A.K.A. That time when Marvel Comics finally went as nuts as DC! Yes, it's Previews #304! Yahoo!!!
Uh-oh, on page 50 we find Veil by Greg Rucka and Toni Fejzula. Could it be about a mysterious tough-as-nails woman? Of course it could - it's a Greg Rucka comic! I make fun, but Rucka usually writes good comics, and as this is a mini-series, the trade will look very nice later in the year! (5 March)
Hellboy in Hell gets a trade on page 54. As I do with all Hellboy stories, I'm going to wait for the Library Edition, which might take another five years to come out. I'm patient. (21 March)
Speaking of trades, there's a Sledgehammer 44 trade on page 56. I know I'll be getting this! (28 May)
So Dark Horse has another "season" of Buffy the Vampire Slayer firing up on page 58. Good for them! Man, I wish Rebekah Isaacs drew comics I want to read, 'cause she's awesome. (19 March)
There's a new Beasts of Burden one-shot on page 60 by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson. This is a cool series - check it out! (12 March)
"Rising star" Brandon Graham draws the Empowered Special: Internal Medicine on page 66. "Rising star"? Isn't Graham already pretty well established? I mean, good for him, but I wouldn't think of him as a "rising star." (26 March)
Over on page 69, we get Resident Alien volume 2: The Suicide Blond. Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse are doing a nice job with this concept, of an alien who becomes a doctor a small town, and I'm looking forward to this trade. (28 May)
The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys shows up in trade on page 72. You can get a nice 20-dollar softcover or an 80-dollar hardcover. Yeah, I don't need the extras, thanks. I'm still looking forward to this. (7 May)
On page 87, we find Alley Oop: The Complete Sundays volume 1, 1934-1936, which will set you back $75. I won't be getting this, but it's always cool when another olde-tymey comic strip gets a nifty collection. (7 May)
Now THAT'S a quality cover, DC:
(Page 120; 19 March)
DC is finally cancelling Batman: The Dark Knight with issue #29 (page 126). I'd like to think this means they're reining in the Batman books a bit, but I doubt that very much. Remember when books would get cancelled and wouldn't immediately be replaced by something almost exactly like it? Good times. (26 March)
It's interesting that DC is wacking Animal Man as Lemire leaves the title. I don't have a problem with it, but will they "pull a Marvel" and simply relaunch it with a new creative team and a new #1? The mind reels!!! (19 March)
Bloodspell is a terrible, TERRIBLE name for the Black Canary/Zatanna graphic novel on page 140 , but it's by Paul Dini and Joe Quinones, so it might be worth checking out. It's a hardcover for 23 bucks, so maybe I'll wait until the softcover. Still, it's always nice to see DC or Marvel bring something even the tiniest bit unusual out, so this is neat. Maybe they'll change the title before it ships, though. (21 May)
For $125, you can get JSA Omnibus volume 1 on page 147. I know many people who like Geoff Johns swear by his work on JSA, but I very much doubt I want to drop that much coin on this. Maybe I can find it cheaper someplace else. (14 May)
DC has officially given up on All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, as they give us an "Absolute" edition on page 148. I'm very tempted because it's such a train wreck (and no, I don't believe Miller deliberately meant it as "satire," even if fans read it that way), but not for 100 bucks. I'm sure it will look purty, though. (2 July)
On page 150, we find Tales of the Batman: Carmine Infantino for 50 bucks. I ought to check this out, because I've never been a huge fan of Infantino but, to be honest, I haven't seen a lot of his artwork. Something to consider ... (28 May)
American Vampire is back on page 153. Good for it! (19 March)
Joe R. Lansdale's Jonah Hex stories are collected in Jonah Hex: Shadows West on page 161. Lansdale is kind of hit or miss for me, but I missed these when they first came out and have always been interested in them, so I might check this out. (9 April)
G.I. Joe #200 shows up on page 172. Aren't there more than 200 issues, though? I think IDW picked up the Marvel numbering and ignored the Devil's Due stuff. I mean, good for them, celebrating a 200th issue and all, but I wonder if they should have already celebrated it.
