Chris vs. Previews: March 2008, Round One

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



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

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



Dark Horse Comics


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



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

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



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


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

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

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


P.60 – Bettie Page 6″ Statue:



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


DC Comics


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

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

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


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



And one of mine:



How about yours?



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

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

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


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

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


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



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


Image Comics


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

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




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



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


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

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

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

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

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

I have very specific tastes.



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

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

43 thoughts on “Chris vs. Previews: March 2008, Round One

  1. 1. More Firebreather = YAY!

    2. Already got that JLI book on pre-order alongside the 1st Starman Omnibus and the Aztek trade…

    3. DC1Million is ten years ago? Ugh. When the hell did I get so old…

  2. If I may start a wild rumor about Avengers/Invaders, I’d bet that Dynamite got their name on there because a character from outside comics that Marvel used to have appear regularly is no longer licensed by Marvel. That’s right, you read it here first, the villain in Avengers/Invaders is Fu Manchu.

  3. Dynamite Entertainment President Nick Barrucci brokered Alex Ross’ return to Marvel, and apparently came up with the series’ concept, so he’s “packaging” the project.

  4. Deathstroke and Deadshot stand against a geriatric senator with views about gun control?

    Aquaman and Aquagirl stand against a corner lamppost with faulty insulation?

    Re: Avengers/Invaders – just another Marvel big event that has Wolverine on the cover. Ho-friggin’-hum.


  5. I ran the Mad Lib past my friend Peter… Here’s what he came up with:

    Gangbuster and Blue Beetle stand against an Audacious Velociraptor who squints menacingly!

  6. Come on Dude: ANDROID SAMURAI! how is that not awesome?

    And I don’t care how Waid is writing them, it is still billions of times better than anything written by Millar, Loeb, Bendis, and Quesada.

  7. See, here’s the thing about Mad Libs: they’re funnier if the parts don’t match.

    Amazing Man and Jubilee stand against a plastic guillotine with a poor sense of direction.

    Zatanna and Iron Man stand against a fuzzy Terminator with Tourette’s.

    You know, that sort of thing.

    I seem to remember that somewhere online is a Mad-Libs-type slash fanfic generator. Good times.

  8. My concern with Matt Fraction on Iron Man is that:

    a) Civil War may have damaged the character beyond repair.

    b) True Fact: there’s only so much Fraction to go around. Will his work on Iron Man require him to give up Punisher War Journal? Or Iron Fist?

    I think the only way Tony Stark can be rehabilitated is for him to get chewed out by Blue Beetle’s Mom.

  9. I would actually be cool with Fraction dropping Punisher: War Journal. And it looks like that’s going to be the case.

    But let’s also not forget that this Iron Man title looks to be a continuation of sorts, or The Order. Hurray! Manly hugs all around!

  10. b) True Fact: there’s only so much Fraction to go around. Will his work on Iron Man require him to give up Punisher War Journal? Or Iron Fist?

    With the cancellation of the Order (which we’ve lamented here before), he’s got at least an Order-shaped hole in his schedule, and I imagine that’s how he’s going to fill it.

    As for PWJ, I like Fraction on that book a lot.

    Chaykin, on the other hand…

  11. Batman and Sgt. Rock stand against an exploding robot with a love of enchaladas.

    I’d read it.

  12. As for PWJ, I like Fraction on that book a lot.

    Chaykin, on the other hand…

    I was hoping that he was a fill-in artist, but it appears that’s not the case.


  13. Guy Gardner and Hourman stand against a cyborg cockroach with an unsatisfying home life.

  14. I am officially pre-ordering the Batman vs Explosions hardcover. I expect regular updates.

  15. Star Brand and Hawkeye stand against a bat-$#!+ insane alien hooker with an overdue mortgage.

  16. Some of these would sell petty well! Mr. Denton’s above may have to be put in the adult section of the previews though.

    My brother via a series of evermore confused text messages:

    Angus Young and Bon Scott stand against a filty auditor with agrophobia.

    Maybe I should have been more sepcific when I said `name two heroes’. It wouldn’t be much of a competition.

  17. Good Taste and a Limited Amount of Resources stand against a Crossover Happy Comic-Book Company with a habit of taking a good thing and beating it to death, bringing it back to life, killing it again, punching a continuity wall and bringing it back again as a shape-shifting alien only to kill it, reboot, decompress and spin it off into 18 titles, 17 and a half of which will be canceled.

    (And that’s not just a DC plot, my friends)

  18. I tried to get my little cousin to help me with the madlib plot generator, but unfortunately….well, here it is…

    Fart and fart stand against a fart fart with fart.

    Tell you what, I got no concerns about the next generation.

  19. Why is the Invaders art on that preview lifted from “Marvels”? Was it too much for Ross to actually draw/paint an entirely new cover? He’s so busy he has to photoshop?

  20. Glancing at your scan of Previews, I thought, for a very quick second, that the website address underneath the title said

  21. I too thought Daredevil was the Catholic Batman.

    After all, I may not be the biggest Batman reader of all time, but I’m fairly sure I would remember stretches when he was drunk-driving the Batmobile and imprisoning Flash in Arkham.

    Come to think of it – why is anyone a fan of Iron Man?

  22. Bruce Willis and Hate Face stand against a time-traveling maitre’d’ with intense agoraphobia!

    There’d have to be some heavy use of the Riddler Factor, but Hate Face would make up for that comPLETELY.

  23. Because he’s a supercool corporate exec with a heart of steel?

    Robot suit + Bastard, but in a cool way?

    Love of robots?

    Loads of good reasons.

  24. Should we even be mentioning Iron Man in the same sentence as the dark knight, let alone comparing them…? For shame!

  25. Jon Favreua of ‘Elf’ fame?

    Surely also of, you know, directing ‘Iron Man’ fame?

  26. Unlike the Bettie Page and Zombie statuettes, couldn’t find “GottaBeKiddingMe” over at PREVIEWS. Source please on that? :) (That is, what is it?)

  27. Surely also of, you know, directing ‘Iron Man’ fame?

    Yeah, that kinda went without saying.

    Unlike the Bettie Page and Zombie statuettes, couldn’t find “GottaBeKiddingMe” over at PREVIEWS. Source please on that?

    It’s from Previews a couple of months ago. I actually wrote about it here.