So Bill Willingham has generated a little bit of heat with his comments (seen here) that state that he is tired of the darkening of our heroes. One quote is “Those are but two examples of the slow but steady degradation of the American superhero over the years. The ’super’ is still there, more so than ever, but there seems to be a slow leak in the ‘hero’ part. There’s even a term for it, coined by (I’m not sure who, but it might have been one of two respected comics journalists) either Dirk Deppey or Tom Spurgeon. Folks, we’re smack dab in the midst of the Age of Superhero Decadence. Old fashioned ideals of courage and patriotism, backed by a deep virtue and unshakable code, seem to be… well, old fashioned.” Bill has vowed that anytime he does super-hero work in the future he will keep them on the moral side of being heroes.
It seems that this is being labeled a “conservative” point of view and that the more “liberal” point of view is to tear down own heroes. I agree with Bill to a point, but I also understand the comic audience is no longer the 8-12 year old crowd and much of that shinning simplistic moral code was fostered by the comics’ code, which was a restrictive censorship tool the comic industry did to itself. So while I may want to see Superman still say “Truth, Justice and the American Way”, I do not need to see Green Arrow use boxing glove and hand-cuff arrows as opposed to shooting arrows through the hands of bad guys. Not everything needs to be dark and grim, but we also do not need to see married adults sleeping in twin beds. Still nice to know that the entire comic industry is not made up of one voice and that differing view points exists. One thing I hate about “political correctness” is the fact that it stifles free speech.
The books I’m looking forward to most this week are:
Action Comics #873 – The New Krypton story has been exciting and it is good to know that this is just the start of what promises to be an great year with Superman books. 2009 could be a one of the best years ever for the Superman franchise. It at least shows DC is willing to really shake up the status quo. The hype “Written by Geoff Johns; Art by Pete Woods; Cover by Ladrönn. The "New Krypton"finale and a "Faces of Evil"issue! The rapidly rising tensions between the people of Kandor and Earth can only lead to expulsion or war! But even as the governments of Earth begin passing anti-Kryptonian laws, Superman's people have plans of their own – beyond anything you can imagine! Writer Geoff Johns and artist Pete Woods (SUPERMAN: NEW KRYPTON SPECIAL #1) wrap up this cosmically important chapter in Superman's life by introducing a major change to The Man of Steel's status quo!”
BPRD Black Goddess # 1 (of 5) – The build up to a major climax has been terrific in this series. In addition to the Hellboy Archives I hope Dark Horse collects the BPRD material into a nice hard cover collection. The company line “At the turn of the twentieth century, a British museum curator with a bent for the occult traveled east in search of power and immortality. He was never heard from again.In 1937, masked crimefighter The Lobster faced a magic-wielding madman bent on fulfilling an apocalyptic prophecy. The plans were foiled, and the world saved, but the villain himself disappeared . . . Seventy years later, B.P.R.D. agent Liz Sherman began to experience visions of a mysterious gentleman who warned of coming catastrophes. When the Bureau tracked him down, he disappeared -- and kidnapped Liz. Now, Liz's friends race to find her as their old enemies band together for a final, catastrophic attack.The Black Goddess is the second of three arcs pulling together threads from the beginning of the series -- and leaving the B.P.R.D. and the world forever changed.”
Cleaners #2 (of 4) – The first issue was very cool about this team of forensic people who clean up the bloodiest and most gruesome scenes of crime. The word “Here are the facts we know so far: In less than twenty-four hours, a discreet team of private-practice trauma-scene cleaners has been dispatched to clean up two very large blood spills in the LA area—one filling a room at a prestigious landmark hotel, and another taking up half a suburban block in the Valley. There are no bodies to speak of, no known victims, no explanation for how or why the blood appeared. But Robert Bellarmine -- whose cleaning crews get called in to take care of the weirdest jobs, the ones the cops can’t or won’t handle -- can already tell that both his advanced medical training and his scientifically skeptical mind will be pushed to the limit as he sets out to find a rational explanation for these sudden eruptions of gore. And when ten-year-old Henry Lisander goes missing the next day, Bellarmine knows he has even less time to figure out who or what is behind the bloodbath!”
Final Crisis # 6 (of 7) – I have enjoyed this series, but what I’m most interested in seeing is what happens the Batman as this issue is suppose to be the fate of Bruce Wayne. Morrison may not have everyone happy, but he has them talking. The hype “Written by Grant Morrison; Art and covers by J.G. Jones and Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino. As the entire world turns against them, the last of Earth's Super Heroes must face the unstoppable power of the Gods of Apokolips for the final time. Supergirl vs. Mary Marvel! Superman vs. Darkseid! The fate of the Flash! And the incredible return of the New Gods! The End of Days has come and the ultimate war between good and evil will at last be decided on the battlefield of a broken world! And as the skies bleed, as the walls between universes crumble and fall, the ultimate threat to life makes its presence felt as an evil beyond imagining arrives to claim its prize. Mandrakk the Dark Monitor is coming and the DC Multiverse will never be the same again!”