Meanwhile, on page 181, we get Star Slammers Re-Mastered #1. I'm REALLY looking forward to this. I've heard good things about it, but even if the story isn't great, it's Walt Simonson drawing shit. Of course I'm getting it!
Mark Evanier and Roger Langridge team up for Rocky & Bullwinkle #1 on page 187. That could be interesting. It will certainly be better than whatever animated nightmare we're going to get this year, I'll tell you that much.
I missed the first volume of Edison Rex (I really need to rectify that), but there's volume 2 on page 200. I assume this is as good as everyone says it is.
Mean Streets is an interesting anthology - it collects several old IDW comics into one package. I've only read Easy Way by Christopher E. Long and Andy Kuhn and Fishtown by Kevin Colden, but both of them were quite good, and if you didn't happen to get them, this is a handy way to check it out. It's only 30 bucks for 456 pages, which ain't bad.
I've wondered for years why David Lapham didn't take Stray Bullets somewhere, especially as his profile rose, and so the news that Image is its new home is pretty awesome (page 207). I only own a few trades, so I'm getting the Über Alles Edition, which collects all the series so far for 60 dollars, which is a pretty darned good price, if you ask me. If you already have the first 40 issues, issue #41 comes out, plus a new story arc. I'm really looking forward to this! (12 March)
Starlight on page 212 "launches the much-anticipated Millarworld Universe." I'm not sure if I anticipated it that much, but good for Mark Millar! It's always nice to see Goran Parlov art, though. (5 March)
The idea of Real Heroes seems to be that the actors who played the Avengers have to actually save the world. Well, that could be clever, but it could also be awful. One thing I do know - with Bryan Hitch drawing it, get ready for one issue per year! (26 March)
I saw a trailer for Noah when I saw the second Hunger Games movie (don't judge me; my wife likes the books and a friend loves the movies, so we made it a date night), and boy howdy, it looked terrible. However, the comic book version (page 218) features are by Niko Henrichon, and Henrichon is a damned fine artist. Damn, this is tempting. (19 March)
If you missed Jan's Atomic Heart when it came out a few years ago (and I can't imagine it was too popular), Image has a new printing, along with other stories by Simon Roy, on page 226. It's not a bad comic, actually, and I'm curious about the "Other Stories" part of the title. (26 March)
On page 229, The End Times of Bram and Ben gets a trade for the low low price of $12.99. I think it was noted commenter Travis Pelkie who was going on about how good this comic was, and I was waiting for the trade, so here it is! (5 March)
Next to that on the same page, Fatale: Deluxe Edition is offered. It collects issues #1-10 for 40 bucks. These issues were pretty good, and the book has gotten better since then, so if you happened to miss it, check this sucker out! (5 March)
Image has the stones to offer a trade for Secret on page 230 even though the single issues resolutely refuse to come out. Does this mean they're going to release the trade and never the single issues? That would be kind of a sucky move. ("19 March")
If you like overrated comics, the first trade of Sex Criminals shows up on page 230. Five overrated issues (two of which haven't come out yet, but I'm going to assume they'll be overrated, too) for ten dollars! What a bargain! (12 March)
Elephantmen #57 features a story written by Marian Churchland (with Starkings) and drawn by Marley Zarcone. I think I know a little about this issue, and I'm sure it's going to be cool if what I know is true. Either way, Churchland, Starkings, and Zarcone is a good team! (26 March)
