Monday, August 3, 2009

This week, I get a slight break, maybe

Elsewhere: I've got a review of Incarnate #1 up at Comics Bulletin. If you're wondering what that is, see below.

Missed it: This got lost in the SDCC shuffle for me, since I wasn't paying very close attention, but apparently Gerard Way and Becky Cloonan are doing a comic called Killjoys. Way talks about it here. I hope this is good, but since Umbrella Academy is pretty awesome, and I always love Cloonan's art, I expect it will be.

Mini-review: Ed Brubaker's Angel of Death is a pretty enjoyable little action movie, starring Zoe Bell as an assassin who sort of gets a conscience after receiving a grievous head injury (that's a pretty simplistic description). There's some nice fight scenes, and Bell is quite good, but the highlight is probably Brubaker's complex script that sees Bell's character getting tangled up with an extensive mafia hierarchy. Pretty cool, although it ends with a cliffhanger that sets up a sequel, which is good in an open-ended way but annoying in that it doesn't really seem like an ending. It was originally serialized online, but I don't think it's available anymore (here's the site, in case somebody wants to prove me wrong); now it's out on DVD. Check it out.

The last few weeks have been crazy, so this might be a Wednesday to slow down a tiny bit, or something. Of course, next weekend sees the Wizard Chicago Comicon, so that's going to keep me busy again (and have me spending money). Oy.

New comics this week (Wednesday, 8/5/09):

Absolution #1

Ah, Avatar. They used to be the transgressive comics company, telling stories with sex and gore that was so, so shocking (not really). Now, DC and Marvel are both equaling them in levels of nastiness, so what is Avatar supposed to do to compete? Tell a violent superhero story, of course? Since you can't find that anywhere else or anything. Christos N. Gage writes this one, which seems to be about a superhero who decides to get violent and murder criminals rather than arrest them. Wow, innovative. Hey, how many comics with a similar premise can we name? I'll kick it off with Black Summer and the obvious choice of the Punisher.

Agents of Atlas #9

Another issue of Jeff Parker's awesomeness, as the team confronts Jimmy Woo's ex, who is now also a rival to the throne of his empire. Art this time around is by Dan Panosian, who, from what I've seen, draws some kind of odd faces, but comes up with plenty of cool imagery. Man, I hope this book doesn't get cancelled.

All Winners Comics #1

Marvel's latest 70th anniversary thing, with a story by Karl Kesel and Steve Uy about all the golden age heroes teaming up, presumably to fight Hitler. Maybe fun? I dunno, these specials might be running out of steam.

Big Questions #12

Anders Nilsen's latest issue of his series that's apparently about birds exploring a plane wreck? I'm not sure, I haven't read any of it. Not that I don't want to, but at this point, I think I can wait for a collected version. I hope it doesn't take too long though, because I really want to read this.

Boys #33

Damn, I still gotta read that last trade. I think people are dying and shit in this current arc? I'm behind.

Chew #3

This book seems like the one that people are talking about, and from what I've seen, it looks really nice and is pretty fun. Seems like it's another one to catch up on at some point.

Dark Reign Zodiac #2

Oh man, here's probably the best thing to come out of Marvel's big event of the moment, with a totally balls-out nasty violent bit of nihilism from Joe Casey and Nathan Fox. Kick ass (and yes, it's much better than Kick-Ass).

Dead Run #3

Has anybody been following this zombie post-apocolypse thing from Boom!? I should give it a read and see what it's all about.

Destroyer #5

The gross Robert Kirkman Marvel MAX thing comes to a close, and it's enjoyable enough, but the series hit a high point around #3 and has kind of dropped off since then. It's still all right though; I should have a review up tomorrow at Comics Bulletin.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? #2

More Philip K. Dick text with pictures. I'm still not convinced it's better than just reading the book, but whatever.

Doom Patrol #1

DC is trying once again to relaunch this series, and who knows if it will work this time around (my money is on "probably not"). There's a decent creative team on board though, with Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire. Wait, those guys are only doing the Metal Men backup feature! Well, that should be a good read, at least. On the main book, we've got Giffen and Matthew Clark, whoever he is. Maybe it will still be all right?

Ghost Riders Heaven's on Fire #1

I'm not sure what's going on here; I guess this kicks off Jason Aaron's last story arc on Ghost Rider? But they're relaunching it as a miniseries? I dunno. I still haven't read the damn book, but I always hear that it's great. Maybe this will be worth a shot. More than one flaming motorcycle dude, big demon battles or something, Roland Boschi on art; yeah, it could be all right.

Greek Street #2

Some people (like that asshole Tucker Stone) thought that the first issue of this Vertigo book was terrible and pretentious, but I read it and actually kind of liked it. Maybe I'm an easily-amused semi-intellectual who likes to play "Spot the Reference" (that explains why I like Fables, I guess), but it was interesting and bizarre, and I'm usually willing to give Peter Milligan the benefit of the doubt. I'll still wait for the trade though.

