Monday, November 19, 2007

What I’m Getting Wednesday

This is a killer week for me with hard covers, trades and a ton of new material. Since Thanksgiving is Thursday and I’m not off on Friday I will have to do a lot of reading before Sunday morning. Every other week I participate in the Cosmic Comics Conversation and we have been doing them at 9AM. I’ll skip stuff that we won’t cover, but still as you will see this is a monstrous list.

As a side note I have to mention that we got our first “pull quote” in a published comic. In Atomic Robo #2 they did a quote for their house ad for Neozoic. It was nice to see the blog got a little publicity in published form – Thanks Red 5 Comics!

Side note #2 – DC is back on top of the October sales chart. A while back DC beat Marvel for one or two months and they were neck and neck and then Marvel started to crush DC in the market place share. This month DC barely won, but they did win as neither company had any major event books in the October numbers (World War Hulk skipped shipping in October). The bigger surprise to me was to see Dark Horse move up to a 7% market share. Nice to see that everyone is fighting like hell to keep it competitive.

52 Volume 4 Trade Paperback – The final trade to round out the year long event. I really want to sit back and read all four trades one day. Countdown looks like I may skip the trades until the second half of that series.

Action #859 – Superman in the future with the original version of the Legion of Super Heroes by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, I loved Part 1 and Part 2 should be even better. Superman goes to the future and Earth is under a Red Sun. Part of it is nostalgia, but this arc really has me excited for Wednesday.

Batman Confidential #11 – Continuing the Joker origin story by Michael Green and Denys Cowan. This has been an entertaining version of Joker’s origin. In my mind I cannot consider this to be actual canon as some of the events and actions are totally out of character for Bruce Wayne and Alfred. Still Denys Cowan has really brought his “A” game to this series and Michael Green can write a comic book.

Birds of Prey #112 – Tony Bedard is still filling the for one more issue until Sean McKeever takes over as the writer and this issue appears to focus on one of my favorite lower tiered characters Lady Blackhawk. Looks to be a good issue.

Brave and Bold #8 – Really one of DC’s best launches in a long time. Mark Waid and George Perez have been turning in stellar issues. This issue the Flash and the Doom Patrol are fighting an unstoppable force. Always look forward to this book.

Catwoman #73 – Selina is back as a thief and per the hype she has to keep ahead of Batman and Gotham’s Underworld. I’m guessing there is more to it then that and there will be repercussions in trying to cross the hero/villain line yet again. If it wasn’t Will Pfeifier at the helm I’d have my doubts if this could work. A quick thanks and recognition to David and Alvaro Lopez on being really good artists and consistently delivering this book month in and month out.

Checkmate #20 – “The Fall of the Wall” concludes. I have to assume Amanda gets kicked out of Checkmate and than just leaves and continues to run the Suicide Squad, but I still can’t wait to see how she gets beat. Greg Rucka has really crafted a great series with Checkmate. I know he is busy with his novels, but I wish we could see more work out of him at DC. Also I wish they would do a hard cover collection of Gotham Central.

Countdown to Final Crisis #23 – This book continues to pick up steam. If you dropped this book a few issues back, I understand why, but get back into it as it has really heated up. Last issue with Superman Prime going on a rampage and taking out Earth 15 was really well done.

Countdown Presents The Search for Ray Palmer Gotham by Gaslight – Only one of these books has been a thrill for me and that was the Crime Syndicate World. We are visiting an old Elseworlds tale this issue and I’m going in with lowered expectations. These, for the most part, have been pointless add-ons to Countdown.

Countdown to Mystery #3 (of 8)- The new Doctor Fate has totally captivated me already. Number one I love the character to begin with and two the story is not part of Final Crisis, based on what the writer Steve Gerber’s blog has said. A brand new Fate tring to figure out what the heck is going on with these powers. Eclipso has been a nice little series also as she continues to corrupt some of the good guys in the DCU.

Detective #838 – Continuing the “Resurrection of Ras As Ghul” story. Usually once you kill off a major character I am all for leaving them dead, but not Ras. The perfect counter point to Batman deserves to be in the picture. So far I have gotten a kick out of this cross-over with all the Bat titles.