I Kill Giants # 7 (of 7) – If this final issue had come out in 2008, this series may well have been my favorite mini of last year. This is a book that touches on so many things, but is ultimately a tale of a young girl dealing with a tragic event. What’s inside “story Joe Kelly art & cover J.M. Ken Niimura Miniseries Conclusion! 'I did not come for hero I came for you.' Who lives and who dies when the Titan's secret is finally revealed? This is the End, but could it also be a Beginning?”
Locke & Key Head Games #1 – My favorite mini-series from last year returns for a second story arc. I loved the first arc and feel that Joe Hill made this family really come alive. The word “New York Times bestselling writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez, the creators behind the acclaimed Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft, return with an all-new series that adds to the L&K mythos. In the first issue of Locke & Key: Head Games, Professor Joe Ridgeway has one look at Lovecraft Academy's newest transfer student, the charismatic Zack Wells, and is seized with an unsettling notion: that young Wells is in fact the ghost of Lucas Caravaggio, a teenager who disappeared over twenty years before, along with several other students, and who has long been presumed dead. Joe soon sets out to dig up the truth on the new kid... with no idea how far Zack Wells is willing to go to keep his secrets buried.”
The rest of the list:
Alex Toth Edge of Genius TP Volume 2 – by Alex Toth The year 1953 marked a turning point in Toth's career, and the change is represented in thirty stories from that year. Be it horror, war, romance, or science fiction, here is where Alex decided on his style. See why all of his peers stood up and paid attention. Much of this volume is shot from Toth's original art work, the rest is Theakstonized for maximum clarity.
Batman Confidential #25 - Written by Andrew Kreisberg; Art by Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens; Cover by Stephane Roux. "Rights," part 4 of 4! The Joker makes a break for it as the rogue "policeman"tries stopping Batman once and for all. It leads Gotham City to ask one question – where on earth can the emerging psychopaths be imprisoned safely?
Booster Gold #16 - Written by Dan Jurgens; Cover by Brian Stelfreeze; Art by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund. Part 2 of the 4-part "Reality Lost" arc continues in this "Faces of Evil"issue as Booster Gold finds himself stranded in the midst of the battlefields of World War I and comes face-to-face with the infamous Hans von Hammer, a.k.a. Enemy Ace! Meanwhile, Goldstar and Skeets continue their search for the missing Rip Hunter!
Fables #80 - Written by Bill Willingham; Art by Mark Buckingham, Andrew Pepoy and Peter Gross; Cover by James Jean. Here's the thing, folks. We can't tell you what happens in this issue because it would give away the big frightening thing that happened in the previous issue (which we also didn't tell you about). So, what can we say? Only the most general stuff. Like that the grim fallout from winning the war so easily continues. And the metaphorical chickens come home to roost. Good, right?
Faces of Evil Grundy #1 – (My retailer did not receive this book last week) – Written by Scott Kolins and Geoff Johns; Art by Scott Kolins; Cover by Shane Davis and Sandra Hope. The marsh monster stars in his first solo book ever! Who was the man who would be reborn as Solomon Grundy? Discover the secret history of the creature as his curse is explored and redefined in this one-shot special!
Faces of Evil Prometheus #1 - Written by Sterling Gates; Art by Federico Dalbochio; Cover by Mauro Cascioli. It's an all-new prelude to the upcoming, all-new JUSTICE LEAGUE #1! Prometheus once defeated the Justice League single-handedly, and with his latest lethal crime spree, he's moved to the top of the heroes' Most Wanted list. But what grave crimes has he committed, and what will he do to prevent capture? Learn the real face of evil that is Prometheus!
Fall of Cthulhu Apocalypse #2 (of 4) – by Michael Alan Nelson & Mark Dos Santos The Apocalypse is upon us! The culmination of the sweeping storyline that began in the original Fall of Cthulhu series comes to a head in Apocalypse as the ultimate war between gods and men is upon us!
Green Arrow / Black Canary #16 – Written by Andrew Kreisberg; Art by Mike Norton and Joe Rubinstein; Cover by Ladrönn. A "Faces of Evil" issue featuring the black archer Merlyn! The deadly assassin comes back into the lives of Green Arrow and Black Canary just when they've gotten their lives back on track! But if the heroes can defeat their archenemy, could that just open the gates to more, possibly worse evil in their lives?
Green Lantern Corps #32 – Written by Peter J. Tomasi; Art by Patrick Gleason and Rebecca Buchman; Cover by Patrick Gleason and Sandra Hope. A "Faces of Evil"issue! The stunning "Sins of the Star Sapphire"storyline concludes with Kyle Rayner battling Kryb for the soul of Lantern Amnee Pree's baby. Plus, Mongul begins his conquest of a world and a takeover of the Sinestro Corps. What world is at stake and which Lanterns will attempt to stand in his murderous way?
