Saturday, July 25, 2015

Previews Highlights: September 2015

I've scoured Previews Catalogue for the best of what the upcoming month has in store for comic shops.  Here's what's happening in September...

Comic Books


Captain America: White #1
Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

The latest in the creators' Color series for Marvel.


Power Cubed #1 (of 4)
Aaron Lopresti

A new mini-series from Aaron Lopresti, whom I've enjoyed since his Crossgen days.  This book's about a teenager who can create anything he wants by thinking it, with the help of an impossible piece of technology.

 
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50
Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman and Mateus Santolouco

The turtles vs. Shredder in a battle that decides the fate of New York.


Plutona #1 (of 4)
Jeff Lemire and Emi Lenox

Five kids make the shocking discovery of the world's greatest superhero...dead in the woods.  Great looking art by Lenox, in the capable storytelling hands of Lemire.


Head Lopper #1
Andrew MacLean

An oddball comic with an indie feel from the creator of ApocalyptiGirl.


Aliens/Vampirella #1 (of 6)
Corinna Bechko and Javier Garcia-Miranda

So ridiculous it might work.

Graphic Novels


Sacred Heart GN
Liz Suburbia

A punk-infused coming-of-age graphic novel, courtesy of Fantagraphics.

Collected Editions


S.H.I.E.L.D. by Lee and Kirby: The Complete Collection TP
Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Dennis O'Neil and various

Lots of S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff coming out this month to celebrate their 50th anniversary!


Batman: The Golden Age Omnibus HC
Bill Finger, Gardner Fox, Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson and various

What a great excuse to get the first issues of Batman.


The Goon Library (Volume 1) HC
Eric Powell

Eric Powell's beloved comic gets the deluxe hardcover treatment in this new collection series.


Birds of Prey (Volume 1) TP
Chuck Dixon, Jordan Gorfinkel, Gary Frank, Dick Giordano, Greg Land and various

I love these first issues of Birds of Prey.  Hopefully with this coming back into print, DC plans to collect more than just two volumes this time around.


Sandman: The Overture Deluxe Edition HC
Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III

The brand-new Sandman story is collected.


Greenberg the Vampire TP
Jim DeMatteis, Steve Leialoha and Mark Badger

Marvel is releasing several horror collections, including this obscure title, Monster of Frankenstein and Steve Gerber's Man-Thing, just before October.


Wolf Moon TP
Culleen Bunn and Jeremy Manco

This is another good one to go into October with, with a cool premise.  Hunting down a werewolf, when a different person becomes the beast under each full moon.


Walt Kelly's Fairytales HC
Walt Kelly

The creator of Pogo was also an animator for Disney films such as Snow White and Pinocchio, so of course he did some fairy tale comics!  This is an all-ages collection of some sure-to-be-amazing comics.


Descender (Volume 1): Tin Stars TP
Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen

The first collection of the excellent science fiction series.


Wild's End (Volume 1): First Light
Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard

Dan Abnett of Guardians of the Galaxy fame pens a story about animals in a small town that is invaded by aliens.


Step Aside, Pops!: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection HC
Kate Beaton

More witty comics from the acclaimed web master.


Walt Disney's Donald Duck: "Trick or Treat" HC
Carl Barks

A collection of spooky Barks' Donald Duck comics just in time for Halloween.  Also available this month from IDW, is the first of their collections of Donald Duck European reprints - Donald Duck: Shellfish Motives.


Dennis the Menace: The Classic Comic Books (Volume 1) HC
Fred Toole, Owen Fitzgerald and Al Wiseman

These popular comics are being collected by Papercutz.

Manga


Yo-kai Watch (Volume 1)
Noriyuki Konishi

A big sensation in Japan, this is a cute manga haunted by Japanese supernatural creatures.


Final Fantasy Type-O (Volume 1)
Tetsuya Nomura and Hiroki Chiba

I can't believe that I haven't seen a Final Fantasy manga before this.

Miscellaneous Items


Age of Ultron coloring book

Marvel is jumping onto the adult coloring book bandwagon...ugh.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Grading Marvel's Battle World: Round Two

Marvel's Battle World is well under way, so let's take a look at more of the Secret Wars tie-ins.


