Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews for 09/25/13

I hope you're ready, because humpday is nearly upon us, which means it's time for our Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews.  We've plenty of fancy titles on the docket, including Saga #14Powerpuff Girls #1, Sex Criminals #1, and more.  So hit the jump and check it all out on the other side.

Major Releases

SAGA #14
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Art by Fiona Staples

Gwendolyn and Slave Girl think about the future.
Grant: It's Saga.  You buy it.  'Nuff said.


Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Chip Zdarsky

A SEX COMEDY FOR COMICS Suzie's a normal girl with an extraordinary ability: when she has sex, she stops time. One night she meets John... who has the same gift. And so they do what any other sex-having, time-stopping, couple would do: they rob banks. In the vein of THE 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN and BRIDESMAIDS, Image Comics invites you to come along with MATT FRACTION (Hawkeye, SATELLITE SAM) and CHIP ZDARSKY (Prison Funnies, Monster Cops) for the series that puts the 'comic' back in 'comics' and the 'sexy' back in 'sex crimes.'

Grant: Years ago, for reasons that I cannot even begin to remember anymore, I somehow stumbled upon Chip Zdarsky's website, where I discovered his inimitable Monster Cops comic.  As the title implies, it's basically a story about a Dracula, Frankenstein, and Wolf-Man who are all cops.  And it is 100% amazing.  I read through every issue with reckless abandon (and honestly suggest you do the same), and have subconsciously been waiting for his next big project since then.  Apparently my wishes have finally been answered in the form of Sex Criminals #1, Zdarksy's collaboration with comic book superstar Matt Fraction.  Already that's enough to get me on board, but if you need something, please keep in mind that this is a comic about people who commit crimes by having sex.  Alternatively, they have sex to commit crimes.  Either way, that should be worth your reading time and money, so get out there and grab yourself a copy!

Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie

It's Mother's Day. Don't worry. You won't forget. She won't let you.

Who's bringing Mother presents?
Grant: Young Avengers continues to be so much fun that I can hardly believe it.  While so much of Marvel and DC is concerned with nitty gritty continuity, it is always refreshing to see books like this hitting comic book stands.  Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are making a comic that is enjoyable first and beholden to continuity second, which I feel is the only way to approach the matter.  While the majority of the comic book industry clearly doesn't agree, I'm glad there are some books that do.
New Kids on the Block

Written by Troy Little
Art by Troy Little
Citizens of Townsville, fear not! The Powerpuff Girls are back! In this IDW debut issue Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup are back to take down the meanest of the mean and the ugliest of the ugly! Plus, what fiendish secret is Mojo Jojo hiding? The answer is sure to surprise!
Grant: I didn't exactly watch a ton of Powerpuff Girls when it was on television, but part of me is still gladdened to see IDW snag the license for the property.  It shouldn't be all that surprising considering that it is their primary output, but IDW does licensed books really well, and from what I know about this series, it deserves to have a solid comic book adaptation.  Hopefully it can appeal to readers both young and old.
Written by Marc Guggenheim
Art by Leinil Francis Yu

The unthinkable happens when the Punisher surrenders himself to police! The trial of the century begins as Frank Castle admits to murdering a district attorney! Is this the end of the Punisher's war on crime?

Grant: Is it worth featuring a comic here if my sole intention is to make fun of it?  I certainly hope so, because that's all I have in mind for Punisher: Crime of the Punisher #1.  The entire concept of Frank Castle just giving up and handing himself over to authorities doesn't really jive with any interpretation of the character I've ever seen, so there's obviously a major piece of the puzzle that is completely absent from this solicitation - such as him needing to be in prison to hunt down some big bad guy or whatever.  And even if that somehow isn't the case, this kind of book will obviously have no lasting impact on the rest of the Marvel Universe - which in and of itself isn't the worst thing in the world - but it's also hard to believe that Marc Guggenheim and Leinil Yu will have the greenlight to really push this concept to its logical extreme.  However, maybe this is just my inner-cynic burbling to the surface and this issue will actually be super interesting.  I suppose there's only one way to find out.

Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe
Art by Roc Upchurch

'GOLD, GUTS AND GROG,' Part One Who are the Rat Queens? A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they're in the business of killing all gods' creatures for profit. It's also a darkly comedic fantasy series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Hobbit Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack! A new ongoing series from PETER PANZERFAUST's KURTIS J. WIEBE and featuring a gorgeous incentive cover by SAGA's FIONA STAPLES!

Grant: It certainly feels at times like Kurtis J. Wiebe is leading a charmed life, releasing what looks to be yet another soon-to-be hit in Rat Queens.  His comic book bibliography seems to grow longer by the day, but I must say that I'm eager to see what Rat Queens will be all about.  I do enjoy me some fantasy hijinx, and Roc Upchurch's art has looked excellent in previews.  This title looks like it's going to be going places, so try to get in on the ground floor.

You May Have Missed

Written by Brian Clevinger
Art by Erich Owen

A cabal of industrialists plot to overthrow the government in the wake of the financial panic of 1893. Their 'Black Coat' army is poised to strike from the shadows. But first they've got to eliminate the only thing that could stop them: Nikola Tesla himself.

