Monday, July 06, 2009

What I’m Getting Wednesday July 8

Instead of a political rant, let’s focus on comics. Particularly I want to focus on Flash: Rebirth and Captain America: Reborn. Now it is interesting to note that the idea of rebirth has always been part of our mythology and obviously a big part of the Christian faith. As an almost universal touchstone it is only natural for comics to try and go there, but so far both have failed to be as glorious as they wanted them to be.

For Flash I think it is Johns is working too hard to set up what will be some sort of Flash ongoing series or maybe more then one series. That has made the entire Rebirth series almost have no point then to serve as a long prelude to what is to come. If that is the case then it is a shame as the bloom is off the rose before we even get to the series. The series itself needs to tells a strong and dramatic story. Instead of trying to rebuild Barry’s back story with a retro-con, just let him be the only DC hero who died during the silver age and is back among us now as that alone gives him some depth. Everyone complains Barry was too vanilla, but he was one of the few heroes who married early on, his wife got killed (later revived) and Flash was on trial for killing the man who killed his wife. That long, long story that ran in the Flash by Cary Bates had plenty of material in it to that with a modern perspective was enough to dirty Barry up a little without the retro-con of his Dad being accussed of killing his wife. The net result is that we are three issues in and Johns has yet to get to the story. I hope we get more of a story by the time the series ends, but it feels like the whole series is about building a new foundation for Barry.

Now Captain America: Reborn has only had one issue and I have done a full fledged review here, but what is killing me on this book is they are treating it like Cap has been gone as long as the Flash. In real time it has only been a couple of years, in comic book time it can’t be more then a year. Not as big of a deal when you are coming back that fast. Second the whole resurrection of Cap is being played poorly. If it is a time travel thing with plot points from Lost then it has failed already. Remember in Lost our characters are living linear lives and while they went back in time there lives were moving forward. The first issue is insinuating we a going to get a Captain America pulled out of time and that just muddies up the waters forever and leads to way too many time paradoxes. Here’s hoping the opening gambit is not playing into what it appears to be playing to and Ed Brubaker will be able to pull off something better then making Cap back into a time lost hero again. Also by pulling this series into its own mini-series they are highlighting something which by all rights is part of the main book. What Marvel is doing with their constant renumbering and canceling a book to continue it as a mini-series is all very cute marketing, but it is disrespectful to fans trying to follow a series and creates some havoc for retailers trying to make sense of how to order books during a very tough economic time. In reading between the lines, Marvel seems to have a limited care about what ever their moves do to retailers as they push their digital subscriptions harder and harder and confuse the system with marketing schemes galore. It feels like marketing is driving Marvel and not stories. The stories should come first and then marketing figures out the best way to promote them.

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

Batman #688 - The first Winick issue of Batman was a little off in my book, but I think he was getting his feet wet and this issue is the true start of Dick Grayson’s solo adventures as Batman. I just hope DC sees the light soon and allows Dick to stay Batman regardless of how fast they bring back Bruce Wayne. The hype “Written by Judd Winick; Art by Mark Bagley and Art Thibert; Cover by Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea. There may be a new Batman in Gotham City, but that doesn't mean the city wants him. As Two-Face and Penguin take measures to keep the new Dark Knight at bay, one of the archvillains makes a startling discovery about the new Caped Crusader. Plus, Batman trains the new Robin, and Mark Bagley starts a 4-issue stint as guest artist!”

Green Lantern #43 (Blackest Night) – Next week the first issue of Blackest Night, the actual mini-series is starting, but I’m psyched and ready for all to start now. The marketing blurb “Written by Geoff Johns; Art and cover by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy. The official prologue to BLACKEST NIGHT starts here as the first Black Lantern is born! Black Hand has been an enemy of Hal Jordan since Hal's early days as a Green Lantern. But even Black Hand is unaware of the true power he holds that will connect him to the Blackest Night! Discover this villain's connection to death and the Black Lantern Corps!”

