Monday, February 23, 2009

What I’m Getting Wednesday

In the recent Dark Horse and Image solicitations I have not seen quite the amount of new and interesting offerings that I have felt to be the norm from these two groups. Maybe it is just my perception but I’m wondering if the beginning of the 2nd Great Depression is not forcing companies to cut back here and there and the new and unknown is always more of a gamble. My hope is this is just a slow period while the new and exciting projects are still in development.

On other entertainment fronts I just this week watched “The Wire” Season 1 and “yo” I’m now totally hooked on that show. For the 2 people who do not know it is a cop drama set in Baltimore, Maryland (my hometown) and it shows a realistic portrayal of one part of the city and the drug trafficking. What makes the show so compelling is the fact that all the characters have depth and levels of complexity to them. All of the bad guys are not 100% bad and all of the good guys are not 100% good. In fact, often you are not sure if there are any good or bad guys. Now if my friend can loan Seasons 2-5 to me, I can watch the entire series. I love getting into good shows after they are over as it is uninterrupted bliss watching episodes back to back to back.

The books I’m looking forward to most this week are:

Battlefields Dear Billy #2 (of 3) - It should almost be a law that Ennis is forced to write war story comics, at least one a month. The only gripe I have is that Dynamite has released this as three separate series and I’m waiting for the hard cover of all them (as Battlefields is planned as nine issues of 3 separate mini-series) and they appear to be collecting them per story. The word “by Garth Ennis & Peter Snjeberg More incredible stories from Garth Ennis as his 'BATTLEFIELDS' series continues exclusively from DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT! For this second mini-series - DEAR BILLY - Garth is joined by artist Peter Snjeberg and cover artist John Cassaday for a haunting tale of wartime in 1942 As the fortunes of war turn in the Allies' favour, Carrie begins a tentative love affair with Billy Wedgewood- whose fighter-bomber squadron is in the thick of the action against the Japanese. But Carrie's own war has taken a strange and terrible turn, and the secrets that she keeps will set her on a path that can only have one end...”

Eerie Archives Volume 1 – The Creepy Archives have been great and now we have the companion series being collected. In about five years I will cut my weekly books down to bare bones and just sit back and read these babies. This volume contains “Slithering upon the heels of Dark Horse's archive collections of the seminal horror comics magazine Creepy comes its terror-filled cousin publication Eerie! Collected for fans for the first time ever, and packaged in the same amazing oversized format as our Creepy Archives, Dark Horse Comics has taken great, gruesome care in presenting this groundbreaking material to readers who have been waiting decades to get their claws on it. Eerie magazine, like its killer kin Creepy, features work from many of the masters of comics storytelling. For fans of spectacular spookiness, mind-bending sci-fi, and astonishing artwork, the Eerie Archives library is a must have. Includes the work of Gray Morrow, Frank Frazetta, Alex Toth, Neal Adams, Joe Orlando, and others!”

Gigantic #3 (of 5) – Remender has some of the best ideas and concepts in comics right now. From the apparently neglected Fear Agent to the new Punisher series from Marvel. His material reads fresh and exciting. The core concept that Earth was created for an alien reality TV show just seems so true. What’s inside “Invisible alien film crews record your every moment for the entertainment of fat, anesthetized aliens throughout the universe. Gigantic, our would-be savior, fights to liberate us from this secretive voyeurism, but at what price? In order to restore order to their hit show “Planet Earth,” the Universal Broadcast Network has sent Gigantic’s archnemesis, the Iconoclast, to stop him by any means necessary, leading to a world-shattering battle through time and space.”

Green Lantern #38 – It is so great to read a series when you know a writer is having a seminal moment with a character. Johns’ run on this book is one such moment and the build-up to “The Blackest Night” is a great story. The hype “Written by Geoff Johns; Art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert; Cover by Shane Davis and John Dell. A "Faces of Evil"issue! The War of Light ignites as the first bizarre battle with the Red Lanterns comes to a blood-fueled conclusion. But what unexpected fate has befallen Atrocitus, the leader of the Red Lanterns, and what new Green Lantern law is unveiled?”

