Chris vs. Previews: June 2008, Round One

It’s Summertime, and in the immortal words of the Fresh Prince, that means that it’s time for little something to break the monotony. And what better way to break the monotony than with another 500+ pages of crap you don’t need from the pages of Previews?



Yes, it’s that time again, and tonight, the ISB goes toe-to-toe with the major publishers to sort out what you need from… well, from statues of naked cow ladies, mostly, but we won’t be running into those until tomorrow. Now let’s get to it!



Dark Horse Comics


P.30 – Empowered v.4: Saints be praised!



Probably the best news in this month’s Previews–or in this month’s anything, for that matter–is that Adam Warren’s returning with another volume of his immensely enjoyable bondage-prone super-heroine. And apparently, this one’ll feature a color story, too.

I’ve already gone on at length about my love for Empowered, which is probably the most ISB-friendly comic since Punisher #23, but there is one slight problem here, and that is this: The solicitation for v.4 says that the first three are still available for reorder, and the last time I checked, one and two weren’t. That might just be a problem for my neck of the woods, but it also begs the question of why Adam Warren’s other stuff isn’t in print to capitalize on Emp‘s success, especially his work on Dirty Pair.

I mean, I can get Livewires all day long, and I think Sim Hell is still in print, but what about Run From The Future and Fatal But Not Serious? Huh, smart-guy? What about those?


P.57 – MySpace Dark Horse Presents #11: Despite the fact that there’s been some stuff on there that I’ve been excited about, I haven’t actually checked out MySpace Dark Horse Presents in the year that it’s been around, instead opting to wait for the trade and check it out then. And yes, I realized as I typed that that I was essentially saying “Rather than read this stuff for free, I waited a year so that I could pay for it.” Sometimes, I mystify even myself.

Regardless, I’ve finally gotten enough motivation to check it out thanks to the fact that this month, DHP went all-Robert E. Howard on us. There’s a new Conan story by Tim Truman, a Solomon Kane tale and a new story of “bare-knuckle boxing seaman Sailor Steve Costigan,” which just sounds awesome. The big draw for me, though, is that there’s a new Two-Gun Bob adventure by Jim and Ruth Keegan, and true to form, it’s great.

Here, have a look:



The rest of it’s up, along with the other stories and completely free, at the DHP website, and seriously, it’s almost good enough to make me forget that MySpace tried to convert me to Scientology with a Google Ad.


DC Comics


P. 67 – Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1: I give DC’s marketing department a lot of grief for their solicitations–the reasons for which will become abundantly clear in about seventeen pages–but every now and then, they do one that actually gets me pretty excited, and this is one of those:

Writer Grant Morrison and artist Doug Mahnke take you on an unforgettable, hyperdelic journey from the streets of Metropolis, through the 52 worlds of the multiverse, to the haunted court of hte King of Limbo in part one of this 2-issue Superman adventure!

With a unique 3-D section, eye-popping visuals and mind-boggling glimpses into the mysteries behind FINAL CRISIS, SUPERMAN BEYOND takes the Man of Tomorrow to new dimensions of action and excitement! This issue comes with a pair of 3-D glasses!

Putting the fact that the inclusion of 3D glasses warrants its own exclamation point aside for the moment, I’ve just got to say… “Hyperdelic?” You’re telling me this thing is going to be so awesome that you had to make up a word to describe it?! SOLD!


P. 68 – Final Crisis #1: Training Wheels Edition: Because seriously, if you don’t know who Dan Turpin is, that’s your own Goddamn fault.


P.81 – All Star Superman #12: In 2008, Princeton University defines “awesome” as “inspiring awe, wonder or admiration.” In 2009, they will describe it thus:



And all will be right with the world.


P.85 – The Brave and the Bold #16: So remember like thirty seconds ago when I was talking about how I badmouth DC’s marketing department? Solicitations like this, which I will now present in its totality, would be why:

“Superman and Catwoman–together at last?! This team clearly won’t be held together with super-glue!”

Dear DC Marketing Department,
What the fuck does that mean?!


P. 91 – DC Comics Goes Ape TP: One day, if everything goes well, I’ll be an old man, and in addition to sitting around on a rocking chair swearing like a sailor and listening to NWA on a comically large phonograph, I’ll say things like this:

“You kids today don’t know how good you have it! Time was there weren’t no trade paperbacks collecting stories about the Mod Gorilla Boss! You wanted to read stories about Space-Gorillas, you went to a convention and gave a loud French-Canadian five bucks to do it! An’ weren’t no Art Adams covers on ’em, neither… We had Wayne Boring and by God, we liked it!”

And as ever, the proper response will be “Whatever, grandpa.”


p.103 – Authority / Gen 13 / StormWatch PHD / Wildcats: World’s End #1: And with this, DC officially gives up on ever getting a third issue of The Authority (or a second issue of Wildcats) out of Grant Morrison. And to be honest, I don’t particularly mind: Christos Gage is one of my favorite writers right now, and it’s obvious that he has fun when he’s working with the Wildstorm characters, for whom I still hold a lot of very, very misplaced nostalgia.


P. 130 – Watchmen Movie Merchandise: That sound you hear? That distant rumbling as of thunder? That would be the Egyptian Serpent God rising from beneath Northampton on a dread mission of cosmic vengeance at the behest of Morlun the Mystic. The streets are afire with resurrection, DC Direct!


Image Comics


P. 145 – Guerillas: So, this would be the story about the United States Army using monkey soldiers in Vietnam.



Now, we here at the ISB tend to enjoy comics that put monkeys and apes in situations in which one does not generally find them, but the way I see it, this can go one of two ways. First option: Brahm Revel plays it (every which way but) loose and makes this a comedy, which, seeing as it’s about monkeys, is generally a safe bet, albeit a pretty ballsy one in this case. After all, there’s a pretty strong stigma associated with the Vietnam War, but to be fair (and I assure you that I don’t mean this dismissively), the horrors of that war are no worse than the horrors of World War II, and it’s no fresher to us today than WWII was when the Primate Patrol showed up in the pages of Weird War Tales.

Second option, Revel tries to play it off as serious (which was my fear with Helen Killer), which would be far more challenging and probably backfire because… well, because this is a comic about monkeys with guns. That’s why.


