As another Shark Week fades into a beautiful memory, August has arrived, and in addition to being the month of my birth–which you can celebrate yourself with an official ISB t-shirt–a new month brings a new Previews catalog!
Yes, this month brings us 544 more pages of comics, toys, thoroughly loathsome t-shirts and other assorted stuff you don’t really need, and while that can be a pretty daunting figure for today’s jet-set hobbyist, your pals in the comics blogger internet are always around to help you out. I just do it with metaphors of violence.
Now ring the bell, sucker: School’s back in!
Dark Horse Comics
P. 28 – Hellboy Animated Volume 3: The Menagerie: Despite my abject love for the character, I’ve somehow managed to completely miss the Hellboy animated movies, although I did grab the first of the adaptations when it came out. Even with an almost complete lack of Nazi cultists–the preferred target of giant stone-handed beatdowns everywhere–it was pretty enjoyable, but it didn’t really do much to grab my attention. This one, however, boasts one key difference from that one: The writing talents of Blambot’s Nate Piekos. In addition to his work as a letterer on par with the best in the industry, Piekos created the amazingly fun (and sadly unfinished) online Choose Your Own Adventure-esque horror story Dead Ends, which involves both the undead and a gun-toting Catholic schoolgirl named Foxy, thus ensuring that it is quite possibly the reason the Internet was created. It’s good stuff, and a kid-friendly Abe Sapien story with that guy’s talent behind it might well be worth $6.95 by itself.
P. 37 – The Savage Sword of Conan: The big news from Dark Horse this month–aside from the fact that they’re finally getting around to putting the art from Jo Chen’s unpublished adaptation of The New Guy to good use–is that they’re finally getting into the game of publishing their own line of Essential-style black and white reprint books, starting with five hundred pages of The Savage Sword of Conan.
This is, for the record, totally awesome, because as we have learned time and time again from current Conan artist Cary Nord, the only thing that makes the adventures of everyone’s favorite barbarian hero better is the inclusion of naked wenches. Believe it.
P. 40 – Batman/Grendel: I’ve mentioned before that until the first hardcover came out recently, I’d never read any Grendel, despite being a huge fan of pretty much every other thing Matt Wagner’s done. These, though, I actually do own, and while I’ve yet to actually sit down and read them, this solicitation informs me that they involve Batman fighting a cyborg assassin that is “searching for an artifact of terrible dimensons.”
So yeah, I think I know what I’m doing tomorrow.
P.63-65 – Countdown and its Endless Tie-Ins: I’ve been through my feelings about Countdown before–and with Andrew Hickey’s post on why he was dropping it, there’s really no reason to get into it again–so I’ll just say this: Under just about any other circumstances, the phrase “Karate Kid confronts Brother Eye” would get me excited beyond reason. With this, though, it’s just another speed bump on the way to turning the page.
P. 66 – Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #1: This, however, I can totally get behind. It’s billed as a Countdown tie-in (which almost everything is, up to and including a reprint book featuring Silver Age Flash stories on P. 87), but unless Kyle Rayner, Donna Troy and Jason Todd show up as cartoon animal versions of themselves… Huh. Now that I think of it, that would actually be pretty awesome.
Regardless, it’s got Scott Shaw! handling the artwork, and in the absence of “Rascally” Roy Thomas, I can’t think of a better person to write it than Simpsons Comics‘ Bill Morrison, whose Avengers story in Marvel Double-Shot #2–wherein he draws all the Avengers in the style of the Simpsons–is an often overlooked gem that you can probably find on the cheap at your local shop. It’s the kind of team geared specifically at producing Fun Comics, and that’s exactly what DC needs at this point. I’m excited about it.
P. 68 – Green Arrow/Black Canary #1: So, to review. This book spins out of the “shocking results” of the Wedding Special and Ollie’s not on the cover of the first issue? Yeah, if Green Arrow hadn’t just come back from the dead six years ago, I’d be positive that guy was going to get killed at the altar, even if he wasn’t standing on the No No Stranger Danger Zone in the goofy-ass “teaser image.”
Still, that’s a better fate than being written by Judd Winick again, I guess.
P. 69 – Death of the New Gods #1-2:
When this thing was announced, it recieved a lot of criticism from people on the Internet of Dan DiDio killing off characters that he wasn’t sure what to do with, and while it’s not hard to agree with that line of thinking, I’m holding out hope for something awesome here. Why? Jim Starlin.
Starlin is, after all, the god among men who wrote the comic where Batman threw a car battery and made a life-long fan of six year-old Chris Sims. But it’s not just my childhood nostalgia that gets me excited here: Despite a kinda boring start, Starlin’s recent Mystery In Space ended up pretty fun, and his Cosmic Odyssey–which features Batman uppercutting Orion for being a total dick–is nothing but incredibly enjoyable. Thus: I love Starlin, I love the New Gods, and I love Starlin and the New Gods together, so even if it does end up with the Fourth World getting shelved for the next few years, it’s got a lot going for it.
Besides, there’s always the possibility that it’ll turn out that the New Gods are dying because Kanto’s killing them all. And as we all know, Kanto is radical.
