Monday, December 31, 2007

What I’m Getting Friday

As the holidays pass we are getting back to a normal schedule on the blog and that means Monday the “What I’m Getting” post and for this week books again ship on Friday. Tuesday is New Years Day and that “Best to Worst” of last week will be posted Thursday.

We should have a few independent book reviews coming up and hope to continue to do a few interviews.

Atom #19 – This continues to be a solid series and this issue we have a guest writer Keith Champagne with guest art by Jerry Ordway & Trevor Scott. Nice to see Jerry Ordway back on the drawing board, also Keith has proven to be a competent writer. When you have a “fill in” issue like this I have no problem as keeping the book coming out monthly is important to fans that only get a few titles a month.

Countdown Lord Havok and the Extremists #3 (of 6) – In discussing this book recently the wisdom of this series was questioned and I cannot really disagree with the assessment that this series is not really needed. Now having said that it has been fun to get the background material on these “heroes” and as long as they are players in Final Crisis it maybe worth having this type of background.

Countdown to Final Crisis #17 – Ray Palmer has been found and everyone seems to want him. I’m glad we have had some resolution with Ray being found but boy is that one convoluted explanation as Ray has been on Earth 51 for years and years and yet they could never find him. ANd had Ray Palmer been gone that long? So time travel explanation should have been added.

Countdown to Mystery #4 (of 8) – Not truly a 100% Countdown book as Dr. Fate has nothing to do with Countdown. I hope Steve Gerber gets his lung transplant and then recovers and we get to see him write Dr. Fate as a monthly book as this has been an excellent start up of a new Dr. Fate. The Eclipso story has been brilliant also and it appears if poor Bruce Gordon will be pulled back into being Eclipso.

Detective Comics #840 – Paul Dini is joined by Dustin Nguyen as the new regular artist. I really appreciate that DC continues to try and bring “A” level talent to Batman and Superman. This issue apparently a new menace raises it head called the “Globe” as Batman is still dealing with Ra’s As Ghul being back.

Jonah Hex #27 – Written by Gray & Palmiotti with art by Jordi Bernet, whose work I just really enjoy. I love the premise for this issue as Jonah faces off against a killer of just lawmen and they are calling his a “Star Man”.

Metal Men #5 (of 8) – This has been a very dense series with so much happening and so many convoluted pieces floating around that it has been an effort to following this story monthly. I have enjoyed it, but think it will be a better trade.

Supergirl #25 – I have a few books that I buy and read and cannot really justify why I do it. This is my big one from DC (New Avengers is my Marvel title of this ilk). I mean look at the official hype “Supergirl and Superman must work together to defeat the nuclear menace of Reactron! But when Superman tries to teach her the hardest lesson of all, he learns that Supergirl has something to teach him! And wait until you see the startling new direction the book takes!” ANOTHER NEW DIRECTION! I’d be happy if it had a direction.

Teen Titans Year One #1 (of 6) – I have been really iffy on this book from the first solicitation, but I want to try an issue before I cancel it. The artwork just looks odd based on the covers.

Northlanders #2 – I really enjoyed the first issue and look forward to this issue. The last issue started off well with us being introduced to Sven who is trying to claim his inheritance back from his Uncle. This issue Sven is gathering an army to take it back. Viking adventures appeals to me and Brian Wood (writer) will give us more then just Viking adventures.

Vinyl Underground #4 – I’m not as sold on this series after 3 issues as I was on Northlanders after 1, but the book has potential and the “Occult” detectives are an interesting bunch. Plus we have strong artwork form Simone Gane and Cameron Stewart on inks (who maybe carrying the book).

Midnighter #15 – Wildstorm has crashed and burned so I never really have to cancel much of anything, but I have hung on to Midnighter as Keith Giffen always has some good stuff in his work. This issues official hype sounds good “Midnighter's battles with Anthem comes to a head as he must decide between a past he doesn't remember and the complete annihilation of a town he doesn't even like.”

Wildstorm Revelations #1 (of 6) – Apparently all of these Armageddon stories have been leading up to this mini-series. I have no clue what Wildstorm is doing with their Universe and unfortunately neither do they. Still I will check this out to see if they can get something going with this Universe.

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Guilty Pleasures #7 (of 12) - I had almost forgotten about this book. I think after this 12 issue arc is over I may drop this title. I have found the story to be entertaining but the characters are not compelling enough to keep me reading.

Annihilation Conquest #3 (of 6) – This has been a decent read and with Abnett & Lanning as a good writing team and Tom Raney is a solid super hero action artist. Still the series itself needed more of Nova in it to suit my taste, but the latest iteration of Adam Warlock is an interesting addition.

Essential Power Man & Iron Fist Volume 1 – "Sweet Christmas" this is a book that is long overdue. But seriously this was an interesting team-up. Iron Fist book was failing and they folded it in with Power Man (who I guess may have been having sales issue also) and they managed to make it work well enough that Luke and Danny are still strong friends in the Marvel Universe to this day.

Thunderbolts #118 – It feels like this is almost a bi-monthly series anymore and I have to try and remember what the heck was going on. In fact this issue was solicited for sale in October. Nothing can take the steam or buzz off a book for me more then late shipping and slow production. I was really jazzed about this book, but feel it needs a monthly rhythm. Some books are so good whenever is okay (All Star Superman), but some books need the pacing of monthly chapters to keep it going.

Ultimate Human #1 (of 4) – Warren Ellis as writer and Cary Nord as artist with Iron Man vs. the Hulk. The appeal of the creators over rode that boring premise enough for me to try out issue #1. Ellis is a great writer (usually) and Nord’s work was great on Conan. He is not big on backgrounds, but his work is nice.

Uncanny X-Men #494 – The Messiah Complex rolls on. Last issue we left Bishop about to shoot Cable and/orl the baby. As we have the solicitation for a new Cable series and the baby is with him, I’m guessing that does not happen. Others I talk to have been more impressed than I am on this series, but the resolution can make or break it.

Dynamo 5 #10 – This is one of my favorite new series and if you enjoy super hero groups this book is one to check out. This issue Myriad and Scatterbrain get in a fight and I’m sure it is due to Myriad’s actions when he posed as Scatterbrain.

Overman #2 (of 5) – The first issue started off really well and then the main story was bizarre and seemed to have no rhyme or reason as to why it was so whacked out. Still I’m giving the second issue a shot and see if the book can redeem itself or if I will be dropping this title.

Shark Man #1 – I have heard that this is some older material that has been re-worked a little and they are trying to make a go of the series again. The premise sounded interesting enough for me to want and try it “Utopia. The quest for it has destroyed the lives of many men. Alan Gaskill has created a beautiful new city, New Venice, at sea off the coast of California: a place with sun, with no crime and with no worries. But that is about to change. A cancer has slowly been growing inside the city, threatening its very existence. Alan won't let that happen - he's willing to put his life and those of his family at risk to stop it.”

Sorrow #3 (of 4 ) – This book is late, but the Rick Remender & Seth Peck horror story has been good and I more annoyed because I have been looking forward to parts 3 and 4 then annoyed that it is a couple months late.

Strange Embrace #7 (of 8) – The penultimate chapter of David Hine’s seminal story. This story as compelling and rather twisted as it is, is so well structured that you can see why it got Marvel’s attention and they have given him a few writing assignments (Son of “M” and Silent War). I now look forward to seeing his name as the writer of a book.

Doctor Solar Archives Volume #4 – This archive is the old Gold Key Doctor Solar stuff and while interesting I’m now more of the opinion that 3 volumes of the material may have been enough. Dark Horse always have high quality production values so at least you know you are getting a good buy for your dollar.