Marvel Comics


P. 10 – Amazing Spider-Man #568: Kicking off this month’s Spidey-Heavy Marvel Section, I’ve gotta level with you guys:



On the surface, Anti-Venom–which appears to be the actual, honest-to-God non-amalgamated version of Bizarnage–would appear to be the worst idea since… well, since Venom: Lethal Protector, probably, but Dan Slott and John Romita Jr. teaming up to bring you the evil opposite of an evil opposite?! That’s so damn Hyperdelic it hurts!


King-Size Spider-Man Summer Special: I’ve been meaning to mention this for a while, but last week, I picked up a few of Paul Tobin’s Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four, and I gotta say, those are some incredibly entertaining comic books. I mean, I already knew from Banana Sunday that he could write some fun comics, but lines like “I’m Reed Richards… and these are my toasters” just had me cracking right up.

In any case, Tobin’s got a story in this one that’s illustrated by his wife (and Banana Sunday artist and ISB Favorite) Colleen Coover where Spider-Man teams up with Mary Jane, She-Hulk, Hellcat and Marvel Girl, and that sounds like the best comic book ever.


P. 16 – Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #1:

“Superstar writer Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise, upcoming Runaways) supplies story”

Ah-ha. Thank you, but no. The second hardcover of the McKeever run, however (p. 86), I plan to order the livin’ crap out of.


P. 55 – Skrulls vs. Power Pack #2: And now, I give you what is, with the exception of Devil Dinosaur stomping on an alien, the greatest image ever conceived by man:





P. 75 – Punisher #61: So, uh, did you guys know they’re still going to publish The Punisher after Garth Ennis leaves? I mean, I knew they were going to keep publishing the character, but I’d just assumed that once Ennis was gone, the MAX series would end, the focus would shift over to Punisher War Journal, and we’d eventually get a ninth volume of The Punisher along the same lines.

But then again, maybe that’s just me. I mean, when you’ve got a guy like Ennis that’s been on the book for eight years–which is a mind-boggling run by today’s six-issue rotation standards–and redefined a character in a distinctive manner that a lot of people have tried and failed to recapture (like, you know, in all those one-shots), it feels a little odd, but they didn’t cancel X-Men after Claremont left and they didn’t cancel Thor after Walt Simonson, so there’s no reason why they should here.

As for Ennis’s replacement, that’s a pretty big shocker. It seems like Mitchell Hurwitz would do better with a straight-up comedy rather than a grim character like the Punisher, but since I absolutely loved what he did as the executive producer of Arrested Development, I’m willing to give it–hm?

Gregg Hurwitz? From that new Foolkiller?

Oh. Well screw that, then.



And that’s it for the majors. Be here tomorrow as the ISB takes on the back half of the catalog with a look at the small press, the merch, and the mind-bending sequel to the Worst Thing I’ve Ever Seen! And as always, if there’s anything that makes you want to quote Will Smith, feel free to let me know.

Chris vs. Previews: May 2008, Round Two

Tonight, the ISB takes on the back half of Previews for the small press and the merch, but believe it or not, there’s actually not much that caught my eye, a fact that I assure you has nothing to do with my desire to finish up the blog and go play more Grand Theft Auto.

Even the normally bizarre apparel section is relatively tame, although Marvel’s new shirt names continue to amaze and perplex. I mean, really: Am I crazy…



…or is this a Venom t-shirt that’s named after a brand of pantyhose? And come on, what does “Hulken Spotten-M” even mean?

Maybe it’s a little of both, but intense therapy’s going to have to wait until after I slug it out with the next round! Let’s see what we’ve got here…





P.216 – Archie #587: Okay, folks, I fully realize that unless they’re belting out Britpop, I’m the only one around here who actually cares about Archie comics, but to be honest, this is the one comic in the entire catalog that I’m most excited about.

Why? Because with this issue, Archie kicks off a four-part series called “Freshman Year” that shows what Archie and the gang were like in their first year of high school. Yes, you read that right: It’s the secret origin of Archie. It is Archie: Year One, and that means that there’s the small yet distinct possibility that Archie’s going to be using lines like “I come in close on Reggie–throw him a growl I’ve brought all the way from Africa–and suddenly everything falls to pieces” or “Stupid Freshman. Stupid, lucky Freshman.

But why should you be excited about it? Because “Freshman Year” is being written by Batton Lash, who you might remember as the creator of Supernatural Law or the writer of a little thing called…



The Punisher Meets Archie!


And really, if you’ve read that book, then you’ll know that it’s not only one of the best Punisher stories of all time–seriously–but it’s also one of the best Archie stories of all time, with an attention to detail and a love of the characters that comes through on every page. Plus, The Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E. Seriously.


P.300 – Tales Designed To Thrizzle #4: Normally, I try to stay away from just writing up the stuff I’m going to order unless it’s a special event–considering that I make a list of everything I buy every week anyway–but when Michael Kupperman drops a new issue of Thrizzle, it’s always a special event. And the other issues are offered again too–which is nice, because I never got the copy of #1 I ordered the last time they offered them–so if you’ve never experienced the work of one of the funniest guys in comics, do yourself a favor and jump on.

Otherwise, you’re going to be missing jokes like this, from a list of Dick Tracy’s most forgotten foes:



P.330 – Apocalipstix: And speaking of books that were supposed to have come out already, we have this one, which was originally solicited a full year ago. Apparently, July’s the month for housecleaning around the diamond offices. Actually, come to think of it, Sharknife v.2 was solicited in that same issue. How odd.

Anyway, here’s what I said about it last year: “What really caught my eye here, though, was Apocalipstix, by Ray Fawkes and the totally awesome Cameron Stewart, which looks to be something along the lines of Josie and the Pussycats meets The Road Warrior. And really, there’s nothing about that sentence that I don’t think is awesome.” I agree, Chris ’07! You’re so smart!




P.486 – Balrog Wall Mount: Rather than throw my own hat in the ring with this one, I’ll just direct you to Dave Lartigue, and the best possible joke that could’ve been made about this monstrosity.


P.528 – Dark Knight Logo Metal Keychains: And now, Chris’s Invincible Craft Corner! Gather up the kids for a simple, awesome activity that you can do at home, and prepare to have your minds blown:

Step One: Get two of these Batman keychains:



Step Two: Link the rings together.



P.568 – Machine Girl DVD: I can’t imagine that there’s anyone reading this who hasn’t already seen the trailer for Machine Girl, which was online for about thirty seconds before I started getting emails from people telling me that the story of a Japanese Schoolgirl with a gatling gun for an arm out for revenge on the Yakuza Ninjas who killed her family was probably the Chris Simsiest Thing That Ever Was.