Marvel Masterworks Warlock Volume #119 – Jim Starlin’s classic run on Warlock is not to be missed. Starlin wrote so many great cosmic stories and I’m enjoying his DC work today just as much. Jim is still telling a similar story, but it also still works. This volume contains “Written by JIM STARLIN with BILL MANTLO, Penciled by JIM STARLIN with JOHN BYRNE Cover by JIM STARLIN. The MARVEL MASTERWORKS line is proud to present one of comics' most mind-blowingly cosmic sagas. At '70s Marvel there was no who quite mastered the startling scope and high-concept complexity of truly cosmic adventure like writer/artist and overall Renaissance man, Jim Starlin. His first effort with Captain Marvel redefined a character. His second with Adam Warlock set the tone for star-spanning spectacle that is considered a high-water mark to this day. Taking the legacy laid out by Lee, Kirby, Thomas and Kane, Jim Starlin evolved Warlock to the next level, imbuing the character with the furies and inner demons of a man-god on the brink of insanity. Forced to confront the Magus, an evil version of himself, and the nihilistic menace, Thanos, Warlock's conflicts weren't just knuckle-grinding throw-downs, they were epic, existential struggles for the very soul. Culminating in the first-ever assembling of the Infinity Gems, and featuring the first appearances of such cosmic Marvel mainstays as Gamorra and Pip the Troll--not to mention an all-out struggle to save the universe joined by the Avengers, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man--this MASTERWORKs edition is definitive Marvel. So reserve that copy today, True Believer! Collecting STRANGE TALES #178-181, WARLOCK #9-15, MARVEL TEAM-UP #55, AVENGERS ANNUAL #7 and MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE ANNUAL #2."

Prince Valiant Volume 1 -1938 - I’m really looking forward to the hardcover of Prince Valiant as the online stuff shows this to be the best reproduction I have ever seen of the book. The Hal Foster years (especially for the first decade or more) are a great story and stunning artwork. What’s inside “HAROLD FOSTER’S LEGENDARY MEDIEVAL EPIC, FINALLY IN ITS DEFINITIVE EDITION. Universally acclaimed as the most stunningly gorgeous adventure comic strip of all time, Prince Valiant ran for 35 years under the virtuoso pen of its creator, Hal Foster. (Such was its popularity that today, decades after Foster’s death, it continues to run under different hands.) The giant Sunday-funnies pages (Valiant ran only on Sundays) gave Foster a huge canvas upon which he was able to limn epic swordfights, stunning scenes of pomp and pageantry, and some of the most beautiful human beings — male and female — ever to appear in comics. And he matched his nonpareil visual sense with the narrative instincts of a born storyteller, propelling his daring young hero from one crisis to another with barely a panel to catch one’s breath. Prince Valiant has previously been widely available only in re-colored, somewhat degraded editions (now out of print and fetching collectors’ prices). Thanks to advances in production technology and newly available original proof sheets, this new series from the industry leader in quality strip classics is the first to feature superb restored artwork that captures every delicate line and chromatic nuance of Foster’s original masterpiece. Comic strip aficionados will be ecstatic, and younger readers who enjoy a classic adventure yarn will be bowled over. Volume One is rounded out with a rare, in-depth classic Foster interview previously available only in a long out-of-print issue of The Comics Journal, as well as an informative afterword detailing the production and restoration of this edition."

Sinfest TP Dark Horse Edition Volume 1 – Lee and I both love this webcomic and while there is collected editions out there this is the best one that is being done to date. Check out Sinfest here for yourself and hopefully you will find it to be a daily habit like Lee and I do (not for the faint of heart as the cartoonist knows no bounds). Inside this book “AT LAST! "The webcomic to end all webcomics" has landed at Dark Horse, and we're starting the collections at the beginning! Sinfest is one of the most-read and longest-running webcomics out there, and explores religion, advertising, sex, and politics in a way calls "both brutally funny and devastatingly on-target." In an era when most syndicated newspaper strips are watered down and uninspired, creator Tatsuya Ishida draws on influences ranging from Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts to manga and pop culture to bring us a breath of fresh air. If your comic-strip craving hasn't been satisfied since the nineties, deliverance is finally at hand. The first volume of Sinfest collects the first six hundred Sinfest strips, introducing the full cast of characters and the opening installments of Ninja Theatre, beat poetry, calligraphy lessons, and the irresistible Pooch & Percival strips. Web traffic on averages 1.7 million unique visitors per month and 300,000 page hits per day."