Flash #234 – Mark Waid really can write the Flash better then anyone else. I loved Johns run on the book, but Waid is Wally West. The examination of Wally and Linda’s kids continue as does the back up exploring the world they grew up on. Flash has continued to be a great book as it is ever evolving, changing and growing.

Shadowpact #19 – Our intrepid band of heroes is forced to walk into a trap. I really like this series, but I worry that it never seems to get noticed enough to survive long term.

Spirit #11 – The second to last issue of Darwyn Cooke's run as artist and writer, who will be greatly missed. Continuing the El Morte adventure. A rare multi-part story by Darwyn. This has been a wonderful series and I would love to see the first twelve put in a hard cover as I am not a fan of the six book hard cover.

Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus Volume 3 – I can’t not own this set. The official hype “The third of four volumes collecting Jack Kirby's classic 1970s classic "Fourth World" magnum opus! In this volume collecting THE NEW GODS #7-10, THE FOREVER PEOPLE #8-10, SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN #146-148, MISTER MIRACLE #7-10, Darkseid's deadly schemes reach Earth as Orion of the New Gods battles Kalibak, son of Darkseid, the Forever People run afoul of the DC Comics hero Deadman and more!” In fairness this was not the best written material and it was the boxy style art that Jack used later in his career, but the ideas and concepts are still being used by DC today and will be for many years to come.

World War III Trade Paperback – Reprinting the four chapters done outside of 52. This series tried to fill in some of the blanks that 52 never answered. Unfortunately many explanations were short 2 panel explanations. Hawkgirl as a giant was never explained away.

Mad Archives Volume 2 – This stuff was flat out funny and very daring for its day. Just look at the list of talent on this book : Harvey Kurtzman; Will Elder, John Severin, Wallace Wood, Jack Davis, Basil Wolverton and Bernard Krigstein. Really a no-brainer for me.

Wetworks #15 – The last issue of this ill fated re-launch. If they hadn’t cancelled I would have two issues ago as the series lost its momentum.

Wetworks Armageddon – This has been a so-so series. I think Christos Gage has over extended himself as his last few books have not been his normal stellar job. The Armageddon material has been somewhat pointless so far and feels like it is all set-up.

Programme #5 – The slow gathering of the Russian super people and the US super people being woke up has gotten better as each issue comes out. This will probably read great as a trade, but I’m really enjoying this series now.

Hellblazer #238 – Diggle rocks with this character the official hype “London becomes a veritable Hell on Earth for John Constantine when smoking is outlawed in pubs! But nicotine withdrawal is the least of his problems when he finds himself hunting a group of "urban explorers" who have disappeared into a shadowy parallel London where every urban myth is true. And they'd better pray he finds them before the Chelsea Smilers do...”

Testament #21 – Why this series continues to draw me in, when I should switch to the trades is beyond me. Still the Bible stories and near future stories being tied together gives the book a very different feel to it. The official hype “"Exodus," Part 3. When Gods refuse to die, it's the job of humankind to kill them. If Alan Stern and his son Jake want to rescue the world from Pierre Fallow's insidious nanos, they must turn the technology into a plague that destroys faith in the false idols of our modern age.”

Captain America #32 – The follow up story to the “Death of Captain America” continues and while this is still a good story it is really starting to feel stretched. First off I had read the arc was supposed to be five issues and became nine issues and then the “Fallen Son” mini-series needed to be published before continuing forward with the regular book, so the story is taking way too long to develop. That being said we appear to be getting to a breaking point and hopefully Bucky and friends can take down the Red Skull.

Heroes for Hire #15 – Zeb Wells is really crafting one heck of a great run on a book that has no real hook as far as a major character is concerned. Still with a bunch of B, C and D list team members forming this group he has turned in one of the better series from Marvel. This issue is the end of the WW Hulk tie-in and it appears one of the group does not make it out alive.

Incredible Hulk #111 – The fall out to the end of Hulk Must Smash, I mean WW Hulk. Marvel seems locked into trying to make every thing with the Hulk an event and that is growing tired. I personally feel WW Hulk was a blah ending, but it has me curious as to what is next.

