Boy, Previews #291 has some lousy covers. Look below the cut to see one of them!
I forgot to mention this last month, but Dark Horse does it again on the page soliciting Star Wars #2 (page 36). "Brian Wood! Alex Ross!" shouts the text above the cover image. Poor Carlos D'Anda, who's actually, you know, drawing the book. He's just a chump! (13 February)
Amala's Blade #0 on page 40 is a reprint from Dark Horse Presents, but if you haven't read it, it's a neat little story with good art. It's nice that it's going to be an ongoing. (27 February)
John Layman and Sam Kieth's Aliens: Inhuman Condition gets a hardcover on page 41 for 11 bucks. This was also serialized in Dark Horse Presents, and it was ... okay. The story wasn't great, and Kieth's art fluctuated from really good to sloppy, but it might read better in one sitting rather than in serial format. It's not a bad deal, however. (10 April)
There's a hardcover of Matt Kindt's Mind Mgmt on page 46. This is a pretty keen series, and it's a pretty good value - 20 bucks for 200 pages. You ought to be getting Matt Kindt comics anyway, so why not get this one? (3 April)
So DC is launching the stupidly-titled Justice League of America's Vibe on page 87 (and Scipio, not surprisingly, rejoiced), and they have some fun with it in the solicitations, stating that it's not a typo and that the most unlikely JLA member is getting his own book. But here's the thing: Why is Vibe the most unlikely member of the Justice League? He has decent powers, after all. Sure, he was created as an ethnic stereotype, but if we look at from a standpoint of powers, he's a more likely member than a guy who shoots arrows, right? I'm not a huge fan of Vibe, but the dude is superpowered. (20 February)
Batman #17 (page 98): "Batman and The Joker face off one last time!" Bwah-ha-ha-ha! Yeah, okay, DC. (13 February)
On pages 112 and 113, we get the seventeenth issues of Animal Man and Swamp Thing. These are the final two issues of "Rotworld." Sweet fancy Moses, how long has this danged story arc been going on? If there's one thing really, really bad about the DCnU (and I know there are many things wrong with it), it's this idea of having giant, sprawling crossovers that never. freakin'. END. Jeebus, DC. (6 February)
I know Legends of the Dark Knight are digital first, but I don't roll that way, so I'm looking forward to issue #5 (page 127), which stars Slam Bradley! Whoo-hoo, Slam Bradley! (6 February)
DC finally gets around to releasing a softcover trade of Batman on page 128. That means that 18 issues of the ongoing series will be out before issues #1-7 get collected in a reasonably-priced collection. Well done, DC. Sheesh. (20 March)
I will probably skip The Jack Kirby Omnibus volume 2 on page 131 for now, but that's an odd grab-bag of comics, ain't it? Black Magic, Kung Fu Fighter, Super Powers ... yeah. I'm a bit confused by the fact that Kirby doesn't do all the art. Did they just want to collect an entire group, and if Kirby didn't do all the art, they added the issues in between the ones he did? I imagine that's it. (17 April)
Whenever DC offers Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, the collected edition (page 131), I think about getting it. I already own both stories collected within, though, so it's a tough sell. These are pretty cool stories, though, with early Mignola and very nice Eduardo Barretto artwork. (6 March)
It's 50 bucks, but I really ought to get Marshal Law: The Deluxe Edition on page 132. Marshal Law is one of those comics that I've always heard good things about (most recently from Chad Nevett, who really digs it), but I've never gotten, mainly because I don't know where to look - single issues are hard to find, and I don't know if they've been collected or if those trades are still in print. This is a good place to start, I reckon! (17 April)
There's the final issue of Hellblazer on page 143. Too bad. I wish more people bought this comic, especially because Milligan's run has been really, really good. (20 February)
Is this the first time Joe the Barbarian has been offered in softcover (page 144)? Odd. This isn't Morrison's best work, but it's not bad, and Sean Murphy's art is tremendous. All for 20 bucks! (6 March)
There's a new Ghostbusters series on page 155, with four new characters. I don't know if it will be any good, but it's always fun to shake things up a little!
