Hey, Previews #302 is promoting smoking this month! Won't someone think of the children?!?!?!?
If you're a really huge Mike Mignola fan, you can always drop $20 on the Hellboy: The First 20 Years hardcover on page 30. I like the idea of art books more than the reality, because I always feel like I'm spending too much money. Still, this will probably be beautiful. It's weird to think that Mignola has been doing Hellboy for 20 years, though, isn't it? (19 March)
It's kind of weird that Dark Horse is publishing a giant hardcover of The Light Brigade on page 40. I mean, Peter Tomasi is still employed by DC, and they originally published it, but I guess they just didn't want to go through with a bigger version, so they let Tomasi and Peter Snejbjerg take it to Dark Horse, which is pretty cool. This is ... okay. It's not great, but it does feature excellent art, and I bet the collection will look stunning. I just wish the story had been a bit better. (26 March)
Nerds can never let anything go, of course, so we're getting a new Serenity comic on page 44, which comes after the movie. All I know is that if there's no Steve the Pirate, there's really no point. (29 January)
There's a new Elfquest comic on page 50. Man, how long has Elfquest been a-questing? I've never been all that interested in Elfquest - it doesn't sound like my thing, and I'm not a huge fan of the artwork - but if you've been wondering where Elfquest has been, here it is! (22 January)
David Lapham has Juice Squeezers on page 67, and it's always nice to see Lapham writing and drawing something. I'm a bit curious, though - I don't know if this reprints the short story from Dark Horse Presents or if it's brand new. I think it's the latter, but I'm not sure. Anyway, it's about kids fighting giant insects that might be more than they seem. I'll probably wait for the trade. (1 January)
Dave McKean has a new book out called Pictures That Tick on page 69. I'm sure it will look very cool, but I'm not convinced McKean is a good writer. Still, I'm very tempted. (26 March)
Hey, it's a new volume of Eden: It's an Endless World! on page 73. Wouldn't it be nice if all my favorite manga series - Eden, MPD-Psycho, and The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service - came out regularly? Why don't comics companies cater to meeeeeeeee?!?!?!?!? (26 March)
The solicit for Forever Evil #5 reads: "With everything to lose, Lex Luthor and his Injustice League raid the stronghold of the Crime Syndicate with consequences so devastating, ..." Can you fill in the rest? If you said, "the DC Universe will never be the same!", give yourself a gold star! Oh, "the _____ will never be the same" - what would we do without you? I should point out that the DCnU is so new, that statement is pretty much meaningless, but that doesn't stop solicit writers from going to the well! (22 January)
How does Aquaman do this, Paul Pelletier?
(Page 89; 29 January)
Detective #27 (page 104) is a bit of an event, of course, and DC does seem to be pulling out all the stops, as Frank Miller stops by with "new art" (whatever that means). I just want to see if, in Brad Meltzer's retelling of Batman's origin (because it's probably been a few months since someone has put that scene in a comic book, so we need to keep up!), Joe Chill rapes Martha's corpse in front of young Bruce. That would make it so much more awesome. Don't let me down, Mr. Meltzer! (8 January)
The second Dial H trade is on page 129. The first one was quite good, so I'm keen to read this, and I'm glad DC didn't split them up into two separate ones, like you know Marvel would have done. DC's trades are usually pretty good values, which is nice. (5 February)
DC has finally gotten off their asses and solicited the Doug Moench/Kelley Jones Batman run in a nice hardcover on page 132. This collects a bit more than half (19 of 35 issues) of the run, skipping issue #526 (with art by J. H. Williams III) and issues #533-534 (which was part of the "Legacy" crossover). I get the second omission, but not the first, which is more integrated into the main narrative. Anyway, these are excellent comics, and although I already own them, I'm sorely tempted to pony up the $40 for this collection. (19 March)
Man, there's a Deathblow collection on page 132. I'm more curious about this because of the way Lee drew it than the story, which I'm going to assume is terrible. (Although, if at any point it includes the line "When someone tries to blow you up, not because of who you are, but for different reasons altogether" I might reconsider.) (19 March)
Also on page 132, there's a new edition of Hawkworld. I like Hawkworld, but shouldn't DC also get around to collecting the series that came from it? They've reprinted the mini-series plenty of times, and now it's time for the following series! (26 February)
DC cancelled their "Justice League Chronicles" series before volume 1 shipped, and now they've turned around and offered a Justice League of America Omnibus on page 133, which functions the same way, I assume - collecting all the JLA appearances in order - but is gigantic (896 pages) and spendy ($100). I like the "Chronicles" (which I read somewhere are being phased out, which sucks) because they're inexpensive ways to get olde-tyme comics, but this way sucks. Yes, it's a lot of comics (over 30 issues). But that big a chunk of change at once is the very definition of sticker shock. Dang it, DC! (26 March)
But on page 134, DC does begin collection the Ostrander/Mandrake Martian Manhunter series, which is nice. This series isn't as excellent as The Spectre, by the same team, but it's quite good. Whenever DC makes me mad, they do something like this to make it easier to like them. (19 February)
On page 134, there's also a Showcase Presents: Men of War, which collects the entire series from the 1970s and stars Enemy Ace and Codename: Gravedigger. This sounds pretty neat. (19 February)
There's also a trade of Power Girl, which collects the entire Palmiotti/Gray/Conner series (well, their part of it, as DC continued the book after they left), including the stuff from JSA: Classified. This was a pretty good series, made far better by Conner's art. (12 February)
I haven't been reading "Collider" from DC, but there's a trade of the first seven issues of the series on page 145. I'll probably pick it up, unless someone warns me against it! (19 February)
Not too long ago, I picked up the four-issue Unknown Soldier series by Garth Ennis and Kilian Plunkett, but I haven't read it yet. Now DC has a trade on page 146, just in case you don't want to go back-issue box diving. Sorry, I can't tell you if it's any good! (26 February)
IDW continues their series of reprinting old newspaper strips with Batman: The Silver Age Newspaper Comics vol. 1, 1966-1967 on page 165. I think it's very neat that they do all of these, even though I buy very few of them. It's still cool.
