Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

31 March 2011

Avengers: The Initiative, v. 1: Basic Training

Collects: Avengers: The Intiative #1-6 (2007)

Released: 2007 November (Marvel)

Format: 144 pages / color / $14.99 / ISBN: 9780785125167

What is this?: In the wake of the disaster in Stamford, Conn., the government drafts young superhumans to train them and prevent another “New Warriors” type incident.

The culprits: Writer Dan Slott and artists Stefano Caselli and Steve Uy

I resisted Avengers: The Initiative for a long time. The stupidity of both Civil War and the issues that led up to it, combined with the “draft” of young superhumans, seemed an inexcusably stupid premise for a title. I softened my stance somewhat when House to Astonish praised Initiative and its successor title, Avengers Academy, in its year-end podcast. What finally pushed me to read Avengers: The Initiative, v. 1: Basic Training was that volumes 2 through 4 were available on Edward R. Hamilton. Ironically, although I don’t think I’ll buy those books, I did thoroughly enjoy Basic Training.

Avengers: The Initiative, v. 1: Basic Training coverI was worried The Initiative would hew the line, presenting a world in which the government was right, and the New Warriors — rather than the supervillians they fought — were to blame for the explosion that killed 600 people in Stamford, Conn. But I should have had more faith in writer Dan Slott. Basic Training shows us the government, whatever it says it’s interested in, is actually out for power. It might want to train young superheroes; more accurately, it’s interested in inducting and indoctrinating them. Worse, the government shows itself to be dangerously incompetent, with one hero dying in the first issue because of a trainer’s inexcusable stupidity and ignorance.

That’s not an accident — or rather, it is an accident, but it’s not an isolated incident. The government is awful, which is a given any time Henry Peter Gyrich, head stooge of the Commission for Superhuman Affairs, is around. The trainer who gets a recruit killed is not very good, which throws a different angle on the abusive drill sergeant stereotype, especially when that sergeant continually abuses the New Warriors despite several recruits (and one of his colleagues) being former members of that group. His savage beating in #6 is one of the greatest moments of visceral satisfaction I have had in the last few years of reading comics. The lab monkey for the Initiative, Baron Werner Von Blitzschlag, is a literal Nazi, who tells Hank Pym he might be a Nazi, but he was a minor one, and nothing he could do would equal the evil Pym has done. After all, Pym attacked the Avengers with a robot, made a Thor clone that killed Goliath, and created the genocidal Ultron; what Nazi wouldn’t be Pym’s fan? Which raises the unspoken question of why the New Warrior’s one tragic mistake changed the Marvel Universe but Pym creating a robot that destroyed an entire country is swept under the carpet.

The government sends innocent recruits out to kill, unprepared, and are later surprised when the recruits try to do more purely heroic actions rather than work crowd control. War Machine sends an inadequate recruit to take away Spider-Man’s powers. It covers up the death of a recruit, then covers up who beat Gauntlet. Gyrich is uninterested in developing the recruits as people, instead wanting to make them more efficient killing machines. One can say this is a cynical product of our modern age; on the other hand, it’s hard to argue the U.S. government in the Marvel Universe didn’t deserve someone saying how awful it is and how awful the pro-Registration “heroes” are.

These were things that needed to be said about the Marvel Universe, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing them. Now: is the story that says them any good?

It’s not as good as it could be. It really does feel, at times, like Slott is sacrificing story to make his point. There is a strong core of recruits — Cloud 9, Rage, Hardball, Komodo, and Trauma — and the teachers / administrators of the Initiative have clear, well-defined roles. Each of that core of recruits has his or her own story or subplot, but unfortunately, none of them except Cloud 9 seem to click, either individually or collectively. There is no team here; it makes sense in a military point of view, but it’s a bit harder to get behind as a reader.

Harder still are auxiliary characters who float around on the periphery. I know Thor Girl, Ultragirl, and Slapstick are part of the same group of recruits as the others, but they do so little — nothing, really, until #6 — it’s hard to see why they’re there. Well, that’s not true for Slapstick, although his character design clashes with the others, as it always has. But Thor Girl and (especially) Ultragirl blend into the background of generic blonde so that they’re difficult to differentiate from Cloud 9 … or anyone I’m supposed to know. It’s especially bad in issue #6, when one of the blondes confesses to having an affair with Justice, the counselor for the recruits. I had to look on Wikipedia to find out which one it was, and I can only partially blame fill-in artist Steve Uy — if that character had had more of a presence, the utterly generic look to the character wouldn’t have been such a problem.

Uy’s work is not to my taste, but he only draws #6. He has a thin line and a manga look that I find unattractive and unassertive, and his grasp of features means most of his characters look like they’re related. Regular artist Stefano Caselli is a much stronger artist. Although the fight scenes are a little weaker than I prefer — they seem like a series of unconnected cuts rather than a coherent whole — Caselli’s character design is pretty strong (tending toward varying the character’s t-shirt, though), and he can handle interpersonal scenes without boring the reader.

I won’t lie: if you’re not a fan of young hero books or if you are not prepared to be told how stupid post-Civil War Registration plots were, then you’re not going to like this. I did, though; I liked it quite a bit. Although this is not quite as strong as it could be, it still has plenty of promise, and I will read more of this series.

Rating:  symbol  symbol  symbol  symbol (4 of 5)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

30 March 2011

DC June 2011 solicitations (collected editions)

Will be picking up: Nothing. Sorry, DC!

Might pick up eventually:

  • Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash: I won’t say that DC is more adventuresome with their choices of Showcases than Marvel is with Essentials — really, how do you choose between Bat Lash / The War that Time Forgot and Killraven / Godzilla? — but I can’t see Marvel doing anything like this: jumping ahead in a character’s history to present an extended storyline. I understand it ties in with the May crossover storyline in the DC books, which involves Zoom changing the DC universe, but I have a fondness and curiosity for this story … the first Flash I ever read (and one of the first comics I ever read) was Flash #274, which teased the death of Iris Allen, and I’m curious to see what happens when Flash gets his chance at revenge. ($19.99)

Might pick up if the price is right:

  • The Steve Ditko Omnibus, v. 1 Starring Shade the Changing Man (hardcover): I’m a big Ditko fan, but I’m not sure I’m that big of a Ditko fan, if you catch my drift. ($59.99)
  • Welcome to Tranquility: One Foot in the Grave: Well, I was slightly amused by the first Welcome to Tranquility volume; I might try the second. ($17.99)

Already got one (earlier collection or original comics):

