Chris vs. Previews: November 2007, Round One

November has finally rolled in around here with its customary coldsnap, and while a lot of people are out there trying to get a jump on their holiday shopping, there are a few devilishly handsome and highly industrous folks who are already concerned with what they’re going to be buying three months from now.

I’m referring, of course, to me.



That’s right, folks: Another month means another 500 plus pages of comics and merchandise, and as always, I’m here to sort through it and find the stuff worth talking about, and this time, it’s only a mere two weeks after Mike Sterling already did it. So join us, folks, as we here at the ISB remember, remember the Fifth of November with this month’s offerings from the major publishers!



Dark Horse Comics


P. 24 – BPRD: 1946 #1: I’m pretty sure the record will show that I have a deep and abiding affection for Mike Mignola’s BPRD titles, but I’m even more excited than usual about this one, even with the move away from the (ab)normal cast. Why? Because this is a story about Hellboy’s dad fighting off a sinister Nazi plot called Project: Vampr Sturm, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned from Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s that good-hearted college professors and Nazi Occultists go together like chocolate and peanut butter.

Evil chocolate and diabolical peanut butter, maybe, but you know what I mean.

Plus, I get to make jokes like this:


Hey, Post WWII-era American GIs!
What’s your favorite kind of hip-hop?



See? Everybody’s a winner!


P. 32 – My Name Is Bruce: I’m genuinely surprised that my head didn’t explode from sheer joy when I heard there was a movie that could accurately be described as “Being John Malkovich meets The Three Amigos starring Bruce Campbell.” It should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody that BC’s been a hero of mine since the life-changing experience of seeing Army of Darkness when I was nine, and that’s such a fantastic concept (much like Bubba Ho-Tep) that it’s almost guaranteed to be fun, even if the execution (also like Bubba Ho-Tep) isn’t quite as good as you want it to be.

That said, the comic is a whole other story. Like I said, I love some Bruce Campbell in my life, but I’ve been burned before–and I’m looking at you here, Man With The Screaming Brain adaptation–and I’ve got to think that what makes Campbell so appealing and enjoyable in the movies–his delivery on the one-liners, his expressions, his great gift for physical comedy–works a lot better when it’s actually him onscreen than when it’s just a drawing.


P. 39 – Al Capp’s Complete Shmoo: I’ll be honest, folks: I know next to nothing about Shmoon–and for that matter, about the rest of Al Capp’s work, as his major contribution to my reading has been a quote on the nature of comedy that I follow to this very day–but seeing this here just begs the question:

Is there any concievable reason why we haven’t gotten an archive of Herbie: The Fat Fury?


P. 41 – Empowered v. 3:



This solicitation features a pullquote form Rack Raider / Seven Hellion / all-around swell guy Devon Sanders (and really, if you haven’t already, listen to the guy and grab a copy already), but the bigger news here is that mankind has finally advanced to the point where we can support three 200+ page Adam Warren OGNs (and a Warren-scripted six-issue mini-series) in less than one year.

And just think: All this time I thought he was just a slow artist when he was really just holding back so that society wouldn’t be crushe dunder the weight of all that awesome.

Truly, we are living in a finer world.


DC Comics


P. 72 – Bat Lash #2: So you guys remember how last month, I said that a Bat Lash relaunch under Sergio Aragones, Peter Brandvold, John Severin and Walt Simonson was, and I quote, “more than I could’ve hoped for?” Well in this issue…





It’s like they’re writing it just for me.


P. 78 – Superman Confidential #11: I’m not a huge fan of B. Clay Moore, and I pretty much wrote Superman Confidential off when the Darwyn Cooke/Tim Sale story I was reading it for took about a year to not finish, but, uh… this appears to be a story where Superman and Jimmy Olsen eam up to fight luchadores. Drawn by Phil Hester.

So, uh… yeah. I’m gonna need that.


P. 92 – Justice League International HC: For those of you keeping score at home, this marks the third time (at least) that we’ve gotten a trade of Justice League / JLI #1-7, and the zeroth time that we’ve gotten a trade of anything past the first two story arcs.

You’re breakin’ my heart here, DC. Why must you deny a whole new generation of readers the pure joy that is “The Teasdeale Imperative?”


Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus v.4: It might come as a surprise, given my love of Jack Kirby in general and the Fourth World in particular–or it might not, given how hard they are to come by–but I’ve never even seen a copy of Hunger Dogs, Kirby’s final Fourth World epic from the mid-’80s, and finally getting it in the Omnibus format to cap off the entire saga has me more excited than anything else DC’s putting out this month, even given the presence of bear-fighting and luchadores.

What exactly it says about DC that I’m more excited about something that originally came out 22 years ago than anything hitting the shelves next January, that’s for you guys to decide, but, well, this is the Hunger Dogs we’re talking about here.


P. 123 – Northlanders #2: When I first saw the soliciation for this issue, I could’ve sworn that this



actually said “Brian Wood’s Epic Fucking Tale Continues!” Admittedly, all it took was one quick double-take to set me straight, but still, it was pretty eye-catching, so if any of you happen to work in DC’s marketing department and want a new way to generate some excitement, you might want to look into swearing.


P. 131 – Showcase Presents Action Figures: Okay, time for a serious question: Who the heck is out there buying all these Hawkman action figures? There’s like fifteen of them, and–and this is the important part here–they’re all of Hawkman.

Regardless, while I’m doing my best to resist buying DC Directs that don’t feature the words “Jack” or “Kirby” in their titles, there’s one in this wave that is sorely tempting. Longtime ISB readers may already know which, considering that there was a time just after the first Superman Showcase came out where I came dangerously close to devoting the ISB entirely to this guy (and pretty much did for about a month anyway).

I speak of course of the regal majesty that is… Lion Head Superman:



Yeah, that’s right: I lensflared it. Just be glad I didn’t add in the sound effect.


