Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Welcome back to our Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews! Tomorrow looks to be somewhat of a light week on quantity, but there yet remains a substantial amount of books when it comes to quality. Hit the jump to see some early thoughts on some of these, including Conan the Barbarian #19, Dream Thief #4, Adventure Time #19, and more!
Written by J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman
Art by Trevor McCarthy
Batwoman must confront the chaos and destruction that she helped unleash in Gotham City as part of the DEO’s scheme to destroy Batman!
Grant: I well know that Batwoman is not everyone's cup of tea. There are those who gave up long ago due to the absence of Greg Rucka on the book, which is fair. There are others who dropped out when J.H. Williams III stopped doing interiors, which is also quite understandable. All that considered, I still put Batwoman up there as one of my favourite books coming out right now. While Williams and W. Haden Blackman are by no means Greg Rucka, the two have still managed to tell some intriguing stories featuring Kate Kane and her lovely supporting cast. And although I was leery at first, Trevor McCarthy has really been coming into his own on this title. This is definitely a different book from what Batwoman used to be under the Detective Comics lable, but it's still an extremely good one.
CONAN THE BARBARIAN #19
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Paul Azaceta
Conan and Bêlit find themselves the unlikely couriers to a mysterious and ancient religious relic. They are soon beset on all sides by the feuding factions that wish to exploit the artifact’s power. Can they reach their destination while keeping their prize—and themselves—intact?
• From Brian Wood (Star Wars, The Massive), and Paul Azaceta (Amazing Spider-Man, B.P.R.D.).
• The most-talked-about Conan comic in years!
“Wood is not afraid of going down new paths with a boldness that will benefit all readers.” –Comic Book Resources
Grant: I initially struggled with the constantly rotating art teams working alongside Brian Wood on Conan the Barbarian, but once they properly settled into the current routine of one artist per three-issue arc, I've warmed to the idea. Having that consistent visual identity for every arc is nice, and knowing that it will always be for three issues lends a certain reliability to the whole thing. It also helps that the artists that Wood has had the privelege to work with have been top notch, and I have no doubt that Paul Azaceta will continue this trajectory as he takes up the reigns with the latest storyline.
New Kids on the Block
KISS KIDS #1
Written by Chris Ryall and Tom Waltz
Art by Jose Holder
Presenting the adventures of Li’l Demon, Starchild, Catkid, and Spacey… the KISS Kids gang! This rockin’ new comic offers adventures for all ages (and many in-jokes and familiar characters for the KISS faithful, too). No blood or fire here, just laughs and fun tales of the little costumed maniacs and the crazy town in which they live.
Grant: Say what? I'd heard that IDW was doing a KISS Kids comic book, but part of me didn't really believe it would happen. I mean, I guess KISS is kind of popular, and the habit of converting properties to a Kids version is tried and true, but do these two things really go hand in hand? Has the world truly been crying out for an all-ages version of a band whose heydey was the 70s and 80s? My instinct definitely says no, but my undying thirst for ridiculous things really hopes it will work despite (because?) of this dissonance.
Also, I'm glad that this section has finally become the pun I always hoped it would be.
You May Have Missed
ADVENTURE TIME #19
Written by Ryan North
Art by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb
The TOTALLY MATH adventure continues with Finn and Jake, everyone’s favorite human and his dog! And this arc, things are getting literally mathematical for our heroes… The newest issue of the hottest allages book on the stands today!
Grant: Yes please! Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, and Braden Lamb's tenure on Adventure Time has made for one of the most reliable comic book ongoings around. Every single issue of this series has been an incredibly fun read, with excellent ongoing stories punctuated by wonderful done-in-one tales every fifth issue. We also get the bonus of the amazing short stories by various comic book peoples from all types of backgrounds. And on top of all that, this book just so happens to be the best all-ages comic on available on stands at the moment. Do you know what time it is?
