So this year I was totally jazzed about getting to the Baltimore Comic-Con as I figured it would be a great time to try and meet some people face to face and try to get some interviews when a family wedding appeared on the same date. Now my wife is a great sport and what was going to be a long week-end away will be just Saturday away and she is okay with me coming back to Baltimore and attending Sunday. Not quite the same, but still at least I get to go. Oddly enough I believe Lee is coming in from his secret bunker, but will be going Saturday as he forages for art.
Air #1 – I’m always happy to try out a new #1 from Vertigo. Vertigo has been hit and miss for me lately as Un-Men, Young Liars were misses, but House of Mystery and Madam Xandu are already favorite books. The official hype "Ladies and gentlemen, there's been a change in our flight plan.You may have heard of a group called the Etesian Front — vigilantes dedicated to taking the skies back from terrorism. Sounds like a noble cause, right? But there's more to them than meets the eye. They're after someone I know. Someone who is either an average frequent flier — or a terrorist. And he's got a secret. Something that will change the way we fly — and the way we see technology — forever.To find him, we've altered course. We're en route to a country that doesn't exist on any maps. Only one person knows how to get us there: me. My name is Blythe, and I'll be your stewardess today. So buckle your seatbelts — this will be the flight of your life.”
Batgirl #2 (of 6) – I got this book on a lark and I actually enjoyed the writer trying to explain and fix all the past continuity issues away. I not sure if he succeeded in doing so, but he did set-up this series well enough. The company line “Batgirl's path of vengeance violently crosses that of another young woman raised by David Cain. When a surprising link is found between Cain and Batgirl's other target, Deathstroke the Terminator, will the two missions become one? Also, a member of the Bat-Family discovers just what Batgirl is up to. Will her cover be blown?”
Batman and the Outsiders #10 – This book is really on my short list to be cut and it is one of the few times where I’m hanging in because of what is to come down the line with the Batman RIP stuff. I’m giving this book too much rope. The word “Acting on a tip from Looker, Batman leads the Outsiders against new metahumans who gained their powers from the bite of a renegade alien! Meanwhile, an accident in the lab leaves an Outsider ally in a coma, with his psyche trapped inside Remac! Guest starring Dr. Kirk Langstrom – the Man-Bat.”
Birds of Prey #121 – This series is almost always a fun and enjoyable read, no matter who is writing it. Still we have only had a few writers and the characters are so well established at times they almost seem to write themselves. What’s inside “The Joker infiltrates the high-tech gang network of the Birds' new hometown, Platinum Flats! And that's going to set him up for a direct conflict with Oracle, Barbara Gordon!”
Brave and Bold #16 – The hype “Superman and Catwoman – together at last?! This team clearly won't be held together with super-glue!” Looks like Mark Waid exits this series with a fun story. B&B has been a nice breath of fresh air inside the DCU.
Casey Blue Beyond Tomorrow #4 (of 6) – This book has been a little uneven in my opinion, but the strong fluid art certainly makes it easier to hang on to this series. Last issue we were moving towards the reveal as to who or what Casey is. The company line “Casey Blue is quickly losing control of her life. First, she killed a man using martial arts she doesn't even know. Then, she nearly killed an FBI agent investigating the murder, again using fighting techniques she's never learned. Can a strange neighbor provide any insight into her erratic, dangerous behavior?”
DC Wildstorm Dreamwar #4 (of 6) – I love when what seems to be a pure throw away idea is executed to almost perfection. A basic entertaining fan fiction type idea has been turned into an excellent mini-series. The word “Things are looking grim for the heroes from both universes. The onslaught of an enraged mother nature and the always-psychotic villains of the DCU are proving to be more than the combined might of both universes' heroes can handle.”
Final Crisis Legion of Three Worlds #1 (of 5) – Take one huge LOSH fan (me), add in DC’s top writer (Geoff Johns) and one of the all time best super hero artist (George Perez) and you have a book that I’m really looking forward to reading. The hype “From the moment Kal-El landed on earth until the end of time, the Time Trapper has sought to erase Superman's impact on the universe. But the Legion of Super-Heroes have always been there to stop him. This time, though, even the Legion won't be enough. The Time Trapper has found the ultimate weapon to carry out his plan – a twisted mirror image of the boy of steel from a parallel Earth long dead: Superboy-Prime! Who will answer the Legion's call for help? Find out here as the Crisis of the 31st century begins!”
