Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Indies Preview Review for November Part 2 of 2

Drawn & Quarterly
Key Moments from the History of Comics SC by (W) Francois Ayroles (A) Various
This limited edition chapter book sharply satirizes the most important figures and institutions in the comics industry! A fantastic and funny read for alternative and literary comics fans, Key Moments humorously imagines the pivotal events that shaped everyone from Chris Ware and Charles Schultz to Jack Kirby and Will Eisner, from Herge and Uderzo to MAD and RAW. Printed in an edition of just 1,000 copies, this chap-book is sure to be sought after by art-comix fans for years to come. Will not be reoffered, or available for reorder. $10.00 Mature Content
Lee: I’m really not sure what to make of this. But, anything that pokes comix fun at the funny book business can’t be all that bad. Of course, the “Mature Content” label makes me wonder what all’s going on inside these pages even more.
Jim: For $10 I'm willing to try this out. The solicitation has intrigued me.

Evil Twin Comics
More Than Complete Action Philosophers SC by (W) Fred Van Lente (A) Ryan Dunlavey
The best-selling, award-winning comic book series that tells the lives and thoughts of history's A-list brain trust in hip and hilarious fashion has been collected into a single volume! The stories from the original nine-issue run, plus four all-new stories only in this volume, have been placed in chronological order, making this the most complete comics history of ideas ever put on paper, beginning with the Pre-Socratics and ending with Jacques Derrida! $24.99
Lee: Jim turned me onto Action Philosophers a long time ago. And, now, I can get one book with all the published stories plus four new ones. If you missed this the first time around then you’re in luck because it’s back!
Jim: This book is mine, plus at least one extra copy or so. I love giving this book away to non-comic people as the best educational book around. BEST BOOK OF THE MONTH!

Fantagraphics Books
Comics Journal #301
Comics artist Kevin ONeill explains how he broke into the comics field at 16 and discusses how his artistic vision meshes with writer Alan Moore's on the hit series League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the title's switch from DC to indy publisher Top Shelf. Syndicated political cartoonist and Academy-award-nominated animator Bill Plympton also talks about his long and varied career. $11.99
Lee: I’m really excited about this because TCJ does some of the best artist interviews. The interview is full of insight and should basically cover Kevin’s entire career. Always well done, and a chance to learn about an artist who isn’t very high profile in America.
Jim: The Journal is known for very in depth interviews and actually sometimes ask tough questions as oppossed to the fluff pieces most people (including me) do when interviewing creators.

IDW Publishing
Art of Steve Ditko HC
Steve Ditko, the co-creator of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, remains an enigma, though this book draws us closer to the artist and gives us a better understanding of his amazing work. Introducing the very best of rare and striking Steve Ditko comic book stories and original art, this large-format beautifully showcases Ditko's work, with many reproductions of original art pieces by the master comic book artist. Edited and designed by Craig Yoe (Secret Identity), with essays by P. Craig Russell, John Romita, and Jerry Robinson, plus an all-new introduction by Stan Lee. Hardcover. Full Color. 208 Pages 9.5 x 12.5 $29.99
Lee: I’m getting this but I’m going to have to start drawing the line on Ditko material somewhere. This is the third of fourth book full of Ditko art in the last year alone. I love Ditko as much as the next guy but he’s starting to overwhelm my collection.
Jim: I love Ditko, but also will have to eventually say I have enough Ditko in my collection but I still need more of his DC work collected.

Family Circus Library Vol. 01 HC by Bil Keane (w & a & c)
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Family Circus! The Family Circus Library, Vol. 1 by Bil Keane collects the classic newspaper strip in chronological order for the very first time, in beautifully designed hardcover books. Starting with the very first strip, originally published on February 29th, 1960, The Family Circus Library, Vol.1 will feature a complete run of the first two years, including dailies and Sundays. Beautifully produced by Eisner award-winning designer, Dean Mullaney, the mastermind of the Library of American Comics, and just in time for the 50th anniversary of one of America's most popular and beloved strips! Hardcover. Full Color. 240 Pages 11 x 7.5 $39.99
Lee: The modern day Family Circus is crap! It’s so soppily wholesome it’s disgusting. BUT, when it started it was something different. When it started, it was good and the material still holds up today. I’m very, very interested but I’m having trouble with the $40 price tag.
Jim: Really, it was good? I only remember the series being crap. Let me borrow this if you buy it.

