Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
There’s one page of preview art for Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone (page 34) by Christopher Sebela and Ariel Olivetti. As you might recall, for some years Olivetti’s art, which I dug early in his career, has made me want to gouge my eyes out with a dirty spoon whenever I see it, but the one page of preview art next to the solicitation is … not awful? Maybe it’s the fact that he gets to draw non-humans a lot? Anyway, I’m still not going to buy this in single issues, but I might actually flip through it and see if this non-awful trend continues. Huzzah! (8 October)
The first Brain Boy trade was pretty good, so on page 45, we get the second, Brain Boy: The Men from G.E.S.T.A.L.T. Does that mean anything, people who read this in single issues? Did Fred van Lente torture himself trying to fit words to form the acronym, or is it a Morrisonian “Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E.” kind of thing? Either way, van Lente and Freddie Williams II make a good team, so I’m sure this will be good. (17 December)
More work from Yves H. and Hermann gets translated, as on page 55 we get Trilogy USA, which is a more reasonable 20 dollars for 160 pages. I know the discussion two months ago was that Yves H. (Hermann’s son) isn’t the greatest writer, but this might be worth it just for the artwork. I shall ponder! (17 December)
On page 56, you can plunk down 20 bucks for the Athena Voltaire Compendium hardcover, which is a fine, fine price for a seriously groovy comic. I was talking to Steve Bryant, Athena’s creator, at the con this past weekend, and he told me he rescripted a bunch of the older stories and redrew a great deal, plus there’s a bunch of new stuff, so if you’ve already gotten some of the Athena Voltaire stuff in the past, you won’t feel like you’re buying the same things. The comic is a very neat, pulpy adventure, and I recommend it highly. If you don’t trust me, Bryant has helpfully provided a 40-page preview in .pdf format, which you can find here. You can see if it interests you yourself! (10 December)
And on the next page, Dark Horse offers a big, complete trade of The Mighty, which DC published a while back. It’s by Peter Tomasi, Keith Champagne, Chris Samnee, and Peter Snejbjerg, and it’s about the world’s only superhero making some plans. It was very much critically adored when it came out, and it’s nice that for 20 bucks, you get all 12 issues. I don’t love it, because it feels a bit too familiar (Tomasi tends to do that for me – he’s a solid writer, but he doesn’t seem to rise above the subject matter), but the art sure is keen. (3 December)
Juan Ferreyra has stopped by the blog a few times to tease more Colder, and on page 64, we find out that Dark Horse has upgraded it to an ongoing series, which is very cool. I don’t know how fast Ferreyra is, but more Ferreyra art in the universe, especially telling Paul Tobin’s creepy-ass story, is a wonderful thing. (22 October)
On page 69, you can find Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book for 25 bucks. I don’t know anything about this – as usual, my knowledge of pre-1980s comics is very localized – but I’m sure it’s neat. And there’s a controversial … afterword? Huh? (3 December)
You would think that the God of All Comics would have a bit more pull and therefore could ask for better artists, but maybe he really, really likes Ben Oliver’s artwork, because Oliver is drawing The Multiversity: The Just on page 79. I don’t know why he does, because Oliver would not be anywhere near my choice for art if I had the cachet that Morrison presumably has, but more power to him. Sigh. Morrison has to be the most important writer in comics history who gets saddled with the most mediocre artists. (15 October)
So, according to DC, Bruce Wayne, who is NOT BATMAN AT ALL, is prepared to give up his very home to house a bunch of psychopaths that Batman happened to apprehend and change the name of his ancestral home to Arkham Manor (page 80). I mean, it’s great that DC continues to try new things with their properties (although, let’s be honest, I give this less than 10 issues), but they’re really counting on everyone in Gotham City being a moron, aren’t they? Especially after Bruce’s pal Dick Grayson was unmasked as Nightwing, who used to be Robin? Or maybe everyone assume Bruce Wayne is just that stupid? (22 October)
I LOVE the idea of Gotham Academy (I give this maybe 12 issues), especially with Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl on board, but the solicits mention that rich benefactors keep dropping by, “like that weirdo Bruce Wayne.” This will be the greatest comic in the history of comics if all the students simply assume he’s a pedophile and give him the stink-eye whenever he’s around. WILL DC ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN?!?!?!? (1 October)
DC gives us … Deathstroke (page 82)! Yeah, remember what I wrote about DC trying new things with their properties. Okay, I take some of it back. (22 October)
