Thursday, June 11, 2009

Down the Line for August 2009

Welcome to Down the Line, our monthly look at Previews! Each month we look at what’s coming out in comics (and manga) a few months down the road. Randy and Jason are back with another installment, this time covering the June Previews for comics due to ship out August 2009 or later.

We'll also be doing different categories each month, to slice things up into nice easy to read chunks. Some categories will be standard, some will be one-time and some will be occasionally recurring. Without further ado, on to the first category:





8-9-3 GN (Automaton) - page 197
A Yakuza assassin runs into a woman from his past and winds up in his employer's favorite soap opera. Fun premise, good cartooning from Jack Hsu, who previously did an all-ages graphic novel I really enjoyed called Poppie's Adventures. You can even check out chapter one online.

Absolution #1 (Avatar Press) - page 201
I'd never really paid much attention to Christos Gage. After GI Joe: Cobra, however, he gets the benefit of the doubt. A new original series that doesn't sound terribly original: a superhero cop gets all angsty and then decides to get all murdery. Still, the solicit promises that fans of the Shield and Dexter will get a kick out of it, and that's enough for me.

Christos Gage wrote a kickass Deadshot miniseries, a really fun '70s-flavored Civil War miniseries, Annihilation: Conquest - Quasar and plenty of other good stuff. That earns this one a look, even though most of Avatar's stuff, with the notable exception of Apparat, has left me cold.

Avatar's other output has left you cold? But what about 'Crossed'? You know, an assortment of 'Crossed' comics are great gateway books for new readers. I recommend giving them to family members, fellow church-goers, or even just leaving them near playgrounds.

Killer of Demons TP (Image) - page 147
Marvel regular Chris Yost steps into the creator-owned arena with Atomic Robo artist Scott Wegener to tell the tale of a guy who sees through the disguises of demons everywhere and kills them. Or maybe he's a delusional mass murderer. I read the first issue of this book and knew immediately that I would want to buy the trade when it comes out. Fresh, fun and beautifully illustrated comics.

Red Sonja Presents: Thulsa Doom #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) - page 230
Despite my love for all things REH, I never had much love for the Red Sonja series. Couldn't get Brigitte Nielson out of my head, and as a result, Flava Flave. I'll read this, however, and imagine Thulsa speaking with Flava's voice. Hmmm. Now that I think of it, that sounds kinda awesome.

Showcase Presents: Warlord Vol 1 TP (DC Comics) - page 95
Finally, DC puts out the original Mike Grell Warlord comics in a Showcase. At this point, after reading a few disappointing Warlord relaunches, I'm not sure I still have the same interest in reading the original material, but I griped about this being out of print for so long that I feel like I ought to at least give the Showcase a read.




Adventure Comics #1 (DC Comics) - page 74
He's back! Who's back, you ask? Well, everyone. It's comics, nobody stays dead, and now even the formerly sacred cows of Barry Allen and Bucky Barnes have made re-appearances. Hell, Marvel's Reborn might be about Uncle Ben, for all we know. At any rate, the cheapness of death and resurrection aside, it appears many folks are excited to see Geoff Johns returning Superboy to the DC Universe and pairing him up with the Legion of Super-Heroes for their seven hundredth reboot. I, as you can probably tell, am not really one of those people. Not that I have any particular problem with it, it's just that I'm having a hard time thinking of anything I care less about right at the moment.

Right there with you. I just don't get the point of this. (Although I've still got my fingers crossed for Uncle Ben's inevitable return from the grave. Maybe he can join the Thunderbolts.)


Maybe he could come back as a furry and join the Thundercats.

 


Batgirl #1 (DC Comics) - page 69
A new Batgirl! And a new Robin a few months before that! And a new Batman! DC is essentially making it's way door to door in Gotham. Eventually, everyone will have a chance to don a costume for the Bat-family!

Heavy betting on this one is that it's Stephanie Brown, a.k.a. The Spoiler. I'd be cool with that, but either way, I'm kind of glad to have a new Batgirl, as Cassandra Cain never did much for me. Unless of course this is Cain, but given how smiley she is in this picture, it seems a weird fit.

More importantly, when do we get a new Bat-Hound?

