My recent cutbacks in regular comics have yielded some positive results as my list is reasonable this week. Of course by having only one hard cover on my list and a $30 one at that being the only collected edition is the true saving grace this week.
One quick rant before getting to the books this week, President Obama stated that we will see what caused this oil spill and pass laws to stop it in the future. This idiotic
type of thinking is what drives this country over the last few years as if passing a law fixes anything. Baltimore had 10 murders over the Memorial Day weekend; maybe we should pass a law against that as well.
This week I decided to do a review of the type of hype done by the marketing side of the companies. Why this jaw dropping idea may not be new it will change the way the world sees these characters forever. Anyone who reads comics has stopped caring about the solicitation copy and I think the companies could show us a little respect by toning down the hyperbole.
Batgirl #11 - In part 3 of "The Flood," Oracle faces off against the Calculator, while Batgirl is forced to team up with the Calculator's daughter in an attempt to save the citizens of Gotham City from a crippling techno-plague. But who will save Batgirl from an infected and rampaging Man-Bat? – Okay first up this is a good clear solicitation and sets up the store, this gets a passing grade. A $3 book.
Batman #700 - Grant Morrison returns to BATMAN with this oversized special! And he's brought an all-star roster of artists along with him including Andy Kubert, Tony Daniel and Frank Quitely to celebrate this milestone 700th issue featuring stories spotlighting each of the Batmen from different eras – Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne. You won't want to miss this blockbuster story that paves the way for the return of Bruce Wayne and sports mind-boggling covers by superstars David Finch (BRIGHTEST DAY) and Mike Mignola (BATMAN: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT, Hellboy)! – Okay DC is two for two as this tells us the creators and gives a short idea of what to expect, another passing grade. A $5 book with 56 pages.
Gotham Central HC Volume 3 - Detective Renee Montoya investigates the disappearance of evidence amid a gang war and travels to Keystone City in an attempt to unveil the truth about a fellow officer's strange mutation in this collection featuring issues #23-31 of the award-winning series. Plus, the dead body of Robin, the Boy Wonder, is found on the streets, forcing the detectives to solve the case while dealing with Batman and The Teen Titans. – Hardcover solicitations are always solid as they are just describing what is being reprinted. A $30 collection with 224 pages.
Jonah Hex #56 - Timed to coincide with the upcoming JONAH HEX movie starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox from Warner Bros., this issue is a special jumping-on point for new and old HEX fans alike! Learn Hex's savage origin and how love played a crucial hand in forming the hard-edged man he is today! And when an old Native American woman hires Hex to save her life, he assumes it's just a normal job – but it turns out to be one that will affect the course of American history! All this, plus a cover by the one and only Darwyn Cooke (NEW FRONTIER)! – While the ad copy is okay, I have a question; do they really think people are going to want to read the comic after seeing what looks to be a crappy movie that missed the whole concept of Jonah Hex and made him over into a supernatural western super heroish type character? A $3 book.
Justice League Generation Lost #3 - DC's biweekly JUSTICE LEAGUE event continues here! The heroes of the once-great Justice League International – Booster Gold, Captain Atom, Fire and Ice – have reteamed in order to stop a threat to all mankind. But will the heroes of the DCU take this group of misfits seriously? And what happens when Blue Beetle – a new hero with an old legacy – joins the team? And whose side is he really on? Be here to find out! – Solid ad copy! A $3 book.
Secret Six # 22 - It's the bloody (and we mean bloody) conclusion to the "Cat in the Cradle" arc! Catman rages against those that have been trying to destroy his life. Will tensions within the Six force them to leave Catman to fend for himself? And is someone leaving the team? Let's hope not! – Well this is crushing my premise that solicitation copy is insane as again this is a solid presentation for the issue. A $3 book.
Titans #24 - The TITANS ongoing series returns with a new direction that ties into BRIGHTEST DAY! We saw what Deathstroke and his team of mercenaries did in the TITANS: VILLAINS FOR HIRE SPECIAL #1, and it was a dark day for the Justice League of America. Hopefully their next target fares better. Good luck, Lex Luthor! – Finally a failing ad copy, we all know Lex Luthor will not be killed, especially in the Titans. A $3 book.