Next Men Premiere ed. Vol. 02 HC by John Byrne (w & a & c)
Presenting the second in a series of IDW Premiere hardcover collections featuring John Byrne's Next Men. Presenting the color pages in an oversize format, follow the adventures of the Next Men as they come to grips with their unfathomable past, and the role they have yet to play in preventing the future demise of mankind! Including the M4 backup stories which later merge into the main storyline, Next Men is comic storytelling and illustration pulsing at its best. Volume 2 collects Next Men #11-20. Hardcover. w/DJ Full Color. 312 Pages 7 X 11 $50.00
Lee: I don’t know when/where I missed the first Next Men collection but now I’m interested. From what I understand, it’s supposed to be pretty good. And, this is a nice way to get a whole bunch of issues in a nice format. It’s a little pricey but if you love Byrne then this is a must have.
Jim: I enjoyed Next Men and I believe I may still own the comics, but I doubt it. I forget how Byrne ended it, but I remember the beginning of the story and it was well done.

Pure Imagination Publishing
Bill Ward's Torchy Vol. 02 SC by (A) Bill Ward, Gill Fox
America's blonde bombshell returns for a second outing! If you like heels and hose, this is the book for you, with reprints from Modern Comics and Torchy Comics. Each page has been Theakstonised for the best possible reproduction. $25.00
Lee: I’ve tried several times now to swear off the Pure Imagination reprints but THEY ARE SO GOOD! And, it’s material I can’t get elsewhere so I’m getting this one. If you haven’t see Torchy then you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s good girl art by one of the masters of good girl art. Beautifully drawn and very funny.
Jim: Yet I have to draw the line and I will draw it on this book.

Lee: As always there's plenty of good stuff to try from classic GA material to newer stuff. And, lots of shiney new hc's too. Lots to choose from but I still wish the list were longer.
Jim: I'm happy with Ditko and Action Philosophers!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Great Comic Sell-a-thon

I won't actually be posting tomorrow because we have Part II of the Indies review. We're a little late this month but it's worth the wait.

In other news, the great comic sell-a-thon is starting. Due to some changing circumstances at my house, I need to liquidate a large portion of my collection. No worries, the change is good but I just can't talk about it yet.

The modern part of the collection includes most Marvel books from 1982 through 2000. The DC is a little more spotty but includes long runs of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

I have a large collection of Silver-Bronze age material too. Again, primarily Marvel, but many of the DC 100 page giants if you're interested.

All books are in perfect condition, VF or better. I never bought reader copies.

I'm going to start running ebay auctions in the next couple of weeks too. If you want it before it goes to the public, the pre-ebay list includes:

(!) Avengers 1-66
, plus Avengers Disassembled. This is the complete Busiek and Johns run, and the start of Bendis run. Sorry, I skipped the Austen material. I just couldn't take it.
(!) Batman- Harley Quinn one shot by Paul Dini which introduced HQ to the main DCU

(!) Earth X, o, 1-12, X.
An excellent elseworlds series that spawned several additional mini-series.

(!) Sandman 1-75 plus specials. The classic series complete and in perfect condition.

(!) JLA 1-22. The start of Grant Morrison's run which returned the Justice League to it's glory.

(!) Mage 1-15 with the first issue signed by Matt Wagner. The classic orginial series.

(!) The Maxx DVD. Yeah, it's not a comic but I have all sorts of cool stuff.

(!) The Filth tpb. Grant Morrison story of... well, ya just gotta read it.

Reasonable offers accepted. These are just a few of the books I have so if there's anything you're looking for feel free to ask.

Thanks for the support.

Best and Worst of Last Week

You know I hope I’m wrong in my world view but I see the US economy at the precipice. I’m not rooting for this or anything, but there is nothing in all the numbers and articles I have read that explains how we will avoid the depression that is on the horizon. What is upsetting from a comic book perspective is how many smaller companies that produce some great material will not survive the final outcome. If our government stepped out of the way and let the crash occur, we would be back out of the woods a lot faster. Of course since we have exported so much of our manufacturing it may be years as we have to rebuild our ability to produce again to truly grow a strong economy again. The fantasy that we can just be a service based economy is a fallacy and the end game is near.


Superman Secret Origin #1 (of 6) - Writer Geoff Johns, Pencils Gary Frank, Inks Jon Sibal, Colors Brad Anderson. This was an excellent book. The story was well done, the art was excellent and we got 40 pages for $4, which is quite a bargain in today’s marketplace. I was wondering how they would go about doing the origin of Superman again, would it be the soft reset of his origin or more of a hard reset the way Bryne did it or have those retro-cons that Johns has almost become famous for, what we got was almost a classic retelling of Superman’s origin. I loved it. Johns allowed us to see this almost from a young Clark Kent’s eyes as the origin and elements of what makes up Clark’s past were introduced as a natural part of the story. It appears we are catching up with Clark as he is entering into his teen-age years and starting high school. An awkward time for any person and add to that you have new powers that are starting to develop and you life becomes even more complicated then any other kid. What is so wonderful about the way the story is being presented is that it almost has an independent comic feel to it as it is being presented as a “slice of life story” as we learn along with Clark just how different he is from the rest of the world. It never feels like an origin story, it never feels like we are hitting certain points to hit certain points it has elegance to the flow of the story that is almost sublime. See my full review here.