Image Comics


P. 136 – Youngblood #1: “Before the Authority… before the Ultimates.. there was Youngblood!

Yeah. And the difference there is that The Authority and The Ultimates are both, you know, good.

But then again, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this didn’t have me at least a little intrigued. After all, I’ve been having a pretty good time with Joe Casey’s recent work on Godland, and I’ve got to say that from the very little I’ve seen of Derec Donovan’s art, it looks pretty appealing. Of course, this is Youngblood we’re talking about, but it’s a Youngblood with two characters created by Alan Moore on the roster (although seriously, where’s Big Brother?) and during Moore’s all-too-brief run on the title years ago, he proved that it was possible to tell good stories with them.

Of course, Moore also proved that it’s possible to tell truly phenomenal stories about a swamp monster and his girlfriend hanging out in a swamp, but you guys know what I mean.

I’d be willing to give it a shot if it wasn’t for the stigma of the artistically bankrupt Rob Liefeld attached to it. Even if he doesn’t have anything to do with the actual book and just does the variant cover (or “shelf-clogger,” as it’s known in the industry), I’m sure he still gets a chunk of change from it, and I’d really rather not give any more money to that guy than I already have. What do you think, readers?


Marvel Comics


P. 7 – Ultimate Human #1: I originally skipped right over this one on my first read-through of Previews, mostly because with the end of Ultimates 2, I’m pretty much out of the Ultimate Universe entirely. Well, that and the fact that the last time we were promised a mini-series about Ultimate Hulk, we got two plus years of nothing and a shitty third season of Lost.

In any case, when I took a closer look at it the second time, I added it to the order for two pretty obvious reasons: Warren Ellis and Cary Nord. Ellis, of course, needs no introduction here on the Internet that he rules with an iron fist, and given that I’ve enjoyed most of his Ultimate work and all of his Iron Man stuff, I’ve got hopes that he’ll do his usual (which is to say highly entertaining) job with this one.

The real selling point, though, is the art, because with ex-Conan artist and ISB favorite Cary Nord handling pencils, there’s a very slight–but very awesome–chance that this is going to open with the Hulk decapitating a Vanirman.


P. 24 – Captain America #34: So. To review: The biggest news from Marvel this month–their earth-shattering bombshell that promised to break the Internet in half–was that Captain America, their ongoing series about Captain America, was going to start featuring… Captain America.

Well. Thanks for the update, guys. Let me know when you get that whole “sky blue, water wet” thing figured out.

But I kid. The real hubub stems from the fact that the Cap showing up next year is this guy:



Apparently, the major consternation on the Message Board Circuit stems from the fact that Cap’s packing a roscoe (although not, apparently, a belt) which, really, is no big deal. I mean first off, the guy’s a soldier, and I’m pretty sure soldiers carry guns at least part of the time, and secondly, it’s not like it’s actually Steve Rogers or anything. That guy won’t be back ’til Cap #50.

Anyway, like most message board discussions, this one misses the larger issue at work here, which is this: That costume is fucking awful.

Look, Alex Ross: We get it, okay? You figured out how to paint shiny things, and I’m sure that was very impressive when you designed the Silver Agent twelve years ago, but this time, you didn’t even give us a guy who can bend over to tie his shoes without stabbing himself in the crotch with his pointy metal chestplate. And then there’s the one-piece black jumpsuit with the built-in holsters and Mickey Mouse gloves that’s honestly just laughable. On one level, though, it’s almost impressive: I mean, you have to work pretty damn hard to beat this, but congratulations: You’ve done it.


P. 32 – House of M: Avengers #3: So you guys remember how I’ve been on the fence over the past couple of months about whether I was going to pick up Christos Gage and Mike Perkins’ House of M: Avengers? Yeah, well…



…I guess that settles that.


P. 39 – Hulk #1: According to the solicitation, this issue’s brought to you by “a brand new team who loves the Hulk as much as you do,” and I’ve got to admit that I have no doubt whatsoever that’s completely true, I’m just pretty surprised that that was the only requirement for getting the job. I mean, really? Because if all you guys want is somebody that really likes the Hulk, then I’d just like to mention three things:

1) I’m available.
2) I work cheap.
3) I did not write some of the worst mainstream comics of the past ten years. Yet.


P. 66 – What If? Spider-Man vs. Wolverine: Just so nobody gets the idea that my thoughts of Marvel this month are all full of bitterness and spite, I’d just like to point out that I’m really looking forward about this one. The original Spider-Man vs. Wolverine‘s been one of my all-time favorites ever since I first got it as part of one of those random-ass “HEre, you like these” boxes that every comics reader gets as a birthday present at some point during their childhood, and I still think of it as Jim Owsley/Christopher Priest’s best work.

And yet, I’ve never thought that it quite got the attention it deserved, which is why it’s so exciting about seeing Paul Tobin (of Banana Sunday fame) and Jeff Parker (of Agents of Atlas and The Best Avengers Story Ever) take a shot at it.


P. 85 – Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Daring Mystery v.1: You know, as much fun as I have leafing through those crazy old Golden Age stories, I probably shouldn’t get this one. After all, it’s sixty bucks, and to be honest, I still haven’t finished the USA Comics Masterwork I picked up months ago, so I really can’t justif–wait…

What’s this? “The Phantom Bullet, scourge of the underworld, faces off against a dastardly band of head hunters.”




And finally, that takes care of the majors. But just think: If I’ve got this much anger directed at the major publishers this month, can the small press and the merchandise possibly survive?! Find out tomorrow!

Chris vs. Previews: October 2007, Round Two

Brace yourselves: It’s another hard-hitting look at this month’s Previews catalog, and while last night’s installment went up against the major publishers, there’s still half a catalog to get through!

Now normally, this is where I’d pause to make a quick joke about the dreaded apparel section, but I’m just not sure there’s anything in there I can make fun of. What do you think, Bernard?