Grant: I've been feeling a little underserved by the current arc of Atomic Robo: Real Science Adventures.  The solicits make the whole thing sound pretty darned cool, but the actual issues aren't nearly as sharp or focused as what Brian Clevinger usually does in the main series.  And while I was initially excited for the rotating cast of artists, the differing art styles when combined with the large cast of characters has made it a little difficult to keep track of who is who.  However, the value of the book remains good, and with us two issues out of the conclusion, perhaps there's still time to bring it all together.
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Nick Dragotta

The work of the Chosen is revealed as the RANGER is recruited to hunt down and kill Death.

Grant: We're already five issues into the series, and I must say that I'm not entirely sure what East of West is about.  I mean, I recognize that it is a fascinating alternate history where the United States has been divided up into various hostile factions that are always on the edge of war that just so happens to also include the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (one of whom doesn't seem too interested in that gig any longer).  What I mean to say is that I'm not particular certain what the end goal of any of it is.  Fortunately, Jonathan Hickman's writing and Nick Dragotta's art are purty enough that I don't much mind at this juncture.  We'll see if I feel the same way should this still be the status quo at ten issues in, but it'll do me for the nonce.

The Balance

Written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan
Art by Declan Shalvey

In the heart of the enemy's clutches, Deadpool meets some uncanny friends…Captain America & Wolverine get sucked into the mystery of Deadpool's past.
Grant: It's reassuring that, seemingly regardless of what's going on, you can always depend on Deadpool for some comic book ridiculousness and comic relief.  I've floated in and out of Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan's run on the character, but as I've said previously, it harkens back to some of Deadpool's original 90s adventures in the best way possible.  And so when I saw that Declan Shalvey was on art for the current The Good, The Bad & The Ugly arc, I couldn't resist giving the title a look, seeing as Shalvey is one of my favourite rising talents.  I cannot wait for him to land a more permanent gig that I'll be able to follow month-in and month-out.  Until then, I'll be happy to enjoy his time with the Merc with a Mouth.
Written by Art Baltazar and Franco
Art by Art Baltazar

Lobster Johnson is on the trail of a Squatch!

His search has led him to the deep woods, and Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. are going to help him the best way they know how! That's right-it's a camping trip! One thing is for sure: when Liz is around you never need a flashlight, but you might need to bring your own marshmallows!

* The creators of Aw Yeah Comics come to Dark Horse!
*Art Baltazar and Franco reimagine Mike Mignola's best-loved characters in the style of Tiny Titans and Superman Family Adventures!

Grant: If you were a reader of Tiny Titans or Superman Family Adventures, Itty Bitty Hellboy #2 was exactly what you would have expected, which is obviously a good thing.  IBH is the family-friendly, fun for the sake of fun Hellboy book that you never knew could exist, but should be mighty glad that it does.

Written by Mike Carey
Art by Peter Gross

As 'The Unwritten Fables' continues, it looks like the darkest hour, but somehow things continue to get darker. Nothing stands between Mister Dark and the endless, nested worlds of reality and story-except a witch without a conscience, a prince crippled by grief and three schoolchildren who are starting to realize that they're wearing the wrong faces.
Grant: I'm on a major Unwritten high after reading Tommy Taylor and the Ship that Sank Twice last week, so I'm jazzed to see that Mike Carey and Peter Gross are following that up with another issue of the main series this week.  While The Unwritten Fables' relevence to either The Unwritten or Fables has sometimes been a little murky, the quality of the storytelling has more than made up for any such oversight.  Carey and Gross are killing it, and you should be there to witness it all.
Pick of the Week

With it all said and done, I'm definitely the most excited for more Chip Zdarsky with his and Matt Fraction's Sex Criminals #1.  I don't rightly know how the thing will turn out, but I'm more than willing to read through it to find out.
What about you?  Are you titlated by this explicitly named new book?  Does it stimulate your imagination?  Could I make more inapprorpiate puns?

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Rocker69 said...

Grant, I understand your criticism of continuity on your preview about Young Avengers but...don't you think it is precisely this reason that draws people into superhero comics in the first place? The sense that you are reading a saga? I remember when I first picked an issue of Uncanny X-Men when I was 10 years old I was incredibly fascinated by this, I wanted to know everything I could about what happened to those characters up to that point.

I love Young Avengers as well (and btw there were several references on that issue that first time readers would never get, in my opinion) but it's not always easy to strike the precise balance between continuity and plain fun.

Grant McLaughlin said...

@Rocker - I know you're right that many comic book readers are big fans of continuity and the sense of saga and meaning that it can bring, but my concern (and what I was trying to get across in my Young Avengers comments) is that many books take that to mean that continuity should come first and interesting and fun stories should come second.

You're also spot on in saying that Young Avengers was awash in continuity references that first time readers would never catch, but what I love about the book is that one's enjoyment of it is not impacted by whether or not you can catch every single reference. Gillen and McKelvie have a book that is approachable for readers of all experiences and backgrounds, which is amazing.

I'd also agree that it isn't necessarily easy to strike the balance between continuity and fun, but I've had more than my fill of books that are meanginful when it comes to continuity but completely unreadable when it comes to story. If it comes down to a choice of one or the other, I'll take fun every day of the week.

Rocker69 said...

And frankly, in this day and age, when Wikipedia is just a seconds away with our smartphones (and even very obscure characters have their wiki page), anyone can catch up with any character or story. Heck, I do that every now and then. I really don't think Marvel, DC or Image should be concerned with "accessibility", let the creators do what they want and us readers can figure out the rest, be that a continuity heavy book like Uncanny Avengers or something more fun like Young Avengers or FF.

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