  • Fables Deluxe Edition, v. 3 (hardcover) ($29.99)
  • Gotham Central, v. 2: Jokers and Madmen: Hey! This time they’re reprinting all the stories! Find out what happened in #16-8 that DC didn’t want us to know about when they released Gotham Central, v. 3: Unresolved Targets in 2006. Also, it’s a twelve-issue trade for an affordable price; the creative team is top-notch, and there’s no reason not to buy this series. ($19.99)

Blackest Night:

  • Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps, v. 1 ($19.99)
  • Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps, v. 2 ($19.99)
  • Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps ($19.99)
  • Blackest Night: Green Lantern ($19.99)
  • Blackest Night: Rise of the Black Lanterns ($19.99)
  • Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps ($19.99)
  • Blackest Night: Seven Blackest Night books in one month! That’s $140 retail; supposing a 40 percent discount, that’s still a bill of $86. If you’re planning to buy all of these books in May, you fill me with both wonder and dismay. ($19.99)

The Rest:

  • The Absolute Sandman, Book Five (hardcover): Bits and bobs of Sandman after the series’s end. ($99.99)
  • DC Universe: Legacies ($34.99)
  • Firestorm: The Nuclear Man: I’ll admit to some curiosity about this, but the chances of me buying a TPB that features Bronze Age backups from Flash is slim. Also: too much of a possibility this will be like Essential Nova. ($17.99)
  • Gotham City Sirens: Strange Fruit (hardcover) ($22.99)
  • Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors, v. 1 (hardcover) ($22.99)
  • Hellblazer: Bloody Carnations ($19.99)
  • Jack of Fables, v. 9: The End ($17.99)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: The Curse (hardcover) ($49.99)
  • The New Teen Titans Omnibus, v. 1 (hardcover): DC catches omnibus fever, and I have to say this is a more worthy choice than Atlantis Attacks, Acts of Vengeance, or Evolutionary War. On the other hand, seventeen issues for $75 is insane. Sometimes, I’d like to have it explained to me how DC prices its collections; although I like to think a dartboard and a blindfold are involved, I have a feeling payments to creators has a great deal to do with it the vast differences. Still, there are five more issues in this omnibus than in this month’s Gotham Central, v. 2 and the omnibus goes for $55 more. Yes, New Teen Titans is a more revered title, but that, a hard cover, and five more issues are not worth $55. ($75)
  • Northlanders, v. 5: Metal ($17.99)
  • Outsiders: The Great Divide ($14.99)
  • Return to Perdition (hardcover): Max Allan Collins returns to Perdition, updating the setting to the ‘70s and a new generation. DC helpfully reprints two volumes of the previous stories. ($19.99)
  • Revolver ($19.99)
  • Road to Perdition ($14.99)
  • Road to Perdition 2: On the Road ($14.99)
  • The Secret Society of Super-Villains (hardcover): And this has more issues than the New Teen Titans Omnibus and a hard cover and goes for $35 less. Of course, I have no idea what the story is with this collection; the solicitation just mentions that there are supervillains (including Sinestro, Grodd, and Captain Cold) starring in this story. Hardly a compelling reason to buy it. ($39.99)
  • Superman: Grounded, v. 1 (hardcover): The train wreck begins (and ends) here! ($22.99)
  • X-Files / 30 Days of Night: Wait, did this slip through a wormhole from 2002? ($17.99)

Labels: , , ,

25 March 2011

Incredible Hercules, v. 5: The Mighty Thorcules

Collects: Incredible Hercules #132-7 (2009)

Released: April 2010 (Marvel)

Format: 152 pages / color / $14.99 / ISBN: 9780785136774

What is this?: For the good of Asgard, Hercules is asked to impersonate the Mighty Thor; Amadeus Cho, seventh-smartest person on the planet, investigates the mystery of the town of Excello.

The culprits: Writers Greg Pak and Fred van Lente and art by Reilly Brown and Rodney Buchemi

When I started reading Incredible Hercules, Incredible Hercules, v. 5: The Mighty Thorcules was what I was expecting.

Mighty Thorcules is, first and foremost, funny. At times, it’s hilarious, as when Hercules mocks the origin story of Thor or gives Thor a purple nurple (complete with the sound effect “NURP” in purple letters) during their fight. But it also continues the story of boy genius Amadeus Cho, confronting the architects of his woes, coming to grips with his parents’ deaths, and trying to get answers about where his sister is. However, writers Greg Pak and Fred van Lente manage to leaven Cho’s emotional adventure with humor, and there is a serious side to Hercules’s impersonation of Thor.

Incredible Hercules, v. 5: The Mighty Thorcules coverThe issues in Mighty Thorcules alternate between Hercules’s masquerade in Svartalfheim and Cho’s investigations in the soap-company town of Excello, Utah. Hercules’s story is far more enjoyable and lighthearted; with his father Zeus (reverted to a pre-teen appearance and without his memory) in tow and without the wise advice of Cho or Athena, Hercules moves through the plot with his usual straightforward, stupid, lusty verve. He shrugs off his father’s insults as best he can, despite how obvious it is that Zeus prefers the god Hercules impersonates. Zeus’s amnesia and disgust at Hercules’s “ingenious” plans — such as his answering the challenge of three-dimensional chess by simply knocking the board over, rather than actually trying to figure out the answer — allows the boy-god to serve as a comic foil for the Lion of Olympus.

I missed volumes 3 and 4 of Incredible Hercules, but it’s easy to understand the dramatic elements to this humorous story — Hercules’s battle for parental approval. Cho’s story suffers, however, from the lacuna; his quest is interrupted in my mind, and his character development is more dramatically affected. His final confrontation with Dupree and his coming to grips with his parents’ death are sapped of some of their emotional impact because I’ve missed some of the stories. Still, Pak and van Lente can’t be blamed for that, and I had no trouble following the story. The writers can only be concerned with the coherence of each individual story and the emotional impact of total story they have written.

To bring Cho’s story to a head, then, Pak and van Lente have to write the mental confrontation of Cho and Pythagoras Dupree, the six-smartest person in the world, in a way that isn’t dull, and they succeed. They also give artist Rodney Buchemi the opportunity to draw something more interesting than talking heads. Using a role-playing game as a way of expressing the confrontation between Cho and Dupree in the middle of Cho’s story was an excellent idea as well.

(One word about the Mastermind Excello RPG: I could not figure out what the mechanics are for dice rolls. Are you supposed to roll high? Low? Given the artwork, it could be a callback to the charming but confusing mechanics of 1st edition D&D, where the desirable outcome varied depending on the type of roll.)

