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from Dark Horse this month–aside from the fact that they’re finally getting around to putting the art from Jo Chen’s unpublished adaptation of The New Guy to good use–is that they’re finally getting into the game of publishing their own line of Essential-style black and white reprint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?

28 thoughts on “Chris vs. Previews: August 2007, Round One

  1. Even as someone who is a huge manga fan, that cover is going to give me the jibblies for months to come.

    Her eyes are a good twenty-three feet apart.


  2. OH, MAN. I cannot wait to see how awesome that issue of Punisher War Journal will be. But, tentatively, I might suggest that it will be wicked awesome. Only time will tell!

    As for Marvel Zombies, after only five — really enjoyable, mind you! — issues of Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness, I’m ready to never see a single Marvel Zombie ever again. And then the bastards just had to go and splash themselves all over the cover of Black Panther for two issues in a row.

    Marvel, why are you so intent on killing joy forever?

    Oh, right. Because they’re making hojillions of dollars off the zombie stuff. But, you know… still.

  3. Man, even if I didn’t hate everything about Marvel Zombies in all of its incarnations (ok, Doom in the Ash v. Zombies one was cool, but thats it) I’d hate Marvel Zombies 2. Yuck…

    And “Can Not Possibley Be as Lame as Civil War” is a pretty weak recomendation. Thats like me recomending dropping on all the Wheel of Time books on your foot because it wasn’t near as painful as having testicular torsion…

  4. I think that the idea that Zombie Civil War is supposed to be a joke this time automatically makes it better than the actual Civil War.

    However it remains to be seen if it will somehow manage to be more hilarious than the actual Civil War.

  5. As for Marvel Zombies, after only five — really enjoyable, mind you! — issues of ‘Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness,’ I’m ready to never see a single Marvel Zombie ever again. — Joshua

    However, I’d be giddy as a schoolgirl for more Marvel Werewolves. I genuinely laughed aloud upon first seeing that enormous, furry, slavering Giant-Man with his ever-so-adorable antennae.

  6. So, Chris, are you recording our converstations now?

    And is that the reason why Chris Hanson is currently sitting in a van parked across the street from my house?

  7. I’m just glad to find that I wasn’t the only one who, when he heard the multiverse was back, immediately thought, “So what does this mean for Alley-Kat-Abra?”

  8. You’ve NEVER read Batman/Grendel? That’s just so sad. Why deprive yourself of excellent comics?

    Agreed. I can’t even remember how or why I picked up the first series, but I think it was my introduction to Matt Wagner. The rest, as they say, is history.

    Kudos, also, for the MST3K reference!

  9. Hey Chris, why the hate of Kingdom Come Superman?

    Because Kingdom Come Superman is a character defined by quitting when the world needs him most, after which he comes back and builds a concentration camp for people who disagree with him. He’s a fundamentally flawed version of the character, and while I think that’s pretty much the point of the original mini-series, he doesn’t work outside of that narrow context. He’s a character built around false nostalgia being “written” in this case by a guy who has built his entire career on being a cranky old man who doesn’t want things to change from how he thought they were when he was a kid.

    That’s why.

    You’ve NEVER read Batman/Grendel? That’s just so sad. Why deprive yourself of excellent comics?

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed, Greg, but I actually read a lot of comics, and there’s just not enough time to read everything. It’s just something I haven’t gotten around to yet.

  10. The first Batman/Grendel series is fantastic. It includes one of the best comic book fight scenes I’ve ever seen, with Hunter and Batman clobbering eachother over the course of, I don’t know, I want to say…one million panels. They’re all real tiny and wordless, but it’s the closest I’ve seen to a comic replicating a kung fu movie fight. I was tempted to scan it for a Friday Night Fights, but was too worried about bending the spine of the book.

    I never read the sequel though. Something about Batman and cyborgs seems off to me (In general. If Batman himself is the cyborg, as in Brave and the Bold, well, that’s cool then).

  11. “won’t someone think of the dead horses”

    Can someone help me out with this refrence?

  12. Sad is the end of shark week. But should we not live every week like it is amongst us?

    The Manatee has become the Mento.

  13. “won’t someone think of the dead horses”
    Can someone help me out with this refrence?

    I believe Chris was referring to “Beating a dead horse.”

    According to wikipedia, it is “an idiom which means a particular request or line of conversation is already foreclosed, mooted, or otherwise resolved, and any attempt to continue it is futile.”

    Kingdom Come Superman is the “dead horse”

  14. the whole countdown thing is being TOTALLY misinterpreted by everyone.

    its actually one of DCs most successful experiments EVER.

    what it ACTUALLY is amounts to a test of faith in the DC fanbase. the title countdown came about because the point was to see how long it takes for people to run away from it. on the front end, they loaded it with good faith from 52, and tried to line it up with that (similar packaging and a weekly format) to try to bring you in. at the terminus, they dangle the carrot of fanboy fave grant writing a really “important big event” and keep telling you all kinds of Interesting Things are just on the cusp of happening.

    its downright sinister, and so far they are showing that they can get most people to buy at LEAST a years worth of absolute crap. and a profitable number will stick around for maybe four. also, they are getting to feel out the worst artists they have to see which ones they need to cut loose first.

  15. I actually really enjoy most of Winick’s stuff. Sure, there’s the occasional misstep, but I don’t see why there’s this huge wave of hate towards him.

  16. The best of the month is on page 339. I was really hoping to see you mention “Division 18: The Union of Novelty Costumed Performers” here… but then I realized if you did, you’d only be making fun of it. So thank you for not mentioning my book!

  17. Is it me, or does Kingdom Come Superman look like he’s draining the superlizard on that cover?

  18. Kingdom Come Superman. There’s a name to wake up the echoes.

    By my count, KC Superman is the 1, 346th member of the JSA. That number may be a little high.

    Is The Hulk wearing Hercules’ leggings on that Punisher cover?