Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Good morning, dear readers. It's time once again for your weekly serving of Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews! We've a bounty of brilliant books coming your way, including Baltimore: The Inquisitor, Wild Blue Yonder #1, X-Files: Season 10 #1, and more! So join me on the other side of the cut to check out these, and a multitude of other, titles.
ANIMAL MAN #21
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Steve Pugh and Francis Portela
“SPLINTER SPECIES” begins here as Buddy’s grief and increasing celebrity threaten to tear him apart. Plus, a major new antagonist is revealed!
Grant: Is it still accurate to place Animal Man as a major release? While the title's Rotworld arc that crossed with Swamp Thing was pretty much exclusively lackluster, Animal Man seems to have regained its stride in the aftermath. We're back in "the real world", and all is far from well in the Baker family unit. Cliff's death has driven a rift between Buddy and Ellen, and the ensuing drama has been quite well done. It also doesn't hurt that Lemire brought back the Red Thunder "movie" from the first arc for some wonderful parallelism. I'm once again feeling excited about what's in store for these characters, which is a great feeling to have.
EDISON REX TP
Written by Chris Roberson
Art by Dennis Culver
Edison Rex is the smartest man in the world, a criminal genius, and the arch-nemesis of the world's greatest protector, Valiant. Having dedicated his life to defeating Valiant and proving once and for all that he is a menace to humanity and not a hero, what will Edison do
Grant: If memory serves, this trade will mark the first ingress to the physical world by the before now all-digital Monkeybrain comics. And I must say that Edison Rex is a dandy title to start the process with. Chris Roberson and Dennis Culver have created a delightful supervillain turned superhero tale that manages to channel classic comics while also treading its own path. I'll be more than happy to add this book to my shelves.
X-FILES SEASON 10 #1
Written by Joe Harris
Art by Michael Walsh
For years they investigated the paranormal, pursued the "monsters of the week," and sought the truth behind extraterrestrial activity, along with the grand conspiracy surrounding it rooted deep within their own government. But when AGENTS MULDER and SCULLY reunite for a new, ongoing series that ushers THE X-FILES into a new era of technological paranoia, multinational concerns and otherworldly threats, it'll take more than a desire "to believe" to make it out alive. The X-Files: Season 10 also sees creator Chris Carter return to the fold as Executive Producer!
Grant: Having never really watched The X-Files, I still don't know exactly what to expect from this book. However, I'm still able to understand that new X-Files stories are a pretty big deal. All the more so when they're being penned by the talented combination of writer Joe Harris and artist Michael Walsh. I've enjoyed Harris' past work well enough, but it's Walsh's presence that brings me to this party. His art is one of my favourite discoveries of the past year, and I'm keen to see more of it.
New Kids on the Block
100 BULLETS: BROTHER LONO #1
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Eduardo Risso
BROTHER LONO is a brand-new 8-issue miniseries set in the world of 100 BULLETS!
The Eisner award-winning team behind 100 BULLETS—writer Brian Azzarello, artist Eduardo Risso, colorist Trish Mulvihill, letterer Clem Robbins and cover artist Dave Johnson—reunites to tell the story of the baddest Minuteman of all. When last we saw Lono in 100 BULLETS, Dizzy Cordova had shot him through the chest...but Lono always was too tough to die. Now, after the final events of 100 BULLETS, Lono finds himself in Mexico working on the side of the angels. But there’s always more to a 100 BULLETS story, so pick up this EXTRA-SIZE first issue to see what’s really going on with BROTHER LONO, the cold-blooded killer you hate to love!
Grant: I feel conflicted about these resurrections of past Vertigo classics. On the one hand, I can understand the appeal of having more stories set in the worlds that people loved and enjoyed so thoroughly. On the other, the sheer number of old titles being trotted out for one last hurrah smacks of DC trying to make an easy buck. Instead of getting classic creative teams to return to the well of their earlier ideas, why doesn't DC get them to create something new? I know I'm not saying anything you haven't heard before, but DC's never going to get their next big hit by doing what they've done before.
