I may have used the start of the New Year as an excuse to take a week off, but Diamond Comics waits for no man!
Well, except when they push the release dates for new comics back to Friday, but thankfully, we’re past all that now. What matters tonight is that they’re celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Previews catalog with another five-hundred page pile of comics and merch, and it’s time for me to get back in the ring and take it all on in 2008’s first round of Chris vs. Previews!
Tonight, the Major Publishers! Tomorrow… THE WORLD!
Or the indies. Whichever.
Dark Horse Comics
P. 34 – Conan #50:
This issue marks the end of Dark Horse’s Conan, as the next issue will find it inexplicably relaunched with a new #1 as Conan the Cimmerian, and while I’m not all that excited about the actual relaunch, I am looking forward to the book itself. After all, current Conan writer Tim Truman is sticking around with artist Tomas Giorello, which pretty much ensures that it’s going to maintain the high level of gorilla-punching quality we’ve come to expect from everyone’s favorite barbarian.
Still, I’m pretty intrigued by the last issue here, which was based on a “lost” and unfinished Conan story by Robert E. Howard that, if the cover’s any indication, concerns itself with Conan’s heretofore unexplored interest in gardening.
P. 49 – Hellboy: The Companion: It was all I could to do avoid getting last month’s first Hellboy Library Edition, as I’m trying to avoid re-buying things that I already have, even if the newer versions look awesome and I haven’t seen my copies since I loaned them to Corey sometime in late 2006, and while I don’t consider a companion book to be strictly neccessary, it’s tempting. I’ve already got a weakness for comics-related reference material (excepting, of course, Marvel Saga), but this one promises “the definitive Hellboy and BPRD bibliography,” and I’ve always been curious about Mike Mignola’s vast personal collection of obsucre German folktales.
P. 72 – Justice League: The New Frontier Special: Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier is easily one of the best Elseworlds–er, alternate univer–er, Tales of Earth-21–ah, screw it.
New Frontier‘s really good, and while I’m always a little wary of seeing creators return to the same ground they’ve already covered–especially when he could be out there doing The Spirit or bringing us the best version of Wolverine ever–this one will apparently involve a story about Sgt. Rock, as done by the BBC (the mildly cutsey name that Cooke, Dave Bullock, and J.Bone gave to themselves when they were the art team on the surprisingly enjoyable Witchblade Animated).
Clearly, this is something we’re all going to need.
P. 75 – Detective Comics #842: Okay, before we really get into this, I’d just like to mention that Peter Milligan’s “Dark Knight, Dark City” is one of my favorite Batman stories, and along with Gothic, it’s probably one of the best supernatural stories in the character’s history. That said, this one, which tells the secret origin of the suit of armor Batman started wearing during the mind-numbing “Resurrection of Ra’s al-Ghul,” is essentially a story about Batman’s clothes. And not to get too judgmental before the fact here, but seriously? That sounds like the most boring thing I can think of, except maybe a six-part epic about Nightwing’s Shoes. Come on, Pete! You’re better than Legends of the Dark Knight’s Wardrobe!
P. 76 – Robin #172: And this year’s Chris Claremont Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Cramming As Many Cliches As Possible Into One Sentence goes to… DC’s Marketing Department, for their work with Robin #172!
They’ll have to work toegether to get out alive, but someone’s not playing fair, and old hurts can mean new trouble when the chips are down!
Congratulations guys, and good luck at Nationals!
P.89 – Booster Gold v.1 HC: It’s weird to see that DC’s bucking the trend set by Marvel’s “Premiere” hardcovers in that they’re offering one that actually costs five bucks more than the issues, but–and honestly, I can’t believe I’m about to type this–Booster Gold was one of the best surprises of last year, and if you missed out and find yourself with an extra $25 in your pocket (or, y’know, $16.49 on Amazon) it’s well worth picking up. It might be all co-writer Jeff Katz donig the good stuff, but really: It’s the only good Geoff Johns comic of the last three years.
Yeah, I said it.
P.90 – JAC KIRBY’S OMAC HARDCOVER!!!:
SECTORS WILL BE EVACUATED!
CONQUERORS WILL BE BUSTED!
ISSUES WILL BE COLLECTED AND MINDS WILL BE BLOWN!
SO IT IS WRITTEN, SO IT SHALL COME TO PASS… IN THE WORLD THAT’S COMING!
P.91 – JLA Presents Aztek: The Ultimate Man TP: And speaking of comics that it shouldn’t have taken nearly this long to collect, we have Aztek! I spent a good two years trying to put together a run of this book and never quite could get the last couple of issues I needed, but after I finally read it through… ahem… completely legal means, I can confirm that it’s pretty darn enjoyable. Admittedly, it reads like a ’90s comic, but it reads like a ’90s comic written by Grant Morrison and a Swamp Thing-era Mark Millar, starring the completely bewildered hero that gave us one of the best moments in Morrison’s JLA. The only thing that’s not great about it is how soon it got axed, especially given the last issue’s teasers for some truly wonderful stories that never happened, and I’m almost certain that if it would’ve had a longer run, Aztek’s Vanity would’ve rivaled Starman‘s Opal City as one of the most interesting places in the DCU.
And hey, speaking of…
P.92 – Starman Omnibus v.1:
And continuing this month’s theme of truly awesome collections we’ve been waiting for forever, we have this one, which pretty much sells itself. A friend of mine once told me that it was, and I quote, “criminal” that DC had allowed so much of Starman to fall out of print, and while it’s not strictly illegal, it’s certainly pretty nuts that you can’t walk into a store and walk out with a run of trades like you can with Preacher, Sandman, or the aforementioned JLA–an affliction, I might add, that it shares with Hitman. But now, it looks like those dark times are finally over, and Starman‘s getting the same treatment that the Fourth World got (although hopefully with better paper), and I’m pretty excited about it.
