Flippin' through <i>Previews</i> - April 2007

Yes, it's time for another sweep through that fine, fine publication - Previews, vol. XVII, #4, with Fear Agent on the cover!  Let's delve!

Dark Horse:

Speaking of which, Fear Agent: The Last Goodbye #1, which Dark Horse claims is "ongoing," is offered on page 22 and ships 13 June.  The first trade of the regular series is pretty good, but this has been plagued by lateness.  Still, it looks pretty darned cool.

On page 27, The Art of Matt Wagner's Grendel is offered (15 August).  It's 40 bucks, but it sounds really keen.  Of course, if you haven't gotten any Grendel comics before this, you really should start there.  And shame on you!  Go to page 56 and see what you can order!


On page 65, the Batman and Son hardcover is solicited (8 August).  Far be it from me to criticize DC's publication schedule, but I sure hope they have the scripts and art for Batman #665-666, which are included in this volume, in their hot little hands right now!

Brian Bolland's cover for The Amazing Transformations of Jimmy Olsen trade (page 72; 5 July) is amazing, as usual.  It almost makes me want to buy a book I have almost no interest in.

Here's what confuses me about the 52 trade paperbacks, the second one of which (#14-26) is offered on page 75 for a 25 July release.  There are four trade paperbacks, right?  Each costs 20 dollars.  That's 80 dollars for a series that, if you buy it every week, costs $156 (give or take).  That's a HUGE savings.  I've been puzzled about the price for a while now - that's a LOT of money to spend on a single title over a year - but is it worth it because of the immediacy of it all?  Are these stories not very good and not worth waiting for the trades, despite the gigantic savings?  That's almost half off, after all.  So do people not want to wait for the trades because it will mess up the "experience" of reading something in "real time"?  I'm curious.  Enlighten me!

Every time I see it, that JLA #10 cover (page 81) looks worse and worse.  Well done, Michael Turner!

People keep claiming that Eisner's work on The Spirit was more about the craft of storytelling than the main character, and issue #7 (page 88; 20 June) looks intriguing because it's three stories written by Kyle Baker, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Walt Simonson.  Perhaps they will be in the spirit (hah!) of the original stories.  We'll see.

"Jodi Picoult's sensational run reaches its gut-wrenching finale!" says the solicitation for Wonder Woman #10 (page 89; 13 June).  So: ten issues, three writers?  Good job, DC, making Wonder Woman a must-miss book.  What exactly was wrong with Greg Rucka?

It's been mentioned a couple of times in cyberspace recently, but I find it humorous that souped-up hot rods are the new zombies/vampires/ninja/pirates/monkeys.  Larry Young has The Black Diamond.  Wildstorm offers The Highwaymen #1 (page 106; 20 June).  Fox has that new car race thing coming out.  Why does stuff like this happen?  It's a weird zeitgeist thing.


Repo #1 (page 140; 20 June) is from Rick Spears and Rob G, who brought us the overrated but fun-to-read Teenagers from Mars and the underrated but not-as-much-fun-to-read Filler, so it's probably worth checking out.  It's a comedy about repo men hunting down a clone, a clone that everyone else also wants.  Clones are the new hot rods!

If you haven't been buying the two Sam Noir mini-series (and why not?), the six issues are collected on page 147 (13 June).  According to the text, it has "20% more stabbing," so I'm not sure if you can afford to pass it up!


Immortal Iron Fist #7 (page 34) does sound like it's written for Chris Sims, as Tom Foss pointed out recently.  Marvel even solicits it like Sims would: "At long last, America: someone has combined pirates, kicking, girls, and Iron Fist into a single comic book.  You're welcome."  Now, it's a stand-alone story by Brubaker and Fraction, so I'll probably check it out, but do we really want comics being written on the Chris Sims template?  Maybe one or two, but all of them?  Bear in mind that I read the Invincible Super-Blog pretty much every day and love it, but still.

I hate to buy into the hype, but I can describe my feelings about World War Hulk (page 36) in two words: "awe" and "some."

New Avengers #31 (page 56): "No hype!  No BS!  The most important last page of any Marvel comic this year!  Do not miss it!"  First of all, the third sentence directly contradicts the first, and probably the second sentence in that solicitation.  Second of all, how does Joey Q actually talk in real life?  Is every sentence followed by an exclamation point and needless hype?  "Today I woke up and had a shit!  No BS: it was the single greatest bowel movement in recorded history!  The water in my shower was hotter than Mephisto's flames!  And then, I ate a bowl of Chocolate Lucky Charms!  Damn, I never knew a cereal could be so good!"  Actually, that sounds like a fun guy to hang out with, even as you're wondering when he's going to snap.

