Saturday, November 18, 2006

Looking forward

So, the new comics "solicitations" are out, detailing what is coming out in February. I think it's kind of weird the way the comics blog community obsesses over these every month, looking at what is coming out three months in the future rather than what is out now. It's interesting, the way things come out, get consumed, then are mostly forgotten. But I guess since this information is available, it's worth looking at and commenting on. This post will probably be a little longer than my posts about solicits usually will be, since I'll be commenting on series that I like or am interested in rather than just what I find interesting in the solicitations. Or something like that. Anyway, off we go:

Marvel:



This Daredevil cover cracks me up. Very funny. And they got John Romita Sr. to do it! Good for them! I don't read Daredevil, although I've heard Brubaker's run has been very enjoyable. Maybe sometime I'll check the collected version out from the library or something.



I'll be getting this Iron Man: Hypervelocity series. I usually don't care about Iron Man, but I did like the 6 issues Warren Ellis did recently, and I love Adam Warren. The Livewires series he did last year was great. I love the way he throws out a ton of crazy sci-fi ideas, and Iron Man seems like a good fit for him. I have no idea if this will tie into Marvel's Civil War continuity, and I don't really care. I just want to read a fun Adam Warren series.



So, the Stephen King
Dark Tower comic is finally coming out. This has been hyped by Marvel for something like two years. It's not actually written by Stephen King; it's by Peter David, based on King's novels. I haven't really read much King, but I do like some of the movie adaptations of his books, like Carrie or The Shining. Also, several people have recommended the Dark Tower book series to me, so I'm curious about this. Plus the art is by Jae Lee, who is absolutely amazing (check out the illustrations he did for this Wired article). So, I'll consider it.



I haven't been reading the Ant-Man series, but I wanted to comment on Robert Kirkman. When he started getting big, I was following and enjoying his stuff, but somewhere along the line I soured on his writing. Someday I'll do a post on my disillusionment with Kirkman. People have said this series is enjoyable, but I haven't read it. Is it very different from his usual writing on stuff like
Marvel Team Up, or is it his usual style?



Now Dr. Strange: The Oath is a series I've been enjoying so far. That Marcos Martin art is beautiful. I love what he does with colors (wait, is there a separate colorist? If so, I should give them some credit. He works very well with Martin). Bryan K. Vaughan is one of my current favorite writers, and I like what he's doing in this series so far. I also like Dr. Strange, but he doesn't seem to show up very much. He needs a good writer to make him interesting (like Peter Milligan in the recent X-Statix/Dead Girl miniseries), so it's probably better if he is in miniseries rather than an ongoing series.



I'm not sure about this
Punisher War Journal series. I'm not a big fan of the Punisher, although I like Garth Ennis' take on him. I'm enjoying the stuff Matt Fraction is writing lately (Five Fists of Science was great, and Casanova is a highly enjoyable series), but I'm not sure if I will like this. I'm definitely not interested in the Civil War stuff that the book is spinning out of, so I'll have to wait and see what the buzz is before I read it. As for the cover above, I think it's hilarious. Villains attending Stilt-Man's funeral, with most of them wearing formal attire over their costumes - That's funny stuff!




Here's two more series I'm not sure about. I really like Warren Ellis, but I have little interest in the nostalgia factor that has brought about Newuniversal, this revival the New Universe. That said, the concept behind the book is interesting, and I think Ellis could do good things with it. Sounds like it could be his version of
Rising Stars or Supreme Power (or the TV show Heroes, for that matter). I'll have to see when the first issue comes out if I want to get it. I also have little interest in Thunderbolts, but I think Ellis could write enjoyable stories about a team of supervillains working for the government. It's another one that I'll have to wait and read some reviews before I pick it up.



Ah Spider-Man loves Mary Jane. A great series. I think I picked up one of the earlier Mary Jane miniseries because I thought my wife would like it (I was right!), but I enjoyed it quite a bit also. And the new series has been great. Sean McKeever has scripted some very good characterizations, and it's fun to see Spider-Man pop up in the middle of the usual high school crises that teenagers deal with. The art by Takeshi Miyazawa is excellent, and I was sorry to hear that he's leaving the book soon. I hope they can find a suitable replacement. There was a fill in artist recently, and it was just not the same. Adrian Alphona or Skottie Young would probably be okay, although Young might be a bit too cartoony, and Alphona is probably moving on to a bigger project after his success on Runaways. Maybe one of those artists from the Marvel Adventures line could take over.



