Monday, February 11, 2008

What I’m Getting Wednesday

I don’t know why, but it always feels like the weeks in a four week month start with the weakest books and builds from there. That being said the second week looks to be a good week of books and the highlight for me will be Doom Patrol Archives #4. Even though I will just put it on my shelf when I buy it, I know DC is publishing volume #5 (which concludes the entire silver age run) and that was one of my favorite series of all time from the silver age. The reason was the way the book ended; the Doom Patrol was killed by one of their greatest enemies. They sacrificed their lives for a town of 19 people who they did not even know. It ended with the fourth wall being broken as the writer/artist told the audience it was up to us if they survived. Sales were declining so I’m sure that is why the book was cancelled (of course back then it meant only 85,000 copies were being sold). Still this ending was such a radical departure from what I was used to as a kid that it made an impression that lasted forever. What was also impressive is they remained dead for well over a decade if memory serves me.

The market share report for this week has me back to what I expect to be my norm out of 32 items DC has a market share of 47% (15), Independents 31% (10) and Marvel 22% (7). The independents should get an extra bump as The Circle #3 was shorted to my store and I hope to see it this week.

Bat Lash #3 (of 6) – This book has been great fun so far and the art by John Severin is too good to be missed. John’s realistic and gritty style is very distinctive and is as strong this year as it was in the sixties. The actual story itself has also been good and Bat is about to be hung for his non-existent crimes as he has made enemies of the local law authority. I have been very glad to see Western comics make a come back in the last few years.

Booster Gold #0 – Every time I type out Booster Gold and realize that I’m really looking forward to the next issue I’m surprised. This issue kicks off the second story arc and it is an official “Zero Hour” cross-over a few years late. Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz continue to be a great writing team on this book and Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund produce terrific and classic type super hero artwork. Apparently we will witness the secret origin of Booster Gold and as the “Blue and Gold” team ride again. It will be curious to see how the saving of Ted Kord plays out as I think ultimately he has to go back and die when he did.

Countdown to Final Crisis #11 – It is insane that it took eight months before this series took off. Anyone interested in what DC’s next big event should get back on the Countdown series. Last issue we saw all the players being drawn to Apokolis. In spite of the plot holes and inane things they have had happen I find that I’m enjoying Countdown as we head for the home stretch.

Doom Patrol Archives Volume 4 - Collecting Doom Patrol #106-#113. This material was wonderful and it maintains its charm even 40 years later. Arnold Drake was really doing a totally radically different take on the super-hero group and it was unrecognized for how different it really was, as people were looking for it to be a team of super-heroes. As for the art Bruno Premiani was an excellent artist and has been vastly ignored over the years when people talk of the great artists. In fact while Ditko and Kirby were all that, there were many fine illustrators from the silver age who deserve more recognition and Bruno is one of them.

Gotham Underground #5 (of 9) – This issue we get an origin for Johnny Stiches a new member of Batman’s rogue gallery. I assume we will have a quick check in on the rest of the cast. Frank Tieri has done an excellent job on this book and it is one of the Batman adventures of Batman that involves the DCU’s current continuity. By that, I mean that the Salvation Run and other events that are going on have a direct impact in this book, that Batman and Detective ignore (which is a good thing).

Green Arrow / Black Canary #5 – Featuring a guest artist stint from Amanda Conner, this issue we see the aftermath of Connor’s injury and also learn whether GA and BC are really married or not. Issue after issue Winick keeps this book moving like nobody’s business as he is telling essentially one long story. If you compare this book to Captain America or Daredevil you can see clearly my complaint about pacing on those books. All three are telling a continuing and never ending story, but GA/BC does it with every issue having an impact and end points. A top notch series.

Green Lantern Corps #21 – Sterling Gates (writer) and Nelson (artist) bring us a 2 part story of the Alpha Lantern Boodikka. I think this is a great idea to give us some depth as to what it means to be an Alpha Lantern and doing in the GL Corps helps to keep the regular GL book from getting too bogged down on these types of stories. I have to hand it to Geoff Johns, he has managed to infuse so much into the GL books that if properly grown could its own corner of the DCU with three or four titles under the GL banner.

JLA Classified #52 – The third part of the JLA arc by Roger Stern and John Byrne. This has been a very entertaining story with Byrne’s art looking as good as it has in years. I think Mark Farmer inks maybe helping. This is super hero comics done right.

Salvation Run #4 (of 7) – This book has been only okay and I’m still ticked that they dragged Catwoman into this “event”. Still the concept is good and the ending will make or break this book. I’m not sure if this book has any direct impact on Final Crisis or not.

Simon Dark #5 – This is fast becoming one of my favorite series. I’m looking forward to learning who “made” Simon and if he is a true Frankenstein monster or something else. Steve Niles (writer) and Scott Hampton (artist) have given us a book set in the DCU, but does not feel like it is in the DCU. As it is set in Gotham, I assume an appearance by Batman is inevitable.

Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag #6 (of 8) – Dear Dan Didio, Please make the Suicide Squad an ongoing book. Not only was the original series severely underrated, but the reprints have been delayed due to some royalty issue. John Ostrander has shown he still has the chops to deliver a solid and compelling story about the Squad. I love how every mission goes to heck all the time. With the art being by Javier Pina we are given an artist who is as good as the writer. Thanks for your consideration. Jim. PS – I will continue to keep the documentation I have about that “issue” of yours in my private collection if an unlimted series is given a green light.

Superman #673 – The conclusion of the “Insect Queen” story. Superman and Action are both books that I can actually look forward to reading again. Before “One Year Later” I was sampling all the Superman stuff and was ready to drop them and then Busiek and Johns come on and I’m a happier camper. Then the delays of major story lines and I’m ready to quit them again. All has been solved and Busiek’s replacement shortly is James Robinson and the artists now on the books can actually produce a monthly comic.

Wonder Woman #17 – The conclusion of Gail Simone’s first arc on Wonder Woman. It took me until last issue to actual start enjoying Gail’s work on this book. I believe she was hampered by prior continuity and I believe she tried to do too much in the first arc, but still she has started to really find a voice for Diana. Wonder Woman is now being shown as the consummate warrior, yet one who first instinct is compassion. My wish for this series is that Gail have a five year (or more) run on this series and leave an indelible stamp on the character.

American Virgin #23 – The last issue of what has been a fine series. It’s not as if tears are streaming down my face as I type this, but the book deserved a longer life. Concepts like this needs to be marketed in a different way. I think that trying them out as franchises in the Dark Horse model for series like Fear Agent, Cal McDonald, BPRD and others is the way to go. Still it is a solid series that with a decent wrap up can stand on its own and hopefully sell as trades.

Astro City: The Dark Age Special #2 – I’m happy to see an Astro City book anytime they can get around to producing one. The caveat is that I have lost track of where the heck we are in the Dark Age arc. I appreciate the work that goes into each issue of this series I just wish it come out with a higher degree of frequency. The official hype “ Beautie, the life-size super-powered fashion-doll member of Honor Guard, doesn't know who she is, where she came from or where she belongs. In this extra-length, decades-spanning Special, she searches for answers — answers of history and answers of the heart.”

76 #2 – I’m not sure if a dual feature book is always a good idea or not. If both features are related then I think the idea has merit, if they are unrelated and you only like one feature you feel cheated by paying more to get both features. As both features are set in the 70’s at least there is a thematic connection. The “Jackie Karma” story looks to be fun as the old “Kung-Fu” hero is getting back together with his crime fighting partner to finalize some unfinished business. “Cool” is an interesting shot at doing a chase/action story as mobsters are searching for a stripper who has their money and drugs. Add in a porn star turned hit man as another person tracking her and you have your entire cast. Not sure why it matters why the hit man needed to be an ex-porn star, but I guess when we meet the character this issue it will make sense.

Gutwrencher #1 (of 3) – I always like to examine what causes me to decide to try out a book and I have to say that the cover was the first thing that drew me to checking it out. The second element was Keith Giffen’s involvement as one of the people who developed the story. Then the premise “In rural New England, a hiker is infected with an ancient curse days before his 10-year high school reunion. If his soul is pure he will be able to resist its bloodlust, if not... nothing will be able to stop him!” Finally it is only a three issue series, so the financial commitment is not huge. All added together and I decide to check out issue #1.

Next Issue Project #1 (Fantastic Comics #24) – This book contains short stories about golden age characters who have fallen into the public domain (apparently an in vogue thing to do in the industry lately). Another gimmick are the issues are going to be the size of Golden Age comics, which will drive some collectors nuts. Too interesting of a premise to not try out, plus it has a host of “name” talent.

Sword #5 – This book went from me passing on it, to looking forward to each issue. One thing that keeps me really interested is the fact that going in we know it is a story that will be over in 24/30 issues. The story is laid out, it just not 100% set in stone how long it will be, which makes sense with graphic story telling. This book has been so good I want to check out “Girls” by the Luna brothers one day.

Walking Dead #46 – Last issue was almost a breather issue, which was disappointing as the pace has been stepped up so much recently I did not want a breather issue. In reality it still had a lot happening, but I’m looking for major changes in this series (as promised by Kirkman). Heck this arc has made me move off the trades and buy it monthly instead of waiting. Also I have enjoyed this book so much I have been getting the 12 issue hard cover collection of the book.

BPRD 1946 #2 (of 5) – Going back into the early days of the BPRD. Mike Mignola has such a wealth of material for the Hellboy Universe, I’m curious as to how much he had laid out before he started and how much he has made up as he has gone along. Once you tap into a good idea, often other ideas related to it almost suggest themselves.

Goon #21 – Check out the cover for this comic. Eric Powell has grown as an artist over the years and continues to get better and better. I was late in catching this series but it is one of the better books on the market. The official hype “The Priest’s madness and use of forbidden magic has finally drawn the attention of his unearthly kin. When a powerful member of the Priest’s race appears to investigate the disturbances, he discovers more than he bargained for. And he's prepared to turn the town on it’s ear to exploit what he finds.”

