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Flippin' through <i>Previews</i> - March 2009

It's that time of the month again, when the mercury creeps into the Eighties and baseball is everywhere! What, you mean it's cold in some places? Shocking! But enough about that - it's time to check out some comics that will ship in the coming months, courtesy of Previews, issue #246.

Check it out - May is SPAWN month! Yippee!

Dark Horse:

On page 28, we get Pixu: The Mark of Evil by Gabriel Bá, Becky Cloonan, Vasilis Lolos, and Fábio Moon (15 July). The twins were selling this at San Diego last year, and I thought about getting it, but I didn't. And now there's a brand new groovy edition, so I'll be checking this out.

There's a Goon trade paperback on sale on page 32 (15 July). It's volume 8, collecting only 4 issues and costing $15.95. Why so much? I'm not sure. As you may or may not know, I have tried desperately in the past to get into The Goon, but I just can't. My loss, I guess.

Michael Avon Oeming co-writes and draws The Rapture #1 on page 33 (27 May). It's the tale of the world after all the superpowered beings have left and whether two lovers can make it in the strange new world. Sounds kind of neat.

Dave McKean's Cages gets a new printing on page 37 (22 July). It's 30 bucks for almost 500 pages, which isn't bad value at all. I always meant to get this, but never did. Is it any good, fine readers?

For 100 thin dollars, you can get the entire Martha Washington saga (page 41; 1 July). It's 600 pages, so I suppose it's good value, but the few issues I read of this didn't impress me. You might like it, though!

DC:

A fun printing error comes up in the DC section. Page 61 is the solicitation for Trinity #49-52. Page 63 is the solicitation for Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape #1. Page 62 features solicitations for several Dark Horse products. I have no point, I just like pointing these kinds of things out.

I don't like the fact that all of these Final Crisis Aftermath mini-series are coming out, not for any good reason, but mainly because it's a crass marketing tool wielded inexpertly by DC. Only one looks interesting - Dance (page 64; 20 May) by Joe Casey and CrissCross, featuring Big Hero 6 - whoops, I mean Super Young Team - but I probably won't buy it anyway, at least not until the trade comes out in two years or so. DC puts out several good comics, but they seem to have no clue how to coordinate and market themselves. They ought to hire some people with experience in, you know, running a business.

Pages 68 and 70 puzzle me. On page 68, Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #3 and Oracle #3 are solicited. Then, on page 70, the second issues of those two series are offered. Weren't those solicited in last month's Previews? DC doesn't say if orders on them are cancelled and they're re-soliciting them, so what's the deal? Again, the business plan of DC seems suspect. This happens again and again in DC's section: Pages 73 and 75 (Supergirl #41 and #40), pages 76 and 78 (Green Arrow/Black Canary #20 and #19), and pages #77 and 78 (Jonah Hex #43 and 42). What's up?

Mark Waid writes a Batman one-shot, Batman in Barcelona: Dragon's Knight on page 69 (27 May). I like how the text reads, "When a string of bizarre murders hits Spain's beautiful coastal city of Barcelona, The Dark Knight makes solving the crime his top priority!" Um, why? I assume it will be explained in the book (and the fact that Killer Croc is on the cover might mean Bats feels "responsible"), but I like that we're just supposed to assume that not only is Batman responsible for solving crimes in Gotham, but worldwide, as well. Does he scan the world's newspapers for bizarre crimes and then say to Alfred, "I must go to Reykjavik this week! Only I can solve the bizarre hot springs murders there!" And Alfred sighs and says, "Veddy well, sir." Or is he on vacation in Spain, and as we know, superheroes can never go on vacation without bizarre crimes occurring around them! I'm thinking too much about this, aren't I?

I'm not terribly interested in the new Animal Man mini-series (page 80; 27 May), but I enjoy that the text reads "Comics legend Gerry Conway (TV's Law and Order) makes his return to DC." Poor Gerry Conway. He's a comics legend, but apparently none of his comics work is good enough to sell this, and they have to mention a television show he worked on.

Power Girl #1 ships on 6 May (page 81). I'm just going to call her War Chest from now on. Anyway, as much as I adore Amanda Conner's art, I'm not going to get this. I wish she would draw something I want to read.