The Darkness / Pitt #1 (Top Cow) - page 162
Pitt is back! He's teaming up with the Darkness! Let's put on Melrose Place, listen to grunge, and have a refreshing Zima. It's 1993 again!

 


Huh, new Pitt? Dale Keown must need some cash for his band. Nah, that's mean. I'm sure there's a compelling story featuring The Darkness and Pitt that needed this many years to germinate before being unleashed upon the public.

 


Die Hard: Year One #1 (Boom!) - page 206
Really? You know I love you, Boom! Studios, but... no. No no no no no no no no no no. NO. The whole point of Die Hard, one of my favorite all-time movies, is that John McClane is an ordinary guy caught up in an extraordinary situation. He is not a cop of destiny whose heroic rise began as a rookie cop during the Bicentennial. He's also not a guy who single-handedly defeats evil special ops at the Dulles airport or who stops cyber-terrorists from shutting down all of the Internets, but that's between me and the makers of two of the Die Hard sequels. You guys can sit that one out.

But still. NO. Bad Publisher.

I have to admit, I'm curious. I'm a Boom! devotee, too, and the original Die Hard is one of my favorite films. But this does feel like strip mining. How long will they wait before dropping in the obligatory 'Yippee Kay Yay, Motherfucker'?

I think it's on one of the variant covers.

Too soon?

 


Doom Patrol #1 (DC Comics) - page 82
DC keeps relaunching Doom Patrol, and while they're usually at least solid, none of them are going to compete with Grant Morrison's definitive Vertigo take on the characters. Still, for those who want a DC Universe version of Robotman, Negative Man, uh, Wheelchair Man and um, Giant Hey-I-Thought-She-Was-Dead Woman, Keith Giffen and Matt Clark offer up the the latest Doom Patrol #1. Of more interest to me are the eight-page backup tales of the Metal Men, some of my favorite weird DC characters, done by the writing and art team of Justice League International. Now that's enough to pique my interest.

Grimjack: The Manx Cat #1 (IDW) - page 258
Fresh from the web, John Ostrander and Tim Truman present new tales of inter-dimensional bounty hunter John Gaunt in this new Grimjack miniseries.

 


Icon: A Hero's Welcome TP (DC Comics/Milestone) - page 93
The Milestone universe remains my favorite dead-before-its-time superhero universe. Forget its multicultural mandate, which is important in terms of making comics more accessible and indeed more realistic, these were just great superhero stories with top talent onboard. Icon, the story of a conservative black man who's actually an alien (no, not Alan Keyes) and the teenage girl who inspires him to become a superhero, is the best of the Milestone line, and I'm happy to see it coming back into print again. The book is witty, smart and has plenty of action to go with its sociopolitical elements, and it really belongs on everyone's bookshelves.

King City #1 (Image) - page 138
I've been a fan of Brandon Graham's since I picked up his one-man anthology Elevator a few years back, and then he burst big onto the scene with King City at Tokyopop and Multiple Warheads at Oni Press. The demise of Tokyopop seemed like it might be the end of our professional thief with a cat that doubled as a universal tool, but thankfully Tokyopop have come to an agreement with Image and they're going to be publishing the whole thing in oversized comic books. Graham's artwork is stunning, and his story ideas, settings and characters are unique and fun. As Bryan O'Malley (Scott Pilgrim) says, "King City is Olympic-level comics. Comics doing backflips. This is Required Reading." And I think O'Malley knows a thing or two about Required Reading comics.

Mary Jane Month (Marvel Comics) - page M22
It's Mary Jane Month in Spidey's corner of the Marvel Universe, proving that Marvel editorial is a bunch of teasing, gloating bastards. I fall squarely in the camp of 'Peter and Mary Jane belong together and married'. This just feels like they're poking at my old wounds and giggling.

Judging by the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #601, they're celebrating "Mary Jane Month" by making her anorexic. I guess she is supposed to be a model.

 


The Red Circle #1s (DC Comics) - pages 80-81
DC is on an expansion kick, absorbing the Milestone universe and now the Archie Red Circle characters into its multiversal maw. J. Michael Straczynski, fresh from his "What If Gwen Stacy Was Kinda Slutty?" run on Amazing Spider-Man and his half-finished Twelve series at Marvel, comes over to slap a fresh coat of paint on the Archie Comics superheroes. I confess that I have a little fondness for the '90s revamp of these characters which included such talents as Mark Waid, and that translates into some small interest in what DC does with these characters, but I also think that I'm one of the few, so I'm still kind of weirded out that DC is throwing so much weight behind this relaunch.