Madame Xanadu #8 – The superlatives for the story and art are getting harder and harder to find for this book. One thing I can say that this is my second favorite series from Vertigo at the moment (Scalped is still #1) and one of the best series on the stands. The company line “Written by Matt Wagner; Art and Cover by Amy Reeder Hadley and Richard Friend. Madame Xanadu is desperate to stop the brutal Jack the Ripper slayings and save the destitute women of Whitechapel. But it looks like the Phantom Stranger has other plans, and he's been harboring them all along! Betrayal and love collide in the latest dynamic issue from comics legend Matt Wagner and skyrocketing art talent Amy Reeder Hadley.”

Mouse Guard Winter #1152 #5 (of 6) – Arachia Studios Presss financial woes has caused innumerable delays in this book. I love Petersen’s work a lot and hope this gets collected as a hard cover one day. The word “by David Petersen Blood is spilled on the snowy floor of the Mouse Territories as the battle between Celanawe, Lieam, and the one-eyed owl rages on. Tired, frozen, and with little hope of getting medicine to Lockhaven, their only goal now is survival. Deep beneath the surface in the abandoned Darkheather, Saxon rejoins his companions Sadie and Kenzie as they may have discovered a way home. The winter mission that lead the Guard's finest away from Lockhaven is nearing an end, and one that they will not all live to see.”

Starman Omnibus Volume 2 – Volume 1 was a quality package and contained some great background material by James Robinson. One of the best super hero series done. This volume contains “Written by James Robinson; Art by Tony Harris, John Watkiss, Guy Davis, J.H. Williams III, Chris Sprouse, Craig Hamilton, and others Cover by Tony Harris. In this second volume, Jack Knight's disturbing dreams drive him to New York City to meet the Golden Age Sandman! Collecting STARMAN #17-29, STARMAN ANNUAL #1 and stories from SHOWCASE '95 #12 and SHOWCASE '96 #4-5.”

Umbrella Academy Dallas #4 (of 6) – I enjoyed the first series and all of that good stuff, but the second series has been even better. You have to love this book as it is comic book madness at its best. What’s in this issue “Number Five and The Rumor have accepted a terrible mission, and after enduring torture and a brush with nuclear Armageddon, the rest of the surviving Umbrella Academy have to put aside their infighting to try to find their brother and sister, racing through history to do so. The Eisner and Harvey Award-winning series kicks into high gear as Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá head into taboo territory in the surreal political thriller Dallas."

Wonder Woman #29 – Gail has me hooked on this book now and I can’t wait to see what the heck is with the lasso. Gail has now officially (IMO) made Wonder Woman a book that should be read by all super hero comic fans. The company line “Written by Gail Simone; Art by Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan; Cover by Aaron Lopresti. "Rise of The Olympian" part 4! Featuring an "Origins and Omens" backup story! The Olympians have risen to begin their all-out assault on war across the globe! One particular attack could spell the end of the Department of Metahuman Affairs, and Wonder Woman's life is changed forever in the aftermath of Genocide's savage beating...and that's just the stuff we can tell you! Don't miss this crucial arc in Wonder Woman's history!”

The rest of the list:

Astounding Wolf-Man #13 - story ROBERT KIRKMAN art & cover JASON HOWARD Now, at long last we get the secret origin of Gary Hampton. Where did he come from? How did he rise to become one of the richest men in the world? If you think you know everything about the man who became the Astounding Wolf-Man, think again.

Batman Gotham After Midnight #10 (of 12) - Written by Steve Niles; Art and Cover by Kelley Jones. Death strikes close to home for The Dark Knight as an important person in Bruce Wayne's life dies at the hands of the Midnight Killer. But what's Catwoman's involvement? Will her heart belong to the murderous Midnight – both literally and figuratively – or can Batman stop this St. Valentine's Day massacre before it's too late?
Blue Beetle #36 FINAL ISSUE - Written by Matthew Sturges; Art by Carlo Barberi; Cover by Rafael Albuquerque. Say goodbye to the bravest Teen Titan of them all as Blue Beetle takes on a whole space army all on his lonesome in a tale so epic it could only be called the "Valentine's Day Dance Massacre"!