Whoever is putting in the sound effects for the battle between Hercules and Thor — most likely either van Lente and Pak or letterer Simon Bowland — obviously was having a lot of fun. Besides the purple “NURP” when Herc gives Thor a double tittie twister, Thor’s boot to Herc’s groin is labeled with the sound “NUHHKRACK,” and his follow-up wedgie is labeled “HWWWWEDGIE.” Other sound effects include “SHOKKAKAAAAAN” (thunder); “WHATTAMANNNN,” “THORRRRULZ,” and “BACKATCHA” (Thor’s punches); and “SUKKKAPUNCH,” “GODDATHUNDAAA,” and “GOTCHAGAAAIN” (Hercules’s). The battle is ended when Zeus dispatches Malekith’s minion with a resounding “MALEKRUNCH.”

Each storyline has its own artist. Herc’s story is penciled by Reilly Brown, and I have to say I love his art. Brown is great with comedy; his characters are expressive, with the humorous story allowing each character broad reactions to the situation. His style is clean and extremely attractive — I’ll admit, it’s exactly the comic art style I have a great fondness for. His fight scenes are clear, and the battle between Thor and Hercules is outstanding: he manages to balance the humor with the power the two combatants throw at one another. Buchemi is also very good, and his style, although obviously different from Brown’s, goes well with his fellow artist’s. Buchemi gets the better design challenges, with the bifurcated nature of Dr. Japanazi and his servants and the Boltzmann brains, and he makes them very memorable. The RPG materials he draws also look like old RPGS (mostly by aping 1st edition D&D, as I mentioned), and there are occasional nice details I didn’t pick up on the first time I read Mighty Thorcules (the “0” and “1” on the different halves of Dr. Japanazi’s skull, the dead member of the Junior Genius Brigade from the RPG adventure lying outside Dupree’s real lair). I didn’t like his work as well as Brown’s, however; his art seems less consistent than Brown’s, and when he draws Cho and Dupree as young children, they look roughly the same (other than glasses and a slight difference in hairstyle) despite their different ethnicities.

Mighty Thorcules is an outstanding book, and not only is it worth reading, it was worth reading the first two volumes of Incredible Hercules to get to it. (And now I’m going to have to track down Love and War and Dark Reign; I’m eager to read v. 6, Assault on New Olympus, which was set up in Thorcules by promising a scuffle between Spider-Man and Hercules over Herc’s ex-wife, Hebe.) Mighty Thorcules is even a great value — six issues for $14.99 is a good deal at Marvel these days.

I find it hard to recommend Mighty Thorcules enough.

Rating: Marvel symbol Marvel symbol Marvel symbol Marvel symbol Half Marvel symbol (4.5 of 5)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

22 March 2011

Marvel June 2011 solicitations (collected editions)

Will be picking up:

  • X-Factor, v. 11: Happenings in Vegas ($14.99, ISBN: 9780785146551): The “No More Mutant” crap has really driven this title in weird ways, in directions I am not really fond of. Still, I keep reading the trades. Perhaps the re-emergence of mutants will get this book back on a track I am happier with; perhaps not.

Might pick up eventually:

  • Mystique by Sean McKeever Ultimate Collection ($24.99, 9780785155218): Another “Ultimate Collection” for Mystique, this time by Sean McKeever, another very good writer. It’s odd that this series is forgotten, despite work from Brian K. Vaughn and McKeever; if it weren’t for the X-Men: First Class movie coming out, who knows how long it would have taken to get these stories back in print?

Might pick up if the price is right:

  • Captain Britain, v. 2: Siege of Camelot (hardcover) ($39.99, 9780785156765): Two $40 Captain Britain hardcover collections in as many months? Perhaps Marvel is loading its audience with more Captain Britain than it can bear.
  • Fantastic Four: The Overthrow of Doom (hardcover) ($29.99, 9780785156055): Classic Fantastic Four, and by “classic,” I mean Bronze Age stuff that not many people remember. Still, I am fond of the story that follows this one — the team’s capture by the Skrulls and execution by accelerated aging — so perhaps I’ll pick this one up. On one hand, this collection has four writers for nine issues; on the other hand, it has art by George Perez and Keith Pollard, and I’m fond of all four of the writers (Len Wein, Roger Stern, Marv Wolfman, and Bill Mantlo).

Already got one (earlier collection or original comics):

  • Essential Spider-Man, v. 10 ($19.99, ISBN: 9780785157472): I have all the Amazing Spider-Man I want from this point forward, which is a little sad; I’d like to reward Marvel for getting into an outstanding part of Spider-Man’s history. I’d also like to give kudos to Marvel for getting their first Essential series to volume 10.
  • Essential X-Factor, v. 1 ($19.99, ISBN: 9780785118862): Solid but not exciting stuff — except for the Mutant Massacre, of course.
  • Essential X-Factor, v. 2 ($19.99, ISBN: 9780785120995): Not exciting stuff, unless you really like Warren as Death.
  • New X-Men by Grant Morrison, Book 2 ($14.99, 9780785155188): Excellent stories; you should read it.
  • Runaways, v. 5: Escape to New York (digest) ($9.99, ISBN: 9780785157397): Reissuing two Runaways digests. How curious … I figured once the digests were gone, they’d be gone for good.
  • Runaways, v. 6: Parental Guidance Digest (digest) ($9.99, ISBN: 9780785157458): Deceptive cover.


  • Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Marvel Comics, v. 6 (hardcover) ($59.99, ISBN: 9780785142041): I’m sure the target audience will be very happy with this one, but I think the rest of us are wondering why anyone would pick this up.
  • Marvel Masterworks: The Invincible Iron Man, v. 7 (hardcover) ($54.99, ISBN: 9780785150442)
  • Marvel Masterworks: the Mighty Thor, v. 3 ($24.99, ISBN: 9780785150664)

The Rest:

  • Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Circus of the Damned, Book 1 — The Charmer ($16.99, ISBN: 9780785146896): Someone is buying these. I want to know who, so I can personally avoid them.
  • Ant-Man & Wasp: Small World ($14.99, ISBN: 9780785155676)
  • Avengers vs. Pet Avengers ($14.99, ISBN: 9780785151852)
  • Avengers: Assault on Olympus (hardcover) ($29.99, 9780785155348)
  • Black Widow: The Name of the Rose ($16.99, ISBN: 9780785147008)
  • Captain America by Dan Jurgens, v. 1 ($29.99, 9780785155171): Hey, does anyone here have a movie coming out during the summer … oh, yes, Captain America. Carry on with your six collections …
  • Captain America: Fighting Avenger ($14.99, 9780785151982)
  • Captain America: First Vengeance ($978078515725-0, 14.99)
  • Captain America: No Escape ($15.99, 9780785145134)
  • Captain America: Red Menace Ultimate Collection ($19.99, 9780785156178)
  • Captain America: The Art of Captain America, the First Avenger (hardcover) ($49.99, 9780785155096): … including a shameless picture book, giving fans an “insider’s look” into the making of the movie. Justifiable if the movie is very good overall or visually; robbery if the movie is mediocre.
  • Daredevil: Reborn (hardcover) $19.99, ISBN: 9780785151326)
  • Daredevil: Yellow ($19.99, ISBN: 97807851-09693): The first of the two colorful Jeph Loeb / Tim Sale collections, produced when Marvel wanted to catch a bit of that Long Halloween / Dark Victory heat for themselves …
  • Dark Tower Omnibus (hardcover) ($150.00, ISBN: 9780785155416): The solicitation says this collection has 296 pages, but that can’t be right; there are 30 issues here. Still, $150 for 600 pages seems a bit steep. How big of a kickback is King getting for this?
  • Dark Tower Omnibus — Companion (hardcover) (no price or ISBN)
  • Dark Tower: The Gunslinger — The Little Sisters of Eluria (hardcover) ($24.99, ISBN: 9780785149316)
  • Deadpool Classic, v. 5 ($29.99, ISBN: 9780785155195): Four Deadpool books again! Still no movie! This really drives home how much Deadpool Marvel is churning out these days.
  • Deadpool Team-Up, v. 2: Special Relationship ($15.99, ISBN: 9780785147121)
  • Deadpool, v. 7: Space Oddity (hardcover) ($19.99, ISBN: 9780785151388)
  • Deadpool: Dead Head Redemption ($15.99, ISBN: 9780785156499)
  • Evolutionary War Omnibus ($74.99, 9780785155478): The Evolutionary War. Really. This storyline, which was an ‘80s summer annual crossover, isn’t reviled; it’s never mentioned. By anyone. On the Internet, where everything is discussed at some point or another.
  • Fantastic Four by Waid & Wieringo: Ultimate Collection, Book 1 ($24.99, ISBN: 9780785156550)
  • Fantastic Four: The World’s Greatest Comics Magazine (hardcover) ($34.99, 9780785156079)
  • Generation Hope: The Future’s a Four Letter Word ($14.99, 9780785147190)
  • Halo: Blood Line ($19.99, ISBN: 9780785140504)
  • Hulk: Gray ($19.99, ISBN: 9780785113461): … and it was right about here that it became obvious that the Loeb / Sale magic wasn’t going to happen at the House of Ideas.
  • Impossible Man ($34.99, 9780785155201): Intriguing choice, but grab-bag collections rarely motivate me enough to pick them up.
  • Marvel Adventures Avengers: Captain America Digest ($9.99, 9780785145622)
  • Marvel Adventures Avengers: Hulk Digest ($9.99, ISBN: 9780785155836)
  • Marvel Universe vs. the Punisher ($14.99, ISBN: 9780785145950)
  • Nyx: Wannabe ($19.99, ISBN: 9780785157403)
  • One Month to Live ($14.99, ISBN: 9780785149040)
  • Osborn: Evil Incarcerated ($16.99, ISBN: 9780785151753)
  • Secret Avengers, v. 2: Eyes of the Dragon (hardcover) ($24.99, ISBN: 9780785146018)
  • Secret Warriors, v. 5: Night (hardcover) ($19.99, ISBN: 9780785148029)
  • She-Hulks: Hunt for the Intelligencia ($14.99, ISBN: 9780785150008)
  • Spider-Man: The Original Clone Saga ($39.99, ISBN: 9780785155232): Marvel loves reprinting these issues to prove that the second Clone Saga wasn’t a stupid idea — stupid execution, perhaps, but there was a good reason for it. This collection includes a few Spectacular Spider-Man issues from the ‘80s that wrapped up some loose ends / made things more complicated under the guise of correcting plot flaws.
  • Thor: Blood & Thunder ($34.99, 9780785150947): The post-movie hangover includes only three collections. I don’t remember much good being said about Blood & Thunder, but it’s certainly a Thor story …
  • Thor: Gods on Earth ($29.99, 9780785150886)
  • Thor: Thunderstrike ($24.99, 9780785156383): … as is this one, as Tom DeFalco’s pet Thor gets booted to the curb.
  • Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: Death of Spider-Man Prelude (hardcover) ($24.99, ISBN: 9780785158165): That title has a lot of words that don’t add up to much. Like most of Bendis’s writing. Zing!
  • Ultimate Six (hardcover) ($24.99, ISBN: 9780785157465)
  • Uncanny X-Force: Deathlok Nation (hardcover) ($19.99, ISBN: 9780785148562)
  • Uncanny X-Men: Quarantine ($16.99, 9780785152255)
  • Wolverine and Jubilee: Curse of the Mutants (hardcover) ($19.99, 9780785157755): Vampire Jubilee. I just wanted to warn you. I haven’t read it, but I suspect it’s just about as good an idea as “Vampire Jubilee” sounds.
  • X-Force: Sex & Violence ($14.99, ISBN: 9780785144342)
  • X-Men: Age of X (hardcover) ($29.99, 9780785152897)
  • X-Men: Great Power (hardcover) ($24.99, 9780785148487)
  • X-Men: Second Coming ($24.99, 9780785155218)
  • X-Men: Second Coming: Revelations ($19.99, 9780785157069)
  • X-Men: To Serve and Protect ($14.99, 9780785152286)

Labels: , , ,

18 March 2011

Essential Avengers, v. 6

Collects: Avengers #120-40, Giant-Size Avengers #1-4, Captain Marvel #33, and Fantastic Four #150 (1974-5)

Released: February 2008 (Marvel)

Format: 576 pages / black and white / $19.99 / ISBN: 9780785130581

What is this?: Kang tries to decide who the Celestial Madonna is; Mantis, the Vision, and the Scarlet Witch learn their origins; Zodiac and Thanos attack.