Lobster Johnson Iron Prometheus #5 (of 5) – The final issue of this nice little mini-series from the Mike Mignolaverse. The story had a very pulp fiction / Saturday matinee feel to it that has been great fun.

End League #1 – This book I have really been looking forward to reading. Written by Rick (Fear Agent) Remender and art by Mat Broome. The official hype sounds interesting “A thematic merging of The Lord of the Rings and Watchmen, The End League follows a cast of the last remaining supermen and women as they embark on a desperate and perilous journey through a world dominated by evil, in hopes of locating the one remaining artifact that can save humanity-the Hammer of Thor.”

Doktor Sleepless #4 – Warren Ellis’ pseudo science fiction cyper punk future story, that is failing to really grab my interest. This issue will be my deciding one as to whether or not it is worth hanging in there or not.

Gravel #0 – Another Warren Ellis Avatar project and this is about a “Combat Magician”. Whatever that is suppose to be. I never read any of the other material about this character, but I will try it out for the zero issue.

Okko Cycle of Water Hard Cover – I read two chapters of this and was unsure if I could get the other two parts, then decided to wait and get the hardcover. This is by Hub. It is beautifully illustrated and a very involved Japanese themed tale. The official hype “Year 1108 in the official calendar of the Pajan Empire. This turbulent age, often called the Asagiri Era, or the Time of Mists, saw the great clans wage decades-long wars in attempts to seize power. Far from the fields of battle, Okko the ronin heads a small group of demon hunters, wandering the realms of Empire. He is accompanied by Noburo, a mysterious giant who hides his face behind a red mask, and the whimsical monk Noshin, the sak√© lover with the power to summon and commune with the spirits of nature. When Tikku’s sister Little Carp is kidnapped by pirates, the young fisherman enlists the group’s help in finding her. But the quest will have a price, and will lead our four heroes much farther afield than they’d ever imagined.”

North Wind #1 (of 4) - This was a nice beginning to another post apocalyptic word story. For mine and Gwen’s full review go here.

So begins a new year. January is a five week month (yeah) and we have Final Crisis and the Secret Invasion to “look forward” to from Marvel and DC. Also it is the 70th Anniversary of Superman and 50 years for the Legion of Super Heroes. I personally hope and expect to see bigger market shares for Image and Dark Horse and I thing 2008 could be the year BOOM Studios starts to really make its mark.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

DC Preview Review for March 2008

Jim: Well another month with new series being an almost forgotten idea, especially in the DCU. I wonder if this will last all throughout Final Crisis or will series start to launch again once Final Crisis begins.
Lee: The Marvel and DC previews just pain me every month. It seems to be the same rehash or prelude to the next mega crossover. I don’t want to go back the the silverage but how about a compromise to the mid-80’s.
Gwen: I will be sooooo happy when Final Crisis is over. 'nuff said.

COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #8-5 Story by Paul DiniStory consulting by Keith GiffenThe Countdown ticks down as storylines converge and collide — a Great Disaster is clearly proving to be unavoidable!COUNTDOWN 8 on sale March 5COUNTDOWN 7 on sale March 12COUNTDOWN 6 on sale March 19COUNTDOWN 5 on sale March 2632 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Jim: In hindsight I think even Didio may admit that having a year long prelude to a big story was a mistake. Hopefully by this issues it should be a revelation or great moment ever week.
Lee: Let’s hope because this is killing me.
Gwen: Eh, I am disillusioned at this point... here's hoping something will get me interested again.

TANGENT: SUPERMAN’S REIGN #1 Written by Dan JurgensArt by Matt Clark, Fernando Pasarin & Jesse DelperdangCover by Carlos Pacheco & Jesus MerinoThe Tangent Earth and the DC Earth are about to collide! In the years since the Tangent world was last seen, a mind-reading, telekinetic Superman has taken control and brought peace, but at the cost of the world’s freedoms. And as the walls between the Tangent Earth and the DC Earth being to fall, the Tangent Superman’s visions are about to get even grander! Spinning out of the events of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #16, the 12-part TANGENT: SUPERMAN’S REIGN maxiseries will introduce members of the Tangent world to their DC counterparts, with events and results that will change both worlds forever!On sale March 19 • 1 of 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Lee: And, here I thought all the Tangent trades for just to reprint good material. Oh no, it was yet another marketing ploy. They might have sold better if people had know why they were being printed. I'm not sure I see the point of this series.
Jim: So those trade I have ordered are research material for this series. I liked a lot of these Tangent heroes and thought that their potential was untapped, so I’m curious to see what this series will bring and how (if it all) it will play out against Final Crisis.
Gwen: Hasn't this story been done before? Like, a lot?

TEEN TITANS: YEAR ONE #3 Written by Amy Wolfram Art by Karl Kerschl & Serge LapointeCover by KerschlThe newly formed Teen Titans must face off against the possessed Justice League of America to the death! And in this battle, there are no winners.On sale March 5 • 3 of 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Lee: I'm sorry but he still looks Zombie Aqualad to me. Can't the editor do something about this?
Jim: Gotta say, if it is Zombie Aqualad, it maybe more interesting, because this is an easy pass for me.
Gwen: ooo, Zombie Aqualad could be hilarious. Too bad that's not what this is =/

DC SPECIAL: RAVEN #1 Written by Marv Wolfman Art and cover by Damion Scott & Robert CampanellaFrom Marv Wolfman, co-creator of Raven, and maverick penciller Damion Scott (BATGIRL) comes a 5-issue miniseries delving into Raven’s past and giving her a new life — but first she must survive the horrors of high school! Can the Titan’s empath endure the wave of teen angst at school, especially after someone begins killing students? Emotions are driven sky high thanks to the reappearance of the Psycho Pirate’s Medusa mask, and there’s no way anyone can contain it once it has fallen into the wrong hands. Titans fans new and old dare not miss this one!On sale March 5 • 1 of 5 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Lee: Ummmmm... is it me or does Raven look like Batgirl. Someone did tell Damion Scott he was working on a new title right? RIGHT?
Jim: I don’t know is Marv Wolfman really in touch with his high school angst enough to write this type of series. The whole de-aged Raven was always confusing to me anyway.
Gwen: I'm fairly attached to the character of Raven - but why would they send an empath to public high school? Personally I think she should have a private tutor or something...

JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER SPECIAL Written by Darwyn CookeArt by Cooke, J. Bone & David BullockCover by CookeCelebrating the DVD release of the New Frontier movie comes this collection of never before seen stories including “New Frontier: The Lost Chapter,” with script and art by Darwyn Cooke! This tale provides a first-hand look at Faraday’s quest to outlaw masked vigilantes, culminating with the day Superman goes to Gotham to bring down Batman. Also included are two back-up stories featuring Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Sgt. Rock and others, as well as behind-the-scenes bonus material from the movie!On sale March 5 • FC, 48 pgs, no ads, $4.99 US
Jim: I got the comics, I own the Absolute Edition, I have the 9 action figures and I was buying the movie and what you needed another $5 from me. No problem as this is one of my all time favorite series you can sucker me for another $5.
Lee: The sad part, I have yet to read this series. I know it’s really good and all but I am holding out for a less-than-$100 hc. Someday… maybe.
Gwen: This looks cool :)

SIMON DARK #6 Written by Steve NilesArt and cover by Scott HamptonRachel and Beth seek a new friend for the city’s guardian while “Simple Simon” recalls how he became a creature of both science and dark magic. Meanwhile, the cult springs into action against an unwitting Gotham City!On sale March 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Jim: I bring this book up as it looks like a nice jumping on point if you have passed up on this series. It really is a unique DCU title and is one not to be missed.
Lee: There is a lot of mixed press on this. I will wait for the trade and see if I like that.
Gwen: I really like this series so far, it's got an interesting story and decent art work. Also, it stands out as being something different amongst the rest of the Gotham stories.