Flash #243 – So I can’t believe that we are going to let young Iris West die already, but that was the cliff hanger for last issue. The company line “The conclusion of "Fast Money"! The Flash returns to Keystone, making some bold moves to get his life and reputation back on track – with some serious consequences for his family!”
Justice League of America #24 – Right now the focus seems to be on Vixen and Red Tornado, while decent enough characters, not why I want to read the JLA. The hype “Vixen's power issues come to the forefront as Vixen, Black Canary, Zatanna, Hal and The Flash pay a visit to Animal Man. The team must team up with Animal Man to battle a new Justice League villain – and at stake is control of the Tantu Totem!”
Rann Thanagar Holy War #4 (of 8) – Jim Starlin can take these type of stories and make them more entertaining then they have any right in being. I’m very happy to see him so active in the DCU these last few years. The word “Adam Strange finds himself cornered on Hardcore Station by agents of the Church of Eternal Light. Meanwhile, the people of Rann have been whipped up into a Lady Styx-inspired religious furor and their next target is: Hawkman!”
Robin #177 – Okay I’m not so sure what book is really coming out this week as the last issue of Robin showed a picture of Red Robin. This cover and hype maybe all a front as DC did not want to reveal where this book was heading before it hit the stands. So the hype may or may not be real “Facing some of the toughest criminals and monsters known to man is nothing compared to dealing with your on again/off again, back-from-the-dead girlfriend's enraged deadbeat dad! A not-so-happy reunion puts Robin between Spoiler and Cluemaster and this time, he's not so easy to get rid of.”
Scalped #20 – This is absolutely the best book on the racks that too few people are reading. It makes Criminal seem like a misdemeanor. The word “Our steamiest arc yet comes to a close as more secrets of Carol's past are revealed, including why she so deeply despises her father, Red Crow. Also, Dash makes a dark and fateful decision that will forever affect his future on the rez.”
Showcase Presents The Atom Volume #2 – I swear, no really I swear that I will very shortly stop buying these collections. This time I may actually mean it. What’s inside “Written by Gardner Fox, Dennis O'Neil and others; Art by Gil Kane, Sid Greene, Murphy Anderson, Dick Dillin and others; Cover by Kane Collecting THE ATOM #18-38 and stories from THE ATOM AND HAWKMAN #39-45!”
Stormwatch PHD Worlds End #13 – All they had to do was blow up the world and now they have a solid group of WU books hitting the stands. The big hyped re-launch crashed and burned and the quite one has started off strong. The company line “After the shattering conclusion to NUMBER OF THE BEAST, Jackson King has once again resumed the role of Weatherman, taking StormWatch in a startling new direction! But what role does StormWatch have in this dramatic, deadly new world? Plus: the fourth and final chapter of the John Lynch backup story that began in WILDCATS: WORLD'S END #1.”
Superman Batman #51 - I have come to think of this book as a series of elseworld tales. Under the pen of Michael Green and his co-writer these have been entertaining stories and ultimately that is what I’m looking for when I spend my bucks. The hype “The Man of Steel and the Dark Knight are shocked to discover little versions of themselves fighting a threat in Metropolis. But where did these tiny heroes come from? As Superman and Batman search for answers, things get worse with the arrival of the Li'l League!”
Tangent Superman’s Reign #6 (of 12) – I’m enjoying this series, but I’m looking for it to move up a notch as far as pace and stuff happening. The Tangent world should be totally free to allow anything to happen to those characters. The company line “The secret protector of the Tangent Earth's band of freedom fighters is revealed! And when the Tangent Superman learns the secret to traveling between worlds, the battle between the Supermen of two worlds begins!”
Trinity #12 – I don’t understand why DC does not have enough information to put a little more into their hype on this book. At this point the series is really coming together and is one that I enjoy each and every week. I read that the sales numbers are less then Countdown, but still a high selling book. Nothing wrong if this series is selling only 50,000 copies, that is a 200,000 selling monthly issue, which would make it a number one book for many months.
Captain America #41 – Will we ever complete a story line? Will this story actually have a conclusion? While I know many good comics are continuing stories, even in real life chapters of our lives comes to an end and new ones begin. The company line “The epic "Death of Captain America" tale hits its penultimate chapter... and the final battle between the New Captain America and the people who killed Steve Rogers begins here! By the Eisner-Nominated team of Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting.”