Ah yes. Truly, you are the voice of a generation. Let’s just get on with it.





P. 228 – Veronica #186: BEHOLD! The Archmullet!



Even the strongest of men–which in this case would be Moose Mason–weep openly at its Titian majesty.


P. 238 – Black Summer John Horus Figure:



I’m pretty sure this one took us all by surprise, given that Warren Ellis characters–let alone ones that murder the entire Executive Branch in their first appearance–don’t generally get made into happy-ass mitten-handed Mego simulacra, but I guess I should just be glad that Avatar’s pouring their money into this thing rather than, I dunno, a cover with Lady Death and Pandora in a soul-crushing attempt at being “sexy.”


P. 240 – Lady Death vs. Pandora #1 Super Sexy Edition:



…Oh. Well, nevermind then.


P. 244 – Cover Girl TP: I’m pretty sure he was drunk–since he was, y’know, awake–but comics blogger and Cover Girl cowriter Kevin Church threatened to drive down here and beat me with a sack full of Bloodstrike if I did not draw your attention to the trade for the series, solicited this month from BOOM! Studios.

Threats of back issue-related violence aside, though, Cover Girl actually is an action-packed story with a lot of fun to it that stays thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish at a pretty reasonable $14.99. Add it to your bookshelf and support the idea that people who crack jokes about comics on the Internet really oughtta be writing the darn things.


P. 257 – Superpowered #0: Man, is this the month for people revamping Golden Age books or what? Still, I can’t shake the feeling that the art for this one in particular really reminds me of something… But what?


“OBJECTION! Do you really think this’ll be better than when Alan Moore did the exact same thing?


Oh yeah! That’s what it was.


P. 262 – Dark Xena TP: Normally I’d write a joke here, but my mere attempts at humor could not even begin to hold up next to the majesty that is Dark Xena. Just go ahead and throw away all your other comics: This is the only one you really need.


P. 270 – GI Joe vs. Transformers Omnibus: And this month’s award for the most Overenthusiastic Pull-Quote goes to…

“The strength of this comic remains that it knows exactly who it’s being written for–the fans of both the ‘Real American Heroes’ and ‘Robots in Disguise.’ It’s like a love letter to two great franchises.”

You know, I’ve never really considered “written for Transformers fans” to be what you’d call a strength, but I suppose you take what you can get.


P. 330 – Jenna Jameson’s Shadow Hunter: I sincerely hope that I don’t have to explain to anybody out there why this



…is not a good idea, but I will say this: Really, Virgin Comics? You’ve got a comic “created” by Jenna Jameson and you’re going to list her as a “best-selling author and entrepeneur?” Really? That’s what you want us to think she’s known for? Not, say, her groundbreaking work in Where The Boys Aren’t 7, Philmore Butts Taking Care of Business, or Grand Theft Auto: Vice City? Really?

Man, Virgin Comics. Your marketing strategy continues to elude me.




p. 380 – Robert E. Howard and Two-Gun Bob: Those of you who keep up with Dark Horse’s Conan series in trades might not be familiar with Jim and Ruth Keegan, but I can assure you that The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob–comic strips wherein the Keegans illustrate a piece of Robert E. Howard’s life taken from his letters to guys like H.P. Lovecraft–are like the tasty dessert that follows a hearty meal of Barbarian Savagery.

Sadly, this isn’t the Two-Gun Bob collection that I thought it was at first glance, but it’s worth dropping ten bucks just to see more of their work from The Best of Robert E. Howard and what the solicitation copy describes as “two splendid examples” of the strip.





P. 410 – Death of Superman Commemorative T-Shirt: Just a reminder from the Previews T-Shirt Model All-Stars:




And now, the real horror-show: Merch


P. 446 – Rock Iconz Rob Halford Statue:



Look, I realize that I make fun of the statues in Previews a lot, and in fact, I plan on continuing that course of action in about seven pages. All I’m saying is that maybe if more of them were inspired by the masterful work of Judas Priest, that wouldn’t happen so much.


P. 454 – Princess Leia Animated Life-Size Monument: And now, the one you’ve all been waiting for:



For those of you who busy trying desperately to make sense of a world gone mad, allow me to confirm your mind-shattering suspicions: This is indeed a five and a half foot-tall representation of what Princess Leia from Star Wars would look like if she was a cartoon, and is referred to as a Monument rather than a statue, presumably owing to the fact that it will serve to memorialize the buyer’s hopes of ever actually losing his virginity.

And it is eight hundred dollars. So yes, dear reader: You can put a price on dignity.


P. 464 – Various Japanese Candies: After that last one, I think we could all use a little comfort food, but normally, not even I would be willing to eat something you can buy in a comic book store that’s marketed towards people who feel the need to tie pieces of metal to their heads to show their misguided love of ninjas. But for real, you guys? Pocky and Rice Candy are good. Real Good!


P. 489 – Capcom Girls Collection: Poison Figure: Here’s a mildly interesting bit of trivia for you: Poison here originally made her first appearance in the Japanese version of Final Fight, which is commonly considered the single greatest video game where you could play as a shirtless mayor who essentially abdicated to spend his time beating the living hell out of juvenile delinquents.

Once the game hit America and the Super NES, however, Nintendo’s notoriously skittish censorship department decided that it probably wasn’t a good idea to have a game where shirtless politicians hit scantily-clad women with lead pipes, and so Poison (and her sprite-sister Roxy) were changed to the mincing Billy and Sid, which opened up a whole other can of worms. Eventually, though, equality reigned, and Poison and her Nazi hat returned as a playable character later on in the series.

And now you know… the rest of the story.



And that about wraps it up from the only comics blog that’s not afraid to reference Paul Harvey while talking about Final Fight for this month, but if anything caught your eye–like the Yotsuba Kiowai action figure that’s going to look awesome once I get it home and put it next to Super Hero Squad Galactus–feel free to let me know.