P. 73 – Metamorpho Year One #1-2: As much as I’ve been enjoying Andy Diggle and Jock’s incredible Green Arrow: Year One, I’ve got to say that this one seems pretty unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong: The solicitation sounds fine, and I’ve got nothing against the creative team, but in his actual first year of publication, conveniently reprinted in DC’s Showcase Presents Metamorpho is probably as close to the perfect comic book as we’re ever going to get.
I mean really, it’s pure Bob Haney magic: That’s a year that opens with Rex Mason parachuting out of a jet and landing in a sports car driven by his super-hot girlfriend, and ends with him fighting a guy named Cha-Cha Chavez for her affections in a story called “The Awesome Escapades of the Abominable Playboy,” and there’s pretty much no way you’re going to top that. It’s that good.
P. 89 – Justice Society of America #10: And now, an actual conversation that occurred between myself and Doctor K when the “preview solicitations” were released online a few weeks ago:
Dr. K: So have you heard about Justice Society?
Chris: No, what’s up?
Dr. K: Alex Ross is coming on as co-writer and Kingdom Come Superman is joining the team.
Dr. K: Yeah.
Chris: You have got to be f&%$ing kidding me.
Annnnnnnd that pretty much sums it up.
P. 89: Showcase Presents Suicide Squad v.1: Seriously: Even if Dave Campbell’s Suicide Squad “Week” has failed to convince you, even if you have never in your life agreed with me on anything I’ve written on the ISB, buy this book, as it contains eighteen issues of what may well be the single greatest DC comic of the ’80s, plus the not-so-good Doom Patrol special and the every-bit-as-awesome Justice League International #13. Okay then, back to the jokes…
P.105 – Orfina v.1: Hey, you know what would be awesome? If someone did a manga about what would happen if the alien from Whitley Streiber’s Communion was a knight in a fantasy kingdom!
P. 139 – Youngblood v.1 HC: Aside from the fun of seeing a talented guy like Joe Casey trying to make sense of this stuff, this has got to be the least necessary hardcover ever printed. I mean really: I own Nextwave in three different formats, so I may not be the person to take advice on budgeting from, but this thing is thirty-five bucks, and these issues are still clogging up quarter bins in pretty much every comic book store in America. You could take that money to a shop and walk out with a full run of Youngblood, plus the Alan Moore issues that are actually good, plus a sizeable chunk of Brigade, and still have enough left for as many gorditas as you could possibly want. Just sayin’.
Also: “Just in time for the new montly series debuting January 2008.” Really, Image? Monthly? Really?
P. 172 – McFarlane Toys How The Grinch Stole Christmas! Action Figures: Talking of the unnecessary, I do not, technically speaking, need these action figures. But man…
…just try and tell me those wouldn’t look awesome next to my traditional Power Man and Iron Fist nativity scene.
P. 9 – Sensational Spider-Man #41:
P.34 – Punisher War Journal #12: “Hey Chris, what would your ideal Marvel Comics Cover look like?”
Well, I’m not sure, Magic Voice, but if I had to give an answer, I’d say it might look like a giant-sized Punisher fighting a giant-sized gladiator Hulk while stuff exploded in the foreground.
P.36 – What If? Planet Hulk: I’ve mentioned before that my love of Marvel’s What If? is almost directly proportionate to whether or not it has Conan dressed up like Scarface, and that extends to Marvel’s new trend of doing them based on recent story arcs, even when the otherwise stellar Jeff Parker’s involved. This one, though, seems like a pretty safe bet: Not only is it written by Greg Pak (writer of both Planet Hulk and World War Hulk), but it has virtually the exact same foolproof premise of that story, just swapping out an angry, vengeance-obsessed Hulk with an angry, vengance-obsessed Caeira the Oldstrong. And as we have all learned from recent issues of Iron Fist, giant fight scenes are almost always better with the addition of ladies kicking people in their righteous fury.
And yes, you can have that for a pull-quote.
P. 42 – Marvel Zombies 2 #1: And lo, there came a sequel… and absolutely nobody was surprised.
But here’s the thing: Despite the fact that Marvel has their heel planted firmly onto Marvel Zombies and seems insistent on grinding it into the ground as hard and fast as they possibly can, and as much of an unnecessary, self-indulgent mess that Dead Days was, the original mini-series is still pretty darn funny. As it stands, it’s a one-note joke that just keeps getting hit over and over again like a baby with a broken xylophone, but I’ve got to say: The premise of this one, with the characters from the original series returning to earth 40 years later and promptly getting into Zombie Civil War, actually sounds like it could be really funny, to the point where I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. I mean, even with a bisected Iron Man floating around with the power of Galactus and eating people’s brains, it still makes more sense than the regular Civil War.
P. 65 – Wolverine Annual: Deathsong:
P. 79 – Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures #8: Because sometimes, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
And that, believe it or not, is everything you need to know from the major publishers this month. Yeah, I was surprised too. But regardless, be here tomorrow night when the ISB takes on the rest of the catalog in a death-defying diatribe against the small press and the merchandise! Do you dare miss it?