Brian mentioned something about this, but the hardcover versions of Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? show up on page 85 (22 July and 8 July, respectively). They're both 25 bucks for a lot of material you can find elsewhere. I think the Batman one might be a bit better value, as the Gaiman story hasn't been collected yet and it features his classic Riddler story from Secret Origins Special #1, which is probably hard to find. But they're both kind of bloated with stuff that has been collected before, which is a bit annoying. Unless you're Mike Sterling, do you really need yet another collection with the Superman/Swamp Thing story from DC Comics Presents #85?

There's a softcover trade on All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder on page 86 (24 June). I just point that out because of DC's ridiculous policy of getting things out in softcover. When did the first issue of this thing ship, anyway? I'll tell you what - it was back when we were on the old blog, so it's been a while. If you thought to yourself, "I'll just wait for the trade," you might have forgotten this even existed by now. Unless you read Mike Sterling's blog, that is, where he often takes breaks from his Swamp Thing love to express his ASBARTBW love.

Batman: The Black Casebook trade (page 86; 17 June) collects all the issues that inspired the God of All Comics' weird run on the title. I was reading this post, in which Mr. Mozzocco wanted Morrison to write a fake entry in Batman's journal about each particular issue. That's a pretty cool idea, but I would settle for an introduction for each story by the GoAC (he writes the general intro) explaining his inspiration to fit it into his run. I love annotations of anything, and it would be neat to see G-Mozz give us a peek behind the curtain instead of just writing something at the beginning talking about his childhood reading these issues. Maybe he'll do something like that in the intro. That would be nice. Mozzocco also points out that DC is releasing this way too late - they should have had it ready to go during the run. Hmmm - DC drops the ball again!

But then, DC does something so wondrous that I can almost forgive them their idiocy. On page 89, we get ... a new printing of the first HITMAN TRADE!!!!!! Whoo-hoo! It has the same stories from the original trade (I think), and it's only 15 dollars. I just wrote about this at great length, and yes, it's that good. Please flood DC with requests for this, as then they might collect the entire series!

Pages 92 and 93 have the big ad for the collections to which retailers can direct Watchmen movie-goers who are looking to expand their buying. It's a good idea, and it's kind of cool that DC is re-releasing older issues (beginning with Swamp Thing #21) to hook new readers. However, Swamp Thing #21 is coming out on 11 March, the Wednesday after Watchmen premieres. Sure, the promotion is called "After Watchmen, What's Next?" so presumably these people will be looking for something to read after the see Watchmen, but shouldn't a few of these come out this week? If you go see Watchmen the weekend it opens and aren't a comics geek, you don't know that new comics come out on Wednesday. You're going to head to your nearest comic book shoppe and ask for more stuff by Alan Moore. The retailer will tell you it's coming out in two or three days, and you'll leave, never to be seen again. These issues should be in stores on Friday and for the weekend, when the iron is hot. I hope this works a little, but it seems that DC is, you guessed it, dropping the ball again.

Super Friends #15 (page 97; 13 May) looks again to have the best cover of the month, plus the interior is also J. Bone! And it's Batman's birthday! Man, I don't want to buy these comics, because I'm such a manly man, but I can't resist!

Holy crap, it's a new issue of Astro City (page 100; 6 May). I seem to recall that Busiek said they were only go to solicit these suckers if the entire series was done. That means we get these huge gaps between arcs, but at least they'll (presumably) be timely when they do show up! I don't know if Busiek is reading (he has, in the past), but if he is, maybe he can confirm this!

Sleeper "Season One" gets collected in one big fat trade on page 101 (17 June). Remember when Ed Brubaker worked for DC? And they thought nothing of letting him go to Marvel? How's that working out for them? Anyway, I wasn't too impressed with this series early on, but it got better and better, and this collection - 25 dollars (!) for 12 issues (!!) - is a good value. It's not as good as "Season Two," but the whole series is definitely worth it.

WildStorm continues to trot out these really odd mini-series, and the latest, Killapalooza, shows up on page 104 (20 May). It's the story of a rock band who also happen to be meta-human assassins! Well, of course they are! It's written by Adam Beechen and drawn by Trevor Hairsine. Hey, it's a Trevor Hairsine sighting! I'll probably wait for the trade, but this sounds like it could be lots of fun.

Another reason one should never solicit mini-series until the entire thing is in the can: Storming Paradise #5 is re-offered on page 106 (13 May). I can't even remember when issue #4 came out. It did come out, didn't it?