EXTINCTION PARADE #1
Written by Max Brooks
Art by Raulo Carceres
The best-selling Zombie writer in history finally unleashes an all-new epic for comics! Be ready for the summer’s biggest comic event as millions of zombie fans come looking for with the first chapter of Max Brooks’ Extinction Parade! One of the founders of the zombie renaissance, Max Brooks has sold millions of books in dozens of languages. His first book The Zombie Survival Guide not only singlehandedly jump-started the zombie prep subculture, it’s graphic novel companion Recorded Attacks debuted as #1 on the New Times Bestseller list. His second book World War Z (already a multi-million copy NYT bestseller in its own right) has been adapted by Brad Pitt into what is sure to be one of the biggest blockbuster movies of 2013.
Now Brooks takes the zombie genre to a whole new level with his new comic series Extinction Parade featuring stunningly rendered art by super-star Raulo (Crossed, Captain Swing) Caceres. Building on the seed of his hit 2010 short story, Brooks has crafted a truly epic series spanning over 250 pages. Not only does Extinction Parade’s multilayered depth and meticulously researched detail raise it to the standard of his previous work, it also introduces fans to an entirely new, fresh and terrifying subgenre: Vampires Vs Zombies.
As humans wage their losing fight versus the hoards of the subdead, a frightening realization sets in with the secretive Vampire race: our food is dying off. This is the story of Vampires decent into all-out war with the mindless hungry hordes of the zombie outbreak as humanity tries to survive them all. Three species in mortal conflict. This is how a species dies.
Grant: I really enjoyed Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, and while he's done other work in comics, Avatar rightly points out that this is his first original comic book story. I often find Avatar books to be a bit too gory for my taste, but having Max Brooks attached piques my interest just enough to overlook that. Besides, I suppose that signature goriness will probably fit a story involving zombies and vampires relatively well. We shall see.
SPONGEBOB COMICS ANNUAL GIANT SWIMTACULAR #1
Written by Chuck Dixon and Various
Art by Derek Drymon and Various
Roll out the red cape! The SpongeBob Comics Swimtacular celebrates the submarine superheroics of SpongeBob's idols, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, in forty-eight all-new pages! First, bear witness to a reunion of Mermaid Man's Golden Age team, the Aquatic Adventurers, in a story we could only call "Lo, There Shall Be a Catered Event," featuring funky flashbacks by Jerry Ordway (Superman)! Then, SpongeBob and Patrick's game of superheroes goes from silly to sillier, when they encounter the quiet-loving super-fiend known only as Mendu! Who could this green, big-nosed, tentacled villain possibly be? Next, legendary Silver Age artist Ramona Fradon (Metamorpho) returns to SpongeBob Comics to draw the never-before-seen Mermaid Man classic "Sidekick Blues," featuring the sinister Controlling Conch and the rarely sighted Edwardian Age Mermaid Man. All this plus a tour of the Mermalair, Plankton and Gary's brief super-careers, spoofs of classic comic book ads, and a double-page spread depicting every Bikini Bottom superhero and villain!
Grant: While normally I wouldn't give a SpongeBob SquarePants a second glance, I picked up the Free Comic Book Day SpongeBob book and actually really enjoyed it. It was a great all-ages romp with all sorts of wacky stories that were plain and simple fun. Based on that pleasant surprise, I'm seriously considering picking up this annual. It looks to be focused on the fictional superheroes that SpongeBob and company follow, and from the solicit, it sounds like it'll be a fun take on classic cape books. Sounds good to me.
WILD BLUE YONDER #1
Written by Mike Raicht and Austin Harrison
Art by Zach Howard
Take to the skies in this thrilling new action-adventure sci-fi tale. In the near future, mankind has destroyed the Earth, and the only refuge from radioactive pollution can be found in the skies. Unfortunately dwindling supplies and bloodthirsty air-pirates make life all the harder. Will the crew of the Dawn escape the merciless Judge and survive another week? Read the book everyone will be talking about and find out!
Grant: I remember seeing the Wild Blue Yonder Kickstarter many moons ago and thinking that the book sounded really cool. What's not to love about a post-apocalyptic comic focused on air-pirates and fighting to survive? I ended up missing out on Kickstarting the project, but I'm mighty glad to see that it was successful enough to find a home at IDW. You better believe I won't make the same mistake again; I'll definitely be picking up this book tomorrow.