Captain America #47 - Written by ED BRUBAKER Pencils & Cover by STEVE EPTING The New Captain America in the hands of the enemy in China! His secret past as the Winter Soldier in danger of coming to light! And what are his old Invaders teammate the Sub-Mariner and the Black Widow doing while Bucky Barnes faces his darkest past?

Conan The Cimmerian #8 - A new story arc! Conan leaves his trials and regrets behind in Cimmeria and heads into the next phase of his adventurous life -- his mercenary career. Timothy Truman adapts Robert E. Howard's powerful "Black Colossus" short story and sets Conan off on what will be his bloodiest battle yet, when the mercenaries of Amalric clash with the demonic hordes of Natohk! Conan, once a wandering thief, tries his luck as a professional soldier, joining Amalric's forces and facing condescending jabs from the noblemen in his company, who mistakenly think that the Cimmerian is an unskilled simpleton. Tomás Giorello takes on full penciling duties once again, and Joseph Michael Linsner (Dawn, Dark Ivory) returns as cover artist for this exciting arc!

Criminal Macabre Cell Block 666 #3 (of 4) - What's life like behind bars for a guy framed for the death of the D.A.'s wife? Ask Cal McDonald. He's a guy who knows a thing or two about misery from first-hand experience, but miserable doesn't begin to describe what's ahead for the disgraced private dick whose only friend on the planet is a dead guy. Now Cal's in lockup at the darkest time of his life with no connection to the outside world except through the random contact he makes with other prisoner. Luckily for Cal, it turns out his reputation proceeds him . . . and the reputation of an ex-cop-gone-wrong who runs with ghouls might be just the thing to keep him alive against all odds.

Dynamo 5 #20 - story JAY FAERBER art & cover MAHMUD A. ASRAR & RON RILEY It's Valentine's Day, but the members of Dynamo 5 don't have time to deal with their own love lives. Instead, they have to stop a feuding super-villain couple from destroying Tower City!

Echo #10by Terry Moore Julie and Dillon travel to the frozen wilderness of Alaska to find a HeNRI facility that is manufacturing the atomic alloy stuck to Julie. But, they are not alone. Somebody else wants the powerful metal Julie is wearing... and the only way to get it is to kill her!

Fear Agent #26 I against I (PT 5 of 6) - Heath Huston, a mysterious otherworldly stranger, comes to the rescue of a frontier town that is somehow a step out of time. The peaceful, small mining community is under threat of annihilation when a ruthless land baron arrives with his posse of hired guns to take control of the territory. After the struggle for a peaceable resolution, and the gunfighting . . . it all ends in a down-in-the-mud, cheap-and-bloody fistfight to the death.

Gravel #9 - Combat Magician William Gravel is back in this second story arc of his ongoing series! SAS Sergeant Major and combat magician William Gravel can be a cold and efficient killing machine, but it's usually just a job - very few things make him kill in anger. But one of those things is being cheated, and the Major Seven, the kings and queens of magic in England, have cheated him. He thought they wanted him to join them because he had impressed them. Now he knows he was brought in to solve a mystery - one of them died at the hands of another member of the group, and he's to find out who. Someone's going to get a kicking. The fact that they're all far more dangerous than him doesn't seem to bother him!

Jack of Fables #31 FUNNIEST COVER OF THE WEEK - Written by Matthew Sturges and Bill Willingham; Art by Tony Akins and Jose Marzan Jr. ; Cover by Brian Bolland. Part 4 of "Jack's Big Book of War." You know how they talk about the "power of the printed word"? What they don't want to tell you is that this power is more than just how a bunch of ideas can convince people to do stuff. It's about how ideas can make things explode. So hold on to your hats, gang, these printed words are so powerful they're going to knock your socks right off your toes!

Justice Society of America #24 - Written by Geoff Johns and Jerry Ordway; Art by Jerry Ordway; Cover by Alex Ross. Black Adam and Isis" part 2 and featuring an "Origins and Omens" backup! The Justice Society faces off against a fully powered Black Adam and his wife, Isis, for control of the Rock of Eternity. But when Mary Marvel enters the fray, will she side with the Justice Society or join the Black Marvel family?