I'm waiting for the trade of Mysterius the Unfathomable (sorry, Jeff Parker!), but I loved the solicit text for issue #5 on page 106 (20 May):

From all over North America, thousands make the pilgrimage to a hot, rocky desert to express themselves in every way imaginable for a week. They gather (somewhat naked) around a towering wooden man who will burn a hole in reality and make a human into a god. Inside that sacrificial effigy are the imprisoned souls known as Mysterius the Great and Delfi the Assistant.

And they have to go to the bathroom.

Oh, Jeff Parker, you slay me.

Mike Carey rolls out his latest Vertigo series (after the long-running Lucifer and the short-running Crossing Midnight), The Unwritten (page 108; 13 May). It's the story of a young man whose father wrote a series of novels starring a boy wizard, loosely based on his son. Now he believes he might be a bit more important than that and must "search through all the places in history where fiction and reality have intersected" to uncover some mysterious cabal. I LOVE conspiracy stories, so this sounds neat. Plus, Peter Gross draws the darned thing, and the first issue is 40 pages for 1 thin dollar. You can't lose!

On page 116 we get The Nobody by Jeff Lemire, which is "inspired" by The Invisible Man. Lemire, of course, wrote and drew the Essex County Trilogy, one of the best graphic novels (split into three parts, but all really one) of the past two years. I'm very excited about this, and in Vertigo's stated policy of bringing out more graphic novels in general.

I've been skipping Madame Xanadu, despite some decent reviews, but I might have to pick up #11 (page 117; 27 May) and the four subsequent issues. Why? Mike FREAKIN' Kaluta is drawing them! No offense to Amy Reeder Hadley, who's a fine artist and a delightful person, but it's MIKE FREAKIN' KALUTA DRAWING AN ENTIRE ARC! Phew. Kaluta is really good, in case you don't know who he is (and shame on you, if you don't).

I love the solicitation text for Young Liars #15 (page 118; 13 May): "Danny stumbles upon the ultimate secret; one that changes everything not only for himself and Sadie, but for the entire world." Doesn't that happen in EVERY issue of Young Liars?

In case you're wondering if your collection of action figures is missing something, it's probably ... Constipated Batman:

Image:

If you've been waiting for the trade of I Kill Giants (and that's your only excuse for not getting this amazing series when it came out in singles), it's offered on page 151 (13 May). 16 dollars for 7 issues is pretty good value, and the story and art are phenomenal.

The second volume of Noble Causes Archive shows up on page 152 (6 May). It collects the rest of the series, and even though it's in black-and-white, it's almost 800 pages for 25 dollars. And it is one of the best superhero comics of the decade, you know, so there's that.

The solicitation for Savage Dragon #148 (page 159; 6 May) is weird: "All-new story and art from fan-favorite writer/artist Erik Larsen (Spider-Man, Wolverine)!" Marvel and DC list what their creators have worked on, because they think that if you liked that little indie book the creator did, maybe you'll like this big superhero epic. But people buying Savage Dragon probably aren't buying it because they saw Larsen's work for Marvel, especially not now (maybe 15 years ago they were). So it seems odd to list his credits.

Top Cow has a Marvel/Top Cow crossover on page 168, starring Cyberforce, Hunter-Killer, the Avengers, and the Thunderbolts. Abnett and Lanning write, Tyler Kirkham pencils, and it's the mid-Nineties all over again! Man, this has clusterfuck written all over it. I wish I still got free comics, because I'd love to read this but wouldn't conceive of paying for it.

Marvel:

The sub-theme for this month's Marvel solicits: ASS SHOTS, SO MANY ASS SHOTS! With a special guest star from DC!

On page 3 of Marvel Previews, I find it interesting that they have "product updates" from previous editions. Some of the titles are cancelled to be re-solicited later in the year (Models Inc. #1 and #2, NOOOOO!) and others have artist changes and name changes, but it's rather interesting that Marvel is doing this. Good for them!

The Halo: Uprising trade gets re-solicited on page 4. Has the final issue of this even come out yet?

I'm not as jazzed by the presence of Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers (page 12) as some people, but Chris Eliopoulos, who's writing it, should make it fun.

The final issue of Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk gets solicited on page 19. I point this out just so make sure you know that it's been three years since issue #2 came out, as Mike Sterling points out. Issue #3 is scheduled to come out this very week - keep your fingers crossed! (And yes, I just referenced Mr. Sterling for the third time in this post. Deal with it!)

