Damn is it really September already. Labor Day pushes the delivery back to Thursday. Back to another four week month and this week has a relatively decent distribution of what I’m getting from the three categories of books. DC has 16 (47%), Marvel has 8 (24%) and the independents have 10 (29%). If you added Vertigo titles to the independents both DC and the independents would have 13 each. My numbers fascination comes from my days as a financial controller, my CPA roots still stay with me. This will be a busy week as the Baltimore comic convention is coming up Saturday and Sunday. Friday evening a baseball game and some drinking, Saturday the convention and maybe I’ll go Sunday, just not sure yet.
Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer #4 (of 6) – This series has been interesting to me as I thought the story would be lackluster, but the feudal style kingdom’s battling each other and a young man being forced into becoming the Death Dealer has been well done. This is a blood and gore type of action adventure that you would expect. Not one to save for the ages, but certainly a solid entertaining book.
Madam Mirage #2 – Seems like a long time between issues and I’m not sold on this series yet. The overt good girl cover instead of selling me on the book, made me question the seriousness of the title. Still I’ll give Paul Dini enough rope to sell me on the concept or hang himself.
Steve Niles Strange Cases #1 (of ?) – Steve Niles has come so far, that now he gets to brand a book to help sales. As with Tom Clancy and other “big names”, just putting your name on a product does not make it any good. The concept is supposedly by Steve Niles, with a writer and artist fleshing out the concept. The premise is a group of monster hunters get together and are given an offer they can’t refuse. It is a tie-into a video game, which makes me a little uneasy about the book. Still I’ll give it a shot.
Sorrow #1 (of 4 ) – The book is written by Rick Remender (Fear Agent) & Seth Peck and art by Francesco Francavilla, so the Rick Remender portion has my interest. The final selling point for me to try it was the premise, which is “In 1952, the U.S. Government’s nuclear testing killed all of the good people of Sorrow, Nevada. Today, the sign in front of town reads “population zero”. The locals, however, will tell you a very different story... When a car accident strands four young travelers in this desolate ghost town, they soon find that not all that is buried is dead.” The cover is nice, but it is not by the interior artist. This could be just another Zombie tale.
30 Days of Night Red Snow #1 (of 3) – This is a prequel to the first 30 Days story and is set during World War II. So we have vampires and Nazis, this sounds like it could be cliché ridden tripe, but it is written and drawn by the co-creator of 30 Days Ben Templesmith. I trust Mr. Templesmith to deliver a great story as he has done with Wormwood Gentlemen Corpse and as co-creator of Fell.
City of Others #4 (of 4) – Steve Niles (again) and Bernie Wrightson bring us the final chapter in this tale of a stone cold killer who as of last issue has become a vampire. Blud now is caught up with beings who are also killers. As a human Blud was an unemotional being, now he seems more alive then when he was alive. I can’t believe this character was created for only one mini-series. Wrightson’s art looks great and I hope we see a series of mini-series with Blud by these two.
Snakewoman: Tale of the Snake Charmer #3 – Virgin’s comic best title in my opinion. The Snakewoman is caught up in events that she does not really understand. The snake charmer seemed to be helping her, but for what end is unknown. A good solid entertaining series.
Strange Embrace #4 (of 8) – David Hines seminal work continues it’s reprinting from Image. This is a very odd book and it keeps going off on tangent after tangent. We start with character “A”, then we go to character “B and get their story, which leads to character “C” and their story. Slightly disturbing and askew,but a really good tale so far.
Action Philosophers #9 – This issue is “The Lightning Round” where the crew depicts as many philosophers as they can in a short 32 page comic book. So ends one of my favorite all time comic book series. This book was a better educational tool about philosophers then the two college level courses I took years ago. Still there is only so much material that works and ending on a high note is a good idea. Plus the blow of losing this book is lessened knowing that Action Presidents is coming up next.
