Comic books thrive on the number one book and I’m sucker to try out new series. I guess my hope is that it maybe something new or slightly different and of course number one issues garner higher sales. As an ex-retailer I can tell you that ordering number one issues is a hard task. In the direct market, you order it, you own it. So try and guess which of the many number one issues will be sought after month after month is a very tough game. Of course on a personal level to make room for new books I have to kick some others to the curb. This week I decided no more Demon Knights and no more Damsels. Both books are okay, but not good enough when my list has gotten too big again.
Before I jump into some commentary on the number one issues this week I need to give you the links for next week’s books, the clean list is here and the detailed listing is here. Next week is a ridiculously big week for me with 38 items on my list. The highlights have to be Great Pacific, Walking Dead, All New X-Men, Batman and Punk Rock Jesus. A ton of great stuff is coming out.
This week was no slouch either and the chance of me having time to write about all of them or even reading all of them is slim. I have six number one issues to hit, so let’s get to it.
Colder #1 (of 5) by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra hit the stands from Dark Horse. First I have to thank Dark Horse for actually letting me know it is a mini-series as some companies are playing with not mentioning a book is a mini-series. I have no clue if this is the first in a planned series of mini-series, but it was a great start. This is a horror title and it does a great job in setting up the scenario for us. It starts back in 1941 with a fire in an insane asylum in Boston, Massachusetts. As the fire is going on and people are dying and running around like madmen (couldn’t resist) an odd man steps out of a breach in the universe. He is hungry but walks up to a man (Declan) who appears to be almost robotic and tells him he will grow colder. Next we jump to today and find our odd man walking about the city unseen. He jumps up into a cell and convinces a man to hang himself and feasts on his soul. Next we find Declan again, now being cared for by a social worker who took him in. He is now almost a frozen entity and a total mystery to his caretaker who has had him for five years. The odd entity appears and speaks to Declan and after he leaves Declan announces to the young woman who is his caretaker, they need to talk after five years of never saying a word. Juan Ferreyra’s art is very well done as he captures all the nuances the story needs and his story telling ability is very strong. The book does what it should do on every level. It gives us the set-up and cast of characters. It gives us a menace and it gives us mysteries. After reading this book I know I can’t wait to come back for more.
Next up is Iron Man #1 by Kieron Gillen, Greg Land and Jay Leisten. I have done an almost all in for the Marvel Now stuff. I had gotten away from many Marvel books but like any fan of the genre I like to check in now and again. Marvel Now is a great spot for me to see what is what on many of these books. For me all comics are about the collaborative nature of the book. The factors are writer, artist, interest in a character and how the mix all works out. Going in I hate Greg Land’s artwork. His photo referenced style and awkward expressions and weak story telling really hurt a book. Gillen’s work has been solid, but I have yet to be blown away by anything he does. The character Iron Man is one I have no love for anymore. It is odd, because the Robert Downey Iron Man in the movie is absolutely awesome and Tony Stark in the book never captures it as well as the movies. In fact I think they are trying too hard to ape the movies when they should let each thing be itself. The story was okay as the Extremis virus is apparently loose and Iron Man is off to stop who has it. At the end he finds out four pieces are loose in the world and he is off on the multi-part quest that should round out nicely into four adventures and a conclusion to give us a neat six issue arc (or maybe just five). Of course that will fit neatly in a trade collection. I almost was going to give this book a second chance, but in writing the review I realized the book left me cold (again could not resist the pun). Also at $4 a crack, it is not enticing me to sign up. A one and done which is something I strive for especially with trying out books.
