Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews for 02/26/14

Well, it's been a while, but the Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews are back.  I hope you haven't missed me too much these past few months.  Fortunately, there's plenty of wonderful books to look at this week, including Hawkeye #15, Robocop Beta #1, Chew #40, and many more.  So hit the jump and let's hop to it!

Major Releases

BLACK SCIENCE #4
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Matteo Scalera

Grant McKay and his team of Dimensionauts are given a short reprieve when the Pillar drops them not into a hellish warzone or an alien swampland but a...hotel? Just don't trust the room service; there's more to this place than meets the eye.

Grant: Black Science exploded onto the comic book scene late in 2013 with a first issue that really laid everything out there.  We got some dimension travelling scientists, love, loss, and a heck of a lot of violence.  While things haven't exactly calmed down in the issues since, that frenetic pace has dropped a tad as we deal with the group being trapped in their latest dimension of danger.  The solicit promises a change of scenery, which I think will be welcome to kick things back into high gear.  Creepy hotels are classic, and I look forward to seeing what Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera add to the trope.

HAWKEYE #15
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by David Aja

The brothers Barton double down against the bad guys as the Clown lays siege to their building. Can Hawkguy keep everyone safe against a killer nobody's even seen yet?

What happens when you're locked up with your loser big brother for like a week straight?

You go nuts, right? Clint goes a little nuts.

Plus . . . two free staples!

Grant: HAWKGUYS!  This book continues to be overwhelmingly wonderful, and while I dug what Matt Fraction and Annie Wu did with Lady Hawkguy back in issue #16, I am excited to return to David Aja, New York, and the original Hawkguy (along with his brother).  I'm also pleased as punch to see that the solicitations on this book continue to be some of the best around - especially considering the loss of Young Avengers with that series' conclusion.  I think Two Free Staples is the name of my next band.

RAT QUEENS #5
Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe
Art by Roc Upchurch

'Gold, Guts and Grog,' Part Five Well, Palisade has seen better days. It stinks like orc blood. There are bits of troll all over the place.

Worst of all, the famous booze ship, Drowned Sorrows, sank to the bottom of the harbor in the attack. This era of Palisade will forever be known as THE DRY SPELL.

Grant: Now there's a sight for sore eyes.  I remain head over heels in love with Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch's Rat Queens.  If anything, my feelings have only increased in ardour with each and every issue.  Wiebe and Upchurch have created a wonderful foursome of loathsome, lovely, and lively ladies that I simply cannot get enough of.  Things only get more ridiculous, which only makes me love this series even more.  Can't wait to see how they outdo themselves this month.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

PARIAH #1
Story by Aron Warner and Philip Gelatt
Art by Brett Weldele

Trapped in space, the genetically engineered geniuses known as "vitros" must band together and create a plan to get back to Earth before their failing satellite turns into a deathtrap!

* Created by Academy Award winning producer Aron Warner (Shrek).
* Art by Eisner-nominated painter Brett Weldele (The Surrogates).
* Written by Philip Gelatt (Petrograd).

Grant: This book was flying completely under my radar, but the solicitation piqued my interest, and seeing that Brett Weldele, artist for The Surrogates, is involved sealed the deal.  I honestly don't quite understand why the producer of Shrek writing a serious comic about space is a selling point - Academy Award or no - but I guess I'll take Dark Horse's word for it.  And while I haven't read any of Philip Gelatt's work, I've heard good things, so all in all, colour me intrigued.

ROBOCOP BETA #1
Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Emilio Laiso

WHY WE LOVE IT: With the release of RoboCop, a re-­imagining of the all-­time classic, fans of the new and old will be immersed in the action, oppression and humanity that is RoboCop. We cannot wait to be first in line for this new motion picture event!

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT: Four anthology-­style one-­shots exploring the world of the new film, brought to you by some of the freshest voices in the industry -­-­ Joe Harris (GREAT PACIFIC), Frank Barbiere (FIVE GHOSTS), Ed Brisson (SHELTERED), and Michael Moreci (HOAX HUNTERS).

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Alex Murphy was the first successful attempt at creating a man in the machine. But before he could rise, many had to fall. Through the eyes of the failed test subjects on the path to making a successful integration between man and machine, Dr. Norton is forced to ask whether the sacrifice of a few is truly the path towards salvation. His morality must come head to head with Sellars' vision.