On page 84, we get … SEXY LOBO!!!! Oh, Cullen Bunn and Reilly Brown, can you make me love Sexy Lobo???? (1 October)
You know, Scott Snyder calling his latest arc “Endgame” (Batman #35, page 104) is just asking for trouble. It’s not his and Capullo’s last arc, so that’s not it, and I very much doubt DC would let him pull a “Knightfall” this early in his tenure, so unless this is a hint that next March the DCnU is going to reboot back to the good ol’ flawed DCU, it’s a dumb name. Unless the entire arc is about Batman playing some RPG called “Endgame” on his computer with a bunch of nerds. I’d read that. (8 October)
I’m very disappointed with the redesign of Batgirl (page 109). When will those politically correct feminazis realize that dudes only read comics with teenaged girls in them because they want to indulge their pervy sides without getting in trouble with the politically correct thought police? I mean, that costume just isn’t doing it anymore. Won’t someone think of the poor 40-year-old white men who just want to read comics in peace???? (8 October)
I love the idea of Catwoman as crime boss of Gotham City (page 111). I just wonder why that’s not the final cover, because it is BAD-ASS. (22 October)
If you’ve never read Pride of Baghdad, DC offers a “deluxe edition” on page 139. This is Brian K. Vaughan’s graphic novel about lions in the Baghdad Zoo during the invasion, and it features gorgeous art from Niko Henrichon. Early on, there’s a gang-rape scene (lion-on-lion violence!) that I hated, but then the book becomes really good. Back in the olden days when I reviewed it, some people didn’t have a problem with the rape, so take that as you will. Anyway, there it is. (3 December)
So then there was that time that Michael Zulli wrote and drew Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stories, and now, IDW is collecting them on page 158. Michael Zulli. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Roll that around your brain for a while.
IDW continues to taunt me with Artist’s Editions that I can’t afford, as on page 174, we get Joe Kubert’s Enemy Ace. DAMN YOU, IDW!!!!!
There’s a Black Dynamite trade on page 186. That’s pretty much all I have to say about that.
The Hammer, Kelley Jones’s creator-owned series, is collected on page 189. It’s 30 bucks, but it’s 216 pages, and IDW usually has good production values, so if you’re a Jones fan who missed this, here it is!
Long-time collaborators Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo are back with Rasputin (page 200), which is billed as “Dracula at Downton Abbey,” which doesn’t sound too interesting, honestly. Still, these guys know what they’re doing, so this might be worth a look. (29 October)
Punks (page 206) is getting an ongoing series, and you really should check it out. If you’ve never experienced Punks, it sounds like something that shouldn’t work: a man with a dog head, a man with a skull head, a man with a fist head, and Abraham Lincoln live together and have weird adventures. But Joshua Fialkov and Kody Chamberlain make it work, and it’s just balls-up awesome. When I heard it was coming back, I squealed with glee. Well, I did so in my head, where it counts. (8 October)
On page 217, you can get the CBLDF Liberty Annual and the Thought Bubble Anthology, both of which are usually tremendous books with a lot of great creators working on them. Get them both, give some money to two good causes, and check out some cool comics! (8 and 22 October)
Wes Craig has Blackhand Comics on page 218, featuring digital stuff that’s getting printed for the first time. I really like Craig’s art, so I might have to check this out. (1 October)
C.O.W.L. has looked pretty neat, and on page 221, there’s a 10-dollar trade collecting the first five issues. You can’t beat the price! (29 October)
I wasn’t too jazzed by the description of Nailbiter – an NSA agent trying to figure out why a town in Oregon produces so many serial killers – but then I read Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson’s Masks and Mobsters, which was really good, so now I might have to get the trade on page 222. Another 10-dollar bargain for me! (1 October)
If you skipped the giant Stray Bullets collection that came out earlier this year, Image is offering the trades in smaller, bite-sized pieces on page 223 with “The Innocence of Nihilism.” Frankly, this might be a better way to do it, although it’s going to end up costing more, because the giant 41-issue collection wasn’t bound terribly well. Live and learn, right? Still, if you haven’t gotten it, you should. Stray Bullets is awesome. (22 October)
Man, I couldn’t find anything to care about in Marvel Previews until page 36, where Marvel seems to imply that Superior Foes of Spider-Man is cancelled. Through the power of double negatives, we get “STILL NOT still not cancelled!” Does that mean what I think it means? I mean, we wouldn’t want Marvel to be fucking clear about something, would we?
Marvel gets around to “Olympus” in Miracleman (page 57). I know I’ve said this before, but if you haven’t been reading Miracleman yet, you really should check this out, because it’s an amazing arc.