You May Have Missed
CONAN THE BARBARIAN #17
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Davide Gianfelice
While recovering from their most traumatic personal challenge to date, Conan and Bêlit seek respite in a mystical journey of the mind. Instead, they uncover the dark truths that they've hidden from themselves and each other.
• Epic story arc from Northanders team Wood & Gianfelice!
"This is about as good as it gets as far as visceral action meeting cerebral emotion."––Comic Book Resources
"It's a moving and sad tale, filled with passion and love and violence. The interior artwork is outstanding but the cover shines. It's gripping and beautiful." ––Technorati
Grant: Conan the Barbarian continues to be my favourite Brian Wood book on stands, and the Northlanders reunion of Wood and Davide Gianfelice for this arc that focuses on Conan and Bêlit's shared hallucinations of their hopes and dreams and past, present, and future, looks to be raising the title to another level. I'm mighty excited to see what comes next for our protagonists. It should be good.
DREAM THIEF #2
Written by Jai Nitz
Art by Greg Smallwood
The spirits of the dead possess John Lincoln's mind and body while he sleeps! With a head full of dead men's memories—and an arsenal of their skills—the new Dream Thief invades the grungy underworld of drugs and pornography on a vengeful errand . . . and tries to stay awake!
All-new cover from Ryan Sook!
Grant: The opening issue of Dream Thief was somewhat on the dense side, but it also did a whole lot of stage-setting. We were introduced to perma-slacker John Lincoln, his circle of family and friends, and his crazy dream mask that fills his head with the memories of people who have been wrongly killed and causes him to take bloody vengeance on the wrongdoers. It's a heady concept, but it was well-used in issue #1, and I can tell you that issue #2 takes that setup and runs with it.
BALTIMORE: THE INQUISITOR
Written by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
Art by Ben Stenbeck
The sadistic Judge Duvic, who we've seen serving God's vengeance on women and children, nearly has Lord Baltimore in his grasp, but first he has to face Baltimore's last few friends in this doomed, war-torn world.
"These Baltimore miniseries . . . have provided us with the type of genuine Gothic horror that we crave . . . This is a great read." —Complex
Grant: As always, I absolutely love Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, and Ben Stenbeck's Baltimore comics. Mignola and Golden's dark setting of post-World War 1 vampires is awesome, and Stenbeck's art is the perfect compliment to this haunting world. The release schedule for new issues isn't always obvious, but I'm happy to wait for work of this quality. The storytelling these men display is among the best you'll find in mainstream comics at the moment.
Written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
Art by Francesco Francavilla
In the aftermath of the Medusa ordeal, Killer Croc is rescued by a mysterious cult...but what connection do they have with Batwoman, and why do they need to see her die?
Grant: Batwoman is one of the few books that I read purely because of the cast within it. The narrative has been a little uneven in places of late, but I like Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer too much to give up on their ongoing adventures. Hopefully J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman will be able to turn things around sooner rather than later. Thankfully, Francesco Francavilla's presence on art for this issue should be a good step in that direction.
WONDER WOMAN #21
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Cliff Chiang
Wonder Woman’s already reeling from the battle of a lifetime. How can she possibly withstand an all-out attack from her eldest brother, the deadly First Born? London’s in ruins, Diana’s family is shattered, and gods old and new will feel the First Born’s wrath!
Grant: While the changes to the Wonder Woman character have been great under Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, the story has generally been enjoyable enough to warrant them. The narrative has moved a tad slowly considering what has been accomplished in twenty issues worth of story, but on the whole, I've enjoyed it all more than I haven't. My biggest frustration has been how Chiang seemingly floats in and out of the book's art without warning. The solicitation claims that Wonder Woman #21 will be all him, but I have my doubts. We shall see.
Pick of the Week
While I am still an X-Files neophyte, I must nonetheless go with X-Files: Season 10 #1 as my pick of the week. I dig Michael Walsh's art too much to not check out anything he's involved with, and knowing that he'll be on this title for a while makes me think I will be, too.
What would you classify as your pick of the week? Which book are you awaiting with bated breath? Hit the comments to let us know!