Grant: Now this is interesting.  I actually have no strong feelings for Robocop, but I do like one-shots and anthologies, and I do have a hard time saying no to Ed Brisson's writing.  Frankly, all the writers they have on board for these four issues sound pretty sweet.  And the actual story focus of the failed experiments on the road to creating Robocop doesn't sound half bad either.  I had no intention of giving this book a second glance at first, but the solicitation has successful grabbed me, so I will be giving this a gander tomorrow.

TOMB RAIDER #1
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Juan Gedeon and Michael Atiyeh

Superstar writer Gail Simone picks up Lara Croft's story where the smash hit Tomb Raider game left off-in a new ongoing comics series!

Following the game acclaimed for its bold and sophisticated new vision, this series launches Lara Croft on the formative adventures that will change her life forever!

* The official continuation of Lara Croft's story!
* The 2013 video game sold over 3.5 million copies!
"Tomb Raider is the quintessential example of a reboot done right."-Gaming Trend

Grant: Looking around the internet, it seems like I'm the only person, but I simply haven't enjoyed Gail Simone's writing to the same extent since Secret Six concluded those many months ago.  Whether its her continued DC work, her created owned content, or her other work for hire, that spark that I was formerly drawn to doesn't seem to burn as brightly.  That being said, I am a bit of a sucker for licensed content - I can't help but wonder whether it does the original material justice or not and I love to see stories adapted from one medium to another.  While I haven't played the new Tomb Raider game, I've heard many good things, so while this solicitation is a bit on the weak side, I'll give the book a chance.

VANDROID #1
Written by Tommy Lee Edwards and Noah Smith
Art by Dan McDaid

When Palm Springs Entertainment studios burned to the ground in 1984, the most definitive motion picture of a generation was lost before its time. Thirty years later, the extraordinary talents of Tommy Lee Edwards, Noah Smith, and Dan McDaid unite to resurrect this lost epic.

* Complete the Vandroid experience with the remastered soundtrack from Ed Banger Records and the unearthed 1984 movie trailer at Vandroid.com!

Grant: This book kind of got lost in the crowd for me prior to this week, but doing a bit of research, it actually sounds quite neat.  Vandroid is all about Tommy Lee Edwards, Noah Smith, and Dan McDaid creating a tribute to 80s action movies.  I presume there's a bigger story to the whole thing, but a not insignificant chunk of the project is recreating a fictional lost film from the era, which will exist in flashbacks throughout the comic, as well as pieces of the "film" in other media, such as a soundtrack and so forth.  I don't quite understand how this whole thing will come together, but I dig the experimentation and am willing to reward the initiative with a purchase.

You May Have Missed

BALLISTIC #4
Written by Adam Egypt Mortimer
Art by Darick Robertson

Darick Robertson and Adam Egypt Mortimer mix crime with psychedelics and a techno-utopia populated by sociopaths in this unparalleled comic-psychosis that reaches dizzying heights of madness as Butch and Gun come face to face with the superboss who truly runs Repo City State.

Grant: It's funny that the only real link between Ballistic and Transmetropolitan is the presence of Darick Robertson, because the books feel very similar to me.  Adam Egypt Mortimer seems to be channeling his inner-Warren Ellis - or at the very least, his inner dystopian-science fiction - because this world, while quite unrelated to the gonzo journalism of Spider Jerusalem, has that same aura of hopelessness and defeat that seems so strong through Ellis and Robertson's earlier collaboration.  It also has a similar twisted sense of humour, which is by no means a bad thing.  To be honest, I'd be buying this book even if it was nothing more than Butch and his gun Gun yelling at each other, because their dynamic is comedy gold.

FIVE WEAPONS #7
Written by Jimmie Robinson
Art by Jimmie Robinson

'BACK TO CLASS,' Part Two The tables are turned on Enrique in a no-win contest at the school of Five Weapons. Tyler is now the smartest kid in school and he's using Enrique as a pawn in his malicious plans, but Enrique learns an old secret that could tilt the rivalry in his favor.

Grant: I remain ever so pleased that Five Weapons was bumped up to an ongoing series after those initial five issues.  This was easily one of the best all-ages comic of 2013, so getting the opportunity so spend more time with Enrique and the School of Five Weapons feels like a dream come true.  Issue #6, the series' return was a bit heavy on exposition as Jimmie Robinson maneuvered everything into place for an ongoing story, but now that some of the heavy lifting is out of the way, I'm hoping that the book can get back into the clever swing that made it such an enjoyable read the first time around.

SHELTERED #7
Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Johnnie Christmas

Curt shot first.