Wednesday Comics #1 (of 12)- This has to be one of the most anticipated books for me this year. I love this project so much that I’m getting extra copies to give to both of my daughters and my father. My Dad loved the Sunday Comics and it was his love of Prince Valiant that got me into those types of newspapers’ strips. It is only fair that I repay the favor. I think this is truly a project that will appeal to all age groups. From my youngest daughter to my Dad we have 23 to 89 covered. The lineup of strips “ In July, DC Comics gives a fresh twist to a grand comics tradition with WEDNESDAY COMICS, a new, weekly 12-issue series by some of the greatest names in comics today! WEDNESDAY COMICS is unique in modern comics history: Reinventing the classic weekly newspaper comics section, it is a 16-page weekly that unfolds to a sprawling 28" x 20" tabloid-sized reading experience bursting with mind-blowing color, action and excitement, with each feature on its own 14" x 20" page.Spearheaded by DCU Editorial Art Director Mark Chiarello, whose past editing credits include BATMAN BLACK and WHITE, DC: THE NEW FRONTIER and SOLO, each page of WEDNESDAY COMICS spotlights the continuing adventures of DC heroes, including: • BATMAN, WEDNESDAY COMICS' weekly cover feature, by the Eisner Award-winning 100 BULLETS team of writer Brian Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso • ADAM STRANGE, by writer/artist Paul Pope (BATMAN: YEAR 100) • METAMORPHO, written by New York Times best-selling writer Neil Gaiman with Art by Eisner Award-winner Michael Allred (Madman) • THE DEMON AND CATWOMAN, written by Walter Simonson (Thor, MANHUNTER) with Art by famed DC cover artist Brian Stelfreeze • DEADMAN, written by Dave Bullock and Vinton Heuck, Art by Dave Bullock • KAMANDI, written by Dave Gibbons (WATCHMEN, GREEN LANTERN CORPS) with Art by Ryan Sook (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, ARKHAM ASYLUM: LIVING HELL) • SUPERMAN, written by John Arcudi (The Mask) with Art by Lee Bermejo (JOKER) • WONDER WOMAN, written and illustrated by Ben Caldwell (Dare Detectives) • GREEN LANTERN, written by Kurt Busiek (TRINITY, ASTRO CITY) with Art by Joe Quiñones (TEEN TITANS GO!) • TEEN TITANS, written by Eddie Berganza with Art by Sean Galloway • SUPERGIRL, written by Jimmy Palmiotti (JONAH HEX) with Art by Amanda Conner (POWER GIRL) • HAWKMAN, written and illustrated by Kyle Baker (PLASTIC MAN, Special Forces) • SGT. ROCK, written by Adam Kubert (SUPERMAN: LAST SON), ilustrated by legendary comics artist Joe Kubert • THE FLASH, written by Karl Kerschl (TEEN TITANS YEAR ONE, THE FLASH: THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE) and Brenden Fletcher, illustrated by Karl Kerschl • METAL MEN, written by Dan DiDio with Art by Ian Churchill (SUPERGIRL) WEDNESDAY COMICS will arrive in stores folded twice to 7" x 10"”

The rest of the list:

Booster Gold #22- Written by Keith Giffen; co-feature written by Matthew Sturges; Art by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund; co-feature Art by Mike Norton; Cover by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund. "Day of Death" part 2! Booster Gold travels back in time to prevent the Black Beetle from killing the New Titans, but who will save Booster Gold from the Black Beetle — and what role will Deathstroke play? And in the all-new Blue Beetle co-feature, Jaime must battle a flying robot army from destroying all of the people in El Paso!

BPRD 1947 #1 (of 5) - In 1946, the Nazi Occult Bureau's Project Vampir Sturm threatened to destroy the fragile peace following the end of the Second World War. A year later, the B.P.R.D. learns that there are creatures far older -- and far more dangerous -- than the Nazis' creations, as a lone vampire nobleman ruthlessly hunts the survivors of the Third Reich.Joshua Dysart (B.P.R.D.: 1946) and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola team up with Gabriel Bá (The Umbrella Academy) and Fábio Moon (Sugarshock) for a new chapter in the hidden history of the B.P.R.D.! A direct sequel to the critically acclaimed B.P.R.D.: 1946! Art by Eisner Award winners Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá! A chilling old-world vampire tale!

Dark X-Men Beginning #1 (of 3) - UTOPIA TIE-IN Who are the Dark X-Men and how did they come to be? FIND OUT HERE! Each issue has 3 11-page stories, each dedicated to one of the Dark X-Men and how they came to be part of the team. This first two issues focus on Emma Frost, Mimic, Cloak & Dagger, Daken, Weapon X and Dark Beast!

