Are you looking to do a little Christmas shopping? Well, too bad - Previews #279 is NOT for you! (Because it, you know, has books for February and beyond, so it's too late for Christmas shopping, so it's funny that it's the "December" issue, right, and ... oh, let's just move on.)
Okay, this is a really weird cover. Usually a company will advertise something big happening in one of their books. The back issue of Previews does this with Dark Horse advertising Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan (?!?!?!?) on Conan (which sounds really awesome, by the way, and it's very cool that Dark Horse went that way). But DC isn't advertising any big event, they're just slapping a drawing of Batman fighting the Penguin on the cover and telling you that Tony S. Daniel (why is he suddenly using the "S."?) is writing and drawing Detective. It's bizarre. DC could have advertised the fact that this issue begins Amy Reeder's arc on Batwoman. They could have advertised Batman Beyond Unlimited #1, which features new Batman art by Norm Breyfogle. They could have advertised any of the cool trades they have coming out. Why they chose an innocuous issue of 'Tec is mysterious. Who am I to argue with the wise bigwigs of DC, though?
Speaking of Conan, Dark Horse fires it up on page 26, with a "perfect jumping-on point for new readers!" As usual with all the Conan stuff, I'll be waiting for the trade, but this will probably be really, really good. Of course, almost all of Dark Horse's Conan stuff has been really, really good, so there shouldn't be too much of an adjustment! Plus, both covers are awesome. (8 February)
James Harren is drawing the new B.P.R.D. mini-series (page 32). This is a good thing. (15 February)
Speaking of B.P.R.D., I'm sure you buy it in giant-sized hardcover format, and the third such offering is on page 34. For everyone who says I need to read Mignola's Hellboy-verse, I do. I just read the stories in giant-sized format. (4 April)
John Ostrander and Jan Duursema return to Dark Horse's Star Wars franchise with Dawn of the Jedi, a one-shot set 25,000 years before the regular series (page 43) which then morphs into a five-issue mini-series on page 44. That could be interesting. I was never in love with Ostrander and Duursema's work on the title, but it wasn't bad. This might be cool. (1 February)
Re: Justice League #6 cover (page 68): Who misses Darkseid's cute little dress? You know you do! Raise that hand! (15 February)
DC Comics Presents #6 is a new story arc, this one starring the Challengers of the Unknown (page 75). I don't have much interest in it, but you might! (15 February)
With all this rebootiness going on, I do wish creators at DC would come up with different names for characters if they're going to completely re-invent them. I mean, who didn't love the old Gentleman Ghost? And now Tony S. Daniel and Philip Tan are turning him into some kind of insectoid cyborg (page 77). He doesn't look terribly gentlemanly nor ghostly. Yet they kept the monocle and top hat. I mean, that was just goofy enough when he actually was a gentleman ghost, and now it looks beyond stupid. I guess those guys know what they're doing, though. Right? (22 February)
It's a rough month for Supergirl. On pages 80-81, she's insensate in Superman's grasp (Superman #6), about the throw down with Superboy (Superboy #6) and getting driven toward the ground by some evil alien (Supergirl #6). Dang. Sucks to be her. (22, 8, and 15 February, respectively)
I may not love Greg Capullo's art on Batman (it's pretty good, but not great), but manischewitz, that's a nice cover (page 82):
Speaking of Batwoman (page 89), I'm really looking forward to seeing Amy Reeder draw the book. Not as much as I look forward to seeing Williams draw the book, of course, but I'm very curious about what Reeder does with it. (8 February)
The Shade #5 is solicited on page 104. Of course, it might not make it that far, according to a James Robinson tweet. I will have more to say about this, oh yes. (29 February)
Here's something odd: On page 109, Blackhawks #6 is solicited. CAFU is listed as the penciller. CAFU is, naturally, NOT the artist of Grifter #6 on page 106. So, um, what the hell? I can get it if an artist can't keep up with the monthly grind, but to take the artist from one book and put him on a different one instead of keeping him on the original book and putting a fill-in artist (Scott Clark, as it turns out) on the book that needs a fill-in seems ... well, stupid. I know I'm using that word a lot to describe what's going on with DC in Previews this month. My daughter would be disappointed in me, because we've told her not to use that word. But what other word fits???? (22 February for Blackhawks, 8 February for Grifter)
DC is releasing a bunch of Flashpoint mini-series together in trades, which is kind of annoying (if not ... stupid!). On page 116, they give us Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Batman, which collects the two best mini-series: Knight of Vengeance and Secret Seven (plus Deadman and the Flying Graysons and Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager). It's only $17.99 for 12 issues, which isn't bad at all. The other trades are on pages 117 and 118, if you're interested. (14 March)
I'm not sure if the "heir of Batman" books are still out of print, but DC collects Son of the Demon, Bride of the Demon, and Birth of the Demon in one big ol' 30-dollar book on page 119. I own the first two, and think Son of the Demon is excellent, and it has wonderful Jerry Bingham art. I may have to pick this sucker up. (7 March)
Meanwhile, next to it on page 119, we get Bob Haney and Jim Aparo doing The Brave and the Bold in a nice shiny hardcover. Holy crap, that would have to be awesome, wouldn't it, if Our Dread Lord and Master is to be believed. I know it's 50 dollars, but I may have to get this sucker. (4 April)
100 dollars for an Absolute Final Crisis (page 121)? Wow, that's ... something. I mean, it's better when read all at once, but still - that's tough. (18 July) (Wait, 18 July? Really?)