Daytripper #7 (of 10) - What's life without your friends, right? The good ones will stick with you through anything, won't they? Find out here why Brás' best friend has given that up and how far Brás is willing to go to get him back. – Excellent ad copy, but Vertigo seems to do everything the right way. A $3 book.
Sweet Tooth #10 - In the most bizarre issue yet of this acclaimed series, Dr. Singh takes Gus on a surreal journey into his own past, his strange upbringing, and the even stranger teachings of his mysterious father. But will they find what Dr. Singh is really looking for? And what use will Gus be once they do? – Again good copy. A $3 book.
Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom #1 (of 6) - The super sci-fi adventure continues as one of Alan Moore's most beloved creations returns to comics with ABC veteran Peter Hogan (TERRA OBSCURA) writing and co-creator Chris Sprouse pencilling! Tom Strong and his family prepare to celebrate Tesla's wedding when the unthinkable happens – before their eyes, reality alters to become a world conquered by the Nazis and ruled by Tom's nefarious son Albrecht! What mysterious secret from Tom's past has brought about this catastrophe? And how can things ever be put right again? – This ad copy fits this series very well, another good job. Still this is a $4 book and will be held to a higher standard as no extra pages for the extra buck is advertised.
Captain America #606 - THE HEROIC AGE IS HERE! Acclaimed artist Butch Guice joins award-winning writer Ed Brubaker as the summer begins with a blast from the past! Zemo returns to finish the job his father started -- Killing Bucky! – Again solid copy, my whole premise to mock this stuff is being destroyed, I guess while I was not watching Marvel and DC have toned it down to a reasonable level. The question on this book since the price is now $4 is it oversized or a very good book or the series gets dropped.
Prince of Power #2 (of 4) - THE PANTHEON IS BACK! The Hulk's one-time allies, one-time enemies have returned, once again led by the renegade demigod Vali Halfling, and their new mission is a hostile takeover of the Olympus Group! And where is the Greek's champion, Amadeus Cho, the new Prince of Power? In the post-Siege ruins of Asgard locked in a knock-down drag-out with THE MIGHTY THOR! Why has Hercules' oldest ally chosen to oppose the quest of Hercules' former sidekick? Learn the answer here, which will change forever the world of Marvel myth in the Heroic Age, but be forewarned: Lots of smashing is involved! The New York Times bestselling authors of the INCREDIBLE HERCULES have done it again! – Ah, finally some ridiculous hype – “change forever the world of Marvel myth” – a myth is “any invented story, idea, or concept” so changing an invented story is not a big deal as by definition it is not true. Again this is a $4 book and if it was not a 4 issue mini-series I would have canned this title even though I like the book. At $4 I need to more than like it.
Iron Man Noir #3 (of 4) - Scott Snyder and Manuel Garcia continue their heart-pounding journey into pulp fiction in the third installment of IRON MAN NOIR! It's 1938, in a world at the brink of war, and adventurer Tony Stark has discovered a weapon that could save the world...unless the Nazis get their hands on it first! As the tangled tale of war, betrayal and redemption continues, Tony will have to choose whether to follow in his father’s footsteps to obsessive madness or become the hero he's meant to be. – Solid ad copy and a book that is very well written so I can accept the $4 price tag, not happily, but accept it.
Punishermax #8 - Frank makes a bold choice when he decides to go after a dirty cop on the Kingpin's payroll. Having the psychotic assassin Bullseye hot on his trail is one thing, but can the Punisher hold off the entire NYPD as well? – Again solid ad copy. This is another $4 book that due to the absurdist nature that the story has sometimes taken (Bullseye literally pulling a gun out of his a**) I’m considering dropping the book.
Uncanny X-Men #525 - Chapter 10 of Second Coming - Things have never been worse for the X-Men. They're stuck in an impregnable dome of Bastion's creation. As if that's not bad enough, inside this dome is a portal to the Days of Future Past timeline through which thousands of Nimrod Sentinels are pouring. Cyclops has sent Cable, Cypher and X-Force on a suicide mission into the future to destroy the portal, but do they stand a chance? – Restrained hype, again good copy. Also again a $4 book and after Second Coming I think the x-titles will be back off my list. All five Marvel titles are $4 for regular size books, ridiculous.