The culprits: Writer Steve Engelhart (with help from Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway) and art by Sal and John Buscema, Bob Brown, George Tuska, Rich Buckler, Don Heck, Dave Cockrum, and Tom Sutton

Having bought GIT Corp’s DVD-Roms of several Marvel series — Fantastic Four, Uncanny X-Men, Captain America, Amazing Spider-Man — I don’t have much use for Essentials featuring these characters. Which is fortunate, because Marvel seems like it isn’t all that interested in putting out new Essentials.

Unfortunately, these DVD collections, which have more than 40 years of comics and annuals, have one major flaw: they don’t include the Giant-Size series Marvel put out in the ‘70s. Now, I’ve read most of the Giant-Size Spider-Man, and there’s nothing that essential in them (although they can be enjoyable). And all you really miss in the Giant-Size Fantastic Four is Madrox the Multiple Man’s origin in #4. Fortunately, Giant-Size X-Men #1, which has the debut of the All-New, All-Different X-Men and is probably the most important Giant-Size issue, is included with the X-Men DVD-Rom. But the Giant-Size Avengers are important too, and they are left out of 40 Years of the Avengers.

Essential Avengers, v. 6 coverSo I purchased Essential Avengers, v. 6, which included all four issues of Giant-Size Avengers. Avengers, v. 6, also has another distinction among Essentials that makes it, if not unique, then very unusual: the issues collected in this book make up one storyline. That is, Essential Avengers, v. 6, makes an acceptable alternative to the Celestial Madonna Saga trade paperback, and it gives almost a year’s worth of issues that precede Celestial Madonna and a half year’s worth that follow the storyline. For these extra issues, you sacrifice color, but that’s a small price to pay.

One would expect a story that features the “Celestial Madonna” to have a long-lasting effect on the Marvel Universe — or at least the Avengers. But the most important event is the marriage of the Scarlet Witch and Vision; admittedly, that’s a pretty important moment, but neither of them are the Celestial Madonna. That honor goes to Mantis, a Vietnamese orphan who is trained by pacifist Kree monks after her uncle kills her mother and blinds her father. As with most storylines that revolve around the birth of a child unconceived, there has been little to no payoff from Mantis’s role. Mostly, the Celestial Madonna story is a time war vs. Kang, who returns again and again to kidnap Mantis and mate with her.

Oh, Kang. It doesn’t take much to get bored with Kang in this volume, despite writer Steve Englehart’s efforts. Why? Because Kang is the master of time, and his answer on how to use this temporal advantage is to steal dead heroes and villains out of the time stream and bring them to Limbo. Why use dead people? Who knows? Since he gains mental control of his new warriors, he could choose anyone — he could even steal future or past versions of the Avengers out of the time stream, which would at least make it an even fight. But no, he decides to create his Legion of the Unliving, none of whom, strangely, had died in their personal timelines yet. Kang’s other gambit include superrobots, Avenger-powered superrobots, and invading the present from several different points of his personal timeline simultaneously. This last is, at least, a good use of his advantages, but since his other versions seemed to have invaded from his Girl Scout days, anyone can beat them.

Once you get past a baby that won’t be born until after the book ends and a Kang who literally cannot even beat himself in a fight (and how could he, since he was outnumbered by himself two to one?), what do you have? Well, Giant-Size Avengers #4 has one of the oddest endings of any Avengers story outside Avengers #200: a half-Vietnamese, half-German girl who always talks of herself in the third person marries an alien tree who’s taking the form of her dead boyfriend, which takes her into space and will later impregnate her with the universal Messiah. Meanwhile, in the background, a mutant marries an android in a double marriage ceremony officiated by the future version of the supervillain the team just defeated (who also does not seem to have any real credentials that would allow him to perform marriages).

I wish I could say there were other parts of the story that rose to those heights, but that’s it — it’s hard to get that strange consistently, but other than the Legion of the Unliving, Essential Avengers doesn’t consistently rise to any notable level of insanity, nor does it get that exciting. “Celestial Madonna” is not exactly a disappointment, but it’s not a seminal Avengers story, despite its memorable name. The romantic tangle between Vision, Scarlet Witch, Swordsman, and Mantis is predictably resolved. This volume is also notable for the beginning of Vision’s confusing backstory; his body is that of the World War II android the Human Torch, a revelation that utterly fails to be interesting. The Scarlet Witch has an odd subplot with developing her “magical powers.” The Avengers have no problem operating in South Vietnam, which is a bit disorienting, but the issue was published just before North Vietnam won the war and unified the country under Communist rule.

The material that precedes the Celestial Madonna story is interesting as a snapshot of early Bronze-Age Avengers. The stories feature Zodiac, the revelation of who the parents of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are (later revealed as false), the marriage of Quicksilver and the Inhuman Crystal, and the bizarre beginning of the Scarlet Witch’s training in witchcraft by Agatha Harkess (based, apparently, solely on the Scarlet Witch’s name). A battle with Thanos is a distraction —Captain Marvel #33 includes literally three pages of dense recap on Thanos’s history, which isn’t conducive to narrative flow — that comes to nothing, especially since it doesn’t end Thanos’s story as definitively as it pretends. And what comes after the Celestial Madonna heads into space is interesting as well; the introduction of new members Beast and Moondragon gives the team exciting new dynamics, despite the return of the slappingest, insanest Avenger, Hank Pym.

The art in Essential Avengers, v. 6, is top notch. The Buscema brothers provide the plurality of the art, with Sal penciling more than his brother John. Other pencilers include George Tuska, Dave Cockrum, Bob Brown, Don Heck, Rich Buckler, and Tom Sutton — a distinguished roster that needs no praise from me, however much it deserves it.

Despite the many interesting parts of Essential Avengers, v. 6, I think the main appeal is getting all four Giant-Size Avengers issues in one volume. There are other attractions — and I have to emphasize, the book is drawn by a lot of great artists who do not clash in style — but Marvel’s Giant-Size line is sadly neglected in reprint form. Englehart fans will find much to enjoy, as will those who like comic-book weddings — three in one volume, none of whom are married today!

Oh, and those who enjoy the thought of alien plants having consensual sex with human women will also find this appealing. You know who you are.

Rating:  symbol  symbol  symbol  symbol (3.5 of 5)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

11 March 2011

Incredible Hercules, v. 2: Secret Invasion

Collects: Incredible Hercules #116-20 (2008)

Released: February 2009 (Marvel)

Format: 128 pages / color / $14.99 / ISBN: 9780785128298

What is this?: The gods of the Hu-mans take on the gods of the Skrulls when the Skrulls invade Earth.