Iron Man Director of Shield Annual #1 – Annuals are always long shots, but the official hype for this issue makes it sound pretty damn good “S.H.I.E.L.D. has a problem, and her name is Madame Hydra. The leader of the world's deadliest terror organization is also the lawful ruler of Wolverine's old stomping ground: the island nation of Madripoor. Unable to depose her openly, S.H.I.E.L.D. sends in its best man to secretly take her down. His name? Stark...Tony Stark. But with his Extremis powers blocked and his Iron Man armor hovering in orbit for emergencies only, can the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. survive against enemies like Bloodscream and Roughhouse, who've nearly killed Wolverine himself? Wizard's 2007 Writer to Watch, Christos Gage (Iron Man), and in his stunning Marvel debut, artist Harvey Tolibao (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic), bring you a roller coaster ride of action and espionage that will change Madripoor forever!” The end part of the hype is funny - will change Madripoor forever – like really who cares, please you had me at Madam Hydra.

Marvel Illustrated Last of the Mohicans #6 (of 6) – Never read goes to Gwen – okay one day (Gwen) we (I) need at least a blurb as to what you think of the Marvel Classic Illustrated stuff you read.

New X-Men #44 – Sadly the Messiah Complex has forced me to buy this book as the story is pretty much being picked up from issue to issue and is one long story so far. I have yet to sense what the end point for this “event” is but it needs to have a solid payoff or else I believe the x-franchise will be further weakened.

Penance Relentless #3 (of 5) – I’m really enjoying this mini-series in spite of my hating what Marvel did to the Robbie Baldwin character. Paul Jenkins (writer) and Paul Gulacy (artist) have really built a good mystery as to what is Penance doing. A quick compliant, why do we need Wolverine in this book, hell in was the Sub-Mariner mini-series already, has two books, in two major teams – STOP! I used to love that character now I’m sick of him.

She-Hulk #23 – Peter David’s second issue and we hopefully learn why the heck there is a She-Hulk and Jen Walters both running around. Almost any other writer I might have dropped the book after last issue, but David always has a long term plan and I’ll give him a few issues to reel me in.

Thunderbolts Breaking Point – A one shot that focuses on the relationship between Songbird and Moonstone, written by Christos (I’m writing 15 books this month) Gage and pencils by Brian Denham. I like the subject matter, but I get the sense that the Ellis series is really slowing down in coming out and we are getting these one-shots as opposed to fill in issues. Also I’m worried that Gage is over extended as his books have been weaker then they used to be. I guess when you are starting to be noticed it is hard to say no.

Ultimate Vision #5 (of 5) – OMG this book never finished. Geez, I wonder if I can even remember anything that went on with this book. I feel like an idiot when I sign onto a mini-series and then the damn thing comes out with this type of publishing schedule. There are no excuses for this type of stuff.

Left on Mission # 5 (of 5) – Do I really need to say anything more then what I said yesterday? No I don’t think so either. I’ve read it, now you read it.

Circle #1 – Some stores got this book last week and we get it this week. The official hype “THE GOLIATH TRAP, Part One A stringer for MI6 has stumbled into a continent spanning battle between the deadly mercenary group, "The Circle," and a rogue CIA assassin hell bent on revenge. The prize: a stolen nuclear missile train!” The premise and the cover art (by the interior artist) sold me. While I’m not a huge fan of what Brian Reed has written for Marvel it is more a matter of the characters he wrote that I don't care about and not his writing.

Graveslinger #2 (of 4) – The first issue was fun, mixing undead killers and western adventure together. I have seen a lot of genres being mixed together lately in many of the independents and I think it makes for some great ideas and helps to break down certain conventions.

Strange Embrace #6 (of 8) – The book that embodies its title as the story itself embraces you and pulls you further and further into it. The way the story has been told is like the old box within a box thing and we are now at the center box.

Invincible #46 – Okay stop the presses I will say something negative about Invincible. #46 was solicited for August, not November. Back to my usual raving about this being one of the best super hero books on the market. I know and everyone else knows we only got 9/10 issues a year, so why be too aggressive in soliciting the book.

Atlantis Rising #2 (of 5) – The first issue was much better then I imagined it would be. It was really fast paced and pulled you into the story immediately. I also appreciated that issue #1 just came out a couple of weeks ago and we are already getting issue #2. A jump start for a mini-series like that is a good thing to keep interest high on the book.

