This week the list goes up to 42 items. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to continue to whittle down my list. My problem is two fold, number one I like to try different books to see if they have any merit, so that means a lot of number one issues. Also I like to support some of the smaller publishers and that means buying their books. Finally the more I review comics via this blog as opposed to just reading them and saying good/bad or indifferent, I realize that the creators of these books are putting their blood, sweat and tears into it. Instead of being cavalier and slamming every book that I don’t like, I try to look beyond it and see what is positive about it. Again that means I’m too easy in not cutting some material from my list. Still my point is valid and I’m willing to bet 90% of the creators are giving it their best effort, even if it is an editorial mandated book. Although after reviewing my list I did slash Nexus and Ianna’s Tears. Yes two books that I and 14 other people were getting.
The market share report from my extremely tiny corner of the comic pool (and these are sell through numbers, not just ordered) DC 18 (43%), Independents 14 (33%) and Marvel 10 (24%), which should be the norm for most weeks.
Batman and the Outsiders #4 – I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Chuck Dixon book that involves Batman, but this book is on my short list for being canned. The first three issues were a waste of paper and I’m hoping we actually start to pull together a story. What has been most frustrating is issue after issue we add or drop team members, but we never establish a reason for this series. The editorial gaffs in getting this book off the ground have hurt it chances for success.
Batman Confidential #13 – This issue starts a new arc with Tony Bedard as the writer and Rags Morales as artist. Two creators whose work I almost always enjoy, so that is two pluses for this arc. The four part story is about the return of the Wrath and guest stars Nightwing. The hype says he was thought to be dead; my thought was who the heck was he anyway. Also I thought this book was about the early years of Batman, now it is just whatever type stories, which is fine if done well, it is just not how the book was originally defined.
Birds of Prey #115 – The news is that Sean McKeever is leaving as writer shortly as he can not keep up with his deadlines. He is writing two books and he can’t handle it? I assume he has other things in the fire; the good news is Tony Bedard (who was the interim writer between Simone and McKeever) is being given the keys to the car. Bedard is a solid writer and I was happy with his interim run, so this is all good news. This issue Black Alice joins the group as Misfit is still kept on the sideline.
Brave and the Bold #10 – The last George Perez issue as he apparently is being pulled for a special assignment. Of course whatever Perez does is a special assignment. George Perez is the top super hero artist in the industry today. This book is so much fun and Mark Waid has Superman, the Shinning Knight, the original Aquaman and original Teen Titans as part of this issue as the Book of Destiny takes us around the DCU.
Catwoman #76 – Catwoman is stuck on the Salvation Run planet and is fighting through her own past, present and future. This is one of the best super hero series from DC. Issue after issue after issue Will Pfeifer (writer) and David and Alvaro Lopez (artists) make this series shine. DC needs to up the profile on this book in some fashion as it should be a top 25 book.
Checkmate #23 – The official hype “"Castling" begins here! It's been over a year since Pawn 502 went deep undercover inside the cult of Kobra. Now he's resurfaced, warning of a plot that will cost hundreds of thousands of lives and ignite a holy war across the planet, a plot that the Royals may not be able to stop in time. But can Pawn 502 still be trusted? This 3-part epic lays bare the workings of the DC intelligence community worldwide — and threatens to destroy it altogether!” I think that Greg Rucka (writer) maybe leaving this book or it will be cancelled, but the good news is based on a recent interview Greg still has multiple projects going on with DC, just too early to be announced. I hope Checkmate survives as it is a good concept.
Countdown to Final Crisis #10 – All in all this series has been a dismal and utter failure. I have read news that Countdown ends with issue #1 and is not necessary a direct lead in to Final Crisis. I think the idea behind Countdown was different from what we got, but even if the last quarter of the run is exciting, it really was not worth the effort it took to follow it. At least the next weekly book starting in June is self contained. I think DC has learned you cannot have company wide tight continuity with so many books and so many story lines, so you try and keep it consistent without being anal about it.