So is Ramos going to be the go-to artist for X-Men (page 74) when Bachalo isn't drawing it?  That would suck.

I like how the last Millar/Hitch Ultimates trade paperback is solicited on page 100.  I guess Marvel figures if they solicit it, maybe Hitch will actually finish issue #13!

Let's move on to the back of the book!

Amaze Ink/Slave Labor has the first collection of Rex Libris on page 224.  I haven't been writing about Rex Libris because it took me forever to read the confounded things, but it's a wildly fun comic about a hard-ass librarian who scours the universe for overdue books.  It is one of the densest books you will ever read, which is why it took me so long to read the issues I have.  I know someone here has been wondering about a collected edition (Bill Reed, I think), so here it is!  Totally worth it for 15 dollars.

If you've been skipping The Killer from Archaia Studios Press, the first four issues are collected in a trade on page 232.  It's a very neat psychological profile of an assassin, and features gorgeous art.  Check it out!

Warren Ellis will probably get more press for Black Summer from Avatar (page 238), and it looks intriguing, but as a history major, I'm much more interested in the graphic novel Crecy, which tells the story of the battle between England and France in 1346 that changed the way wars were fought.  That sounds excellent.  Also from Avatar (on page 239) is the trade of Ellis' four Apparat tales, which are pulp stories updated with modern sensibilities.  They're all pretty good, and the trade is only $12.99.

I spotted an interesting item on page 258, from Checker Books: the third trade of The Path, which was a pretty nifty samurai story that CrossGen published.  I own the first two, and although this one doesn't feature Bart Sears' very nice art (trust me!), I might have to get it.  I mention it more because I would really love to see a El Cazador and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang trade, even though I already own the issues.  Talk about fun comics unjustly forgotten in the wake of CrossGen's implosion!

Dynamite Entertainment brings us The Boys, but I'm not interested.  What's kind of neat is that The Lone Ranger is now ongoing, so pick up issue #7 (page 265) and see why it's good.  You know you want to!

If you haven't bought the second trade of Action Philosophers! yet, Evil Twin Comics has it on page 295.  If you haven't bought it, of course, you're not allowed to talk about how you want to read fun comics until you do.  For only $8.95, you'll laugh and get some edumacation.  What could be better?

First Second Books has a cool-looking offering from Eddie Campbell, The Black Diamond Detective Agency, on page 300 for $16.95.  It's a story of a man on the run from the eponymous dicks at the turn of the century - presumably the late 1800s/early 1900s.  And it's freaking Eddie Campbell!  Also offered on the same page is Campbell's The Fate of the Artist, which I missed the first time around, so I'll be getting it this time.

Hey, if you haven't bought Fun Home yet, the softcover is offered on page 312.  You really should read it, you know.

I'm going to buy Fallen Angel #17 (page 317, from IDW), because it's a very good book, but it's guest-starring Shi and drawn (partly) by Billy Tucci.  That does not fill me with good feelings.

Oni has some neat stuff, as usual.  On page 329, Last Call vol. 1 shows up for $11.95.  It's the story of two boys out on a drive who get hit by an "inter-dimensional soul carrier."  That can't be good!  Now they need to escape the creepiness!   Whiteout: Melt is also offered on the same page.  It's the sequel to Whiteout, and is a very good comic.  Carrie Stetko on an adventure in Antarctica!

On page 364, Top Shelf has Death by Chocolate: Redux and Less Than Heroes, both by David Yurkovich.  They both sound oddly intriguing, as Death by Chocolate is about a FBI agent made out of chocolate investigating food-inspired crimes and Less Than Heroes is about four superpowered Philadelphians who don't really do a very good job protecting the city, but has anyone read them?  Can anyone tell if they're worth it?  I'm just wondering.

Villard Books offers Postcards: True Stories that Never Happened on page 368.  Jason Rodriguez has been putting this book together over the past couple of years, and I'm very keen to see it.  Creators tell stories based on a postcard from a hundred years ago and what's written on the back.  Groovy.

On the same page (368), Viper Comics has A Dummy's Guide to Danger in trade, as well as the two volumes of The Middleman.  All three are worth your coin, but if you must get only one, get the first volume of The Middleman.  Funner comics you will not find!

The trade paperback of 7 Brothers, Garth Ennis' contribution to Virgin Comics, is on page 375.  If you're a bit sick of the ridiculous violence in most of Ennis' books, check this out.  It's plenty violent, but it's not over-the-top, and it's a cool story.

That's all I got.  Be sure to dig through the book to find the things that make you smile - they're not going to fall right into your lap!

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