As for me, I’m heading to sleep, but not before I do my level best to blast all memories of that Princess Leia monument right out of my memory! Come on, gin! We’ve got work to do!

Chris vs. Previews: October 2007, Round One

Despite the fact that I’ve already addressed my major gripe in last night’s installment, the solicitation for the Essential (and lacking) Power Man and Iron Fist is but one of over 526 pages worth of comics and merchandise to appear in October’s suitably spine-tingling catalog from the friendly folks over at Diamond.

You hear that, Previews? I’m not done with you yet!



That’s right, folks: Keep your left up and watch the jab as we kick off another spoooooky month with a two-fisted rundown of the major publishers in the first round of this month’s Chris vs. Previews!



Dark Horse Comics


P. 23 – Buffy the Vampire Slayer #9: Because sometimes, you’ve just gotta put a naked Eliza Dushku on the cover of your comic book.



It’s the way of the world, folks. And here at the ISB, we fully support those efforts.

P. 51 – Dredd vs. Death Statue:



Admittedly, my experience with Judge Dredd is pretty lacking and while this thing does look pretty kickass, I’ve got to wonder: If you’re really going to immortalize a scene of Judge Dredd fighting one of the Dark Judges in a statue, wouldn’t you really want it to be this one?


(Click for a larger image, citizen! It’s the Law!)


DC Cmics


P. 65 – Bat Lash #1: Long-time ISB readers will recall that before I dropped Jonah Hex for its increasing and repulsive reliance on rape as a plot point, I was really enjoying having an action-oriented DC Western around, and given how entertaining the Bat Lash issue of Jonah Hex was, I was hoping he’d show up again soon. But this?



That appears to be the dapper dandy of the Wild West in imminent danger of being executed by Bruce Campbell, as drawn by Walt Simonson for a book written by Sergio Aragones and drawn by Western legend John Severin. And that, my friends, is more than I could’ve possibly hoped for.


P. 70 – Nightwing #139: From the solicitation copy:

Is this the Nightwing vs. Robin battle that we’ve all been dreading?

I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t even begin to count the nights that I have lain in bed at night, unable to sleep for the constant, all-consuming fear that Robin and Nightwing would fight. I don’t talk about it much, but some days, it’s all I can do to get up in the morning and face a world where that is even a remote possibility.

Thank you, DC Marketing Department, for showing me that I am not alone.


P. 84 – Legion of Super-Heroes #37:



One of the bigger pieces of news over the past couple months–at least for the die-hard devotees of Bizarro Computo and Hate Face–is that veteran LOSH writer and legendary Marvel EIC Jim Shooter would be returning to the series where he got his start writing comics at age 13, and while I hate to say it, I’m a little apprehensive about it.

On the one hand, this is Jim Shooter we’re talking about. The guy who created Karate Kid. The guy who put Stern and Romita on Amazing Spider-Man and Walt Simonson on Thor. The guy whose page layouts for Legion stories were so good as a teenager that Curt Swan–Curt Freakin’ Swan!–used them when he pencilled the stories.

On the other hand, well, you’ve got Valiant, Defiant and Broadway, and the fact that he gave an interview where he said that he hasn’t kept up with the Legion at all since he left the book over 30 years ago doesn’t really give me that much hope either. It’s the same way that I felt about Mark Waid’s return to the Flash (which seems to be bearing out my misgivings) and John Ostrandr’s to Suicide Squad (which I’ve loved so far), so it looks like we’re at an impasse until December.

Not that it really matters much to me, of course. At this point–with twelve archives and a couple hundred issues taking up space at ISB Headquarters–I’ve pretty much committed to getting the book regardless, and with the exception of a couple of oddball costume designs, Francis Manapul’s art looks pretty darn good. I’m just sayin’, it’d just be nice if it was awesome.


P. 90 – JSA Presents Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. v.1 and 2: Despite the fact that I’ve been pretty down on Geoff Johns for the past couple of years, I still really enjoy some of his earliest work on a great little series that pretty much nobody read, and it’s nice to see it finally being reprinted in its entirety. That said, though, I’ve got to imagine that this would’ve been a lot more accessable–given its kid-friendly writing, Lee Moder’s fun art style and the surprising lack of dismemberment from Johns–if DC had done it as a pair of manga-sized digests rather than a couple of eighteen-dollar trades.

Then again, I also think that they shouldn’t let Starman, Suicide Squad, Warren Ellis Stormwatch, and Hitman stay out of print for years at a time. So really, what do I know?


P. 92 – Tales of the New Gods: All things considered, you’re probably a lot better off hitting the back issue bins and putting together a run of Orion than getting this trade, but if you have no other way of reading the story of the Green Lantern of Apokolips (from Orion #18), then I suggest you grab it and enjoy the face-rocking that will result.

Of course, you’ll also get a Jeph Loeb/Rob Liefeld classic that goes a little somethin’ like-ah this



…but you’d end up with that one either way.


P. 102 – Presents v.2: How ya doin’, Presents?



Yep. Still terrifying.


P. 112 – Northlanders #1: If you’re like me–and really, who isn’t?–then I imagine you’ve often found yourself reading through DMZ or Local and thinking “Man, this is great stuff, but it’d be way more awesome if these guys pulled out broadswords and started wailing on each other.”



Thanks to Brian Wood’s new epic of Viking revenge, my friends, that day has arrived.


Image Comics

P. 138 – The Next Issue Project #1: Fantastic Comics #24: You might remember that we here at the ISB have been pretty big fans of the unstoppably ridiculous Stardust the Super-Wizard ever since I picked up Paul Karasik’s awesome I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets, but when I first heard about the Next Issue Project, I wasn’t sure what to think. I’ve got my doubts that anyone can really capture the true insanity that Fletcher Hanks was working with on Stardust, and an overly serious attempt at reviving those characters could go wrong pretty easily.