Star Trek Year Four #2 – The first issue was a poorly done story. It actually used every Star Trek cliché in the book. Steve Conley’s art appeared to be much weaker then I remember it being before; still it was issue #1. If they are just going to do typical Star Trek episodes, then I may drop this book, as each art form demands different approaches and the first issue read like a TV script. Let’s see what issue #2 brings.
Amazing Spider-Man #544 – The beginning of the much ballyhooed story “One More Day”. This appears to be the killing off of Mary Jane, as they have already killed Aunt May and Quesada has never wanted Spider-Man married and he is drawing the entire arc. I’m not sure I really care anymore. They have taken what I have loved about Spider-Man so much and dashed it for so many years, that offing Mary Jane does not seem like a big deal to me. The execution (no pun intended) of the story will be telling. Plus in comic book land hardly anyone ever stays dead. Intuitively I’m against the story as it just sets Peter Parker backwards and is not advancing his character. Still I think I’m the only fan in the world who wants characters to age and mature over time in comics. Not one year for one year, but you know grow up a little bit over time.
Annihilation Conquest Wraith #3 (of 4) – Last issue we found out Wraith had a horrible past whereby he was tortured and abuse in all sorts of ways. This has been an okay little series and in general I’m enjoying the Annihilation stuff, but this series could have been skipped and there would have been no great loss.
Daredevil Battlin’ Jack Murdock #4 (of 4) – This has been such a great little mini-series. Zeb Wells is listed as c-author and the writer of the book, and he has turned out to be one heck of a good writer. Nice to see that he has gotten a high profile job by being one of the Amazing Spider-Man writers. This series took a small moment from DD’s origin and gave it a lot of back story. It could have been a real loser series; instead it has been a great read.
Incredible Hulk #110 – In the midst of World War Hulk I’m tempted to drop the actual Hulk title. They have made this book the most worthless tie-in to the Hulk event of almost any other book. Nothing, I repeat – nothing has happened in the actual Hulk book. What a colossal waste, see Sinestro War for how to do this stuff the right way.
Punisher Volume 8 – The Widowmaker – One of only two books that I get as a trade paperback. Garth Ennis’ owns the Punisher in this Max series from Marvel. The character feels so damn real and gritty and tough that it is hard to describe. This book is why the Punisher War Journal comic is such a joke, because this book is Frank Castle, the other is a cheap knock off. Looking forward to this book.
Uncanny X-Men #490 – More of Ed Brubaker’s one clunker of a title. He should just drop it. This arc has not been horrible as the first 12 page sleep fest, but it is not Ed’s best stuff. I also just noticed we are building up to issue #500, what climatic event will happen in that issue. Hey I know Jean Grey returns to life kicks White Queen’s butt, confesses that while she loves Wolverine, she is also really and truly in love with Cyclops. She uses her great powers to merge both of them together and marries Logan Summers.
She-Hulk #21 – Dan Slott’s final issue of She-Hulk. I hope that this is just a light hearted fun filled issue as last issue he wrapped up most of his story lines. She-Hulk was a book that was ruined by her forced participation into Civil War or WW Hulk. Whether by writer choice or editorial design, She-Hulk is one of those titles best left to its own devices, her appearance in those other books could have been ignored by this series. Once she was drawn into the “real Marvel Universe” her comedic side was essentially muted to such an extent the tonal quality that made the book a joy was lost.
White Tiger #6 (0f 6) – When the hell did the last issue come out. This was a series that anyone could have missed and they would not have missed anything.
Atom #15 – I have really enjoyed this series, but feel its interruption by the “Search for Ray Palmer’ is hurting the book. Ryan was just getting into the swing of his own stories when this happened. So the official hype has me happier “The Search for Ray Palmer is interrupted as the Atom is literally plucked from the Nanoverse by the mastermind behind all of the problems in Ivy Town — and the man who may or may not hold some answers for Ryan Choi about his fallen idol Ray Palmer!” As Atom book focuses back on Ryan.
The Black Canary Wedding Planner – I can’t believe I’m picking this up and I’m using the excuse that I’m sending it to my daughter in Florida as the reason. This has to be the most girl centric type comic ever made. Hopefully it will be tongue in cheek.