Ultimate Comics Avengers #1 (Marvel Comics) - page M20
Volumes 1 & 2 of the Ultimates worked for me because it read like a Michael Bay summer movie version of the Marvel Universe. They were exciting, explosive stories with very little beneath the shiny veneer. I'm fine with that. I'm fine with Millar not playing in the regular Marvel Universe. If he 'punks' a character I care about in exchange for a climactic moment, that stings and takes me out of it. In the Ultimate Universe, however, all bets are off. Let him run riot in alternate universes, but leave 616 alone. I'm glad to see him head back to the Ultimates and I hope he can rebuild it after Loeb spent the last few years burning it all down and urinating on the ashes.

Millar's Ultimate versions carry with them a "look how clever I am" vibe that still annoys me, but in general, I agree with your view here. Also, The Ultimates was pretty good at what it did, which was transform the Avengers into a big budget Hollywood version of themselves, and Carlos Pacheco is definitely a worthy follow-up to the impressive art of Bryan Hitch.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 (Marvel Comics) - page M21
Ultimate Spider-Man has rarely missed a note for me. However, with this Ultimatum business wrapping up and the title relaunching, I think this is a fine time to get off the ride. Thanks again, Jeph!




G-Man: Cape Crisis #1 (Image) - page 136
Sadly, Marvel has discontinued Chris Giarrusso's clever, witty Mini Marvels in favor of the toy-based Superhero Squad, based on some kind of "Kids are dumb" policy. Fortunately, Giarrusso is now doing more of his original creations, in the same style, as a G-Man limited series. I confess, I like the Mini Marvel stuff a bit better because the insider gags with kid humor really work for me, but G-Man is fun comics for kids, and I can't say no to that.

 


I kid you not. I first read that as G-Man: Rape Crisis.

 


That would be less fun comics for kids.

 


Monsters, Inc.: Laugh Factory #1 (Boom!) - page 218
So far, Boom! hasn't disappointed with their Pixar offering, and this one features writing by Paul Benjamin of Pantheon High and Marvel Adventures Hulk fame, so I expect this will be a good outing as well. Also, glad to see that it's a sequel, not a prequel, as the new world of Monsters, Inc. after the movie seems like it'll have more new mileage to cover.

I'm expecting nothing but fun from this one. Pixar's great at creating rich worlds, not just visually, but in concept. The realm of Monsters, Inc might be the most fertile ground. I wonder how much this will gel with the newly announced theatrical sequel.

Rose GN (Graphix) - page 220
The prequel to Bone, beautifully painted by Charles Vess, comes to the Scholastic format, which has turned Bone from an indie phenomenon into an all-ages juggernaut. My daughter has already read this, since I bought the hardcover way back when, and she really loved it. So if you've got kids who have been reading Bone, I can definitely recommend picking up this prequel as well.




Days Missing #1 (Archaia Studios Press) - page 186
Phil Hester, author of great comics like Deep Sleeper, The Coffin and The Atheist, presents his newest original story with art by Frazer (Klarion the Witch-Boy, Gutsville) Irving. That line-up alone is enough to get me to read it without even knowing what it's about, or that Archaia Studios Press has a pretty good track record in general. But for those who need more, the premise is a godlike being who removes days from history that would have radically altered it, and this series is about those days being revealed. So multiple timeline stype stuff, deus ex machina and, if I know my comics, alternate versions of Hitler!

That sounds fascinating, really. But you probably nailed it with the Hitler call. It should be noted that Dale Keown does the cover for the regular edition. Someone just set up a paypal account for this guy already.

 


Actually, we've got one. It's at my email address, weirdly, but all the money will definitely go to Dale Keown, and not to, say, buying me an iPhone or Rock Band Beatles Limited Edition.

 


Fantastic Four #570 (Marvel Comics) - page M47
A new creative team takes the reins and according to that Alan Davis cover, Reed Richards has been replaced by some barrel chested guy who looks like Doc Venture Sr.