THE FLASH #238 Written by Tom PeyerArt and cover by Freddie Williams II“Fast Money” begins! Don’t miss the kickoff of this provocative new storyline by Tom Peyer (HOURMAN), as the Flash is pulled into an intense moral dilemma about superpowers — and Keystone’s plagued by a menace who’s using familiar mind-bending tactics!On sale March 19 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Jim: Check out the writer is Tom Peyer. If Waid is off this book then bring in Johns. Damn DC is having a problem getting the Flash right.
Lee: I don’t remember Peyer being that bad a writer. Don’t remember him being that good either but the same could be said about Jay Faeber’s early stuff. DC really need to settle this book down before it becomes the boy version of Supergirl.
Gwen: I have to agree with Lee - jumping creators this fast can only end up in disaster.

BATMAN: THE RESURRECTION OF RA’S AL GHUL HC Written by Peter Milligan, Grant Morrison, Fabian Nicieza, Paul Dini and Keith ChampagneArt by Don Kramer, Jason Pearson, Tony Daniel, David Lopez, Freddie Williams II, Ryan Benjamin and othersCover by Andy KubertBatman’s immortal foe, Ra’s Al Ghul, should be dead at last — so how has he returned to haunt The Dark Knight? Find out in this 256-page hardcover volume collecting the intense tale originally presented in Batman Annual #26, Batman #670-671, Robin #168-169, ROBIN ANNUAL #7, Nightwing #138-139, and Detective Comics #838-839!Ra’s al Ghul is back…but what does his return have to do with Batman’s teenaged son, Damian — whose mother is Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter, Talia? It will take the combined skills of Batman, Robin and Nightwing to get to the bottom of these mysteries and stop Ra’s al Ghul’s insidious plans!Advance-solicited; on sale May 7 • 256 pg, FC, $29.99 US
Jim: The hard cover solicitations hit so fast the series hasn’t even been concluded. Who knows if I even want this book already. Slow down this stuff for a couple of months.
Lee: They really should slow this down. But I see the point. For those that buy more trades than singles (me) I want it faster. If I they don’t do the HC quickly then they potentially lose sales.
Gwen: I can see Lee's point... but they should at least wait until the story's done in the main books.

JACK KIRBY’S O.M.A.C.: ONE MAN ARMY CORPS HC Written by Jack KirbyArt by Kirby, Mike Royer and D. Bruce BerryCover by Kirby & RoyerWitness the early tales of Jack Kirby’s legendary creation O.M.A.C. in this hardcover collecting stories from O.M.A.C. #1-8 (1974-1975) plus artwork from WHO’S WHO! In one of his last major works for DC, Kirby envisions a 1984-inspired dystopia starring corporate nobody Buddy Blank, who is changed by a satellite called Brother Eye into the super-powered O.M.A.C. (One Man Army Corps). Enlisted by the Global Peace Agency, who police the world using pacifistic means, O.M.A.C. battles the forces of conformity in this short-lived but legendary series!Advance-solicited; on sale May 21 • 176 pg, FC, $24.99 US
Jim: Okay, okay I have said I have enough Kirby in my collection of hard covers to last a lifetime, but this was still so fun and outlandish stuff and I have to order it.
Lee: MINE MINE MINE MINE!!!! What can I say I love Omac’s super mohawk!
Gwen: blah I say, blah

JLA PRESENTS: AZTEK — THE ULTIMATE MAN TP Written by Grant Morrison & Mark MillarArt by Stephen Harris, Keith Champagne, Drew Geraci and othersCover by Howard Porter and John DellFrom writers Grant Morrison (52, BATMAN) and Mark Millar (Ultimates, Civil War) comes Aztek, the visionary hero from the 1990s! In these stories from Aztek: the Ultimate Man #1-10, Aztek fights the forces of evil in Vanity City, where he meets costumed characters including Green Lantern and The Joker!Advance-solicited; on sale April 30 • 240 pg, FC, $19.99 US
Lee: I remember this being good but I don't remember much more. This was some of Morrison's first superhero work so it is worth checking out.
Jim: I remember liking this series a lot and then being disappointed that it never sold. It is a shock to see this get the green light for a trade, but I’m buying it. Of course I could probably pick it up on E-Bay for $5 plus shipping.
Gwen: I have no idea what this is. Really. This must have been during my year or so of not seeing many comics. Or maybe it was before my time - not really sure.

SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY ARCHIVES VOL. 3 HC Written by Joe SamachsonArt by Arthur CazeneuveCover by Jon Small & Louis CazeneuveThe final volume collecting the classic adventures of the Seven Soldiers of Victory, originally presented in LEADING COMICS #9-14 (1944-1945)!Advance-solicited; on sale May 28 • 280 pg, FC, $59.99 US
Jim: Hell I have Volume 1 & 2, so I have to get 3. Of course I should read them but what the heck.
Lee: As a Golden Age collector this really interests me but is the art any good????
Gwen: You haven't read them? Then why are you getting them? Is this another one of your horde of books you'll read "one day"?
Jim: Yes it is.

THE STARMAN OMNIBUS VOL. 1 HC Written by James RobinsonArt by Tony Harris, Wade Von Grawbadger and othersCover by HarrisAt last — the hit series created by James Robinson (BATMAN: FACE THE FACE) and Tony Harris (EX MACHINA) of the 1990s is collected in a series of six spectacular hardcover editions. This inaugural volume features a new cover by Harris and collects STARMAN #0-16, originally published from 1994 to 1996.Advance-resolicited; on sale May 21 • 6.75” x 10.25” • 448 pg, FC, $49.99 US
Jim: I’m very happy to see this series get reprinted and I have heard that the paper quality will be better then the other Omnibus editions. I sure as hell hope so. This was one of the best series ever produced
Lee: Sign me up. I’m there!
Gwen: I've recently acquired most of this series as trades so will be reading it soon.

SHOWCASE PRESENTS: CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN VOL. 2 TP Written by France E. Herron and variousArt and cover by Bob BrownThrill to more than 500 pages of comic action collected from CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN #18-37 (1961-1964)! Along the way, the intrepid foursome faces dangers of every imaginable sort, including cosmic-powered alien beasts, doomed worlds, futuristic knights and much more.Advance-solicited; on sale April 23 • 528 pg, B&W, $16.99 US
Jim: The Challengers got really goofy and “sixties” crazy in the mid-sixties, but some of this material was pretty entertaining also.
Lee: This is really, really good material but spend the money and get the color version in the archives edition. It’s only $40 and the stories still read well. (Editor this material is not in any Archives edition)
Gwen: I've never really been interested in this series, too many other things to read.

