I know this is a five Wednesday month, but my Marvel list is so thin as to be non-existent. It has been an education for me watching my list change over time. I remember when I owned a store and read even more then I do now that the overwhelming preponderance of super hero material drives you to reading more independents and Vertigo type material. Still if I cut way back I would always have some super hero stuff in the mix. And that I think is the hurdle the independents have to get over, most comic fans at their core still love the super hero stuff. A fan base for graphic story telling needs to be developed that was not raised on the capes (IMO).
City of Dust #1 - Radical Comics has fast become a name that I trust. Once a publisher establishes themselves as a known commodity it is easy to order the first issue of any series. City of Dust #1 has two pedigrees - Radical Comics and Steve Niles as the writer. The hype " From the dark mind of STEVE NILES (30 Days of Night) comes a story set in the aftermath of our world's collapse. This chilling vision of the future unveils a world where the police now patrol for crimes of the imagination. Religious beliefs, along with any tales of false heroes, idols or gods, are illegal. The world is anew and the enemy adapts. Detective Philip Khrome doesn't enforce Imagination, he works homicide; that's where the action is, and he's seen it all before. But criminals evolve and the world's forever changing. When a killing spree hits his city sector, Khrome finds himself face to face with killers born of grim reality with old world superstition and everything is not what it seems. 48 page prestige format book." Can't believe I forgot this book for this post!
The Alcoholic Hardcover – This sounds rather odd and very different, but interesting enough for me to spend a few bucks to check it out. The word “Jonathan A. is a boozed-up, coked-out, sexually confused, hopelessly romantic and, of course, entirely fictional novelist who bears only a coincidental resemblance to real-life writer Jonathan Ames, critically acclaimed author of Wake Up, Sir!, The Extra Man and What's Not to Love? For the fictional Jonathan, writing and drinking come easy. The hard parts of life are love and hope. From a touching relationship between Jonathan and his aging great aunt, to an inebriated evening with an amorous, octogenarian dwarf, to the devastating aftermath of 9/11, Ames's first original graphic novel, with gritty, poignant art by Dean Haspiel (THE QUITTER), tells a story at once hilarious, excruciating, bizarre and universal, about how our lives fall to pieces and the enduring human struggle to put things back together again.”
Authority #3 – I don’t remember if this bad guy was one that I have ever seen before. Either way this current iteration of the Authority is entertaining. The hype “The Midnighter confronts the Eidolon and his Army of the Mad... but can even he overcome an entire army alone? And the Engineer makes a startling discovery in the bowels of the Carrier that could turn the team's fortunes around in this desolate new world! Plus, the second chapter of the Marc "Backlash" Slayton backup story continues by Christos Gage and Mike McKone.”
Batman #680 – Since Batman is my favorite character of all time and I love it when a “real” change is made, RIP has my interest. The penultimate chapter in this arc. The word “It's "Batman R.I.P." part 5 – and this issue features two events so monumental that one comic can barely contain them! First, Batman faces off against The Club of Villains. Then, The Joker makes his stand, challenging the Dark Knight to the ultimate battle of wits. Will Batman survive either of these threats – or could this be the end of Gotham City's greatest hero?”
El Diablo #2 (of 6) – This issue needs to be an improvement as last issue left me a little cold. The company line “The new El Diablo learns what it means to have a legacy name in the DCU. Expect new villains, old scores to settle and ancient evils to align against Chato Santana. With the 170-year-old Lazarus Lane in tow, El Diablo runs from the law and goes after the man who crippled him.”
Hellblazer Presents: Chas the Knowledge #4 (of 5) – I have been enjoying this series a lot. The mid-life crisis and the demonic crisis all at once and Chas is our semi-ordinary person caught up in both. What’s inside “Red vs. Blue. The demon possessing Chas's would-be protégé, Nicky, has unlocked the secrets of "The Knowledge," and now it's looking to rip the soul right out of London. And where better to start than a football match between two of the city's most heated rivals? The ensuing chaos creates a moment of decision in the life of Chas.”
House of Mystery #6 – Out of all the new Vertigo books lately this is my second favorite, only surpassed by Madam Xanadu. An excellent series so far. The hype “Every haunted house has a scary basement, sure. But this is the House of Mystery – this is the basement the other basements are scared of. And yes, we're going down there. And we're going to stay awhile. Meanwhile, Pirate Queen Ann Preston stars in a bloody symphony of lust, greed, desire and deception that begins with buried treasure and ends with buried bodies. Hit the high seas in a swashbuckling tale illustrated by Tony Akins (JACK OF FABLES). This issue also features a free preview of the new monthly series THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER!”
Jonah Hex #36 – This is always a good book. Out of 35 prior issues there have been maybe 2 that were just okay issue in my book. The company line “There's a reason why Jonah Hex wears the uniform of a Confederate soldier, and the truth is sometimes an ugly thing. On his way home from fighting in the Civil War, Hex tries to settle an old score but soon finds himself in the middle of a misunderstanding that could have grave consequences.”
