Monday, October 5, 2009

This week, I'm apparently not too hungover to write

I'm late linking to this, but if anybody missed it, I contributed looks at Fringe and Dollhouse to The Factual Opinion's TV of the Weak column. More coming this week too; those are always fun to write.

Also, I should note that of the various Japanese licenses announced recently, the only one that really grabs me is Vertical's acquisition of Felipe Smith's Peepo Choo. And if you want to know why, Jason Thompson has already done all the work with his most recent Comixology column; check it out for some nice examples of what we can expect to see.

New comics this week (Wednesday, 10/7/09):

Astonishing X-Men #31

Kicking off the "big" events of the week, Warren Ellis starts a new arc on his X-Men title, with Phil Jimenez on art and the team fighting the Brood or something. Space action! Could be fun, but you never know with the X-Men. They've defeated great writers in the past; it could happen again.

Batman and Robin #5

And here's more from Grant Morrison and everybody's favorite whipping boy, Philip Tan, marking time until good artists show up on the title again. Let the disassembling of Tan's every line all across the internet commence!

Batman the Unseen #1

Looks like it's time for another Kelley Jones-illustrated dose of Batman weirdness, although this miniseries is only five issues long, rather than the twelve installments of the other one that came out recently (it was called Gotham After Midnight, I think?). This one is written by Doug Moench, a classic Jones collaborator, and it sees Batman fight an invisible villain or something, but the real highlight is seeing what kind of craziness Jones can bring. I bet it will be awesome.

Boys #35

Garth Ennis continues with his current arc, and I'm getting antsy for it to be collected already so I can read it. That or the concurrent superhero-porno thing. I'll take whatever I can get.

Chronicles of Wormwood Last Battle #1

Speaking of Ennis, here's his latest thing from Avatar, a sequel to the Jacen Burrows-illustrated series starring the antichrist and his pal, the anti-antichrist (also, there's a talking rabbit). This one is drawn by Oscar Jimenez, whose more realistic style should make for an interesting contrast to Burrows slight cartooniness. I'll wait for a collection, but I'll probably end up getting this at some point; it's always fun to see Ennis riff on religion.

Criminal: The Sinners #1

Okay, here's a legitimate big event: the return of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips to their excellent crime series after a jaunt in the world of gritty supervillainy. This new story sees the return of Tracy Lawless, who is now working for the mob, as he ends up investigating a string of murders. I can't wait; this is one of the best comics coming out, and it's damn consistent. Don't let me down, fellas!

Crossed #7

More Garth Ennis, with the zombies and the raping and the cannibalism and the hey hey. Is this the final issue, or is there one more to go? I'm still not sure if I want to read this when it gets collected, but I'll consider it. It couldn't do me too much harm, could it?

Dark Reign: The List: Part 4: Secret Warriors

This appears to be the latest in Marvel's crossover thing, in which Norman Osborn apparently has one of those lists of people he hates, like he's in junior high or something. That's scary stuff, man. I like to think of him as Steve Buscemi in Billy Madison; if only Nick Fury would call him up and apologize, Osborn would cross him off and then put on some lipstick. Anyway, this one is somewhat notable due to being written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Ed McGuinness. I'll be surprised if it's especially good though. Marvel Comics: bland-ifying interesting indie creators since 2007!

Dark Reign Zodiac #3

This other Marvel thing of the moment is pretty great though, since Joe Casey and Nathan Fox used it as an excuse to do lots of crazy, violent, gross stuff in as awesome a manner as possible. See, you don't have to get smoothed out by the Marvel machine, people! Anyway, this is the final issue, and it will probably go out with a bang. Rock on, boys!

Days Missing #2

The first issue of this series was an odd little story about an immortal guy with time-changing powers or something. I mostly bought it for the Frazier Irving art, which was nice, but not his best work or anything. Caleb Mozzocco sums up what made the thing kind of unsatisfying here, and writer Phil Hester even showed up in the comments to sort of agree. However, this second issue of the series is written by David Hine, and it features art by my man Chris Burnham, so it's worth a look. I'm not sure if the creative team is going to rotate out with every issue, but it might be interesting to see different takes on the idea. See, comics aren't dead yet.

From The Ashes #5

Bob Fingerman is still wandering the wastes and being irascible, I suspect. I gotta read this series.

House of Mystery #18

I've kind of soured on this series, but it's still one that I keep my eye on. Who knows, it might pick up and get me excited again at some point. This issue features guest art by Werther Dell'Edera (on the main story, I assume), and the short mini-story of the month is illustrated by Jeff Lemire. Neat-o.