THE NEW DYNAMIX #1 Written by Allen WarnerArt and cover by J.J. KirbyVariant cover by Jim Lee Get on board for a thrilling 5-issue miniseries written by Allen Warner (NINJA BOY) with eye-popping art by J.J. Kirby (DV8, GEN13)! Where have all the heroes gone? That’s what Lady Love — a Bay Area disc jockey — wants to know. Her alter ego, Love Rocket, is trying to keep her city from falling to pieces, but it’s not easy. During a mission, her crime-fighting partner does such a good job attacking a hostage-taker that he puts a child’s life in danger — while a TV news crew catches all the action. Their broadcast grabs a lot of attention from various people…including a WildStorm super-powered-being who’s been out of commission for years. Will this shock him into action?On sale March 5 • 1 of 5 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Jim: What the heck is this? Seems to be an odd little mini-series but Allen Warner has had a couple of good ideas before, so I will check out at least issue #1.
Lee: Her alter ego is “Love Rocket”? If it was a boy I might understand but a girl… named “Love Rocket”… Uuuummm yeah.
Gwen: Hahaha, this looks like it could be fun and amusing. Love Rocket *snickers*

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: BLACK DOSSIER — THE ABSOLUTE EDITION Written by Alan MooreArt and cover by Kevin O’NeillThe League of Extraordinary Gentlemen returns in this amazing new Absolute Edition! England in the mid 1950s is not the same as it was. The powers that be have instituted…some changes. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has been disbanded and disavowed, and the country is under the control of an iron-fisted regime. Now, after many years, the still youthful Mina Murray and a rejuvenated Allan Quatermain return and are in search of some answers. Answers that can only be found in a book buried deep in the vaults of their old headquarters, a book that holds the key to the hidden history of the League throughout the ages: The Black Dossier.This amazing new Absolute Edition is sure to thrill fans, and includes a 3-D section complete with custom 3-D glasses, plus text pieces, maps, and a stunning cutaway double-page spread of Captain Nemo's Nautilus submarine by Kevin O'Neill. As if this wasn’t enough, also included is a NEW rarity: a 45-rpm vinyl recording of the song "Immortal Love," sung by Alan Moore himself!Retailers please note: This title is published in the United States only.Advance-solicited; on sale June 11 • 8.25” x 12.5”200 pages, FC/B&W, $99.00 US • Mature Readers
Lee: Let me see if I read this right... for $99 I am getting a 45 rpm vinyl recording???? And who has the ability to even play this? And a couple of points for the record: (1) I'd bet money Alan Moore can't sing. I heard Warren Ellis sing and it made my ears bleed. I don't believe Mr. Moore would be any better. (2) Tim Truman did the vinyl flexidisc in the pages of Scout when it was published by Eclipse in the 80's. It's not that new an idea. No less stupid, just not new.
Jim: Okay the hard cover came out yesterday and now you want $100 from me for a bigger size version and I get a record I can’t play. Sometimes I may have sucker stamped on my forehead, but I have not even tried to read this book yet as it is so damn dense and I have not heard any rave reviews for it yet, so no thanks.
Gwen: I'm about to read this book as Jim lent it to me, but I can't imagine wanting to spend that much money on a deluxe version. I mean really, I can see the point with Sandman and Kingdom Come... but this?

YOUNG LIARS #1 Written by David LaphamArt and cover by LaphamIndie comics auteur and SILVERFISH creator David Lapham hasn’t embarked on a monthly series since STRAY BULLETS, his magnum opus that garnered industry awards and international acclaim. Now Lapham’s back with YOUNG LIARS, his first full-color monthly series, about a group of misfits and their desperate attempt to salvage their crushed dreams.“I haven’t had this much fun since my Uncle Chuck took me on a crime spree in the fourth grade.” — David LaphamAt the core of YOUNG LIARS is the disturbing relationship between Danny Noonan, a habitual liar and crap guitar player from Texas, and Sadie Dawkins, the object of his desire. Sadie was a poor little rich girl until a bullet lodged in her brain turned her into an adrenaline junkie who only listens to Danny.But who shot Sadie is only part of the mystery that drives YOUNG LIARS, from the twisted club scene of lower Manhattan to absurdist hijinx on the high seas. And from the hot shores of Ibiza to the haunted castles of Spain, Danny, Sadie and their entourage of losers will run from poorly disguised assassins, demented billionaires, and psychotic midgets — not to mention each other — in an absurd quest to get rich and famous. Or kill each other trying. YOUNG LIARS will provide relentless action, suspense, sex and murder in the way that only David Lapham can deliver.A sneak peek will run in DMZ #28. Watch for a graphic trailer at dccomics.com.On sale March 5 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • MATURE READERS
Jim: Hard to not want to check out a new series by Lapham. I have never read Stray Bullets and I hear the beginning of the series was great, so I’m curious to check this out.
Lee: READ STRAY BULLETS!!!! That series is great. And, Laphams work since then has been, for the most part, really good too. It’s always worth investigating his new latest efforts.
Gwen: This looks like it could be interesting. I never read Stray Bullets either... but oh well, I'd still be willing to try this book out.

JLA BUILD-A-SCENE STATUE: PART 1 Based on the art of Ed BenesSculpted by Alterton BizarreEd Benes’ legendary image from the cover of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #7 stands tall as it becomes a multi-part statue! Sold in three parts, each features two of the world’s greatest superheroes and includes a piece of a bonus Red Tornado figure. (To fully assemble Red Tornado, all three Build-a-Scene statues are needed.) All of the pieces slide together to make a complete cover scene in striking 3-D!• The first part of the statue includes Batman, Wonder Woman, and the base and tornado portion of Red Tornado.• Part two will include Superman, Black Canary, and the torso of Red Tornado.• Part three will include Green Lantern, The Flash, and the head and cape of Red Tornado.The JLA BUILD-A-SCENE STATUE is a limited-edition, hand-painted, cold-cast porcelain statue measuring approximately 8” tall x 14” wide x 10” deep when fully assembled. (Each piece measures approximately 8” tall x 5” wide x 5” deep, except for Red Tornado, which measures approximately 10.375” tall x 8.5” wide x 5.5” deep.) It includes a certificate of authenticity and is packaged in a 4-color box. This limited edition statue is manufactured to order.Advance-solicited; on sale August 13, 2007 * Statue * $150 US
Jim: So let’s see if I get this right. I will eventually pay $450 and have to assemble Red Tornado myself as he comes in three pieces. If I just want the Wonder Woman / Batman portion I will still have the whirlwind behind them. Hmmmm……NO!
Lee: Yeah, baby. THIS WILL BE MINE!!! In two years… when it hits ebay… and I can actually afford. BUT BY 2025 THIS WILL BE MINE!!!
Gwen: Wow, waaaay overpriced.

GREEN LANTERN VS. SINESTRO BOOKENDS Inspired by the art of Ethan Van SciverBitter enemies Green Lantern and Sinestro battle it out in these bookends, based on art from the hit storyline “The Sinestro Corps War.” This limited edition, cold-cast porcelain bookend set includes a full-color Certificate of Authenticity and is packaged in a 4-color box. Each side measures approximately 8” tall x 6” wide x 6” deep.Advance-solicited; on sale August 27, 2007 * Bookends * $295.00 US
Jim: Oh they look nice, but how can anyone justify $300 for book ends?
Lee: I can ya cheap skate. $300 for something that will collect dust before it eventually falls off the shelf and breaks. A perfectly reasonable investment.
Gwen: Still - they are cool looking.

Jim: Lots of interesting stuff and a lot more of the higher end product is being solicited with trades, hard covers and collectibles being a big part of the product mix. Still more exciting then the last two months.
Lee: Sadly enough it is getting better. I like the HC’s and trades because there is lots of good stuff coming. AND, for Christmas in seven years I’m asking for a build-a-red-tornado statue. OOOHHH the anticipation is killing me.
Gwen: Lots of expensive things.... shouldn't they have released this stuff before Christmas? Ah well, I can't really say anything seeing how I get my comic books for free.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

One More Day - Part 4 - A Review - Amazing Spider-Man #545

Amazing Spider-Man #545 - Story - J. Michael Straczynski & Joe Quesada, Art - Joe Quesada, Inker Danny Miki, Color - Richard Isanove and Dean White.