Where you guys got that impression, I have no idea, but rest assured that I’ll be grabbing this thing the moment it comes out. Drill Bra, people. Drill Bra.



And on that note, we’re pretty much done here! As always, if you have any comments, or you just feel like telling me I’m wrong about something–which, you know, I’m not–feel free to drop a line in the comments section below. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take out a very healthy accidental eye-gouging insurance policy before my Batarangchuks get here.

After that, though… Look out, Crime!

Chris vs. Previews: May 2008, Round One

All right then: Now that this year’s round of free comics are over and done with, it’s time once again to take a look at the ones you have to pay for!



And pay for them you will, so that I can put food on the table for little Cobra Commander and Barda, the children that I will probably not be having sometime in the vague, distant future.

Yes, it’s another look at 573 pages of stuff you don’t need, and while I usually knock these things in somewhere between “dismissive” and “outright insulting,” there’s actually a lot of stuff I’m excited about this month. Let’s get to it with the major publishers!



Dark Horse Comics


P.32 – Criminal Macabre: Cell Block 666 #1:



Fixed that for you.


P.51 – Achewood: The Great Outdoor Fight: I’ll be honest with you, folks: Despite the fact that a couple of my friends–like Dr. K and Ken Lowery–swear by Achewood, I’ll confess that I just don’t see what the appeal is. I mean, I’ve seen a couple that are pretty funny, but on the whole, I just don’t get it, and I’ve long since just dropped it into the category of things that Just Aren’t For Me. However, with the fun I’ve been having with Dark Horse’s reprints of webcomics lately–like the Perry Bible Fellowship, which has a second volume solicited on p.52–I’m willing to give it another shot. After all, if there’s anything that’s gonna get me on the Achewood train, it’ll be this…



…which promises to be “the story of three days, three acres, three thousand men.” Consider my interest piqued.


DC Comics


P.75 – Ambush Bug: Year None #1: Hey everybody! Ambush Bug’s back! And it’s a good thing, too. I mean, it’s an election year, after all…



…and we need all the votes we can get.

For those of you wondering why a small portion of the comics-reading public is excited about this, I’ll explain. In addition to featuring Minimum-Wage Darkseid, there’s an issue of Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming’s Ambush Bug that’s essentially the comics blogger internet twenty years ahead of its time, in which Jonni DC–Continuity Cop!–goes through a list of now-standard punchlines like Rex the Wonder Dog. It’s great, and it’s exactly the kind of fun stuff that’s always welcome in my comics, so I’m really looking forward to this one.


P.82 – Batgirl #1: Huh. Eight years into this thing, and you’d think she’d finally get a real mask.

Anyway, I’ve always liked the Cassandra Cain Batgirl and despite the fact that it was decried by alleged fans as being about two steps below sacrilege, I really enjoyed Adam Beechen’s previous work on her during his run on Robin. I actually loved those issues and thought they were perfectly logical, but now that she’s redeemed–thus preserving the validity of fan-fiction everywhere–I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with her now.


P.102 – INVASION! TP: Oh hell yes. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the greatest DC Crossover of all time:



That’s right, folks: INVASION! The comic so good that they put the exclamation point right there in the title because they know you’re gonna need one. Three months, three issues, and eighty pages each of pure, unadulterated Mantlotainment. In fact, to my knowledge, this is Mantlo’s only major work for DC, and while a lot of the affection I have for the series comes from the fact that its tie-ins include issues John Ostrander Suicide Squad, Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League and Morrison Animal Man–none of which are included, but all of which are worth tracking down–I’m pretty sure he manages to cram the fun and excitement of eighty issues of ROM into 240 pages of Superman punching out Daxamites.

Seriously, it’s awesome. Get it.


P.106 – Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #1: True Story: Five years ago, I’m down in Atlanta, working this tiny convention with my pals Chad and Tug. It’s the first con I ever went to, and since there wasn’t much action at the booth–and like six guys to watch it–I spent most of my time finishing up a run of Starman and getting my first con sketches from Phil “The Nicest Man In Comics” Hester.

So at one point, Tug and I are walking around, and I ask him who the guy next to Hester is, because his name sounds so familiar, and Tug says: “That’s Mike Kunkel. He does Herobear and the Kid.”

“Oh, okay. I should get a sketch from him.”

“Yeah, you should. Hey, you know what he’d be awesome for? Captain Marvel.”

“Oh, dude. Totally.”

And so I did, and he was:



Now the interesting part here is that when he was done drawing the sketch, he handed it back to me with the issue of Who’s Who I’d provided as reference and told me that he’d never drawn Captain Marvel before, but it was a lot of fun and he’d like to do it again sometime.

And now you know… the rest of the story. Neat, huh?


Image Comics


P.160 – American Flagg! HC: Hey, wasn’t this thing supposed to have come out already? Like three years ago? From a different company?

Anyway, confession time: Despite the fact that it’s considered to be one of the big cornerstone independent comics of ’80s–and another one of those things my friends swear by–I’ve never read an issue of American Flagg!. Believe me, though: It’s not for lack of trying. Runs aren’t that easy to come by in my neck of the woods, and the last time I saw one all together was right after the new hardcovers were solicited the first time, when I had no idea that I’d be waiting this freakin’ long to get my hands on it. Still, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and even though Chaykin’s current work is… well, not my speed, everyone tells me this one’s awesome.

Besides, it’s got an exclamation point in the title, and I think I’ve made my feelings about that pretty clear.


P.168 – Noble Causes #36: Jay Faerber wants you to read Noble Causes.

I mean, of course he does: He’s the writer and creator of the book after all, and so I’m pretty sure he’s got as much of a vested professional and financial interest in increasing readership as anybody, but with him, it goes beyond that. He really wants you to read Noble Causes. Why else would he and artist Yildiray Cinar be working so hard to make it better with each issue, and offering up a fresh, “five years later” jumping on point with the last two issues, which should still be available at your friendly local comic book shop? Because he cares folks. And he wants you to be happy.


P.181 – Pilot Season: The Core #1: Normally, I just flip right through the Top Cow section because… Well, because it’s fucking Top Cow. This time, though, they’ve got a one-shot written by Jonathan Hickman that sounds an awful lot like Mass Effect, and, well, that’s two things I like!


Marvel Comics


P. 15 – Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day Extra!!: Two exclamation points?! Well now you’re just getting ridiculous.