Age of Apocalypse #1
Fabian Nicieza and Gerardo Sandoval

Cypher is hunted by agents of Apocalypse and rebels alike, for some destined role he will play in the future of the world ruled by the mad mutant Apocalypse.  With pretty minor powers, it's cool to see how his abilities come into play in a neat way.  And there are fun battles and interesting alliances going on.  It's rather enjoyable revisiting this post-apocalyptic world

Grade: B


Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders #1
Al Ewing and Alan Davis

The whole remembering-there-were-worlds-before and we-can't-talk-about-it thing is getting a little old by this point.  In this new title, which does not feature Brian Braddock as Captain Britain, but rather Faiza Hussain (from Captain Britain and MI-13) as the title character, we see two neighboring territories - Mondo City and Yinsen City, who do not get along, suddenly without a border between them.  There's nothing terribly impressive to this book in terms of plot, although Alan Davis' art is always a treat, so it has that going for it.  Faiza is kind of a bland character, so it's disappointing not to see a flawed Brian or even his messed-up sister leading this book.  This is utterly middle-of-the-road and forgettable.

Grade: D


Civil War #1
Charles Soule and Leinil Yu

The Civil War has continued for six years, and peace talks are finally underway between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, who meet in neutral territory between the two sides.  Unfortunately, an assassination brings things to a head, and it seems that peace is no longer and option and things will come to a head.  I like that this takes place well into a prolonged Civil War, and I really like the set-up and surprise assassination.  A solid first issue, but it's a lot of set-up and far too light on action.

Grade: B-


E Is For Extinction #1
Chris Burham, Dennis Culver and Ramon Villalobos

Morrison and Quitely's beloved run on X-Men is revisited in this Battle World territory.  The creators do a good job of being true to that original vision, even if it does seem a little Morrison-light.  There are some appropriately twisted scenes, and it prominently features some of the odd characters that were introduced during the run, such as Beak and Angel.  This is a fun book, and competently recaptures the feeling of that era of X-Men comics, but don't expect a return to greatness.  After reading this issue, you're bound to forget it.

Grade: C+


Guardians of Knowhere #1
Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato

Great battles are the highlight of this title featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy (minus Star-Lord), which, I'm pleased to say, sees the Guardians back in Knowhere, the head of a celestial.  Angela is hunting down Gamora, who has taken unauthorized treks over the territory border.  Deodato's art is always fantastic, and it suits this title very well, making all of the characters seem pretty bad-ass, especially Angela.  This issue is just a lot of fun, and reminds us why these characters are so cool.

Grade: A-


Korvac Saga #1-2
Dan Abnett and Otto Schmidt

Lord Michael Korvac runs the Forest Hills realm of Battle World, which has a tense relationship with its neighbor, Lord Simon Williams.  When citizens of Forest Hills are turned into monsters and threatening the safety of others, Korvac turns to the original members of Guardians of the Galaxy to uncover what's behind these strange and dangerous transformations. It's nice to see the characters from Guardians 3000 get some love in Battle World, and a mystery a little fresher than we see in most of the other realms.

Grade: B+


Runaways #1-2
Noelle Stevenson and Sanford Greene

Brian K. Vaughan's originals Runaways series had a stellar hook: kids who run away when they realize their parents are supervillains.  This new book takes that initial premise and applies it to Battle World: students pulled from different territories around Battle World discover that the school they are at is evil.  The final exam, which is allegedly a danger room-type battle against generic baddies, where getting killed means you lose the exam and are kicked out of the school, is literally a battle to the death between students who have no idea that they are fighting fellow classmates.  In this regard, the first few issues are a little more Avengers Arena than Runaways, especially given the mish-mash lineup of young characters including Jubilee, Cloak, Dagger, Amadeus Cho, Pixie, Delphyne Gorgon, Skaar, and only one of the original Runaways, Molly.  But with the initial premise behind them, the whole "run away" part is about to occur, and it'll be interesting to see how far these students can get in Doom's world.

Grade: A


Siege #1
Kieron Gillen, Filipe Andrade and James Stokoe

Agent Brand is front-and-center in this Battle World title, which sees her working on the Shield, protecting the border of Battle World against hordes of aggressive zombies, Annihilation swarms and Ultron robots.  Should the Shield fall, as happened once before (leaving Brand an orphan herself), all is lost and thousands die.  Brand and her team can never defeat the monsters they face, but they can't afford to lose.  I love Brand, so seeing her in such a big role is great, especially with Kieron Gillen at the helm, who portrayed her so well in the short-lived S.W.O.R.D. series.  The panels can be a little disjointed and confusing at times, but for the most part, this is a fast-paced title that shows an important piece of the Battle World puzzle, where the stakes couldn't be any higher.

