Axel-In-Charge: Waid & Samnee on "Black Widow" and the Dawn of the All-New, All-Different Era
Well, my good friend Ivan Hart Dominguez-Carson, sensitive soul that he is, went away crying from the comments last month, so I’m back to being a solo act! Let’s dive right into Previews #284, shall we?
You’ll notice I didn’t respond to any comments last month, because I didn’t want to spiral down a rabbit hole from which no man would ever return! I admit that Ivan can be a passive-aggressive douchebag sometimes, but I would also submit that perhaps some people shouldn’t be so sensitive about the things they love. If you love superhero comics, what the hell do you care what some schmuck on the Internet writes? I mean, even if you’re the most die-hard superhero guy in the world – some dude in my shop this week set up his pull list, and he told the retailer that he wants every single mainstream DC release, no questions asked, and I wish I was making that up – you have to admit the hyperbole in Previews is a tad bit silly. But that might not be enough, so I’ll tell you some things about me, and you can insult away! I love ABBA. Seriously. They’re like my second-favorite musical act. Ever. I own three (3) Kelly Clarkson CDs. Yes I do. I’m going to buy a fourth pretty soon, too. I watch Glee completely unironically and think it’s a darned good television program. I don’t know, is that enough? Comics-wise, I love Moon Knight; I’ve written two posts about how great two of his runs are. One of my favorite comic book characters is Lia Briggs. Yes, Looker. LOOKER, people! Okay, you jackals, how about: I own every single Uncanny X-Men and X-Men comic released in the 1990s. Yes I do. I own almost every single issue of Uncanny X-Men written by Chuck Austen. Come on, that has to make up for all the insults last month, right? Right? Bueller?
So, let’s check out some Previews! And yes, I’m going to make fun of some of the DC and Marvel stuff. I cain’t quit you, snarky insults!
On page 36, there’s a new Axe Cop mini-series. As usual, I must say that I don’t love Axe Cop, because my heart is cold and dark, but I’m sure Bill Reed is dancing around his humble abode waving his hands in the air in anticipations of this. Ethan Nicolle sure can draw, though. (25 July)
If you missed Paul Chadwick’s Concrete in Dark Horse Presents, Three Uneasy Pieces collects the stories on page 39. They’re … okay. I guess they’re fairly typical Concrete stories (I had never read any of them prior to those), but they weren’t really my cup of tea. Good art, though. (18 July)
Dark Horse Presents #14 is 104 (!!!) pages with no price increase. As if you needed another reason to check this book out. (18 July)
I doubt if I’ll pick up The Chronicles of King Conan volume 3 on page 51, but it does feature “early work of superstar artist Marc Silvestri,” which might be interesting to see. (12 September)
On page 64, we get the Rex Mundi Omnibus volume 1 for 25 bucks, which is a fine value (even though the book isn’t as big as a “regular” single issue, as that’s how Dark Horse saves money, I guess?) I like Rex Mundi far more than is healthy, and I’m probably going to get this even though I own all the issues. It’s an alternate history story about the bloodline of Jesus – how can you not love it? (5 September)
If you don’t like reading comics on your computer or if you just like supporting awesome creators by giving them cold hard cash, Jeff Parker and Erika Moen’s hilarious webcomic Bucko gets a nice hardcover on page 67. Murder and dick jokes and Juggalos – that’s how you put together a comic book! It’s only 20 bucks, which is a pretty good value. Plus, Moen needs the cash to maintain her depraved lifestyle, and I’m sure you want to support that! (19 September)
I’m sure that the comics inside won’t reflect the covers, but this is the second straight cover of World’s Finest (page 87) where Huntress looks on, ineffective, while Power Girl gets the shit kicked out of her. Nut up, Huntress! (4 July)
I still don’t get this DCnU timeline (I know I shouldn’t think about it too much, but I do). So Green Arrow (page 93) actually did live in Seattle? Man, what a weird non-reboot reboot this is. (4 July)
Sholly Fisch is actually writing a back-up story in Action Comics #11 (page 95) about where Superman got T-shirts with his logo on them. Fisch is a decent writer, so I assume it will be a humorous little one-off, but yes, that is really happening. That’s why you pay 4 dollars an issue for it! (4 July)
“What is the true nature of Superman’s costume?” asks the solicits for Superman #11 on page 96. Can’t it just be, you know, a costume? Sweet fancy Moses. (25 July)
You know, when you promise “the most shocking conclusion of any of GEOFF JOHNS’S entire GREEN LANTERN run,” as DC does on page 108 for Green Lantern #11, I’m not sure you can really deliver based on the very little I’ve read of his GL comics up until now. I’m sorry, but unless Hal Jordan brings Hitler and Mao back to life and the three of them fuck Black Hand to death before snacking on the brains of Cub Scouts, I’m not really sure what Johns can do that he hasn’t already shocked us with. You see, people? This is why I mock. Solicitation texts like this make my head hurt. (11 July)
Stormwatch #11, page 117: “There is a shadow organization as old as STORMWATCH … but who are they and what secrets do they hold?” Yawn. Of course there is.
