Monday, November 16, 2009

This week, no catchy post titles come to mind

One link: This may have been up for a while already, but the latest "issue" of MySpace Dark Horse Presents contains a Groo story that's a preface to the latest miniseries, The Hogs of Horder; "Blighter", an enjoyable story about an alien bounty hunter by Jeff Parker and Ben Dewey that's hopefully not just a one-off, and a couple of Conan/Solomon Kane tales by the usual suspects (Guy Davis!). Good stuff, as usual.

New comics this week (Wednesday, 11/18/09):

Authority The Lost Year #3

Right on the heels of last week's reprint of the Grant Morrison/Gene Ha issues of this series, the continuation by Keith Giffen and Darick Robertson shows up. Will it be worth reading, or at least interesting? Maybe!

Big Questions #13

I thought this issue of Anders Nilsen's series about birds investigating an airplane crash (I think that's what it's about, at least) had already come out, but who knows. I really want to read this sometime, but I'm waiting for a collection. Nilsen is one hell of a great artist though; I can't wait.

Cowboy Ninja Viking #2

Here's the second issue of A.J. Lieberman and Riley Rossmo's odd espionage via multiple-personality craziness comic. Lieberman sent me the first two issues, so hopefully I'll have something about it up soon; suffice to say, it's pretty unique and strange, and not just the mashup of various "cool" genres that the title suggests.

Deadlocke #1

This one-shot from Dark Horse by Arvid Nelson (Rex Mundi) and Nick Stakal (Criminal Macabre) is apparently based on a young adult novel called Venomous by Christopher Krovatin, but since I've never heard of it, it's new material to me. From the description, it sounds like a riff on Fight Club, with rich teens engaging in debauched parties that involve bare-knuckled fighting, and a main character named Locke who is trying to suppress a personality that he created for a comic that shares the title of this book. That does sound kind of interesting, and while I haven't read much of Nelson's work, I do like Stakal's art, so this might be something to check out. Here, have a preview.

Dr. Horrible #1

And here's another Dark Horse one-shot, with a story about the origins of Joss Whedon's musical villain by Zack Whedon and Joelle Jones. The lesser-known Whedon has written a few Dr. Horrible-related stories for MySpace Dark Horse Presents, but this appears to be all-new material, so if you need to read more spinoffs of your popular online videos, here's your chance. Here's a preview.

Dominic Fortune #4

Howard Chaykin's Marvel MAX miniseries ends here, with an apparent trip to the 1936 Berlin Olympics (or maybe that was last issue) and an action-packed gunfight against Nazi spies. What I've read of this series has been pretty enjoyable, full of swearing, nudity, sexual references, violence, and all the stuff that Chaykin likes. Good times, don't let it pass you by just because it's published by Marvel.

Drone #1

This new series from Red 5 sounds kind of like that movie Gamer, with robots at war remote-controlled by hackers who use them for their own enjoyment. Not a bad premise, and depending on the art, it could be a pretty cool action comic, and who knows, maybe there's some satire/political commentary mixed in as well. One to check out, maybe?

Kookaburra K #1

It's Marvel's latest translation of a comic by French publisher Soleil, although this one features an artist recognizable to Western readers in Humberto Ramos. It sounds like a post-apocalyptic space fantasy of sorts, with a small ship carrying some survivors (one of whom is a wizard) escaping from a destroyed Earth and having intergalactic adventures. Maybe fun? I haven't been very into Ramos' art in the last few years, but you never know, this sort of thing might be tailored to his sensibilities and give him an outlet for his wilder extravagances. If I ever read it, I guess I'll see.

Legion Prophets #1

IDW has this new miniseries that functions as a prequel to the movie Legion, which comes out in January (a release date that's always a sign of quality). It's apparently about demons and angels fighting, which could be cool, depending on how explodey it is rather than religious. So if you can't wait for the film, here's your fix. Enjoy, sacrilegious jerks!

Luke McBain #1

Now this just looks hilarious. It's a vanity comic from country singer Trace Adkins, starring his likeness in a story "inspired by" (or ripped off from, if you're being unkind) the movie Walking Tall. Just look at the cover; I don't know what that is he's holding, but it's obviously his version of Joe Don Baker's two-by-four. But as that review states, it might not be all that terrible, especially considering the talent involved: writer David Tischman (Vertigo's Bite Club) and Kody Chamberlain (Punks, Pretty Baby Machine). Not that I'm planning to buy it or anything, but if silly projects like this have to be made, the least they could do is be readable.

Nola #1

This new series from Boom! Studios looks interesting, a sort of crime/revenge story set in the post-Katrina ruins of New Orleans. Naming the heroine of the book (her name is the title) after the city is a bit on the nose though, isn't it? Still, it's one I'm interested in, so if I read it and find it worth talking about, I'll let you know.

Nomad Girl Without a World #3

More of Sean McKeever's stories about an otherworldly girl Bucky who just wants to meet Captain America, or something. So far, it hasn't been bad; hopefully it will continue to be one of those little gems in Marvel's vast line of tiresomeness.

