Damn economy. I'm so deprived. I've only got around 20 books sitting in a pile at home, how can I be expected to be happy if I don't get more the instant they are released to comic book stores? Anyway:
New comics this week (Wednesday, 8/6/08):
Army @ Love: Art of War #1
Rick Veitch's excellent satirical comic starts its second "season". The second trade of the first volume is one of the books sitting in my "to read" pile, so hopefully I'll get to it soon. I'm annoyed that I won't be able to afford to buy this new series as it's coming out. I hope it doesn't get cancelled again because of me. So everybody buy it, please. It's great stuff.
In which we learn the tragic story of what happened on 9/11/2001 in this comic's universe. How did the lame superheroes of Ennis' creation screw things up? It should be entertaining (and tragic, emotional, etc.) to find out. I expect I'll finish the current storyline before dropping this book, just because I hate to quit mid-stream.
Comics Comics #4
Picturebox's magazine (?) about comics continues, with a cover by and interview with British cartoonist Shaky Kane, Frank Santoro writing about coloring, Dan Nadel interviewing Woody Gelman, the creator of Bazooka Joe, Wacky Packages, and Mars Attacks, and Tim Hodler taking a look at the manga series Berserk. Also stuff from Joe "Jog" McCulloch, Sammy Harkham, Brian Chippendale, and more. Read all about it here.
Criminal Vol 2 #4
Beginning a new four-part storyline called "Bad Night". Who knows what it will be about or in which era it will take place, but I bet it will be good, since this is one of the best series on the stands.
Garth Ennis' new horror series from Avatar, illustrated by Jacen Burrows. Looks like they're doing the "preview" issue which is actually part one of the story, like they've been doing with Warren Ellis' books lately. This one purports to be gruesome and shocking, a post-apocalyptic vision in which humanity has sunk to the most brutal, vile state possible. Sure to be nasty, and knowing Ennis, probably a good read. Maybe I'll be able to check it out someday.
Final Crisis #3
I'm annoyed that I pretty much have to stop reading this series, because it's been pretty good so far. Let Grant Morrison do whatever the hell he wants, and he can turn out some good comics, especially when illustrated by somebody like J.G. Jones. So, yeah, let's see some crazy shit, like Darkseid possessing Terrible Turpin, Flash outracing a bullet fired backward in time, and whatever else springs from Morrison's demented brain. I'll finish reading it eventually.
House of Mystery #4
I had to drop this one too, but I do kind of regret it, since it has been enjoyable. This issue features a short story illustrated by Steve Rolston. Cool?
Invincible Iron Man #4
Tony Stark continues to get some rehabilitation at the hands of Matt Fraction. Don't tell anyone, but I read a preview PDF of the issue, and it's still enjoyable, mostly because Fraction brings humanity to his characters. The scenes between Tony and Pepper Potts (who is undergoing some interesting developments) are especially good, but there's also fun technobabble and other silliness. I would keep buying it if I could.
Jack of Fables #24
Another one that I would like to continue to buy, but I don't know if I'll miss it too much, since I'm having trouble remembering what was going on. I think we were in the middle of an Old West tale, with Bigby Wolf pursuing Jack and his outlaw gang across the frontier, with less humor than usual for the series. Like all this other stuff, maybe I'll be able to catch up and read it someday.
King Size Spider-Man Summer Special
This looks to be a dumping ground for unused Spidey stories, with a probably unremarkable tale by Keith Giffen about something or other, and a sure to be enjoyable story by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover about Mary Jane teaming up with She-Hulk, Hellcat, and Marvel Girl to fight the Enchantress. That one would be worth the money, methinks. Marvel should put Tobin and Coover on a Marvel Adventures title and just let them do whatever they want. I would read it, or at least tell others to.
Patsy Walker Hellcat #2
Speaking of offbeat, charming Marvel books, this Kathryn Immonen-written story about the model/heroine adventuring in Alaska continues to appear. This issue (which I've read, in one of those previews) gets a bit weird and mystical, but it's still entertaining, mostly because of the excellent character writing and cool artwork by David Lafuente. I'll urge people to read this one too.