Rarely does a comic arc make me feel like writing about it more then once, but One More Day has to go down as the worst idea of all time and is the worst Spider-Man story ever done.

It is everything that I thought it was going to be and even more. Not only does Peter's life get reset so that he is not married to Mary Jane and never remembers it, he also gets his secret identity back and is turned into the sad sack loser boy that certain elements has always believed Spider-Man to be. (I have always believed Spider-Man to be a great hero because he would do the right thing even if it cost him personally - that is not a loser or Charlie Brown character, that is a hero). For good measure they now are saying Spider-Girl never happens and Mary Jane had some deep dark secret that she told Mephisto to put Peter's life back so he can be happy.

This reset has impact across so much of the Marvel Universe and of course can never be properly explained. So what stories did or did not happen, we will never know as it will be up to each writer to determine what the heck the actual history of the character is or is not.

The actual "story" this issue. Peter and MJ cry over their decision and MJ bribes the devil with a heretofore unknown secret to guarantee Peter a better life and then Peter wakes up with Aunt May making him breakfast. He acts like a dork and a kid of about 19 or 20 and rides his bike to Harry Osborne's breakfast surprise party with Flash and all the gang there. MJ is there and mad at him they toast a "Brand New Day". BLECHHHHHHHH

It really makes no sense at all. It is not dramatic, it is the worse retro-con ever. In DC they have messed up Superman's history again so we do not know what is or what is not his origin. Now in Spider-Man I have no clue how old he is or is not. How does this all fit in with all the past events, especially the whole Avengers/New Avengers thing and Civil War. In less then one year they have taken a major element from their biggest story line ever and wiped it out as an afterthought.

I thought that Mary Jane would ask the devil if he could fix that flat tire Peter had in 1994, when he missed a ball game because of it, or better yet to fix that one night when she got a little too drunk and slept with this guy she never really wanted to sleep with.

It is trash, it is an insult to the people who really cared about Spider-Man and to all Marvel fans. I say all fans as you have no idea what this impacts.

Many people have said, oh the story is horrible, but the art is good. Not to me and especially not this issue. Peter has looks on his face that he seems constipated, not devastated.

Finally as this is writer JMS swan song they added a page in the back about how JMS' run in Spider-Man apparently deserves the Nobel Prize in literature as apparently it rivals the works of Shakespeare and Hemingway.

Usually I feel no matter how bad of a story line has been produced as a reader you can close you eyes and pretend it never happened, this is such a core change that you can't do it. It is also so disingenuous to the "Civil War" story that I actually lauded for making a true change to the status quo of the Marvel Universe, that it now no longer matters. I'm very concerned about what the resolution of the Captain America saga will be with this type of tripe being produced.

Joe Quesada has been very innovative and very daring and has really made a lot of great comics and has done things that make Marvel the company DC has to try and beat. Occasionally once you become someone so big and so successful that no one is willing to tell you no or tell you that that you actually have no clothes on. This time Joe is naked and it is for all the world to see and this is a complete and utter failure.

We suspend disbelief to belief that a radioactive spider could turn us into Spider-Man, but even that suspension goes so far and now "poof" it is all changed. How dramatic can anything be when you can just wave your hand and make it magically change back?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Dark Horse / Image March 2008 Preview Review

Jim: The big two have been hit and miss for March with the most excitement being with new hard cover and trade collections. Let’s see what the “big two” of the smaller press guys has to offer.
Lee: The Big Big two were atrocious this month. I always have high hopes for Image/DH but they consistently come through so I am optimistic.

Starting with Dark Horse

CONAN: BORN ON THE BATTLEFIELD
KURT BUSIEK (W) and GREG RUTH (A) On sale May 21 FC, 160 pages $24.95 HC, 7" x 10"
Writer Kurt Busiek and artist Greg Ruth team up to give you the story of Conan's early life, from his birth on a Cimmerian battlefield to his coming-of-age as a warrior in the pivotal Battle of Venarium. Sewing the seeds of the Barbarian's momentous career, this chronicle of Conan's youthful conquests – both martial and carnal -- also showcases master storytellers Busiek and Ruth's work at its finest.
Jim: If you are a Conan fan at all you should enjoy this book. This was put out as “fill-in” issues for the regular series. It really was a great idea give a multi-chapter story to one artist and let him produce the chapters and use those issues as fill-ins to give your regular artist more time. Nice addition to the Conan saga giving us a glimpse of his life before he went out wandering.
Lee: If you like Conan then you will like this. And, if you haven’t tried this is a good place to start. A nice little run by Busiek and Ruth.

RED STRING VOLUME 3
GINA BIGGS (W/A) o n sale May 14 b&w, 208 pages $9.95 TPB, 5 7/8" x 8 1/4"
With a dear friend moving to Tokyo, an arranged marriage pending, and a difficult teacher holding a grudge against her, Miharu Ogawa is having one of her worst semesters in school ever! Her friends aren't having an easy time, either. After breaking down and finally expressing her feelings to Fuuko, Maya seeks solace and advice from Karen -- who isn't really an expert in love and is having her own relationship problems. "Lone Wolf" Hayashihara struggles with the fact that he's actually making friends, a new character -- Jun Mataichi -- arrives to stir up a little more confusion, and a snowy accident brings two bickering souls closer together. Collected for the first time ever, this third volume of Gina Biggs's successful web comic (and evolving tale of self-discovery) collects chapters fifteen through twenty-one of Red String and delivers all of the great surprises and romantic moments you've come to expect and enjoy! o Look for Red String volumes one and two also available from Dark Horse Books!
Jim: Gwen has an interview with the creator of this book here and I include the solicitation for fans of her work. The artwork is really well done.
Lee: It’s really interesting how more and more webcomics are seeing print. It’s a good sign for the industry as a whole. And, it’s nice to have something other than Superheroes to read.

SERENITY: BETTER DAYS #1 (of 3)
JOSS WHEDON (W), BRETT MATTHEWS (W), WILL CONRAD (A), MICHELLE MADSEN (C), and ADAM HUGHES (Cover) o n sale Mar 12 FC, 40 pages $2.99 Miniseries
Joss Whedon returns to the world of his blockbuster film Serenity with the three-issue comics series Better Days. Better Days revisits everyone's favorite space cowboys in this thrilling, action-packed adventure, with Mal and his crew on a heist that promises a big payoff -- what's surprising is that this heist just might make good on that promise. Whedon reunites with Brett Matthews and Will Conrad, his collaborators on the best-selling 2005 series Those Left Behind. Adam Hughes joins the team for covers.
Jim: After Farscape the series that I miss the most from TV. I may have to check it out, although comic books on my favorite TV shows do not always translate well.
Lee: 40 pages for $3 is a good deal. I just never got into the series so this is a pass for me.

X OMNIBUS VOLUME 1
STEVEN GRANT (W), DOUG MAHNKE (A), VARIOUS (W/A), and FRANK MILLER (Cover) o n sale May 28 FC, 352 pages $24.95 TPB, 6" x 9" The city of Arcadia is the dark side of the American Dream. It's the land of opportunity, if you've got the money to buy it or the muscle to take it. The police are the best trained and equipped in the country, if you can afford their protection. Crime is under control, because crime is in control. For the corrupt and the ruthless, Arcadia is paradise on Earth. But a cold storm is blowing through the streets of Arcadia, a plague wind in black leather and torn cloth, a one-eyed, one-man judge, jury, and executioner whom the papers call "The X-Killer." He has set the new rules for Arcadia. Cross the line once, you'll receive a warning. Cross them twice, and X will mark the spot . . . where they'll find your body.
Jim: “X” was the best series from Dark Horse days of doing super hero books. No real surprise with Steven Grant and a “new” artist at the time Doug Mahnke being involved.
Lee: I am really looking forward to this. This was a good series and although I never finished reading it. Even at the smaller size I am looking forward to this.