The culprits: Writers Greg Pak and Fred van Lente and penciler Rafa Sandoval

I’m not sure why I feel as I do about Incredible Hercules: Secret Invasion: I’m JUST not convinced that it’s a good book.

Like with the previous volume of Incredible Hercules, I want to like Secret Invasion. Writers Greg Pak and Fred van Lente have their protagonists down by now. Boy genius Amadeus Cho and god idiot Hercules make an amusing team, with Hercules getting the best lines this time. Hercules comes into his own this issue, boiling situations down to their simplest form and coming up with pithy analysis: “I punch stuff, and it falls down!” he says at one point. “That’s the only ‘strategy’ I’ve ever needed!”

Incredible Hercules: Secret Invasion coverOf course, that strategy raises an interesting point: Hercules is put in charge of the band of gods that assault the Skrull gods, just as the Skrull invasion begins in earnest on Earth. Why does Athena choose Hercules to lead the rather paltry expedition? It’s never made clear. Perhaps it’s to teach Hercules a lesson, which could be made clear in later volumes of the Incredible Hercules series. But it feels like Herc got the job because he’s the title character. Ajak, an Eternal, points out Hercules’s many flaws as the final battle begins, and he would have made a much better choice. Two other members of the “God Squad” might have been better leaders, but neither the evil Mikaboshi nor the God-Eater could be trusted.

I was happy to see the other member of the team, Snowbird. A longtime member of Alpha Flight, Snowbird doesn’t get many guest appearances these days. But fans of Alpha Flight will be happy to see how she deals the murderer of Alpha Flight, and she does come across as the only member of the God Squad other than Mikaboshi who has a plan other than punching. (Ajak complains about Hercules, but his plan boils down to “use energy beams until it falls down”). The relationship between Snowbird and Hercules takes a surprising and not welcome turn, but the reactions of both heroes is satisfying enough for me to grant them some leeway. Although I must ask: can any female resist Hercules’s masculine wiles? I’m going out on a limb and saying only Athena. And Hera.

I don’t feel like giving any leeway to the phrase “God Squad,” though. It feels too knowing. I’m glad Hercules stopped Cho from using “Godmobile” more than once, though. On the other hand, Cho names his pup “Kirby,” ostensibly a shortening of “Kerberos,” the name of the three-headed dog of Hades. The name makes sense, but does the Marvel Universe need yet another tribute to Jack Kirby? (I know some — many? — readers will say “yes,” which should teach me to ask rhetorical questions.)

For some reason, Cho got on my nerves in Secret Invasion. The cutesy names are just part of it; Cho is completely out of his depth in a world of gods and is often wrong, but he rarely admits it. He never loses his attitude, which is fine — even endearing — when he’s right, but when he’s doing nothing, it’s unlikeable. His most valuable contribution to the expedition, to use his words, is to “do nothing,” which is bizarre; Hercules is a bad leader, so why can’t Cho help him with that?

Perhaps part of the problem is that this is part of the Secret Invasion crossover. There’s nothing Cho can do to sniff out Skrulls, after all. But in a larger sense, the crossover seems to highjack Cho and Hercules’s plotline. It seems random that the Skrull gods would need to be fought — we’ve never seen Earth’s deities battle alien pantheons in other large crossover events, have we? — and stranger that Cho would need to be along. But that does seem to be the best way to tie Hercules and his cast into the crossover, so away they go! Evidently, attendance in this crossover was mandatory. Oh, how I wish Hercules could have gotten out of it with a letter from Asclepius.

The only saving grace I saw in the Secret Invasion crossover is that it allowed the writers to show why Hercules might be reluctant to have a young sidekick. While Hercules was part of the Argo’s journey for the Golden Fleece, his young friend Hylas was kidnapped by a nymph, which caused Hercules to go on a rampage and forget about the quest he was on. Van Lente and Pak keep the mythological references that I enjoyed in Against the World, although they are not integrated into the structure of Secret Invasion as they were previously.

The art by Rafa Sandoval gives me a headache. Not so much for Sandoval’s contributions, really, but because colorist Martegod Gracia gives the book a green-gray tint — Skrull tone, I suppose. It murks up Sandoval’s work, which is unhelpful, and it’s an unpleasant tint to begin with. I like Sandoval’s work during the first three issues, which are mainly talking heads and a few small-scale fights. Unfortunately, the large fights, with the five gods battling against the gods enslaved by the Skrull pantheon, are hard to parse. The coloring really did not help here, as it frequently made it difficult to decipher the details necessary to make out what was going on.

I feel my rating is a little harsh. There really isn’t that much to dislike about this book, but I feel it’s a step back from Against the World. The psychological darkness is dialed back, the fluidity of the plot is sacrificed for a crossover, and the characters include two evil gods and a snarky child. The colors are unattractive, the logic is odd, and I’m sick of Skrulls, who do little in the entire crossover and nothing here.

Rating: Marvel symbol Marvel symbol Half Marvel symbol (2.5 of 5)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

08 March 2011

The Quarter Bin: Nomad: Girl without a World

Trade paperbacks and — God forbid — hardbacks are a big risk; dropping $14.99 to $34.99 on material you’re not sure about can lead to buyer’s remorse and bitter, bitter recriminations. Why didn’t someone warn you that Captain America and the Falcon, v. 1: Two Americas was so bad? A sample would have warned you, but you had to order the whole thing.

Well, I’m not made of money either. So I’m trying out that sampling approach in The Quarter Bin. Recent comics that have lower promotional prices, are Free Comic Book Day giveaways, or I have found in that holy of holies, the Quarter Bin, get a quick review and a recommendation on whether it might be worthwhile to pick up the trade. So, without further ado, we have …

The Issue: Nomad: Girl without a World #1 (November 2009, Marvel)

The Culprits: Written by Sean McKeever, art by David Baldeon

The Hook: Rikki Barnes, Captain America’s sidekick from the Heroes Reborn universe, tries to adjust to high school life on a new planet in Marvel’s New York.

Collected in: Nomad: Girl without a World

Nomad: Girl without a World cover

Strengths: McKeever writes a simple, grounded story of heroics from an unpowered teenage hero with something to prove. The story charmingly starts with high school weirdness, then quickly dives into something much darker. Baldeon’s art is clear, attractive, and without any annoying tics; his Rikki looks like a high-school student instead of a pneumatic acrobat — helpfully played by the Black Widow. Nice cliffhanger.