Carla Speed McNeil is drawing and Alex de Campi is writing My Little Pony: Friends Forever #1 (page 167). Let that sink in for a while.
There's a softcover collection of Rio on page 180. I own the hardcover, and the art is staggering. The stories are okay, but it's totally worth it just for Doug Wildey's artwork.
Satellite Sam gets its first trade on page 202. I'll write more about Satellite Sam in the near future, but if you've been waiting for the trade, there it is! (15 January)
The final issue of Bad Dog is solicited on page 207. I'll believe that when I see it! ("22 January")
Prophet #45 is the final issue? According to the solicits (page 216), "the story will continue ..." Anyone know what the heck is going on over there? (22 January)
I joked about the Inhumans one-shot featuring Olivier Coipel on art, because I wondered how long Coipel would last on what I thought was an ongoing. So now, on page 2, we get a solicit for the actual ongoing, and it has ... Joe Madureira as the artist. Thank you, Marvel, for the laugh.
James Robinson and Steve Pugh on All-New Invaders (page 6) might be something, but I know Pugh won't have the time (or perhaps won't be allowed?) to draw it like he drew Shark-Man and Hotwire, which is a bit disappointing. I like Pugh's more "traditional" look, but I wonder if he's using it on these standard superhero books because someone told him fans would freak out if he changed it too much. Beats me. I am curious about this, though, although it's $4, so I won't be buying it in single issues (and, given Marvel's terrible pricing policy of trades, perhaps not even in that format, either).
Brian Bendis continues to give the fans what they want - warmed-over, 30-year-old stories - with a trial of Jean Grey tale, crossing over between All-New X-Men #22.NOW (gaaaaahhhhh!!!!) and Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOW (Khaaan!!!!!). Jeebus, Marvel. Could you maybe try to tell some new stories with the X-Men? Please?
Well, there's yet another Black Widow series (without, I should note, Matt Kindt's involvement, which just seems cray-cray), this time by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto. Hey, that's a good creative team for the first four issues until Noto can't keep up with the scheduling! Let's check out that price ... yeah, have fun with that, Marvel.
So, according to the solicits (page 22) for Thunderbolts #20.NOW (blaaaahhhhh!!!!), General Ross is surprised that Mercy, whose sole purpose is to kill people who express any tiny dissatisfaction with their life ("Oh, dang, I broke a nail!" "Let me grant you peeeeaaaaaccceeeeee ..."), is killing a lot of people. Maybe a background check was in order, Ross?
Peter David is writing X-Factor (page 26)? Didn't we already do this dance? I was mildly interested in this, even though one of the worst characters in comics history - Gambit - is on the team, and then I checked the price. Hey, thanks but no thanks, Marvel!
The big news from Marvel is, of course, the solicitation for Miracleman (page 34). I do love that they have that it's written by "the original writer." Moore is obviously never going to be okay with Marvel again, so why don't they have some fun with respecting his wishes not to be named? How about "You know who wrote this!!!!" or "The Northampton Nabob!" or "Beardy McGrumpypants!" or something else. I mean, at this point, who really cares, right? Anyway, this is a lot of money for 30-year-old reprints, and why Marvel isn't charging a lot less for it (I'm talking, like, a dollar) to get people excited for it is beyond me. I'm not really sure why they're serializing it anyway - just release a giant, 16-issue Omnibus of Moore's work (which is what we're going to get eventually anyway), maybe a trade of Gaiman's "The Golden Age," and then let Gaiman and Buckingham pick up where they left off. I'm not a marketing genius, though, so I guess Marvel knows what they're doing! I'm kind of curious about this - I'll have to look through it when it arrives, because if it has some of the Warpsmiths stuff that has never been collected, that might be tempting. But I'll probably wait until the giant Omnibus, because my trades (yes, I own the incredibly rare trades - suck it, nerds!) are beaten up a bit from being read so damned much. Also, as I'm a selfish asshole, I'm a bit bummed that these will be available to the larger public now. For years I've felt super-privileged because I've read Miracleman and you haven't, neener-neener-neener, but now, like Flex Mentallo, anyone who wants to will be able to read it. As I derive my self-worth by how much I can lord it over others, this is a big hit, as you must imagine. But dang, these comics are excellent. You really should read them. They're just that good.
