Monday, December 10, 2007

What I’m Getting Wednesday

So much for any breather as this week is up to a forty plus count as the independent press seems to be rushing to get books on the shelves before year end. It maybe a sales thing, or it maybe a financial reporting thing, or a coincidence, it all adds up to decent size number of books for this week.

One small personal side note is that December 8 I went to Johns Hopkins Hospital Christmas party as my wife’s guest. It was held at the Baltimore Aquarium. I have always loved zoos and aquariums, but this was a real treat to be able to wander around and see all the exhibits like it was a private tour for my wife and me, very nice.

Bat Lash #1 (of 6) - Written by Peter Brandvold and Sergio Aragones; Art by John Severin, so if nothing else the artwork by John Severin will be a treat. Bat Lash is a minor western character who would have been called a “dandy” back in the old west as he was not the rough macho hero. He was a card shark, womanizer and a con artist who was good with his gun and a pretty boy. I’m curious to see this update of a minor character from years past.

Black Adam The Dark Age #5 (of 8) – This series has been so compelling, that I’m seriously considering getting the trade when it is collected. Peter Tomasi has made a story that I know where it ends so compelling that I can’t wait for each chapter. Doug Mahnke’s art has been nothing short on outstanding in this series.

Booster Gold #5 – Booster Gold is trying to continue fixing the problems with the time stream and this issue it is to stop the Joker from shooting Barbara Gordon. Another nice little twist to the whole plot line as we know this is the DCU we have read about for years. The loss of Batgirl gave us Oracle. So “fixing” this will be a problem. Johns and Katz as writers and Jurgens and Rapmund as artists have given us a new series that is a winner to date.

Countdown to Final Crisis #20 – Fellow Cosmic Comix Conversations panelist Greg pointed out that the problem with this book is that with only one writer, no one is pushing the individual story lines along. I think that no story end points have occurred either and we are getting a story that is building to an event, but has left out any actual events in the book itself. Still it has gotten better and I’m happier with this book then I was a month ago.

Countdown Arena #2 (of 4) – This is a rather pointless mini-series. The actual plot does not line up with the other plots involving the monitor and it feels like a fan fiction story. Scott McDaniel’s artwork was even looser then normal for him. Mindless entertainment a read it and forget it book.

Countdown the Search for Ray Palmer Red Son #1 – My love for the Donna Troy and Kyle Rayner characters has kept me picking up these series, but really also pointless. The search is dragging on forever with no rhyme or reason or glimpse of Ray himself. Also I’m very confused by DC bringing back the multi-verse and then freeling with so many of the worlds. Will the multi-verse survive “Final Crisis” I hope so.

DC New Frontier Series 2 – Action Figures – Very rarely do I order action figures in advance and I almost never order the entire line. This is the one exception. The New Frontier series by Darwyn Cooke is one of my favorite all time series. He captured the essence of the promise of the sixties through the Silver Age DC heroes.

Green Arrow / Black Canary #3 – For all the crap that people give Judd Winick I think they have missed out that he is one heck of a writer for the last two years. Artists often take years to develop and writers can be the same way. This is one of my favorite series from DC and it moves fast and continues to develop characters. Cliff Chiang’s wonderful art makes to make a real joy as comics are a visual medium first.

Green Lantern #25 – The conclusion of the Sinestro Corps War. I have really been looking forward to this issue and can not wait to read it. I usually read Countdown first and then put what I think will be the best books towards the bottom of the pile, but some issues demand to be read almost immediately and this is one of them. Johns has made Green Lantern his character.

Green Lantern Corps #19 – An Epilogue to the Sinestro Corps War as we start to see what the new status quo will be for some of the characters we have been following in this book. Feels almost like a breather issue as new writer (starting last issue) Peter Tomasi settles into this book.

JLA Classified #48 – Wow this book comes out like 16 times a year (at least it seems that way). The conclusion to Mike Barr’s (writer) and Randy Green’s (artist) story from the early years of the JLA. The first issue was enjoyable and read like a good silver age JLA story.

Nightwing #139 – Robin vs. Nightwing as the “Resurrection of Ra’s As Ghul” story continues. It is interesting to see all of the Bat family involved in one story line again. The interaction between the generations has been as interesting as the actual resurrection.

Salvation Run #2 (of 7) – The first issue was interesting and I’m looking forward to seeing where we go from here. Last issue showed that Darksied is using this world as a testing ground for the villains, unbeknownst to the Suicide Squad who has sent them there. The end game to this mini-series will ultimately make it or break it.