Here's the latest in comics "created by" celebrity types; the famous person in this case is Milo Ventimiglia, from the show Heroes (although I'll always think of him as Jess from Gilmore Girls), which must somehow give him comics cred. It's about a guy addicted to a drug that won't let him sleep, and maybe he becomes a superhero or something? Eh, whatever, it's probably pretty skippable.
Special Forces #3
Hey, Kyle Baker's oft-delayed Iraq war satire shows up, the same week as Rick Veitch's kinda-cancelled one hits shelves! Shared themes! I dug the first two issues of this, so I'll definitely be buying this one, when I get the chance. Let's hope I can remember what was going on (I believe it involved explosions and shooting. And boobs).
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane Season 2 #1
Hey, you know who would have been an excellent choice to take over this series? Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover. Just sayin'. Instead, we've got Terry Moore and Craig Rousseau (replacing Adrian Alphona, who was originally supposed to illustrate but only provides a variant cover), who aren't bad, but judging by the first issue, they certainly don't fill Sean McKeever and Takeshi Miyazawa's shoes very well. I should have a more in-depth review up at Comics Bulletin tomorrow.
Venom: Dark Origin #1
Obviously, this was a story that needed to be told. I'm sure the tale of Eddie Brock's psychological torment was just aching to spring from the mind of whatever schmuck was ordered to scrawl "some crap about Venom" by Joe Quesada. Yeah, don't miss it; surely the most important comic of the year.
Amelia Rules Funny Stories Vol 1 TPB
A collection of "classic" stories from Jimmy Gownley's well-regarded children's book. I'm going to have to start buying more stuff like this in a few years, when my daughter gets old enough to read. Gotta get the kids hooked on comic while they're young.
Blurred Vision Vol 4 GN
A fine art comics anthology that's been getting some attention lately. I should look for it (or previous volumes) at the library, because it seems to be worth a look. Here's a pretty good look at the book by Caleb Mozzocco.
Complete Zombies vs Robots TP
I thought IDW already put out a "complete" collection of this series, but I guess they're doing it again, including Amazons vs. Zombies vs. Robots, and who knows what else. I was actually kind of disappointed by AvZvR, but I still like Ashley Wood's art (I should try to write something up about that World War Robot book that came out a few weeks ago), so I'll recommend this halfheartedly. Hey, if you aren't sick of zombies yet, maybe you might enjoy this!
Creepy Archives HC
Dark Horse's fancy-schmancy collection of the classic horror anthology magazine, which featured stories by artists like Bernie Wrightson and Neal Adams. Too expensive for my blood, but maybe I'll try to get it from a library or something, because this is stuff that would be worth checking out.
Cthulhu Tales Vol 1 TPB
Boom! Studios collects some of their Lovecraft-themed anthology books. I never really got into any of these, but there's at least one story by fellow comics blogger Kevin Church in here, so I'll give it a plug. And I did get a review PDF of the book, so I might end up writing something about it if I ever read it.
DMZ Vol. 5 The Hidden War TPB
Here's the biggest source of conflict for me this week, since I don't really have the money for this book at the moment, but I really, really want to get it. DMZ is one of my favorite ongoing series, and I've been waiting for this one for a long time, so I'm sure I'll defy bankruptcy and end up buying it. I believe the issues collected here were a series of one-shot stories about various characters in the book's war-torn setting. Brian Wood does a great job writing this stuff, so I can't wait to read it.
Mask Vol 1 Omnibus TPB
Dark Horse continues to collect various comics from throughout their history, and while this one isn't a lost classic or anything, it's pretty enjoyable, especially if you're a fan of Doug Mahnke. The series doesn't have all that much in common with the Jim Carrey movie it inspired; it's more of a violent, anarchic romp, with some fun stories written by John Arcudi. Worth a look, if you've never read it.
Pro 4th Ptg
Man, this must be a popular book, since it seems like a new edition comes out every year or so. For anybody who doesn't know, it's a satirical story by Garth Ennis and Amanda Conner about a prostitute who is given super powers and joins an obvious Justice League pastiche, completely ignoring the way things are supposed to be done. It's a funny piss-take on the silly childishness of superheroes, if a bit of an obvious one. But Ennis is a pretty hilarious writer, and Conner is the perfect artist for the book, so I would recommend reading it if you never have. Unless you're offended by the idea of Superman shooting a plane out of the sky after getting a blow job, in which case, you should probably stick to your self-serious Geoff Johns comics and leave me the hell alone.