Okay, so usually characters get stupid names, but at least you can understand why they got them (Atrocitus, for instance – it’s idiotic, but it indicates that he’s rather unpleasant). So in Grifter #11, we meet … Synge? What the hell is that supposed to mean? I assume it’s supposed to be a clever homophone for “singe,” but singe isn’t terribly scary, is it? “Are you going to burn or scorch me?” “Bwah-ha-ha-ha, Grifter! No, I’m going to … SINGE YOU!” “Oh, okay. Carry on, then.” It’s written by Mr. Liefeld and Mr. Tieri, so perhaps that’s all we need to know. (11 July)
Okay, so you know how DC could get me excited about their output again? Check out page 124, on which you will find a motherfucking original graphic novel written and drawn by motherfucking Walter X. Simonson.* It’s called The Judas Coin, and it follows one of the silver coins paid to Judas as it makes its way through DC history. This, DC. Motherfucking this. You people need to buy the shit out of this so that maybe, just maybe, it might convince DC to break free of the hidebound publishing schedule they’re enslaved to. Oh, who am I kidding? But you should still buy it, because it will motherfucking rock. (12 September)
* The “X” stands for “X-cellent!”
National Comics (page 125) seems like a cool idea: single issue stories featuring different characters and different creators in each issue (in issue #1, it’s Kid Eternity by Jeff Lemire and Cully Hamner). I’d put the over/under on it lasting 10 issues, but I like the idea. Plus, issue #3 features Looker. LOOKER!!!!!!! (See above.) (25 July)
Now that the DC trades are coming out, I’m wondering about them. Should I really get the first trade of Swamp Thing (page 129)? Has it continued to be as good as everyone thought the first issue was? I’ve heard it kind of grinds its gears a bit, so what say you readers? (22 August)
You know, I thought that Final Crisis was a bit confusing when it was coming out in single issue format, but once I got the trade (which included Submit and Superman Beyond), it made perfect sense. So I’m curious about the Absolute Final Crisis that gets resolicited on page 132, “with SEVEN NEW STORY PAGES BY MORRISON AND MAHNKE!” Were these done and cut when the book was coming out, or did Morrison and/or DC decide to placate those poor confused people and this was done just for this edition? I wonder. I’d like to get this, but I have a bunch of other Absolute editions to get before I get this one. (31 October)
The O’Neil/Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow gets collected in one book “for the first time” on page 133, so that’s something. Even with O’Neil’s preachiness, these are keen comics. (15 August)
The final trade of Hitman is offered on page 134, and includes the various appearances of Tommy Monaghan outside the regular title, so I might have to get it eventually. Dang, this is a superb comic book series. (1 August)
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents volume 2 gets a trade on page 135. It’s not bad. DC ought to release all 16 issues eventually, though. That would be a nice little package. (15 August)
Has the Gibbons/Rude World’s Finest from 1990 never been collected before? Well, it’s getting a trade on page 135, so if it’s long out of print, here’s your chance to see some absolutely lovely artwork by the Dude. It’s a pretty good story, too. (8 August)
James Robinson is writing He-Man and the Masters of the Universe on page 141? I suppose DC backed a truck full of money up to his door, so more power to him! Did you know that, according to Wikipedia, a certain JMS wrote episodes of He-Man back in the day? That’s pretty awesome, if you ask me. (4 July)
I’m going to wait for the trade of Punk Rock Jesus, Sean Murphy’s new mini-series (page 142), but it sounds awesome – it’s about a television series starring the clone of Jesus. Plus, it’s in black and white. And it has no interior ads. Is this a new thing for DC, that they’re going to promote their books based on the fact that they don’t have interior ads? That would be cool. In fact, maybe I will buy this in singles. We’ll see! (11 July)
Remember to ignore iZombie #27 (page 145) because Chris Roberson dared to bite the hand that feeds him! Punish him! PUNISH HIM!!!!! (4 July)
Mike Sterling pointed this out already, but it bears repeating: Doesn’t this Rorschach statue (page 152) look a little too jaunty?