The Web #1 – The Web: Writer Angela Robinson, Pencils Roger Robinson, Inks Hilary Barta, Colors Guy Major. This was another good book following up the introduction of the Red Circle characters. The Web was especially well done and moved at an incredible clip. It continued with the investigation of his brother’s death, furthered what looks to be a great nemesis for The Web and gave us some background and mystery involving a femme fatale. Never heard of writer Angela Robinson before, but I loved what I saw from her. Roger Robinson’s pencils were very dynamic and had a great flow to them. The script and art worked so well together that this was a fast exciting read that gave us action, character development and a good cliff hanger ending.
Hangman: Writer John Rozum, Layouts Tom Derenick, Inks Bill Sienkiewicz, Colors Guy Majors. The Hangman back up was also well done and really enhanced by Bill Sienkiewicz inks over Tom Derenick’s pencils. Tom is a great layout and designer, but his work meshed with Bill’s jumps off the page. Rozum’s story does a great job given the confines of less pages. The Red Circle books are both starting out as hits in my mind and show great promise in giving DC some excellent second tier characters and books to shore up the entire line. One last note about the coloring, but stories demand a different palette and a different tone. Both stories has very different art work and both stories looked great due to a wonderful coloring job by Guy Majors who is becoming a name I notice when the book looks good.


Incredible Hulk #602 – This book is not working for me. I gave it a two issue try out and now I’m canceling it. The reasons (1) $4 price tage, (2) The art is wonky and is too computer graphic oriented (3) Banner does not ring true as Bruce Banner (4) this will apparently tie into a massive cross-over with the incredible bad Red Hulk and force me into reading Jeph Loeb. All of that equates to a cancel.

Justice League of America #37 – I have to say if this was not Len Wein last issue, it would have been my last issue on this title. Len is writing what feels to be very generic comics. I know he has not been given a series and this is basically your fill in writer assignments, but Len needs to step it up. I like writers from different eras, but you need to change with the times and certain writers like Wein, Claremont and Wolfman no longer are doing it for me.

Wolverine Giant-Size Old Man Logan - What crap. I mean we pay $5 for 32 pages of new story and art and then a lot of covers and some pencil artwork to fill up the size and heft of the book. Is it any wonder I think better of DC who gives me 40 pages of story and art on their big book of the week Superman Secret Origin and Marvel charges me $1 more for 8 less pages. Just a stupid ending, Logan’s family is killed by the Hulk family, the Hulk eats Logan and he pops up out of his stomach and takes baby Bruce Banner Jr. and starts off across America to set things right as Lone Wolf and Cub. Horrible stuff and just blood and gore for blood and gore’s sake. Playing to the baser fanboy instincts I guess, but if this is what most comic fans want, I’m not sure I want to hang with them. See my full review here.


Dark Reign The List – X-Men – Namor does not fit in with being an X-Men. This idea that he is a mutant is really not working for me. I prefer Namor just being an anomaly, trying to put this square peg into a round hole makes no sense. Also this issue had the Fraction caption crap which makes me puke. Nice art by Alan Davis saves this from being a worst book.

Detective Comics #857 – A good story to start out the Batwoman run and a visual tour de force by JH Williams III, this book is screaming out for an oversized deluxe reprint of Williams work. Page after page causes you to sit back and look at Williams layouts in amazement and awe of his design work. The coloring by Dave Stewart is amazing as Williams’s artwork and it integral to the stunning nature of the work. As much as I’m enjoying Rucka’s writing the art is stealing the show.

Echo #15 – It is hard to find anything wrong about this series. Each issue is like a chapter in the story of Julie Martin and the strange suit that has bonded with her. Each issue brings revelations, new mysteries, answers and more questions. I have loved the development of Ivy from being the bad guy of the series to being a potential ally for Julie. Also when you look back on this series the pace has been at a breakneck speed as so much has happened in what appears to be a very short time span.

Fantastic Four #571 – I’m still getting use to super buff Reed, but I’m enjoying Dale Eaglesham’s artwork on this book. If it is as I have read being shot from the pencils, then other artists need to learn how to do the pencils as dark as Dale’s work because it looks like inked work. The story is good, but I’m worried when you have truly infinite universes as that means an unlimited number of rabbits to be pulled out of hats. Also Jonathan Hickman is having fun with all the science concepts, but he needs to remember this is the Fantastic Four and not the Incredible Reed Richards.

Guardians of the Galaxy #18 – This is a great story that is just being hurt by less then adequate art. Wes Craig’s artwork is not suited for this type of story and it makes this book a hard one to read. I fear for the life of this title as the art work will drive people away, it needs an artist with a more super hero bent to it.
Immortal Weapons #3 (of 5) – This was a better issue, but still not what I was hoping for and I thought all the weapons came from the mystical cities. The art drop off in the back up was also disappointing.

