Tuesday, September 3, 2013
After some smaller hauls of late, your Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews return in a big way this week. There is a true glut of books hitting shelves tomorrow, and plenty of them are brand new series, including Batman: Black and White #1, God Is Dead #1, The Star Wars #1, and more! It's always a plus to see new books hitting shelves, so hit the jump to see what some of your new favourite titles might be!
BATMAN BLACK & WHITE #1
Written by Chip Kidd, Neal Adams, Joe Quinones, Maris Wicks, John Arcudi & Howard Mackie
Art by Michael Cho, Neal Adams, Joe Quinones, Sean Murphy & Chris Samnee
The legendary, Eisner Award-winning series BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE returns in a brand-new six-issue miniseries featuring tales of The Dark Knight by some of comics’ greatest writers and artists! This first issue kicks off with stories by Chip Kidd and Michael Cho, Neal Adams, Joe Quinones and Maris Wicks, John Arcudi and Sean Murphy, and Howard Mackie and Chris Samnee!
Grant: I'm not entirely sure what to make of DC resurrecting Batman: Black and White. The original volume was obviously fantastic, featuring plenty of great stories from a multitude of talented creators. It should follow that letting a group of present-day creators try their hand at a similar exercise should yield somewhat similar results. I guess my concern is considering how much DC is screwing up right now with the New 52 and overzealous editors, what's to stop them from messing this book up? Hopefully it won't be a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth.
FOREVER EVIL #1
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by David Finch and Richard Friend
The first universe-wide event of The New 52 begins as FOREVER EVIL launches! The Justice League is DEAD! And the villains shall INHERIT the Earth! An epic tale of the world’s greatest super-villains starts here!
Grant: While I legitimately have high hopes for Batman: Black and White, the same cannot be said for Forever Evil. I understand that DC is insistent on having a new gimmick every September (although I'm less clear on the why of that particular aspiration), but I can't say that Forever Evil and its accompanying Villains Month is piquing my interest. Based on their continued sales, I'm clearly in the minority here, but I truly could not care less about event comics. Their perennial need to "change the world forever" seems to always result in a stilted, poorly told and poorly paced story that ultimately doesn't lead anywhere except towards the next event. So while Forever Evil is obviously DC's next big push, I'll happily stay out of the whole thing and spend my moneys elsewhere.
THE STAR WARS #1
Written by J.W. Rinzler
Art by Mike Mayhew
Before Star Wars, there was The Star Wars! This is the authorized adaptation of George Lucas’s rough-draft screenplay of what would eventually become a motion picture that would change the world.
Annikin Starkiller is the hero . . . Luke Skywalker is a wizened Jedi general . . . Han Solo is a big green alien . . . and the Sith . . . Well, the Sith are still the bad guys. High adventure and derring-do from longer ago, in a galaxy even further away!
• Official adaptation of George Lucas’s original screenplay for Star Wars!
• Features regular, variant, and ultravariant covers!
Grant: Here's another project that I'm not quite sure to make of it. Was there really any kind of demand for a comic book adaptation of George Lucas' original screenplay for Star Wars? I'm hard pressed to answer that one in the affirmative, although now that it is coming out, I do feel an urge to take a look at this opening issue to sate my curiosity. Whether that ends up being enough for me to continue reading beyond the opener is another question, but it does appear that Dark Horse will be getting me in the door initially, so there's clearly some sense at play here.
X-MEN BATTLE OF THE ATOM #1
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Frank Cho
• The past, present and future of the X-Men collide in this 50th Anniversary event crossover! When investigating a new mutant, something truly horrible happens to the All-New X-Men that shakes time and space to its core. This is so dire that X-Men come from THE FUTURE with a message: THE ALL-NEW X-MEN MUST RETURN TO THE PAST!
• The ten-part crossover starts here with superstars BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS and FRANK CHO!
Grant: A ten-part crossover? That sounds kind of excessive in my books, but then again, you know my perspective on event-like comics. Either way, I'm no follower of Marvel's X-books, but that doesn't mean I'm deaf to the buzz that's been coming out of them of late. Brian Michael Bendis has clearly been doing some good stuff with the past X-Men's time in the present, and bringing their future incarnations back to the present as well will likely make for some good reading. Although I still maintain that ten-parts seems a little much...
New Kids on the Block
BALTIMORE: THE INFERNAL TRAIN #1
Written by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
Art by Ben Stenbeck
While Baltimore hides out in Budapest awaiting the arrival of the sadistic Judge Duvic, a strange woman shows up with a bizarre invention she promises will rid the world of vampire plague.