The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom gets a hardcover on page 159. This is a pretty good series with really nice art by Chris Samnee. On the same page, we get The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror by Roger Langridge and J. Bone. I really dig that IDW is getting really good talent on these Rocketeer comics!
The first five issues of John Layman and John McCrea's Mars Attacks gets a trade on page 167. This is wildly fun, ridiculously violent comic, and both creators have a lot of fun with it.
Kill Shakespeare is back on page 173 with a five-issue sequel. Considering how good the first series was, I'll be all over this one!
Andy Diggle and Jock team up again for Snapshot, about a hipster (he works at a San Francisco comic book store, for crying out loud) who finds a cell phone full of photographs of murder victims. So, yeah, someone is going to want that back. It sounds and looks pretty keen. (6 February)
I don't have much interest in Ravine by Stjepan Sejic, but it's pretty cool that he's doing a nice graphic novel and Top Cow is selling it for 10 bucks. That's good value, and Sejic, while doing that whole "fully painted" thing that I don't love, is a lot better at it than most. (13 February)
The solicitation for Uncanny Skullkickers #1 (page 198) is pretty funny: "A bold new direction! A perfect jumping-on point! A newly added adjective! Our nineteenth issue, but also a new issue #1! It's all here, people! Don't make us use more exclamation marks!!" A postscript adds: "Retailers: Rack the comic beside other 'Uncanny' comics you may have hanging around and sell a ton of comics. Do it." I enjoy that. It actually takes on some added poignancy when you consider that writer Jim Zub recently broke down how hard it is to make a living doing creator-owned comics. Or, you know, buy a meal. (27 February)
Glory #33 (page 209) says that it's the "penultimate" issue of the Keatinge/Campbell run. That's kind of sad. It's been a very good comic, and I don't know if the book is continuing with a new creative team or if it's getting cancelled. I guess we'll find out soon enough. (27 February)
I don't know if you noticed, but Steve Wacker thought my comments about Marvel's solicitations last month were pretty funny, especially the ones I made about Hawkeye's, which weren't flattering. He shared it with the dude who actually wrote the text, and they had a good laugh about it. I really don't have anything against Wacker, even if it seems I do. I just think Marvel's "frat-boy" solicitations aren't all that clever, although I do appreciate them having fun with it. I still don't know why Wacker spends so much time trolling the Internet when he has a real job, but that's neither here nor there. Will I have anything derisive to say about Marvel's solicits this time around? Stay tuned!!!!
I mentioned last week that I wasn't sure that Will Sliney was ready to work for Marvel, but the three pages of Fearless Defenders (page 12-14) that we see are pretty good. Maybe I was wrong. I'm certainly willing to admit it, so I guess I'll see when the book actually ships!
See, I enjoy the solicitation for Young Avengers #2 (page 31): "[M]uch more from Marvel's most critically acclaimed book. Yes, we're saying it's critically acclaimed and it's not even out yet." I like that because it's self-deprecating, and I enjoy self-deprecating humor.
X-Men Legacy #6 has a cool cover (page 50):
That is all.
Man, there's just not a lot in the Marvel trade paperback section that's leaping out at me. I'm going to get some of them, but nothing makes me want to go nuts about it. Odd. Let's move on!
One of Kelly Thompson's favorite recent comics, Princeless, gets a new volume on page 226 from Action Lab Entertainment. I didn't love the first volume as much as she did (I'm certainly not the target audience), but it was okay. I'm sure my daughter will like it in a few years. But there's a new series, so if you're interested, check it out!
Cavewoman: Oasis #1 from Amryl Entertainment (page 230):
No. Just no.
Archaia has a fancy new section beginning on page 235, which is fine. There's a letter from the president, too, which is also fine. But I hope this means that they'll actually release some of these comics. A few of the ones he mentions in his letter have not yet come out, despite being solicited a long time ago, and Archaia has always had issues with shipping problems. It's a shame, because they often have really good comics, but when they don't actually show up, it's frustrating. Come on, Archaia - get your books out in a timely manner!