Incredible Hercules #135 – I’m finding this book to be as much fun as the fans of the book have said it is. In fact this series is so enjoyable that I want to go back and get the trades of the run. While I’m sad to see Agents of Atlas end up as a back up series in Incredible Hercules, both series have similar qualities. This issue about Amadeus Cho is well done and I’m guessing gaming fans would get a great kick out of this one. It is interesting to see alternating issues focus on Hercules and Amadeus. This series is fast moving up my list of top books.

No Hero #7 (of 7) – All in all an interesting series, but way too often Ellis ends a book with everyone dying. I liked that Joshua was a plant from the federal government to take down the heroes, but then when everyone is killed so fast it just felt rushed. Ellis has some great concepts, but to make them mini-series he appears to just kill everyone to end them.

Power Girl #5 - This book is what I think DC does best at times. They have so many great self contained series. Unlike Marvel, who drags all the books into the core universe and therefore makes everything dark, DC can have dark and light books and this is a light one. It has strong story telling, humor, character development and action. An under the radar series that should be on your reading list.

Spider-Woman #1 – This was a great start to a new series. I loved how it was quickly established how Jessica will have a reason to be out and about away from the Avengers, so that she can be an Avenger and have this mission and it all make sense. On one hand I can tell this book is a little old since it was released as a digital comic first, but in another way it is set up to be a story that occurs at anytime. Jessica is recruited by SWORD to hunt down rogue aliens that live on earth (in some ways the ultimate illegal aliens). I guess it was a fait accompli that she had to go after a skrull to start the series, but it works.

Underground #1(of 4) – Not the strongest start to a four issue mini-series and some of the foreshadowing or whatever they were doing did not work, but it was good enough to bring me back for issue #2. Next issue should get more into the meat of the story and get us into some spelunking.

There were a ton of well done books this week and the best list could have been populated with a lot of books, but it is an indefinable quality that separates these books. It is also just a whim on my part at times. Still Detective, Power Girl, Echo, Fantastic Four and others were right next to making the best.

Monday, September 28, 2009

“A” List characters – Who makes the “A” list.

Recently I have taken to jotting down different ideas that I have for post and then coming back to them and flesh them out in more detail. The Dick Grayson versus Bruce Wayne was one of those ideas and the “A” list is another one. I’m not sure why this idea came to mind, but we always refer to different characters as “A” list, top tier or whatever as to distinguish them from other characters. Batman is “A” list and Blue Beetle is not. Spider-Man is “A” list and Quicksilver is not.

So what makes a character an “A” list character and is the “A” list a set thing?

I’ll give you my answer on the second half of the question first. The “A” list is not a set thing and it can move over time.

What makes an “A” list character is perception, in my opinion. Perception is the key and the widespread knowledge of that character to a wider public is a major factor. Let’s face it no matter what Superman and Batman are the all time “A” list characters. I’m willing to bet that almost everyone knows who they are and probably most know a little bit about them. There all a few reasons why these two are the pre-eminent “A” list characters. Time and marketing are two factors, both are over 70 years old and have had TV series, cartoons, movies and more made about them and at this point are ingrained into popular culture. Now time alone is not a factor as Captain Marvel was at one time more popular then Superman, but from many reasons over the years Captain Marvel became a thing of the past and he is no longer an “A” list character.

Another “A” list character right now is Wolverine. He is rather young in relationship to other characters, but the wild popularity of his character can be attributed to the attitude and uniqueness of his character in comics. Another big reason is the fact that Hugh Jackman made him believable in the first X-Men movie. That lead to the character becoming more popular then any other X-Men and destroyed any chance of Hugh Jackman having a career much beyond portraying Wolverine. Since it made him a multi-millionaire I’m sure he is crying about the loss of that career in his huge home in Australia with his trophy wife by his side as he suns near his swimming pool being served a beer by his butler. So the “A” list is hard to make and falling from it can often be hard, as once you make it you are accorded that status for awhile regardless of whether it is deserved.

In DC I think the “A” list is relatively a short list with Batman, Robin and Superman perhaps being the only “A” list characters for DC. Batman has a family of books and right now is the glue that hold together Batman and Robin, All Star Batman and Robin (maybe one day), Batman, Streets of Gotham, Gotham Sirens, Azrael (coming soon), Red Robin, Outsiders, Detective Comic and The Brave and The Bold. That is a hefty list, but Batman holds it all together. Plus to cement Batman’s status of the “A” list character of the “A” list characters he had a movie that grossed a billion dollars. Robin gets to the “A” list by being part of the Batman mythology, but I would even probably exempt him, as on his own merit he does not make it. Superman is the same deal; Action, Adventure, Supergirl, Superman, Superman World of Krypton and Superman/Batman all depend on Superman being a part of the structure which holds it together. In the wider world Superman is a term that is used as a noun or more like an adjective at times in the normal course of conversation. Superman is ingrained in our minds and is surely as much a part of modern mythology as any other character. With the advent of digital media that cut across movies, video games, TV and whatever else I’m sure Superman will last longer then any of us.