Marvel Masterworks The Mighty Thor Volume 112 - Written by STAN LEE Penciled by JACK KIRBY Cover by JACK KIRBY It's time to take another trip up the Rainbow Bridge to fair Asgard with the greatest team comics has ever known, Stan "The Man" and Jack "King" Kirby! Their Thor epics are the peak of cosmic action and mythic adventure, and these ten adventures will show you yet again just why. It all begins as the Mighty Thor takes a journey across time into an apocalyptic atomic future where man is now mutate, but there's no rest upon his return because then it's the god vs. god when Thor does battles with Pluto, Lord of the Underworld! And battles aren't the only thing you can bet on. Queen Karnilla pines for the noble Balder the Brave, while the amazing being known as "Him" (and known to Marvelites as Adam Warlock) takes the Lady Sif to be his perfect mate! Methinks that date may end in fisticuffs. Then it's a battle through Loki to find, and learn the amazing origin of, the one-and-only Galactus! It's a cosmic revelation as can only be brought to you by the King of Comics! But that ain't all! There's a knuckle-smashing showdown with the Thermal Man, the return of the Wrecker and a heart-wrenching astral adventure featuring Thor's former ladylove, Jane Foster. Collecting THOR #163-172.

Mighty Avengers #22 - Avengers Assemble! Scarlet Witch! Hank Pym! Hercules! The Vision! Stature! Hulk! Jocasta! U.S. Agent! Iron Man! On the last patch of Earth, they're the only heroes left standing. And the enemy they must defeat...was once one of their own. It's Avenger versus Avenger! And at stake is nothing less than the fabric of reality itself! Join Dan Slott and Khoi Pham for the next part in this all-new chapter of Marvel's Mightiest Superhero Team!

Mister X Condemned #3 (of 4) - In this latest chapter, return to the Ninth Academy, sanitarium for mad scientists-the place that nurtured the minds behind Somnopolis's nightmarish design. Years later, the demolition of the insanity-causing architecture has been temporarily halted after the deaths of an entire sect of architects -- either a tragedy or a conspiracy. In the middle of it all, the enigmatic Mister X continues his frantic quest to find the missing city plans, so he can save Somnopolis while there's still some of it left!

Ms. Marvel #36 - A Marvel Dark Reign issue! Norman Osborn has handed the world's most dangerous genetic weapon to a madman, and it is up to Carol Danvers to retrieve it. But Carol is keeping secrets from everyone--secrets that could spell the end of Ms. Marvel as we know her.

New Avengers #50 - Celebrate this very special milestone issue as the new roster of New Avengers deal with the shocking news of the existence of the Dark Avengers the only way they can... by taking them head on. But what is waiting for them is the stuff the DARK REIGN is made of.

No Hero #4 (of 7) - by Warren Ellis & Juan Jose Ryp Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp, the team behind the fan-favorite Black Summer, are revolutionizing masked heroes yet again in the hottest new series of the summer! Josh Carver is now a member of The Front Line, the only group of superhumans in the world. He's given up everything to get here, and he thinks he's paid the full price of admission. But now, he must be inducted into the most closely-held secrets in the world - the true history of The Front Line, and the things the group have done under cover of darkness. He's being pulled in deeper than he'd imagined, and with every new answer he's being forced to re-examine how much he can really trust his new teammates. But more importantly - can the team really trust him? This fatal fourth issue ratchets up the tension

Nova #22Join the Nova Corps…or suffer the consequences! Worldmind begins the mass transformation of human recruits to fill the ranks of his new Nova Corps--and brands anyone who stands against him a criminal! Richard Rider is powerless to stop the process...but he’s going to try anyway, even if it means fighting alone! New characters, razor-sharp plot twists, jaw-dropping cliffhangers…

Proof #17 - story ALEX GRECIAN art & cover RILEY ROSSMO 'BORDERLANDS' The Chupacabra's journey from Mexico to Minnesota is finally revealed in a special stand-alone story. Plus, Colonel Dachshund receives a gift from an unexpected visitor.

Reign in Hell #8 (of 8) - Written by Keith Giffen; Art by Tom Derenick and Bill Sienkiewicz; Cover by Justiniano. The bloody denouement arrives as the heir to the throne of Hell is chosen! Will Blue Devil regain his soul? Will there be a Hell left once Lobo's had his way? Will Dr. Occult convince his lost love to come home? Find the answers here!