Okay, so according to Tom Brevoort, Marvel is rebooting all their titles because that's just the way they do things now - people dig the #1 issues, man! Hey, that's fine, especially if you're going to reboot every time you change a creative team (even though that's not quite what Marvel is doing). But did you notice that all these titles getting rebooted means that Marvel ... can raise the price! Yay, price increases! Daredevil (page 2)? $3.99! Moon Knight (page 8)? $3.99! Silver Surfer (page 12)? $3.99! Ghost Rider (page 16)? $3.99! Captain Marvel (page 20)? $3.99! Iron Patriot (page 22)? $3.99! Magneto (page 24)? $3.99! Now, ignoring the fact that a lot of these characters have not been able to sustain a book for a long time, what the hell, Marvel? DC has already done a fine job driving me away from their single issues, but they do a pretty good job with their trades. Marvel's trades are pretty much the same price as their single issues, so who knows if I'll even get those. Dang, Marvel. I know that I buy plenty of $3.99 books from smaller publishers, and I know that quality should make price slightly more irrelevant (if Daredevil is good at $2.99, why isn't it good at $3.99?), but, as I've pointed out before, it makes me more upset that Marvel, which has to be swimming in cash, jacks up their prices than when smaller publishers do it. I know it's all about demand, and I'm upset by consumers who willingly pay those prices, too, instead of choosing to buy lower-priced Marvel books or to use their four dollars on smaller publishers' books. But that's the way it is. Will consumers buy Moon Knight or Silver Surfer based solely on the creative teams (realizing that the artists won't last very long if Marvel starts double-shipping), or will that price point make them hesitate just enough that they don't buy the book, therefore killing what could be great comics? I know I'd try Moon Knight, Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider, and some of the other new titles that don't have #1 issues in this catalog (Black Widow, for instance) if they were $2.99, but I'm skipping them because they're $3.99. Does that make me foolish? Maybe. but I'm tired of the Big Two screwing me around. Fuck them.
"Because [we] demanded it," Daredevil (page 2) gets a new #1 (at $3.99) and moves to San Francisco. I love how, in the Marvel Universe, there are apparently four cities - New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New Orleans. I'd be much more interested if Matt moved to Denver or Phoenix or Houston or Duluth. A guy I know recently visited Duluth, and it sounds awesome. Move to Duluth, Murdock! Meanwhile, page 5 shows us the "Daredevil #1 75th Anniverary [sic] Variant." Once again, Marvel's editing department comes through, and while it's Marvel's 75th "anniversary" in 2014, it's not Daredevil's. Weird. Alex Ross, as we've seen, really digs packages:
I'm waiting for the trade on Moon Knight (page 8), but I do hope that Marvel only ships it once a month. It's one of those books that will probably work better with a stable creative team rather than one of those "automatic" sellers like the Avengers and X-Men books, so making sure that Declan Shalvey can at least keep up a little bit seems important. I'm not holding my breath, but it would be nice. (5 March)
Ditto for Ghost Rider (page 16), because Tradd Moore seems like an artist who would have some trouble keeping up. We shall see. Of course, I was just reading about Karate Kid in Back Issue magazine, and someone noted that if DC jumped on a trend in the 1970s, you could be sure that trend was pretty much over. Can we say the same thing about Marvel jumping on the street racing trend? I don't know much about street racing, but I've heard that its popularity has gone way down since the economic downturn because it's just too much money for upkeep. Good job being at least five years behind the times, Marvel! (19 March)
Avengers Undercover (page 30), which I guess is some kind of sequel to Avengers Arena, is still $2.99. I don't get Marvel's pricing policies (other new $2.99 books: Ms. Marvel, Loki: Agent of Asgard, and She-Hulk). (12 March)
Wait, there's a 300th issue of X-Men Legacy on page 80? First of all, that name isn't even really for any X-Men title anymore. Second, 300th issues technically celebrate the 25th anniversary of books published monthly (which, I know, hasn't been a thing at Marvel for a while, but still), and the title that might have become #300 was launched in 1991. Third, Tom Brevoort is making a big fucking deal about not using high numbers on books because it makes readers' brains hurt. So what the fuck, Marvel? Did you just want to do an anniversary issue and decided to slap a #300 on it? This makes less sense than a lot of Marvel's numbering shenanigans over the past few years, and that's saying something. (12 March)