Simon Dark #3 – I personally love this innocent Frankenstein like character being added to the DCU. Steve Niles (writer) and Scott Hampton have done a great job in captivating my interest. Still I like a lot more offbeat things then many fans, so I’m worried that sales may not support the long term success I want this series to have.

Tales of the Sinestro Corps Ion – The hype makes it sound like Kyle and someone else is fighting to be Ion, but he has already been named. Either the hype is wrong is this is a useless book as we have already been there and done that and know it is not going to be Kyle.

Suicide Squad Raise The Flag #4 (of 8) – Another winning mini-series from DC, that almost has me buying the trade. It appears that we are almost to the current timeframe in the DCU with this book as we see Amanda Waller is putting her team together. John Ostrander writers this book so well and I miss seeing Johnny “O” on an unlimited series in the DCU. Javier Pina has provided some really nice graphics rounding out this series.

Superman Confidential #10 – The concluding chapter to Superman’s first meeting with the Forever People and the New Gods. I think the timing for this story was really well done as DC is charting the end of the Fourth World in current continuity and this story adds some nice context.

Wonder Woman #15 – I love Gail Simone, but you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Last issue was her first on the character and I was under whelmed. So we shall give her a few issue to get her feet wet and blame some of it on new continuity that was fostered upon her from previous writers.

Fables #68 – “The Good Prince” part 8. One of the longer arcs this comic has ever seen, but so much is happening right now that every chapter is adding to the story of both Flycatcher and the overall story of Fabletown itself. Just and out and out great series that should be on every comic’s fan reading list.

Loveless #21 – The official hype “"Blackwater Falls" concludes! It's the day of the wedding that the town of Blackwater has been anxiously awaiting, and Ruth Cutter has a special gift for the bride and groom. Will she be able to deliver it before she's finally found out?” A really good western, that is coming to a close as I believe Brian Azzarello’s almost obtuse story telling style makes it hard for most fans to follow the story.

Scalped #12 – This issue focuses on Dash Bad Horse as we get to see how he plans to survive the coming turmoil. This bleak and dark tale of crime and corruption on an Indian Reservation has been one of the most compelling reads this year.

Gen 13 #15 - The official hype “The kids' New York City adventure continues as they each make friends at a phenomenally rapid rate — except for Caitlin! Her paranoia is growing the longer they stay in the city, as she's becoming convinced she's being followed. And then there's that handsome stranger who keeps popping up everywhere. Is she losing her mind?” I think I’m almost done with this series. I’m still not really vested in these characters. The writing by Gail Simone and now Simon Oliver has been good and the artwork has been nice, I’m just not caring enough about Catlin and the rest to know if I want to keep reading this book.

Stormwatch PHD Armageddon – And this series of one shots has really disappointed. I mean as one and done stories focuses on different people it has been okay, but I thought thematically it will tie together more then it has.

New Avengers #37 – Billed as the “throwdown of the year” as the renegade Avengers fight the Hood’s gang of super villains. To say I’m unexcited would be an over statement. I follow less and less books from Marvel, but soon may even cut this book.

Essential Doctor Strange Volume #3 – This is the material by Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner that was as good as the Stan Lee / Steve Ditko era on this book. In fact it was as good as that material and maybe even better as I’m sure it has aged better then the early sixties material. Still it is black and white I would pay to see all of this in glorious color (and I actually have some of it in a trade in color).

Fantastic Four #552 – I’m looking forward to this issue. Last issue ended with Reed shooting the “future” Sub-Mariner as he and Dr. Doom had come to stop Reed’s plan to change to world. Last issue read like a great old time FF adventure and I was left wanting more. Hope this issue holds up as we concluded Dwayne McDuffie’s run on this book.

Nova #9 – Nova is literally in the middle of “Knowhere” which is the end of the Universe. Last issue was a great sci-fi tale. This issue promises more of the same. I still hope Nova gets back and is part of the Annihilation Conquest.

Ultimates Volume 2 – Hardcover – I never read a single issue and patiently waited for the hard cover. I got so tired of delays between issues on Volume 1, that I promised myself to skip all the madness and get it as a hard cover collect. I’m not a Millar fan, but he and Hitch can tell a good tale and I think it should read better without the massive delays between issues.

X-Factor #26- Messiah Complex Part 7 of 13. The story fell off the rails for me with the “X-Force” group being announced, but otherwise this has been a good story so far. I just wish that X-Factor was not drawn into it as their book does find being on its own. Still Peter David has been a master of taking editorially mandated material and making it work in his own way on his books.