Death of the New Gods #6 (of 8) – This feels more like a lead up to Final Crisis then Countdown does. I have enjoyed this series a lot as we have seen the New Gods be taken out slowly but surely. Mister Miracle is going off the deep end, Orion is at his most fearful best and we are still waiting to see who the killer is. Jim Starlin is delivering the goods each and every issue.
Flash #237 – This is a bridge issue between Mark Waid leaving the book (sigh) and Tom Peyer coming onboard next issue. Tom Peyer was a good writer and then disappeared for awhile, so I’m anxious to see what he can bring to this series. The issue at hand is by Keith Champagne (writer) and regular artist Freddie Williams II. Freddie’s art can carry the book, but I like seeing other people’s take on characters and Keith has been slowly moving over to the writing side as well as being an inker.
Justice League of America #18 – The JLA vs. The Suicide Squad as one part of the book and more on Vixen’s power flux as a back up story. I just wish the entire book was the battle between the Suicide Squad and JLA as that should be a pretty cool battle.
Robin #171 – Chuck Dixon’s second issue back on the boy wonder. Chuck is mixing up Tim’s life with more girl trouble then he has ever had. Violet is a new player in his super-hero life, Spoiler is back (but who is it) and Zoanne his daytime girl friend is not happy with Tim’s disappearances. Dixon and Batista started off with a bang and I’m looking forward to issue two in their run.
Shadowpact #22 – This issue the pact loses a member to the Nightshade dimension. Not sure if that is the death of a character or just they are forced to remain in Nightshade. Certain series seem to only have a limited lifespan and as much as I like this series I think it is flying too far under the radar to have a really long life. I hope it makes it for three years at least.
Spirit #14 – After Darwyn Cooke announced he was leaving this book, I thought it would be almost impossible to find a replacement team, but this team could be a winner. The new writer is Sergio Aragones & Mark Evanier and the art is by Mike Ploog. Add a Jordi Bernet cover to the package and you have me staying on the book. It has been a while since I have seen Mike Ploog’s art but I love his early work on Werewolf by Night, Ghost Rider and Planet of the Apes at Marvel.
Superman/Batman #46 – Continuing the arc about Superman and Batman trying to rid the world of kryptonite. This issue we see how Superman deals with Metallo and the kryptonite that keeps him alive. Michael Green is doing a nice job with this story and Shane Davis is working his way up the charts as a top tier artist (DC should give him an exclusive).
Superman Confidential #12 – This sounds a little ho-hum to me, the official hype “B. Clay Moore teams with Phil Hester and Ande Parks to shed light on the origins of the Jimmy Olsen/Superman relationship in the first of a three-part story, in which Superman invents a way for Jimmy to signal him, and Metropolis deals with giant murderous...toys?” Not sure this is a story I or anyone cares about at the moment.
Loveless #22 – This has been a very cool series. Azzraello’s writing style is so different that it is often harder to get the points he is trying to make in his stories, but he creates a mood in his books unlike others. Last issue appeared to be the end of the series, but we are going to explore the future of Blackwater over the next few issues. This issue we jump ahead to 1927 where the past is still impacting that era.
Programme #8 (of 12) – The battle between the Soviet super heroes and the American super heroes started last issue. As that battle escalates and causes chaos in the US, a race war is also brewing in the south. This series is a good solid book that would have benefited from a few captions telling us when we were switching back and forth in time. It also is suffering from being broken into chapters, as it feels like it will read more organically as a graphic novel.
Wildstorm Revelations #4 (of 6) – I’m so ready to drop this book. The Wildstorm Universe is ticking me off. This is a follow-up to the Armageddon books, which told us nothing and so far this series has told us nothing and they are advertising another mini-series. How many times can you tell the same story? If there is no “revelations” this issue I expect to drop this title.
Invincible #48 – Invincible is such a good book that I now noticed when it is late and this book was solicited to come out in November. A lot of Kirkman books were late recently and now we have seen Brit, Walking Dead and finally a new Invincible issue. What is interesting is watching where this book is going as we know Atom Eve is to play a bigger role in this book and we know issue #50 will be a blow out and we know Kirkman almost always delivers a great pay-off, so the waiting is frustrating.
