Originally Published: August 31, 2011 on EGMNOW.com

August is coming to a close and with it is an incredible run by Greg Pak on The Incredible Hulk that will lead into an all new monthly for “he who likes to smash” over at Marvel and of course the universe altering Flashpoint for DC. With all these changes going on, let’s jump right into this week’s comics and get our hands on my five must haves for the week.

1) DC – Flashpoint #5 (of 5): As mentioned in the open, this is where the entire DCU will be reset from. Although not following Flashpoint as closely as many other events over the past few years, partially due to my disappointment in the ending of Brightest Day by Geoff Johns, who is one of the main guys behind this re-launch, this issue actually left me feeling rather satisfied with how everything has drawn to a close with some tremendously heart-felt moments for many of the DCU’s powerhouses. Even if you haven’t been reading Flashpoint, if you have any interest in the DCU, you should pick this up just to have a solid idea of where things will go from here and so you can have a solid gauge of just what changes are taking place. If for some reason you’ve been staying off the DC bandwagon, then this is the perfect time to get on board with a fresh start and not as much of the weight that comes with some of publisher’s main characters’ 70-plus year histories.

2) DC – Justice League #1: The only other DC comic to be released this week, which not only made it very easy to pick my pair of DC must haves, but also is the starting off point for the new vision of the DC Universe. A part of me really wanted to hate this issue, I admit. The whole idea of a universal re-launch kind of turned my stomach when I first heard about it, and I’m still unsure of how things will turn out, but if everything ends up like this comic, then DC will be just fine and this could mark the beginning of a newly celebrated age in comics. Starting off in a flashback to five years ago before the Justice League had formed (in comics time of course), the issue has a lot of classic crowd pleasing elements like the heroes fighting each other at first until a new threat they can’t handle alone rears its head (which I won’t spoil, but DC fans will be thrilled about what it is). My only problem from this comic comes in the Superman redesign. The all blue-suit and more toned musculature really makes me think I’m looking at Superboy and not Superman. Overall though, aside from possibly being worth something as a new #1, I can see this easily becoming one of my monthly pick up depending on where this opening arc goes.

3) Marvel – The Incredible Hulks #635 – Again, as mentioned above, Greg Pak’s run with Hulk is coming to an end. With it, Marvel will hand over the reigns to a new creative team, with a brand new Hulk monthly, in writer Jason Aaron and legendary artist Marc Silvestri as Marvel will make sure what would otherwise be a monumental gap in their lineup stays occupied. Not surprising to see a new team come in after seeing Hulk’s main comic go through more changes in the past few years than Banner does purple pants, but the idea of ANOTHER re-launch has me shaking my head. Pak’s run was spectacular though and he added as much depth to the character than most any other writer in the Hulk’s history. So if you’re a fan of the big green gamma-irradiated monster known as The Hulk, you should pick this up to see where the character may just be going and who he’ll take with him when his new landmark monthly in October hits as this run draws to a fitting close.

4) Marvel – Herc #6.1 – Mind you, it’s not like Greg Pak will be out of work as he will continue now with the monthly he started a short while ago since he is probably the sole reason as to why this character has seen a renaissance in recent years. Hercules, one time Avenger, now stripped of his powers, must try to find his way in the world and figures what better place than…Brooklyn? Not quite Mount Olympus, Herc decides that this New York borough is in need of a hero and so after raiding Ares’ armory, he uses some godly weapons and his god-sized heart to try to dish out a little justice. Continuing the “.1” series for Marvel, which is really just an excuse to dish out more one-shots and make some more cash, this adventure may not be as epic as the main monthly for Herc, but it does a fine job of catching you up incase you missed the first six issues and are looking for something new and fun as the Herc series has done a great job of mixing humor and action to be one of the more overall entertaining reads to launch this year.

5) IDW – Locke and Key: Clockworks #2 – Continuing Joe Hill’s twisted story of how the Locke family are using mystical keys to keep the demon world at bay, Clockworks #2 mixes humor with some very dark and disturbing imagery that could only come from the mind of Stephen King’s son (Joe Hill is a pen name). The evil demon Dodge, who is trying to unleash his demon brethren into our realm, has possessed the youngest of the Locke children and is using his body to get close to his ultimate prize. Unwittingly, he also releases Kinsey’s tears and fears, emotions that using the Head Key she had locked away in order to do what was necessary in order to protect her family and our world. Mayhem runs abound in this issue as the countdown to the amazing conclusion to the Locke and Key series is in full swing now. If you haven’t been reading Locke and Key, go find collections of the previous story arcs and get on board while you still can with this phenomenally dark series.