Powers Encyclopedia Vol 01

Since Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming are relaunching Powers as a (supposed) monthly comic, they've got this promotional "official handbook"-style thing to either try to gain new readers or help people remember what the hell the comic is about anyway. I actually like the series quite a bit, even if I was getting a bit tired of it by the end of the last volume, but while I'm interested in the relaunch, I have little to no interest in this sort of thing. Powers isn't the sort of series that's all about power levels and intricate character histories, at least not for me. Maybe that's interesting to some, but I'd prefer to just read the stories that Bendis tells, especially focusing on the street-level crime and the two main characters and their foibles. When that sort of thing starts again, I'll be interested, but this seems like little more than a cash grab, or at least a bit of creator self-indulgence.

Punisher #11

Here's the beginning of the "Franken-Castle" storyline that's been plastered all over ads in various Marvel comics lately, with the Punisher being revived after having been chopped up into pieces by Dark Wolverine. That's a funny idea, but who knows where it will go or if anything interesting will be done with it. Eh, I'm not really a fan of the Punisher anyway, but people still seem to love him, so enjoy, necrophiliacs!

Robot 13 #2

This is an interesting comic, about some sort of strange, Mignola-esque robot fighting mythological beasties. I kinda liked this issue and the previous one, although I hope some explanation is to be had at some point. Give it a look though; it's good to support these indie-type comics, right?

Spider-Man 1602 #2

More Jeff Parker; that guy is everywhere these days. Does anybody at all care about this alternate Elizabethan-era version of Marvel? I think it's ending soon anyway, but, man, what a weird concept to stick around for this long. I did read this issue though, and it's not bad, but there's little point, other than, as with any alternate-setting/Elseworlds comic, to see what characters pop up and how different-yet-the-same they are. I guess that's fun for some, but really, Parker is talented enough that he shouldn't have to slave away at this sort of nonsense. Come on, Jeff, move on to bigger and better things!

Talisman Road of Trials #1

I read the #0 issue of this Stephen King/Peter Straub comic because Del Rey sent it to me, but I could barely make any sense of it, possibly out of willful ignorance. I think it's based on a novel, so maybe if you're familiar with the source material it is more understandable. From what I could make out, it's about a kid who can travel between "our" world and some sort of magical, fantasy kingdom, an ability he inherited from his father. Now he has adventures and stuff, which really shouldn't be such a confusing concept. Maybe it gets better here in the series proper. Or maybe it's just for King fans. Whatever.

Underground #3

Good god, Jeff Parker, how many comics do you write? This is at least the third one this week (counting Thunderbolts, which I didn't bother mentioning, since even with his contribution, I have no interest), but it's probably the best, what with being creator-owned and all. The first two issues were pretty good, so I'm hoping the quality continues. Nice art by Steve Lieber, a gripping story about hiding in caves and shit; yeah, quality comics. Read it if you haven't been already.

Uptight #3

I'm pretty damn certain that this came out earlier this year, but if it's getting another printing or something, that's cool. For those who don't know, it's Jordan Crane's series, a sort of one-man anthology full of great art and compelling stories. If you missed it the first time around (like I did, although I recently remedied that mistake), give it a look. You won't regret it.

Victorian Undead #1

Here's a new thing from Wildstorm, either jumping on the recent bandwagon of crossing zombies with classic literature or just happening to coincide with it; it's a Sherlock Holmes mystery, but with...well, you know. Written by Ian Edgington, art by Davide Fabbri, cover by Tony Moore. I'm not sure why Holmes would need to be part of a zombie plague story, but maybe Moriarty is behind it all somehow. Eh, it could be fun, or it could be lame. Since I'm sick of zombies, I'll lean toward the latter; this sort of thing has to be good to interest me these days. Make it happen, Wildstorm!

Viking #4

So, has this series gotten any more readable since the first two issues? I want to like it, but it's just been annoyingly hard to follow, when it really shouldn't be. Somebody let me know, and maybe I'll try to catch up. The art's been nice, I'll give it that.

Wolverine Weapon X #7

Should I bother mentioning this? Everybody knows about Wolverine, right? The last issue of this series was interestingly strange, with our hairy hero stuck in an insane asylum and unable to remember who he is or how he got there. Also, there's a guy experimenting on the people there. Kinda silly, kinda creepy, mostly weird. I guess if you have to have a Wolverine comic, letting Jason Aaron do whatever he wants with the character is the way to go.

Alex Raymond's Rip Kirby: The First Modern Detective Vol 1 1946-1947 HC

Your Golden Age of Reprints entry of the week, collecting a bunch of sure-to-be-pretty Alex Raymond art in one of those fancy IDW hardcovers. If I ever read this, I can find out what Dave Sim keeps going on about.