House of Mystery #15 - Written by Matthew Sturges; Art by Luca Rossi and David Hahn; Cover by Esao Andrews. Harry's true identity, Fig's heritage, Rina's heartbreak, a dragon's unrequited love and the Thinking Man's Army all converge in a very small space in this shattering conclusion to "The Space Between". And somewhere in there we manage to squeeze in "Jordan's Movie Idea with the Gorillas and Sh*t," illustrated by David Hahn (BITE CLUB, FABLES).

I am Legion #4 (of 6) - The danger, action and intrigue continues in this amazing series. Humanoids and DDP come together to bring you one of the most gripping WWII thrillers in modern fiction.

Ms Marvel #41 - In MS MARVEL #41, not only does new Ms. Marvel Karla Sofen have to deal with Deadpool, now she's got the New Avengers coming at her in full force. Prelude to this summer's epic WAR OF THE MARVELS! Then in MS. MARVEL #42, WAR OF THE MARVELS begins here! Karla Sofen battles for her life in the streets of Los Angeles as an exciting new chapter in the history of Ms. Marvel begins! Guest starring the New Avengers and...someone we can't tell you about!

No Hero #6 (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! The penultimate issue brings the world of The Front Line crashing down around them. Things are falling apart for Carrick Masterson and the Front Line, under attack on all sides. And in the eye of the storm is Josh Carver, who now knows everything about the Front Line - except who's killing them. Unless he's been lying, all along. Unless he's been followed, all along. Unless he was the ticking time bomb, all along! Everything comes to a head in this sixth issue.

Nobody HC - Written by Jeff Lemire; Art and cover by Jeff Lemire. "Lemire handles the stuff of a Willa Cather novel with equal poetry . . . He renders emotion and temperment in a cartoon face with breathtaking, masterful economy." — Booklist on The Essex County Trilogy. The tiny, isolated fishing village of Large Mouth never saw much excitement — until the arrival of the stranger, that is. Wrapped from head to toe in bandages and wearing weird goggles, he quietly took up residence in the sleepy town's motel. Driven by curiosity, the townfolk quickly learn the tragic story of his past, and of the terrible accident that left him horribly disfigured. Eventually, the town embraces the stranger as one of their own — but do his bandages hide more than just scars? Inspired by H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man, THE NOBODY explores themes of identity, fear and paranoia in a small community from up-and-coming alternative comics creator and Xeric Award-winner Jeff Lemire (The Essex County Trilogy) in a special two-color story that'll have you guessing until the very end.

North 40 #1 (of 6) - Written by Aaron Williams; Art and Cover by Fiona Staples. Somewhere in Midwestern America was a place called Conover County. When the old book was opened, and the runes therein used in haste and ignorance, a place of farms, simple folk, and small-town dreams became a den of monsters and nightmare. NORTH 40 is the story of those who survived and came to confront an even greater evil on the horizon – one that wouldn't just consume their flesh, but their souls as well. Heroes arise with power to bring against the dark: Wyatt, an unwilling protector of his former tormentors; Amanda, an apprentice to forgotten arts; and Sheriff Morgan, whose bonds with Conover County go back farther than even he can remember. See where it started, and watch where it's all going in NORTH 40 #1.

Rebels #6 - Written by Tony Bedard; Art by Claude St. Aubin and Scott Hanna; Cover by Kalman Andrasofzsky. The first arc concludes as Starro and his horde begin their conquest of the universe. Can super-genius (and super-jerk) Vril Dox maneuver his band of rebels in time to turn the tide? (Answer: Not a chance.)

Red Robin #2 - Written by Christopher Yost; Art by Ramon Bachs and Art Thibert; Cover by Francis Manapul. Red Robin continues scouring the world, searching for clues to Bruce Wayne's final fate in this new series from writer Chris Yost (New X-Men, X-Force) and artist Ramon Bachs (Civil War: Front Line)! But now he's been targeted by the League of Assassins. What does Ra's al Ghul want with Red Robin? Why are members of the League of Assassins being targeted for death? And what happened to the life Red Robin left behind? Spoiler guest-stars as "Batman Reborn" continues here in "The Grail" part 2 of 4.

Showcase Presents Batlash TP - Written by Nick Cardy, Sergio Aragones, Dennis O'Neil, Len Wein and Cary Bates; Art by Nick Cardy, Mike Sekowsky, George Moliterni and Dan Spiegle; Cover by Nick Cardy. DC's legendary Western series is collected at last in one volume featuring SHOWCASE #76, BAT LASH #1-7 and stories from DC SPECIAL SERIES #16 and JONAH HEX #49, 51 and 52.

