Chris vs. Previews: October 2008, Round One

I probably should’ve knocked this out a couple of weeks ago, but it’s finally time to take a break from Spooktoberfest Scareabrations and shift things once again to the looming spectre of capitalism!



Yes, it’s the Previews Catalog with another five hundred pages of tricks and treats from the good folks at Diamond! Tonight, I’ll be your guide through the major publishers, so let’s get to it!



Dark Horse Comics

P.47 – Star Wars Legacy v.5: The Hidden Temple: I know I have a rule about this sort of thing, but really, every time I see this…



…the officially licensed story of Cade, the badass, tattooed, bounty-hunting descendant of Luke Skywalker who holds his lightsaber upside-down and wears Darth Vader’s pants, I just laugh and laugh.


DC Comics


P. 73 – Detective Comics #851 / Batman #684: One of the more interesting pieces of news to come out of San Diego this year was that the end of “Batman R.I.P.” was going to lead into some pretty high-profile guest writers, including Neil Gaiman and longtime Batman editor Denny O’Neil, and I’ll cop to being more than a little apprehensive about it. I’ve mentioned before that I’m always leery of seeing a writer return to a book that he defined (or that defined him), because for every time that John Ostrander comes back to Suicide Squad or Grant Morrison coming back to the JLA, there’s Mark Waid’s return to the Flash or the ‘Mont coming back to the X-Men, and the odds tend to favor the latter.

I mean, sure, it’s easy to think of Denny O’Neil as the guy who created Ra’s al-Ghul and wrote The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge and who literally wrote the book on how to write comics, but, well… He’s also the guy whose last published comics work is Azrael: Agent of the Bat, the book so bad that it finally taught me that buying every part of a crossover probably wasn’t the best use of my time. And this was after I’d gotten every issue of Our Worlds at War, so that should tell you something.


P. 81 – Action Comics #872: Man. I know I’ve been down on Geoff Johns in the past and that I’ve been planning on following his Superman run in hardcover rather than month-to-month, but hot damn!



That is Superman fighting robots alongside GI Robot and the Goddamn CREATURE COMMANDOS, who were last seen in 1983 when Paul Levitz ordered them to be blasted into space with Robert Kanigher! Seriously.


P. 85 – The Flash #247: What DC wants you to think: “Wow, what an eerie cover! Death is stalking the Flash from within his very shadow!”



What I actually think: “Man, Wally’s feet must smell terrible.”


P. 87 – Justice League of America #28: Despite the fact that I gave up on Dwayne McDuffie’s Justice League run a while back, I’m actually looking forward to this, if only for the chance that we’ll finally get some Milestone trades out of it. I’ve always wanted to read more of them than I have, but runs are notoriously hard to put together around here, and ever since I found out there was a story in Xombi where he teams up with a fighting Holy Sister called Nun of the Above, I’ve been getting downright desperate.


P. 92 – The DC Comics Classics Library: The Legion of Super-Heroes – The Life and Death of Ferro Lad SC: At this point, I own some of these stories in at least two formats, but I’m jumping onto this one for three reasons:

1. As much as I’ve been making an effort to stop re-buying things that I already have, the DC Comics Classics Library looks like it might end up being a snazzy set of reprint books, and since I’m already down for formats (which I don’t have), and if they look as nice on the shelf as the Kirby books do, it might be worth it.

2. For a comic that stretches back to the fifties, the Legion of Super-Heroes (of which I am a noted fan) is woefully underrepresented in reprints, and in order to do my part to encourage DC to print more, I buy pretty much every Legion book that comes on the market, even if it’s something I already have and not, say, a new printing of The Great Darkness Saga, which would be awesome.

3. As evidenced by my plans to collect every issue of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse: Book One, I’m a fan of books with ridiculously long titles.


P. 122 – Saga of the Swamp Thing Book One HC: And speaking of things I’m going to be re-buying…



But to be honest, I’d be getting this one even if an ex-girlfriend hadn’t totally fucking stolen kept my trades in the breakup, since it’s the first time Alan Moore’s actual first issue, #20, has been reprinted.


Image Comics


P. 142 – Phonogram 2: The Singles Club:



If you’ve been reading the ISB for a while, you might recall that last year’s Phonogram: Rue Britannia was one of my favorite mini-series in recent memory despite the fact that outside of Pulp and the Wu-Tang Clan, I didn’t know a whole heck of a lot about the music that the series was based around. Still, it was nice to get a fresh playlist with my comics every month, so everything worked out pretty well.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I found out that the sequel, a series of standalone issues presented in lurid color, is leading off with a story based around The Pipettes, the retro wall-of-sound girl group whose debut album was one of my favorite things in recent memory. Seriously, go listen to Pull Shapes.