I’m perversely interested in seeing James O’Barr’s new work on The Crow, but I’m not at all interested in the new series offered on page 156. I mean, the Crow is a limited concept anyway, but at least O’Barr might do something interesting with it. The co-screenwriter of the movie? Not so much.
DC and Marvel aren’t the only ones engaging in a bit of hyperbole. Let’s consider Danger Girl/G. I. Joe on page 175:
The two most incredible covert action teams the world has ever known – so covert, in fact, that neither knows the other exists – are meeting for the first time ever! Repeat: Danger Girl and G. I. Joe, together. Spies! Girls! Ninjas! COBRA! If your head did not just explode, then you are one of the lucky few remaining that will live to enjoy a summer blockbuster you’ll have to see to believe!
Plus, there’s another tag: “The team-up the world isn’t ready for!” Okay, it’s a bit exaggerated. But I always get the feeling that companies not called DC or Marvel do this with tongue firmly in cheek, while the Big Two are deadly serious. I could be wrong, but it’s how I feel. But yes, this is a bit silly. Plus, I still don’t get the appeal of Danger Girl if J. Scott Campbell isn’t drawing it. Isn’t that the whole point?
The Walking Dead #100 shows up on page 188, which is a pretty impressive feat. I never read past issue #12, and I’m kind of sick of the television show, too. Does anything ever, you know, happen? (11 July)
John Layman and Rob Guillory bring us Secret Agent Poyo on page 192, a one-shot featuring everyone’s favorite chicken from the pages of Chew. It will, of course, rock. (11 July)
On page 194, Kurtis Wiebe and Riley Rossmo team up again for Debris, a mini-series about ecological disaster, spirits turning garbage into monsters, and the search for pure water. Sounds cheery! The preview art looks very cool, and these two make good comics together. (25 July)
… and then, on page 196, we get Enormous, a one-shot about … ecological disaster and giant monsters. Is it something in the water? This also looks pretty keen, although it’s in that slick art that can go either way for me. (5 July)
Steven T. Seagle and Marco Cinello, who did Frankie Stein together, are back on page 202 with Batula, about a fruit bat who becomes a vampire … bat. My younger daughter likes Frankie Stein, so I might have to buy this for her. (5 July)
Back when I reviewed the Top Cow: First Look (that was a good time, wasn’t it?), I mentioned that Sunset by Christos Gage and Jorge Lucas was pretty good. Now it’s a full-fledged graphic novel on page 204. It’s in black and white, which might work better with Lucas’s photo-referenced art, and it’s about an old Korean War vet who has to do some killin’. Like you do when you’re a Korean War vet, I guess. You can get a preview of it for one thin dollar on page 205, or you can just trust your old pal Greg and dive right in! (16 July)
I think Our Dread Lord and Master is the one who has been lobbying for a trade of The Monolith for years, and lo and behold, he must have some pull at Image, because the Palmiotti/Gray/Winslade book shows up on page 206. When the Croninator wants something, he gets it, motherfuckers!!!!! (5 July)
Brandon Graham draws a cool cover for Elephantmen #43 (page 214). That’s because Brandon Graham knows how to draw good! (5 July)
Okay, I’m sure this will be far more clever than I could comprehend, but on page 3, the solicit for Avengers Vs. X-Men #7 reads: “Cyclops changes the game with these three words: ‘No More Avengers!’ ” I know it’s supposed to echo the old House of M thing, but it makes no bloody sense. First of all, has Cyclops gained some weird reality-altering power in the preceding issues? Second, while you can say “No more mutants” and if you have reality-altering powers, it makes sense in a comic-booky kind of way because you can imagine the mutant gene not existing anymore, that kind of comic-book science doesn’t work for an organization. It reminds me of that dumb Justice League comic where Mark Millar had Superman disband the league just as Amazo was about to kick their asses but instead was rendered inert. It made no fucking sense! So what is Cyclops going to do, really? Say that and every Avenger will disappear? What about every Avenger ever? Will Beast disappear? Will Wolverine? Will some poor schmuck like, I don’t know, Firestar, who was an Avenger but isn’t anymore? What if Captain America says “I quit” just before Cyclops says that? Will he hang around? This is why superhero comics disappoint me more and more – this sounds cool until you think about it for longer than one second, and then it sounds stupid. I’m sure there will be more to it, but why should I buy a comic based on an idiotic solicitation text like that? (4 July)
I still don’t get this idea in Avengers Academy that the X-Men are coming for the Sentinel (page 5). It’s a robot. Robots can be reprogrammed. Why are they treating this inorganic and non-sentient appliance like it’s evil? I can see it: “The X-Men once watched an anti-mutant documentary on television, so they decide that all televisions must pay!!!!!!” They could call it AvX: Kill Your Television and get Joe Keatinge to write it and Shaky Kane to draw it. I’d buy that sucker in a heartbeat. (18 July)
Wolverine and the X-Men #14 (page 11): Really, Marvel? We’re pixellating covers now? (25 July)
I like how Avengers Assemble #5 gives us “the return of the characters you demanded!” Marvel brings back characters whether we demand them or not. And who did this demanding? Nobody asked me which characters I wanted back. I would have said Seth Phalkon. That dude kicked ass! (11 July)
Is Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (page 15) really one of the “best reviewed comics in the world”? I mean, I get that people like it, but did someone at Marvel do any fact-checking? This is why I would be fired from my job of writing solicitations. I’d write something like “One of the comics that a tiny percentage of the comics-reading public doesn’t want to set on fire and shove up Joey Q’s urethra continues!” I wouldn’t last long. (4 July)
I always enjoy who has gained “legendary” status according to the Big Two. If I told you a “legendary” artist was going to be drawing Scarlet Spider #7 (page 23), who would you think of? Go ahead, take your time. I will bet you one shiny nickel that you would grow old and die and your children would grow old and die before you came up with Khoi Pham, yet he’s part of a “legendary” team with Tom Palmer. I like Khoi Pham’s art, too, but I think Marvel should watch out with those adjectives. Now, where’s my motherfucking nickel, you cheapskates? (11 July)
So on page 35, Kraven guest-stars in Incredible Hulk #11, and he’s described as “the world’s deadliest hunter.” Shouldn’t he actually, you know, hunt something successfully to gain that title? I’m just sayin’. (25 July)
Speaking of “legendary,” Marvel can, I think, call Alan Davis such, and on page 37, he’s writing and drawing Fantastic Four Annual #33, which apparently is a ClanDestine story that will cross over with at least one other annual. Crap. Does that mean I have to buy those? Well played, Marvel! (11 July)
There’s a new Captain Marvel series on page 39 written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and drawn by Dexter Soy. I guess Carol Danvers has a Mohawk? Really? Anyway, Marvel isn’t charging 4 bucks for this first issue as they’ve done in the past, so maybe it will sell well! (18 July)
Hey, remember when Marvel turned the Punisher into a black guy and then when they turned him into an angel or something like that and everyone mocked them because the Punisher only works when he’s as stripped-down as possible and then Garth Ennis wrote, like, a decade of Punisher comics that every single damned person on the planet except yours truly loves and so maybe, just maybe, Marvel figured out that they probably shouldn’t do anything too stupid with Frank Castle and his so, so adorable killin’ ways? Well, turn to page 45 and behold … SPACE PUNISHER!!!!!