I was mildly interested in the trade of Painkiller Jane: The Price of Freedom, as I like Palmiotti and Santacruz, and then I looked at the price. That can't be right, can it? At 4 dollars a pop, 4 issues of the book should be 16 dollars, yet Marvel is charging 20 dollars for the trade? Is it really a 5-issue mini-series and the solicit is a typo? I hope so, because that's dirty pool, Marvel. (2 April)
The trades of Wolverine and the X-Men were a bit of a rip-off, but now Marvel is releasing an Omnibus of the entire run (with one issue, #37, missing) for 100 dollars (page 93). That's over 40 issues, so this is a better value than any of the other formats. Now, when you get giant books like this, binding is always an issue, but it's nice that Marvel does this. If only their issues and trades were a better value! (4 June)
I kind of want to get Daredevil: End of Days (page 115), even though I heard it was a bit of a train wreck. Does anyone have an opinion on it? (26 March)
Speaking of DD, Marvel has Fall From Grace solicited on page 116. This is a terrible comic, I should warn you, and is about as "1990s" as you can get. It's shocking to consider how good D. G. Chichester was when he started on the comic and how bad he was when he finished, and Scott McDaniel doesn't exactly cover himself in glory, either. Seriously - avoid this like the plague, unless you can get it for a buck somewhere and want a laugh. (9 April)
Let's move on to the back of the book! You know you want to!
On page 265, Amigo Comics brings us the original Rogues! by El Torres and Juan José Ryp. I know Amigo has some issues getting their stuff out on time, but this still should be a cool book to check out.
The Fox gets a trade on page 270 from Archie Comics, and I'll have to pick this sucker up. I know Other Greg digs it, and he's usually pretty reliable when it comes to digging nifty comics.
The second volume of City in the Desert shows up on page 302 from Boom! The first volume was quite good, so I'm looking forward to the next chapter!
Beautiful Scars (also from Boom!) on page 303 sounds interesting. Durwin S. Talon is an interesting creator, and the story, about a grandfather telling family stories about his scars to his granddaughter, sounds both clever and a little creepy. I'll have to check this out.
Fred van Lente is the writer on the newly relaunched Magnus: Robot Fighter from Dynamite on page 319. Because of course Dynamite is relaunching Magnus: Robot Fighter! (12 March)
Danica Novgorodoff has a new graphic novel out on page 341 from First Second called The Undertaking of Lily Chen. A young man in China accidentally kills his brother and is sent by his parents to find a corpse for his brother to marry posthumously. Of course the young man meets a single woman! What will happen next? Well, I don't know, but I like Novgorodoff, so I'm going to check this out!
NBM offers Silk Road to Ruin by Ted Rall on page 355, which is about Rall's adventures in Central Asia. It sounds pretty neat - of course, I'm inclined to like this, so it might not be your cup of tea.
Well, that's interesting: Christopher Mitten returns to Wasteland for the final arc of the series (Oni, page 360). The book has been good but not great since Mitten left, and it will be nice to see him help usher it out. (19 March)
Meanwhile, Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir are back with another Amy Devlin mystery, Lost and Found, on page 361. They write good mysteries, so I'm looking forward to this. (21 May)
Every day is a good day when there's a new Jinky Coronado comic in the world, and while it's only a pin-up gallery book, how can you resist Banzai Girls: Stripped Down on page 370 from SQP? Answer: YOU CANNOT! (Man, that publisher's web site is NSFW, so be warned!)
Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill continue to crank of LoEG comics, with Nemo: The Roses of Berlin up next from Top Shelf on page 374. You know, I don't know if I've loved one of these comics since the first part of Century, but I keep buying them. I want to believe they'll be great again!
Well, that's about all she wrote for this month's version of Previews. As always, I appreciate you letting me know in the comments if I missed anything. We're a community, after all!