After the Cape II #2 (of 3) – Shadowline Studios is using this three issue mini-series for their books and I’m not 100% sure what the marketing thought process is for that decision, but it has worked for this book. The first arc showed as a super hero spiraling downward. Now he is a villain and he was meeting with his estranged wife when his enemies showed up and starting shooting and appeared to have killed his wife. I think we will see another level of what the bottom is for this character.

Astounding Wolf Man #4 – This is an odd little series and Kirkman continues to play with his lead character and with our expectations of what he should be. Will he be a super-hero werewolf or a creature of the night? What about his family and his business? One thing about Kirkman books is that the longer you stay with them, the more they pay off.

Crawl Space XXXombies #2 – The first issue was hilarious. The porn stars and the Zombies concept is one that just hearing it sounds absurd, but pulling it off takes a lot of work and the comic is as funny as the concept. The first of a series of horror stories to be published under the Crawl Space Umbrella was a hit with issue #1, looking forward to part 2.

Killing Girl #5 (of 5) – If ever there was a comic that I wish they would take the script and give it to an artist and let him redo the entire thing (like a remake of a movie) this would be one. The change in artists has really hurt this story and I do not know if the new artist is just weak or trying to remain stylistically similar to Frank Espinaso. Still a decent premise and the underlying story is interesting.

Walking Dead #45 – This series will be cheated out of a strong running for series of the year because this major arc will run over the end of ’07 and the beginning of ’08. Still as a series this book has always been a good read, but sometimes a little slow in building. NOT IN THIS ARC. Anything can happen as the Governor is attacking the encampment of our survivors.

BPRD The Killing Ground #5 (of 5) – Now personally I’m on the Black Flame arc. This is a good series. I know it is broken up as mini-series, but this is one long story line in as far as I have read. Guy Davis is one heck of an artist and his work looks great with BPRD.

Wormwood Gentlemen Corpse One Shot – Ben Templesmith’s masterpiece comes back with a one-shot and I believe the next mini-series starts early next year. I absolutely love this book.

Streets of Glory #3 (of 6) – Garth Ennis’ tale of the Old West continues. Not a bad series, but so far not a revelation either.

Abyss #2 (of 4) – I have already read this issue and Gwen and I reviewed it here. You should read it too.

Neozoic #2 - I have already read this issue and Gwen and I reviewed it here. You should read it too. Red 5 is doing three series right now and all of them of fun reads and interesting books.

Potter’s Field #3 (of 3) – The conclusion of what promises to be a series of mini-series about John Doe, the detective who finds out who is buried in Potter’s Field. A great beginning to Mark Waid’s new creator owned character. I have really enjoyed the first two issues and I’m eagerly anticipating the concluding chapter. Also I hope we soon here about the next mini-series about John Doe.

Chronicles of Wormwood Last Enemy GN – The one shot graphic novel following up the mini-series. Garth Ennis’ look at an Anti-Christ who wants to save the world and his talking rabbit continues. Not sure what else Ennis has t o say with this character, but the series was a good read, so I hope this will be entertaining as well.

Engineer #1 (of 4) – A new mini-series from Archaia Studios. Preview pages are available here. The official hype “An ancient sentient entity is feasting on the very fabric of space and time. Only one man can stop it: The Engineer.Utilizing a colossal pipe organ that enables pan-dimensional travel, The Engineer pursues the lost components of The Konstrukt, an archaic mechanism that imbues whoever possesses it with the ability to manipulate reality itself. The Engineer endeavors to restore The Konstrukt, using it to defeat the creature and undo the incalculable damage already done.” A very off beat idea, but Archaia produces enough really good stuff for me to occasionally sample some of their more outrageous ideas.

Fallen Angel #22 – Continuing Peter David story of the city of Bette Noir. This book never tops my list of best books, and I’m seldom anxiously awaiting the next issue, but the some of its parts is greater then the whole. In other words the more issues I read, the more I get out of it. Good solid story telling by Peter David.

Grimm Fairly Tales #19 – Last issue seemed to end the focus on Sela, who carries the book of fairy tales, so I’m assuming we are back to one and done re-telling of these stories. The “Return to Wonderland” mini-series has been the better book lately, but I usually enjoy this comic.

That’s it for this week. As I said a pretty big week again all things considered. As we are winding down to the end of the year I have to start thinking about what categories I want to explore for an end of the year review. I think a mini-series category is a done deal as regular series, writer of the year and artists of the year. Within each of those categories I would include more then just the winner and I hope to solicit Gwen and Lee’s input also.

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