Grant: Ed Brisson and Johnnie Christmas' Sheltered remains an excellent comic book character piece.  Last issue's introduction to the current arc was a brilliant example of that as we followed a few days in the life of the deliveryman whose sudden appearance at the end of issue #5 has somehow managed to make the awful status quo of Safe Haven even worse.  I have been on the edge of my seat to see how this fustercluck is going to play out, and based on this cover, I can't imagine it's going to be terribly good.  It's as if a society built on children murdering their parents isn't the most solid of foundations?  Fortunately, watching this impossible experiment go wrong continues to be a fascinating proposition.

UMBRAL #4
Written by Antony Johnston
Art by Christopher Mitten

'AND BLACK WATERS REMAIN' Rascal is trapped in the Umbral, Dalone is down and out, and a certain pirate ghost has vengeance on his mind! THE PARANOID DARK FANTASY CONTINUES!

Grant: Umbral remains a book that you simply must check out if you haven't already.  Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten have weaved an engrossing tale in these first few issues, but what's remained most impressive thus far is the shear amount of world building that they've also managed to cram into each and every issue.  It's still too early to really understand every single aspect of the world of Umbral, but it's abundantly clear that it is an intricate land with many mysteries to discover.  Here's hoping our heroes last long enough to let us continue prying the depths of this brave new world.

The Balance

CHEW #40
Written by John Layman
Art by Rob Guillory

'FAMILY RECIPES,' Conclusion This is how you kill the Vampire!

Grant: John Layman recently announced that he's stepping away from some of his work at DC to focus more on completing Chew with collaborator Rob Guillory.  I, for one, could not be happier with this news.  I've enjoyed Chew since it first came across my plate, but the glacial pace its been releasing the past year or two has really hurt my overall enjoyment of reading it in singles.  It's hard to keep engaged with the (admittedly great) story when the time between chapters was long enough to cause me to kind of forget what happened last time around.  Fingers crossed that this move will give the series a bit more regularity to its release schedule.


DEAD BODY ROAD #3
Written by Justin Jordan
Art by Matteo Scalera

Orson Gage is no good man...but Mr. Cobb and his unique interrogation tactics are even worse. Why is he pursuing Gage? And just how do you remove blood from a motel carpet?

Grant: Dead Body Road has felt a bit like a fast and furious action flick - you get just enough information to understand why people are beating up, shooting at, or cussing out other people.  No more, no less.  It's been an interesting venture thus far, but I'm hoping that Justin Jordan and Matteo Scalera can provide a bit more reason to care for what's happening to these characters beyond vague justifications that don't add up to all that much.  I like gunplay, car chases, and the like as much as the next guy, but they don't pack quite the same oomph when there's no reason to care for the characters involved in them.

SERENITY: LEAVES ON THE WIND #2
Written by Zack Whedon
Art by Georges Jeanty, Karl Story & Laura Martin

Forced out of hiding, Serenity's crew gets separated, and it becomes clear that everyone looking for the outlaws is on the verge of finding them. River offers to uncover the secrets that are hidden within her in the hope that the crew might have something to bargain with.

* Buffy's Season 8 and 9 artist conquers the galaxy!
* Zack Whedon returns to Serenity!
* The story finally continues after the film!
* Executive producer: Joss Whedon!

Grant: I know that everyone and their dog was excited at the announcement of Firefly living on through comics, and while a part of me was also eager at the announcement, I also can't help but wonder how necessary it all is.  Firefly was a grand old show, Serenity was a fine movie, but at a certain point you have to ask how badly you need to know more.  Maybe I'm closing doors prematurely, but the first issue felt more like the movie than the television show - fine.  It's nice to see these characters more, but if they aren't as shiny as they once were, is it worth it?

Pick of the Week

As always, plenty of brilliant books hitting shelves this week, and while pretty much any of them could stand up as my pick for the week, I'm going to have to go with Pariah #1.  I am quite excited to have more Brett Weldele art in my hot little hands, and while I don't really know what the deal with the book is, that mystery makes the whole thing more enticing to me.  I've also been on a big sci fi kick lately, so that doesn't hurt.

What about you?  Which books have caught your eye?  What are you most excited to race home from the shop to read?


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3 comments:

Eric van Schaik said...

Hi Grant, nice to see you're back!

The stuff for me this week:
Atomic Robo Science adv. TPB 2
Thief of Thieves TPB 3
Super Dinosaur 22

Black Science, Hawkeye (HC), Five Weapons, Dead body road, Chew (Omnivore) and Ballistic will be bought in trades.



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