No, you haven’t gone insane. Someone at Marvel might have, though. “Frank Castle shoots his way through the criminal hierarchy of outer space starting with the Sym-Brood-ant Queen!” Oh, Marvel. You’re so cute, trying to out-1990s DC. (11 July)
So, were the Marvel PTB sitting around one day at the giant table in the boardroom (the one carved from the bones of baby seals) talking after a fulfilling noontime orgy with Uzbek hookers and hermaphroditic eels and someone said, “You know what we need? More fucking X-books!” and the others looked at him and said, “I like the cut of your jib, son!” and so we get a new iteration of X-Treme X-Men (page 48) which is just a renamed Exiles? I mean, really, Marvel? I even hate to ask this, because I know the answer, but Have you no shame? (25 July)
Julian Totino Tedesco, who’s quite a good artist, is getting some higher-profile gigs, which is nice, as he draws two issues of Uncanny X-Force beginning with issue #28 (page 53). Here’s what’s interesting about the solicit text, though: “Rising star Julian Totino Tedesco joins the best creative team in comics for two issues! [my emphasis]” Now, I’m not questioning the exaggeration – if Marvel wants to believe that UXF has the best creative team in comics, more power to them. But who’s on the team? Remender, obviously. But from looking at my two trades, the only other person who’s been consistent is letterer Cory Petit. So is the “team” the Remender/Petit team? I know they’re just saying that he’s another talented artist working on the book, but saying it’s a creative “team” implies that it’s consistent, and that’s just not true. Still, those issues ought to look nice. But I thought the Tocchini issues would look nice, too, so who knows? (11 July)
Jeph Loeb and Simone Bianchi are back doing a Wolverine story on page 56 with the “long-awaited sequel to EVOLUTION.” Now, I don’t know how the sales were on that comic, but has everyone really been clamoring for a sequel? From what I remember, it was almost universally reviled. Forge on, Marvel! (4 July)
For $125, you can own the Man-Thing Omnibus hardcover on page 68. Man, that’s a lot of coin. It is, however, almost 1200 pages, which is nifty. (3 October)
Spider-Man’s fight with the Juggernaut in Amazing Spider-Man #229-230 gets the hardcover treatment on page 75, which includes a few issues from before those two. Those two issues are really good, so this might be worth the 30 dollars. (3 October)
Fred van Lente and Tom Fowler bring us Hulk: Season One on page 77, as Marvel continues their tentative steps back to original graphic novels. Unlike the delightful Ms. Thompson, I haven’t read the X-Men one yet (I’m catching up, man!), but I’ve liked the look of both of the ones I’ve bought so far. This is a good creative team, so I’ll probably pick this one up. (8 August)
Marvel finally releases the new Daredevil series in trade (page 90), so I can see what all the fuss is about. I haven’t seen as enthusiastic reviews of it recently as the artist merry-go-round continues and the book gets caught up in crossovers, but the first six issues are good, right? (25 July)
Hey, it’s time to check out the back of the book! That’s always fun, right?
Abrams Comicarts brings out a softcover version of Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? on page 236. It’s a pretty good book, but I didn’t love it. If you’re interested but didn’t want to pay for the hardcover, it’s only 15 bucks now!
I’ve liked the first two volumes of Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer, and now we’re getting the third volume from SLG on page 238 … except it’s too big for one book, so “volume 3″ will have “part 1″ and “part 2.” Holy crap, that’s a lot of comic-bookery! Still, these comics are pretty good, so I can deal with it!
Archaia has a collection of both series of The Killer in a fancy hardcover on page 248. The first series is better than the second one, but they’re both pretty good. Unless they just mean the first 10 issues and not “Modus Vivendi,” the sequel. Either way, it’s worth a look.
Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose hits issue #75 on page 266. Four years ago, I bought issue #50 just to see what was what, and I might do it again with #75. Jim Balent is awesome, man. I don’t know how old he is, but if he does Tarot for another 38 years (give or take), he’ll pass Dave Sim in the “one man, one continuous comic” sweepstakes. I hope he does it, so people will have to speak of Tarot in the same reverential tones they use for Cerebus!
