The holiday week-end pushes off the new books to a Thursday as we end the month of May on a high note. It is a decent size week with lots of “big” books on the list. DC has three major books with Final Crisis leading the way. The independents have a few new #1s which is almost the norm as they run many more limited series. Marvel has one of their best books Thor coming out as well as the often delayed Giant Sized Astonishing X-Men which except for Cassady’s art work has nothing left to it. The Market Share Report is DC 43% (17 items), Independents 31% (12 items) and Marvel 26% (10 items).
Action Comics #868 – Geoff Johns brings back the original Toyman. The Toyman has always been a rather lame villain in my mind and I think good writers like to take stabs at making an old concept new and updating it enough to make the concept work again. Toyman is a tough sell in my mind, so I’m curious to see what Johns’ has up his sleeve on this book.
All Star Superman #11 – Those of you who read this blog know that I have a great love for this series. It will go down as one of the all time runs on Superman. At this point in the series it is the best Superman story ever told. It has the benefit of being able to utilize all sorts of bits and pieces from the history of the character, but that does not change the fact that Morrison/Quietly/Grant have crafted a great story. Granted issue #12 could change my opinion, but at this point I can’t think of a better Superman story of this magnitude ever being done before.
Batman #677 – The first part of the RIP story line was well done in my opinion. Others have stated they felt it did not do enough or was slow building, but I thought they set-up everything up very well. I have high hopes for the RIP story line. I amuse myself that after all these years of false promises I continue to hope for real change in the characters I follow. Sometimes I’m rewarded and more often I’m disappointed. Companies are sacred of change, but Barbara Gordon is more interesting as Oracle, then she was as Batgirl.
Batman Gotham After Midnight #1 (of 12) – Steve Niles is writing and Kelly Jones as the artist, so you know it has to have horror elements within this story. Steve Niles has to be one of the busiest writers in the business with projects for Raw Studios (he is one the co-owners of that company), BOOM Studios, IDW and DC. Almost even thing he writes is worth reading, very few missies and none that come to mind. I’m looking forward to this book.
Black Adam The Dark Age TP – I thought this was an excellent series and a terrific follow-up to 52. Peter Tomasi really captured the essence of this character that has been made over into one of the best villains in the DCU. Doug Mahnke’s art was outstanding on this series and some of his best ever. The only hesitation I had in deciding to buy it or not was the fear of a hard cover version coming out some other time.
Blue Beetle #27 – Will Pfeifer fills in as writer for two issues, until new series writer Matthew Sturges takes over. Last issue’s stunt made me a little irritated, but I like this series way too much to let one issue knock me off it. I like both Pfeifer and Sturges, so this series looks to be in good hands. Creative changes are always tricky, but when the writer who was on the book since issue #1 leaves, it is even tougher.
Fables #73 – Hard to not be excited about this issue as the long awaited war between the adversary and Fabletown gets into full swing. I have enjoyed this series so much and I can’t wait to see what Willingham is going to do during the war. I firmly believe that he will shake up the status quo as he could have easily let this comic be about Snow White and Bigby forever, but he moved his main characters off center stage a long time and went on.
Final Crisis #1 (of 7) – This is DC’s big event for 2008, and they have tied some major talent up working on this series and a few mini-series that are related. DC needs to deliver with some really well done books, because Marvel’s marketing machine seems to be outstripping DC on almost every turn. DC wins when they deliver well done books with top flight talent. On a personal level my hope is always to see some real change occur that impact the DCU.
Green Lantern #31 – The official hype “Part 3 of "Secret Origin" explores the beginnings of Earth's Green Lantern — Hal Jordan! Hal meets the Green Lantern who will teach him everything he knows: Sinestro! But Sinestro has another mission on this primitive mudball called planet Earth…a mission not even the Guardians of the Universe are aware of.” This is a seminal type run on Green Lantern by Johns.
Jack Kirby’s OMAC One Man Army Corps HC – The source of the inspiration for all those damn OMACs running around in the DCU. All eight issues of Kirby’s series from the eighties for $24.99 and in color, so I’m sure it is the cheap paper.
JSA Classified #38 – The penultimate issue of this series. The official hype “Part 1 of the 2-part "Body and Soul." Wildcat stumbles across a faculty that steals the skills and instincts of past prize fighters. Will his abilities be the next ones on the auction block?” My feeling is that if someone has a good enough story to tell about an individual character, green light it as a mini-series.
Legion of Super-Heroes #42 – I have heard that Jim Shooter is leaving this book and that is a crying shame as the title has thrived under his pen. Hopefully he will be able to complete the story line he has going on with the Destructors.
