Let's see ... early in the month? That means it's time for another journey through the fine periodical known as Previews to see what goodies lurk within! Join me, won't you?
Yes, I hated the cover so much I had to use the back cover! I'm just crazy that way!
Page 42 brings us another trade of Fear Agent (4 March). Fear Agent is a weird series. Remender often seems to have no idea what he's doing on the book, but when you read all the trades together, a plan does emerge a bit. It's weird. It has nice art, though, and, you know, lots of killing.
If you've been looking to complete your Grendel collection but haven't been able to find the back issues, Dark Horse helpfully collects "Devil's Reign" on page 44 (4 March). This collects the final Comico issues, #34-40, and features early Tim Sale art. It's only 20 bucks, too, and it's packed with content, telling two concurrent stories.
And then there's the Bettie Page heat-sensitive mug (page 55). Oh dear:
Remember when you were 10 and your puerile grandfather had something like this? Yeah, if you buy this, you're turning into your puerile grandfather. Just thought you should know.
DC continues to do good by releasing another JLI hardcover (page 89; 4 March). Of course, it's 25 bucks, but who knows when the softcover versions will be out?
On the same page, The Losers hardcover shows up (11 March), written and drawn by some guy named Kirby. You know, if it's not written by Diggle and drawn by Jock, I don't want to see it!
I remember when Vigilante came out in 1995, but wasn't that interested in it. Now DC has a trade (page 92; 11 February). I know it's James Robinson, so it should be good, but what say the masses? Is this any good? (And whatever happened to Tony Salmons, anyway?)
If you haven't been keeping up with the trades of Wonder Woman's "plainclothes adventures," you're missing out. The fourth (and last) volume gets collected on page 93 (18 February). It doesn't feature Sekowsky art, but that's okay!
Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1 shows up from Johnny DC on page 97 (28 January). How much do you want to bet it will be the best Batman book of the month?
Or maybe not, as Chynna Clugston illustrates Super Friends #11 (page 98; 14 January), in which Bat-Mite forms a Batman fan club. Gold!
Jeff Parker writes Mysterius: The Unfathomable #1 on page 101 (21 January). Jeff Parker writing about a magician who talks to dead people? Yeah, that should work.
Vertigo has a big-ass collection of all the Death stuff you can hope for (page 113; 25 March). Two things stand out for me: One, do we really need the AIDS PSA included? Really? Two, saying something is "compleat" really annoys me. Anyway, I'm not sure if this is worth 35 bucks, but you might!
I don't know how often DC bothers to release a Sandman Mystery Theatre trade (yeah, I hate spelling it "theatre" as well, but that's the flingin'-flangin' title, so I have no choice), but there's another one on page 117 (25 February). It's been a while since I've read these, but I know they're damned good comics.
Peter Milligan begins writing Hellblazer (page 118; 21 January). Hmmmm. Might have to pick that up.
On page 134, DC offers the Phantom Lady Bust. I'm sorry, but the joke is way too obvious:
Remember when Mark Millar wrote all those new titles for a bunch of different publishers? And how Unfunnies, his title for Avatar, might be the worst comic ever published? And how Wanted insulted the very people who made him a star? And how not-at-all-obvious and clever the twist in Chosen was? Well, Image remembers that last book, and so on page 138 they offer Chosen in a new trade (14 January) that implies Millar will be returning to the book (it's now called American Jesus volume 1). I would avoid this, though. It's not very good. I just thought I'd point it out.
Dynamo 5 #0 (page 150; 28 January) is only 99 cents. Pick it up, people!
Invincible #58 (page 154; 14 January) claims that it will be "on time in 2009!" and that its "ship date" is "guaranteed!" I've grumbled about Image's problems in getting its books out on time, but is it really that big of a deal? The reason I don't like it with Marvel and DC is because they have so much counting on big events like Final Crisis. With Invincible (which I buy in trades, so lateness doesn't bother me that much), shouldn't it be more important to get the best book you can? I get the frustration of waiting for comics that never appear (as it's happened to me so, so often), but ultimately with books like this, you're concerned about the overall story, not the timeliness with which it comes out. Or is that just me?
On the same page, we get more of the same. Jack Staff #21 is resolicited (28 January). How's that monthly schedule for Jack Staff working out? Yes, I suck because I don't buy it, but I'm not talking about whether it's good or not. A big deal was made that it would be out on time. Has it been? This seems to point to "no."
Maybe it's Kirkman, as Walking Dead #57 promises the same thing on page 157 (7 January). Beats me.
Image gets the title of one of its own books wrong on page 167. It's I Hate Galaxy Girl, not "Gallant" Girl. Good stuff!