I’ll wait.

So yeah, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and the Pipettes. There hasn’t been a combination this great since chocolate and peanut butter. Or at least since sharks and nunchuks.


P. 148 – Armageddon Now, by Phil Hotsenpiller and Rob Liefeld:



Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahaah! Good one, Image.

Hm? Oh, you were serious?



Marvel Comics


And now, the entire reason why I didn’t just blow off the Previews post this month:

P. 47 – Punisher War Zone:



Garth Ennis. Steve Dillon. The Punisher. Weekly. Fuck yes.

I will admit, though, I do think it’s pretty funny that this was solicited right around the time that the trade for Valley Forge, Valley Forge–which is touted pretty heavily on the back cover as being Ennis’s final arc on the Punisher–hit the shelves, but I’m willing to deal with that one being not as final as previously advertised if it means that the team behind Welcome Back, Frank reunites for one last time. I’ve mentioned before that I felt like the Ennis run would’ve benefitted from having Dillon (who to me is the Punisher artist) come back, and with a story that ties in thematically with their first arc, there’s a good chance that it’ll give me the kind of closure I think an eight year run deserves.

Or at the very least, there’s a good chance somebody’s gonna punch a bear.


P. 71 – Wolverine: Manifest Destiny #3: I’ve heard a lot of good things about Jason Aaron over the past few months–mostly from Rachelle, who said that his run on Ghost Rider was the work of a guy who “completely understands what is awesome about the character, and it should be pretty obvious: he’s a flaming skeleton on a motorcycle“–and while I’m looking forward to picking up GR in trade, I get the feeling that this is the one that’s going to make me grab something monthly. I mean, a cover that’s an Enter the Dragon homage featuring doubles for Jim Kelly and Gordon Liu and a solicit that includes a line about how Wolverine “must make up for his mistake and somehow manage to unite all of the Kung Fu schools in the city?” I’m not made of stone here, folks.



And that does it for the majors. As always, if anything caught your eye this month, or if you just want to join my mead-swilling celebrations over Marvel finally going back to press on the Walt Simonson Thor trades, then verily, feel free to leave a comment.


57 thoughts on “Chris vs. Previews: October 2008, Round One

  1. One of these years, Steve Dillon will learn to draw another face. There will be a parade.

    You know, that’s exactly the way I used to feel about Dillon’s work, but the more of his work I read, the less it bothered me. It’s the same face in a lot of places–and a lot of weird places at that, especially when Jesse Custer’s mug shows up on a woman–but he can get awfully expressive with them.

  2. See the expression of the Armageddon Now cover girl? Like she just found dog poop on the trigger of her automatic?

    They just told her who was drawing this book.

  3. PS Hotsenpiller? That’s not a real name. That’s like Katzenjammer, or some Groucho Marx character moniker.

  4. Armageddon Now has no less than five references to the end of days right there on the cover:
    1) An Omega sign
    2) A mushroom cloud
    3) A direct reference to a fictional World War 3
    4) The word “Armageddon”
    5) Rob Liefield

    That guy should be singing “Walkin’ On Sunshine”.

  5. Uhm, Chris, you are aware of Jason Aaron’s SCALPED, right?
    Because not only is that very good, it also features a character with nunchucks…

  6. Ah man, I’d forgotten all about the painting guy from the Shadow Cabinet. I loved him…

    So this Ennis/Dillon Punisher story. Its going to be about Ma Gnucci leading an army of Frank Castle killed zombies for revenge right? Because I’d buy that. Even without a bear getting punched…

  7. Is that Rudy Ray Moore on that cover of Wolverine: Manifest Destiny? In the exact same pose as on the picture from monday’s ISB post?


  8. When I first saw Cade I thought it had to be some kind of gag. Sketches that someone threw together to illustrate their fanfic. Finding out it was real just made me crack up. There’s no way that character will ever seem dated.

    At least Liefeld will be able to just trace pictures of Cable for Armageddon Now.

  9. After clicking through to Dr. K’s post and seeing that final page, I have to ask if they’re going to keep “Velcro the Vampire” when the Creature Commandos appear. Will cloth stick to him at inopportune times? And will G.I. Robot’s pet robot dog and cat show up, too?

    Hell, I think I’m gonna have to buy that issue just on general principle.

    For that matter, is G.I. Robot the same one who popped up in “The War that Time Forgot” with his handler who was never sure if his robot was sentient or not?

  10. ever since I found out there was a story in Xombi where he teams up with a fighting Holy Sister called Nun of the Above, I’ve been getting downright desperate.