Northlanders #6 – Last issue was a great one as we learned the background on Sven and where he has been most of his life. This issue Sven starts to build up alliances so he has a chance in going up against his Uncle.
Secret History of Jack Hawksmoor #3 (of 6) – I made up my own titles as adding the Authority to it makes the title way too long. The official hype “Jack confronts the man responsible for last issue's horrific attack and finds a link to his own past. And there's something buried in the dead man's house that was specifically put there to throw Jack off the scent. But who put it there?”
Shadowpact #25 – This is the final issue of this series. When it started Willingham said he wanted to draw this book, I think he made have actually drawn one issue. The Shadowpacts from three time eras are trying to take out the Sun King, who will survive? This was a fun little series.
Starman Omnibus HC Volume #1 – Glad to see this material get the hard cover treatment, sorry that it will have the cheap paper. Part of the official hype “This inaugural volume features a new cover by Harris and collects STARMAN #0-16, originally published from 1994 to 1996.” 448 pages for $50, I guess I can’t complain too much.
Teen Titans #59 – This book is in the midst of an excellent arc. The official hype “It's Teen Titan versus Teen Titan when Clock King's plan reaches its final, twisted stage. With teammates missing or presumed dead, can Robin and Wonder Girl put the pieces together before Clock King's Terror Titans finish them off?”
Astounding Wolf-Man #6 – I hear this book is going on a monthly schedule. That should be a big help if they can actually get even 10 issues out in a year. As with many Kirkman owned projects the earlier issues are the weakest and as he builds things up most of his series get better and better, Walking Dead and Invincible are evidence of that.
Firebreather #1 – The official hype “Back by popular demand, the adventures of Firebreather continue in this all-new monthly title. High school is tough enough for normal kids, but when your Dad is a city-stomping giant monster who expects you to follow in his footsteps it gets even tougher. PHIL HESTER (THE DARKNESS, The Irredeemable Ant-Man) and ANDY KUHN (Blue Beetle, Marvel Team-Up) deliver the high octane action, drama, and humor. For fans of INVINCINBLE and Ultimate Spider-Man.” First off I never read this series before and second is it wise to compare yourself to three top series?
Perhapanauts #2 – I’m still a little iffy on this series. While I think Proof may have gained a lot of inspiration from this series, Proof is a far better book. The official hype “"TRIANGLE," Part Two Shocking revelations about Arisa’s secret past give us further insight into the Perhapanauts’ reluctant leader. What is she running from? And can she hide from it much longer...? Meanwhile, Choopie takes charge as King of the Gremlinls and tensions continue to mount between the Perhapanauts and the Clan of Mothmen as war brews in the Bermuda Triangle! Not kidding.”
Proof #8 – Here is the proof that Proof is better (even I groaned typing that). Still this is the more exciting series. The hype “Will Ginger reach Proof in time to prevent him from being dinner? Of course she will. But another Lodge agent bows out for good this issue.”
Sword #8 – Last issue was a weaker issue, but this has been a very strong series to date. The official hype “Dara has targeted her sister's killer--one of the three powerful strangers who have murdered her family. With her friends, Julie and Justin, she has arrived in the Caribbean to search for him. But with only a handful of vague, cryptic clues to the killer's whereabouts, will Dara be able to find him and exact her revenge?”
Caliber #2 (of 5) – This is the second issue of a series from new publisher Radical comics. In my many years of reading and collecting comics I have seen many publishers come and go, but these guys I hope will make it as they have been a class act from the jump. Giving fans a #1 issue on both of their new series for just a dollar and it was a full size comic in a prestige format. Of course it needed to be a good story with good art and they more then delivered.
Dan Dare #6 (of 7) - This is sort of a war comic, as Dan Dare is defending Earth from alien hordes and he is fighting back with a space fleet. My point being Garth Ennis does war stories better then anyone else and he and Gary Erskine are doing a terrific job on this series.
Helen Killer #2 (of 4) – The official hype “At the dawn of the 20th-Century, twenty-one year old college student Helen Keller has a dark secret — science has restored her lost senses and granted her unimaginable power. Will she use it protect herself and her country, or will it destroy them both? Secret Service agent Helen Keller, with the aid of a device which has restored her lost senses, and her partner Jonah Blaylock have traveled to the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo to protect President McKinley from Anarchists. As Helen learns to master her new powers, the assassin is moving into position!” The first issue was a blast, can’t wait to read issue #2.
Hercules #2 (of 5) – This is the other new series from Radical comics. The first issue was terrific and I see no reason why issue #2 will not be as good. Seriously you need to go to your store and demand a copy of this book.