After that I think Wonder Woman makes a weak case as an “A” list character. She has had a TV show and certainly many people might know of her, few I believe know who she is and what her background is anymore. From a publishing perspective it has long been rumored that DC only continued to publish her book as the agreement was she had to be continually published or the rights reverted back to her creator’s heirs (at this point). Even with editorial support and a push to put “named” creators on her book she has remained a one book character and plays a supporting role in many team books.

After Wonder Woman does DC have any “A” list characters? Green Lantern is working his way up to that status under Geoff Johns we have seen him grow into a two book character, have a direct to DVD cartoon with him as the star, a movie is in the works and he is the central star of DC’s big event right now. Still to the outside world, who is he and how many people really know him. You can make a case for the Flash and almost any JLA member as the popularity of that group via the cartoons is certainly widespread, but I have a hard time given them anything but “B” list status.

Marvel has few “A” list characters also and of course they have only been around since the sixties but still I think they have three “A” list characters and have a few more closer to be “A” list then DC does right now and that is due to the phenomenal success of their movies. The three “A” list characters are Wolverine, Spider-Man and the Hulk. Wolverine in addition to everything else even has the cartoon named Wolverine and The X-Men, which pretty much says it all. Spider-Man is almost iconic as Batman in some ways, between cartoons, movies and the multitude of books he supports Spider-Man is an “A” list character and is probably still Marvel’s number one known character. The Hulk comes in next as his TV show and even the movies have made him and continue to make him a household name. I saw Jets fans wearing his fists at a game in the Meadowlands recently.

After that Iron Man is popular now, but how to continue that for a long period is the question, one movie does not make you an “A” list character. Heck the FF should be, but to the wider world they are still ciphers. Thor, Cyclops, Storm, Captain America, Daredevil are all similar to the JLA members in my opinion and are solid “B” level stars but not “A” list characters.

So in my mind the “A” list is a very small list and includes a select few. If we are looking at this from just a publishing perspective the list would be different, but there I think you have to be able to support more then one monthly title to make the “A” list and both Marvel and DC have been trying to roll out more books related to groups realizing it is very hard for a solo character to be the back bone of a group of books. The most successful group book of all time is the X-Men as evidence but how many books Marvel publishing under the X-banner. Heck the X-Books alone would be the third largest comic book company.

It would be interesting to run a nationwide survey and see if any other comic book character would out poll my top five. Of course to the greater outside world they would probably include Mickey Mouse or something.

What I’m Getting Wednesday September 30

Just a point of reference for regular readers of this blog, that Gwen’s schedule has become so onerous that she will be unable to contribute a weekly post for awhile. I hope that we will see her posts on occasion but real life has intruded this year and that means more posts from Lee and me. I like reading different perspectives and the female view is one that is often lacking in comic book discussions. On the flip side more Lee and I can be viewed as good thing. Right?

The couple of links this week take you to a preview of the book. I will try to add more links in the future.

The books I’m looking forward to most this week are:

Blackest Night Titans #2 (of 3) – The Blackest Night stuff has been great and last issue we saw where the new Hawk is also now dead. All of these Blackest Night books have been solid, entertaining reads. DC says “Written by J.T. Krul; Art and cover by Ed Benes and Rob Hunter. Titan-on-Titan violence! Black Lantern Hawk has his talons set for the female Hawk and Dove! Meanwhile, Red Star faces a frightful family reunion with Black Lanterns Pantha and Wildebeest, and Donna Troy faces her worst possible nightmare! Plus, Black Lantern Terra terrorizes Beast Boy!”

Fables Deluxe Edition Hard Cover Volume 1 – It is about damn time they put this out as a hard cover. I’m anxious to see exactly what the format looks like. This volume contains “Written by Bill Willingham; Art by Lan Medina, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha and Craig T. Hamilton; Cover by James Jean. For the first time ever, Bill Willingham's acclaimed, Eisner Award-winning series FABLES is presented in a deluxe hardcover edition collecting issues #1-10. When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. When Snow White's party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it's up to Fabletown's sheriff, the reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf, to find the killer. Meanwhile, trouble of a different sort brews at the Fables' upstate farm where non-human inhabitants are preaching revolution – and threatening Fabletown's carefully nurtured secrecy."

Green Lantern #46 – It is nice to see that not only has this been an exciting story and an event that works, but it looks like the books are coming out on time. The hype “Written by Geoff Johns; Art and cover by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy. BLACKEST NIGHT continues! For months, Mongul has wrested control of the Sinestro Corps. Now Sinestro wants a word with him. And Hal wants a word with Sinestro. But in the midst of BLACKEST NIGHT, they'll all become the hunted as the fallen Sinestro Corps members rise. What will happen? Here's a hint: Sinestro gets some serious payback.”