The more I thought about it, though–and the more I looked at the list of creators working on it–the more I realized that this actually was a pretty good idea: Say what you want about Erik Larsen, but the guy actually does seem like he has fun with comics, and his art style would be perfect for Stardust (no offense), and even if he works on one of the other characters involved, there’s Tom Scioli, Mike Allred, Fred Hembeck, and heck, even Howard Chaykin, although I’m not sure where the Super Wizard would find a paisley suit.

It looks like it could be a lot of fun, and even just writing about it now–Mike Allred on Stardust! How awesome would that be?–I’m just getting more excited about it.


Marvel Comics


P. 14 – Amazing Spider-Man #546-548:



The biggest news from Marvel is, of course, the switch to publishing Amazing Spider-Man three times a month with a rotating creative team rather than having three monthly titles–which is pretty much the same thing–and I’ve gotta say, I get the feeling that this is a bad idea.

Not the part where they put Dan Slott and Steve McNiven on a Spider-Man book; that part is great. And it’s got its benefits on paper too, since a book called Amazing Spider-Man is always going to outsell one called Spectacular or Friendly Neighborhood, if only to people who are just buying it out of habit. But really, I can’t help but imagine that the quality level is going to be incredibly inconsistent from month to month. I mean, I like Dan Slott a heck of a lot, and I’m willing to give Bob Gale the benefit of the doubt (what with the fact that he wrote Back to the Future and one of my favorite Christmas comics), but Zeb Wells doesn’t really do anything for me, and I’ve never read a comic by Marc Guggenheim that I thought was actually any good.

Add that to the fact that the rotating art team involves Phil Jiminez–who sacrificed quality for deadlines in Infinite Crisis–and Steve McNiven–who worked on an absolutely beautiful 7-issue series that took a year to come out–and I can’t imagine that we’re going to be getting these guys as advertised for very long before we take the side-road into fill-in country or see “thrice monthly” turn into “y’know, whenever.”

That said, I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out. Trust me, I want there to be good Spider-Man comics more than anybody, and leading off with Slott and McNiven seems like a surefire way to actually get them.


P. 33 – The Hulk vs. Fin Fang Foom One-Shot: I initially skipped right over this one, only pausing to note that listing an artist as “TBA” in the solicitation copy is probably not a good sign, but on my second read, I realized that this thing was actually about the Hulk fighting Fin Fang Foom, and immediately found myself interested. I mean, sure it’s by Peter David, but that’s got to be a story that lends itself more to punches than puns, so I’m more than willing to take the chance.

Now if only they’d spelled “your” right in the ad copy. Oh Marvel… What are we gonna do with you?


P. 57 – The Twelve #0: And on the flipside to The Next Issue Project, we have this thing, wherein the bat-shit crazy heroes of Marvel’s Golden Age–like our old pal Rockman the Underground Secret Agent–are revitalized for the modern reader by the alleged visionnary who brought you Spider-Man’s boneclaws, Gwen Stacy’s illegitimate ninja goblin babies, and a Thor comic where nothing happens.

I’ll let you guys figure out for yourselves which one I’m skipping.


P. 59 – What If… Civil War: Huh. Written by Ed Brubaker, Christos Gage, and Kevin Grevioux. So I guess this thing is asking What If Civil War Was Actually Any Good, am I right?!


P. 106 – What If… Classic v.4: And while we’re on the subject, take a good look at this:



I’ve mentioned my distaste for What If before, centering mostly on the all-out lying that goes on in the story titles. In “What if the Punisher’s Family Hadn’t Died,” for instance, the Punisher’s family dies, and seriously, that’s violating your premise right off the bat. That said, the issue they’re using for the cover of v.4 depicts the Hulk in the throes of a barbarian rage, complete with loincloth and axe, going apeshit on whatever gets in his way.

I’ll give you three guesses what totally fails to happen in that issue.

Yeah. Believe it or not, “What if the Hulk became a Barbarian” suffers from a complete and utter lack of the Hulk becoming a Barbarian, instead telling the story of what would’ve happened if Jarella hadn’t died, which involves the Hulk having Bruce Banner’s intelligence and therefore actually being less savage than normal!

Fortunately, we already know what would’ve happened in that instance, so I guess it all ended up working out okay. Still, though. Infuriating.


P. 109 – Essential Power Man and Iron Fist v.1: We have already spoken of this… this travesty.



Now good day, Marvel Comics.




And I should probably go ahead and end it there before my anger leads me to quote lesser Gene Wilder movies. In any case, be here tomorrow for a spine-tingling look at the rest of the catalog, including a look at one of the most mind-boggling pieces of merchandise and a visit from the Previews T-Shirt Model Players.

Do not miss it!

Chris vs. Previews: September 2007, Round Two

Last night, the ISB fought it out with the major publishers, which means that tonight belongs to the second half of the catalog in my monthy assault on all things Previews. This means, of course, that I’ll not only be going through the small press, but the harrowing merchandise section as well, and while both Sterling and Lartigue have already covered it, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this little gem:



Even putting aside the fact that this thing features a “removable dress” and that the “dynamic kicking pose” pretty much translates to advertising by vagina, this thing just… well, jumps right out at you. It may not be obvious from the scans, but that’s a full-page ad on a right-hand page, which means that when you’re, say, leafing through the catalog looking for things to make fun of, you’re pretty much ambushed by plastic ladyparts in a surprise attack that’s equal parts hilarious and depressing.

And incidentally, it’s listed as having “MATURE THEMES.” So there’s that.

But maybe we should just move on! After all, with that thing to lead things off, what other horrors lurk within this month’s catalog? Read on… if you dare!