Madam Mirage #5 (of 6) – I enjoy how TV terms are bounced around by comics as Top Cow is calling the first mini-series season 1 of Madam Mirage. I forgot where we left off, but it has been revealed that Madam Mirage is a hologram program with a lot of extras. The image is an overly enhanced version of the heroine’s sister and she is after the people responsible for her sibling’s death. So far this is a good series that has potential to be better.
The Perhapanauts Annual #1 – Here is the official hype “Making the leap to Image with an all-new, easily accessible, over-sized annual is THE PERHAPANAUTS, the most popular book you've never heard of! This annual is the perfect jumping-on point for any reader, providing a great introduction to The Perhapanauts in a self-contained tale that leads directly into the all-new series, beginning in April!” I still have no clue what this book is about, but I try it out. What lousy hype.
Grendel Behold the Devil #4 (of 8) – It has been nice to have Grendel back on the stands and meet its monthly schedule. Matt Wagner has crafted a new tale of the Hunter Rose Grendel who is being pursued by an unknown person. It is being portrayed as someone or something that stays at the outer edge of Hunter’s abilities to be able to determine who or what it is. As Hunter is used to always being in control this is like an itch that he can’t scratch and his frustration seems to be building.
Conan #49 – Continuing the final arc, before a hiatus and a re-launch with Conan moving into his mercenary phase and leaving his life as a thief behind. Tim Truman has the right voice for Conan and maybe better then Busiek at writing him. The new artist Tomas Giorello can really draw battle scenes and does beautiful woman well also, so this series is in good hands.
Scream #4 (of 4) – The conclusion of Peter David and Bart Sears take on a different kind of monster. I’m curious to see the wrap up and hopefully the answer to exactly how the Scream was created. I still rather see a different artist on any future mini-series of the Scream as Sears’ style does not work for me.
Umbrella Academy Apocalypse Suite #6 (of 6) – Love the hype for this issue” Welcome to the jaw-dropping, action-packed, dramatic conclusion to The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite. As the world lingers on the brink of complete annihilation, this dysfunctional fighting team must put their issues aside as they attempt to save planet Earth.” I can sense as they are writing this they are over blowing it for fun and effect. This is a quirky little series that defies an easy pigeon holing, but I have settled on the next generation merger of the Doom Patrol and the X-Men.
Abyss #3 (of 4) – This series took till the second issue to sell me, but it has and it is a fast paced enjoyable romp looking at super-heroes and villains in a skewed manner. Our hero is the son of a super villain, Dad is playing his son as he plots against his nemesis. The son likes the hero’s sidekick, the heroes think the son is a loon and more plot twists ensue. This is another good series from Red 5 comics.
Atlantis Rising #4 (of 5) – The war between undersea and surface world continues. I like the story itself and want to see what the ultimate resolution is, but I’m still not sold on the art work. I have seen a few artist who over line their work. This is the best description I have for it; it is like the initial sketches they did are not erased when they finish it. Still this has been a decent series.
Locke & Key #1 – Here is the official hype from IDW “Acclaimed suspense novelist and New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box) creates an all-new story of dark fantasy and wonder: Locke & Key. Written by Hill and featuring astounding artwork from Gabriel Rodriguez (Clive Barker's The Great and Secret Show, Beowulf), Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them.... and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all...” I do not think the hate-filled and relentless creature is Hillary Clinton, but either way it sounds like a good premise.
Drafted #5 – This has been a good series and can almost be a pre-apocalypse story, as Earth is being drafted into a fight against an invading alien horde. This series is an ongoing book and right now we are seeing a cast of characters being turned into soldiers to fight for the cause. Their previous lives are slowly being forgotten as they adjust to their new reality.
Ghosting #5 (of 5) – This is the story of a college fraternity initiation rite that turns into a true Ghost story. For the life of me I keep thinking I should have dropped this series, but I wanted to see what the actual story of the mystery is, so I guess the series succeeded on some level.