Marvel is releasing a comic based on a museum that was never built? Yes, that's what Seekers of the Weird (not to be confused with Seekers into the Mystery) is all about. I'm not the biggest fan of Karl Moline, but he's inoffensive enough, and Brandon Seifert is writing this, so it might be worth a look. In trade, of course, because it's $4 a pop.
I know that Kieron Gillen is a "Marvel superstar" these days, but does Marvel really need to keep trying to resurrect the Marvel UK heroes just to keep him happy (pages 44-46)? You're such a tyrant, Gillen!!!!
I think Young Avengers #15 (page 50) is the final one of the Gillen/McKelvie run. Will Marvel continue the book, or just kill it? Let's see next month!
They're ending Fantastic Four and FF (pages 62-64)? Presumably just to relaunch next month? Man, Marvel sucks sometimes. I don't mind it, but they should embrace it completely, and just do this every time a creative team (or, given their artist turnover, a writer) leaves a book. They're already moving that way (what with doing the same thing with Daredevil), so jump right in, Marvel!
Some people pointed this out when I wrote about She-Hulk, but the giant collection (volume 1, that is) of Slott's run is offered on page 113. This collects the "good" half of the run, through issue #5 of the second series. The second collection will be good, but it's not as good as this half.
Jim Starlin's work with Warlock gets a "complete collection" on page 120. These are great, weird comics, just like we like 'em!
All right, it's onward to the back of the book! Fear not!
On page 234, Action Lab has Jack Hammer, a private detective story. Despite the awful, awful name, the premise sounds intriguing, because it takes place in a world where "powers are real and heroes are rare." I like stories in which people have powers but they aren't superhero books, so this sounds kind of neat. On page 236, the company has a trade of Night of the '80s Undead. I read the first issue, and it wasn't bad. It's only $9, which is a pretty darned good price.
Avatar is launching another Gravel series on page 250, without any input from Warren Ellis. I didn't get the last series, but maybe I should pick up the trades. We'll see.
If you've been looking for a place to jump on board with Critter from Big Dog Ink (and really, why wouldn't you?), issue #20 is a good place to do it, according to the solicits (page 256). (I will point out that I don't read Critter.) I do like that they advertise it as "the second best superhero comic in the universe," a nice nod to Invincible, but I think it would be funnier if they claimed it was, you know, the best one. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Kirkman!
Over at Boom! Studios, we find Revelations #1 by Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos. It's a murder mystery in which a potential successor to the Pope is killed and a detective is called in to investigate. I'm not going to get it because I'm just not a fan of Ramos, but I'm a bit curious about this. Didn't these two dudes do this a long time ago? I seem to remember it coming out years ago. Oh, wait, I decided to use the Internet to find out, and it is pretty old. Why doesn't Boom! make sure we know that this is a reprint? That's weird.
I don't have much interest in Hacktivist, also from Boom!, on page 269, which is about a couple of hackers who fight against The Man, but I did find it amusing that it comes from "the creative mind of Alyssa Milano." I don't have anything against Ms. Milano, I just don't automatically think of "creative mind" when someone mentions her. Good for her, though!
ComicMix offers The Original Johnson Ommnibus by Trevor von Eeden. It's about Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion, and the struggles he faced. This sounds interesting, but I don't know if it's any good.
I missed when Matt Wagner's Zorro Rides Again volume 1 showed up, but on page 297, Dynamite offers the second volume, so I'll point it out! This is a pretty good series, and the second volume features John K. Snyder III art, which is quite nice.
I've never been too impressed with what I've seen of Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit, but cooler people than I seem to like it, and Fantagraphics has a fifth book out on page 308, if that's your thing.
Hermes Press offers Zorro: The Complete Dell Adventures by Alex Toth, which probably looks pretty cool. It's $50, but it's probably worth it. I'm sure Greg Hatcher is getting it!
On page 316, New Paradigm Studios offers World War Mob #1, about a group of New York crime family members who also happen to be soldiers who are sent to Italy to kill Mussolini on orders from the Mafia. It sounds just wacky enough to work, and it's drawn by Giancarlo Caracuzzo, who's a good artist.
Helheim gets a trade on page 320 from Oni. This was ... okay. It looked very nice, and it was not a bad story, but you get the feeling that Bunn really had a lot to get to, but it's not clear if he's ever going to get to it, as it's on "hiatus." Still, six issues of Joëlle Jones art is always a good thing. (26 March)
I don't think I will buy Dredd: Underbelly from Rebellion on page 332 - it's a "sequel" to the recent movie - but it's drawn by Henry Flint, who's excellent. I just wish he drew things I wanted to read.
Valiant has its usual stuff, including a trade of Eternal Warrior by Greg Pak, Trevor Hairsine, and Clayton Crain. As with all first volumes of Valiant trades, it's only 10 bucks, so I might have to pick it up. (22 January)
I have a friend who would love this, and I'm sorely tempted to get it for him. That thing is glorious!
Well, we're done with another trek through the fantastic slab of comics called Previews. I hope you enjoy your own journey into its weird mysteries!