Bongo Comics offers Mylo Xyloto #1 on page 258, which is the comics adaptation of the Coldplay album. Yes, it really is. I gave up on Coldplay after X&Y, not because I didn't like the album, but because it seemed like Coldplay was destined to be a band that never really changed, so if I wanted to hear their music, I could listen to the three albums I already owned (this is the same reason I gave up on Lenny Kravitz after Circus). But if you bought Mylo Xyloto the album and are interested in seeing a comics adaptation of it, here's your chance!
Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos have a new series (well, two issues) called Fairy Quest from Boom! on page 265. It sounds like a total rip-off of Fables, but that's okay. I don't like Ramos' artwork, but I am glad that Jenkins is getting to do this, because it seems he's been Marvel's whipping boy for so long - "Hey, we have a shitty idea we need turned into a four-issue series - where's Jenkins?" - that it's nice he's getting to write something that's his.
On page 280, we get Red Team #1, the new series by Garth Ennis from Dynamite. It's about a group of cops who decide to start killing bad guys. Oh dear. I will give pretty much anything Ennis writes a chance, so I'll be checking this out. I hope it's more like The Shadow than Jennifer Blood.
Matt Wagner really enjoys origin stories, it seems, so on page 282 we get The Shadow: Year One. I might have to check this out.
Omnibus Press has an interesting project on page 313: Gabba Gabba Hey: The Ramones Graphic Novel. I've never been all that interested in the Ramones, but this might be kind of neat.
There's a spin-off of The Sixth Gun on page 315 from Oni. It's a mini-series about the various cronies of General Hume, and it's drawn by Brian Churilla, so it will look good. I didn't think there would be a clamor for a spin-off, but what the heck, right? I'm looking forward to it!
Speaking of Brian Churilla, The Secret History of D.B. Cooper gets a hardcover volume on page 317, and while it's certainly worth a look, 30 bucks is a bit much. But if you're in the mood, go for it. It's a very interesting project that died too soon!
SelfMadeHero has a couple of interesting books on page 323. First up is Black Paths, which is about an odd episode in history following World War I, when an Italian idealist took over a city in the disintegrated Austrian-Hungarian empire and tried to turn it into a utopia. Yeah, it didn't go well. Meanwhile, they also have Hairshirt by Pat McEown, who might be best known (maybe?) for drawing Grendel back in the day. It's a story about two ex-lovers who meet again but find they might not be able to rekindle what they had. I guess it's been out for a while, but that doesn't mean you can't still pick it up!
You can pick up Alien: The Illustrated Story, "artist's edition" for $75 on page 328 from Titan Books. When I reviewed the "regular" edition, a few people mentioned in the comments how amazing the artist's edition looked, but that's pretty steep. I just you should know about it, though!
Top Shelf has a new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen book called Nemo: Heart of Ice. I'm glad that Moore and O'Neill keep doing these, even if none have been quite as good as the first series. But I'll certainly pick that sucker up!
Valiant continues to solicit trade paperbacks, and I continue to be interested in them. This time around is Bloodshot volume 1 (page 337), which despite the terrible, terrible, so-very-1990s name, sounds pretty keen. On the same page, they have a trade of Ninjak, which I'm really tempted to get because it has Joey Q. art from 1994. Does anyone own the original issues? Is this as Nineties as it sounds? If so, I must have it!!!!
On page 346, Viz offers the first six volumes of Saturn Apartments in anticipation of the final volume coming in May. I really ought to read Saturn Apartments, oughtn't I? My manga reading has slipped recently as series have ended and I haven't picked anything else up.
Nothing is really grabbing me in the "Books" section of Previews, so let's call it a day. As always, I encourage you to dig deeper into the catalog to find things beyond the Big Two. There are a lot of good comics out there, after all!