I knew that if Velocity was one of the Pilot Season issues from last year that got its own title, Kevin Maguire probably wouldn't be drawing it, but issue #1 is on page 170 and Joe Casey is writing it, while ChrisCross takes over the art chores, so that will probably work.
On page 175, Midnight Nation gets the hardcover treatment. It's 35 bucks, but it's 304 pages and it's probably Straczynski's strongest comics work. That might be because of Frank's art, and it does fall apart a little at the end, but it's pretty darned good.
Hey, it's Marvel's 70th year. Let's celebrate!
You know, I don't want to be cynical about Marvel and DC, because if I write one tiny thing against those two, somebody thinks I hate everything they publish, but I'm a bit tired of Marvel "classifying" the descriptions of their comics. It's - how shall I put this? - idiotic. Oh well. It's not like I'm buying any of those titles anyway.
Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña are bringing us Punisher #1 on page 50. Did I miss Punisher War Journal getting cancelled? It appears so, because it's not offered in this Previews. I guess it's nice that Remender and Opeña are getting a high-profile gig, even though I won't be getting it.
Page 53 has Ruins, which is weirdly numbered. There were only two issues, which are collected here, so why is it #1? Anyway, Ellis destroys the Marvel U., and it starts off well but quickly spins off the rails. Maybe Marvel will now collect Ellis's Hellstorm and Druid!
Okay, so Thor is getting a #600 (page 58). I need to rant about numbering and re-numbering. A few years back, Marvel trumpeted the fact that Fantastic Four was the first Marvel title to reach 500 issues, even though Thor had already reached it years earlier (Journey into Mystery started several years before FF). So now Marvel has re-numbered Thor so that they can have a 600th issue. I could forgive it when they reverted to the original numbering on Fantastic Four, because the title never actually had a break, did it? They came up with new "volumes," but if it did have a break, it was only a month, right? Thor went, what, two years without a comic to call his own? It's not even the 600th issue of a comic book starring Thor, because Journey into Mystery existed for years before he was created, and then, with issue #500, didn't it go back to Journey into Mystery before it got killed? Sheesh. Nice cash grab, Marvel. At least you know people will fall for it!
On page 89 we get something sweet: Captain Britain Omnibus. It's 100 dollars, but it's 680 pages, plus it's all the Alan Moore stories in one volume. It also features the post-Moore issues, which are almost as good, but I'm not sure if it includes pre-Moore stories. Does anyone know? I'll have to check it out. It doesn't matter, because the stuff I've read that is included - all of the above plus New Mutants Annual #2 and Uncanny X-Men Annual #11 - are fan-freakin'-tastic. I own the two Captain Britain trades, and I'm seriously tempted to get this, even for the hefty price tag.
Agents of Atlas gets a trade collection on page 110. A fun story, very nice Leonard Kirk art, and a ton of extra issues with the first appearances of the characters. Nice touch there by Marvel. I own this, but might pick up the trade anyway.
As we head into the back of the book, we come across the first trade of Terry Moore's Echo on page 192 from Abstract Studio. If you've been waiting for the trade, here it is! (Actually, I thought it had been solicited last month, but even it was, here it is again!)
Alterna Comics offers an "expanded edition" of the Jesus Hates Zombies anthology on page 194. I have no idea if it's any good, but I like how it's called "the Second Coming" of the book. Because it's a new edition, get it? Well, I thought it was funny.
There's a new "Alan Moore" comic on page 218 from Avatar called Neonomicon. A lot of the Alan Moore Avatar stuff is adapted from his prose (usually by Antony Johnston), but this one appears to be an actual comic by the master, so maybe those quotation marks are unnecessary. This is in a Lovecraftian vein, so I'll probably skip it, but there it is.
If you were waiting for the trade with all the CrossGen titles and then were a tad disappointed when the company went under, Checker Book Publishing has a bunch of them on page 229: Sojourn, Ruse, Scion, and Sigil. Your prayers have been answered! That's what happens when you wait for the trade, people!