House of Mystery #16

More Vertigo stuff; like other books, I need to read the previous volume, dammit. I have no idea what's going on in this storyline, but Richard Corben draws this issue's guest story, so I'm all over it (when it gets collected).

Incarnate #1

I wouldn't normally bother to mention this sort of thing (unless I thought of a dumb joke or something), but I'm reviewing it for Comics Bulletin. It's one of those celebrity books, by Gene Simons' son Nick, and it's about immortal demon-gods preying on humanity in a manga style. Dumb? Kinda. You can read my thing for more; the link's up at the top of the post.

Invincible Iron Man #16

Matt Fraction keeps detailing Tony Stark's descent into drooling idiocy, and Salvador Larocca keeps tracing photos. I actually don't mind this book as of late.

Jersey Gods #6

This is another one that I need to catch up on; I considered buying the first trade last week, but decided I was spending too much already and had too damn many books sitting next to my bed unread. I'll try to get to it at some point though, since I do like what I saw of the Kirby-esque cosmic action. I hope it doesn't disappoint.

Luke Cage Noir #1

I haven't been following the Marvel noir comics at all, since I find the whole exercise to be kind of dumb, but this one might be worth a look in case it can manage to capture a Devil in a Blue Dress feel or something. Probably not very likely, but you never know when you might be surprised.

Tyrese Gibsons Mayhem #1 (of 3)

Oh lord, why would I bother to mention this. Celebrities, dabbling in comics! Annoying! I guess it's just to link to Brian Hibbs' recent column about dealing with Gibson and promoting the book, which I found quite interesting. The comic itself seems dumb though, just a generic vigilante superhero thing. Avoid, says I!

Wednesday Comics #5

Hey, I realized the one serial from this that I didn't mention last week: Sergeant Rock! What was I thinking? That one's been cool, mostly due to Joe Kubert's art. It'll be funny if it's just Rock getting the hell beat out of him for the entire series, and then getting rescued in the last installment. So yeah, this series is a fun read; I'm thinking my favorite is Kamandi, with the absolutely beautiful artwork. Strange Adventures is also damn good, as is Hawkman. I can probably just copy and paste those last two sentences each week for the rest of the run.

Witchfinder In the Service of Angels #2

Tucker seemed to hate this one too, so I bet I would like it. Mike Mignola writes another Hellboy-verse thing, and it's probably spooky and cool. I'll watch for the collection.

8-9-3 GN

This Xeric Grant-winning graphic novel by Jack Hsu is about a Yakuza assassin having action-packed adventures, and it looks like it could be pretty cool. He says he's influenced by stuff like Crying Freeman and John Woo movies in this interview (which also has some preview art), and that's not bad company to aspire to. Yeah, I could check it out.

Abstract Comics Anthology HC

Fantagraphics' newest anthology is a collection of, well, read the title. I saw the book at MoCCA, and it looked pretty nice, which was actually contrary to my expectations. It's definitely more of an art piece, but you can't really expect anything else, I guess. Still, it's fascinating to see what you can do with comics when you're dealing with non-representational, non-narrative imagery, stretching the limits of the medium. Give it a look, artsy-fartsy types! You can download an excerpt at Fanta's site.

Agents of Atlas Prem HC Dark Reign

I mentioned this series above, so now I'll pimp it again: this collects the first story arc, and it's really good comics. Read it! Except I would wait for a paperback version, since the hardcover really isn't all that necessary. But that's just me.

Complete Jack Survives HC

Buenaventura Press is releasing this collection of Jerry Moriarty's classic strip from Raw. It was apparently an attempt to connect with his father and write about the latter's life, and it's received quite a bit of acclaim. Chris Ware writes the introduction to this volume. Seems like one of those "important" reprints that everyone should read; I imagine I'll glance at it in a year or two.

Death of the New Gods TPB

So, by all accounts, this was pretty fucking awful. I think it was supposed to be a sort of prequel to Grant Morrison's Final Crisis, but if anything, it served to make people leery of anything having to do with the New Gods. Did anybody read it? Can anybody tell me what actually happened? I think I glanced at an issue or two out of curiosity, and it seemed to have nothing to do with Final Crisis; the Infinity Man was killing Metron or something, and I guess the Source had taken on a body and was killing other people, and it didn't make any sense, and Superman was crying. Wow, it's total train wreck awfulness. So yeah, don't buy it, but if somebody wants to tell me all about it, feel free.

Edgar Allan Poe's Tales Of Death And Dementia TP

Simon & Schuster are putting out this kid-targeted adaptation of some of Poe's stories by Chris Grimly. I don't know how well Poe works in comics form, but this could still be kind of cool.

Warren Ellis' Frankenstein's Womb GN

The latest graphic novel in Warren Ellis' Apparat sub-imprint, this seems to be a bit of historical fiction about Mary Shelley traveling to Frankenstein's castle and getting the inspiration for her famous novel. I've really dug the other books of this sort that Ellis wrote, so this should be another good one, I expect. Art is by Marek Oleksicki; Avatar always seems to get those foreign guys to draw their books, don't they?