Speaking of the Marvel Adventures line, I thought this cover was hilarious. I don't know anything about Power Pack, but seeing a little girl possessed by Venom cracks me up.



Here's Wisdom, another book I'm not sure about. The art doesn't really grab me, I don't know the writer, and I don't really care about the character, but the concept sounds interesting, and this is a pretty good cover. I like the guy drinking a beer while staning over the body of a dragon that he just beat up with a cricket bat. So, does anybody recommend this book? Should I pick up the first issue that came out recently?




Here's some more books that I don't really care about and probably won't read, but I like the covers. That pile of ninjas jumping on...whoever that is...is pretty cool. I think Frank Quitely had a similar pin-up in an anniversary issue of Daredevil that came out a few years ago. And I like the Thing as king of the monsters, or whatever he's supposed to be on that other cover. I doubt I'll read the book though.



And finally, a book that I dig with a very cool-looking cover. Brubaker and Phillips did great things on
Sleeper, and they seem to be following it up well with Criminal another really cool crime book. The first two issues were good, and I only expect it to get better. Don't let me down, boys! Okay, on to:

DC:



So, I did this rant over in the comments section of Comics Should Be Good, but I figured I could do another version of it here. I've been reading the current Grant Morrison run on Batman, but he's taking a break, and John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake are doing a four-issue fill-in. The last issue was the end of the first storyline of Morrison's run, and at the end of that issue there was a "next issue" box that showed the above cover, saying the next issue would feature the return of the Joker. But now this issue shows up in the February solicitations, so I don't know if the next issue will be a different story by Morrison or the beginning of the fill-in run. Very confusing. By the way, I've been enjoying Morrison's writing on Batman, but I really wish he had a different artist. Andy Kubert is really not very good. If this Van Fleet fellow who is doing the Joker issue is any good, maybe I'll write some letters to DC asking for him to replace Kubert. Yeah, like that will do any good.



The Spirit, by Darwyn Cooke! I'm pretty interested in this series. Cooke has done well with this retro type of story, in New Frontier and his issue of Solo. I'm looking forward to it, although not so much that I won't drop it if I don't like the first issue. I'm not sure if I'll get that Spirit/Batman special, since it's written by Jeph Loeb, who is not good. But I'm hoping the Spirit series will be good, especially with Cooke's writing and art.



Jeff Smith's Captain Marvel series is finally coming out! I don't really care about Captain Marvel, but I REALLY like Bone, so I'll definitely pick this one up. Man it's been like 3 years since this was announced. I'm glad to finally see it show up.



I liked the first issue of Superman: Confidential by Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale, so unless is somehow goes off the rails, I'll be buying the rest of the storyline. I think this is a Legends of the Dark Knight-style series, with rotating writers and artists. I doubt I'll get anything after the first arc, but that's fine.



I won't be buying this, but I like the cover by Adam Hughes. That guy can draw. He often goes a bit overboard with the cheesecake, but he is a very skilled artist, especially with facial expressions. I'm interested in his All-Star Wonder Woman, although I don't think I've ever bought a Wonder Woman comic in my life. I'll see about picking that up when it comes out (which might not be for quite a while). And that's about it for the regular DC superhero books that I read. Huh. The rest is all Wildstorm and Vertigo stuff:



I read 100 Bullets in trades (Nyah hah hah, I'm killing the industry!), and I love it. Some of the best writing in comics, with absolutely amazing art by Eduardo Risso. Since I don't read it monthly, I probably won't make a habit of pointing it out, but I should say that Dave Johnson's covers are consistently excellent.



Fables is another book that I read in trade format, and it's also very well written and drawn. Regular artist Mark Buckingham is great, and there are usually some very good fill-in artists. And of course, you can't mention Fables without pointing out the beautiful (hell, that's an understatement) cover art by James Jean. I think this cover is especially incredible. So, I might not mention Fables every month, but I'll probably point out the covers just because of the amazing artwork.



However, I do read Jack of Fables monthly, and it's been very good so far. I like the character of Jack, and the first storyline has been very interesting. I'm really looking forward to seeing where it goes. And I gotta point out more great cover art from James Jean.



Y: The Last Man is another Vertigo book that I read monthly. It's pretty good in trade format, but I don't have any problem keeping up with the storylines month by month. I mentioned above that I like Bryan K. Vaughan, and this is probably the book that made him a superstar. It's very well written (I love Vaughan's dialogue), and it's coming close to finishing. I think #60 is going to be the last issue. This looks like one of the single-issue stories that the series excels in, and that cover is great.