Justice League of America #25 – This has been a weak version of the JLA so far. I keep hoping this book can stop being a spotlight for lesser lights of the DCU. The word “Vixen and Animal Man journey into the sacred Tantu Totem to solve the mystery of their altered powers. But Anansi, the African spider god responsible for these changes, has only begun reshaping the powers and histories of the Justice League, as eight-year-old Bruce Wayne shoots the burglar who killed his parents, Wonder Woman retires from the JLA after the tragic death of her husband, Superman, and The Green Lantern Corps quarantines Earth after one of their number destroys an American city. With the team's history changing before Vixen's eyes, is the JLA we now know gone forever?”
Manhunter #35 – This book has actually gotten better since its hiatus as the plots and sub-plots are more developed then before. The company line “Kate uses the Fed's own weapons against them, and Manhunter does the same to the DCU's biggest heroes. And the most shocking secret of Ciudad Juarez is revealed!”
Nightwing #149 – Wow, we are only one issue away from #150, a great run for any book. This story appears to take place after RIP. The hype “A "Batman R.I.P." tie-in! With Batman missing in action, Nightwing faces off against The Dark Knight's most dangerous enemies – Killer Croc, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Two-Face and The Joker – to save the life of a woman marked for death.”
Supergirl #34 – This is this books final chance with me. If Gates and the whole “New Krypton” saga does not make this book work, I will finally cancel this puppy. The uninspired hype “Beginning the new direction for SUPERGIRL, which will tie the book and character firmly into the Superman franchise!”
Terror Titans #1 (of 6) – Not sure what the demand for a spin-off from a so-so series was, but I know DC is pushing the Titan franchise, so I will check out issue #1. The word “They stood against the Teen Titans, and now the Terror Titans spin off into their own miniseries! Clock King hatches a plan for his team of teenage legacy villains, as well as their deadly new member – the Teen Titans' own Ravager! But if he's to succeed, Clock King must first stabilize the underground metahuman gladiator arena known as the Dark Side Club! Join TEEN TITANS scribe Sean McKeever and artist Joe Bennett (52, CHECKMATE) for a journey into the darkest, coldest and most brutal corners of the teen psyche!”
Top Ten Season Two #1 (of 4) – I wish Alan Moore was still writing this book, but I’m hopeful that this will be an enjoyable return to Top Ten (which deserves an Absolute). The company line “AMERICA'S BEST COMICS. A new season dawns in the science-city of Neopolis! A new commissioner, along with some new rules, comes to Precinct 10, as Slipstream Phoenix, a rookie cop with an ugly secret, fights for respect among his new peers. Meanwhile, Shock-Headed Peter and the Dust Devil investigate a mysterious, ancient drug dealer, and a very public multiple homicide sets Captain Jetman and Lieutenant Peregrine scrambling for answers. The police procedural crime and intrigue continue in this new series based on concepts and characters created by legendary writer Alan Moore (WATCHMEN, V FOR VENDETTA).”
Tor #6 (of 6) – The final issue of Joe Kubert’s story of a fictional prehistoric caveman. The word “In the final chapter of this epic miniseries, Tor heads home – and he's bringing his surviving companions with him. But before they complete the journey, they encounter a giant obstacle: another survivor in this primordial world! Joe Kubert brings dynamism to the comic page as only he can in this age-old tale of man vs nature.”
Trinity #18 – Last issue was the first major turning point, so I’m looking forward to this issue to see what happens now that the Trinity have been replaced. The hype “Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman no more! The heroic Trinity have met their fates at the hands of their villainous counterparts in the Troika. Now the Earth trembles helplessly in the hands of the villainous group while Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman's accomplishments are being forgotten!”
Vixen : Return of the Lion #1 (of 5) – I’m not sure how this fits in with her continuity in JLA, but it seems to me that it has better make sense or else featuring her in two different continuities at the same will not help make her a bigger star in the DCU. What’s inside “On a mission against the mega-mobsters of Intergang, the Justice League makes a stunning discovery revealing the truth behind the death of Vixen's mother. Long ago, poachers were fingered in her murder, but stunning proof arrives exposing the identity of her real killer! And the man responsible is still alive, making a vicious play for power in the homeland Vixen left years ago. This groundbreaking 5-issue miniseries by rising stars G. Willow Wilson (OUTSIDERS: AQUAMAN/METAMORPHO, CAIRO, AIR) and Cafu (Black Panther) plunges the League's animal-powered warrior into a deeply spiritual, but instantly deadly, quest for vengeance – and draws the League itself into the newest chapter of Intergang's ever-expanding race for domination.”