P. 213 – Azumanga Daioh Omnibus Edition: I picked up the first volume of Azumanga Daioh last week, based almost entirely on the strength of Kiyohiko Azuma’s Yotsuba&!, which is easily one of the funniest and most charming comics that I’ve ever read. This one, however, fell pretty flat for me. I’m not sure whether it’s the difference in format–with Azumanga Daioh done in four-panel strips–or if the majority of the jokes just don’t translate well, but there are vast sections that just come off as nonsensical and abrupt rather than building towards anything that would warrant a rimshot.

That said, there are a couple of good laughs further in–especially as Azuma builds recurring jokes and plays off his strength at crafting engaging, oddball characters–but that just adds to my confusion about the series. Thus, I put it to you, loyal reader: Does it get better, or is it pretty much like this all the way through? Or, and this is purely hypothetical here, is it just me?


P. 216 – Everybody Cosplay!: I’m good, thanks.


P. 217 – Red Eye, Black Eye: No joke here, just a bit of general advice in case you missed it the first time I reviewed K. Thor Jensen’s Red Eye, Black Eye: It’s a phenomenal and absolutely hilarious comic, and if you haven’t already grabbed a copy, it’s still available to order from your favorite comic book store or online retailer. And believe me, it is well worth it.


P. 225 – The Engineer #1: Ever since Mouse Guard hit big last year as the darling of the comics blogger internet, I’ve been paying closer attention to the Archaia Studios section, and now, I think it may have paid off, because I seriously got halfway through this solicitation–to the part where it talks about how the main character travels through dimensions using a cosmic pipe organ, if you want to get specific about it–and this thing pretty much ordered itself.


P. 231 – Tales From Riverdale Digest #25: Readers of the ISB often wonder why I find myself so enamored with Archie Comics, considering that they often lack bear-fighting, kicks to the face, and recognizeable punchlines. To those people, I can only offer this:



That, my friends, is a story where mild-mannered science nerd Dilton Doiley gets one of Reggie Mantle’s old jackets, and promptly turns evil. Or at least, the Riverdale equivalent of evil, which is more like mild annoyance, but still. And it’s called… “Denim.” And that is genius.


P. 254 – Salem #0: When I first read through Previews last week, I breezed right through this one, but today, this little bit caught my eye:



That’s right: This story of Colonial-era witchcraft in the grand pulp adventure style of Robert E. Howard is being brought to you by Chris Morgan, the writer of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which I’m pretty sure we can all agree is the pinnacle of modern cinema. And what’s more, in the interview that accompanies the ad, Morgan has this to say:

You may be surprised to learn that the climax of SALEM involves a 14′ tall witch made of brambles and thorns outdrifting Vin Diesel in a cherry ’05 Skyline.

I’m going to be totally serious for a second here, folks: If that was true, this would be the greatest comic book ever made.

P. 280 – Hack/Slash #6: I’ve never been a fan of horror movies, which is probably the reason why I’ve never never gotten into Tim Seeley’s Hack/Slash, despite the fact that I actually do think he’s a pretty talented artist working with a pretty interesting premise here. The problem–for me anyway–is that the series, much like the movies that provide its backdrop, tends to take itself a little too seriously, but with this issue, it looks like that’s not really a concern.

It is, after all, an Archie parody set in a town called Haverhill–the real-life city in Massachusetts that Riverdale was based on–and to be honest, Seeley’s parody/homage to the infamous internet classic that is Betty and Me #16 might make it worth the purchase alone.


P. 328 – A Treasury of Victorian Murder v.4: The Fatal Bullet: If there is anything in this catalog that seems to have been printed specifically to meet my interests, it is this: A story recounting the murder of President James Garfield by Charles Guiteau–the only Presidential assassination to inspire works by both Sarah Vowell AND Johnny Cash–written and drawn by the artist of Bob Burden’s Gumby comics.

Your mileage may vary, but around here, we call that awesome.


P. 367 – Dan Dare #1: I realize that this is coming hot on the heels of last month’s assertion that I have no idea what the hell is going on at Virgin Comics, but this is actually something I think I can get behind:



I know virtually nothing about Dan Dare, but from the solicitation copy, it seems like this one might fall into the same vein as last year’s awesome-but-overlooked Battler Briton in that it’s Ennis taking on a classic British comics character that he actually seems to have some affection for. Don’t get me wrong: I like Ennis a lot, but Battler Briton was the first time since I read through Hitman that it seemed like his love of comics was shining through, rather than just a love of violence and swearing.

Of course, there is the distinct possibility that I’m wrong, and this issue’ll open up with Dan Dare dropping f-bombs while punching out a nun or something. But really, if it is, then it’s probably my fault for not seeing that one coming.




P. 424 – Metal Men Metallix T-Shirts:



When it comes to comic book t-shirts, I’ve always been a fan of the slightly more obscure plain logo over shots of the characters themselves, and with the Metal Men, it looks like Graffiti Designs has finally put their beloved Metallix technology to use on the one group of characters that it actually works with, and I’ve got to say, I think they’re pretty neat.

In fact, between this and the Value Stamp-Inspired shirt on the next page, I’m starting to think that the ol’ Previews Apparel section might be making a turn for the better! Maybe this is where it all comes together, and we start getting interesting designs that make sense instead of–

P. 425 – Punisher Neon Green Symbol Black T-Shirt:



…Oh. Well, nevermind then.



And with that, we close the catalog for another month. As always, if you spotted anything interesting in the catalog, or you just want to speculate on how long it’ll be before Dynamite’s Xena: Warrior Princess trade paperback fully supercedes all modern religious texts, feel free to let me know about it in the comments section below.

Chris vs. Previews: September 2007, Round One

As those of you with real jobs may have noticed from the fact that you didn’t have to go to work, last Monday was Labor Day, and before I came down with the plague last week, I decided to celebrate appropriately. After all, for today’s modern jet-set comics reader, there’s nothing more laborious than having to go through the five hundred-page monster men call… The Previews Catalog.