Gigantic Robot HC

Also from Buenaventura, this new Tom Gauld book looks pretty amazing, as anyone who has seen any of his art would expect. I guess it was on display at MoCCA, but I missed it. It's kind of expensive, being only 32 pages for $17, but it's really large with board book pages and features some stunning artwork, so maybe it's worth it. You can see some preview pages here.

Gwaii SC

Arcana is publishing this kiddie comic about a young sasquatch having adventures or something. Looks like it could be kinda cute. Maybe.

Irredeemable Vol 1 TP

Hey, this is another example of those violent superhero books I was talking about above. Being Mark Waid's over-hyped series about (basically) Superman going evil, it got a bit of flack when the first issue debuted, but it's turned out to be a decent story about people not being sure what to do when the most powerful superhero on earth decides to just randomly start killing people and shit. Sometimes effective and scary, other times kind of dumb, but not terrible or anything. So here's the first volume if you want to get on board.

Locas HC Vol 2

Oh man, it's another huge collection of Jaime Hernandez's amazing stories from Love and Rockets. I'm not sure if this collects the entire second volume's worth of work or not, but it does include Ghost of Hoppers and The Education of Hopey Glass. I'm torn as to whether I should get this or wait for the softcover collections that will surely follow, but I do definitely plan to own these stories in some form or another. Greatness. Here's where you can download an excerpt, if you need persuasion.

Magic Pickle And The Garden Of Evil TP

More kids' comics. Scott Morse has this new volume in his goofy series; I haven't read any of it, but I've heard that it's tons of fun. I'll have to check it out sometime.

Metal Men TPB

This is the softcover collection of the Duncan Rouleau written-and-drawn miniseries from a year or two ago. I was interested in it at the time, but I never did get around to reading it. Maybe this is my chance, but since I've kind of lost the will, I might look for it at the library or something rather than buy it. Take that, DC!

MMW Golden Age Young Allies HC Vol 1

Do people buy these pricey collections of old Marvel comics? I am kind of interested in reading some of the golden age stuff, but there's no way I'll spend a ton for these sorts of things. Might be fun reading though. There's a recommendation for you.

Pax Romana Volume 1 TPB

Jonathan Hickman! I really liked this series about dudes going back in time and fucking around with the Roman Empire. It's the kind of thing that I hope Hickman can still find time to do now that he's doing a lot of work for Marvel. The "volume 1" indicates a follow-up; make it happen, Hickman!

Rose GN Graphix Ed

Didn't this come out last week? Did I even mention it? Eh, just in case, it's a sort of prequel to Bone written by Jeff Smith and illustrated by Charles Vess. It's pretty decent fantasy stuff, and it's also quite easy on the eyes. Not really necessary to the whole saga or anything though.

Spider-Man And The Human Torch HC

This is a fancy, overpriced collection of the miniseries that Dan Slott and Ty Templeton did a few years ago exploring the history of the two title characters. It's pretty good reading though, making for a fun look at their relationship and even being kind of touching at the end. Hmm, that sounds lame. Fine, don't buy it then.

Transmetropolitan Vol. 3 New Print TPB

The next volume of the current version of this series' collections, this one contains issues 13-18, the "Year of the Bastard" storyline. I thought these were going to be expanded or something, combining two volumes into one, but maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, I like this comic, but I haven't read all of it. I need to do so.

When We Fall GN

Wow, this looks like it could be incredibly, obnoxiously precious, but maybe also compelling and emotional? It's by somebody who calls himself "Mr. Clement", and it's about a rabbit who "travels through time to collect a spaceship filled with cookie crumbs of broken relationships". Yikes. It does look nice though, so maybe the "cute shit all about feelings" style won't drag it down. Or maybe I'm a cranky old bastard who has no room for emotions in his black heart, and this is actually a wrenching masterpiece or something. Take your pick.

Young Lovecraft GN

This is the first print volume of a Spanish webcomic about, obviously, a young H.P. Lovecraft and his humorous adventures. Sounds interesting, but if the sample given on the English translation of the website is any indication, it's not all that different from the usual American webcomics that are quippy and fairly dumb. Maybe it gets better?

Tezuka's Black Jack Vol 6 TP

Man, I'm behind on this series as well, and I love me some Tezuka. Awesome surgery and crazy shit; this series rocks. I'll have to try to catch up soon.

Shonen Jump Vol 7 #9 September 2009

And finally, it's the latest issue of the boys' manga, with lots of speed lines and sometimes-comprehensible action. I've read this one, and I might write about it if I get around to it in between all my Kirby obsessions and whatnot. I miss Shojo Beat.
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That appearst to be the extent of interesting releases, from where I'm sitting. Not much for me to buy, which is nice. I'm sure there will be more to come soon though.