Greg Rucka made it into Previews as the writer of Cyclops #6 (page 66). Um, yeah, he’s not writing it, as Layman was announced as the new writer at San Diego, beginning with issue #6. I wonder what was going on with Rucka and Marvel …
On page 78, we find Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus, which clocks in at $125 for 880 pages. Lots of great artists here – Chaykin, Infantino, Simonson, Trimpe, Golden, Williamson, and Vosburg are listed – but that’s still a bit rich for my blood. It’s nice that Marvel is doing this in preparation for taking over the license again, though.
I didn’t love the first issue of Elektra, but the trade (page 95) is cheaper than the five individual issues, and I do like Mike del Mundo’s art, so I might have to pick this up.
Speaking of trades, Dan Slott and Mike Allred’s Silver Surfer shows up on page 97. I might have to get this, too!
Jeez, Marvel just felt kind of boring this month. Sorry about that. Let’s move on to the back of the book!
Asylum Press brings The Bomb back into print (page 268), which is nice of them. This was the first time I had seen Steve Mannion’s crazy, cheesecakey art, and I fell in love with it immediately. This is a very cool place to start if you’re unfamiliar with Mannion.
Garth Ennis begins a new ongoing of War Stories at Avatar on page 274. Ennis’s war stories are usually very good, so this might be worth checking out.
Boom! has the 3 Guns trade on page 292, in case you were waiting for the trade as I was. Meanwhile, on page 293, the “fairy tales as sort-of real things” trend shows no sign of abating, as Paul Jenkins and Ramon Bachs team up for Fiction Squad, which is about cops policing a fairy-tale world. Jenkins is a decent writer and Bachs can be a good artist, but I don’t know if I’m feeling this.
I guess it had to happen eventually, and Dynamite is just the publisher to bring us Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini on page 317. Writers Anthony Del Sol and Conor McCreery also do Kill Shakespeare, which is very good, so I have some hope for this … but I’ll probably still wait for the trade. (1 October)
On page 344, we find The Complete 8-Ball from Fantagraphics. As usual, I must betray my unhipness, as I’ve never read this or, in fact, anything by Daniel Clowes. It’s $120, but I might take the plunge.
Speaking of Asylum Press (and I was, above), it takes over Heavy Metal this month, as we see on page 352. I was talking to the publisher at San Diego, and he was telling me about it. It sounds like a bloody treat, which, considering it’s coming out in October, is nice.
Also on page 352, Peter David and Sal Velluto relaunch The Phantom from Hermes Press. David is always David, of course, whether that’s good for you or not, and Velluto is a wildly underrated artist, so I’m looking forward to this … trade paperback.
I don’t know anything about Shamanism from Humanoids on page 353, but I do know that Igor Baranko is a damned good comic book creator, so I might have to check this out. I guess it’s about an alternate America where Europeans never invaded, but complications arise from … tampering with the time stream? Whatever – I’m in!
I read the first issue of Thaniel from OSSM Comics and thought it was okay, with the art being better than the story, but it certainly was intriguing – a kid from the streets goes on a metaphysical journey to meet Death. You know, like you do. Now there’s a trade on page 361 for only 13 bucks, which isn’t bad at all. (22 October)
Oni has a new Cullen Bunn book and the return of another one on pages 366-367. First, he and Brian Churilla begin Hellbreak, in which an extraction team gets lost souls out of whichever hell they’ve gone to, as there are many, many different versions of hell. Then Helheim returns with Brides of Helheim, with Joëlle Jones providing the art. Get one or both! (1 October)
On page 380, Rebellion/2000AD has the first of four hardcovers of Zenith, which I will buy with a smile on my face! Zenith is like Miracleman to me, so I’m looking forward to this.
I skipped getting Monsterology in single issue format, and now the trade is here on page 280 from Renegade Arts Entertainment. It sounds fun – a team goes around investigating monster sightings. Original? Not really. But still fun.
In the Shadows on page 381 from Scholastic sounds intriguing. Sisters live in a weird small town where weird things happen. I don’t know the writer, Kiersten White, but I like Jim Di Bartolo’s art, so I might have to give this a look.
So Valiant has Christopher Priest and M. D. Bright doing The Return of Quantum and Woody on page 398. I don’t have any problems with this whatsoever, especially as they’re reprinting the entire original saga on page 400. I’m just a bit impressed that Valiant, which seems to be very committed to this whole holistic universe in their publishing empire, is allowing two versions of Quantum and Woody running around. Who knew Valiant would jump into the “Elseworlds” arena? Anyway, I’ll probably wait for the trade, but good for Priest and Bright! (15 October)
Well, that’s about it for this month. As always, I know I missed plenty, but I do appreciate hearing about it in the comments, so let it rip, everyone! Don’t forget to ask your retailer about Previews – they can afford to give it to you for free, you know!
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