Domo … Stuff
Japan's favorite furball is invading the United States and Dark Horse is helping to lead the charge. We are ramping up a special program of officially licensed Domo merchandise, and clever retailers will stock up lest they find their ankles being chomped on.
Domo is a small brown open-mouthed monster hatched from an egg who lives with a wise old rabbit underground. He really, really likes TV. Domo is the mascot of NHK's BS2 (a satellite channel; he also appears on BS1). There are Japanese videos and products, but deliveries to these shores have been sporadic. That is all about to change.
Watch for a special vinyl figure in the months ahead.
Lee: WOW. I have no clue what any of this is but it looks strange. I wonder if there is a large group of people (any people?) who are excited about this?
Jim: OMG Domo – you know Domo it is some really inane crap, err some wonderful collectible.

THE RETURN OF THE GREMLINS #1 (of 3)
MIKE RICHARDSON (W), DEAN YEAGLE (A), and DAN JACKSON (C)
On sale Mar 5 FC, 32 pages $2.99 Miniseries Our story opens on Gus, a man visiting England from the States. His grandfather's house is part of his inheritance, and he plans to sell it as soon as he can. Even though the locals think the house is haunted -- something Gus immediately dismisses -- a slick man named Mr. Snide promptly appears with his "associates" and makes an offer. But when Gus declines to sign over the house right then and there, Snide reveals that his arrangement with the mayor will seal the deal soon enough! Left to explore the place, Gus experiences a series of very odd events. How did his folded clothes end up in knots? Who on earth would drill a hole in a coffee cup? Certainly not ghosts, but for a former fighter pilot's abandoned old home, it sure is clean . . . When the house's tiny residents decide to take extreme measures, Gus will meet the gremlins up close and personal -- just like his grandfather, who first discovered them sixty years ago!
Lee: Why is Mike Richarson suddenly such a prolific writer? I wonder what’s going on. BUT, while his name isn’t a draw Dean Yeagle’s certainly is. He has done Mandy cartoons in Playboy for years and has great comedic timing. AND, beautiful girls. The art will be astounding. Visit http://www.cagedbeagle.com/ to see some art.
Jim: Yeah I don’t think so, but I am also curious as to what has made Mike Richardson so prolific (as it appears to be all of a sudden).

TALES OF THE FEAR AGENT
RICK REMENDER (W), HILARY BARTA (W), MARK RICKETTS (W), CHRIS BURNHAM (W/A), RICK SPEARS (W), KIERON DWYER (A), PAUL RENAUD (A), SHANE WHITE (W/A), and many more on sale May 14 FC, 136 pages $14.95 TPB, 7" x 10"
Each story is a stiff bolt of one-hundred proof high adventure as we tag along on the drunken exploits of alien exterminator Heath Huston during his first ten years in deep space. Series creator Rick Remender is joined by a select handful of today's finest writers and artists in this compilation, expanding on the legend of the last Fear Agent
Lee: Fear Agent must be a solid hit to get getting a “tales of.. “ book. Kinda pricey but lots of good writers and artists associated with it so I will definitely peak at it.
Jim: It is good stuff and I believe there is a movie deal in the making.


Onward to Image.

DARK IVORY #1 (of 4)
Story JOSEPH MICHAEL LINSNER & EVA HOPKINS art & cover JOSEPH MICHAEL LINSNER & EVA HOPKINS "A KISS IN THE DREAMHOUSE"Ivory would love to be a vampire. What teenage goth girl wouldn't? She met one named Esque at a party, but he didn't look like a "real" vampire. Ivory's curiosity lands her on the bloody streets of New York where she learns the price of getting too close to your dreams.
Jim: One thing Image does is put all of their new projects right at the top of their solicitations, which makes it much easy. I know there are plenty of Joe Lisner fans out there and some of the women he draws are beautiful, but his work has always left me cold. Still the premise is interesting, but I will have to pass.
Lee: Another Dawn project from Linsner? Oh wait, it’s a brunette in the EXACT SAME POSE. I’m with you, Linsner has always left me cold. Pass.

DEAD SPACE #1 (of 6)
Story ANTONY JOHNSTON art & cover BEN TEMPLESMITH Real Space. Real Terror.From the creative minds at video game colossus Electronic Arts comes Dead Space, an all-new horror series set in the terrifying reaches of outer space. Illustrated by top-tier talent BEN TEMPLESMITH (30 Days of Night), and written by ANTONY JOHNSTON (Wasteland), DEAD SPACE tells the gut-wrenching tale of a deep space mining colony that unexpectedly pulls an ancient and vicious alien life force from the dark rock. DEAD SPACE will be the prequel to EA's upcoming survival horror game of the same name, due in 2008. You don't want to miss out on this unparalleled collaboration! MARCH 5 - 32 PAGES - FC - $2.99
Jim: Normally video games tie-ins have me running away from the books screaming, but when you have Antony Johnston and Ben Templesmith on the book, it becomes a book I have to check out.
Lee: I agree, Johnston is quickly becoming a solid writer. It should be fun.

NOBLE CAUSES #32
Story JAY FAERBER art & cover YILDIRAY CINAR & RON RILEY New direction! New family members! New character designs! If you love DYNAMO 5, you'll love NOBLE CAUSES! Set five years after the events of NOBLE CAUSES #31, this issue is the perfect jumping-on point for new readers! Doc Noble has rededicated the Noble family to be the world's preeminent super-heroes, but even as they take a more pro-active approach to fighting crime on a global scale, they still harbor dark secrets and hidden agendas. MARCH 26 - 32 PAGES - FC - $2.99
Jim: This is a marketing idea that works for me. I have really enjoyed Dynamo 5, but have not been able to really get into Jay’s other title Noble Causes. This gives me a great reason to jump in and I will be checking it out.
Lee: I’ve never read Noble Causes but Faerber’s done such a great job on Dynamo 5 that I looking forward to reading this. AND, a new jumping on point means I don't have to dig out old back issues.

THE REVENANT #1 (of 3)
Story ROB M. WORLEY, SHANNON ERIC DENTON & KEITH GIFFENart & cover by MAT SANTOLOUCO The lawless in Sapphire City are about to come face-to-face with fear as a man long thought buried, the ghoulish gunslinger "The Revenant" returns to enact vengeance on those who would prey on the innocent!
Jim: What the heck was Giffen doing during the gap when I hardly saw his name in a comic book? Now he is everywhere and just signed an “exclusive” to DC. Which means you can do what you want, just not with Marvel (and vice versa when Marvel signs you). This looks like a fun little story. Amazing how many “Zombies” we have in comics now days.
Lee: It looks interesting but I have to wonder about a story with *3* writers. Not the best sign for a new series.