Countdown #34 – Last issue really slowed the book down again. The whole Mary Marvel / Zatanna thing ended but it did nothing to really move the story forward. This book needs to have some end points other then the final three or four issues.
Detective #836 – The second part of the Scarecrow tale. Part 1 was terrific and John Rozum and Tom Mandrake delivered a great tale about Jonathan Crane going low tech with his fear. Looking forward to the concluding chapter.
Infinity Inc. #1 – I’m really going into this book with cold feet. Milligan is a good writer, I have no idea about the artist (the cover looks nice) and I loved the old Infinity Inc., but this guys are not related to the old group at all. Not sure if a group started by Lex has a good chance to survive.
Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus Volume #2 – The Omnibus with the world’s crappiest paper returns. Okay I’m a complete sucker and I want this material in my library of hard covers, but I wish that DC had charged a couple bucks more or done it as five volumes and given us this material on some quality paper.
Jonah Hex #23 – If you don’t read westerns, you should. The best western on the stands (among a limited amount) is Jonah Hex. Out of 22 issues there has only been one, maybe two that were anything other that very good stories.
Metal Men #2 (of 8) – The first issue was okay, not great, bit okay. I like these characters but I think they are very hard to write good stories about. If you make them too serious it becomes more like they are androids, too light hearted and it is missing a sense of drama. Very tough concept and I still can’t believe that they are trying to make a movie out of it.
Nightwing #136 – This has been the best arc in Nightwing since Chuck Dixon left the book. I have enjoyed having a new Vigilante character back in the DCU and this issue promises to answer some of the questions that have been raised in the previous three issues. Nightwing still needs a real direction and needs to be more of an integral part of the DCU.
Outsiders #50 – A final issue, which leads into a new series, called Batman and The Outsiders. Someone at DC has a sense of humor because years ago Batman and The Outsiders was cancelled and Outsiders was the immediate re-launch. This series feels like a set-up for what is coming with Countdown and Final Crisis.
Supergirl #21 – Written by Tony Bedard as Supergirl has a run in with Karate Kid. Tony Bedard seems to be DC’s we need you to help do a few issues of a book as other stuff is being done to get the book back on track. He shows up on so many writing credits in DC lately it is just incredible. Plus his stuff has been very solid. Having said that Supergirl is a title that is totally lost. We are on issue #21 with no sense of where this book is going.
Sword of the Atom Trade – At one point DC had no direction or clue what to do with Ray Palmer, so they turned him into an Edgar Rice Burroughs type of hero. He was stuck at miniature size and become a hero to a group of six inch aliens and was fighting for an Alien princess. John Carter eat your heart out, Ray never had to leave the earth. A guilty pleasure of some stuff I enjoyed years ago. Written by Jan Strand and art by Gil Kane and others.
Faker #3 (of 6) – Last issue got really interesting as we find out that the fifth friend of the group does not appear to be real. Where Mike Carey is taking us with this ride, I’m not sure, but last issue sold me on staying.
Scalped #9 – The official hype “Casino Boogie" part 4 of 6. SCALPED gets spiritual in this issue when the focus turns to Catcher, the mysterious rider glimpsed in previous issues, who has foreseen the murder of someone on The Rez. Now he must saddle up one last time to try to save their life, and perhaps his own soul in the process.” One of the toughest action books on the stands, very, very nice stuff.
Exterminators #21 – This book just rocks. The Mayan hissers (the mother fluckers of all cockroaches) and the Bug-Bee boys are fighting it out. This book is really a good read month in and month out.
Midnighter #11 – Keith Giffen and Chris Sprouse continue to explore Midnighter’s past. I really enjoyed the first issue by the new team and look forward to this issue. I never even thought about what or who he was before.
That’s a wrap for a rather decent size week. Since the books come out Thursday and the convention is the Saturday/Sunday after that, hardly anytime to read all of this stuff before the next week is here.