Punisher Annual #1 – I never thought I could be back onto a version of the Punisher inside the MU after reading Garth Ennis’ masterful run on Punisher in the Max line, Remender is proving me wrong. Inside this book “'REMOTE CONTROL' The Punisher faces his greatest challenge yet: Trapped in the throes of a hypnotic spell, Spider-Man's gone psycho and he wants to grind Frank Castle's bones to paste! And since Spidey's not really to blame for his actions, Castle faces a dilemma: Fight (the only way he knows how) or die. Can the Punisher survive a bloodthirsty Wall-Crawler long enough to disconnect him from the control of the Dirty Dozen's leaders, Letha and Lascivious? Super-star artist Jason Pearson joins regular series writer Rick Remender.”

Thor #603 – Rapidly coming to the close of JMS brilliant run on this book. I think this maybe his second to last issue, followed by a Thor special wrapping up his work on this title. Marvel says “The people of Asgard are fractured, as Loki's scheming plans start to bear poisonous fruit. In Latveria, Balder and his loyal followers have a home at the tender mercies of Victor Von Doom.Out in the wide open world, Thor and his followers in exile roam without a country. As Loki puts the final calculated moves in play... will the spirit of Asgard itself be destroyed?”

The rest of the list:

Absolute Promethea Hard Cover Volume 1 - Written by Alan Moore; Art by J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray; Cover by J.H. Williams III. Alan Moore's entrancing masterpiece is collected for the first time in oversized, Absolute format featuring the spectacular art of J.H. Williams III. The first of three ABSOLUTE PROMETHEA slipcased collections, this volume collects PROMETHEA #1-12! Discover the stories that introduced Sophie Bangs, an ordinary college student in a weirdly futuristic New York, whose life will be changed by her research into the mythical warrior woman known as Promethea!

Astro City Astra Special #1 (of 2) - Written by Kurt Busiek; Art by Brent Anderson; Covers by Alex Ross. It's a big turning point for Astra Furst, the third-generation Super Hero of Astro City! Last we saw her, she was a 10-year-old girl playing hopscotch. Today she's graduating from college. It's a time of friends and family, new opportunities, new dangers, and changing relationships. Featuring the First Family, the creatures of Monstro City, a new hero team and more in a graduation night nobody's ever going to forget!

Existence 2.0 #3 (of 3) - Sylvester is face to face with the people who killed him and kidnapped his daughter, but is caught in the middle of an identity crisis unlike no other! Now all guns are pointed at him, and the deadly secrets of his own murder are revealed in a twist-filled, action-packed conclusion that no one will see coming!

GI Joe Cobra Special #1- Spinning out of the red-hot thriller G.I. Joe: Cobra, this one-shot follows up on that series' surprise reveal and focuses on our big bad guy (or is it multiple bad guys?). By the same creative team as the original mini! Don't miss out, this is the perfect end cap to the series!

Gotham City Sirens #4 - Written by Paul Dini ; Art and cover by Guillem March. Bruce Wayne has always been considered the quintessential ladies' man. But he's never faced ladies quite like this before! Has Gotham City's playboy prince finally met his match?

Hellboy Library Edition Hard Cover Volume #3 - Hellboy Library Edition Volume 3 collects three pivotal stories of Hellboy's journey, as he leaves behind the world of men and journeys into the unknown: the award-winning Conqueror Worm, which brings back some of Hellboy's earliest foes, in the story that ends his career with the B.P.R.D. and marks his first run-in with the fan-favorite masked hero Lobster Johnson; the haunting fairy tale The Third Wish; and The Island, a dark and surreal glimpse into the true origin of the Right Hand of Doom and Hellboy's own destiny; along with a new, expanded sketchbook of never-before-seen Mignola artwork. Includes over thirty pages of new sketchbook material!

Justice Society of America #31 - Written by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges; Art and cover by Jesus Merino. Magog and Wildcat square off as the team traitor involved in the attack on a fellow JSAer is revealed! It all leads to greater tension and permanent rifts within the most storied Super Hero team of all time! Clearly, this was an inside job, and though they may not realize it now, the damage to the group is deeper than any of them suspects.

Last Days of Animal Man #5 (of 6) - Written by Gerry Conway; Art by Chris Batista and Dave Meikis; Cover by Brian Bolland. His powers are gone. His teammates are beaten. His family hates him. Prismatik and Bloodrage have all the power of the League of Titans HQ to themselves. And this miniseries only has one issue to go. It doesn't look good for Buddy Baker, does it? There's a reason we called it The Last Days of Animal Man, folks!