Yeah, I know: That opening would’ve worked a lot better last week, but darn it, this is the ISB and we don’t re-write our segues around here, no matter how ridiculous they’re getting!

Maybe it’s best if we just move on with another no-holds-barred look at this month’s solicitations! Tonight, it’s the major publishers, and only one of us is gettin’ out in one piece!



Dark Horse Comics


P. 37 – The Goon Fancy Pants v.2: The Rise and Fall of the Diabolical Dr. Alloy: Despite the consumerist mania that has led me to own New Gods #1 in at least three formats, I’ve been trying to cut back lately on buying new versions of comics that I already own. That said, I’m still going to be getting this one, for the simple reason that the last Fancy Pants hardcover is one of the best-looking, best-produced, and signed-by-Eric-Powell-iest things I own.

Besides, do you guys realize how many deluxe-format hardcovers there are based solely around tough guys beating the living crap out of rampaging cyclopaean robots? Even if you count the Metal Men Archives, the answer is Not Enough.


DC Comics


P. 80 – Superman Annual #13: You know what I like about Superman? The fact that he’s the last Kryptonian. It makes him unique in the universe, but it also gives him that sense of tragedy in his past that drives him to do good: He saves the world because he’s from a planet that didn’t get saved, leaving him as the only survivor–



…Oh. Well, nevermind, I guess.


P. 87 – Justice League of America #15:



You know, it’s just not the Justice League until someone’s in iminent danger of being brutally murdered by a telepathic gorilla.

That said, the idea of Dwayne McDuffie on Justice League has got me excited to an almost unreasonable level, and not just because I’d like to see a comic about the JLA that’s actually readable again. No, it’s because he not only made an Injustice League with the characters’ arch-nemeses and evil opposites, but also somebody’s baby-mama. That’s genius.


P. 95 – Harley Quinn: Preludes and Knock-Knock Jokes HC: I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that I like Karl Kesel a lot. As a misguided teenager who had given up on Spider-Man for the relatively greener pastures of Gen 13, it was his amazingly underrated run on Daredevil (alongside Conan‘s Cary Nord) that brought me back to Marvel and rekindled a love for the character that continues to this day.

That said, Harley Quinn is fucking awful.

To be fair, it’s a lot better at the start than it is once A.J. Leiberman comes on to run it right into the ground for the last couple of arcs, but aside from the art of Terry Dodson–who’s awesome when he’s drawing anything that isn’t Trouble–there’s not a whole heck of a lot worth reading in this thing, especially when you can find the back issues on the cheap for far less than the $25 a completely unnecessary hardcover’ll set you back.


P. 96 – The Legion of Super-Heoroes: An Eye For An Eye: This, however, should be considered absolutely essential. As long-time ISB readers might recall from last year’s Badass Week Finale, the 1984 Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen Legion relaunch, wherein the Legion of Super-Villains decides to get serious about killing their counterparts and gets to it with brutal efficiency–is one of my all-time favorites. I mean really, from Light Lass running around naked for three issues to the final battle between Karate and Nemesis Kids, this one has it all.

If you’re going to read one Legion story in your lifetime, it should be… well, it should probably be The Great Darkness Saga, but that one’s out of print and this one makes a darn good alternative. Plus, at this point, any Legion trade is a trade worth getting.


P. 96 – Batman/Superman: Saga of the Super Sons: Collected in trade for the first time: The adventures of Superman and Batman’s sons, who pretty much just roll around in a van kicking ass and fighting bikers.

By Bob Haney.

Fuck yes.


P. 108 – World of Warcraft #1:



Given that my taste in video games leans heavily towards lawyer simulations, side-scrolling adventure, and Guilty Gear, my interest in World of Warcraft is so low as to only be represented in nanoratasses. And yet, I’m fully planning to buy the comic. Why?

Two words: Walt Simonson.

It might be hard to understand for those of you who haven’t read it, but Simonson’s work on Thor is, without question, one of the greatest comics of all time, and when you throw in his runs on Fantastic Four and Orion, it starts to make a little more sense that I’ll buy pretty much anything that guy does.

Besides, if there’s one thing he’s known for, it’s the great way that he blends mythology, action, and super-heroics in a way that might actually work against the backdrop of the game’s setting. And besides, the preview pages include a scene where a guy punches out a crocodile, so it’s already better than Hawkgirl. But really, what isn’t?


Marvel Comics


P. 4 – Marvel Illustrated: The Picture of Dorian Gray #1:



Huh, that’s weird. I don’t remember Sarah Michelle Gellar being in that story at all.


P. 5 – Marvel Illustrated: Treasure Island #6: Like anyone else who dreams of writing comics for a living, I often find myself wondering what would be the most fun job in comics, and now I know: Writing solicitation copy for the Marvel Illustrated titles, wherein the classics of Western Literature are shilled to the massses in the Mighty Marvel Manner.

I mean really: This one promises both a stunning conclusion AND a cutthroat climax as Jim Hawkins takes on Long John Silver and his scurvy crew, and if that’s not a sign of Robert Louis Stevenson being filtered through the lens of Bill Mantlo, then brother, I don’t know what is.


P. 10 – Ultimates Saga: So, to review: This is a book designed to catch you up on all the intricate details you might’ve missed in a series that has a grand total of twenty-eight issues, including annuals. One can only assume that this is being marketed to goldfish, or maybe people that stopped paying attention to this joke forty-three words ago. Either way, good luck ordering it, suckers.


P. 25 – Ghost Rider Annual #1: Not to knock the good people with the thankless job of putting together the ad copy for Marvel Previews or anything, but there’s a banner across the top of this one alerting us to the fact that Ghost Rider Annual #1 introduces a brand-new character to “the Ghost Rider Mythos!” Even putting aside the fact that Ghost Rider having a “mythos” is, at best, a pretty tenuous stretch, has it really gotten to the point where the introduction of a new villain is really so unheard of that we need to flip out over it?