30 Days of Night Beyond Barrow #3 (of 3) – Wrapping up the Steve Niles / Bill Sienkiwicz take on the 30 Days of Night material. I’m sure the rush of material was generated due to the 30 Days movie that was made, but now that is over I’ll be curious to see if the franchise has any legs left.

Atomic Robo #5 (of 6) – This has to be one of the nicest surprises to come out of the comic book field in a long time. This series defines comics as fun, exciting and great adventures. The beautiful clean and crisp artwork and the terrific storylines have made this book a solid winner from Red 5 Comics. I was thrilled to hear that another mini-series is already planned.

The Foundation #2 (of 5) – BOOM has what appears to be another great series with The Foundation. Gwen has some short capsule reviews here, which includes reviews of The Foundation #2 and Atomic Robo #5. While the big plans from DC and Marvel have left me something less then excited, seeing series like The Foundation have me hopeful for what can be generated as graphic novels.

Captain Marvel #3 (of 5) – I’m curious to see what grand plan Marvel had for Captain Marvel that necessitated bringing him back into current continuity. The solicitation suggests he is becoming involved with the Secret Invasion, which makes sense, but if you are going to invalidate his death, it should have been something with a bigger impact.

Dead of Night Featuring Man Thing #1 (of 4) –Man-Thing was always one of my least favorite swamp monsters as it was truly just an aimless monster and had none of the sophistication of the Swamp Thing or other similar monsters. Although it was ostensibly born of swamp marsh, experimental chemicals and a human, the human is totally lost in Man-Thing. For me, that made it a harder concept to keep interesting. All which is a long preamble to say that I’m curious to see if this re-imagining of the Man-Thing will give the concept new life or just revive the same failed concept.

Fantastic Four #554 – Hmmm is anything special happening with this issue? I’m not sure, maybe it is a fill-in issue or something, no wait its Mike Millar and Bryan Hitch taking over the FF and sure to rocket the sales to all time highs. I’m curious to see what Millar and Hitch can do for the FF, my only concerns going in is the run will be too short to have any impact and can they maintain a monthly schedule. Millar seems to have a story or two he wants to tell and since arcs are six issues (as the norm), that means the impact to the overall series is short lived but take a year to tell. Ultimately if we good a few good stories, that is a good thing, it is just that Millar has not really produced a seminal piece of work yet (The Ultimates maybe the closest he has gotten).

New Avengers #38 – Okay this issue Luke and Jessica take center stage as Jessica has apparently switched sides. Also the art is by Michael Gaydos, so it feels like the New Avengers book is being hijacked for the Alias comic that Bendis and Gaydos used to do until the sales forced its cancellation. New Avengers and Supergirl the books I buy and always ask why.

Nova Annual #1 – I have been enjoying this series and seeing the growth in the character of Richard Ryder, who has gone from a teen-ager hero to a young man growing into the rule of a galactic protector. This issue is Nova’s quest to find the key to defeating the Phalanx and it should be a good one. My question is why an Annual, why not just an oversized issue of the regular series?

X-Factor #28 – Messiah Complex is over, can we please have the X-Factor comic back now. I know Wolfsbane is being hijacked for X-Force, but can we get back to letting David write the best current continuity x-book. David is a master at taking these shoe-horned events and weaving them into his books and making it all work, so let’s see how he handle Wolfsbane quitting and Layla stuck in the future.

X-Force #1 – This premise for this series reeks of fanboy excess. Our “heroes” are going to be covert wetwork operators. Cyclops decides to start targeting people who threaten the X-Men and kill them. He gathers anyone who has a sharp object they use as a weapon and forms his “X-Force”. Let’s hope Cyclops is a Skrull or else the whole ideal of what the X-Men represented has gone off the rails. Still I want to read 2 or 3 issues and not judge it by only pre-conceived notions. I mean would you kill someone if you know they were going to kill your family and the only way to stop them was to kill them?

That is a wrap for another look forward as to what hits the stands on Wednesday. This week we have Valentine’s Day, which is also my wife’s birthday (and I always do two separate gifts), so make sure you go out and ensure that Hallmark or some other card companies gets a few dollars from you. Seriously it is a nice time to make sure you take time for your significant other (now that makes me think of Lost), but I do wonder how many “holidays” were created for commerce reasons. My daughters and I made up Cyclops day and that is when you get a gift for yourself (I / eye – get it), I forget what day we made it.

A quick note to let you know that we have a few interviews coming up, the indie preview review and the normal madness from the blog.

Also I liked to give you all a link to buying a graphic novel from a friend of this blog Alex Sheikman who wrote and illustrated Robotika. It is a unique book that gets better with each chapter. For only $15 from Amazon it is hard to go wrong or better yet have your store order it for you. We also plan to do an interview with Alex down the road.

Late Add: Brit #4 - Somehow I missed that this book is also due out Wednesday. Robert Kirkman's creation continues as he only edits the title. I have not really gotten into Brit yet, but many of the Kirkman characters need a little while to build before they start paying off. So far the story has been interesting enough to allow me to wait.

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