, only with a foul mouth and a gun – for hire to the highest bidder. Or any bidder. Think Lord of The Rings with a quualude habit. Or a messy, serialized Uwe Boll film that’s actually fun to watch.

The Image book became a hit quickly, selling out its early issues quickly enough that for a while it could be hard to find those comics to catch up… not that you need a lot of backstory to understand “Drunks… monster(s)… FIGHT!” The difficulty in hunting down back issues is, however, no longer an excuse for not checking the book out, because creator Jim Zub is releasing the book from the first issue on the Web. A page a day. For nothing. Gratis. Bupkis. Which is not a business plan that the protagonists of the book would embrace.

What the hell, Jim?

Rob got into a text exchange today with Crisis On Infinite Midlives contributor Pixiestyx about the size of our weekly pull list. Rob said “addicts…don’t count”. It’s true. We have a filthy comic book habit in this house, between the two of us, that sometimes results in multiple trips to the comic book store. In fact, just yesterday, Rob and I found ourselves early for a get together with some folks at a bar and you know what we did to kill time? Go to that neighborhood’s local comic book store where, despite having dropped about $120 dollars on Wednesday for the week’s take, we dropped another $80 on books. That’s $80 dollars we could have spent at the bar getting shit faced while waiting for people to show up at the get together. We might need an intervention.

With that many books coming into the house, I’ll fully admit that I don’t always get around to reading everything we buy each week. Sometimes I have to, I don’t know, go to work. So I can pay for more comic books and lights to read them by. Secret Avengers, which Rob has reviewed a lot in the past, no seriously, is one of those books. I read a couple issues of the Warren Ellis run and pretty much agreed with Rob that, dialogue-wise, it felt like a Next Wave retread. Now, Rick Remender has taken over writing duties and, with all of the other books to choose from in the pile this week, I decided to pick up the book on a Part Two of an arc already in progress.

Was this a wise use of my time? Short answer: yes.

Alert – Hawkeye is a dick, and other spoilers, ahead!

When I was 20, my college buddies and I brought our mutual friend Alf – a weirdly hairless mesomorph who was the son of a Federal court judge and therefore utterly naive and fearless when it came to the concept of consequences – to our local mall for a little fun. The act was this: Alf put his hood up, hunched his shoulders over and constantly licked his lips. Jim’s job was to hold Alf’s hand while they wandered about, and Alf would wander up to strangers and shout things like, “SAB-A-TOOO! DERRRR!” Then Jim would tug Alf away and apologize along the lines of, “Sorry about my retarded brother. Mom dropped him on his head. Last week.” Repeat until bored or an of-age friend got off work to buy beer for us.

So it was a little surprising to see almost this exact scene in a graphic novel. Except instead of Jim, it was a dude named Derf. And instead of Alf, it was Jeffrey Dahmer.

My comics pull list from last week turned out to be heavy on the supernatural. Lots of vampires, even in the cape and cowl books (X-Men #25, I’m looking at you.), magic, and even werewolves. On the upside, nothing sparkled or seemed designed as an excuse to have some former Power Ranger walk around shirtless, and for that I am grateful. On the downside, it feels as though someone in editorial at many of the publishing houses has decided to milk this trend in popular culture until the resultant stories look like Kristen Stewart after she has been even more rode hard and put up wet.

For example, let’s take a look at what turned out to be the best of the lot in this week’s take, David Lapham’s Ferals #2.

Blood, guts, gore and spoilers after the jump.

Bleeding Cool is passing along Deadline‘s news that Lucy Punch has dropped out of the much delayed Powers television. Punch was cast as Deena Pilgrim, partner to secretly super powered cop, Christian Walker (Jason Patric). However, according to Facebook, Brian Michael Bendis says:

lucy punch has moved on, powers tv is not dead. if it was i would tell you honest & true. new scripts have been ordered for more episodes & there will be news in may about how we are going forward. the network is behind us all the way. its quite nice. its going to be a long haul but its all about quality. i desperately want the best show we can make.

Fans are apparently pushing for Katee Sackhoff to pick up the role, which I think would be brilliant casting, personally. How do we get a petition going to make this happen?

Anyway, I still have hope we’ll see this series. It will probably hit the airwaves about the next time Brian Michael Bendis sees fit to actually send another issue of Powers out for sale.