SCREAMLAND #1
Story HAROLD SIPE art & cover HECTOR CASANOVA Where have the old Hollywood monsters gone? In the age of computer graphics and green screen, the answer ain't pretty. Having lost all of his money in a dot-com scheme, Frankenstein's Monster is content to drink the days away. When a chance at work drops in his lap, can he sober up long enough to cash in? Will the whole affair end in pitchforks and torches? MARCH 12 - 32 PAGES - FC - $2.99
Jim: I almost passed on this book, but the premise was too funny to not at least check out issue #1. Plus checking out creators who I do not know has a lot of appeal to me.
Lee: This sounds great. I am a sucker for old monster so this is an easy buy for me.
For art check out Hector at
http://www.hectorcasanova.net/home.html

TRANSHUMAN #1 (of 4)
Story JONATHAN HICKMAN art JM RINGUET cover JONATHAN HICKMAN “DISCOVERY" From JONATHAN HICKMAN, creator of THE NIGHTLY NEWS, PAX ROMANA and RED MASS FOR MARS, comes TRANSHUMAN, a story that covers the discovery of superhuman genetic engineering, the companies built on the back of that discovery and the marketing war to bring it into each and every one of our homes.
Jim: Speaking of busy creators, Jonathan Hickman does “Nightly News” and now has 3 other mini-series coming out. That is the theory anyway as not a single issue from his other mini-series have hit the stores and are now officially pretty damn late. Still this book has a great premise.
Lee: I wonder if Hickman is overstretching himself. I shall wait to see how his other miniseries stack up before committing to another.

NIXON'S PALS OGN
Story JOE CASEY art & cover CHRIS BURNHAM What's worse than being a super-villain in Los Angeles County? Being their parole officer, of course! Meet Nixon Cooper and his colorful cast of parolees at large, hanging on by their fingernails in the morally ambiguous underbelly of L.A. But who's got it worse -- the criminals who're struggling (and often failing) to live the straight life? Or Nixon himself, struggling to keep up with all of them? And who the hell is sleeping with Nixon's wife?! A crime story like you've never seen before! Loaded with extra features! AN ORIGINAL, SUPER-POWERED CRIME NOVEL! ELMORE LEONARD MEETS JACK KIRBY! MARCH 26 - 120PAGES - BW -$12.99
Jim: If I was a bigger Joe Casey fan I would probably be ordering this book. Trying out a premise for $3 to $4 is one thing, for $13 dollars is a different animal.
Lee: It’s not to much for me. This is great! I really like Casey when he’s pushing new ideas and this looks like a great fit. Plus the art looks fantastic! An easy buy.
Art at
http://www.chrisburnham.com/

Jim: That’s a wrap for the Dark Horse / Image review and I have to say that Image continues to impress with the amount of material they are putting under their banner.
Lee: This is a really good month for DH and Image. It’s amazing how much new material they can publish in a month but Marvel and DC just keep recycling the same old-same old.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ongoing Series - Best of 2007


This list is in no real order at all. The reason is that ongoing series each have their own rhythm and highs and lows occur in even the best ongoing books. The common thread that ties these series together is consistency and the same writer (or writing team) is on the book almost all the time (Blue Beetle did have a couple fill in issues which were it weaker issues).

Brave and Bold - Mark Waid (Writer) and George Perez (artist), do I need to say anything else. It should be All Star Brave and Bold as the portrayal of the characters is not 100% consistent with where the characters are in there own books, but who really cares. George Perez is at the top of his game delivering beautiful panel after panel. Mr. Perez is the best super hero artist in the business and has been for years. Bob Wiacek does a great job inking him and with as much detail as George puts into his pages, the inker has a heck of a lot to do. Mark Waid has managed to constantly rotate the people in the cast and tell a cohesive story and is now tying his entire run together with the "Book of Destiny".

Catwoman - Will Pfeifer (writer) David Lopez (penciller) and Alvaro Lopez (inker) and Adam Hughes on covers. First a little side note about the cover image to the left. The official DC website has that cover and the real cover her costume is unzipped to show off her assets. It is funny to me either sell the good girl aspect or do not, but be consistent. A minor point while getting to what has been one of the best books on the stands. Will Pfeifer should be getting critical acclaim from everywhere. he has taken us from the replacement saga, the Selina dealing with being a Mom, to dealing with the whole Zatanna playing with her mind, to the emotional and gut wrenching giving up of her baby. Lopez and Lopez have delivered great looking interiors, with the ability to render both emotion and action and make both believable. I hate that she has been pushed into Salvation Run, but hopefully Will can make that work also.

Hellblazer - By Andy Diggle (writer) and Leonardo Manco (artist). This book is coming up on its 20th Anniversary, which is a huge accomplishment in the fast pace market of comics today. A five year life cycle for many books is good, but to last 20 years that is something else again. The last few years the book has been okay, but never anything to make me stop and really notice it, until Andy Diggle came in and took over as writer. From his first issue you could get the sense that John Constantine was back. He had lost his edge and I hadn't even known what the book was lacking until Diggle took it over. Constantine is the arrogant, over confident and smart-arse bastard again. He has a heart, it is just buried deep and has been harden by a lifetime of seeing that humanity is not all it is cracked up to be. Plus John plays against bad people and has a tendency to piss off friends and enemies alike. Win or lose you know with Diggle's Constantine that he will ultimately make you pay a price. Manco's artwork is perfect for the book and has really been carrying the title for a few years when viewed in hindsight. This book also proves you do not have to relaunch a title, just get the right people on it.

Scalped - Written by Jason Aaron and art by R.M. Guera. We only have 12 issues of these series and it has made my list due to the series consistent hard edge. It is about a tough as nails character named Dashiel Bad Horse and he is an out of control agent of the FBI being sent back to his bleak and depressing reservation as an undercover agent. His job is to take down Red Crow, the leader of the tribe and the main owner of a new casino being opened. Not only do we get the main story but we get some wonderful portraits of people and their lives in the ghetto of what reservation life is for this tribe. How much research and personal knowledge the writer has is unknown, but it feels real. R.M. Guera does a wonderful job with the art and keeps it dark and moody, but not so dark as to be illegible. I'm curious to see if this is a story of Bad Horse or the reservation and look forward to another year's worth of stories.

Jonah Hex - Written By Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, with art by many varied and different artist, including Russ Heath, Tony DeZungia, Jordi Bernet and many others. The one and done format with no continuity threads allows us to just catch episode after episode of Jonah Hex's life. From adventures from his past, to a time frame when he is an older man and all the times in between. Each story remains true to the essence of this hard edge remorseless man, who lives and dies by his own harsh and unforgiving moral code. This is one of the few series that I like to even get the trades of as I mail out the regular books I read to my daughters and a couple friends. I hope this book sticks around and that Justin and Jimmy continue their excellent writing job on this book as worthy successors to Michael Fleischer (who wrote the vast majority of the Jonah Hex stories in past years).

All Star Batman - Written by Frank Miller and art by Jim Lee. This is a love or hate it book. I was one of the people who initially really disliked the book. I have always thought that Frank Miller had an idea where he is going with this book. The lack of a consistent production schedule really hurt the overall feel of the book, but lately we have gotten an issue every few months. This is a mad / almost psychotic Batman who is living life on the edge and is willing to take out bad guys and anyone who gets in his way. Filled with versions of DC heroes who are both familiar and almost parodies of themselves. I now look forward to every issue to see where Frank is taking us next. I believe that the overall idea of the story is too show that Batman without a Robin loses himself to the fight and ultimately would lose the fight as there would be only a razor thin difference between him and the bad guys. I could be wrong and at this type of schedule it could be 2010 before the first arc is finished. Still Jim Lee's art is fantastic and he makes the book the glorious adventure it us and is worthy of the title of an All Star. I'll buy the Absolute Edition when it comes out.