• Dark Horse still does vampires right!
“It still takes something special to impose a unifying vision, and Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden have got it.”—The Wall Street Journal
Grant: My love for Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, and Ben Stenbeck's Baltimore comics is well-documented, and so I once again rejoice at seeing a new chapter in the spanning tale being released. Mignola and Golden have been telling a fascinating story through the vignettes they've given us of Lord Baltimore's quest for revenge, but Stenbeck's art easily remains the best part of this book. He has been the perfect fit for Baltimore, realizing the world that Mignola and Golden have imagined with equal parts horror and beauty.
CODENAME: ACTION #1
Written by Chris Roberson
Art by Jonathan Lau
During the height of the Cold War, unknown forces scheme to heat up a global conflict.
As key officials on both sides of the Iron Curtain are replaced with doppelgangers, the infiltration threatens to disrupt the precarious state of world affairs.
The security of the Free World depends on a young secret agent, one assigned to shape the world's masked heroes into a force with singular purpose and unyielding resolve!
Grant: Dynamite has been dropping all kinds of new #1s on the comics world of late, something that I'm always happy to see. Now they just need to branch out into featuring more original characters instead of licensed ones they seem so desperate to hang their success on. That's obviously somewhat unlikely at present, but a man can dream.
DC VS THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE #1
Written by Keith Giffen
Art by Dexter Soy
After narrowly escaping his last battle with He-Man, Skeletor has fled to the most unexpected realm to recover: EARTH! Once there, he sets a plan in motion to siphon off Earth's core magic. Forging an unlikely hunting party, He-Man and company go in search of Skeletor. Finding themselves at odds with the heroes of the DC Universe, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe must find a way to stop Skeletor and his mysterious new master!
This debut issue features two covers by Ed Benes, both available for ordering: one featuring the heroes of the DC Universe, and the other featuring The Masters of the Universe!
Grant: Yet another crossover for which I'm unclear whether there was actually a demand, I must admit that I'm quite curious as to what the heck is going to go down in DC vs. The Masters of the Universe. There are obvious comparisons to be made between comic book superheroes and villains and the denizens of Eternia, but will that translate to a story between the two? The power levels alone feel a little off, but I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't a teensey bit interested in seeing He-Man take on Superman or Batman in that requisite initial meeting fight they'll have before realizing they're on the same side.
GOD IS DEAD #1
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Di Amorim
Like a thunderbolt from heaven, the epic launch issue of GOD IS DEAD is here! East of West and Fantastic Four author JONATHAN HICKMAN launches a fierce new series that stomps where others fear to tread. Mankind has argued over the existence of gods since the dawn of time. In modern eras it’s been fashionable to mock religious believers with taunts of scientific testimony and fact. But when the gods of old begin to reappear on earth and claim the domain of man for their own, the world is thrown into a state of utter anarchy. Now Horus walks the streets of Egypt, Zeus has taken over the Sistine Chapel, and Odin is coordinating the dissection of the earth among the returned deities. Mankind held sway over the world for thousands of years and their hubris over that time has made them powerful but when faced with the divine, can mortal weapons put an end to the second coming of the gods?
Grant: I've found that Avatar books are often a little too graphic for my taste, but I think I'll be checking out God is Dead in spite of that fact. The premise of Gods returning to Earth to literally take dominion of the world sounds pretty neat, and with Jonathan Hickman helming the whole thing, you know that the narrative will be worth a look.
Written by Bryce Carlson
Art by Vanesa Del
“JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE PROVEN GUILTY…DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE INNOCENT.”
WHY WE LOVE IT: We’re suckers for classic film noir, crime comics, and pulp detective novels. We love the secret history of law enforcement in our hometown, Los Angeles. Mostly, we love stories about good men making hard decisions in unforgiving circumstances.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: HIT is a dark crime drama filled with murderers, rapists, and drug lords…and the men who will stop at nothing to bring them to justice. If you’re a fan of CRIMINAL, PARKER, and TUMOR, then HIT is the series for you.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Los Angeles. It’s 1955. It’s dark; it’s sexy. It’s dangerous. Everyone has an angle. And while infamous gangster Mickey Cohen rots in a prison cell, Los Angeles ignores the blackest parts of the city’s heart…where clandestine groups of LAPD detectives moonlight as sanctioned hitmen knows as “Hit Squads".