Weaknesses: Potentially confusing backstory for the title character doesn’t really fit with high-school supervillain drama. The scene with Rikki and the Black Widow doesn’t quite work — the Black Widow’s desire to keep Rikki from the new Captain America feels strange. Rob Liefeld artwork on the title page. Gratuitous ass shot of the Black Widow.

Mitigation: Backstory is kept in the background, for the most part. Could be a payoff for the scene between Black Widow and Rikki later in the series. The Liefeld artwork is for just one page, and it makes Baldeon’s work look even better. Ass shot is only one panel.

Judgment: I’m definitely interested in this one. Make no mistake, Rikki’s background is a problem, but McKeever mentions it as little as possible while making sure readers know he still remembers it. Rikki is more down to earth than other Marvel heroes; she has no powers, only training, and it shows in her adventures, keeping her both a lovable underdog but not incapable of winning a fight. I’m eager to know what’s behind the sinister class elections — I’m betting on a junior varsity Hate Monger, but that’s just a guess. And the cliffhanger, in which it’s hinted Rikki might have an ally, is nice as well.

Hardcover, TPB, or Nothing? There’s no hardcover of this one, so that makes it easy: I’ll have to read the TPB.

Labels: , , , , , ,

04 March 2011

Gambit Classic, v. 1

Collects: Uncanny X-Men #265-7 and Gambit #1-4 (1990, 1993-4)

Released: April 2009 (Marvel)

Format: 176 pages /color / $24.99 / ISBN: 9780785137290

What is this?: Gambit! Gambit Gambit? Gambit, n’est ce pas! 1990s! Gaaammmmbiiiittt!

The culprits: Writers Chris Claremont and Howard Mackie and artists Lee Weeks, Bill Jaaska, Mike Collins, and Homage Studios

When future generations look back at us and ask us why we thought Gambit was “cool,” we will be forced to answer: It was the ‘90s; you had to have been there. That’s the only response that makes sense. Oh, perhaps we might say something about his anti-authoritarian attitude, about how he metaphorically pulled the whiskers of Xavier and Wolverine and he had a “mysterious” past, but those aren’t real answers. Those are excuses.

Those delving into the subject will not find the answer to that future question in Gambit Classic, v. 1. Unfortunately, Gambit Classic will raise only more questions: What’s with that accent? Why is Storm a child? Why does the first issue in this collection not have Gambit in it at all? Seriously — is that accent a symptom of brain damage? Is the immortal Candra’s support of the useless Thieves and Assassins Guilds evidence of her uselessness, or is her behavior enough of a de facto argument?

Gambit Classic coverBut we must put aside these considerations for the moment. The future, I have been assured by eminent authorities on the subject, will take care of itself, much as I believe those future generations should be allowed to. Let us instead concentrate on the book itself.

Gambit Classic starts at the end of writer Chris Claremont‘s run on Uncanny X-Men, coming during the time when Storm was a child and the X-Men were scattered across the globe, with many of them missing their memories. As most of you who have read Uncanny during that time know, it was not a good period — the 260s of Uncanny were abysmal in quality, but the book was coasting on a wave of popularity. (That wave, I believe, partially answers the hypothetical question at the beginning of the review.) At this point, Claremont was doing issues or short arcs on the various X-Men split up by the Siege Perilous — #259 was about Colossus, #260 featured Dazzler, and #261 pitted Wolverine, Jubilee, and Psylocke against Hardcase and the Harriers. (Forge and Banshee rescued Jean Grey in #262-4.) These issues were about as you would expect: Claremontian dialogue, Image-ish art, plots that seemingly went nowhere. (The team had been split up since #251, and it would not get back together until #270, at the beginning of X-Tinction Agenda.)

Anyway … the former X-Man Storm is a child in Cairo, Ill., where she’d been since #253. Issue #265 provides the background for Gambit’s first appearance — he doesn’t appear in the issue, as I mentioned earlier — as pre-teen Storm steals from the, er, rich in the area. Unfortunately, the Shadow King has taken one of the mansions and turned its occupants into his slaves. Through either laziness or foreshadowing, Claremont doesn’t bother to change much between the Shadow King’s slaves and the mind-controlled Rachel Summers from “Days of Future Past”: both are called “hounds,” and their costumes are extremely similar (skintight with spikes). Perhaps Claremont, having reached the top of the comics world, didn’t feel the need to alter his personal storytelling fetish to suit the norms. Into this weird scene walks Gambit, who wants to steal from same mansion Storm targeted; he helps save Storm from the Shadow King, he helps save Storm from Nanny and the Orphan Maker, and the two escape to New Orleans. This first appearance sets up everything that Gambit is: a trenchcoat, hideous body armor, an accent, a profession, and a propensity to blow things up, mutant-style. Yes, there’s a green glow around his eyes that suggests a psychic power, and the accent is more Claremontian than Cajun, but it’s easy to see what Claremont is going for. (To be fair to him, Claremont’s Gambit dialogue is more than just phonetic mispronunciations and a smattering of high-school French.)

It’s unfortunate for the character that this was his introduction, inserted into this unfortunate storyline. When modern readers think of Claremont’s weaknesses and excesses, this storyline is exactly what they have in mind. The dialogue and narration are stylized to the point of self parody. The mind control plot is Claremont’s go-to storyline, even as it’s bogged down in the remnants of the Siege Perilous / Australian chaos that had been going on far too long. For God’s sake, it has Nanny and the Orphan Maker (not Claremont creations, but right up his alley). In my opinion, this is the absolute nadir of Claremont’s entire run, which would improve immediately after this nonsense was over.

(One final note about the writing: This storyline is set in Cairo, Ill., in part because Storm has mixed it up with her childhood home of Cairo, Egypt. Sure, fine, although the names aren’t even pronounced the same.56 Claremont and his artists seem to think the American Cairo is a large or prosperous town. As someone who grew up in the area,57 I can tell you it isn’t. It’s a poor, small, river town that is occasionally the object or subject of Southern Illinois’s racial tensions. It’s largest population was in 1920, when Cairo had just over 15,000 people. In 1990, it was less than 5,000. Today, Cairo has fewer than 3,000 people, and someone is burning down abandoned buildings for fun. But Claremont’s Cairo has the large, prosperous Mississippi Mall and several mansions full of artwork to rob. According to the art, the mall is huge — a multilevel job that would never have been built in a rural area where land is cheap — and the mansions are opulent and architecturally interesting. I know comics are fantasy, but this seems a rather pointless one.)