Anyway, the reason Marvel feels the need to put out an extra issue of a book that’s already coming out three times a month is as follows…



…and there’s a pretty good chance that this is not good news, for the simple reason that Joe Kelly hasn’t written anything worth reading in about six years. Seriously, his run on JLA is damn near unreadable, and when you follow that up with Godfall and the astoundingly wretched Justice League Elite, that doesn’t really redeem anything.

However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was hoping for the best here. After all, he did have a couple of pretty good Superman stories circa 2000 or so, but even more than that, this is the guy who wrote the first run on Deadpool, and those are still some of Marvel’s most purely enjoyable comics–which, incidentally, have never been collected in trade after #4–and there’s a part of me that’s hoping a return to Marvel will spark the fun Joe Kelly. Or at least the one that was readable.


P.20 – Captain America: White: Huh. Nobody really thought that title through, did they?


P.23 – Fantastic Four: True Story #1: I’ve mentioned before that while there’s something just a little bit flat about Paul Cornell’s Wisdom, but that it’s worth reading for the High Concepts alone, which figure around a Skrull impersonating John Lennon battling an army of interdimensional Jacks The Ripper at the behest of the Martians from War of the Worlds. It’s the kind of story that there’s something just slightly off about, and while I hope this one–and the upcoming MI-13–work out a little better, they’ve all still got that feeling where if I just sat you down and told you what happened rather than you reading it, it’d sound like the greatest comic book ever. And that, I think, makes it pretty easy to write solicitations:

“A threat to the minds of the whole human race sends the FF somewhere they’ve never been before: into the realm of Fiction itself! Where Ben finds himself clobbering a demonic army to save the cast of Sense and Sensibility!”

That sounds awesome.


P.28 – Immortal Iron Fist #17: So.. huh. I gotta be honest, folks: This one does not exactly fill me with confidence for the new direction on Iron Fist, and since I don’t really know the first thing about Duane Swierczynski, it all comes down to Travel Foreman.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Foreman’s work on Ares and the stuff that he’s already done on IIF in previous issues, but when you get right down to it, this



…just seems an awful lot like this:




And on that horrifying note, I’m calling it a night. As always, if anything caught your eye in this month’s Previews, or if you just want to debate whether or not Triple-H will be defending his title in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #500 or just dressing up as Wolverine, feel free to leave a comment.

As for me, I’ll be over here figuring out if I need to purchase Welcome Back, Frank for a fourth time.

Answer: Yes.

Chris vs. Previews: April 2008, Round Two

Last night, I promised that the second round of this month’s Chris vs. Previews would involve the worst thing I have ever seen. And while the statue of the girl in rocket-skates that comes with a suitcase you can put over her head because the statue itself is ashamed to be dressed in ribbons comes pretty close…



…it doesn’t take the top spot.

What does? Well, to find out, you’ll have to join me as I get through the indies and the merchandise in tonight’s ISB! Or, you could just skip down to the bottom. But really, where’s the fun in that?





P. 216 – Archie Digest #245: From the solicitation:



Who are the Hairies?! Why, they are the top of the iceberg–the part one can see justting out of the depths of the unknown! But what is at the bottom of this symbolic iceberg? Why, File 202 of course! And the secret of that, my friends, means more than mere fright–mere danger–mere death! But don’t let this stop you!

Wait, hang on a second… Sorry, that’s actually the intro text to Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #135. After further consideration, it appears that this issue does not involve Archie joining a “drop-out society” and leading Jughead through the Habitat to the Mountain of Judgment.

I apologize for any confusion.


P. 251 – Project Superpowers #5: I’ll cop to the fact that I haven’t read a single page of Project Superpowers thanks to my distaste for Alex Ross vanity projects, but I do see the covers when they come into the shop, and thus far, I’ve thought that the pairings they’ve been doing have been pretty interesting. This one, however: The Arrow (who shoots arrows) and the Target (who is a target)?



Well-played, Dynamite. Well-played.


P. 273 – The Eternally Hilarious DMP Yaoi Line: The Yaoi section of previews is always good for a few laughs, but I’m starting to get the feeling that somebody over at DMP was asleep on the job this week. I mean, the best tagline they’ve got this month is “More Than Just A Jam Session,” and that’s not even as good as the actual title of the series, Hard Rock.

It does, however, provide us with April’s number one interjection:


“Sweet Sexual Harassment!”


Try using it to add a bit of spice and creepiness to your next moment of surprise! Like, say, “Sweet Sexual Harassment! These Teddy Grahams are delicious!”


P. 322 – The Big Book of Barry Ween, Boy Genius: As hard as it might be to believe now, there was a time when Judd Winick’s comics were actually something to look forward to and enjoy, and that time can be pretty much boiled down to The Adventures of Barry Ween.

For those of you who haven’t read it, here’s the high concept: It’s Dexter’s Laboratory meets South Park. The titular hero is a ten year-old genius who, along with his porn-obsessed best friend Jeremy, gets into all sorts of shenanigans involving space/time portals in his basement and swears like a sailor while he’s at it, and as cliché as those elements are, it actually is pretty funny stuff that’s well worth reading.

Or at least, I think it is. To be fair, I haven’t gone back and read it in years, and odds are that I wouldn’t be able to give it a fair shake if I did, thanks to Winick’s abysmal track record with… well, pretty much everything he’s written for DC. But I can assure you: If 19 year-old Chris was here, he’d turn down the Vandals and give it a very high recommendation.


P. 331 – Atomic Robo TP: 25 year-old Chris, however, is far more likely to turn down the Pipettes and recommend this:



I’ve already covered this in the weekly reviews, but if you missed it, I’ll sum up: Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener’s Atomic Robo is just about everything I want in a comic book. It’s smart, funny, full of great action, and revolves around a team of
Action Scientists who bear a strong resemblance to the original GI Joe team. What more could you want?




P. 441 – The Apparel Section: It’s been a few months since there’s been anything really worth noting in the once-mighty Previews Apparel Section, but this month, someone was working overtime on the shirt descriptions:



Admittedly, “Team Rainbow” seems to be directed at a niche market, and the less said about “Fruit Punch” the better, but man, “Grievance?” That is gold.


P. 480 – Invisible Man Model Kit:



Wouldn’t it be awesome if this thing was just an empty box with a base in it?

I mean, I’d laugh.