Grade: C+

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ant-Man


Ant-Man (Hank Pym)
First Appearance: Tales To Astonish #35 (1962)
Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby


Ant-Man (Scott Lang)
First Appearance: Avengers #181 (1979)
First Appearance as Ant-Man: Marvel Premiere #47 (1979)
Created by David Michelinie and John Byrne

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Grading the New DC

The New 52 didn't last, and now DC is launching titles anew, and showing an interest in allowing its creators to have fun with the books, with the heavy-handed editorial side backing off a bit.  The New 52 would never have allowed such colorful takes on DC's beloved heroes.  But it seems that DC may be taking a page from Marvel's book, and allowing creators to let the books breathe a little bit, with some reinvention and fresh twists.  So, how are they doing so far?  I sampled some titles to find out.


Black Canary #1
Brenden Fletcher and Annie Wu

Now, if this isn't a prime example of DC allowing creators to reinvent their characters, I don't know what is.  Lance finds herself the frontwoman of a punk rock band called Black Canary, and trouble seems to follow them everywhere, giving them a bad reputation.  Aliens attack and Lance's past is teased in this action-oriented title.  Wu's pencils give this a fresh, hip look to go along with the interesting place Fletcher has taken this character.  This is a wild, refreshing take on the character of Black Canary, and one that is quite welcome.

Grade: B+


Doctor Fate #1
Paul Levitz and Sonny Liew

Okay, so I will confess that I am a big Sonny Liew fan, so it will come as no surprise that I really liked this book.  Ever since Wonderland, I've loved Liew's unique look and his delicate linework.  I wasn't sure how it would fit in to a superhero comic, but it actually works quite nicely.  I would even compare the look and feel of the book to Marvel's hit Ms. MarvelDoctor Fate follows the very likable Khalid, an Egyptian-American med student who is given the power of Fate's helmet by Bast.  He now has to juggle his family life, love life and college with the powers bestowed on him to save the world from Anubis, who wishes to flood the world and wash humanity from it.  No pressure or anything.  Again, the whole fish-out-of-water, juggling life with powers thing feels a lot like what G. Willow Wilson has done for Ms. Marvel, but the Egyptian mythology and the feral jackals also bring to mind Scott Snyder's Animal Man a little bit.  And if this book can do with Egyptian mythology what Azzarello's Wonder Woman did with Greek mythology, this is going to be one special book.  The only major shortcoming that I found was that there is a prologue that you have to go to DC's website to find to have a clearer picture of what's going on.  A great way to alienate new readers.  DC should know better by now.

Grade: A-


Prez #1
Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell

One of the more interesting titles that DC launched is this remake of an older DC title, about a teenager who becomes president.  It sounds like it would be a whimsical, Richie Rich type of book, fun for all ages.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  Instead, Prez takes about every wrong turn you can take in a comic.  There's an over-the-top sob story about a girl who works hard to pay for her dying father's healthcare.  And then there's the in-your-face cultural commentary about social media and politics that just feels dirty and gross.  There's nothing fun here.  There's nothing whimsical.  It just feels heavy-handed as hell.  Throw in some forgettable artwork, and we can all watch this title that had some potential sink quickly.  And that will be a mercy.

Grade: F


Robin, Son of Batman #1
Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray

Damian, done right, is a standout character for DC Comics.  And from the dialogue and actions of Damian in this first issue, the creative team get the character.  Unfortunately, they gave him a very mediocre story to maneuver through.  This is more the type of story we saw in the failed New 52.  Very middle-of-the-road.  The action is boring.  The "villain" is boring (if you can even call that guy a villain - why include such a dull scene, especially to open a new book!?)  The quest introduced gives a glimmer of hope that there will be some good stories down the road, stemming from Damian's "Year of Blood."  But I'm not here to whet my appetite.  I'm here, for this first issue, to be taken in, to be wowed, to be left salivating for more.  I didn't get even close to that.  I got what I get every time I open a mediocre superhero comic - fading interest.  The man-bat, Goliath, is a really neat addition, but...he should have been cooler.  He should have really stood out.  Damien's connection to the League of Assassins was handled competently, but again, nothing to wow me.  This just fell flat in too many areas.  Damian is really the only part of this book that I loved (and they really portrayed him well), but I can't recommend, or continue reading this title, on that alone.