Grimm Fairy Tales Return to Wonderland #6 (of 6) – I wonder if they will ever get away from the pure cheesecake covers, then I realized that as much as I can make fun of them, they are eye catching covers. The actual story itself has been very good and I’m looking forward to see how Alice survives (if she does as she was hanging from the banister last issue) and how her daughter will deal with all the madness.
Grimm Fairy Tales #21 – I never really look ahead to this series I just take it as it comes. Lately it has been more about Sela and Belinda battling each other then the original format of juxtaposing a Grimm Fairy Tale against a modern day person having a similar issue.
Hulk #2 – We will get to see the Red Hulk? Will this series survive my cutting room floor with issue #2? Why did Marvel screw around with what was going on with the Hulk and substitute this and Hercules? Maybe you can tell but it is a chore to give this series even a second look, but I’m trying to be fair.
Immortal Iron First Orson Randall Green Mist Death – First the good, a fantastic cover. Next what I’m worried about. Matt Fraction is not a favorite writer of mine and this is all Matt Fraction and he is trying to create Orson Randall as a golden age Iron Fist. The last time they did an Orson adventure he was a poor man’s Doc Savage. If you want to see creators do “new” golden age material get Fantastic Comics #24 (Next Issue Project #1) from Image. Still I should not prejudge this material, but I have major doubts.
Incredible Hercules #114 – I’m also about done with this series. I followed it as Marvel wanted me to since it used to be about the Hulk. Then the Hulk left the book essentially while the WW Hulk mini-series ran and they are trying to turn this into a Hercules & Amadeus Cho versus Shield and the world and I find this book is losing me.
Iron Man #26 – This issue promises to be the show down between Iron Man and the Mandarin. Iron Man is down to an old suit and the Mandarin seems to have his powers at a higher level. Also the Mandarin has a Ras As Ghul plan going on and it is up to Iron Man to stop it. I have grown to despise the omnipresent Tony Stark in any Marvel book I pick up, but I have been enjoying his actual series – go figure.
Marvel Masterworks Volume #91 – Ant-Man / Giant Man – Concluding the Giant-Man run in Tales to Astonish. The actual material is not that strong, but the completist in me is happy to see this volume. I think I have almost every silver age Marvel super hero comic I ever got as a child as a Masterwork now. Also instead of being buried in a long box in my basement they sit on bookshelves.
Marvel Masterwork Volume #91- Uncanny X-Men – Collects #142-150, which has the final issue by Claremont/Byrne the famous “Days of Future Past”, which has to be one of the most influential stories ever written for the X-Men. It constantly resonates in the Xverse over and over again.
Mighty Avengers #9 – Well this issue the Mighty Avengers are fighting Doctor Doom, so at least time line wise we are getting closer to having Mighty and New being on par. I think Marvel needs to get this straight as I assume Secret Invasion and both Avenger books are all big parts of their major event of 2008. (Shhh it is a Secret Invasion – don’t tell anyone.)
Terror Inc. #5 (of 5) – The concluding chapter of the Mr. Terror story, as he fights to get his arm back from the woman he took it from. Really too complicated to explain and if you missed issue #1 to #4, no reason to buy this book. Still for an outrageous action/adventure blood and gore book, it has been entertaining.
Ultimate Human #2 (of 4) – I know this is totally a editorial idea that must have been a throw away so Marvel could have a graphic novel on book shelves that was new featuring book characters who have movies this year. Still when it is put into Warren Ellis’ hands and Cary Nord on art work, you have what a good comic should be, entertaining and strong art.
Ultimate #3 (of 5) – It is only five issues, I’m not on a strict budget with this stuff and it really is so bad, that it is good in a Planet X kind of way. Once something goes so far off the tracks that it becomes amusing when it does not mean to be, it can be fun and that describes Ultimates Volume 3.
That wraps up a decent size week of books. In looking through the list I see a lot of books to look forward to, but no one book jumps out that I’m on the edge of my seat and can’t wait to get. Which make it interesting in terms of what will get next week’s best slot.