Look, I’m not gonna lie to you: I’m a tad distracted this evening because I’m starting a new day gig on Monday. Which is not remarkable in and of itself, but what is remarkable is that my new boss called me today and said, “You need to get to know the guys. And that is best done over a serious amount of whiskey.”

Still, Amanda and I managed to get to the comic store before getting to the bar where we still currently are, and between the team-building boilermakers and these new comics…

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…it means the end of our broadcast day.

But trust-building falls that I ignored in favor of Jim Beam or no, that’s a damn good take! We have a new Spider-Men, the first issue of Marvel’s new Gambit series, a new Before Watchmen book, and a ton of other good shit!

But before we can review any of them, we need time to read them. So until I’m done trying (and failing) to show my new employers that I’m not a reckless alcoholic….

See you tomorrow, suckers!

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And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth’s Mightiest Frozen CEO awoke from his slumber and said, “Guys: don’t be dicks. The Avengers is the third-highest grossing movie since the invention of light. Why don’t we hire the guy that, you know… did that, and see if we can’t get lucky and only get a fraction of those profits and make only a third of a billion dollars next time around. Waltos… has… SPOKEN!” Then Waltos made out with death, fingerfucked Minnie, went back into his sarcophagus and lo and behold!

Joss Whedon was hired to write and direct Avengers 2.

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Poor Courtney Crumrin. Just thirteen years old and already jaded, cynical, and so very, very alone. Sure, a lot of kids her age might argue that it’s not a burden with which they are unfamiliar, but they also most likely aren’t battling night creatures and learning magic at the knee of their ancient Uncle Aloysius. Wear all the ripped, black clothing and heavy eyeliner you’d like; you probably didn’t turn one of your classmates into a goblin. What are you bitching about?

Courtney Crumrin #4 wraps up the most recent arc spun by writer Ted Naifeh this past April. Courtney almost makes a human friend at school. Unfortunately, circumstances conspire to create supernatural obstacles for her yet again. Worse, the governing council that oversees the affairs of the coven of which she and her uncle are affiliated have finally had enough of Courtney’s disregard for coven law. Things are looking dire for our heroine.

Caution! Blood thirsty faerie wolves, mind wiping marshals, and spoilers abound after the jump!

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From one point of view, Matt Fraction’s and David Aja’s Hawkeye #1 is a truly crappy Hawkeye comic book. Hawkeye doesn’t appear in costume for more than five panels, and he is getting the shit kicked out of him for each and every one of those panels. Other than those five illustrations, Hawkeye never holds a bow, we never see an arrow, there are no other Avengers, and there is a cab ride instead of a bitchin’ skycycle run.

So yeah: as a traditional Hawkeye comic book, one could make the argument that this is a pile of shit, an experience akin to buying a porno with certain expectations in your mind (and pants), and finding you’ve taken home a 90-minute video of a fully-clothed woman repeating, “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” The elements are there, but it’s not what one necessarily wants from an item of that type.

However, some dingbat could also make the argument that it would be a colossal disappointment to open a box of Cracker Jacks and finding a giant wad of gold bullion – just because it’s not what you expected based on your prior experiences doesn’t make it bad. Rather, Hawkeye #1 is a pulpy, character-driven, street-level crime story that not only made me care about the purple-headed warrior (get it?) for the first time almost ever, but which is arguably the best comic book you’ll read this week.

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And that’s that. Preregistration for San Diego Comic-Con for those who attended as members this year opened at 8 a.m. Pacific Time yesterday… and closed at about 9:20 a.m. thereafter.

Unlike other years, which for us have entailed either obtaining our four-day passes for the currently-starting convention and immediately doing a 180 to get in line to obtain passes for the following year, or, as last year, setting an alarm for 4:30 a.m. to catch a cab to the Hyatt to the right of the San Diego Convention Center… and then walking to the end of the line near the Hilton to the left of the San Diego Convention Center to wait for five hours to purchase the next year’s passes, this was a relatively bloodless affair. Simply log into a particular URL with your favorite Web browser, upon which you pressed the Big Green Button, and were directed to a virtual waiting room, which told you what your place in line was. Every two minutes, the page would update, and tell you how far along you were. All in all, it was simple… except for the fact that it was anything but. Not if you wanted to make sure that you could go.