Hulk Visionaries Peter David Volume #6 - A third of the way into his remarkable run, Peter David introduced one of his most influential contributions to the Hulk's career: the Pantheon! David's dynamic demigods hit the scene just as the Hulk's finally getting his head together, no matter how many personalities are inside it! It's a circus in there, and what's a circus without...a Ringmaster? Plus: a Skrull invasion (another one?); Christmas with the Rhino; and the short, tragic career of Crazy Eight! Guest-starring Doc Samson and Nick Fury! Collecting INCREDIBLE HULK #373-382.
Manhunter #38 – Written by Marc Andreyko; Art by Michael Gaydos Cover by Brad Walker and Livesay. In this final issue, Manhunter fights metahuman terrorists while Kate Spencer prepares for the most heart-wrenching case of her legal career! Battle lines are drawn in the Super Hero community when long-buried personal secrets are revealed!
Nightwing #152 - Written by Peter J. Tomasi; Art by Don Kramer and Jay Liesten; Cover by Brian Stelfreeze. A "Faces of Evil"issue! In this epilogue to "Batman R.I.P."and "The Great Leap,"both Nightwing and Dick Grayson are forced to deal with startling and tragic recent events, and things will never ever be the same – especially with Ra's al Ghul involved!
No Hero #3 (of 7) – Josh Carver has been inducted into the Front Line, the world's only superhuman rescue and defense team, to strengthen the ranks after the mysterious deaths of two of its members. He's still recovering from the horror of his transformation into a superhuman when he discovers he has two new enemies - whoever killed his late teammates, and his own body itself! 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!
Simon Dark #16 - Written by Steve Niles; Art and cover by Scott Hampton. The secret of Simon's mysterious new adversary is revealed! But is it too late to stop the nemesis from carrying out his ghoulish plan? And tensions are rising between Simon and Rachel as they both begin to realize there's no place for someone like Simon in the life of a normal girl.
Solomon Kane # 4 (of 5) – An action-filled frenzy! With his host wounded--and bodies piling up in both the Black Forest and the Castle of the Devil--Solomon Kane tries to keep himself and his deceptively simple companion, John Silent, from quick deaths on the gallows. The lovely, scheming Mahasti is missing, supernatural horrors lurk in the forest, and Baron von Staler becomes a bit unhinged. Expanding upon Robert E. Howard's unfinished "Castle of the Devil" story, writer Scott Allie (Devil's Footprints, Star Wars: Empire), newcomer Mario Guevara (The Lone Ranger and Tonto), and coloring visionary Dave Stewart (Umbrella Academy, Hellboy) deliver a compelling, horror-filled adventure that is faithful to Howard's original Solomon Kane work.
Titans #9 – Written by Judd Winick; Art by Howard Porter; Cover by Tony Daniel. A "Faces of Evil"issue! With Jericho around, no one is safe. He can hide in plain sight, and he's far more powerful than he's ever been before. Even those best equipped to understand and deal with him – his old teammates the Titans – are at a loss this time. What is his ultimate goal, and whom will he possess next to attain it?
Trinity #33 – Written by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza; Art by Mark Bagley and Art Thibert, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens, Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher and Mike Norton and Ande Parks; Covers by Jim Lee and Scott Williams. There's war on Earth, war in space and war in another dimension. And at the heart of it all stands a desperate mission to track down and save Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman by some of their most devoted family and friends. But to save the Trinity, the rescue squad will have to defy gods as the fate of Earth hangs in the balance.
Vixen Return of the Lion #4 (of 5) – (another book my retailer was shorted on last week) - Written by G. Willow Wilson; Art by Cafu; Cover by Joshua Middleton. Vixen returns from exile on the Zambesi plains to confront her mother's murderer – the warlord Aku Kwesi. But first she must face a young soldier torn between feelings for Vixen and duty to Kwesi as well as an Intergang super-weapon that even her most powerful Justice League teammates can't eliminate!
X-Infernus #2 (of 4) – Darkchilde comes calling to the X-Men’s doorstep—and she’s not leaving without her Soulsword. The next pulse-pounding issue by C.B. Cebulski (LONERS, Drain) and Giuseppe Cammuncoli (MS. MARVEL, Intimates) is here and it’s shaking up the X-Men in a big way.
Zombie Cop Graphic Novel - Written by Jeff Mariotte Art and cover by Szymon Kudranski Joe Mundy is a doomed cop, desperately clinging to the last vestiges of his humanity before the virus that infected his town turns him into zombie as well! Will he have enough time to solve the mystery of what caused the virus before he succumbs to his horrific fate? Alternately humorous, horrific and tragic Zombie Cop will leave you questioning just what it means to be human. Critically acclaimed author Jeff Mariotte brings a tale of horror you're unlikely to forget!
There are a lot of books to look forward to in a relative short list week. I have noticed my lists have decreased lately and it seems to be a function of a bunch of books ending for various reasons and not as many books coming onto my list. This natural slow down of my list is a welcome thing as I see myself being less generous this year in trying out as many books. Shadowline (under Image) has burned me with there 3 issue arcs, that never really tell a complete story, to the point where it will take something really special to try one of their offerings. Of course BOOM and Radical have my trust, so I’m happy to try out almost any new offering from those companies.