This can only help sales. Does this mean The Thing is going to start talking and acting like Brock Samson? Will Sue get a Dr. Girlfriend makeover? Jonathan Hickman's take may be a bit unconventional, but I like it.


Now I can't read Sue Richards dialogue without hearing that gravelly rasp. Thanks, Randy.

 


The Marvels Project #1 (Marvel Comics) - page M6
Ed Brubaker goes back to the origins of Marvel, crafting a story of the virtual Big Bang that kicked everything off. The solicit promises 'hidden connections' and 'dramatic reverberations'. (translation: RetCon!) Do we really need to make a sprawling universe smaller by having all sorts of little interconnected stories? I still have great faith in Brubaker and the art on this looks stunning, but shrinking your sandbox by tying everything together is the same method that gave us 'Vader made C3PO'.

I'm opposed to this kind of thing on general principles, and even when Brubaker has dabbled in this kind of thing, it has given us such gems as Kid Vulcan the emo emperor and absolute bastard Xavier. However, that said... Brubaker and Epting have done an exceptional job with the modern warfare style of Captain America, and a World War II period piece by the same two certainly gets my attention.

Kid Vulcan! Despite the nice execution of 'War of Kings', I'd blocked 'Deadly Genesis' out of my mind. Let me dial back my anticipation just a bit more.

 


Sorry about that. But let's remember, this is also the guy who gave us Holden Carver, Winter Soldier and, along with Matt Fraction, Fat Cobra. Brubaker's hit record is much, much longer than his miss record.

 


The Umbrella Academy: Dallas TP (Dark Horse) - page 34
Gerard Way, Gabriel Ba and Dave Stewart serve up another installment of one of the coolest new comics on the market. Featuring time-travel, ultraviolence, the JFK conspiracy and a dysfunctional family that's like the superhero version of The Bluths or The Tanenbaums.

I still have trouble believing that someone from an arguably trendy band has come up with something so inventive. And a superhero version of the Bluths or the Tanenbaums is right on the money.




A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge GN (Pantheon) - page 273
Originally serialized online at Smithmag, this true-life story of several folks in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina is a harrowing but compelling read. You can check out the original webcomic at the link, but this hardcover is an expanded volume with more story pages as well as afterwords, forewords, that sort of thing.

I'm interested, but don't know if I can stand getting all frustrated and depressed again. I'm surprised this hasn't been addressed more in graphic form.

 


Despite having what some might call a hair trigger in regards to Bush-era shenanigans, and more than a little residual anger over how Katrina was handled, I was able to read and thoroughly enjoy A.D. in webcomics form. It probably helps that I know my friends came out OK in the end.

Al Williamson's Flash Gordon (Flesk Publications) - page 248
This is an artist-specific collection of Williamson's take on Flash Gordon, which many would argue is the take. Strangely, the adaptation of the 1980 film is also included, which I'm curious to see. I will be cranking up the Queen soundtrack as I read it.

Hellboy Library Edition Volume 3 HC (Dark Horse) - page 43
I can't wait to have another volume of this to read. Sure, I've read all the Hellboy stories before, but these oversized, hardcover collections are the definitive way to enjoy them, and the art and coloring is so much more impressive at this size. This concludes the Mignola-only run, now I'm kind of hoping there will be a volume four with the Fegredo stuff, and maybe even BPRD volumes with Guy Davis's work. I'll happily pony up the cash, Dark Horse.

If the Hellboy collections weren't so pricey, I'd buy them just to tear the stunning, shiny pages out and paper my walls with them.

 


Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition (Fantagraphics) - page 247
I own all of the Usagi Yojimbo trade paperbacks, but I'm not sure I can resist a super-deluxe slipcased hardcover set of the first seven, the ones that Fantagraphics has the reprint rights to. In fact, I'm almost certain I can't.




Archie #600 (Archie Comics) - page 191
Archie is getting married! Sort of. It's an imaginary story, a 6-part arc where he first marries Veronica, then Betty, then everything reverts to normal where he is in fact secretly gay for Jughead. It's getting a lot of mainstream press, though... it was even mentioned on Rachel Maddow. And as the Death of Superman and similar events have taught us, that means you'll be able to buy six of the issues, sock them away and use them to pay for your children's college education, and maybe a shiny new boat!