When you think of this time in X-Men history, you envision the Image artists working on the title — Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri, etc. However, that’s not what you get here. The late Bill Jaaska drew #265, and Mike Collins was the artist for #266, although Lee is credited as Gambit’s co-creator. Neither is bad — I like Jaaska’s clear, simple artwork quite a bit, more than murky, oversexualized, Image-ish #267 — but both were odd choices for the time. Neither had the prominence of the other artists who worked on Uncanny; neither fit the style of Lee et al. Uncanny #267 is credited to Homage Studios — specifically, Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio along with Scott Williams — and it’s not the best work from Lee or Portacio.

As for the Gambit miniseries, the artwork of Lee Weeks is much more pleasing. It’s not perfect — occasionally the reader is blinded when the flash overcomes substance, and Gambit’s hair is a near impossible cosmetological marvel — but despite those shortcomings, it’s clear, it’s quite pretty, and it tells the story reasonably well.

Although given what the actual story is, telling it clearly can be considered a detriment. Howard Mackie … I have no idea what to say about Mackie that rises above personal attacks. The plot of Gambit involves Gambit’s wife, the immortal mutant Candra, and the guilds of New Orleans. The guilds are incompetent — the Assassins kill one person during the series, someone so obviously fish bait he should have had it tattooed on his face — and the Thieves, despite their “power,” are pushed around by everyone. Rogue, the most powerful character in the book, does nothing. Belladonna, Gambit’s unconscious wife, sleeps in the nude the entire series. (Why?) Candra does nothing but wear an impressively stupid costume, which is a swimsuit with arm-length gloves attached to the top. Her enforcer, the Tithe Collector, would have trouble menacing a fourth-grade class. And Gambit? The most impressive thing he does is to slip out, travel to Paris, and return without Rogue noticing. Well, that’s not true — the most impressive thing he does is to ask Rogue out on a date only moments after his beloved wife awakes, an amnesiac. That’s impressively awful, the kind of behavior that deserves fire ants inside the armor and honey-coated underwear.

If you want a more detailed look at its awfulness, consult David R. Henry‘s review of Gambit #4, “The Moron Game.”

So, if you’ve been paying close attention, you may come to the conclusion that this book is awful. Well, yes, and no. The quality of the book is pretty low — so low, really, I hadn’t planned to write a full-length review — with its highest profile creators doing some of their worst work and Howard Mackie doing his usual job. Still, Weeks’s art is easy on the eyes. More importantly, there is a strong whiff of nostalgia in the pages — nostalgia for a time when Claremont and the X-Men were the biggest thing in comics, nostalgia for youth (for some of us), nostalgia for the simplicity of the age.

It was the ‘90s, after all. You had to have been there.

Rating: X-Men symbol Half X-Men symbol (1.5 of 5)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

01 March 2011

Dark Horse, IDW, and Image May 2011 solicitations (collected editions)

Must have:

  • Usagi Yojimbo, v. 25: Fox Hunt: Always up for the next Usagi book, although it feels like the collected editions are slipping further and further behind the comics. This collects #110-6, but the series will be almost two years ahead of that by the time this comes out in July. ($16.99; Dark Horse)

Might buy if the price is right:

  • Barks’ Bear Book: On the same month as DC issues an obscure Jack Kirby collection, IDW releases a collection of Carl Barks’s obscure backups featuring Barney Bear and Benny Burro. The names aren’t promising, but it is Barks. ($34.99, ISBN: 9781600109294; IDW)
  • Scary Godmother Comic Book Stories: Haven’t read any of Jill Thompson’s Scary Godmother stories; is this a good place to start? ($24.99; Dark Horse)

Might check out of a library:

  • Archie’s Joke Book, v. 1: A Celebration of Bob Montana: I don’t know why they’re celebrating Bob Montana, but I am mildly intrigued. ($29.99, ISBN: 9781600109584; IDW)
  • Blackjacked and Pistol-Whipped: A Crime Does Not Pay Primer: Contains a few selected stories and evidently some interesting trivia about the book itself. Could be some fascinating reading. Could be a letdown. You never know. ($19.99; Dark Horse)


  • Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Lost Adventures: Good to see the M. Night Shyamalan movie hasn’t sunk the series completely. ($14.99; Dark Horse)
  • Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus Book 2 ($19.99; Dark Horse)
  • Magic Knight Rayearth Omnibus Edition ($19.99; Dark Horse)

The Rest:

  • 30 Days of Night Collector’s Set ($39.99, ISBN: 9781600109652; IDW)
  • Angel Omnibus ($24.99; Dark Horse)
  • Angel Yearbook ($7.99, ISBN: 9781600109614; IDW)
  • The Art of Amanda Conner ($24.99, ISBN: 9781600109508; IDW)
  • The Art of Doug Sneyd ($39.99; Dark Horse)
  • Bomb Queen, v. 6: Time Bomb ($16.99; Image)
  • Choker, v. 1 ($16.99; Image)
  • Creepy Archives, v. 10 ($49.99; Dark Horse)
  • Creepy Comics, v. 1 ($19.99; Dark Horse)
  • Dethklok: I wouldn’t be surprised if this were as good as the TV show itself, since it has stories written by the series’ creator and animation director. Also, it just feels like the kind of TV series that would translate well to the page. ($19.99; Dark Horse)
  • Devil's Concubine ($19.99, ISBN: 9781600109485; IDW)
  • Doctor Macabre ($17.99, ISBN: 9781600109157; IDW)
  • George R.R. Martin's Doorways: Really? George R.R. Martin has reached this level of popularity? ($21.99, ISBN: 9781600109164; IDW)
  • Guarding the Globe, v. 1: For those of you needing a Kirkman fix this month. ($16.99; Image)
  • Gutwrencher ($19.99, ISBN: 9781600109362; IDW)
  • Hellboy Library Edition, v. 4 ($49.99; Dark Horse)
  • Kull, v. 2: The Hate Witch ($15.99; Dark Horse)
  • Li’l Abner, v. 3 ($49.99, ISBN: 9781600109379; IDW)
  • Pilot Season, v. 4: 2010 ($19.99; Image)
  • The ’Breed Collection, v. 1: The Book of Genesis ($17.99; Image)
  • Transformers: Foundation (17.99, ISBN: 9781600109188; IDW)
  • Transformers: Rising Storm ($17.99, ISBN: 9781600109195; IDW)
  • Transformers: The IDW Collection, v. 4 (49.99, ISBN: 9781600109386; IDW)
  • Wormwood, v. 3 Deviant Edition ($24.99, ISBN: 9781600109263; IDW)

Labels: , , , , ,