Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews for 06/12/13

Time keeps marching on, and your Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews march just as quickly to keep up with it.  This week, we've a number of titles for your consideration, including Superman Unchained #1, Dream Merchant #2, Six Gun Gorilla #1, and lots more.  So please roll through the jump to see what all the fuss is about!

Major Releases

BATMAN #21
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo and Danny Miki
Backup Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Backup Art by Rafael Albuquerque

Witness The New 52 origin of The Dark Knight in BATMAN: ZERO YEAR! Twists and turns are around every corner as Bruce Wayne takes the final steps toward his destiny! And in the backup story, learn more about how different Gotham City was at this dangerous point in time.

Grant: Here we are, ladies and gentlemen.  The beginning of Batman's First Year Year One Zero Year of being Batman is nigh.  Terrible name aside, I'm honestly having a hard time understanding where the need for this story is coming from.  Everyone already digs Year One.  It's been treated as a defining Batman story for a reason.  And yet, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are going out to dig real deep into the Caped Crusaders most original of origins.  Will it pay off?  It's hard to say, but considering how underwhelming the last few issues / arcs of the series have been, I won't be sticking around long if the trend continues.

SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #1
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams
Backup Art by Dustin Nguyen

When thirteen satellites fall from the sky in one day, the logical suspect is Lex Luthor—even though he’s still locked up in prison! But a stranger question remains: If Superman didn’t stop the last satellite from falling, who did? There’s a mystery hidden where even Superman can’t see it—Can The Man of Steel drag a decades-old secret into the light? Don’t miss the debut of this red-hot new series from two of comics’ brightest superstars: SCOTT SNYDER and JIM LEE!

Grant: Of course, one blockbuster book is not enough for Mr. Snyder, so we also have DC's new flagship Superman book, Superman Unchained, hitting stands this week.  While I'm honestly interested in seeing what Snyder can do with the Man of Steel, particularly considering his extremely talented partners in crime, I'm really put off by the $4.99 price point on this comic.  There's actually less pages solicited for this book than in Batman, and it's an entire dollar more expensive.  The whole thing reeks of pure business opportunism, as DC feels confident that this book will fly off the shelves like hotcakes, and while they're probably right on that front, I don't know how keen I am to be party to that equation (and no, the stupid foldout poster that nobody wants does not make up for the price difference).

THE TRUE LIVES OF THE FABULOUS KILLJOYS #1
Written by Gerard Way and Shaun Simon
Art by Becky Cloonan

Years ago, the Killjoys fought against the tyrannical megacorporation Better Living Industries, costing them their lives, save for one—the mysterious Girl. Today, the followers of the original Killjoys languish in the Desert while BLI systematically strips citizens of their individuality. As the fight for freedom fades, it's left to the Girl to take up the mantle and bring down the fearsome BLI or else join the mindless ranks of Bat City!

Grant: While I could take or leave Batman and Superman Unchained, I am genuinely quite excited for The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys to drop on the morrow.  I didn't exactly mourn the passing of Gerard Way's band My Chemical Romance, I've loved pretty much everything Way has done when it comes to comics.  I will also admit to enjoying the music videos for MCR's last album, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys.  The aesthetic of the whole thing was wonderful, and I'm eager to see how it translates to the comic page, especially with superstar Becky Cloonan on art duties.

New Kids on the Block

AMERICAN VAMPIRE: THE LONG ROAD TO HELL #1
Written by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque
Art by Rafael Albuquerque

Fan-favorite character Travis Kidd—the vampire hunter who likes to “bite them back”—makes his return in this new AMERICAN VAMPIRE one-shot!

It’s a story burned deep into the American psyche: two young lovers, a stolen car and the open road. But these young lovers are newly turned vampires trying to fight the bloodsucking urge inside them. To make matters worse, they’ve got a pack of angry vampires on their tails—plus bad-ass vamp-killer Travis Kidd. He’s tracking the “Heartbreak Killers” across the heartland, but can he stop them before it all ends in tragedy? This one-shot special sets the stage for the AMERICAN VAMPIRE relaunch later this year!

Grant: Alright, so this is technically a mere one-shot in the ongoing American Vampire comic book series, but as you may have gathered from my comments above, American Vampire is still easily among Scott Snyder's best work in my opinion.  Therefore, I'll take any American Vampire I can get, especially considering the hiatus that we currently have going.  In this kind of environment, I can't wait to see more of Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque's signature dark magic.

GHOST TOWN #1
Written by Dave Dwonch
Art by Justin Greenwood

Moments after scientists create a time machine, terrorists steal and weaponize the device, sending bombs into the future.  Las Vegas evaporates in flames as the terrorists reveal their future target: Washington DC.  Now, the FBI must find the terrorists before the capital becomes a Ghost Town.  The clock is ticking.