Because really, if you’re gonna drop $300 on high-end collections of a super-hero book from the ’90s, this one oughtta be it.
And also Hitman. Seriously, DC, it would be like printing money.
P. 93 – Showcase Presents the Legion of Super-Heroes v.2: Holy crap, DC’s got a lot of good trades this month. Of course, there’s also that Absolute Black Dossier, wherein DC decides to not even let Jess Nevins catch his breath before they jack the price up by seventy bucks, throw an LP in the box and fleec you for more of that sweet, sweet Alan Moore cash, but all in all, it’s a pretty strong showing.
Anyway, you might’ve noticed that I haven’t written about the Legion in a while, but that’s only because I ran out of archives to read, so I think it’s safe to say that you guys probably already know my feelings about this one. I would, however, like to point out that this one contains nothing less than the senses shattering saga of Bizarro Computo, and a life without that story is hardly a life at all.
P.148 – Transhuman #1: Havig met South Carolina’s own Jonathan Hickman at HeroesCon last year, I can confirm that despite what you might have heard, he’s not a man at all. He is, in fact, a highly sophisticated collective of robots (albeit a nice one that did a sketch of N’Kantu for me), which is the only reason I can think of for the way he came out of nowhere with last year’s awesome The Nightly News, and then proceded to drop a new series–including the great first issue of Pax Romana and the upcoming Red Mass For Mars–at the rate of one per month.
Robots. As usual, it’s the only explanation that makes sense.
P.168 – Youngblood #3: You might recall that I was torn on whether or not to get Joe Casy and Derec Donovan’s Youngblood relaunch back when it was first solicited–a moment of nigh-Hamletian indecision that sparked a debate and proved once again how willing you guys are to give Rob Liefeld my money–but if there’s anything that’ll convince me to actually give this book a shot, it’s a solicitation that leads off with “Death hits like a motherf***er!”
P.11 – Ultimate Fantastic Four #52: And now, your obscure fad product joke for this evening:
“Hi, I’m Thanos of Titan, and when I want to impress the foxy embodiment of the End of All Things with my puzzle-solving skills, I make sure to pack at least four Infinity Gems and a generous supply of Cube Lube… And so should YOU!”
P.15 – Ultimate X-Men #92: Okay, seriously you guys, on the real real real real REAL real real real real?
If the Ultimate Universe has gotten to the point where it contains both Onslaught and Stryfe, then come on, man. What’s the freakin’ point?!
P.46 – Mythos: Captain America: I’ll admit to enjoying the couple of Mythos one-shots that I’ve picked up, but to be honest, I mostly just skip ’em, especially since some of them have an alarmingly high presence of scenes where Johnny Blaze rolls around to the tune of “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” which registers a mere ten miliratasses on my interest scale. This one, however, I’ll probably end up getting…
…if only to see Marvel Hunk of the Month Paolo Rivera’s version of Hitler’s “OH SHIT!” face reflected in Cap’s shield. That thing is fantastic!
P.49 – Power Pack: Day One #1: Just in ase you guys missed it, the new Power Pack mini-series is going to include a science lesson in each issue written by Fred “Action Philosophers” Van Lente and Colleen “Banana Sunday” Coover.
In the future, once the ISB’s quest for Total Internet Domination has reached its inevitable success, this is how all lessons will be taught. Even the hated maths.
P.54 – Thor #8: Let’s see here…
Part two of a two-part arc by writer J. Michael Straczynski (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) with sumptuous art by DAREDEVIL cover artist Marko Djurdjevic sees the mighty Thor ruling over anewly glorious Asgard and all its people! But what danger has risen on the horizon of its American heartland surroundings? And how will Thor equip himself to face it??
Translation: “This issue, Thor puts on some clothes and thinks about maybe fighting someone sometime while absolutely nothing continues to happen!”
Also: “Sumptuous?” Really?
p.69 – Logan #1: I’ve mentioned before that I don’t let my (amost nonexistent) pretensions towards being one one of the comic book literati get in the way of my affection for Wolverine when there’s a halfway-decent story involved, but I can pretty honestly say that I never thought I’d be picking up two Wolverine titles a month, and definitely not if they were flashback titles.
And yet, here we are, with Brian K. Vaughan and and Eduardo Risso’s Logan and the awkwardly titled Wolverine: First Class by Fred Van Lente and Andrea Di Vito, and between them, there might just be some Wolverine stories that are actually good again. Who’da thought?
P.91 – Iron Man vs. Doctor Doom: Doomquest HC: Okay, admittedly, twenty bucks might seem like a lot to pay for a comic that contains a grand total of four (4) issues, but when said issues are:
a) about Iron Man and Dr. Doom traveling back to the days of King Arthur and beating the crap out of each other,
b) full of Dr. Doom referring to Iron Man as “errand boy!” and “lackey!” in virtually every scene where they interact, and
c) totally awesome,
…it starts to make a little more sense. I mean, it’s no Armor Wars II or anything, but if you’d like to be reminded of when Tony Stark was a likeable character with a lovable head of hair, you could do a lot worse than to pick this one up.
And that takes care of the majors! Now then, lackeys! Be here tomorrow when the ISB takes on the small press and the merchandise in the second half of January’s Chris vs. Previews… Including a rare look at Previews Adult!
Be there or be square, cretins!