Scourge of Gods #2 (of 3) - Written by VALRIE MANGIN. Pencils & Cover by ALEKSA GAJI Adaptation by PAUL BENJAMIN. The sci-fi heroic-fantasy hybrid continues! The starships of King Attila and his Huns threaten the Roman Galactic Empire known as the Orbis. As both the daughter of Roman ruler Flavius Aetius, and also the reincarnation of the Hun goddess Kerka, young Flavia Aetia is caught between the two forces. Will she remain true to her lover, Attila? Or will she serve the Orbis despite her father having condemned her to death as a traitor? When the two galactic super powers meet in battle at the ruins of the war-torn planet Sirmium, a young girl will have to decide who she is and where her true loyalties lie.

Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion #4 (of 6) - Written by Billy Tucci ; Art and Cover by Billy Tucci. Holding out against all odds for four days without food and water, the trapped Easy Company has suffered countless wounds and fatalities. But as Sgt. Rock leads a desperate patrol to find sustenance, angels arrive in the forms of Johnny Cloud and the Haunted Tank. But unbeknownst to all, the Nazis have laid a trap for the Lost Battalion by springing 7,000 Reich soldiers against the would-be rescuers.
Superman #685 -Written by James Robinson; Art by Renato Guedes and Wilson Magalháes; Cover by Alex Ross. An "Origins and Omens" issue! Continued from ACTION COMICS #874! With "New Krypton" behind him (for now), Superman must come to terms with the death of Pa Kent. And things heat up in Metropolis when the mysterious new Nightwing and Flamebird take up residence in the Man of Steel's hometown! Are they here to help Earth like they say – or do their ties to Kandor run too deep? This story sets up next month's new status quo as Superman makes a tough decision, the repercussions of which will be felt for years!

Sword #15 - story JOSHUA LUNA art & cover JONATHAN LUNA Dara will stop at nothing to get the sword back.

Teen Titans #68 - Written by Sean McKeever; Art and Cover by Eddy Barrows and Ruy Jose. Kid Eternity is back in this issue featuring an "Origins and Omens" backup tale! But is he here to stay? In part 3 of "The New Teen Titans," learn how the Kid's struggle with the Lords of Chaos and Order has progressed, why his abilities are on the fritz and how his arrival creates major problems for his teammates!

Thunderbolts #129 - A Marvel Dark Reign issue! The Green Goblin vs. the President of the United States! It's terror at 10,000 feet when Spider-Man's fearsome foe hurls pumpkin bombs at a special target: the new President! Just what is Norman Osborn up to...and who in the world are the new Thunderbolts? A Dark Reign is there as the new team of Andy Diggle and Roberto De La Torre present "Hammer Down" Part II!

Trinity #39 - 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 Andy Kubert and Jesse Delperdang. The war to save all of reality rages on and is waged in the memory of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. But the legendary Trinity battle to end the conflict themselves by becoming more than just a memory!

Ultimate Spider-Man #131 - Ultimatum tie-in! The hits just KEEP ON COMING! Just when our waterlogged webslinger thought things couldn’t get any worse, Spidey finds himself face-to-face with none other than the Hulk! PLUS Spider-Woman, Daredevil, and Doctor Strange amidst the destruction... and not everyone lives to see the next issue…!

Unknown Soldier #5 - Written by Joshua Dysart; Art by Alberto Ponticelli; Cover by Igor Kordey. As memories of the past begin to invade, Moses confronts the deeper truth of the soldier lurking within him. But what do those memories have to do with another unknown soldier?

Wildcats #8 - Written by Christos Gage and Russell Utley; Art by Pete Woods and Ben Oliver; Cover by Neil Googe. Artist Pete Woods returns for a story years in the making – a day in the life of Maxine Manchester! Maxine finds that she's able to make a very unique difference in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles.

This is a big week for me with three hard covers all hitting the same time. I go a few weeks with no hard covers and then inevitably they all hit the same time. Starman is on time, Marvel Masterworks is one week late and Eerie is early. It should be a good week for comics.

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