Grant: I appreciate what Boom! is trying to do with these multi-layered solicitations, trying to give an idea to unfamiliar readers what their books are about, but all this text seems a little overwhelming. Hit sounds like it could be interesting, but by trying to appeal to the largest common denominator in making the book everything to everyone, I feel like I don't quite understand what the whole thing is about (in spite of the "What it's about" section). That being said, more new books from Boom! is a good thing as far as I'm concerned, so a copy will quite likely make it into my reading pile to figure out exactly what Hit is supposed to be.
LOVE STORIES TO DIE FOR #1
Written by Dirk Manning
Art by Owen Gieni and Rich Bonk
TWO COMPLETE STORIES AT LESS THAN HALF THE PRICE OF TWO COMICS!
Two full-length stories in one double-length flip book! First, a desperate monk pits a band of savage Vikings against a pack of rabid vampires in a frantic attempt to protect an exceptionally precious child. In the second story, a woman trapped on a space station overrun by aliens must chose whether to save the second seat on her two-person escape pod for her aloof but heroic husband or for her passionate, forbidden lover.
Grant: I'm honestly not that familiar with the work of any of the creators involved in this comic, but these stories sound ridiculously amazing. Vikings fighting vampires? Space stations overrun by aliens? And it's all contained in a flip book style comic? As the title implicitly asks, what's not to love here?
REALITY CHECK #1
Written by Glen Brunswick
Art by Viktor Bogdanovic
A struggling artist, Willard Penn, scores an unlikely hit with his new comic. The story centers on a hero more concerned with his libido than serving justice. After an unexpected sell out, Willard can't recall anything about his story. That night the book's hero shows up outside Willard's window refusing to return to the comic until he finds true love. Exasperated, Willard is forced to help the lovesick hero meet the perfect woman. But he'll need to hurry because the book's villain, a homicidal maniac, has entered his world as well.
Grant: This comic almost sounds too metatextual for its own good. Almost. I sounds like the whole thing is going to be pushing against the fourth wall to a near uncomfortable degree, but it also sounds like it's going to be a fun ride as we discover how close to the breaking point Glen Brunswick and Viktor Bogdanovic can take their story.
THE MOCKING DEAD #1
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Max Dunbar
From the New York Times bestselling writer of the Marvel Zombies series comes a gut-splitting (then eating) comedy! A small outbreak can turn into a worldwide apocalypse... but only through a long string of screw-ups. Once actual zombies begin popping up in our world, a lone intelligence analyst realizes real-life events are beginning to mimic the events of a long-lost, Grade-Z, drive-in horror flick. As he races to save humanity with this knowledge, he quickly learns the only thing more dangerous than ravenous walking corpses is the ineptitude of the living!
Grant: I do enjoy me a solid parody, and Fred Van Lente has shown a penchant for both zombie and humour titles, so at first blush, it definitely feels like The Mocking Dead could be a rather pleasant surprise. And while Max Dunbar doesn't have all that many professional credits to his name, he certainly seems like a capable artist, so I'll be interested to see how he handles Van Lente's scripts.
You May Have Missed
Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Johnnie Christmas
What has the kids of Safe Haven so terrified? Their fears as revealed as Lucas and Victoria square off against one another.
Grant: Ed Brisson and Johnnie Christmas' Sheltered continues to surprise as its main purpose and thrust are slowly revealed. The first issue hit with a bang, with the second following with some moments to consider exactly what happened. As we move into the third issue, I hope that we can get a little more motivation from Lucas and Victoria to give the reader a better idea of both what the stakes are and why.
SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #3
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Steve Lieber
• With superior villains come superior problems as the year’s sleeper hit continues!
• Out of bail and aiming to stay out of jail, Boomerang must get his cronies on target – but does the PUNISHER have them targeted already?
• Nick Spencer (AVENGERS) and Steve Lieber (HAWKEYE) continue this most evil exploration into the Marvel U!
Grant: I've enjoyed a lot of Nick Spencer's work in the past, but Superior Foes of Spider-Man is perhaps my all-time favourite from his bibliography at the moment. It has the perfect mix of glibness, sarcasm, and irreverence in its writing and dialogue that I find irresistible. The whole thing is a ton of fun, and Steve Lieber's gorgeous art is the perfect icing on the cake.
