After restoring our collective brain patterns from last week’s insane Podcorn visitation, the men and women hand selected by the government to write the world’s premiere comic book news website, The Beat, sought a nap. A new member of the team known as Frank Oliver aligned himself amongst our ranks, and after some comic book hazing (telling him to read and enjoy “The Draco” from Uncanny X-Men) things were looking up — until we figured out that he had a criminal past after our landlady ran a background check on him. 

Team Beat wasn’t sure what to do when we dug into some old back issues and saw that Oliver was an old ’70s Spider-Man villain known as Kangaroo. Instead of informing the police like we usually do, we decided that maybe he was going to reform and even offer some muscle in case the next Beat Staff mansion visitor came around. Oliver was also reading the comics we didn’t want to and wasn’t a bad worker either. The week became increasingly weird as he started talking about Kangaroo’s and his intense hatred of Spider-Man. Team Beat took great delight in assigning him all the Spider-Man content that we didn’t even run on the site just to get a rise out of him. Here’s Kangaroo’s staff picks for this week, not at all influenced by the personal tastes of the Beat:

Frank Oliver‘s picks:

Book of Death: The Fall of Ninjak #1

Publisher: Valiant

Writer: Matt Kindt Artist: Trevor Hairsine 


So let it be written, so let it be done…

In the ruins of his mansion, Colin King hunkers down as the last living member of Unity after the Third Armor Hunt – or so he thinks. A visit from an old friend and a peace offering present the chance for Ninjak to break the cycle of death and escape the horrible fate foretold in the Book of the Geomancer. Will he betray his dead friends or will THE FALL OF NINJAK come to pass and give rise to a very familiar future…

Book of Death has been pretty solid if our first two long reviews have been any indication of the quality of the title. Getting an event that isn’t overblown is kind of a blessing, especially when considering that this story has been written by such a small team of writers who are likely able to oversee most of the Valiant work. Ninjak has been a special action title able to really captivate the action tone of a ninja story while giving depth into the character of King. This story is steeped in wondrous Valiant continuity with Armor Hunters and Unity teams galore. It’s something that regular readers of the line probably aren’t going to want to miss. If the wonderful Fall of Issue for Bloodshot was any indication of the quality of the rest of the line, we can expect the tale to retain a high level of craft.

Drive #1

Publisher: IDW

Writer: Michael Benedetto Artist: Antonio Fuso 


A hard-boiled pop-culture sensation re-created for comics.

In L.A., there’s one man you want behind the wheel. Just tell him where and when. He doesn’t take part, doesn’t know anyone, doesn’t carry a weapon. He drives, and he’s the best.

Ride along as James Sallis’ lean nü-noir masterpiece unfolds onto the sun-bleached streets of Los Angeles in this exciting 4-part comic book adaptation.

Drive, meet comics. Comics meet Drive. It’s an odd match…sure…but hear me out for a minute, after cutting his teeth on projects like G.I. Joe Cobra, artist Antonio Fuso has proved that he has just the right capability to tackle a project with thick action and sharp writing like Drive. Michael Benedetto is an IDW editor who has now decided to take on the job of writing comics. Together, can the two of them evoke the Gosling-fueled madness that is Drive on the comics page? Kangaroo is excited to find out.

Dave’s Pick:

Ant Man Last Days #1

(W) Nick Spencer (A) Ramon Rosanas (CA) Mark Brooks


• When a local clairvoyant predicts the end of the world, a mysterious woman sends Scott on a vital mission!
•  An old foe (okay, maybe more like annoyance) shows up – and Scott’s going to regret it!
•  What do you do when you think the world is about to end? What do you think? Doesn’t anybody else remember 1999? You party! Everything dies? Pfft. Everything DANCES.
Can we all admit now that the Ant-Man movie wasn’t the disaster everyone predicted? One of the best affects of making these movies is the focus it forces Marvel publishing to put on these characters. Scott Lang is a great character who in his own way can add the gravity to even the most cosmic of conflicts. I can’t wait to see how he spends his last days of the Marvel Universe.

Kyle’s Picks

Hellboy in Hell #7

Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer/Artist: Mike Mignola, Colorist: Dave Stewart
hellboy in hell
A sickness eats away at Hellboy. Though he’s dead, he risks losing himself and becoming one of the hollow phantoms that haunt Hell. A team of doctors promise a cure, but they need something from him first . . .
Come on, it’s Mignola drawing Hellboy, don’t tell me you’ve missed out on the best set of action/adventure comics of the past 20 years? The art alone is worth the draw, but the mythos and storytelling of the Mignolaverse is so wonderfully crafted, and frankly, so easy to jump into issue by issue, it’s never too late to start now. You won’t regret the decision if you aren’t already one of the converted.

Prez # 3

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Mark Russell, Artist: Ben Caldwell
prez 3
President-elect Beth Ross assembles a cabinet including her former boss, a disgraced congressman, and an anti-Smurf intellectual. Plus, Congress scrambles to pass pork-barrel legislation. Literally. And Boss Smiley imprisons his critics in a gerbil cage.
There’s nothing new here that I haven’t said in entries in the past, but Prez is brilliant and I don’t get why people aren’t reading it. The satire is hilarious and biting, and it’s just plain fun to read with its vivid Caldwell penciling. Along with Grayson (also out this week), I think this is one of the few Big Two comics that I’d call essential.


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