Chew #11 - JUST DESSERTS,' Part One A few months ago an intact mastodon was discovered encased in a glacier in Siberia. A few weeks ago the lab doing DNA sequencing on the prehistoric creature mysteriously burned to the ground. And a few days ago, Special Agent Tony Chu discovered an exclusive diner's club of the very, very rich who commit crimes in order to procure the meat of the rare, exotic and extinct. Tonight is their annual dinner. Guess who's coming to dinner to stop them? – Great copy and a great book, especially for $3.
Cowboy Ninja Viking #6 - FIRST ISSUE OF A BRAND NEW ARC! There are a lot of team books out there. But there ain't one like this. CNV's back and he's not alone. He's teamed up with Pirate/Gladiator/Oceanographer, Hitman/Navy SEAL/Roadie and his Ex-wife. Their first mission: Locate a black market nuke. What could go wrong? Pretty much everything. Including an ending you will never see coming... unless you read the last page first--which you shouldn't. – Great copy for a fun series. Worth the $3.50 as it is an oversized book with a few extra pages.
Buzzard #1 (of 3) - The mysterious man known as Buzzard is lost, wondering what manner of creature he is, following his brutal showdown with the loathsome Zombie Priest in Eric Powell's celebrated Goon Year. Buzzard leaves home, wandering into the shadowy spirit realm of the forest. A dark path leads to a village living in fear of a bestial race of savages. More animal than man, these creatures hunt the villagers and drag them from their slumber in the depth of night. As a bonus, readers will delight in the new Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities short stories, which revive 2005 series that paired Eric Powell with artist Kyle Hotz and leads up to the three-issue series launch in September 2010. – Solid copy but too long. A $3.50 book.
Solomon Kane Death’sBlack Rider #4 (of 4) - The Cleft Skull may be the most dangerous place for travelers in Germany's Black Forest, but, for the moment, it is Solomon Kane's only sanctuary from the deadly demons without -- Death's Black Riders! They have surrounded the rickety inn and are waiting for the opportune moment to strike! If he and the Priest are to see England again, they'll have to confront the Riders head on! Outnumbered and with only two shots in his guns, Solomon Kane will have to rely on his wits and his sword arm to save the Priest and escape the inn alive! – Good copy and another $3.50 book. I thought I missed part 4, I think this is long overdue.
Farscape Scorpius #2 - Once, Scorpius had the whole of the Peacekeeper army at his command. But that is far in the past. Now, Scorpius rises again with a new army - one that has an ancient origin and a dark secret. An excellent new entry point for Farscape fans that might have missed the previous BOOM! series. Written by Farscape creator Rockne S. O'Bannon and fan-favorite Star Trek novelist David Alan Mack! – Solid hype and a $4 book, which is now the norm for indies. I doubt the comic is generating any new fans for Farscape, but fans of the series should follow this book.
Gravel #19 - Ellis and Wolfer continue Volume Three 'The Last King Of England': the newly formed Minor Seven are in far over their heads with the return of Bible John, and Gravel may have discovered his own powers have surprising, and inconvenient, limits. It's never a dull day being Combat Magician William Gravel. – Solid solicitation copy and a $4 book.
GI Joe Cobra #5 - NOW AN ONGOING SERIES! After the revelation of a major character on the last page of the previous issue, what can you possibly expect from this issue of G.I. Joe: Cobra? How about the revelation of ANOTHER major character on the FIRST page? Costa and Gage begin an all-new storyline in a book that continues to dazzle readers and defy expectations. – Good hype and another $4 book.
So my premise was unfounded this week as the ad copy was all well done for the most part and more restrained they I remember it being. I had stopped reading most of the ad copy except for when we do the preview reviews and there I’m reading stuff for new series nine times out of ten. Nice to see that the marketing departments are trying to convey what is in the title or highlighting creators as opposed to meaningless hype.
One final note about price point is that I can forgive the smaller publishers for doing $4 price points as they have very few economies of scale to fall back on, Marvel and DC need to have a better reason for $4 books or they will lose more of my business.