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Jeff Lemire
In the heart of the Amazon jungle, Nika, a scientist from the year 3797, and William, an explorer from 1921, struggle not only to survive but to make sense of the mind-bending events that have pulled them together across space and time. The mysteries continue to pile up as Vertigo’s new sci-fi epic launches into high gear!
Grant: Trillium #1 was absolutely brilliant, as Jeff Lemire has obviously hit upon another winner with this new series. He offered just enough of a glimpse into the lives of Nika and her seemingly doomed people and William and his post-war trauma to really sink the hooks into the reader. Doubly so when you consider the amazing way he concluded the two stories of the issue #1 flip-book. Above all, it's nice to have Lemire back drawing a book, because as talented of a writer as he is, his art is so unlike anything else anyone else is doing that it should be gracing as many comic books as is physically possible
CATALYST COMIX #3
Written by Joe Casey
Art by Dan McDaid, Ulises Farinas & Paul Maybury
On the road to enlightenment, Frank Wells’s mission turns activist! Amazing Grace confronts a mysterious visitor! And over in “Agents of Change”: a little ultraviolence for all the kids out there! Blast your way into your local comics shop and demand your copy today!
• Masterminded by Joe Casey (Sex, The Bounce, Gødland)!
• Wraparound cover by Brendan McCarthy (The Zaucer of Zilk)!
• Artists Dan McDaid (Doctor Who), Ulises Farinas (Gamma), and Paul Maybury (Aqua Leung)!
Grant: Like Butcher Baker before it, I don't know that I'd be able to actually convey what Catalyst Comix is about, I can say that I've been thoroughly enjoying the ride up until this point. I like the three interweaving stories that Joe Casey is telling alongside Dan McDaid, Ulises Farinas, and Paul Maybury, and the use of these three incredibly different artists has added a lot to the overall experience. Maybe I'll eventually understand exactly what's going on, but I won't be too put out if I don't.
Written by John Layman
Art by Rob Guillory
CHEW #36 is CHEW #29½ . Did that just blow your mind?
Grant: I don't know that I'd say my mind is blown by that solicitation, but I am interested to see where John Layman and Rob Guillory are taking everything. Chew has clearly been building up as it slowly moves towards its finale at issue #60; I just hope that it doesn't lose too much focus or momentum as it works it way towards that number.
DAREDEVIL: DARK NIGHTS #4
Written by Dave Lapham
Art by Dave Lapham
• The Man Without Fear’s life gets a voltage of violence from the Shocker!
• Matt Murdock must track a fugitive to protect his innocent client – while New York City and the Avengers must confront some massive monster mayhem!
• David Lapham returns to the gritty streets of the Mighty Marvel U in WHAT A DAY, WHAT A NIGHT – part one!
Grant: I was thinking of dropping Daredevil: Dark Nights after the conclusion of Lee Weeks' three-part story, but when I saw the cover to Dave Lapham's contribution, I knew I'd be coming back for more. I have a real soft-spot for incompetent bad guys, and Shocker is one of my all-time favourites, mostly due to his god-ugly costume and general terribleness as a villain (which, incidentally, is another reason I'm enjoying Super Foes of Spider-Man so much).
SUICIDE RISK #5
Written by Mike Carey
Art by Elena Casagrande
Before Leo, before Memento Mori, before Diva…there was Ada Robins. When superpower slinging dealers Jed and Hailey find Adaa kindhearted, if downtrodden mother of two. She had been watching her life fall apart in slow motion decades now, with no hope of putting it back together. Life having primed her for Jed and Hailey’s Faustian bargain, Ada finds herself at the moral crossroads finally have the freedom from crushing responsibility, or keep her beleaguered family together? And what’s stopping her, if she really thinks about it, from just having…both? A standalone tale perfect for new readers.
Grant: I really enjoyed the opening for Mike Carey and Elena Casagrande's Suicide Risk, but the past few issues have left me a little underwhelmed. It feels like the book is lacking a bit of direction, which makes it seem odd that we're taking an issue away from the main story for a done in one tangent. That being said, I do love done in ones, so perhaps this will be a perfect jumpstart to get that main narrative swinging again. We shall see.
Pick of the Week
It's mighty hard to pick just one book when there are so many exciting ones hitting shelves on the morrow, but I'm going to cross my fingers and go with Batman: Black and White #1. It could very well fall flat, but if it delivers on the talent involved in the project, it could make for some very good Batman stories, which I won't complain about.
How about yourselves? What books are you salivating over at present? Any of these many #1s piquing your interest? Leave a comment to share your thoughts!