Incarnate #2

I didn't hate the first issue of Nick Simmons' manga-influenced comic about vampires (or whatever they are), but it didn't blow me away either. So here's part two, with more blood and guts and people yelling at each other. Enjoy, goths.

Incredibles #1

I didn't read Boom!'s previous Incredibles miniseries, but it seed to be pretty well-received. And it must have sold well enough, because now they're launching an ongoing series, still written by Mark Waid and drawn by Marcio Takara. I'll have to give it a read; I bet it's fun.

I Sell The Dead One-Shot

I guess this is a movie that's coming out soon? I don't think I've ever heard of it, but it's apparently some sort of 18th century thing about grave robbing and zombies, starring a hobbit and a Hellboy. This is a tie-in published by Image, written by Glenn McQuaid, the writer/director of the film, and illustrated by Brahm Revel, the creator of Guerillas, who is a really nice guy, so you should buy this to support him. Who knows, maybe it'll even be good.

Justice League Cry for Justice #4

I have no interest in reading this, but if all goes well, the online commentary about it will be hilarious. Whose sexual exploits will be lauded? How many other gay characters can be slaughtered? What sorts of deplorable/politically touchy activities will the "heroes" get up to? How bad will the art be? Man, I can't wait. It's like Identity Crisis all over again.

Kill Audio #1

Apparently Claudio Sanchez, the guy from Coheed and Cambria, is popular, although I have no idea if I've ever actually listened to any of their music. He's got this new comic out from Boom! though, written by him and illustrated by a "Mr. Sheldon", and it stars him as an unkillable dwarf wandering through a hellish cityscape and having weird adventures, or something. I've looked at it briefly, and it seems to make little sense, but maybe if you listed to his music while reading, it all comes together, man. I'm all for some weirdness on the comics shelves though, so go for it, strange frizzy-haired dude!

King City #2

For other weird, crazy city-wandering, check out this redo (and eventual continuation) of Brandon Graham's awesome sci-fi series, now printed in album size with new covers and extras. I read it the first time around, and I'm still buying it again, because it looks great. This is good stuff; don't miss it.

Planetary #27

I mentioned big events, right? Because this is probably the really big one for the week, for reals yo. The final issue of Warren Ellis and John Cassaday's long-delayed series, sure to be much-discussed and controversial. Or maybe not, I dunno. I still need to catch up on the series; I think I've only read through the second collection, although I do have the first three sitting around somewhere, I think. Maybe when that final volume comes out I'll go through them all in a blitz, and get all freaked out, thinking I'm seeing new patterns to the universe or something. Warren Ellis does like to mess with my head.

Spider-Man 1602 #1

I haven't read any of Marvel's 1602-related series since the first, Neil Gaiman-written one (and boy, was that a disappointment, probably the moment that I turned against Gaiman, at least in his comics work), but this one is at least notable because it's written by Jeff Parker, and I guess it's the "final" story of the 1602-verse? Whatever; the best part is Spidey's costume. That's hilarious, if you ask me.

Starr the Slayer #2

I almost missed the first issue in this series, but managed to catch up in time to read it. Normally I wouldn't care about barbarian shit, but Richard Corben's presence on art is always worth a look. It's got a nice metafictional hook as well, with the story being about the creator of the character being drawn into the world he made up via magic or something. I'm not always crazy about Daniel Way, but he's going for laughs here, with a lot of jokes about shit and fucking and whatnot. It's certainly an odd duck of a series, but you can rarely go wrong with Corben.

Strange Tales #2

More Marvel indie awesomeness! Man, I loved that first issue, and I expect this one will continue to be pretty great, with contributions by R. Kikuo Johnson, Matt Kindt, Jacob Chabot, Jonathan Hickman, Michael Kupperman, Tony Millionaire, Jim Rugg, Max Cannon, and more of Peter Bagge's "Incorrigible Hulk". Super-cool, daddy-o.

Sweet Tooth #2

Jeff Lemire's post-apocalyptic Vertigo series continues; I should try to give it a read. Also Essex County; that one's on my (actual, non-imaginary) to-read pile.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #3

The Ultimate Spidey relaunch continues, and it's still good, with some lovely art by David Lafuente. This issue has a showdown of sorts with Ultimate Mysterio, and other various teenage goings-on. This is still the best thing Bendis is writing, and he doesn't show any signs of stopping, which is nice.