Ghost Rider #26 – The last arc was less exciting that Aaron’s first arc, so this arc could determine if I hang onto this series or not. It takes a lot for me to want to read Ghost Rider, so I need Aaron’s “A” game to keep me hooked. The word “Yes, true believer, the rumors are true... Danny Ketch is back! But whose side is the former Ghost Rider on, and what familiar faces has he brought with him to the party? And who just got shot in the head with a hellfire shotgun? For those answers, plus more than your daily recommended dose of supernatural action, don't miss this first installment of the team-up you never imagined and the showdown that had to happen!”
Guardians of the Galaxy #4 – The fact that they are having this series cross-over into Secret Invasion annoys me to no end. This book has a solid direction and has been a great start-up. I just have to trust the creative team to make it work without taking us out of the story line being developed. The hype “When their HQ is sabotaged, the universe’s scrappiest squad of butt-kickers must ask themselves: “Who do you trust?” Is there a Skrull amongst the Guardians? Maybe the recently returned and revamped Adam Warlock? Or Star-Lord, who now hides behind a mask? And a talking raccoon and a telepathic dog? C’mon, people, you just know they’re evil infiltrators!”
Iron Man Director of Shield #32 – Wrapping up the story line involving the Overmind machine and the terrorist that was an old colleague of Tony Stark. I may drop this book and just move away from Iron Man, I have grown tired of the character. The company line “It’s Iron Man the way you like him: wracked by guilt and crackling with power! With the Alpha Team out of action, Tony Stark must stop both the nuclear terrorist and the monstrous Overkill Mind -- alone. But even if he can reach the twisted S.H.I.E.L.D. agent at the heart of the Mind, the nation of Kirikhstan may pay an explosive price!”
Marvel Masterworks Volume #101 – Amazing Spider-Man – I wanted to skip this one, but the Gil Kane artwork pulled me back. What’s inside “ Prepare yourself for a collection of no-holds-barred Spider-Man classics that defined comicdom's favorite super hero unlike any other! Starting off with the return of one of Spidey's oldest foes, Doctor Octopus, the two archenemies set into motion a gut-wrenching series of events leading to the death of Captain George Stacy. Ally to Spider-Man and father to Peter Parker's ladylove, Gwen, Captain Stacy's death marks Spidey for murder and pits the entire city against him. Now with hero, villain and even the man-on-the-street after him, there's no moment for rest for the ol' web-slinger as he wriggles his way through threats from the X-Men's Iceman to the politicking Sam Bullit and former friend the Prowler. And it all leads into one of the landmark moments of Marvel history, the Comics Code defying "drug" issues. There's no question Stan Lee's Marvel Comics strove for a relevance that the competition could only dream of - and with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #96-98, that mission was placed front and center: Peter Parker's best friend, Harry Osborn, was revealed to be a drug addict. Letting a battle with Spidey's nemesis, the Green Goblin, take a back seat to the personal drama that scourged the real-life streets of the reader's world, the Lee/Kane/Romita team set a new standard for the mainstream's relevance. Stan Lee pens some of his greatest scripts, chock full of edge-of-your-seat drama and up-to-the-moment politics, while the incomparable artistic team-up of John Romita and Gil Kane launches into the most lavishly illustrated and panel-bursting artwork to ever grace the pages of a Marvel comic. There's no denying it, True Believer, these are Masterworks one and all! Collecting THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #88-99."
Moon Knight #21 – I just added this book back onto my list and was sucked in for the Werewolf by Night appearance last issue. Moon Knight is a character I can live without, so I’m going in with limited expectations and wondering if this will be a short lived return to this comic. The hype ““The Death of Marc Spector” part 1 of 6 Moon Knight has been an eyesore to the Initiative...and he’s about to pay the price. With Tony Stark forced onto the sidelines, Norman Osborn has been tapped to bring in the fugitive super hero “by all means necessary. That’s right, True Believer, the Thunderbolts have just been sicced on Moon Knight. To survive, he's going to have to go a bit crazy.”
Squadron Supreme #2 – This is insane as I’m actually buying this expecting to drop this book. Last issue was nothing about the people I wanted to read about, it appears they are developing a new team, if that is the case that I will be leaving this book. The word “Four astronauts have returned from the moon...changed. And ULTIMATE NICK FURY, EMIL BURBANK, and ARCANNA JONES have found them. Fury’s hip-deep in a new conspiracy--but the only kind of conspiracy he likes is one he creates... So what’s he going to do now that new super heroes are appearing all around America, taking the place of the missing SQUADRON SUPREME? And who is...the BIO-GENERAL? Part 2 (of 6).”