Secret Warriors #8 - Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN Penciled by ALESSANDRO VITTI Cover by JIM CHEUNG Nick Fury and a long-dormant spy now reactivated continue their top secret mission while the kids get in way over their heads as they go up against members of the Dark Avengers and the Thunderbolts...and while no one else is looking, HYDRA's grand plans continue to unfold. All that and Ares is finally reunited with his son - watch the sparks fly! It's GOD OF FEAR. GOD OF WAR.

Superman #692 - Written by James Robinson; Art by Fernando Dagnino and Raúl Fernandez; Cover by CAFU. Tragedy strikes in the aftermath of "Codename: Patriot" as Metropolis buries one of its own! And with a man down, the Science Police are on their own to stop a cadre of Super-Villains from stealing a formerly common commodity that has suddenly become rarer than gold!

Teen Titans #75 - Written by Felicia D. Henderson; co-feature written by Sean McKeever; Art by Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson; co-feature art by Yildiray Cinar and Júlio Ferreira; Cover by Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson. Come celebrate our gala 75th issue with an all-star cast of Titans past and present! Joining this issue for the extravaganza is new ongoing writer Felicia D. Henderson, a co-executive producer on TV's hit show Fringe! Don't miss this start to a fresh new take on DC's premier teen team! And in the Ravager co-feature, Rose lies nearly dead in the Arctic when a horrific discovery chills her even more!

Thunderbolts #136 - Meet the newest Thunderbolts...Power Man and Iron Fist?! Norman Osborn, in need of a powerful duo to send on a to secret mission, makes the former Heroes for Hire a deal they can't refuse! Luke Cage and Danny Rand have no choice but to become Osborn's personal assassins! What could have caused all this? Fan favorite writer Rick Remender (Punisher) and rising-star artist Mahmud A. Asrar (Nova Annual #1) spill all the secrets--and some blood-in this 100 proof double-sized blow-out!

Trotsky HC - Trotsky was a hero to some, a ruthless demon to others. To Stalin, he was such a threat that he warranted murder by pickaxe.Renowned comic artist Rick Geary uses his distinct style to depict the stark reality of the man and his times. Trotsky's life becomes a guide to the creation of the Soviet Union, the horrors of World War I, and the establishment of international communism. Ranging from his boyhood in the Ukraine to his conflict with Stalin and his romance with Frida Kahlo, Trotsky is a stunning look at one of the 20th Century's most important figures.

Wonder Woman #36 - Written by Gail Simone; Art by Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan; Cover by Aaron Lopresti. "The Rise of the Olympian" has changed Wonder Woman's life completely, and it's not over yet as repercussions are still being felt all over the world! In this issue, Diana finds herself fighting for her life against the man destined by the gods to take her place – Achilles, the Warkiller!

X-Factor #49 - Written by PETER DAVID Penciled by VALENTINE DE LANDRO Cover by DAVID YARDIN Cortex stands revealed! Or does he? The plan of the president's science team threatens Madrox and Layla! Or does it? Shatterstar gets a milkshake! Or does he? It's all going according to the plan of Doctor Doom! Or is it?

What a sparse week. If you take away the hard covers this would be about the lightest week of regular comic books for me in a very long time. Truth be told I hope to continue to pare down my list as time moves forward and maybe make the 15/20 book type weeks the norm as opposed to the exception.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Ah, another half hour escapade of logging in on the home computer. Fitting for this post, as ye soon shall see. Gotta get me a lap top and just ditch the old desk top, one of these days.

Considering that I write on a blog about comics, I really don't keep up a whole lot with the comics world chatter. In fact, other than reading my fellow dissemblers on this blog, the only other blog I read regularly is Chris Sims's ISB. That being said, I have picked up here and there that DC's Final Crisis was generally considered a dud. Considering I reviewed Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, and Final Crisis not all that long ago, it should come as no surprise that I agree. However, some of the ancillary series to Final Crisis were quite good. Two in particular come to mind. I'll write about Rogue's Revenge at a later time, but today, in keeping with the theme of reviewing completed story arcs, I'm writing about Legion of 3 Worlds by Geoff Johns, George Perez and Scott Koblish.

Now, I'm something of a Johns fan, and I'm certainly a Perez fan, so we're off to a promising start already. Then there's the lead villain. I always thought Superboy, especially of Earth-Prime, was a lame character. It was like he had next to none of the travails of puberty and was just a littler version of Superman. So when Infinite Crisis turned him into a killing, raging, yet still dorky, teenager in extremis, I thought it was a great improvement. That he's the lead villain in this set piece is just another plus.

I'm less interested in the Legion of Super Heroes, an admittedly minority position on this blog. I don't know who a lot of the tertiary members are, nor am I familiar with all the various iterations of the Legion that are the source of the titular Legions of 3 worlds. Nonetheless, Johns made this tale accessible to the fan less connected to the Legion and its long history.