Resurrection #5 – This is a very good series, but the hype cracks me up “RESURRECTION's premiere story arc concludes as its two casts collide in the bowels of one of the alien ships. Nothing will ever be the same!” The book is a post apocalyptic setting; nothing has been the same since issue #1. This series has been a great read.
Salem Queen of Thorns #1 (of 4) – The official hype “The already controversial series continues from the red-hot zero issue! Elias Hooke, dark crusader against the forces of magic, learns the secrets of his own origin, and the revelations nearly consume him! A new hero in the tradition of Robert E. Howard's SOLOMON KANE and Clint Eastwood's The Man with No Name, from the screenwriter of WANTED and THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT!” For myself the fact that someone is a screenwriter does not mean he can write a comic book, still BOOM seems to know what they are doing when they green light a book.
Zombie Tales #1 – I give BOOM tons of credit for doing anthology books in this market place. Most people are doing six issues stories and they are doing eight page stories in these comics. The official hype “The award-winning undead anthology rises from the grave -- and this time it's monthly! Join top writers Joe R. Lansdale, Steve Niles and Academy Award nominee Kim Krizan for a trio of undead tales that will rot your head away! More great Zombie stories from more great writers and artists that you know and love.”
Daredevil #107 – Greg Rucka is co-writing with Ed Brubaker again. This has to be good news. The hype line “Still reeling from the conclusion of his battle with Mr. Fear, an old friend drags Matt Murdock back into the light of day by bringing him the last-minute appeal of a Marvel villain now sitting on DEATH ROW. What will Matt do, is the question, when confronted with a bad guy who is completely innocent of the crime he was convicted of? “
Essential Rampaging Hulk Volume #1 – Marvel did a lot of black and white magazines back in the day and this is a collection of a lot of the Hulk material. It was more off beat then the regular comic. I wish is was a reprint of all the stories and not just the Hulk material.
Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 – This has to be the biggest who cares since the “Last Son” issue of Superman came out. I’m so far beyond this story and down the road with the x-books I’m reading that I will be shocked if this book has any impact on anything. This is a sorry end to a big launch from Marvel and a waste of John Cassady.
Immortal Iron Fist #15 – I’m halfway to dropping this book now the Brubaker and Fraction are leaving the book. This issue is all Fraction and an adventure of a past times Iron Fist.
New Avengers #41 – The hype “SECRET INVASION TIE-IN! The Avengers are trapped in the Savage Land, battling friend and foe. And Spider-Man heads to the one person in the entire place he knows he can trust: Ka-Zar!! But is it really him? This important chapter rewinds the events of the very first New Avengers story and shows how it connects to the Invasion.” At first I was into this story, now I’m wavering, it is starting to feel like a train wreck.
Ultimate Spider-Man #122 – Or as I call it Spider-Man, as there is no other Spider-Man for me at this point. – The hype line “The worst day in Peter Parker’s life! Spider-Man has been defeated and kidnapped! Wait till you see who did what the Green Goblin, the Kingpin and Doctor Octopus couldn't do! And can Kitty Pryde and Mary Jane team up to save him in time?”
Uncanny X-Men #498 – I keep hearing the song “Feeling Groovy” in the back of my mind when I’m reading this arc. The official hype “Cyclops and Emma Frost are trapped in far-out San Francisco " a city that looks and feels likes it’s the summer of ‘69. But there’s nothing groovy about this trip. Unless they can find the source of the strange transformation, Angel may lose his sanity - along with eight million other people. Meanwhile, Wolverine, Colossus and Nightcrawler face a red menace deep in the heart of Mother Russia.”
X-Men First Class #12 – Even the official hype is fun and light hearted "Hey! What's up with Cyke getting a whole issue to himself? Where's the Angel love?" "Oh uh, yeah, Warren. We were just getting to you. A whole book, all you." "Really?" "Yeah, number 12. Oh, can we borrow a thousand bucks?" "It's on my dresser! Woo-hoo, the ALL ANGEL issue!" This is a very enjoyable series and a nice change of pace from many of the more angst ridden super hero books.
X-Men Legacy #212 – This book is somewhat of a mystery as to why I’m still getting it as it is a convoluted revisiting of Professor X’s history, but writer Mike Carey has me still picking it up. The hype “Sins of the Father, part 2 of 3. Professor X is trying to rebuild memories of his past using other people's minds. But the past is coming back to haunt him in another way, as a swathe of tragic deaths turns out to be linked by only one factor: Brian Xavier, the Professor's long-dead father. And solving the mystery means paying a visit to the Hellfire Club...”
I added a lot more of the official hype as I realized that unless I have a real need to add something; this column is more about what is coming out in the individual books. This should be a great week for comics.