Devil's Due has picked up the Humanoids license, and the first book they're bringing out is I Am Legion, with stunning art by John Cassaday (page 233). DC managed to get one issue out before they shed Humanoids, and I've been waiting a good 4 years or so to read the rest of this. It appears Devil's Due is splitting that issue and turning this into a six-issue mini-series. Good for them! Here's what bothers me about this. While I was buying comics this week, a customer at the store was flipping through Previews. He got grumpy when he saw that Devil's Due was publishing this. Why? Because he thinks Devil's Due is a crappy company that only publishes licensed crap and he doesn't want to give them money because he thinks they suck. But he really wants to read this. We discussed his policy, which I can understand to a degree but think is ultimately foolish. Marvel and DC, by the fact of the sheer numbers of titles they publish, probably publish far more crap than Devil's Due, but does he stop reading the books by them he likes? I felt the same way about buying The Straw Men by Zenoscope, because until they published The Straw Men, Zenoscope had published their semi-pornographic takes on Grimm's Fairy Tales and little else. The employee of the store feels this way about Avatar, because he thinks it's a place where Ellis and Ennis can take their truly crappy ideas that Marvel and DC refuse to publish because they're so crappy. There might be some truth to that, but some of Ellis's Avatar stuff is really excellent, so having that attitude is odd. It seems that Ellis takes his crappy ideas to Marvel because he knows that they're interested in re-hashing crap, but that's just me. Anyway, we debated this because if he gives his money to Devil's Due so they can publish a good book like I Am Legion (and it's pretty good, not only because of Cassaday's art), won't they publish more good books? It's a conundrum. My point has always been: Don't boycott companies based on what they did in the past. See what they're publishing right now. Maybe they'll always publish what you think is crap. But to deny yourself good comics just because they publish a lot of crap is silly. On the other hand, I think I'll stop buying DC comics just because that issue of Nightwing was so awful. That makes sense, doesn't it?
Speaking of Devil's Due, on page 243 they offer Hollow-Eyed Mary. I'm not sure if I'm going to get it or not, because it sounds like a typical weird future with crazy characters ("racist teenagers, masked assassins, cannibals, and a telekinetic hitman," according to the solicitation text), which isn't that interesting, but I thought I'd point out that Rudolf Montemayor, who drew it, is pretty good, so it might be worth it for the art alone.
Dynamite Entertainment offers the second arc of Garth Ennis's new war comic, Battlefields, on page 249. Peter Snejbjerg draws it, it takes place in Singapore, and it appears to be ... a love story? Ennis can write some good love stories, so maybe this will be something to check out. I'm sure there will be plenty of gore as well!
On page 269, Drawn & Quarterly has Baloney by Pascal Blanchet, which sounds strange enough to work. It's set in Russis and tells the tale of a few villagers struggling against the mean old monopolist who owns the only heating company in town. It's also, apparently, a homage to the music of the 1930s and '40s. Well, that's weird. But what else would we expect from D & Q?
There's a fourth issue of Comic Book Comics on page 271 from Evil Twin Comics, and the cover is a homage to Fantastic Four #1. No matter how many times someone homages that, it never gets old.
Fantagraphics has its usual collection of stuff, including Supermen!, which is offered on page 272 and reprints several superhero stories from 1939-41, many of which have never been reprinted. It sounds fun because of the inclusion of Will Eisner's Wonder Man, which led to a successful DC lawsuit killing it, but the talent on the other comics sounds good too.
A softcover version of Zot! is offered on page 276 from Harper Collins Publishers. It's 25 bucks, but it's 576 pages. That's good value. I haven't written about this since the first version of this book came out a while back, but goddamn is this a great comic book.
Journey volume 2 shows up on page 287 from IDW. I got volume 1 not too long ago, and it was pretty darned good. I'm looking forward to the second volume.
As much as I appreciate NBM's output, I get a bit grumpy with them as well. On page 294 they offer No Pasaran volume 3 again. Some of us already have volumes 2 and 3 but haven't read them yet because No Pasaran volume 1 is still out of print! Maybe, just maybe, NBM could work at getting that back in print before offering volume 3 again. Just maybe. Then some of us could read the damned thing.
Page 295 brings us the big collection of Local from Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly (I like how the genre is "slice of life"). It's 30 dollars for 384 pages, and although the ending was a tiny bit disappointing, overall it's a stunning comic. You know you want it!
I'm always torn about books from Rebellion, because the quality is usually pretty good but they cost so very much. Robbie Morrison and Henry Flint on Shakara the Assassin (page 302) sounds pretty keen, but is it worth 25 bucks? What says the readership?
Jeff Lemire's "Essex County" trilogy is all finished and offered on page 314. This is one of the best "graphic novels" of 2007-08. The first two can stand alone, but the third ties more into the first two. Just read all three of them!
That's a wrap on this month's chunk of future comics. Oh, there's a book by some punk on page 352 about the Legion of Super-Heroes, but do we really want to give him any more press? I think not!
Just remember: If you don't love everything DC publishes, this chick will show up at your door and vomit blood on you! That's just how they roll in the DCU, man!