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning – DnA (yuck!) – have a new series from Boom! on page 269 called The Hypernaturals. It’s another superhero series with a cosmic vibe, and Abnett and Lanning seem to do that well, so maybe it will be good. Who knows, right?
I’ve been getting the Planet of the Apes stuff from Boom! in trade, and on page 272 they have Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes, which looks excellent thanks to Gabriel Hardman’s artwork.
Operation: Broken Wings gets a trade on page 274, so you might want to check it out. It’s a pretty good story with nice Trevor Hairsine art, but it’s rather bleak. I mean, it’s about Nazis, so of course, but I’m just warning you!
Tucked down at the bottom of page 299 is Foster #1 from Dog Year Entertainment, which is about a war veteran who becomes the guardian of a boy who’s sought by weird supernatural beings in a world of analog technology (what that has to do with it I don’t know). It’s written by Brian Buccellato and drawn by Noel Tuazon, so it ought to be good! You can already buy issue #1 from Buccellato himself, if you’re so inclined.
I suppose I must always point out when a new Tales Designed to Thrizzle comes out, and issue #8 is coming from Fantagraphics on page 303. I’m not the biggest fan of Michael Kupperman’s humor, but it’s not bad, and these single issues are about the right length for it!
First Second has some interesting comics this month on page 305. Bloody Chester is about a teenager in the Old West – and it sounds like a terribly vile Old West – who’s hired for what appears to be an unpleasant and, you guessed it, bloody job. Meanwhile, Carla Jablonski and Leland Purvis have the third and final volume of Resistance, their comic about teenagers in Nazi-occupied France. The first two books are quite good, so I’m looking forward to this one!
Gestalt Comics finally offers Justin Randall’s second volume of Changing Ways, the first volume of which was a nifty little weird horror comic. Randall is a hell of a nice guy, and he makes good comics, so give him your money!
Harvey Pekar has a new book out from Hill & Wang on page 309. It’s called Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me and describes his gradual disillusionment with Israel even as he tells the history of the Jews. According to the solicit, it’s the final memoir of Pekar’s life, but is it his final work? Who knows? This will be the second book (I think) released after his death, so maybe there are others!
Chuck Dixon, who writes testosterone-filled shoot-‘em-ups as well as anyone, is one of the writers of Wyatt Earp Vs. The Cisco Kid from Moonstone on page 312. It tells of an encounter between the title characters from both of their points of view. It sounds pretty keen, and the creators aren’t bad at all.
Oni has the first volume of Scott Pilgrim in color on page 316. Nathan Fairbairn has done a nice job on it, but I don’t think it’s worth $25. Yes, it’s a hardcover and yes, there’s some extra material, but man. That’s a lot to plunk down.
I’m a bit of a sucker for steampunk, so Doctor Atlantis on page 322 from Rare Earth Comics piqued my curiosity. A dude on a steam-powered ship explores weird seas fighting monsters. I’m very tempted!
On page 324, there’s a comic called Play-Mate of the Apes from something known as Seduction Cinema Comics. Here’s the solicit text:
Sexy and fearless U.S. astronaut Gaylor (Misty Mundae) and her shipmates crash land on a desolate planet dominated by a tyrannical race of intelligent talking apes, sparking a revolution of untamed and uninhibited female lust that threatens to bring down the repressive ape society … or set it free! This deluxe pack includes the Play-Mate of the Apes comic book and the original Play-Mate of the Apes feature film DVD starring Misty Mundae herself!
Here’s the cover:
Yes, this actually exists. Words fail me.
Titan Books has a trade of Harker, a nifty British police procedural comic starring a rather bizarre DCI. I reviewed this a while back, and it would make a nice trade. The text claims to collect issues #1-4, even though the story is 6 issues. Anyway, there it is. Maybe this means there are more stories of Harker and Critchley in the offing!
I don’t wish to alarm you, but Grimm’s Fairy Tales from Zenescope on page 348 is shipping its 75th issue. Chew on that for a while!
Let’s finish up with that choice nugget of news. I hope you get your copies of Previews and dig through them for all the comics you love. Rise up and demand better! ¡Viva la revolución!
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