Sub-Mariner The Depths #2 (of 4) – The first issue was well done and did not even have Subby in the book. The company line “Atlantis. Throughout the ages, a few men have wondered if this fabulous place actually exists. Fewer have imagined that the city is protected by a wild and vengeful being, the very embodiment of the untamable depths themselves -- the Sub-Mariner. When a legendary adventurer named Randolph Stein travel deep into the dark belly of the Marianas trench in search of a missing deep sea expedition, he is about to encounter things that supersede his wildest imagination. There is something down there in the murky depths -- something far closer to God than man -- and it has been waiting for Stein for a long, long time.”
Challenger Deep #2 (of 4) – I loved the first issue of this thriller from BOOM. I also get amused that both underwater stories about the Mariana trench come out the same week. The hype “Take a deep breath. Hold it. Now, imagine you're on a-I didn't say breathe!- on a sunken submarine at the bottom of the ocean, teetering on enough methane ice to blow the world in half if you make the slightest wrong move. And five world governments are sending underwater commandoes your way right this second! Heart racing? Getting lightheaded? That's the skill of writer Andrew Cosby, creator of the hit Sci-Fi show Eureka!”
Four Eyes #1 – I’m not 100% sure why I was getting this, although the cover is cool, but now that I have fallen in love with “I Kill Giants” by Joe Kelly, another title by him is an easier sell. The word “Brooklyn 1930. America struggles in the grip of the Great Depression, and ten-year-old Enrico is willing to make any sacrifice to take care of his mother. Even if it means taking a job in the one place he’s forbidden to go…the ring of fire where dragons are trained and fought for cash and glory.”
Sparks #4 (of 6) – I have already had a chance to read this issue and this book is getting better and better. Sparks is really tough great noir look at a golden age hero. The company line “by Christopher Folino & JM Ringuet William Katt's critically acclaimed monthly superhero noir thriller continues as masked vigilante Ian Sparks unravels a mystery that's haunted him since childhood.”
Beyond Wonderland #2 (of 6) – The first issue of this sequel has me hopeful that the return can be as strong as the original mini-series. The hype “Calie Liddle is still trying to adjust to her new life in the big city. But her new job and new friends hang by a perilous thread. Wonderland is closing in around her, and she is more alone in a city of millions than she ever expected, being watched from afar by all-too-familiar eyes. Meanwhile, her brother, Johnny, adapts to his new realm, the same place his own sister sent him to months earlier!”
Creature Feature #1 (of 2) – See my review here and see an interview with the executive producer of the series here. The official hype “Do you remember when your local drive-in was rocking on a Friday night and all of the monsters were the result of nuclear waste and government conspiracies? Creature Feature is your chance to relive your youth or visit a joyous time of cinematic insanity done right for the first time. Welcome back to the 70s and 80s because the first Triple and a half Creature Feature of the new millennium is set to begin! This issue features three and a half scintillating tales of monstrous horror done right - over the top and gratuitous with a super-cool soundtrack. (Readers are responsible for providing their own tunes.) Grab a date, leave the kids at home, and stuff as many friends in your trunk as possible for out of this world terror in Abducted by Chris Yost, hot girls and feathery friends in Hooters by CB Cebulski, creepy crawlies in Why Did It Have To Be Spiders? by Andy Schmidt, and the first half of the rocktacular Rockenstein by Brian Smith, a tale so demented the drive-in is only willing to screen the first half of it lest they get shut down altogether for public indecency!”
No Hero #1 (of 7) – Another new Avatar series by Warren Ellis. I’m enjoying Ellis exploration of super heroes. Black Summer was very well done and I’m looking forward to No Hero. The word “Dead heroes in the dirt. A killer capable of almost supernatural tortures. Five generations of the world's only superhuman group. A forty-year legacy of standing for the rights of freedom and safety. A young man obsessed with the need for street justice. How much do you want to be a superhuman? How badly does he want it? Bad enough to bring on the last days of an American legend? If he even gets to survive that long? Forty years ago, a group of superhumans emerged in San Francisco, guided by the man whose unique new drugs gave them their incredible powers. But the team is not the only thing that's advanced over the years, and there are no easy victories when their luck finally begins to run out!”
Doktor Sleepless #9 – Last issue was good enough to keep me coming back for more. Now I’m convinced that Sleepless is mad. The company line “Doktor Sleepless begins its exciting second season with this can't-miss issue! Whether you've been tuning in to the Doktor's broadcasts from the beginning, or are just looking to jump into the series, this issue marks the start of a new story arc - and we guarantee you won't want to wait until 2009 for the collected edition! It may be that the good Doktor has pushed the city too far. People are sick. People are dying. But, then again, maybe nobody in Heavenside minds, right? Well, not the nice people in Central, behind the pay-cop barrier. But what do you suppose will happen when it turns out that an invisible barrier won't stop all the nice peoples nice things from falling apart, too? Warren Ellis' satirical-political science fiction novel continues its on-going run!”
That wraps up a very modest list for me this week and actually a welcome breather as I have been busy with other things and can use a light week of comics.
Finally – What’s up with Thomm stealing my title????