Stormwatch PHD #22 - Written by Ian Edginton; Art and Cover by Leandro Fernández and Francisco Paronzini. There are rumblings of discontent onboard Skywatch. Winter challenges Jackson King's idiosyncratic leadership, which threatens to widen growing divisions within the team and distract them from seeing the true enemy within. Meanwhile, The High becomes human to solve the mystery of Finland!

Superman Whatever Happened to the Man of Steel HC - Written by Alan Moore ; Art by Dave Gibbons, Curt Swan and George Perez, Kurt Schaffenberger, Murphy Anderson and Rick Veitch and Al Williamson; Cover by Brian Bolland. Legendary writer Alan Moore's seminal Superman issues are collected in this Deluxe Edition hardcover featuring beautiful art from Dave Gibbons (WATCHMEN), Curt Swan (ACTION COMICS) and Rick Veitch (SWAMP THING)! Collects the two-part "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" from SUPERMAN #423 and ACTION COMICS #583 as Superman faces his greatest foes and his final battle! Also featuring the classic story "For the Man who has Everything" from ACTION COMICS ANNUAL #11 where Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman fight the evil warlord Mongul for the fate of The Man of Steel. And in DC COMICS PRESENTS #85, Superman meets Swamp Thing, a character fans have identified with Moore for over 20 years!

Superman World of New Krypton #5 (of 12) - Written by James Robinson and Greg Rucka; Art by Pete Woods; Cover by Gary Frank. Superman is on trial for his life. The crime: Treason! The punishment: Death! But is this a challenge Kal-El can even hope to triumph over when the man pulling all the strings is General Zod? A tale of heroism, evil and base betrayal – on the strange world of New Krypton. And all of this helps set the stage for next month's crossover event in the SUPERMAN books!

The Unwritten #3 - Written by Mike Carey; Art by Peter Gross; Cover by Yuko Shimizu. "A wish-I'd-thought-of-it premise, beautifully executed. Highly recommended for anyone who thinks that fantasy can do more than just help you escape the real world." – Brian K. Vaughan Tom Taylor travels to the place where Frankenstein was conceived – the same place his father wrote the first Tommy Taylor book. And, of course, that can't be just an innocent coincidence...

War of Kings Warriors #1 (of 2) - Written by CHRISTOS N. GAGE Penciled by MAHMUD ASRAR & CARLOS MAGNO Cover by PAUL RENAUD A WAR OF KINGS TIE IN! What shocking event sent Gladiator on his path to becoming the leader of the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard? Christos Gage (AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE) and Mahmud Asrar (NOVA ANNUAL #1) reveal a life-changing moment in the early days of this infamous X-foe! Plus: What is Blastaar’s grand plan, and how far will he go to succeed? Christos and Carlos Magno show you why you will bow to the living bomb blast! Yes, it’s two stories in one issue that spotlights key players in the War of Kings!

Warlord #4 - Written by Mike Grell; Art by Joe Prado and Walden Wong; Cover by Mike Grell. Revolution in Shamballah! The Warlord has been captured, and his allies must convince the downtrodden populace of the Shadow Lands to rise up against the terrible and enigmatic master who holds them all prisoner. But our heroes just might be martyred by the Minosaur first!

X-Men Legacy #226 - UTOPIA TIE-IN Rogue, Gambit and Danger go to join the X-Men in San Francisco, only to find it in flames. The Dark Avengers have come into town and are taking no prisoners. Wait, the whole problem is that they ARE taking prisoners. Norman Osborn has the city of San Francisco in the palm of his hands and mutants are being forced to take sides. Will they side with Cyclops and the X-Men? Or go to Osborn and his Dark X-Men? What side will the returning mutants and one of the X-Men’s most powerful foes take? Part 1 (of 2)

For a small week I have a fair number of hard cover and collections hitting, which makes me happy for many reasons. One there are a few permanent editions for the bookcase and two as I get a little list obsessed this knocks out quite a few books off my pending orders. Anyway this looks to be a very good week and one of the most diverse in offering in a very long time with webcomics, westerns, mystery, drama. newspaper strips, collections and of course super-heroes. If you can't find something you like this week, you aren't trying hard enough.

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