All Star Superman - This series is by Grant Morrison (writer), Frank Quitely (pencils) and Jamie Grant on digital inks and colors. This is one of the best all time runs ever done on any comic. At this point if the quality maintains what it has been and Grant pulls off the overall story he started in issue #1, it will be one of the best of all time with ease. It is in Planetary, Watchmen and Sandman type of territory. The book is wonderful in so many ways. First off Grant has taken all the elements of Superman (especially the Silver Age) and made them seem new and fun again. Frank Quietly has redesigned the entire cast keeping their essences alive but making them over into a distinctive vision. Jamie Grant has inked Quitely very well and his colors are so vibrant and rich that the art almost jumps off the page. Best of all Grant remembers that what really makes any story work is relationships and Clark's love for his father, Lois and mankind is front and center in every issue. I know we only get maybe 4 issues a year, but that is enough with this book. A final note the cover I choose was my favorite cover of the year.

Blue Beetle - Written by John Rogers (and Keith Giffen was co-writer for awhile) with Rafael Albuquerque on art. This has been one of the best series to show a younger person having the whole super hero thing dropped on them and then growing up into the role. As a nice touch the newest Blue Beetle is also Hispanic. What has happened as you read this series is you see Jamie (the new Blue Beetle) do more what I believe I would have done if I suddenly became a super hero and that is slowly let people close to me know. As he is still living at home his parents learning about it and helping him deal with it makes sense. Adding the whole alien race (The Reach) trying to take over our world and only the Blue Beetle can see it makes it even better. This book is a prime example of why it is important to put new people under the mask and then move on. Jamie is a blank slate to write upon. Each adventure will be a new one and not the umpteenth time he has fought the Joker or Venom or Magneto or Dr. Doom or Lex Luthor or ... you get the point. We get real character growth and some great and surprising moments. One such moment is when Eclipso was trying to seduce Jamie and turned him into his secret desire which was a dentist, because they can make so much money. A series that is one that everyone who every enjoyed Spider-Man or Invincible should be reading.

Crossing Midnight - Written by Mike Carey with most of the art by Jim Fern. This is Mike Carey's best book so far (as he still has many years of writing left). I tried Lucifer and it was good, but I was not enthralled by it as I am this book. It is a mixture of Japanese mythology, horror, fairy tales and the tale of two fraternal twins born on either side of Midnight. Jim Fern's art has taken a leap with this title and the work he is doing in really in the upper class of artists. His realism and thin line style portrays whatever Mike Carey ask of him and this story demands many odd and bizarre creatures. The story line has an epic feel to it and I'm almost positive that Mike has the entire story laid out, but is just unsure how many issues it will take to get there. I'm constantly concerned that this book may have too small of a readership as it cannot be easily hyped in on or two lines. Still we have gotten the solicitation with #17 and that is Part 1 of a major arc, so maybe it will last long enough.


Iron Fist - Written by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction with the majority of the art by Daniel Aja. Daniel Aja is the biggest reason this book has made the list. His art work and fight scenes are very impressive and the fluid feeling his art has is perfect for a book that features martial arts fighting. The overall story has been one long story to date and we are on issue #11. While it is a good story, it has some flaws and the pace could be faster. In a book that is a monthly comic this type of slow pacing can make me lose interest. Ultimately it means it will read better as a trade. Sill Iron Fist was a character who I have always enjoyed and they have expanded on the mythology of the character and are telling an intriguing story.

Fables - Written by Bill Willingham with the majority of the art by Mark Buckingham. Fables is at worse the second best Vertigo series ever done (behind only Sandman). At best it could be one of the best long term series ever put together. We are well into five plus years on this book and have had only one issue that I did not enjoy. That issue was one where they answered a bunch of nitpicking questions for the devoted followers of the series. Currently we are deep into "The Good Prince" story line which has Flycatcher as the good prince who is sacrificing everything for the good of his people. Bill manages to switch main characters and still keep us enchanted by each story. Why this thing is not being reprinted as a series of hard covers is beyond me, but this will be a series that will have an unlimited shelf life. Along with Bill's great stories Mark Buckingham pours so much effort into the art work that you often want to slow down just to check out what border he has designed for this month's issue.

Green Lantern - Written by Geoff Johns with the main artist this year being Ivan Reis. I think that Geoff Johns may have been the bset writer in comics this year. Every book that he worked on was either very good or flat out great material. Geoff is writing Action, Booster Gold, JSA and Green Lantern. I give Green Lantern the nod because the Sinestro Corps War was the best "event" of the year and it was extremely self contained. You could have just read the first special about Sinestro and then just Green Lantern and really caught the entirety of the story. The GL corps and some additional specials were nice add-ons and gave us some additional back ground but were not needed in order to enjoy the story. Ivan Reis' art has grown by leaps and bounds over this year and the end of the war he really strutted his stuff with some great pin-up type action pages. I know the multiple "corps" and tying it all to emotions is a big and broad reach, but Johns is taking chances and I'm willing to let him play it out before saying it is a bad idea or not. I think it can work and I sense Johns is just getting us started and he has a good long term plan for Green Lantern.

Dynamo 5 - Written by Jay Faerber and art by Mahmud A. Asrar. A family book about the family you never knew that you had. This is one of the better group books on the market and they are truly a family of sorts. Gathered together by Captain Dynamo's widow these five young adults are all Captain Dynamo's children just by different mothers. Yes, Captain Dynamo had a lot of the NBA in him. Scrape, Visionary, Scaterbrain and the others are Dynamo 5. You get the feeling that Jay has most of their back stories already written and has a fair idea of where he will be taking this group for at least the next few years. Mahmud Asrar was new to me and he still appears to be young in his work, but is it very fluid and has a great style. We are not even one year into this book and it is already one of my favorite series. It has the feel of the early Fantastic Four and X-Men both. A fun book not only for the action but watching the kids grow up and grow into their powers.

Invincible - One of the best solo super hero books series every produced. Robert Kirkman (writer) and Ryan Ottley (artist) produce about 10 issues a year and hardly a page is every wasted. Right now we are building up to issue #50 and the last two issues have been about laying the groundwork for things to come. What is great is that Kirkman never seems to waste a single page. If he shows us something in the book it will usually pay off down the road. It maybe 10 issues later or more,but he does resolve his sub-plots. Watching Mark Grayson grow up, find out about his Dad, learn how to be a hero, a brother, a friend and a boy-friend, deal with college and fight super villains is always a great read. Creator owned books are the best because you really do not know what will happen next. Ryan Ottley is a good artist, he will not blow you away with his skills, but he delivers a solid job that fits the tone of Invincible like a glove. A book to look forward to issue after issue.

Walking Dead - Another Robert Kirkman written book on my list, this book is graced by the art of Charlie Adlard. I used to read this book as a trade paperback, but Kirkman effectively upped the ante in this latest arc and I have signed on for the monthly books. The concept is so simple, a Zombie plague has apparently effected the vast majority of the human population and the survivors must learn how to live again. We are given the perspective of a small group of survivors who have no way of knowing what happened or who else has survived. This latest arc is a battle between our group and another rival fraction who (due to their leader) believes our group tp be bad guys. Who will live and who will die is a real question and you really can not be sure if even Rick (who has been the central character) will survive. This book is blessed by Charlie Adlard's art, which is realistic and very well done, issue after issue after issue. The standard for post apocalyptic books.

Another unintentional theme to all the books I have choosen is for the most part they have stayed away from mega-events and remain in their own worlds. I know many are in the DC or Marvel unverses, but some titles managed to build their own worlds and use the shared Universe to their advantage as oppossed to being used by editorial mandates. Finally almost every title has actual growth of developement of the characters in it. Things happen in these books that have repurcussions to either thier history or thier lives. Finally there is no one actual item that completely ties these books together and that is a good thing as I liked to think that I have more then one interest or theme.