And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for:

P. 502: The Worst Thing I Have Ever Seen:



Where do I even begin with this thing? How about we just go through the solicitation one more time and see if you can spot the number of things that are truly awful here? HINT: It’s the same as the number of aneurysms you’re going to have by the end of the paragraph!

Imported from Japan! From the weird and wonderful world of Tandem Twin, Yamato presents master sculptor Kouichi Yamazaki’s latest incarnation: Dog Bonnie! Inspired by the Golden Retriever, the submissive Bonnie is the perfect companion to Tandem Twin’s Dominant Dog Alma (previously released). Use the accompanying chain to create a themed display of Bonnie and Alma. Kneeling at approximately 7″ tall, Bonnie includes chain, base and a host of accessories: two interchangeable heads, two interchangeable breasts, eyeglasses and mask.

Sweet Sexual Harrassment. Congratulations, Previews. You win. And as always, thanks for keepin’ it classy, Japan.



And on that note, it’s time to call it a night. As always, feel free to let me know about anything that caught your eye in the comments section, but if I don’t respond, it’s because I decided to soak my hands in acid to erase the feeling of actually typing that last one out.

Chris vs. Previews: April 2008, Round One

It’s April, and down here in swampy South Carolina, that means that humidity’s on the rise and that the skies are prone to opening and unleashing monsoons at the drop of a hat, and that always puts me in mind of Al Jolson’s “April Showers,” as seen in Friz Freleng’s Curtain Razor:

Though April showers may come your way,
They bring the flowers that bloom in May;
And if it’s raining, have no regrets,
Because it isn’t raining when you know it’s raining violets…



What does this have to do with 561 pages of comics and merchandise offered up in this month’s Previews? Well, nothing, really; I just like the song. But there’ll be plenty of time for singing later–tonight belongs to yet another round of me slugging it out with the catalog to find out what’s worth buying and what’s worth leaving out in the rain!

Tonight, the major publishers.



Dark Horse Comics


P. 32 – Conan the Cimmerian #0: Under any normal circumstances, a comic book adaptation of a poem where someone returns home after an extended absence would be about as appealing as a kick in the teeth. This, however, is a poem about Conan, and twenty-six lines of free verse by Robert E. Howard are likely to have more bloodshed and carnage than the entire Michael Bay ouvre.

As for why Dark Horse is relaunching Conan with a new series, especially right after the adjectiveless Conan hits its landmark fiftieth issue, that continues to elude me. All I know is that Tim Truman’s been doing a fantastic job with the book–a pretty mean feat, considering how hard it must be to follow up a run as solid as Busiek and Nord’s–so for me, the number on the cover only serves to make sure I’m reading them in order.


P. 36 – Herbie Archive v.1: SAINTS BE PRAISED!



This, ladies and gentlemen, is the greatest piece of news in comic book history. Longtime ISB readers might recall that, like all right-minded people, I’ve been wanting a high-quality Herbie reprint for quite some time now, and here it is, with a release date right around my birthday. So, you know. You’re welcome.

And why did I want this so much? Because these stories are a) totally awesome, and b) completely insane. That’s really all there is to it: If you haven’t read Herbie before, then trust me: it will blow your mind, and fifty bucks is a smalll price to pay for the Fat fury’s earliest (and craziest) adventures. And if you have read Herbie before, well, you’ve probably ordered it already. Viva La Popnecker!


P.60 – Umbrella Academy Mug: Not that you’d know it from looking around the house here, but I’m actually trying to cut down on the amount of comics merch that I pick up, and thanks to my collection of Marvel Toon Tumblers, I’ve got more than enough containers to suit my beverage needs. And yes: Chocolate milk does taste better when you’re drinking from a glass with the Punisher on it.

This, however…



…is pretty awesome. In fact, the only way I think it’d be better is if that was written on the outside of the mug, so that you could offer it to guests and bask in their gratitude every time they took a drink.


DC Comics


P. 67 – Trinity #1: DC’s biggest news this month, of course, is the launch of Trinity, DC’s third year-long weekly series. Whether or not it’ll be their second good weekly series, though, is still up in the air.

And to be honest, the deck’s stacked against it. For one thing, we’re coming off of Countdown, which has gotten reviews that peak at “inoffensive” and average somewhere around “disappointing,” and while there’s no doubt that Kurt Busiek’s written some darn fine comics in the past, his recent work at DC’s left a lot to be desired. Or maybe I was the only one who was eventually bored right out of his mind by “Camelot Falls.”

But there’s another problem, too: Aside from the fact that it came out on time and was reasonably competent right up ’til the last few weeks, one of the biggest appeals of 52 was the focus on third-tier characters. It’d been a pretty long while since we’d seen Booster Gold, Steel or Animal Man doing anything worth noting, and for me at least, that helped the series to come off as a pretty fresh take. Trinity, however, is about Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and two of those characters already have three books a month, plus one that they already appear in together. I mean really: I like those guys as much as the next guy–and since you’re reading this on my three year-old daily comics blog, I think it’s safe to say that I probably like ’em way more than the next guy–but come on, man. There’s only so much we can take.

That said, I like Busiek enough to give him the same four-issue shot that I gave to Countdown, but I’ll be surprised if I end up reading it beyond that.


P. 68 – Final Crisis #2: From the solicitation:

Meet Japan’s number one pop culture heroes, the Super Young Team and their languid leader, Most Excellent Superbat! Join legendary wrestler Sonny Sumo and super escape artist Mister Miracle as they team to face the offspring of the Anti-Life Equation!

Well, that settles it: I’m pretty excited about Final Crisis.


P. 72 – Huntress: Year One #3: I meant to mention this one when the first issue was solicited last month, but this has got to be one of the most unnecessary comic books DC’s ever published. And considering what we’ve already seen tonight, that’s saying something.

It’s not that I have anything against the team on this one, but really: We already got this. Or at least, we’ve got Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood, which is a) a pretty definitive origin story for the Huntress, b) written by one of DC’s top writers, Greg Rucka, c) less than ten years old, and d) totally has Richard Dragon in it, and that’s good enough for me.

Unless, of course, we really do live in a world where the Huntress needs a six-issue origin story every eight years, in which case… No. That thought is far too terrifying to contemplate.


P. 90 – Manhunter #31:





P. 96 – JLA v.1 Deluxe Edition HC: Are you tired of highly affordable trade paperbacks of of gateway comics that represent the best a company has to offer? Then brother, have I got a deal for you!