Man, as much as I love Kevin Maguire, I don't think he can tempt me to get Spider-Man: The Short Halloween (page 23). Damn.

I'm not the biggest fan of Joey Q's art, but the cover for Amazing Spider-Man #593 is pretty keen:

What in the hell is Bullseye supposed to be doing on this cover to Dark Reign: Hawkeye #2 (page 31):

I may not be too jazzed by the Pet Avengers, but I'm all over Fin Fang Four Return! on page 43. Marvel monsters reduced to human size and trying to make a buck! Check out the cover:

Yeah, I'm getting that.

Man, Millar and Hitch are still doing Fantastic Four (page 49). Talk about dropping off the map, buzz-wise (I'm sure sales are still fine).

Howling Commandos #1 (page 50) sounds kind of neat, especially because John Paul Leon is drawing it and it's a war comic in the Mighty Marvel Manner, but I like that the text says it's setting the stage for Captain America: White. Has that come out yet? I thought one issue came out, and then it disappeared. What's going on with it?

While it's probably true that Tim Callahan has no soul because he doesn't like Moon Knight, can even he resist issue #30 (page 50), which features Mexican wrestler assassins, the Punisher, and the "phantom-predator Toltec"????? I THINK NOT!!!!

Fred van Lente and Greg Pak explain why Marvel characters keep coming back to life in the month's issue of Incredible Hercules (page 56). That ought to be good!

I'm not about to buy "Messiah War," but I love the covers with Stryfe on them:

More nostalgia porn on page 74, as Marvel relaunches New Mutants ... with the original cast! Look, I like those old comics as much as anyone, but I'm weary by the Big Two trying desperately to recapture something that doesn't exist anymore. Best of luck to this book, but I'm not interested.

David Lapham has another Terror, Inc. series coming out on page 83. Unfortunately, Patrick Zircher isn't drawing it. I'll have to check out Koi Turnbull's art to see if this is something I want to get in trade format. The first series was so gruesomely hilarious that even bad art might not keep me away!

Page 89 offers a Marvel Masterworks of mid-1950s Atlas stuff, with the Black Knight and the Yellow Claw featuring prominently. It's 60 bucks, but might be worth a look!

There's a hardcover trade of Avengers Forever on page 94 for $35. Is this the first time it's been out in hardcover? Despite its rather ... dense plot, this is a great series, with bookish attention to detail from Busiek and tremendous art by Pacheco.

I was waiting for the trade of Fantastic Four: True Story, and it shows up on page 111. I think that Cronin liked the first issue, but I'm curious if the series holds up. What say the masses?

Holy crap, Marvel finally brought Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson volume 2 back into print. Maybe now I can complete the damned collection (oh, wait - volume 3 is still out of print; I hope that will be offered next month!).

As the sub-theme this month is ASS SHOTS, SO MANY ASS SHOTS, let's take a look at some of the covers from Marvel Previews this month:

Page 23, Jackpot:

I don't know if this really counts, but I'll allow it. And her gravity-defying breasts make up for it, if it doesn't count.

Page 38, Black Panther:

Because you have to stand that way when you're confronting the Panther God.

Page 46, Fantastic Force:

Are Lorna and Wanda supposed to look intimidating? Because it looks like they're admiring their asses in a mirror.

Page 53, She-Hulk:

"I'll stop the chick who stole my name with the power ... OF MY ASS!"

Our Special DC guest star, Superwoman:

"You don't know who I am, but at least I have a nice ass!"

I was looking for something for the ladies, but the best I came up with is Page 11, Human Torch:

Yeah, that doesn't quite do it.

You may ask, "What's the big deal?" and I love ass shots as much as the next guy, but I find it humorous that you have absolutely no men in similar situations, and only the She-Hulk one, possibly, is justifiable. The Fantastic Force cover is just ridiculous, the Black Panther one probably shouldn't be quite so sexy (considering her situation), and the Superwoman one is silly. Jen's ass, as prominent as it is, at least works in the context of the cover - she's confronting the new character, who needs to be featured from the front. I just like to point out the goofiness of ASS SHOTS occasionally. Let's move on to the back of the book!

Super Human Resources #4 from Ape Entertainment is offered on page 197. I point this out simply because I'm grumpy that Cronin got a preview of this and I didn't. I wept. Seriously. Okay, maybe not, but I hope there's a trade of this!

Yes, there's a comics adaptation of Leprechaun (from Bluewater Productions, page 213). Just in case you were wondering what was missing from your life (beyond, you know, Constipated Batman)!

