Monday, March 31, 2008

This week: lots of stuff, some of which should be worth buying

Plenty of interest this week. Also: a review of Transhuman #1, by me, at Comics Bulletin! Read it! (note: I've been informed that JM Ringuet is male). Then:

New comics this week (Wednesday, 4/2/08):

Amazing Spider-Man #555

Despite some affection for the character, I don't usually read Spider-Man comics, especially in the midst of the current deal-with-the-devil/reboot kerfuffle. But this issue, along with the next couple, is illustrated by Chris Bachalo, and the art looks pretty incredible, so it might be hard to pass up. On the other hand, it's written by Zeb Wells, who I don't really have any feelings about one way or the other, and it appears to guest-star Wolverine (and a bunch of ninjas), and lord knows I love Wolverine comics (that was sarcasm). I'll probably decide in the store, but I guess it's saying something that I'm even considering it.

American Splendor Season Two #1

No waffling about this one though; I'm all over a new Harvey Pekar miniseries. I definitely dug the previous "season" that he did with Vertigo, and this one should also be cool. I like that they've paired him up with some well-known artists, providing some good variety and fun stories. This issue sees David Lapham, Chris Weston, Mike Hawthorne, and Dean Haspiel (of course), among others. Should be fun.

Anna Mercury #1

From Avatar, a new series by Warren Ellis, about a spandex-clad vigilante, or something like that. I expect there will also be some techo-fetishist sci-fi, but that's kind of a given with Ellis. Art by Fecundo Percio, multiple covers by the usual Avatar suspects, weird groin feeling by me.

Boys #17

I'm not sure if this is actually coming out this week (it's not on my local shop's list), but I'll welcome it if it is. I'm enjoying this current storyline, with Hughie's courting of, uh, what's-her-name, the goody-goody superhero chick. And other stuff, most of it well done. Don't let me down, Ennis!

Casanova #13

No worries about this one letting me down though. How awesome was that last issue? It was titled "Fuck Shit Up", and it delivered on that promise. So now let's see the repercussions. I think I might be enjoying this second storyline even more than the first, which is saying something. Also, Matt Fraction's backmatter about his son being born was pretty endearing to me, for obvious reasons (if you've been keeping up with my personal news). Keep up the good work, fellas!

Countdown Special Kamandi 80 Page Giant

Hey, it's Jack Kirby! I guess this is stuff that ties into whatever is going on in DC's current crossover(s), but it's probably also a good sampler of what the series has to offer. Me, I'll save my money and put it toward a collection of the series, if I can find one that's not too expensive. I do definitely want to read it someday though; that's my goal in life: read as much Jack Kirby as possible. I don't think I'll ever be fully satisfied.

Kick-Ass #2

If you want more Mark Millar-flavored "realistic" superheroics, here you go. I don't think I'm supposed to discuss it, but I've read this issue, and, well, it's more of the same. If it's your sort of thing, I'm sure you'll continue to read it, but I'm not planning on following it too closely.

Logan #2

The first issue of this series seemed to get a somewhat cold reception, perhaps due to its use of Hiroshima as a "cheap" emotional plot development. I didn't mind it, but maybe I just expected that sort of thing in a tale of Wolverine's untold past. And really, I'm more interested in an enjoyable Brian K. Vaughan-written story and some lush Eduardo Risso artwork. That issue certainly didn't disappoint in the latter area, that's for sure. I especially love the warm, painterly colors. So, I expect more of the same, and who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and be pleasantly surprised by an especially good twist or something.

Many Happy Returns

This looks to be a one-shot containing some continuing adventures of small press stuff from the 90s. I don't really care about Crossfire or Licensable Bear (actually, that one's more recent, I think), but I'm interested to see a new "Journey" story by William Messner-Loebs. I picked up an issue or two of that series in a discount bin a while back and became hooked, which led me to grab as many as I could find. So I might have to get this one just for that story, and suffer through the other parts.

Secret Invasion #1

For those interested, it's the beginning of Marvel's latest "nothing will ever be the same" crossover. If you're buying it, be sure to get the blank cover variant, so you can crayon in your own drawing of Paste Pot Pete as a Skrull.

Holmes GN

Collecting a miniseries from AiT/PlanetLar, this is a revisionist take on Sherlock Holmes, in which he's a dope fiend and Watson is his supplier. Or something like that. It could be enjoyable.

Jenny Finn Doom Messiah

I've heard this is a pretty good series, by Mike Mignola, Troy Nixey, and Farel Dalrymple. It's some kind of Victorian, Lovecraftian monster story. Hey, why not? It's from Boom! Studios for $14.99, which isn't bad, since their books are often overpriced. EDIT: I'm referring to their single issues, which are $3.99 (and really, even the Marvel/DC standard of $2.99 is a bit much for what you're getting). I used to avoid books at that price level (which also eliminated much of IDW's output), but I've since caved. Now that I look at Boom!'s selection, I see that most of their trade collections are $14.99 or cheaper, which is not bad at all. So I take it back, with the qualifier that waiting for the trade seems to be increasingly the best option when buying comics.

Rabbis Cat 2 HC

Joann Sfar! I've read the first volume of this series, and it's pretty good stuff. I liked the first half better though, when the cat was talking and questioning religion. The second half was all about love and marriage and not as interesting to me. I don't know where Sfar goes with the story next, but it should be interesting reading.