Set predominantly in the year 3008, the story tells the tale of Superboy-Prime, Prime for short from here out, who is pulled out of the time stream by a long time Legion nemesis named the Time Trapper, who is the lone intelligent being at the end of time. (At least this universe's time. Theoretically, there is no end of time.) The Time Trapper has a serious hate on for the Legion and its ethos of promoting the things for which Superman stood. He's laid many a plan to destroy the Legion, aparently, to no avail. His new tool, Prime, had been adrift in the time stream after the events of the Sinestro Corps War, another Johns project.

Prime lands in a farm outside Smallville, KS in 3008. Turning the sweet, caring Ma and Pa Kent to a diametrical opposite, the older couple who own and work the farm are avid racists, opposed to any extraterrestrial aliens and willing to kill anyone they think might be a stray alien on sight. This doesn't work out too well for them. They shoot first on seeing Prime, which leads to him vaporizing them. Prime then goes to a largely empty Smallville and finds the Superman museum there. He's given a guided tour by a virtual Jimmy Olsen, who fills him in on Earth history. It's a convient and well played way of filling in the reader, too. It's here that Prime learns of the prison planet, Takron Galtos, and that it's full of enemies of the Legion. He immediately flies off and sets the prisoners free and quickly learns that all of them are disciples of his chaotic outlook.

From there it's Prime and his Legion of Super Villains attacking. Of course, there are all sorts of complicatioins for the Legion of Super Heroes. There's the disintegrating United Planets government. There's the banishment of Brainiac 5 by his people. There's the discovery that a human industrialist who helped found the Legion was not actually human, which is discovered after he's assassinated by a human, angering both humans and his shape shifting people. There's Prime allying with a near supremely powerful magician named Mordru in the fight, too.

But, the Legion manages to free Mon-El from the Phantom Zone and bring Superman to the future to buffer their forces. Still, perceiving that to be insufficient in the face of the opposition, Brainiac manages to bring in the Legion of Super Heroes from 2 other worlds to aid them. One of these Legions is from a universe that was not reconstituted in 52. They have been wandering a void within the multiverse. The last surviving Green Lantern, Sodam Yat, also joins the Legion, after the only other Green Lantern is killed by Prime and his forces.

Prime is motivated, as always, by wiping out the mythos of Superman. His rage revolves around the loss of his own universe in Crisis on Infinite Earths, including his parents and his girlfriend, and his jealousy that Superman receives all the accolades he feels he deserves. Toward the end, the Time Trapper reaches back through time and grabs Superman, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad, the original founders of the Legion, and takes them to the end of time, where it's learned that the Time Trapper is Prime, much aged. Prime asserts that he's seen what will happen in the fight between his younger self and the Legion in 3008 and that he'll win, but it's soon revealed that things that happen in the fight in 3008 are changing the future at the end of time. Superman, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad, with the help of Brainiac, manage to bring the Time Trapper to 3008, where the two Prime's egos and rage lead to the inevitable punch thrown between them, which then wipes out the Time Trapper and sends Prime to Earth-Prime, which has come back to existence.

It pushes close to cutesy and self indulgent at this point, like Grant Morrison's conclusion to his run on Animal Man. The conceit of Earth-Prime is that its inhabitants know of the super heroes of the main DCU continuity Earth, by reading about them in comics. Prime is the only super hero of that Earth. He knew all about the DCU heroes before Crisis on Infinite Earths from his extensive comics reading. He's the ultimate comics geek who gets his wish to be one of the heroes he fantasizes about being. So, when Prime lands at the farm of his Ma and Pa Kent, they and Lori, his girlfriend, know all about all the people he's killed because they've been reading it in comics. They're afraid of him and want nothing to do with him. Johns is coming close to putting himself in the story, like Morrision did, but doesn't quite do it. He is attacking the barrier between the characters and the readers, but by not taking that last step that would make it all about him. That works much better than Morrison's Animal Man, for me.
In terms of DCU continuity, the primary results of this series are the revival of the Connor Kent Superboy, who had been killed by Prime in Infinite Crisis, and the Bart Allen Kid Flash. With the Green Lantern Rebirth and the current Flash Rebirth, Johns is turning into the king of dead hero revival. I would think that would put him really low on Pops's Christmas card list, especially if his name shows up anywhere around Batman.

I think the story cleaned up some Legion continuity, too, but being less familiar with the Legion, I can't say for certain.

There's a lot of nice detail work, both in the writing by Johns and the art by Perez. I don't want to give Perez short shrift here, having spent most of my time talking about the plotting and writing, but there's really not enough praise that can be heaped on Perez's art. Pops has commented on it previously, but the details Perez puts in are nonpareil. Of course, this was likely the reason it took an entire year for this five issue series to conclude, but it was worth the wait. With anywhere from 30 to 36 pages of story and art in each issue, it was worth the $20, too. Naturally, it's already out in HC.