Now, instead of paying a paltry eighteen dollars for the first nine issues of JLA, you can have them in hardcover for a mere $29.99! IT’S THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY!

Seriously, though: Despite the fact that I’ve owned these stories at least twice at this point, I’m totally getting this, as Morrison and Porter’s JLA represents one of the all-time great super-hero comics of all time. In fact, aside from Starman, OMAC, The Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League, the Fourth World Saga, and Suicide Squad, I can’t think of anything in the DCU that deserves the hardcover treatment more.


P. 135 – Batman Black & White: Jim Aparo: I’ve been curious to see what this thing looked like ever since they first announced that they were going to finally get around to doing a statue based on Jim Aparo’s work, and I’ve gotta say… I’m a little disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong: All things considered, this is a pretty good-looking statue, and from what I can tell in the picture, it looks like it does a nice job of capturing Aparo’s style, but as far as capturing the feel of his actual work? Not even close. After all, we’ve already got a ton of statues where Batman’s just standing around, and since Aparo mostly springs to mind for his habit of drawing Batman backhanding people so hard their faces explode…



…I think you can all guess what I was hoping for here.


Image Comics


P. 142 – War Heroes #1: The solicitation for this one asks if you’ve ever wondered what Mark Millar had planned for Ultimates 3, and while I’m pretty certain that said plan would’ve been “cash paychecks and wait for Hitch” like it’s always been, I can honestly say that the thought had never crossed my mind. I mean really: Once you’ve seen Captain America pull off the Flash Kick, what else is there?

That said, as much as I’ve been let down by Millar’s recent output at Marvel, I’m actually looking forward to this one. This is exactly the sort of thing that Millar excels at–you know, people with super-powers punching each other and speaking only in snappy dialogue–and Tony Harris isn’t exactly a slouch in the art department, either. I’m willing to give it a shot, even if I’m not quite sold on it.


P. 151 – Kill All Parents #1: This, however, pretty much sells itself:



A series about a government conspiracy to ensure super-powered children become heroes by engineering their tragic origin stories, written by the co-creator of the Amazing Joy Buzzards? Yes please!


Scud the Disposable Assassin: The Whole Shebang TP: Friends, the way I see it, you have a choice. IF you want to read eight hundred pages of comic books in one convenient package, you can take thirty bucks and get every issue of Scud–which, by the way, are comics from the guys who created Channel 101–or you can take three times that amount and get some crappy stories about Luke Skywalker from over on page 49.

Choose wisely, friends. I know I have.


Marvel Comics


P. 23 – Immortal Iron Fist #16: For those of you who haven’t heard yet, this issue’s going to be the last for co-writers Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. And clearly, this is a catastophe of biblical proportions, and I can only ask why?

I mean, I know why they’re leaving. Between the two of them, they’re writing Daredevil, Captain America, Uncanny X-Men, Invincible Iron Man, Punisher War Journal, Criminal, Casanova and a couple of Thor one-shots (including one solicited this month), and while that might look like the entirety of Marvel’s publishing schedule, it’s actually only about half.

So I guess what I’m saying here is, you know, if you want some new writers, Chad and I are available.


P. 24 – Eternals #1: So apparently, Neil Gaiman’s Eternals was successful enough to spawn a new ongoing series. This, as you might already know, is pretty shocking news, since it was probably one of the most boring comic books I have ever read.

Now the original, however… That’s a comic book with the word SPACE-GODS! written right there on the cover in giant red text, and while it’s no Devil Dinosaur, “boring” is certainly not the word that springs to mind.


P. 60 – Astonishing X-Men Sketchbook: With Warren Ellis relaunching Astonishing after Joss Whedon’s run, Simone Bianchi is coming on as the new artist, complete with some new costume designs, so let’s see here.

Huh. Those are, uh… Huh. Say, Kevin, you want to handle this one?



P. 65 – Wolverine #66: So. To review.



The most important Wolverine story of the 21st Century–which, if memory serves, still has 92 more years to go–is an imaginary alternate future where Wolverine has a crewcut and looks vaguely dyspeptic, and Hawkeye–get this–is blind.

Somehow, I get the feeling that that says a lot more about Wolverine than it does about the 21st Century.



And that’s the Majors! As always, if anything caught your eye on a trip through this month’s Previews, like the resolicitation of Jonathan Hickman’s Red Mass For Mars–feel free to tell me about it in the comments section below, and be sure to join us tomorrow for a look at the indies and the merch, which includes the worst thing I have ever seen

But before then, friend of the ISB and Hector Plasm writer Benito Cereno has a request:

I’ve decided that despite my love for all of Kirby’s original creations, it is a minor tragedy that we never saw Kirby’s take on Batman. Can you imagine Kirby (let’s say 70s-era Fourth World Kirby) doing whatever he wanted with Batman? My mind reels. Some artist out there whip it up for me.

No, wait, no one listens to me. Sims, if you’re reading this, have some of your readers whip this up. People do things when you ask.

Apparently, Benito’s under the impression that people actually listen to me and do what I say, but before we disabuse him of that, I would totally want to see that too. So get to it!

Chris vs. Previews: March 2008, Round Two

St. Patrick’s day is upon us like a hurricane of hood-bound leprechauns, and with the major publishers out of the way and off to the parade, it’s time to take a look at the back half of this month’s Previews.

Yeah, I know. The metaphors are getting pretty stretched here. Just have a little patience. A… Darby O’Gill and the Little Patience.

I’m so, so sorry for that one. Anyway, tonight belongs to the small press and the merchandise, and while that would normally involve me making fun of some of the t-shirts…



…but really, even I can’t make a joke out of a tragedy like that. But let’s see what else we’ve got to work with!





P.192 – Special Operations Report: And now, ladies and gentlemen, the greatest thing I have ever seen:



Your eyes do not deceive you, my friends: This is a magazine about counterterrorism tactics that is published by Wizard Entertainment. The mind boggles, and while we can only imagine what will result when the journalistic force of nature that is Wizard turns its attention to profiling the inner workings of America’s daring, highly trained special missions force and their constant battles against Destro, but I think it might go a little something like this.


P.214 – Helen Killer #2: And while we’re on the subject of the most awesome things ever, the ISB’s favorite unreleased comic is back for a second issue, and while there’s no new information in the solicitation, there is a new tidbit that’s come to light through other channels.