Grant: The solicitation alone sounds pretty darned intense in my opinion, but I will confess that I read this issue earlier this year, having picked it up from the folks at Action Lab at a convention.  I enjoyed the book, and think that it's worth taking a look at if it sounds at all up your alley.  It's always good to see smaller publishers putting out quality content, and this fits the bill.  (Even fuller disclosure: Weekly Crisis frontman Ryan K. Lindsay is taking up the book's writing reigns as of issue #2, so there's even more reason for you to give this one a gander).

SIX GUN GORILLA #1
Written by Simon Spurrior
Art by Jeff Stokely

Welcome to “the Blister” — a bizarre other-world colonized by humans sometime in the 22nd century, which quickly became a hotly-contested source of fertile land and natural resources long ago exhausted on Earth. In this new frontier, a rogue gunslinger and his companion wander across a wilderness in the grips of a civil war, encountering lawlessness, natives, and perversions of civilization in a world at the crossroads between the past and the future. The fact that said gunslinger is a bio-surgically modified silverback gorilla toting a pair of enormous revolvers is neither here nor there.

Written by Simon Spurrier (Marvel’s X-MEN LEGACY, CROSSED WISH YOU WHERE HERE), drawn by hot new talent Jeff Stokely (FRAGGLE ROCK, THE REASON FOR DRAGONS), and featuring a cover by Eisner Award-winning artist Ramón Pérez (A TALE OF SAND, WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN), SIX-GUN GORILLA is a pulpy mash-up of Western weirdness and lo-fi science fiction unlike anything else on the stands!

Grant: This solicitation is a tad on the long side, considering the title of this comic is all you really need.  Six Gun Gorilla.  What more can be said?  Beyond, you know, any creator crazy enough to try putting together such a comic deserves your hard earned cash for at least one issue.  I know they'll be getting mine.

Fond Farewells

BLACK BEETLE: NO WAY OUT #4
Written by Francesco Francavilla
Art by Francesco Francavilla

The epic conclusion to Black Beetle’s first series! Colt City’s caped crusader goes head to head with the mysterious villain Labyrinto! Can Black Beetle make it out of this maze of matched wits and matched blows alive?!
• An all-new superhero tale from 2012 Eisner Award winner Francesco Francavilla!
• Super Noir!

Grant: There's been some delays in Francesco Francavilla's Black Beetle miniseries, but every issue has been worth the wait.  Francavilla has long shown himself to be a hyper talented artist, but here he's been spreading his writing wings to whip up some brilliant superhero noir (as Dark Horse likes to call it).  This book is slick, and I cannot wait to see how it all ends up.

You May Have Missed

DREAM MERCHANT #2
Written by Nathan Edmondson
Art by Konstantin Novosadov

"CHAPTER TWO."
While hiding with The Dream Merchant, Winslow and Anne learn the truth about Winslow's dream and about what is coming – a shocking revelation they have to see, or dream, to believe.

Grant: The double-sized issue #1 of Nathan Edmondson and Konstantin Novosadov's new series from Image raised a heck of a lot of questions.  Fortunately, it did so with such style and panache that the problems hasn't been the amount, but waiting for a second issue to start getting answers.  While it's clear that it'll be a few issues yet before we even come close to understanding everything that's going on, it's also quite evident that the journey towards that discovery is going to be a mighty entertaining one.  Edmondson's writing is top notch as always, and Novosadov's unique artwork is the perfect compliment.

HELHEIM #4
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Joëlle Jones

THE NEW SERIES FROM SIXTH GUN WRITER CULLEN BUNN AND FAN FAVORITE ARTIST JOËLLE JONES CONTINUES!

His sense of purpose renewed, Rikard takes the fight to both Groa and Bera… but he will not face the fury of the witches alone. Raising an army of fierce warriors, Rikard marches against a demonic horde. But can even the mightiest of human warriors stand against such ungodly might? Find out in a mass battle unlike anything that has been depicted in comics before!

Grant: As we move towards the halfway point of the year, there are a stupid amount of books that have begun in 2013 that are routinely among the best comics coming out from anyone.  Helheim is one of those comics.  I feel like Cullen Bunn and Joëlle Jones are not getting the recognition they deserve for this title, which is equal parts brutal viking battles and crazy witch vendettas, with a touch of undead goodness thrown in for good measure.  I have no issue praising this book from the rooftops; I just hope more people start doing so in the coming weeks and months as well.