The solicitation text for The Unknown #1 from Boom! Studios on page 214 is deliberately vague, but it's Mark Waid writing a mystery comic, so it will probably be pretty good.

Also from Boom!, Mark Sable, who's a pretty decent writer, has Unthinkable #1 on page 216, a series about a government think tank that comes up with nightmare scenarios so they can safeguard against them. Naturally, said scenarios start happening. Oh dear. Sounds pretty cool.

Dynamite Entertainment is revamping Buck Rogers (page 232). If it doesn't have Erin Gray and Hawk, I'm just not interested man! (Remember that space vampire episode? Creepy!!!!)

Dynamite is getting a lot of mileage out of reviving old properties, as they fire up Sherlock Holmes #1 on page 235. I might actually check this out.

On page 250, Drawn and Quarterly offers Wimbledon Green. As it is "The Greatest Comic Book Collection in the World" (according to the cover), I ordered this some time ago (at least a year, if not two) yet never received it. I suppose I should head to Amazon, but I'm still bitter about not getting it the first time around.

Jiro Taniguchi has another book coming out from Fanfare/Ponent Mon called A Distant Neighborhood (page 252). It's the story of a man transported back to his 14-year-old self to the day his father disappeared and his mother died. I'm certainly not as knowledgeable about manga as some of our other contributors, but Taniguchi is a very good creator.

Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim bring us The Eternal Smile from First Second on page 256. Given those two creators, you know it's going to be awesome.

I'm not interested in buying the G. I. Joe comics from IDW, but they have three trade paperbacks of "classic" Joe (the Marvel iteration) on page 265, if you're interested.

IDW also has a new Astro Boy comic on page 266. If that's your thing.

Paul Grist shows up drawing Doctor Who: The Time Machination on page 270. One would think he wouldn't have time, what with Jack Staff being monthly and all that.

Zombies in the Old West is the concept of Rotten from Moonstone on page 274. Dan Doughtery is a good artist, but I think I'll skip this.

I don't read Captain Action (page 275), but I absolutely love this Captain Action bobblehead:

Oni Press makes me happy with You Have Killed Me on page 276. Not only does it sound like a good slice of pulpy noir, it's drawn by Joëlle Jones, who's flingin'-flangin' awesome.

Over on page 282, Pantheon Books offers Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli. It sounds quite neat, as the title character moves to a small town after his New York apartment burns down and we slowly find out all sorts of stuff about his life. And it's drawn by frickin' David Mazzucchelli, so you know it'll look great.

Far Arden is a graphic novel by Kevin Cannon from Top Shelf (page 290). Army Shanks is a "crusty old sea dog" who wants to find the mythical island of Far Arden, and nothing will stop him. It's 400 pages for 20 dollars, and sounds like a pretty awesome adventure.

Thanks to Our Evil Dread Lord & Master and his evil habit of bringing on excellent manga reviewers, I now have an idea about what manga might appeal to me. Therefore, when I see 20th Century Boys volume 3 on page 295 from Viz Media, I know I'm going to order it. DAMN YOU, CRONIN!!!!! (Oh, and damn Michelle's review of volume one, which piqued my interest.)

Of course, then I go find manga on my own that sounds interesting, like The History of the West Wing on page 303 from Yen Press. It's a love story based on a classic Chinese tale. I'm actually a sucker for a really good love story. I'm not sure if this is one, but I'm willing to check it out to see!

That's it for comics, but every so often, I like to delve into the deepest reaches of the catalog. On page 328, we get this:

Well, that's a bit embarrassing.

I do like adorable Captain Kirk getting all tough on page 339:

The coolest thing in this entire catalog might be on page 354:

Always remember:

I know what my mom is getting for Christmas this year!

Finally, because we can't leave on a cheery note, let's check out page 394:

The statue is bad enough, but here's the text: "This armor girl features removable armor so you can sample all of Nakayama's talents." Everyone, with me: Eeeeeeewwwwwww!

Okay, I can't leave it there, because that's too skeevy. On the same page, you can get this:

YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT!!!!!

Have a grand time flipping through this month's Previews, everyone. Always remember: Now that scans_daily isn't around to do your thinking for you, you have to actually figure out on your own what comics appeal to you! (Yes, I know that's a cheap shot. Oh well. Everyone needs to chillax occasionally on the Internet.)

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