Over on the book’s MySpace page, the creators have taken note of my wholehearted endorsement of their premise (as well as reposting some of the funny comments that got left about it last month). What really caught my eye about this, though, was the fact that for the background, they’re using a shot of Helen in her underwear, wearing Matt Murdock’s glasses and holding a quarterstaff like a miracle-working ninja:



And once again, I am filled with the hope that this is going to be so so rad.


P.240 – Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #50: In May, Jim Balent’s going to be putting out the fiftieth witchity issue of the adventures of everyone’s favorite top-heavy spellcaster, but the big news here is what the friendly folks at Diamond had to say about it in their “Staff Picks” section over on page 200:


What these impressionable young men don’t know is that they just put down, quite possibly, the most female-empowering book in the whole shop.


To that, the ISB can only respond with: Really?

You can’t think of anything that sends a better message than this. Really. Nothing springs to mind? That’s the most female-empowering comic out there? REALLY?

In a related story, Manhunter‘ll be back in June.


P.276 – A Promise of Romance v.1: Look, I hate to nitpick DMP’s solicitations since they’ve given me so many hours of amusement in the past, but seriously, guys:



I’m pretty sure that’s the same old meaning of the word “androgyny” that we’ve had for quite some time now.


P.294 – Get Lost: I don’t like to overestimate my influence in the comics industry or anything, but really: with an OMAC hardcover on the way and the amount of brutal face-kickery on the rise every week, it’s not hard to think that at this point, they’re just making stuff for me. At least, that’s what I’ve become convinced of ever since I saw this, which is a parody of the Kurtzman-era MAD created by the co-creator of the Punisher, because that sounds scientifically designed to appeal to me.

Admittedly, most MAD knock-offs–except for my good friends and occasional employers at CRACKED of course–are remarkable only for their lack of quality, like the mostly-atrocious attempts that Marvel and DC had in the ’70s, but this is the first time I’ve seen anything that goes this far back, and considering that it’s been out of print in the fifty-five years since Bill Gaines sued it out of existence, curiosity alone makes it worth picking up.


P.321 – Salt Water Taffy: So here’s the thing: I remember purchasing Matthew Loux’s previous OGN, Sidescrollers, and I remember reading it, but I can’t for the life of me remember if I thought it was any good or not. I know that I had pretty strong feelings about it one way or another, and remember thinking that it was awfully reminiscent of Mallrats, but considering that I liked that movie a lot, that doesn’t tell me much.

If only there was some sort of detailed record of all the comics I read and what I thought of them, perhaps conveniently available online, with a search function built right in! Oh, to live in a magical future-world where such things are possible! For now, though, I guess I’ll just have to take a chance on this one, which shouldn’t be too hard, since it’s got a cover price of less than six bucks and promises at least one giant lobster. Seems like it could be fun, right?





P.495 – A Whole Page of Naked Lady Statues: Dear Japan,



Thanks for keepin’ it classy.





And that is more or less how it is for this month’s Previews. Hopefully, if you’ve decided to take any of my advice or try to figure out for yourself why anyone would mistake Tarot for anything other than witchity exploitation comics, your local shopkeep’ll cut you some slack on the deadline. In the meantime, if you spotted anything neat that you’d like to talk about–like the new Girl Genius trade–feel free to leave a comment.

Me, I’ve got smashin’ to get to.

Chris vs. Previews: March 2008, Round One

It’s St. Patrick’s Day Weekend, and what better way to celebrate the boozy haze of the one day a year when you’re actively encouraged to down a couple of Irish Carbombs before noon than with a look at five hundred pages of stuff you don’t need!



Sure, everybody and their brother has already gone through this month’s catalog, and the deadline was, uh, today, but I’m sure if you ask nicely, your friendly local shop will let you get your orders in for all of this month’s hits and misses.

Because like the man says, when Irish eyes are smiling, then you should order Iron Fist in trade. Or something like that. Probably best to just get on with it.



Dark Horse Comics


P.30 – Dayan Books: For the last couple of months, Dark Horse has been celebrating twenty years of publishing Manga by giving the prime spot in their solicitations over to their Japanese imports, and while that’s all well and good, I can’t understand why they didn’t lump this one in with last month’s titles. After all, that was when they were solicited horror titles like Gantz and the new MPD Psycho, and although thy list this as the kid-friendly adventures of a mischevious cat…



I think we can all agree that it is absolutely terrifying.

Special Bonus Horror: The Mind-Shattering Feast of the Murdermals:



P.38 – Postage Stamp Funnies: I’ll admit to being a sucker for things that have novel formats–like Jim Kreuger’s Clockmaker, a failed experiment that folded out to be four times the size of a normal comic, for instance–so the idea of a tiny set of slipcased 3.5 by 2-inch hardcovers featuring one-panel gags appeals to me right off the bat. Throw in the fact that it’s a tiny set of slipcased hardcovers that also has a fart joke right there on the cover, and brother, you just got yourself a sale.


P.45 – The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite TPB: I ended up enjoying this one a heck of a lot more than I thought I was going to, and with the release of a trade, that means it’s finally time for me to sell my run on eBay to emo kids at hugely inflated prices er, upgrade to a more convenient format.

Aw, who am I kidding? I gotta get paid, son! And if the kids’ll pay crazy money for that Coheed and Cambria thing from a few years back, then something from the front man of My Chemical Romance ought to bring me the riches of Croesus. Unless, of course, the value of the back issues is inversely proportionate to the quality of the band, and if that’s how it works, then Avenged Sevenfold better get some comics out toute suite.

Seriously, though, this is a book that opens with a group of super-kids fighting Zombie Robot Gustave Eiffel, and as shocking as it might be, the rest of the book not only lives up to the fun and excitement of a scene like that, but it actually surpasses it. It’s great stuff, and it’s beautifully drawn by Gabriel Ba, so give it a shot if you haven’t already. Unless, you know, you don’t want to read about a man with a gorilla body who lives on the moon and got super-powers from pro-wrestling. In which case, well, you know where the door is, pal.


P.60 – Bettie Page 6″ Statue:



Under normal circumstances, the fact that this statue is listed as being “sexy yet tasteful” would be the source of a joke, but, well, this is Previews, and when you consider its competition, that’s actually pretty accurate


DC Comics


P.70 – Final Crisis #1: Let’s be honest here, folks: I’ve been trying to avoid looking forward to Final Crisis at all for a variety of reasons, and while some of that has to do with the fact that they’re trying to bill it as “the final chapter in the Crisis trilogy” (which means we should probably go ahead and forget about Zero Hour: A Crisis In Time and Identity Crisis and the couple dozen Crises that came before those) it all boils down to the fact that DC hasn’t had a company-wide crossover that was actually worth getting excited about since DC One Million, and that was ten years ago.

