Graphic Novel Roundup: Spider-Ham, Thor Revealed, and Classic Star Wars

spider-verseWho doesn’t love an alternate universe? In this weeks’ books: we’ve got a zillion different Spider-Men (and Women), a new S.H.I.E.L.D. book that throws the TV team feet-first into the Marvel Universe, and a major collection of Star Wars Legends (that’s the term for any classic story that doesn’t fit the newly established continuity). And, while it’s not a story of parallel universes, there is an alternate Thor running around out there, and we’re due for a major reveal about her identity. Here’s what’s new:

S.H.I.E.L.D. Vol. 1: Perfect Bullets, by Mark Waid and Carlos Pacheco
It’s no surprise Marvel’s going to create books to tie-in to it’s blockbuster film and TV projects, but this kind of thing is rarely done with the kind of talent on display here, lead by veteran Mark Waid. These stories are set firmly in the comics continuity, but they star Phil Coulson, Melinda May, Fitz, Simmons, and the whole gang from the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show. Set loose in the Marvel universe, the book is full of the same cool super-spy action, but is able to do things (and feature guest stars) that the show can’t (yet), like Ms. Marvel, the Invisible Woman, and Doctor Strange.

Thor Vol. 2: Who Holds The Hammer?, by Jason Aaron, CM Punk, Noelle Stevenson, and Russell Dauterman
The identity of the newest hero to wield the hammer of Thor has been a mystery throughout this series, but she’ll stand revealed by the end of this chapter. Jason Aaron’s been playing a long game with his run on Thor (which started with the time-bending God of Thunder book), and though the new Goddess of Thunder is the star of the show, the Odinson is on hand to assist her in a climactic battle with the Destroyer that paves the way for the forthcoming Thors series.

Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3: Spider-Verse, by Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli
Crossovers are a fact of life for us comics fans, both anticipated and dreaded. Spider-Verse manages a rare trick in having a fairly tight scope and actually being pretty fun. In essence, the premise is refreshingly old-school: throughout the multiverse, a vampiric family lead by Morlun are on the hunt for Spider-Men. And Spider-Women. And Spider-Ham. Lead by Otto Octavius, the Superior Spider-Man, the surviving spiders gather together in order to defend themselves and stop the slaughter. Pretty much every spider we’ve ever seen shows up, as well as a few clever new ones. This volume contains the bulk of the story from Amazing Spider-Man; there’s also a giant hardcover collection including the prelude and tie-ins.

Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Old Republic Volume 1, by John Jackson Miller, Brian Ching, Travel Foreman, Dustin Weaver
Now that Marvel’s back in the Star Wars business, they’re reprinting some of the best comics from a galaxy far, far away…regardless of which company put them out initially. They’re doing it by theme, with this collection focusing on stories set in the era roughly 4,000 years prior to the movies that we know and love, when the Jedi Knights were at the height of their influence and abilities. Inspired by Knights of the Old Republic (which is, of course, the best SW game), this hefty collection (18+ issues) stars the well-meaning, unlucky Padawan Zayne Carrick, who finds himself framed for murder.

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