On page 123, we get Showcase Presents: The Losers vol 1. Two words: "Robert" and "Kanigher." SOLD!!!! (21 March)
Eric Trautmann, Brandon Jerwa, and Steve Lieber are the creators of Shooters on page 129, which is a story about a mercenary whose life goes to shit. You know I'll be all over that! (18 April)
Black Orchid Deluxe Edition shows up on page 132. This is ... fine, I guess, and McKean's art is neat-o. I'm not sure if it's worth $24.99, though. Maybe.
IDW has been putting drawings of their employees into Previews for a while, but this month they seem to have all of them. It kind of freaks me out, to be frank.
Next Men is back on page 146. Apparently this is the last arc of Byrne's epic. I can't decide if I should wait for the trade or not.
Well, that wasn't much going on from IDW this month. Lots of G.I. Joe stuff (they're making a sequel? really?) and Transformers stuff and some Godzilla stuff. You know the drill!
Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer, and Shawn Martinbrough have Thief of Thieves (page 172), about a master thief whose life stinks and who has the FBI on his trail. Who knows if it will be any good (things like this are all in the execution), but it's always nice to see Martinbrough's work. Too bad it's not colored like his run on Detective. Man, that was neat, wasn't it? (8 February)
Glory returns with issue #23 (page 178; I'm still not loving Larsen's weird "Let's not renumber these series even though their previous issues haven't shipped in years just to show Marvel and DC that we don't need to renumber them," but whatever), and it's written by Joe Keatinge and drawn by Ross Campbell, and it looks motherfucking awesome. (15 February)
Alpha Girl (page 182) is the story of a girl in a world where a cosmetics company creates a pheromone that turns women into "crazed man-eaters" and makes the world spin out of control. It sounds dumb, but Robert Love's art is really cool, so there's that. (1 February)
I'm not sure if Queen Crab (page 190) is going to be any good, but at least it sounds different. It's a horror story about a woman whose husband tries to kill her, and then the world goes insane. Of course it does! The reason it could work is that Jimmy Palmiotti writes it, and Palmiotti is pretty good at weird horror. (1 February)
King City gets a trade on page 194. I imagine I will be buying this because I hear tell it's good. (22 February)
On pages 194 and 195, Near Death and Pigs get their first trades. Both of these series are pretty good, and Near Death, at least, has 5 issues for 10 bucks, which ain't bad. (22 and 1 February, respectively)
Speaking of Pigs, issue #6 (page 207) claims that it's "so controversial that it had to be censored for Previews!" Um, really?
As Mike Sterling pointed out, Previews allowed a cover of The Boys with semen on it to appear in their fine publication - is this worse than that? I mean, sure, that dude is wacky, but controversial? I don't know. (15 February)
I've kind of given up on Ed Brubaker's Captain America franchise, and the fact that Marvel is launching a third series in it (Winter Soldier) doesn't fill me with confidence (pages 2-3). Down in the solicits for issue #2, we see: "Also featuring - talking gorillas! Yeah, you heard me." Does that really sell anyone on the book? Haven't we moved past the "Let's make supposedly cool things even cooler by adding something incongruous and everyone will buy it!" meme in comics? I guess not. Oh, and Bucky: Yeah, not dead. How pointless was Fear Itself? Very. (1 and 15 February)
Oh, look, there's a "conspiracy ten-thousand years in the making" in Defenders #3. I'm so glad there's yet another conspiracy in the Marvel Universe, because I think the 795 they already have aren't interesting enough. (1 February)
I don't know what's been going on in Journey Into Mystery (I planning on buying the trade), but it seems to me that when one of the bullet points in your solicitation for issue #634 (page 12) is "Nightmare is still a bad guy ...", you probably don't have enough to say about the issue. In fact, every solicitation should contain something like that: "Wolverine is still the best there is at what he does ...", "Tony Stark is still a recovering alcoholic ...", "Bucky Barnes is still dead ... NOT!", "Cyclops is still unbelievably boring ..." It works for every comic! (8 February)
New Avengers #21 (page 16): "RAGNAROK!" Fucking really? How many times is this? Jeebus. (15 February)
I don't mean to be crude (okay, so I do, but it's the nice thing to say), but I still can't get past the fact that Red Hulk looks like he's giving Cable some of his spicy sausage on this cover, ifyouknowwhatImeanandIthinkyoudo (page 21). I'm not the only one who thinks so, but why isn't one of those people who thinks that Ed McGuinness, who drew this? Maybe he did and he just didn't care. Maybe the book is about the weird, violent love that Red Hulk shares with Cable. You better believe I'd buy that! (1 February)