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As Trebuchet can attest to, I often amuse myself to no end anthropomorphizing our dogs. So, although I’m late to the party in learning about the existence of these characters, I knew I had to pick up a copy as soon as I saw the description for Beasts of Burden in the weekly Dark Horse Digital newsletter:

The four-legged occult-investigating team—a heroic gang of dogs and one cat—are doing their best to protect their home, Burden Hill, from a chicken-stealing goblin, a frightful basilisk, and a strange lost herd of sheep!

Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch is actually a collection of three short stories originally printed in Dark Horse Presents #4, 6, & 8 back in 2011.

Food Run sets the stage with Rex (dog) and Orphan (cat) teaming up to take on the aforementioned chicken-stealing goblin. I was immediately drawn into the world by Evan Dorkin’s dialog and Jill Thompson’s beautiful watercolor illustrations. Food Run is fast-paced and action-oriented, and at its conclusion, I couldn’t wait to dig into the rest of the book.

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Yup, 62. I counted them.

Black Kiss 2 is the sequel to a 1988 story about the hunt for the Vatican’s pornography and the transsexual vampires who stole it, so you should have some idea of what reading this story entails. At my local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me to remember that Juggs isn’t a comic book, they kept Black Kiss 2 #1 behind the counter, and at this college town comic store in Godless, liberal Boston, they never keep books behind the counter. “I normally don’t do this,” the owner told me, “But it’s summertime, and I couldn’t risk some kid coming in, finding it, and bringing in all his little buddies for a cheap thrill.” So I asked him for a copy and some Vaseline. But I digress.

The point is that Black Kiss 2 isn’t gonna be for everyone, or if fact, anyone if they’re younger than, say, 16 years old (by then, they’re old enough to get around any nanny software on their computers, and have seen all this stuff anyway). It is sexually explicit, and considering it is a story about demons and vampires, we’re not talking airbrushed Playboy sexually explicit. It’s not Two Girls, One Cup, but you should ask yourself how you feel about tentacle porn before you put on your raincoat and sunglasses and ask your friendly comic retailer for a copy.

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A couple of quick things for a Friday afternoon. First of all, check out Bleeding Cool for a gallery of some the coolest Venom cosplay to ever get banned from Facebook. Here’s a little sample to get your attention:
 

 
Apparently, Facebook took issue with photographer Adam Jay‘s subject’s semi nudity, despite the fact that there are other photos all over Facebook, including whole groups that participate in latex play (seriously, Google “Facebook+ latex”). What a shame.

After the jump, a short film illustrating the lack of dog curbing laws in the neighborhood of Superman’s Fortress Of Solitude.

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Editor’s Note: Does he spoil? Listen bub: he’s got Jack Daniels infected blood!

If you are a Spider-Man fan, you will find Avengers Vs. X-Men #9 to be about the most satisfying issue of the crossover event so far. It hammers home his philosophy of “With great power comes great responsibility” without actually saying the words for a change, it plays to his strengths as a character, and it allows this street-level hero to have a distinct and concrete impact on a cosmic-level story in a way that is true to the character, and satisfying for people who love him.

It also has a marital collapse. And it sets up the savage beating of one of the biggest douchecanoes in modern superhero comics. So there’s not a lot of downside here.

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Whovians who have embraced Amy Pond, Weeping Angels, and Steven Moffat, rejoice! Your tonic of choice is set to return to the airwaves August 25th. Of course, if you happen to be at the Edinbugh International Television Festival, which begins on August 23rd, you may get to see it before it officially hits the TV. Either way, Season 7 sees the return of Doctor Who to television after a particularly long hiatus. Amy and Rory will rejoin the Doctor for at least the first part of the season. Well, probably at least until this happens during a fight with some Daleks:

Does Amy actually cash in her chips this season? Check out the trailer after the jump!

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