    Heh. Somewhere in the spider-infested depths of my storage space is an entire (but sadly too brief) run of Xombi. And Sister Norma Pretorius, Nun of the Above, is a hoot. Plus she can do a two-handed dunk, and has a sidekick named Catholic Girl.

  11. My favorite part about the Creature Commandos appearance in Action is that they show up after Superman rescues them from Brainiac’s mothership, which they were on because he picked them up after they were blasted into space 25 years ago. It’s like Johns just looked at it and said “I don’t have to change a damn thing. It’s perfect already.”

  12. Ghostman is right, you are gonna love some Xombi. It’s occasionally gloomy and/or disturbing, but strangely uplifting just the same.

  13. No mention of “The Losers” hardcover? Am I the only one excited about that?

    The what now? I completely missed that, and I love that book.

  14. I just checked in Previews, that thing is totally not in there. Is it maybe a solicit that you saw and forgot I was talking about October’s catalog?

  15. In a perfect world, Action 873 would have Bob Kanigher bursting through a hoop on the cover billed as “The Sensational Character Find of 2009”.

  16. What gives, Chris? I thought you didn’t like the Creature Commandos, what with the vampire being named Velcro and all.

    Seriosly though, if the spend the whole issue on Dinosaur Island and find the Unknown Soldier fighting hand to hand with Enemy Ace, it will be perfect.

  17. Turns out Phil Hotsenpiller is not only a real person, but he’s a pastor.

    According to that biography he went to Oxford. One can only hope that will balance out the level of stupid Liefeld will bring to this book.

  18. According to that biography he went to Oxford. One can only hope that will balance out the level of stupid Liefeld will bring to this book.

    Don’t worry, it won’t.

  19. That’s not Wally, it’s Barry. Barry is the only Flash with wings on his boots. I blame Tom Katers of Around Comics for my knowledge of that fact.

    I might actually read Supes just to see the Creature Commando’s.

  20. That Flash belt is neither Barry’s nor Wally’s. On Wally’s belt, the two lightning bolts meet in the middle to form a “V”. Barry’s belt is asymmetrical.

  21. i want to read Phonomancer but the Pipettes? seriously? why not a comic about a real girl group? or about the White Stripes. i want a comic where The White Stripes fight crime

  22. @ #14:

    Not “IT’S BEARS!”.

    But “It’s bears.”

    That quiet, almost resigned delivery before the inevitable disemboweling is what makes the comedy perfect, I think.

  23. My favorite part of the bear mauling sequence in Welcome Back Frank is the look of child like wonder on one hood’s face before he is mauled. Going to have to go look that up in the trade later.

  24. I never buy individual superman comics and now I’m going to have to.
    Damn you previews, damn you and your irresistible return of the creature commandos… and possibly Robert Kanigher.
    I agree with Trevor, but I think crashing on Dinosaur island should be the follow-up issue.

  25. Creature Commandos? Is that … is that real?

    If so, then it is the most glorious thing ever invented, and DC was a fool to cancel them.

    You know you’re a player when Frankenstein’s got your back.

  26. @Christian:

    I have to thank you. If not for your stupid, stupid comment I wouldn’t have followed Sims’ YouTube link and checked out the Pipettes. Who are awesome. Sims’ you might also want to check out The Charms or The Dollyrots…

  27. Hmmm…the Dollyrots are still around? I got a CD of theirs a few years back and enjoyed it.

  28. I’m concerned that they may not trade Xombi when all the other Milestone folks show up, since he was really sort of on the fringes of the Milestone Universe.

    If I can find issues 16-17, I’ll make my own hardcover!

  29. Also, Creature Commandos = Metal \,,/

    I don’t know how to make the metal sign right with the typin’.

  30. Hmmm…I tried that, and somehow it didn’t look right. Ah well, now I know! And that’s one to grow on.

  31. Oh I love the Creature Commandos with all the force of my being.

    Also, can I say that you all arguing about Wally’s suit vs. Barry’s boots is the geekiest thing I’ve read today.

    I love that Swamp Thing art. So much. I <3 Swampy.

  32. I’m generally pretty cool with my own sexuality, but I don’t think I’m really comfortable with the emphasis placed on Wally West’s junk in that cover.

    I mean, I understand that Wally West has junk, and it’s going to appear in images involving Wally West, but two yellow arrows pointing directly to Wally West’s junk is a bit much. Think of the children, people.

  33. I’ll third, fourth, or fifth that Xombi recommendation. (I lost count.) It’s every bit as good as the Morrison Doom Patrol, and it manages to have a lot of dramatic tension, even when you know the main character won’t ever die. Not sure how, but it does.

    I’m still annoyed they didn’t let Xombi make the jump to Vertigo instead of canceling it, since that’s where it should have been all along; there’s even a John Constantine cameo at one point.