SUICIDE SQUAD #21
Written by Ales Kot
Art by Patrick Zircher

The Suicide Squad takes over Belle Reve! When the team decides they’ve had enough of Amanda Waller’s manipulations, they turn the tables on their boss. But Waller still has a few tricks up her sleeve—or more accurately, a bomb in everyone’s neck!

Grant: While it can be hard to avoid hearing about all the creator weirdness going on at DC behind closed doors, it's nice to see the company try at least occasionally to bring in new talent.  It's a little early, consider we only have one issue to show for it, but putting Ales Kot and Patrick Zircher on Suicide Squad looks to be one success that DC can point to.  In that single issue, the two managed to take a title that has been panned often and thoroughly and turn things around, putting their imprint on the characters and introducing some new wrinkles to make things feel fresh and new.  I wish more of DC's books could be like this.

The Balance

BRAVEST WARRIORS #9
Written by Joey Comeau
Art by Mike Holmes

A GREAT JUMPING-ON POINT FOR NEW READERS! Join Beth, Wallow, Chris, Danny and Plum as they travel the multiverse saving folks and generally being totally rad dudes. Based on the hit new series from ADVENTURE TIME creator Pendleton Ward! POWER! RESPECT!

Grant: As we approach the third story arc, Bravest Warriors remains a bit of an enigma to me.  It's not exactly at the top of the books I enjoy, but neither is it at the bottom.  It's consistent, but it hasn't necessarily wowed me of late.  I keep saying that I'll stay on for one more issue to see if it turns around, and it manages to be just good enough to warrant continue purchases.  However, with so many new books coming out, I feel that the title will have to up its game to maintain its spot in my pull list.  We shall see if Joey Comeau and Mike Holmes can add some sizzle for issue #9.

DEMON KNIGHTS #21
Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Chad Hardin

The Knights are ready to complete their mission—but what happens to the world when Vandal Savage and Etrigan the Demon gain control of the Holy Grail?

Grant: While Bravest Warriors is a mystery, Demon Knights is becoming a frustration.  This used to be one of my absolute favourite books from DC, but the book simply hasn't been the same.  It's not so much that Robert Venditti's run has been bad; it's more that it's been all over the map.  I still don't really understand where this whole thing is going, and with the book cancelled as of August, it's hard to believe that we're going to get any real sense of direction before these characters go the way of the dodo.

STAR WARS #6
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Carlos D'Anda

When he and Chewbacca are cornered by Imperials, Han Solo resorts to an improvised plan—with the most dangerous results imaginable! Meanwhile, half a galaxy away, Princess Leia and Wedge Antilles prepare for certain death, unaware that Luke Skywalker has an improvisation of his own. And Darth Vader is watching . . .

Sketch variant by Alex Ross!
"It all just feels like Star Wars, and for a franchise that has been around for over 30 years, D'Anda somehow finds a way to inject new life into it."—Complex
issue #1 and #2 were instant sellouts!

Grant: Considering how strong this book was in its initial issues, the past few iterations have been a bit of a let down.  With all the competing storylines that Brian Wood has introduced, it has been hard for any of them to get significant face time.  Hopefully Wood can find a way to balance things out, because I don't want to pass up Carlos D'Anda's art if I don't have to.

X #2
Written by Duane Swierczynski
Art by Eric Nguyen

X has a bone to pick with Arcadia's political kingmaker Berkshire, and the two share some "face time." Meanwhile, Leigh's online exposé attracts some murderously angry readers.

Swierczynski and Nguyen take on Dark Horse's classic vigilante!
X MAKES HIS DARK HORSE RETURN WITH SWIERCZYNSKI

Grant: I've enjoyed Duane Swierczynski and Eric Nguyen's take on X.  I'm not familiar with the original incarnation, but this duo have turned him into one of the most brutal and intense antiheroes I've encountered while avoiding (for the moment, at least) having the entire book feel like an excuse for violence.  There's a real story here, and it's a real interesting one thus far.

Pick of the Week

Despite the wealth of options this week, I have no difficulty in selecting Six Gun Gorilla #1 as my pick of the week.  I love me a good madcap story, and this looks to be one of the maddest around.  I've generally enjoyed Simon Spurrior's work, and while I'm less familiar with Jeff Stokely, a quick google search brings up some promising pictures.  All that being said, as long as we get a gorilla dual-wielding some six shooters, I have a feeling that this book is going to scratch some itches I didn't even know I had.

How about you, gentle reader?  What books have struck your fancy?  Are you a firearm primate fan or are there somehow other titles that are more appealing in your view?  I have a hard time believing the latter, but hit the comments to tell me otherwise.


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