Shakespeares Hamlet The Manga Edition GN
Shakespeares Julius Caesar The Manga Edition GN
Shakespeares MacBeth The Manga Edition GN
Shakespeares Romeo & Juliet The Manga Edition GN

When I saw these, I originally thought they were part of the line that Chris Butcher linked to the other day, which seemed interesting. That one (Hamlet) was by Neil Babra, and I liked the art style, which reminded me of Nick Bertozzi, even if the script, which tries to "reinterpret" the play into more modern language, makes me worry. I suppose something like that could be done, but it would be very tricky to get it right without losing what makes the plays interesting. Nevertheless, it's an interesting experiment, more so than what these actually are, which is illustrations of the plays in a manga-esque style, with art by Tintin Pantoja (Hamlet), Yali Lin (Romeo & Juliet), Eve Grandt and Candice Chou (Macbeth) and Hyeondo Park (Julius Caesar). Here's some more information about the line. Is it worth reading? Who knows? But it all seems like an attempt to get kids interested in the classics by dressing them up in the latest fad. Oh, grownups, will you ever learn?

Tonoharu Part One

From Top Shelf, this is a Xeric Award-winning graphic novel about expatriates living in Japan, focusing on a character who is an English Language Teacher. It's by Lars Martinson, and you can find out more about it at his website. I must say, it looks pretty good.

Zombies vs. Robots vs. Amazons HC

For Ashley Wood devotees, here's a chance to spend twenty bucks on a collection of a three-issue miniseries about, well, read the title. It's decent enough, but I wouldn't recommend it to anybody who isn't already a Wood fan. There's some nice art (a lesbian orgy in the first issue is a standout scene), but it's kind of indulgent and fairly pointless. I guess I'm saying I didn't mind reading it, but I would definitely hesitate before recommending it to anybody, especially in light of the price.

Dragon Head Vol 10 GN

Manga time! It's a series that I'm way behind on! This one is actually the final volume, so I suppose I have a chance of catching up now.

Gun Blaze West Vol 1 TP

From the creator of Rurouni Kenshin, it's a shonen series about gunslingers. I'm just about to start reading the first volume, which Viz sent me for review, so I'll let you know how it is.

Haruka Beyond The Stream Of Time Vol 1 TP

Please don't buy this. For further elaboration, read my complaints in my monthly Shojo Beat roundups. Here, pick a random one from the last few months and watch me complain. Then go buy something good, like Honey and Clover or Sand Chronicles.


Speaking of Shojo Beat, I talked about the first chapter of this (one-volume?) series when they ran it as a preview, and it's not too bad. It's by Arina Tanemura, the creator of Full Moon and Gentlemen's Alliance, among other stuff. Check it out if that sort of thing is your bag.

Path of the Assassin Vol. 10

And here's the latest volume of the latest Kazuo Koike/Goseki Kojima series to hit the US. Maybe I'll get to it one day, whenever I finish reading Lone Wolf and Cub and Samurai Executioner.

Okay, I think that's everything, and it's quite a bit, isn't it? Ah, looks like I'll continue to get behind. Maybe I'll be able to eke out a review tonight, but don't bet your life savings on it or anything.


  1. Amazing Spider-Man #555 - Zeb Wells wrote my favorite Spider-man story of the last...

    I'm not sure, but the last since the Spider-man story drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz. Trippy stuff, with the Sandman running around budding different bodies with different personalities, and the whole thing had overtones of definition of sexual identity. And was drawn by Sam Keith!

    So he can certainly do good work.

    American Splendor Season Two: Season Two? Shouldn't we be on, like, season 16 by now?

    Kamandi - It pisses me off how much Kirby is out of print. Has Black Magic ever been reprinted? Has Sandman ever been in trade? How come I can't fine a copy of BOYS RANCH (Right up there with my favorite Kirby stuff ever) for less than fifty bones. Gah.

    Many Happy Returns - You don't love Licensable Bear? EVERYBODY loves licensable bear. Clearly in denial, you are.

    Rabbi's Cat - Man, I know I read volume one. But I remember nothing about it.

    Probably not a ringing endorsement.

    Tonoharu - This looks cool. I'll probably get it.

  2. About Dragon Head--this is the only book i haven't been excited about in this series so far, and it's not because it's the 'last one, what will fill the void' it's because i've been with this since day 1 and i'm sitting here going--the last one? Really? This whole series has been this great ramping up, ratcheting the tension, building the vibe--and now it's going to end? But...but nothing really happened. Dudes just grooving in the post-apocalyptic, bumping into freaks, moving around, not figuring stuff out and barely getting by.

    How do you end that?

  3. MA: What series was that Wells/Keith story in? It sounds pretty neat; I might have to search it out.

    As for American Splendor, this is the second "season" (i.e. miniseries) published by Vertigo. But yeah, calling it "season 2" is pretty dumb, considering the book has been around in some form or another for, what, 35 years?

    I would love to read as much Kirby as I could, but I'm not familiar with Black Magic. Travesty! I doubt Sandman has been collected; it's pretty poorly-regarded, isn't it? I'm partial to 2001: A Space Odyssey; I have most of the back issues, which were fairly cheap. And The Eternals is also pretty awesome.

    Yeah, I'm in denial or something about Licensable Bear. I did read one issue a couple years ago, and I thought it sucked. I guess marketing jokes don't do much for me.

    Tucker: I've only read through volume 5 of Dragon Head, but I think I read somewhere that it doesn't have a very good ending. But yeah, judging from your description and what I've read, it would be hard to bring it to a satisfying close. Maybe Mochizuki (that's the mangaka's name, right?) got tired of it and just ended it, moving on to something else.