Conan #46 – I’m really looking forward to the final chapter of “Born on a Battlefield” by Kurt Busiek and Greg Ruth. The story of Conan’s youth has been an enjoyable one and has stayed very true to the character and enhanced his back story all at the same time. It will be worth getting the eventual trade collecting all the chapters together.

Goon Chinatown HC – Eric Powell is giving us a 128 page epic tale of the Goon as an original hard cover. I have really become a big fan of Powell’s artwork over the last couple of years and enjoy the tongue in cheek and sarcastic humor in Goon. This book should be excellent and I’m really looking forward to it.

Scream #1 (of 4) – Peter David and Bart Sears are the writer and artist, respectively. Peter David is always a draw for me to consider a book. I have not seen any Bart Sears work since his horrible work on the ill-fated and ill-conceived revival of Warlord from DC. That work was certainly not his best, so Bart is a maybe for me as a draw. What sealed me trying it out was the premise, the official hype “Danny Duncan’s life is a mess. His job is mind-numbingly boring, his elderly father is slipping into senility, and since Danny got out of the Belle Foux treament facility people have been saying he’s crazy. On top of all that, odd things have started to happen around Danny. People are behaving strangely around him, as if they’re reacting to his thoughts and daydreams . . . What is this strange phenomenon, and how is it tied to Danny’s recent stay at Belle Foux?”

Grendel Behold the Devil #1 (of 8) – Matt Wagner as writer/artist returns to his seminal creation, Hunter Rose. I have been really looking forward to this book and I have avoided reading any of the recent hard cover reprints I have picked up as I want to come at this book with a clean perspective. The biggest problem with these type of projects is living up to the hype others may have generated in talking about the original run on the book.

Umbrella Academy #3 (of 6) – Since I waited until #2 came out to try this book, I feel like #3 showed up fast. This book has a unique vibe to it. It is not a normal super hero book and it is not an X-Men type of book where students train together. Still it is an enjoyable read as it crafts its own little corner of the comic world.

Zero Killer #3 (of 6) – Matt Camp the artist on this book has a style that is reminiscent of Paul Gulacy, whose work I enjoy, so the book starts with solid artwork. As it is a post-apocalyptic world, that is a plus and the story itself by Arid Nelson has been interesting. Bottom line I’m glad I got in on this series as I’m sure it is planned to be a series of mini-series.

Drafted #3 – What I have really enjoyed about this series is that I went in thinking I knew how it was going to play out and they have not gone that route. I love it when a book takes me by surprise. Ultimately we will get to the Earth fighting the alien menace, but how we are getting there has been fun and I’m looking forward to hanging on this series for a long time.

Incursion #1 (of 4) –Platinum Studios has had some hits and misses with what I have read from them, but enough good stuff for me to try out a new #1 from them. The official hype “The story opens deep in the battlefields of Afghanistan and culminates in a war-torn dimension known as Twilight. The four-issue series combines thrilling action with rugged humor as our heroes fight to save the souls of humanity.” Going in with limited expections.

Grimm Fairy Tales #18 – Zenoscope at times frustrates me and at times surprises me. The Annual was frustrating in how misogynist it came across, Return to Wonderland has been a really solid and entertaining book while still being over the top with good girl art and gore. The core series has started to focus on Sela, who was a framing device, as opposed to the tales themselves. I’m curious to see if that will be the future direction of the book or do we go back to the fractured fairy tales.

Fall of Cthulu #8 – The best horror book on the stands. The fact that I maybe one of the few people getting it bothers me because I know there are plenty of horror fans out there. This book is chilling and gruesome on subtle and overt levels. Try out the first trade of the series if you enjoy horror tales.

Hunters Moon #4 (of 5) – This has not been the strongest mini-series out there, but it is certainly a good story of a man trying to save his son and being caught in a situation where the whole small town he is visiting is against him.

As I said this is a huge week of books. As much as I enjoy big weeks, sometimes crafting the blog in reviewing what is coming out it can be a daunting task to write up such a long list. If you add Suicide Squad (which my comic store was shorted on) you have 23 books from DC, 10 from Marvel and 17 independents. Lots of really great looking books coming out. I think the Mad Archives and Goon Hard Cover should both be gems.

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