I mean, unless the new guy’s a demon made out of bees with rocket-launchers for arms and a devil-may-care attitude matched only by the speed of his Winnebago or something. Now that’s worth $3.99.


House of M: Avengers #1: PROS:
-Christos Gage and Mike Perkins, the creative team behind Union Jack.
-An Avengers team consisting of Power Man, Iron Fist and Misty Knight among others.
-Luke Cage back in the yellow shirt that he seriously never should’ve stopped wearing.

House of M really, really sucked.

Decisions, decisions.


P. 56 – Sub-Mariner #6: So you guys want to know what happens when you start your drawing too high on the page and don’t leave yourself enough room at the top, so you have to draw the head really small to make up for it?



At least, I think that’s how it happened. The only other possibility’s that Michael Turner has very little grasp on anatomy, but really: What are the odds?



And that’s all for the majors. Tomorrow night, the small press and merchandise sections have their turn, but until then, feel free to discuss anything that caught your eye, like, say, why Judd Winick thinks it’s a good idea to have Cyborg include a guy who tried to rape Supergirl on his new team of Titans.

(HINT: It’s not.)

Chris vs. Previews: August 2007, Round Two

The major publishers had their turn last night, but now it’s time for the ISB to take on the small press, the merch and the last bastion of good taste in the comics industry, the apparel section, which insists on combining the alleged hilarity of zombies with the sure-fire comedy of product parodies to create… well, something that just leaves us all kinda sad inside:



Huh. Now that I think of it, being sad inside is also a pretty good description of what happens after a Crave Case, so maybe it’s appropriate after all. Either way, it’s the second half of this month’s Previews rundown, and the bell rings now!



P. 215 – ADV: Just a friendly reminder for those of you who might’ve missed it: This month’s got the solicitations for new volumes of Yotsuba&! and Cromartie High School, the two funniest manga series coming out. And that, for the record, makes someone this happy:



P. 231 – Archie Comics: I realize that not everyone shares my affection for the teens of Riverdale, but along with a reappearance by Raj Patel in a story involving the Nintendo Wii and the fact that the groundbreaking “Civil Chores” crossover has spilled out into a third issue, something else caught my eye:


“When Jughead’s mom buys him a cologne engineered to drive the girls crazy, all the girls in town find Jughead ‘adorable!'”


I’ve got to admit, I’m curious at which scent they went with for this issue. London Gentleman? Blackbeard’s Delight? No, of course… Jughead gets hold of some Sex Panther. Sixty percent of the time… it works all the time.


P. 325 – Olympian Publishing: Aside from my affection for guys like Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood–which, really, comes more from my love of those awesome, early MAD Magazine issues than anything else–Pre-Code Horror Comics have never really been my thing. Admittedly, they were light years ahead of their super-heroic counterparts in a lot of respects, but for some reason, they generally just don’t have the same appeal to me that they hold for guys like Sterling and Brandon Bragg. That said, however, my interest in the oddities of the Golden Age has recently spiked thanks to Paul Karasik’s excellent I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets, and the fact that this thing has a story called “Give Me Back My Head!” is almost enough to make be buy it just for that, and after all, it’s only fourteen bucks.

Thus, I turn to you guys: Anybody out there know anything about this book (and its companion piece, Witchcraft) besides the obvious? Let me know if it’s worth it.


P. 343 – Tokyopop Manga: I was all set to make a joke about this thing…



…but every time I went to type the title, I passed out and woke up six hours later in a puddle of my own blood. Now I’m not saying it’ll give you an aneurysm, but… Actually, you know what? That is what I’m saying:

Bratz Babyz Cine-Manga Will Give You An Aneurysm.


P. 358 – Virgin Comics: I’m going to be honest with you guys here: I do not understand Virgin Comics at all. Not the part where they’re getting Hollywood guys like John Woo, Guy Ritchie and Nicolas Cage to plot series for them, and even though self-help author and amateur physicist Deepak Chopra isn’t the first name to pop into my head when I think about all-out action, I can understand that since he’s the shot-caller, he can make comics if he wants to. That stuff, I get. But this is what I can’t get my head around:



Even putting aside the fact that they’re doing a story about a mystical artifact starring a character whose raison d’etre is to explain the tricks involved in real-life illusions, the last “Masked Magician” special aired on television almost ten years ago. Was there really an outcry from people demanding a comics tie-in to the property at this point? Was that episode of Diagnosis: Murder he showed up in really doing that well in syndication? You confuse me, Virgin Comics, and I don’t like it. Especially when you could have a total hit on your hands… with this guy:






P. 427 – Wolf & Byrd T-Shirt: At first, I thought that the folks at Diamond–who I’d previously assumed had just gotten someone’s sister to pose in their t-shirts when it came time to put the catalog together–had been stepping up their game when it came to getting models, but upon closer examination…



…it appears that they just went ahead and photoshopped the logo onto a girl in a plain white shirt. Stock photos, Diamond? For shame.


P. 428 – Silver Surfer “Big One” T-Shirt:



What The Comics Fan Sees: Norrin Radd, the noble hero who sacrificed his own humanity to save his planet, damning his own soul to rescue the ones he loved.

What Everyone Else Sees: “Hey, how come that dildo has hands?”



And on that note, it’s probably best to call it a wrap on another high-class edition of Chris vs. Previews. As always, if you’ve got any thoughts on something I missed this time around–like the Super-Hero Squad two-pack featuring a gigantic wife-beater and an alcoholic with brain cancer that finally topped the Punisher/Ghost Rider set for being inappropriate for kids–feel free to drop a line.

Chris vs. Previews: August 2007, Round One

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.


DC Comics


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.

Chris: …

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!



Thanks, CMX!


Image Comics


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.


Marvel Comics


P. 9 – Sensational Spider-Man #41:



What would you do… with One More Day of hydrocephalus?


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.



With dynamite.



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?