X-Factor Special Layla Miller – I have dropped X-Factor, but I still want to follow Layla’s story. The company line “Trapped in a future she never made, Layla Miller finds herself smack in the middle of the Summers rebellion that was responsible for the eventual liberation of mutants from the camps. The only question is, will she survive it?”
X-Men First Class #15 – This is one of those books that acts to offset all the darkness that pervades so many super hero books. The hype “Is she a bad girl? Is she a mutant? Does even she know what or who she is? Is that her real hair? The mysterious MEDUSA has escaped the reach of the Fantastic Four, only to run right into the home of the Uncanny X-Men!”
Young X-Men #5 – This is another Marvel book that I’m just playing out the string on. After the first arc I will have to be very impressed to hang onto this book. The company line “The numbers are in and it's official: Young X-Men is Mighty Marvel's newest hit!!! It's Marvel's youngest mutants in their final showdown with and one of them won't be walking away from it. The Young X-Men's first story arc ends here and nothing will ever be the same again. Yeah, we know lots of books make that claim, but with Marc (Eli Stone, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) Guggenheim and Yanick (ULTIMATE X-MEN) Paquette delivering the goods, you know this one's for real!”
Conan The Cimmerian #2 – I think Dark Horse made a huge mistake re-launching this series and making the first issue more about Conan’s grand-father then him. The hype “Dark Horse's exciting new Conan era continues with a second round of adventure! As Conan recovers from last issue's clash with raiders on the Cimmerian borderlands, a kind stranger shelters him and weaves a tale of Conan's grandfather, Connacht. As an older Cimmerian, Connacht inspired young Conan with tales of dazzling lands and beautiful women, but the story the snowbound stranger relates now is one of a brush with death and supernatural beasts-brought on after an act of selfless kindness. Is it true that "no good deed goes unpunished" . . . ? With cover artist Frank Cho on board, writer Timothy Truman, artist Tomás Giorello, and colorist José Villarrubia are again joined by comic book veteran Richard Corben in a moody, horrific, and surprising issue that will leave readers in a tailspin!”
Fear Agent #23 I against I (Part 2 of 6) – Heath versus Heath in a time line gone wonky. This book is so much fun and this arc looks to be the best yet. The word “Shot in the back and lost on a barren desert world, Heath Huston is on the lam, pursued by a pack of killers. Rescued and brought in by a local mining camp, Heath must choose between protecting his new benefactors from a vicious tyrant and the last chance to return to his life on Earth.”
Herbie Archives HC – Volume 1 – I’m very worried that I may have made a mistake on buying this one, but it could also be a gem. How this material aged will be very important. What’s inside “Make way for the Fat Fury! The unlikeliest superhero of all time makes his mark in this new Dark Horse archival series. Coming from the strange, wry imagination of classic comics scribe Richard Hughes (writing as Shane O'Shea) and artist Odgen Whitney, Herbie Popnecker looks like a plump lump, but with his collection of supernatural lollipops, there is pretty much nothing that he can't do. Herbie Archives Volume One is the first of a new archive series collecting the finest works of 1960s comics publisher ACG. Herbie Archives Volume 1 collects the earliest appearances of Herbie, as he battles monsters, bends time and space, and gets the better of Fidel Castro! Herbie is a delightfully weird, all-ages barrel of laughs!"
Killer # 8 (of 10) You know what is wrong with this series, is that it only last ten issues. Very happy to see Archaia Studios Press back to putting out their books and happy to see two issues of Killer come out so close together. The hype “'Blood Ties,' Part 2. Mariano delivers to the Killer the men who beat up his girlfriend, and the Killer is surprised by his own thirst for revenge. He begins to piece together the clues surrounding the hit that went wrong in Paris, but his pursuit of the truth leads him and Mariano right into an ambush!”
This week was a total reversal of last week as the indies went from domination to almost non-existence on my list. I have to say that the Herbie Archives is something I will have to look at and read. I ordered this late in the day and I may regret it, but I hear that it was very satirical of the industry and as a youngster I may have missed some of the jokes.
I also noticed that my anticipation of about half the Marvel books is that I’m ready to drop them. It bothers me on some level that I have lost my feeling for the characters that first made me love comics.