War Heroes #3

I guess this is late? Mark Millar and Tony Harris have this new issue of their superheroes-as-soldiers series that was supposedly going to be an Ultimates series at one point. I haven't read any of it, and I probably wouldn't bother mentioning it if it didn't stand out as something that came out once upon a time and then disappeared. Enjoy, Millar lovers.

X-Babies #1

What the hell? I've never understood what the deal was with the baby version of the X-Men (or Mojo, for that matter), so why anyone would want to revive them is beyond me. But here they are, written by somebody named Greg Schigiel and illustrated by Jacob Chabot. Also included is the original X-babies story by Art Adams, so maybe that will shed some light on the situation for me. But probably not.

X-Men Vs Agents of Atlas #1

Although their series was cancelled (I think), the Agents of Atlas are neither gone nor forgotten; instead, they've got this miniseries that pits them against Wolverine and his pals after he got his arm melted off by M-11 (and they'll eventually become the backup in Incredible Hercules). Better than nothing, I guess. Jeff Parker's still writing, and Carlo Pagulayan is drawing, which is all right, I suppose, although I would have preferred Gabriel Hardman. You take what you can get. I should have a review up tomorrow at Comics Bulleting; I'll let you know.

30 Days Of Night Collectors Set

Hey, collectors! Do you already have three or four versions of this series? Well, then what's one more? This actually collects three softcover volumes of some of the various miniseries (the ones that Ben Templesmith illustrated, I guess) with a nifty slipcase. Not a bad deal for $40, really.

Alan Moore Pocket Essential Series SC

If you were waiting all your life for a reference to the Magus that you can carry around on your person for easy access to the particularities of his revisions of Swamp Thing continuity, your dreams have come true. I kid; I'm sure it's interesting enough. It's by Lance Parkin. Enjoy, obsessive minutiae-seekers!

Bloom County Complete Library HC Vol 1

IDW expands their line of comic strip reprints with this volume collecting Berkeley Breathed's modern classic strip. I don't think I ever read it when it was coming out, so here's my chance, I guess. I do like Breathed's art, and everybody seems to revere it as one of the last great strips. It better be good.

Cancer Vixen TPB

I guess this is a new edition (maybe the first paperback version?) of the well-regarded autobio comic from a couple years ago. I never did read it, but people seemed to like it, didn't they? Maybe that was just the mainstream press, who were just seizing upon these things called "graphical novels", and an Oscar-bait-style cancer story is just the thing to grab some critical regard. Maybe I'll read it one day and find out.

Dark Reign Fantastic Four TP

This was one of Jonathan Hickman's first things for Marvel, and it functions as a sort of prequel to his current run on Fantastic Four, seeing Reed Richards construct the Bridge so he could see into parallel realities and find out what they did about the whole Civil War/Secret Invasion debacle. Meanwhile, the other Fantastic Three bounced around other realities and became pirates and knights in shining armor, while the kids fended off Norman Osborn, who is contractually-obliged to show up in every comic Marvel publishes these days. It wasn't bad, but it's not essential either, maybe because of Sean Chen's not-especially-good art. But if you're a Hickman completist (does such a person exist?), by all means, get this.

Desperate Times GN IDW Edition

I had never heard of this before, but apparently it's a comic strip by Chris Eliopoulos about a couple guys in their 20s getting drunk and partying. It used to run as a back-up in Savage Dragon, and eventually got its own series for a while from Image. And now IDW is collecting it. I tend to like Eliopoulos on stuff like Franklin Richards, so this might be worth checking out.

Discworld Graphic Novels Vol 1 Colour Of Magic & Light Fantastic TP

I've read several of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books but never any of the comics adaptations; I wonder how well they work when visualized. About as well as anything, I expect. Anyway, here's a volume that collects two adaptations in one, for easy sampling. I might have to check them out if I get a chance; these two entries were never my favorite, but they had their moments. It's always fun to spend time with Rincewind the incompetent wizard.

Exurbia TP

Dark Horse has this graphic novel by Scott Allie, one of their in-house editors, and Kevin McGovern, about a guy who has to go on the run after getting framed for blowing up his apartment building. Also, his neighborhood is in chaos after a nearby city sank into the river, and lots of crazy stuff is going on. Sounds like a fun romp; I wouldn't mind giving it a look. Here's a 13-page preview.

Grandville HC

Dark Horse also has this other big release, the latest book from Bryan Talbot. It looks like a fun one, being a steampunk action/mystery starring anthropomorphic animals. Hey, why not? I love Talbot, and it's great to see him be so prolific lately, so hopefully this will not disappoint.