Destroyer Prem HC

Collecting that recent miniseries by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker in which they revamped a Golden Age Marvel character as an old guy struggling to gorily murder all his villains before he perishes of a bad heart. Mostly fun, and it doesn't take itself too seriously, even though there's stuff about family and responsibility and all that. I'll still bitch about the price though; wait for the softcover collection, I say!

Driven by Lemons HC

I've been seeing reviews of this new Josh Cotter book here and there, and it looks pretty amazing, full of mindbending near-abstract art and a flood of ideas that seemingly poured straight from his cranium onto the page. I'll have to check it out, given the chance. You can download a preview here.

Jane HC Misadventures of Bright Young Thing

I guess this counts as a Golden Age of Reprints entry, although it's more of a curiosity here in the U.S., rather than a historical treasure, as it is in England. It was a popular girlie strip that started in 1932, and while she was often caught nearly naked, during WWII, as a show of support for soldiers (or something like that), she appeared fully nude. Yowza! Hey, I don't mind some good old fashioned cheesecake, so maybe this would be one to read, you know, for historical, educational purposes.

The Nam TP Vol 01

I've never read any of this Marvel series from the 80s, but I often saw it on shelves. Apparently it's a realistic story about the Vietnam War, showing the conflict from the perspective of soldiers on the ground. It's pretty fondly remembered, from what I can tell, and since I do like war comics, maybe I should give it a read sometime.

Pictures that Tick TP

This is a new edition of an out of print book that collected a bunch of short comics and illustrations by Dave McKean. I've never read it, but as everybody knows, he's a pretty damn good artist, so I bet it's worth my time if I ever get the chance.

Runaways Home Schooling Prem HC

Oh crap, it's more of Marvel's rampant overpricing, especially egregious in this case, when the title was stealthily cancelled, yanking the rug from under the new creative team's feet. Kathryn Immonen and Sara Pichelli had just gotten started on a new run that had a lot of promise, and were obviously not at a stopping point, but the series ended after they had only done four issues, and now Marvel is collecting it in an expensive hardcover for $25. For four issues! Come on! I still recommend reading it, at least if you're a fan of the series like me, but it's just not worth that much money for that little amount of pages and an unfinished story. Dumb.

Unknown Vol 1 HC

This collects the first miniseries in this Boom! series by Mark Waid and Minck Oosterveer, about a terminally-ill detective who is searching for answer to the mystery of what happens after death. I've heard it's pretty good, and a follow-up mini has already begun, so I should definitely give this a read and see what I think. Yes, I really should.

Walt Disneys Christmas Classics Vol 1 HC

Boom! also has this collection of a bunch of Christmas-themed Disney comics, with the highlight probably being a bunch of good Donald Duck stories by Carl Barks and his peers, including "Christmas on Bear Mountain", which was the first appearance of Uncle Scrooge. I think Mickey and others also make an appearance, but as is the case with most of the Disney comics, the ducks rule the day. I still think it's early for Christmas stuff, but I guess you gotta get those things on the shelves in time for the holidays...

Wasteland TP Vol 05 Tales of the Uninvited

What? We can't have another collection of this series already; the latest storyline only just started! Okay, this volume is actually a collection of the various one-off stories that came in between storylines of the series, usually featuring guest artists. So that includes Carla Speed McNeil, Joe Infurnari, and Chuck BB, with some art by regular series artist Christopher Mitten, including the double-sized, full color 25th issue. Good stuff, although if you're not a regular reader of the series, this is definitely not the place to start. But if you've only been reading the collections, you'll finally get to see what you've been missing; the McNeil issue in particular adds some background information to the series' second storyline. Yep, I do like this series. That is all.

Battle Royale Novel 2nd Edition

Not a comic! But Viz is putting out this new version of the novel by Koushun Takami, with a new introduction by Max Allan Collins and an interview with the late Kenji Fukasaku, who directed the film adaptation. That movie and its sequel are actually my sole experience with the story, although it has also been adapted into a manga series, and probably a video game or something. I do really like the movie, so it might be interesting to read the book sometime to see how it matches up. Of course, with no Takeshi Kitano in the book, I think it's going to suffer...

Tezukas Black Jack TP Vol 08

Here's the latest volume of the adventures of Osamu Tezuka's badass surgeon. I really need to read these sometime soon...

Oishinbo Vol 06 The Joy of Rice

Viz keeps putting out volumes of the long-running cooking series; I certainly may continue to read them as well. Rice certainly doesn't seem all that joyful, but I'm sure this series will imbue it with amazing flavor, and probably some father/son conflict as well. Good times.

Pluto Urasawa x Tezuka Vol 6 TP

And here's the latest volume of Naoki Urasawa's adaptation of Tezuka's Astro Boy, as awesome as always. I really liked it; surprise, surprise.

And that appears to be all. Kinda slow week, or so it seems. Maybe I'll skip my usual trip to the store, but don't worry, I've got plenty to write about. Stay tuned, as I always say, ignoring the correct technology terminology.