I enjoy Testament quite a bit. Sometimes I wonder if I should be reading it in trade format, but I do usually like it each month. The stories can be confusing, but writer Douglas Rushkoff is nothing if not ambitious. He's really trying to weave a complex, multilayered story of fascistic government control that ties in with Biblical mythology. It gets kind of hard to follow sometimes, but the art is very good, with some imaginative panel layouts, and it's really like nothing else out there.



DMZ is another Vertigo book that I follow monthly and really like. Brian Wood is starting to get pretty popular, and if this book is any indication, he'll soon be another superstar creator. It's an excellent series, and I'm in for the long haul.



The Other Side has been great for the first two issues. I didn't realize it was a miniseries, but it does make sense to keep it as a short story; it might be hard to continue as a longer series. The two issues that have come out so far have been very good, and I can't wait for the rest of the series.



I bought the first 6 or 7 issues of Loveless because I like Brian Azzarello. It was very hard to follow from month to month, so I dropped it. I picked up a couple more issues in a sale, but I don't think it's one I can read monthly. Maybe that's a problem with Azzarello, since I imagine 100 Bullets would also be difficult to follow monthly. I do like the characters and the art (although regular artist Marcelo Frusin is a better fit for the series than frequent fill-in artist Daniel Zezelj), but the story was just too hard to keep up with in monthly installments. I might have to get the next few issues to fill out the current storyline, then start picking it up in trades after that. By the way, this cover is awesome.




Here's two new Vertigo series that I'm interested in, but not sure I'll get. Scalped seems like an interesting concept, and it's written by the writer of The Other Side. Crossing Midnight (also an interesting concept) is written by Mark Carey; I've read some of his stuff but not enough to know whether I really like him or not. Neither book has an artist that I really know. I'll probably buy the first issues of both and decide whether I want to follow them after that. Oh, and Crossing Midnight has covers by the extremely talented J.H. Williams III, so it has that in its favor.



Ex Machina is probably my favorite comic book right now. Each issue amazes me with its writing and art, and I'll definitely pick up this "behind the scenes" special. I'll have to do a writeup on it sometime. I wonder if that's what the cover will actually look like, or if it will be colored.



Desolation Jones is another series that I've enjoyed immensely. The current artist, Daniel Zezelj, is no J.H. Williams III (the previous artist on the book), but he seems to fit the style, and Warren Ellis seems to be writing more for his style in this arc. I wonder if the book is going to go in six-issue arcs, with a different artist for each. That would be cool.



I've been enjoying The Boys for the most part, but I'll be happy when the introductory storyline is out of the way and the series starts picking up steam. I do like Garth Ennis a lot, and Darick Robertson's art fits the book well. I think this could get very enjoyable, but it's still in the early stages. I know a lot of people have been turned off by Ennis' juvenile sex scenes, but if you realize that's what's going to happen going into the story, you can look at it as one of those silly, over-the-top Ennis stories like The Rifle Brigade. And there is the potential to really satirize superheroes, if Ennis feels like it. Or he might just tell a lot of goofy stories with crazy sex and nasty, humorous violence. We'll see what happens.



Speaking of goofy Garth Ennis violence, I really dug the first issue of The Midnighter. The big action scene had me grinning in a silly way (sillily?), and the cliffhanger was hilarious. Who knows what Ennis has planned, but if this cover is any indication, it will be funny. Plus really good art by Chris Sprouse.




And then we have the Wildstorm series that I'm not sure about. Tranquility seems like a fun concept (a superhero retirement home), and Gail Simone is a good writer, although I don't actually read any of her books. I'll probably get the first issue and decide from there. I'm not sure about this God Save the Queen graphic novel. I've expressed my reservations about writer Mike Carey above, but John Bolton really wowed me with his artwork in the recent Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall graphic novel. It's probably one that I'll have to read some reviews of before I make a decision.

Dark Horse:



As I said above, I really like Adam Warren, so I might get this manga-style graphic novel that he's doing. It's called Empowered. It's about the only thing from Dark Horse that I'm interesed in in February. I guess there's no new issue of The Goon that month.

As for Image, their solicitations aren't out yet, so I'll probably go over them when they come out.

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Well, that wraps up my look at these things. If I do this again, I'm sure it will be much shorter. Oh, and I wanted to give some props to Dorian Wright for pointing out the nudity on the cover of The Atom. If anybody can spot a penis, it's him!