Punisher Vol 1 Welcome Back Frank HC
Wow, lots of Garth Ennis books this week. This looks to be a deluxe, expensive version of his revamp of the Punisher with his Preacher cohort, Steve Dillon. It's quite enjoyable, with lots of classic moments of humorous violence (including the bear-punch immortalized by Chris Sims). Again, it's worth a read if you've never done so.
Showcase Presents House of Secrets Vol 1 TPB
Will this be the fifteenth version of the original appearance of Swamp Thing that Mike Sterling owns? My sources say yes. This looks like one of the more desirable of the cheap black and white reprints, since these old horror comics are pretty cool.
Spider-Man J Vol 1 Turning Japanese Digest TPB
Unfortunately, this is not the 70s Spider-Man manga by Ryoichi Ikegami, but a newer version that originally appeared (in the U.S.) in the pages of Spider-Man Family. I'm still waiting for the Ikegami series to get a reprint, Marvel! This one can probably safely be skipped though.
From Toon Books, this kids' book by Eleanor Davis looks to be a cute story about a monster making friends with a boy. Fun? Probably. Here's the official page on Toon Books' site, with a couple preview pages.
Bleach Vol 1 Collectors Edition HC
Viz is dropping a crapload of books this week (month?), starting with this fancy hardcover version of the first volume of Bleach. I really should check this series out sometimes, if only because John Jakala gives it such high praise.
Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo Vol 1 TP Shonen Jump Edition
I've seen an episode or two of the anime version of this series, and it's dementedly funny and bizarre (if quite a bit juvenile), following the adventures of an afro-ed muscleman who fights evil with his prehensile nose hairs. I don't know how the manga compares, but this volume is one of many on my review pile, so I'll probably get to it eventually.
Croquis Pop Vol 1 GN
One of Yen Press' manhwa books, this has to do with people who can see spirits in some sort of "dead zone" and use those visions to make art. Weird, but maybe cool.
Gin Tama Vol 7 TP
Another series I should try to catch up with, since Jakala also gives it praise. Samurai vs. aliens (I think)!
King Of Thorn Vol 5 GN
I've gotten behind on this series, and now that I don't have any money to spend, it doesn't look like I'll get caught up anytime soon. It was a fairly lightweight action series, so I probably won't miss it too much, but it was still pretty enjoyable. Check it out, if post-apocalyptic plague survivors fighting dinosaur-like creatures sounds like your sort of thing.
Rosario + Vampire Vol 2 TP
I read the first volume of this, and it was not terrible. I've got this second volume on my review stack, so maybe I'll get to it, and if so, I'll let you know if it's worth bothering with. Monster schools do seem to be popular these days...
Short-Tempered Melancholic And Other Stories GN
This is a collection of shojo manga superstar Arina Tanemura's short stories, and I should probably read it (it's yet another item in my queue of reviewables), since I've gradually become less resistant to her work after having it shoved down my throat by Shojo Beat. We'll see if I can stomach it.
Shonen Jump #1 5th Anniversary Collectors HC
The fancy hardcover version of the first issue of Shonen Jump is also showing up this week/month. If you're an SJ obsessive, here's something for your birthday wish list. I reviewed it recently, if you want to know what I thought.
SS Astro Asasho Sogo Teachers Room Vol 1 TP
Another book from Yen Press, this is a collection of a four-panel strip about a group of female high school teachers. Looks like it could be all right, although that 4-koma format doesn't always translate especially well to Western eyes. Here's some info at Yen's site.
Sugar Princess Skating to Win Vol 1 GN
Finally (whew!), we've got another shojo series from Viz. I talked about the first chapter when it was previewed in Shojo Beat, and it looks like a pretty solid shojo series that I could actually read. Hopefully it won't disappoint.
Okay, enough of that. More content tonight, one hopes.