Then again, that was also the last time that an “event” had Grant Morrison behind it, and when you throw in J.G. Jones on art, thus reuniting the team behind the ridiculously awesome Marvel Boy, this thing starts to have legs to it. What’s really sold me on it, though, have been Morrison’s interviews, particularly the one where someone asked him what set this Crisis apart from all the others and he told them that it’s got Anthro the First Boy on the first page and Kamandi the Last Boy on the last page. That, my friends, sounds awesome.

So yeah, I’m actually starting to get excited about this one, but man. You’d think I’d know better by now.


P.89 – The Brave and the Bold #13: According to this solicitation, “Batman and Jay Garrick stand against an android samurai with a bad attitude,” so I think it’s safe to say that Mark Waid is now plotting solely by Mad Libs. And now you too can have all the fun of scripting the adventures of your favorite super-heroes too! Here’s one that Kevin Church, who had no idea why I was asking him for a “threatening noun” did earlier:



And one of mine:



How about yours?



P.90 – Checkmate #26: So apparently, Greg Rucka’s leaving Checkmate after “Castling,” so that book needs a new writer. Meanwhile, John Ostrander’s awesome return to the Suicide Squad–a book that’s had a major influence on Checkmate in both tone and susbtance–with Raise the Flag concludes next month, leaving him free to take on new writing chores. So clearly, the logical choice here is to replace Rucka with… Bruce Jones? Really?

I mean, look: Not to get all fan-entitlement here, but for real, you guys, in the years since he’s come to DC fresh off a run on the Hulk that failed to actually feature the Hulk, he has yet to turn in script that even approaches anything above “readable.” Combine that with the fact that getting a return to Suicide Squad that defied my expectations by fitting right in with the top-notch original series, and the mind reels at what could’ve happened here. But then again, I don’t handle the assignments at DC–as evidenced by the lack of a book called Batman Versus Explosions on the publishing schedule–so I don’t know what’s in store. Heck, for all I know, there could be a resurrected Suicide Squad by Ostrander and Pina just waiting to come out the month after.

But man. Bruce Jones? I wouldn’t read a book by that guy if it was about Enemy Ace fighting dinosaurs (P.73). Great job, guys.


P.98 – Justice League International v.2: And speaking of the Suicide Squad, those of you who don’t already have it may want to take note: The second volume of JLI includes Squad #13, which crosses over and is almost unbearably awesome. Hopefully, this means that by August, everything that’s keeping us from getting that Showcase will finally be cleared up. Beyond that, though, you’re still getting Justice League International, the second-best team book of the ’80s, and that’s always worth it.

Also of note: This volume represents the most of JLI that’s ever been collected, finally beating the record previously held by 1992’s The Secret Gospel of Maxwell Lord, which made it up to #12 back in 1992. So just to clarify here, it’s taken sixteen years to get two more issues into print. Now if we can get a third volume of this thing, then we’ll be cookin’ with gas.


P.137 – Flash and Green Lantern “Let’s Hold Hands!” Statue:



Don’t miss next month’s Build-a-Scene offering, “Nightwing and Aqualad Skippin’ Through A Meadow.”


Image Comics


P.144 – Firebreather #1: Phil Hester is without a doubt one of the most profoundly underrated creators in comics, and while a lot of people have seen his art in books like Green Arrow, it’s his writing that never really gets the attention it deserves.

Case in point: Firebreather, the adventures of the teenage product of a one-night stand between a human woman and a giant rampaging kaiju monster that wants him to take up the family business, and that, my friends, is what we call a premise. It’s great, fun stuff that actually is what the solicitation says it is: a great mix of Savage Dragon and Invincible, and Andy Kunh’s artwork is a perfect fit. The first story is available in trade right at this very moment, so if the idea of reading exchanges like “Why are you riding a Barbie bike?” “Why are you dragging your headless evil twin robot down oak stree?” every month appeals to you–and it should–then give it a shot. It’s worth it.




P.21 – Avengers/Invaders #1: To put it mildly, I couldn’t care less about Alex Ross’s next year-long descent into fan-fiction, but there is something about this solicitation that caught my eye: Apparently, it’s being co-produced with Dynamite Entertainment…



…and I’m really not sure why. I mean, last time I checked, Marvel actually does own the Invaders, right? They didn’t sell off the rights to the Golden Age Human Torch during a night of debauchery or anything… did they?


P.35 – The Invincible Iron Man #1: Considering that they’ve got a movie about the guy coming out in May, it’s not really a shock that you’ll be able walk into your local comic book store and pick up no fewer than six comics about the guy, not including his appearances in team books. That, my friends, is a lot of Iron Man.

Unfortunately, Tony Stark has suffered as of late from the fact that he’s become a cryptofascist who locked his friends up without trials in the Negative Zone and paid the Titanium Man to attack Congress, and that’s going to present a bit of a problem when you want to offer up an accessable book about a likable character for folks wandering in after they see the film. Enter: Matt Fraction.

It’s no secret that I’m a pretty huge fan of Fraction’s work, but really, he seems like the perfect choice for revitalizing the character for the same reason that his work’s so enjoyable with Iron Fist. He’s mentioned before in interviews that his goal–and Ed Brubaker’s–for Danny Rand was to boil him down to his three-word core (“Kung Fu Billionaire”) and tell stories about that, and with Iron Man, you can whittle it down even further, like Kevin did recently, to “Catholic Batman.”

Plus, the three pages of previews that we’ve got in the solicitation have Iron Man a) in space, b) makin’ his love, and c) smashing a car, and I’m reasonably certain that that’s the 2008 version of “He Lives! He Walks! He conquers!”

Anyway, whether or not the market can actually support two ongoing Iron Man titles–and a slew of mini-series, including one written by Jon Favreau, of Elf fame–but I’m interested. After all, I like my Iron Man like I like my women: Drunk out of his mind and dropping mountains on Stingray.

I have very specific tastes.



And with that, it’s probably best to call it a night, but I’ll be back tomorrow for a look at the back half of the catalog.

In the meantime, if anything caught your eye–like the return of Todd Nauck’s Wildguard–feel free to leave a comment.