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!

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

  1. There must have been some pages stuck together in the Image section of your copy of Previews, because you seem to have…uh…accidentally skipped over my new book?



  2. One line stands out to me here:

    “a Thor comic where nothing happens”

    Seriously, how is that even possible? Explain.

  3. I was just re-reading Winter Soldier last night, and trying to imagine how awesome Civil War would have been if Brubaker had written it! Just last night!

    By the way Chris, I had to take down the ROM poster you helpfully provided. I’m currently surrounded by angry workmates demanding their free ROM.

  4. Can anyone stop Chris Sims? Anyone?
    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.
    Question: does this statement mean that you did/do not like Peter David’s run on the Incredible Hulk?

  5. Wow, there are 12 volumes of LOSH archives? Yikes! I think Shooter’ll do alright on the Legion, since, honestly, you don’t need to know years and years of LOSH stuff right now, only the last couple that Waid did.

    That Judge Dredd vs Judge Death statue is swankstronomical. It’ll go perfectly with the Dredd and Death toys I just bought. Although I am confused why Dark Horse is putting it out and not Rebellion or whatnot.

    Is Mantis fighting Mark Moonrider in that scan? It’s… it’s… unspeakable.

  6. …although I’m not sure where the Super Wizard would find a paisley suit.

    You think a dude that shrinks people’s bodies and tosses them through a black hole pocket can’t come up with a paisley suit? Don’t doubt the crazy.

  7. Two things.

    1. I believe that line is from the show ‘Home Movies’. Not Willy Wonka. But that’s still cool enough for you to maintain your hipster street cred.

    2. Not ALL the ‘What-If’s’ sucked. I still remember fondly the “What If Wolverine Were Stranded In Hyboria?” issue which ends with Logan becoming king of Aquilonia with Red Sonja as his queen and Conan being teleported to the end of the Dark Phoneix saga just in time to shout “By Crom!”, go insane and watch the universe explode.

    Now THAT is f’ing metal.

  8. But, but, what do you have against (Shooter era) Valiant and Defiant?

    Well, how about that semi-soft-core porn title, Fatale? Fistfights followed by spanking and huuuuuge… tracts of land!

    (Hmm… maybe this isn’t the right forum for this criticism.)

  9. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that Allred is in fact drawing Stardust in the Next Issue Project thing.

    Also, there appears to be a Megaforce reference there in the Orion image, with the ‘Deeds, not words.’

  10. Shooter on Legion – I think this one ends up either being a masterstroke or a giant clusterfuck, with very little room in between for an average result.

    It’s just such a huge risk to put all your chips on one writer, who hasn’t written a comic in almost a decade, and whose whose dialogue chops are pretty hokey in an era when dialogue is important to the reader. On the other hand, Shooter can plot like nobody’s business, so he’s got that going for him.

    Still, it’s a good move for DC, because the aging, wheezing Legion fanbase will wet themselves. Moreso than usual, I mean, because the average Legion fan is now just that old.

  11. Dude, why did you lead with the Naked Faith? How are we supposed to get to the rest of the reviews? I assume other comics came out this week, but I’ll never know.

  12. Pardon Mr Burns. He’s just started back as a mature student and has probably been in the pub all day.

    Counting the days till Hulk vs Fin Fang Foom comes out.

  13. To: “Starman” Matt Morrison ,

    That “good day” quote is from like… a million things.

    However, Willy Wonka did it “first”.

    And besides “Home Movies”, it was used exhaustingly on “That ’70’s Show”.
    It’s practically Fez’ catchphrase.

    So, good day to you.

    I said; “GOOD DAY”!



  14. Chris Sims said:
    “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.”

    I had that for years then a friend turned me onto Graysonex. I sleep like a babe now.

  15. “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.”

    When I was little and Yellowjacket would knock Wasp around, I would lock the door to my room, turn up my radio, hide under the covers and pretend I was Stardust the Super Wizard. Somehow, I thought the whole thing was my fault. It took a lot of therapy and also Civil War before I realized it was Iron Man’s fault. Stay strong, man.

  16. I double-dog dare you to quote from The Woman in Red. Come to think of it, I dare you to find even one memorable line from The Woman in Red.

  17. “I just called to say I love you?”

    Can a song lyric be a memorable quote?

    BTW, Megaforce should totally team up with U.S. 1…and Team America.

    “The Good Guys always win…even in the ’80s.”

  18. That Northlander book looks pretty sweet but can it really compete with the best source for viking revenge, namely the Icelandic Sagas? How can you top a scene where a lone outlaw-warrior, while fighting more than a dozen men on his own, gets stabbed with a spear so that his guts falls out, what does our hero do? He rips his shirt, shoves his guts in ties the shirt to keep them in, busts a mad rhyme and then proceeds to chop a mans head so hard that he drives the sword through the mans ENTIRE BODY!!! before dying. Now that is hard-core literature!

  19. Yes, Allred is drawing (but not writing) the Stardust story in The Next Issue Project.

    Also, “Naked Faith” would be a great name for a band.

  20. Funny you mention Fatale, Bookrats — I was digging through one of my longboxes o’ random stuff just two days ago and rediscovered issue 4, where she runs and jumps and her clothes get torn up. And I realized I totally forgot she had Rogue’s “kiss men and gain their memories and strength” power! All I ever remembered was the huge tracts of land.

    And I’d have to find ANOTHER issue to be certain, but it seems like Fatale had a couple hundred pages of complicated, detailed backstory that the comics never actually got around to showing because they had J.G. Jones doing the interiors and, seriously, what more do you need?

  21. 1. Gee, Spider-Man and bad ideas are getting together again, what a surprise.

    2. Oh Brainiac 5, can’t you ever not be a/look like/act like a dick?

  22. There must have been some pages stuck together in the Image section of your copy of Previews, because you seem to have…uh…accidentally skipped over my new book?

    It was no accident, Benito. And now I’ve finally had my revenge.

    Actually, I skip a lot of stuff that I’m actually going to buy so that I don’t end up having to repeat myself when it comes out and I do my weekly reviews, and since I even picked up the Invincible tie-ins that cretin Dave Campbell worked on, I’m pretty sure I’m going to get yours too.

  23. The Darkness, huh? “The inspiration behind this year’s hottest video game is back!”, sez the cover.

    This year’s hottest video game? And they say this exactly when Halo 3 just came out? Y’know, the game that beat all fucking records by selling 170 million dollars’ worth of games on the release day alone — and that’s not counting the sales outside of the United States?

    Not that I’m saying that it’s a bad game, but, uh. Well. That’s like calling Hellboy the hottest movie of 2004 — sure, it was fun, but c’mon. Considering Previews’ target audience, that’s a little like walking up to a group of zombies and shouting “CELERY IS THE HOTTEST FOODSTUFF OF THE YEAR!”

    And you know what? The zombies are not gonna be impressed. They’ll think you’re stupid if you do that. They’ll think that you’re very stupid and very tasty, and your celery will eventually turn limp and moldy in the ugly stain left behind by your congealed blood, untouched by zombie lips. Because zombies can turn on you like that, man. They don’t take no shit off nobody.

  24. To be fair, Fatale wasn’t publisher neither at Valiant nor at Defiant. It was published by the third (and last) Shooter-founded comics publisher, Broadway Comics. It wasn’t even the longest-lasting book of that publisher, too. Star Seed beat it by half-dozen issues or so.

    And I understand that Twelve #0 is not the beginning of the story where JMS will destroy yet another bunch of innocent characters that deserved better, it’s just a reprint of old Golden Age stories of those characters!

    Hunter (Pedro Bouça)