DREAM THIEF #4
Written by Jai Nitz
Art by Greg Smallwood
A murdered gambler, a dead hit man, and a priest who knows too much put John Lincoln in a lethal position. Pinched between the Dixie Mafia and La Cosa Nostra, the Dream Thief finds himself in a Memphis card game where the stakes are his life!
“A stunning debut. Crisp, mysterious, compelling and gorgeously drawn. Don't miss this book.” –Kurt Busiek
"Dream Team. Dream Book. Wake up to Dream Thief!" —Grant Morrison
Grant: Jai Nitz and Greg Smallwood's Dream Thief has been an excellent read since its debut a few months back. Nitz's scripts are tight, tense, and filled to the brim with wacky ideas that you'll wish you'd have come up with first, while Smallwood's gorgeous art has seemingly been getting better every single issue. These guys have some wonderful chemistry together, and they're using it to tell one bangup story. You should be checking this out if you aren't already.
ANIMAL MAN #23
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Steve Pugh and Francis Portela
In the shocking conclusion of “Splinter Species,” Brother Blood and a stunning murder have Animal Man on the brink of extinction!
Grant: I'm just not sure how I feel about Jeff Lemire's Animal Man anymore. Its first arc worth of issues was incredibly strong, but the underwhelming Rotworld storyline with Scott Snyder's Swamp Thing really killed Animal Man's momentum. It's been building back up in fits and spurts, and while there have been glimmers of the title's former brilliance, it's still unclear whether Lemire will be able to return the book to its former levels of excitement. I'll be interested to see just how "shocking" this issue truly is, as it could have a significant impact on whether I stick around for more or call it an animal day.
LOBSTER JOHNSON: A SCENT OF LOTUS #2
Written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Art by Sebastian Fiumara
After a brutal attack by an army of gun-blazing monkeys in a burning brothel, Lobster Johnson confronts the supernatural Japanese spy known as the Crimson Lotus!
• Tie-in to B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs!
• The Crimson Lotus, first introduced in B.P.R.D.: The Dead in 2005, comes after the Lobster!
Grant: While Lobster Johnson has been blessed with some solid artists during the character's short existence, with last month's opening issue of A Scent of Lotus, Sebastian Fiumara has quickly rocketed to the top of my list. He brings a moody gravitas to the book that matches the story's tone so well it needs to be seen to be properly understood. Of course, it never hurts to have Dave Stewart colouring your work, so the whole thing really shines. Unsurprisingly, John Arcudi and Mike Mignola's story is more than able to keep up with the brilliant artwork, making for an excellent one-two punch.
WONDER WOMAN #23
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Cliff Chiang
Wonder Woman had no choice but to abandon London to the bloodthirsty First Born—but now it’s time to take the city back! If Diana is truly War’s greatest student, then now is the time to prove it!
Grant: I've become somewhat suspicious of issues of Wonder Woman solicited as being drawn by Cliff Chiang, as there have been more than a few instances where that hasn't held true, but according to DC's own website, Chiang will actually be on interiors this time around (and without any assists, it would seem!). This is most welcomed news, and I cannot wait to feast my eyes yet again on Chiang incredible work. As much as I've enjoyed Brian Azzarello's take on Diana Prince - and the manner in which it has departed from aspects of her past origins has been quite fascinating - the book simply does not feel the same without Chiang actually drawing the whole thing. And considering all the destruction we're likely to get this time around, I'm even more excited than usual.
Pick of the Week
While I'm always tempted to go with the newest issue of Adventure Time, I'm going to offer my Pick of the Week to Conan the Barbarian #19. Brian Wood's writing on this series has been some of my favourite work from an extremely accomplished writer, and as I said above, the artists he's had the pleasure of working with have all done a great job during their run. I have high hopes for Paul Azaceta, and I don't imagine I'll be disappointed.
What about you? What books are you grabbings this week? Are there any blatant oversights I've committed this time around? Hit the comments to let me know!