Grade: D+

Monday, July 13, 2015

These Trailers: DC

A slew of trailers debuted at Comic-Con this weekend.  Among the notables that are available for our viewing pleasure feature DC Comics characters.


"Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice"


"Suicide Squad"

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Previews Highlights: August 2015

I've scoured Previews Catalogue for the best of what the upcoming month has in store for comic shops.  Here's what's happening in August...

Comics To Give a Try


House of M #1
Dennis Hopeless and Marco Failla

Relive Marvel's House of M event in this new Secret Wars series.


Batman '66 #26
Jeff Parker and Lukas Ketner

Popular DC villains who never made an appearance in the 60's Batman television series are making their way to the comic version of said series.  This issue sees Poison Ivy taking on the dynamic duo.

Graphic Novels To Read


City of Crocodiles GN
Knut Larsson

Post-apocalyptic fantasy from Sweden.


Diary of a Teenage Girl GN
Phoebe Gloeckner

This excellent graphic novel is coming back into print, what with a movie on the horizon.

Collected Editions To Buy


A.K.A. Jessica Jones: Alias (Volume 1) TP
Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos and Bill Sienkiewicz

This fantastic series has been out of print for awhile now, but with a TV series on the horizon from Netflix, it's becoming available again for new readers!  I would assume that they will drop the "A.K.A." from the title, as that's what happened with the Netflix show.  But this is one series worth checking out, for anyone who hasn't read it!


Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. - The Complete Collection TP
Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen

Speaking of fantastic series, this off-beat title is getting reprinted, featuring great art and goofiness.  And Elsa Bloodstone is in it.


Luke Cage: Second Chances (Volume 1) TP
Marcus McLaurin, Dwayne Turner and various

And with Luke Cage getting the small screen treatment, Marvel is of course starting to turn out collections featuring this character as well.  This book will collect the twelve issue Luke Cage series from 1992 and an issue of Marvel Comics Presents.


He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collections HC
Tim Seely, Steven Grant, Bruce Timm, Robert Kirkman and various

This is an interesting idea for a book.  This collects the little mini comics that came along with Masters of the Universe and Princess of Power action figures from the 1980's.  Sixty-eight comics, some from before popular artists today.


MAD's Original Idiots: The Complete Collection of the Work of Jack Davis, Will Elder and Wally Wood in MAD Comics #1-23 Slipcase
Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Wally Wood and Will Elder

I think that subtitle explains this book well enough.  Also available are individual collections by each of the artist.


Suicide Squad (Volume 1): Trial By Fire TP
John Ostrander, Luke McDonnell, Karl Kesel and Bob Lewis

Marvel isn't the only one reprinting material in anticipation of film versions of their characters.  With a Suicide Squad movie in development, DC is making the material available for future fans.


Uncle Scrooge: Pure Viewing Satisfaction TP
Jonathan Gray, Rodolfo Cimino, Romano Scarpa, Bas Heymans and various

This is the first collection from IDW's exciting reprint project of Disney comics.  For an affordable $12.99.


Artist's Proof Edition: The Walking Dead #1
Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore

A giant-sized edition of the original comic in black and white, without grey tones.


Hellbreak (Volume 1) TP
Culleen Bunn and Brian Churilla

A jailbreak-style story, but this extraction team is busting prisoners out of Hell.

Manga To Collect


Ultraman (Volume 1)
Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi

Because, why not?


My Hero Academia (Volume 1)
Kohei Horikoshi

This is supposed to be a hot title in Shonen Jump right now.

Comic Strip Collections To Enjoy


Walt Disney's Donald Duck: The Daily Newspaper Comics (Volume 1) HC
Bob Karp and Al Taliaferro

These early strips, going back as far as 1938, have never before been collected!  Reproduced from material from the Disney vaults.

Miscellaneous Items To Ogle


DC Comics Super-Pets
Dex-Starr and Streaky Plush