Speaking of things not looking like they're supposed to and Greg having a more twisted mind than he really should have, the Scarlet Spider gives new meaning to the phrase "shitting bricks" on this cover (page 31, 8 February):
Avenging Spider-Man #4 (page 32): When Joe Mad needs a break, who do you call? Greg Land! (15 February)
Torso gets a hardcover edition on page 71, which is nice, considering the first time I read it, my softcover version almost fell apart. Nice work, Image! Torso isn't bad - it's classic early Bendis, but it's not as good as Jinx, which is the classicest of classic early Bendis. Still, it's not bad. (8 February)
Okay, I have never actually read "The Crossing," but I've heard enough about it to think it's one of the worst stories ever told from the House of Ideas. So Marvel is now releasing it in an Omnibus hardcover for - wait for it - $99.99. Holeeee shit. It appears there are 29 issues collected within, and I can't believe you can't find every single one of them for a dollar or less. If you really need to read it, that is. (2 May)
I guess Marvel is going to collect Bruce Jones's Hulk run in "Premiere Hardcover" format, because on page 89 "The Return of the Monster" gets the treatment, with the Azzarello/Corben Startling Stories included for good measure. This is actually a very good comic, as Jones started really strong before going completely off the rails. Avoid the later issues, but if you're interested, check this out! (2 May)
For those of you who thought it was awesome that Dazzler got two "Essential" volumes, Marvel brings us Quasar Classic volume 1 on page 118. Yes, you never thought the words "Quasar" and "Classic" would ever go together, but Marvel boldly went there! Pick it up today! (22 February)
Onward we go, toward the back of the book!
AdHouse Books prints Tom Scioli's American Barbarian on page 226. The little I've seen of this looks awesome, so you know I'll be getting this sucker.
I suppose that in order to keep Gold Digger going, Antarctic Press needs to do a lot of other ... shall we say, less than highbrow stuff, so of course, on page 230, we get Victorian Secret Agents: Steampunk Angels:
Oh, steampunk craze. You never fail to amuse us!
Archaia continues to offer stuff, and on page 233, they have a nice hardcover of The Secret History: Games of Chance, which collects the now never-to-be-published single issues. I don't mind getting this instead of single issues, but I do hope it actually comes out at some point. That would be nice.
If you've been missing the old Garth Ennis/John McCrea series Dicks, Avatar brings it back on page 248. It appears that this is the old material recolored, and then there will be new adventures. I never got into Dicks, but it might be something for your taste!
On page 260, Boom! reprints the Doug Moench/Mike Ploog Terror on the Planet of the Apes from 1974. I imagine this is fairly good, but someone like Greg Hatcher can probably say for sure.
Kevin Huizenga's Gloriana is offered on page 288 from Drawn & Quarterly. I haven't been impressed with the very little Huizenga I've read, but I imagine that some people will enjoy this! On the same page, America by James Sturm is re-offered. I'm far more interested in this!
First Second always has interesting comics even if they're not always for me. I really want to read some Faith Erin Hicks comics, because she's awesome, but Friends With Boys (page 291), sounds like it's very much a teenaged girl book. That doesn't mean it won't be very good, but I doubt if I'll really like it (yes, I know I can read it on-line and never tell, but I still thought I'd mention it). Still, if you have a teenaged female relative, you might consider picking this up!
NBM has another of their Louvre-centric comics with On the Odd Hours (page 303), in which a night watchman wanders the museum when no one else is around. I liked The Sky Over the Louvre, one of the other books in this series, and this sounds pretty intriguing.
The third trade of The Sixth Gun shows up on page 305 from Oni, if you're reading the series in that fashion. This arc wasn't as strong as the first two, but it was still pretty good, especially the first few issues. It kind of fizzled at the end. But that's no reason to not get it!
Also from Oni, on page 206 Ted Naifeh's Courtney Crumrin gets a hardcover volume in full color. I ought to get this, oughtn't I?
Also from Oni, Sharknife volume 2 shows up on page 310. I guess this has been delayed for a bit?
Top Shelf offers Harvey Pekar's Cleveland on page 320. It is, perhaps not surprisingly, about Cleveland.
It seems that grumpy Harvey Pekar is the perfect place to end this tour through Previews. Be sure to get your copy and pre-order the stuff you want to read! It's not going to read itself!