Harlequin Valentine HC New Printing

And here's another Dark Horse offering, reprinting an adaptation of a Neil Gaiman short story by John Bolton. It's not a bad story, and Bolton's art is always pretty. I won't tell you to avoid it or anything. Here, have a preview.

Jack of Fables Vol 6 The Big Book of War TPB

Ah, it's the latest collection of Jack stories, in which he apparently takes over the Golden Boughs retirement village, just in time for the Great Fables Crossover to throw everything into havoc. Or not; I'm not sure what happens exactly. But I bet I'll like it. I do dig me some Fables.

Joe And Azat TP

NBM has this new book by Jesse Lonergan, about his experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan. It's apparently a fictionalized version of events, but it still sounds pretty damn interesting, considering the strange state of the country, which is ruled by a seemingly-insane dictator who forces the citizens to worship him. For more information, and to see examples of Lonergan's work, check out his blog.

Peter & Max A Fables Novel HC

In other Fables news, the new prose novel comes out this week, and if you're a fan of the series, you'll want to read it. I just finished it (review coming soon!), and it's quite good, at least from the standpoint of somebody who is a regular reader. It does take pains to introduce and describe the concept though, so even newcomers can jump right in and enjoy. The story follows Peter Piper and his brother Max, both in the modern mundane world and in the past as we learn their stories. Good stuff, as always; Vertigo is definitely trying to position Fables as their tentpole series, similar to how Sandman used to be. I'm fine with that.

The Search TP

This appears to be an educational comic about the Holocaust (and a sequel to a book called A Family Secret) that was originally published in Dutch, put together by the Anne Frank House and telling a fictional account of a family living in the Netherlands while it was occupied by the Nazis, and touching on the various roles people played in the tragedy, from victim, to bystander, to perpetrator. Interesting stuff, or so one hopes. That is, it shouldn't be a dryly historical tale, but one that uses the form to make the story of history come to life, for better an worse. Here's some more information, if you're interested.

Strangers In Paradise Omnibus Limited Edition HC

I've never read any of this series by Terry Moore, but if I wanted to, here's the ultimate way to do so. It's a slipcased set of three hardcover books, two of them each being 1,074 page collections of the series, with the third collecting all the covers. All for $160, hoo boy. After reading his recent Marvel work, I'm no big fan of Moore, but this series is pretty well-regarded (although I've heard it goes downhill in the second half), so I could see myself giving it a try at some point. The library would be the way to go though, but if you're a big fan, this brick's for you.

Top Cow Bible TP

Inspired by Robert Crumb, the various art teams at Top Cow have banded together to give not just the book of Genesis, but the entire Bible their own unique visual spin. I can't wait to crack this thing open and see Witchblade as the Virgin Mary or The Darkness as King Saul. Man, that should be cool. Ha ha, no, that's not really what this is. I can only wish. This is actually a compendium of surely-vital information about all the various Top Cow characters and their activities and motivations as they crouch on rooftops being assaulted by tentacles and bizarre, nipple-hugging exoskeletons. I don't think is is a product that will be useful to a single person on the planet.

Western GN

This is a collection of supernatural Western comics originally published in the UK, featuring creators like Steve Bissette, Kieron Gillen, Dwight L. MacPherson, Leah Moore and John Reppion, and others. Maybe worth checking out? I sounds cool enough...

A Distant Neighborhood Vol 1 GN
Summit Of the Gods Vol 1 GN

For some reason, I've still never read any manga by Jiro Taniguchi, but I often hear very complimentary things about him, so I do want to check him out at some point. Here are two chances to do so, releases of some of his recent work from Fanfare/Ponent Mon. The first is about a guy who gets transported back in time into the body of his teenage self, and the second is an adventure story about climbing Mt. Everest. Both sound good; I'll have to try to get my hands on them.

Leave It To PET Vol 3 TP

Viz has a ton of releases this week, but only a couple that caught my eye, with this kids' series about a recycled-bottle-turned-robot and his bumbling adventures being one of them. Caleb Mozzocco got me interested in the series with his review, and I like silly kids' comics, so hopefully I'll get a chance to read this at some point.

Slam Dunk Vol 6 GN Viz Edition

This series, however, already has me hooked solid, with the combination of hilarious hijinx and solid athletic action working wonders and making me swoon over Taiyo Matsumoto's art. We'll finally get to find out the results of the practice game that has spanned the last couple volumes! I can't wait.

Is that it? Yeah, that's it. More posting today, tomorrow, whenever. It'll happen when it happens.