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.
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.
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!
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.
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.