Third on the list is Before Watchmen Moloch #1 (of 2) by J. Michael Straczynski and Eduardo Risso. This idea to tack on more of the Before Watchmen stuff felt a little artificial and I was wondering if DC like the sales numbers and decided to throw out some more books just for the bucks. Of course the creators are people I like with JMS being about a .750 hitter and Risso bats 1.000 for me, so I was not going to pass up on it. I very glad I got this book. Moloch was someone of a cipher in the Watchmen book and used to just define the heroes. Here he is given a back story and a solid origin. The story goes from birth to his redemption. It takes us through his early days of being a criminal fighting the Minutemen to his confrontation with Dr. Manhattan. It is a great summation of what the golden and silver age of comics was like to the more post modernistic portrayal of super heroes that Moore did with Watchmen. It is all brilliantly portrayed by Eduardo Risso. Risso is an artist who first became famous overseas and has become known to American fans via 100 Bullets. He has a very unique style that I have not seen anyone try and duplicate and in that regards he reminds me of Steve Ditko. Not that their styles are similar at all as one huge difference is Risso can draw beautiful women. All in all this was an excellent book and an addition that is worth reading or just worth reading on its own as a character study. Now if only someone would report on the lateness of many of the other books. Not that it is unexpected with artist such as Adam Hughes and Jae Lee, but Cooke and Connor are usually right as rain, what is the scoop DC?
Fourth up is Storm Dogs #1 by David Hine and Doug Braithwaite. I believe this is an unlimited series but I’m often not sure with Image books. David Hine has always been a writer whose work I have enjoyed and I thought that Marvel and DC have been insane to not have him doing work for them. Their loss maybe our gain as this book has a lot of potential. I also enjoy Doug Braithwaite’s art so that is two for two going in. Of course I have no clue what the book was about otherwise, so they need to sell me quick and they have. The setting is one of a Galactic Empire type thing and we have a small group of criminal investigators going out to a small backwater type of world to investigate a series of murders. The planet is subject to extreme storms that can easily kill someone. This leads to our title as the investigators are insistent on going out into the storm, they get tagged as storm dogs. The four investigators are used to a higher tech world and are forced to use lower tech so as to not interfere with how this world operates. The one quibble I have is that the four investigators are three women and one gay guy. I don’t have a character from the high tech world I can relate to. On one hand it is not a problem on the other I feel that this is almost too hard trying to go against type casting. It would not have hurt to add a straight male or changed one of the women into a male character. Again it is a minor quibble and did not detract from my enjoyment, but it did make me think about the casting. The set-up is well done, the introduction of the backwater world is well done, the cliff hanger with the other race native to the planet was well done and the actual mystery of what is happening is well done. I would put this book up with Saga as a cool science fiction book. It is nice to see that genres are being aggressively pursued by many companies.
The fifth number one is Shadowman #1 by Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher (co-writers) and Patrick Zircher on art. What a pedigree this book has with Justin (Strange Talent of Luthor Strode) and Patrick Zircher, whose art I really enjoy. I barely remember Shadowman from the original valiant run. As I read this book bits and pieces felt familiar to me. The bottom line this was another great start for a Valiant series. The creators they have gotten for these books are all more cutting edge people who are proven, yet still newer to the field. It also appears like the original source material was read and then adapted into a modern re-telling of the story. In this book we have a second generation Shadowman and he is clueless that he is Shadowman. We start with his father sacrificing himself in a battle with Darque, then jump ahead to find his son struggling with trying to find out information on his parents. A lot of ground work is laid out for this book and the back story is all very well done. We also get some cool action scenes and we see Jack Boniface turn into Shadowman at the end of the book as he is fighting off some monsters. This was a great start to the story and great artwork and a very, very cool black on black cover. Valiant’s new launch has me hooked on every title. I like the entire Valiant plan to date with getting newer talent that has shown they know how to writer and draw and then slowly roll out a line of comics.
Last and not least is Deadpool #1 by writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn with art by Tony Moore. Uncanny X-Force has made me more of a fan of this character and Marvel Now gave me a chance to check him out. I’m not sure what the premise was before other then it was not a “serious” book, but this is a total comic take on the character. It works and with Tony Moore’s artwork and it is a very enjoyable book. Just enough plot, violence and humor to make this title a fun book. It will probably never be the best of the week, but I’m coming book for more fun with Deadpool vs dead Presidents. A big plus for a book like this is keeping it as a $3 book.
Part 2 will go up this afternoon and will be shorter, a lot shorter.