Should I feel ashamed if I read the 'secretly gay' part and said, "Wait. Really??"

 


Nah, I should probably be ashamed at making a dated "Chasing Amy" reference.

 


If Archie did indeed tie the knot, he then would have to make a deal with Mephisto to undo everything. Except for the Archie-on-Jughead action. That stays.

 


Captain America: The Death of Captain America Omnibus HC (Marvel) - page M82
All the snarky things I've said above about event stories like Death of Superman and the marriage of Archie aside, the Death of Captain America was both a bonafide media event and a great story. The first Captain America Omnibus is one of the treasures of my collection, and I'm delighted beyond words that Marvel is putting out what amounts to a volume two, showing us the aftermath of Cap's Death, which has been a really terrific story with amazing artwork. In fact, between this, Iron Fist, Daredevil and the upcoming Criminal Omnibus, Ed Brubaker is dominating my omnibus collection.

Daredevil #500 (Marvel) - page M44
I've fallen off reading this book regularly, but weirdly, knowing it has an ending and is transitioning over to Andy Diggle has inspired me to catch back up. That last time Daredevil had an ending and creative hand-off, we went from the strong (if occasionally bumpy) run of Bendis and Maleev to the even stronger (if also occasionally bumpy) run of Brubaker and Lark. So I've got good hopes for the finale of the Brubaker/Lark run and the start of Diggle and his (unnamed as of yet?) artist.

Daredevil has been solid - no, excellent - for years now. I haven't kept up with it like I should, but whenever I pick one up, I'm never disappointed. Not to doubt Diggle before he's had a chance to prove himself on the title, but it's going to be tough to keep that level of quality up. Still, buy this one for the cover alone.

Marvel Comics #1 (Marvel Comics) - page M13
For their 70th anniversary, I like that Marvel is really paying tribute to their roots by delving a bit deeper than one would expect. While Sub-Mariner and the original Human Torch don't qualify as 'arcana', Marvel isn't taking the easy/popular route by reprinting Fantastic Four #1 or Amazing Fantasy #15 yet again, but resurrecting stuff that most casual comics fans are only passingly familiar with. And while this is likely an unpopular sentiment, I'm all for contemporary takes on old comics tales.

I am too, as long as by "contemporary" you don't mean "adding in rape and murder" and "old comics" you mean "my beloved tales of the '80s."

 


Models, Inc. #1 (Marvel) - Page M58
Not this. Instead, this is Paul Tobin noticing that Marvel has a surprising number of super-models in its cast of characters, from Patsy Walker (Hellcat) to Mary Jane Watson (Spidey's ex-wife) to Millie the Model (Marvel's attempt to compete with Archie) and deciding to tell a story of the modeling world in the Marvel Universe. I'd be skeptical of this kind of thing from most creators, especially those who decided that "Sex and the City" and "Firestar has breast cancer" was the way to go. Tobin, however, has a great track record, and a murder mystery set in the modeling world, especially one featuring a character named "Chili Storm" (actual Millie the Model character, by the way), sounds like it will be worth a look.

No.

That's all. Just . . . no.




Jennifer's Body HC (Boom!) - page 208
It's a tie-in to a new Megan Fox movie written by Diablo Cody. I loved Juno, and I love Cody's writing style, and Megan Fox is hot. Still, that doesn't mean I'll see the movie about a "demon-possessed cheerleader." But the talent lineup, including Tim Seeley, Jim Mahfood, Nikki Cook and writer Rick Spears means that the tie-in graphic novel will definitely get my attention.

Someone has pillaged the dark recesses of my brain, where all of the nasty desires lurk, and decided to make a comic of it.

 


Lovecraft Unbound (Dark Horse) - page 41
A prose collection of various authors writing stories tied to Lovecraft's mythos. As I've stated many times, I'm a sucker for Lovecraft and his bizarre, dark universe. Seeing others, like Michael Chabon, play in that eldritch toybox is a sure thing for me.

I had an eldritch toybox when I was a kid. It was great fun, until I accidentally sacrificed my gerbil to Satan.

That is not, by the way, a metaphor for anything.

Is Satan what you called your 'naughty places'?

 


The Storm in the Barn GN (Buenaventura Press) - page 22
This looks like a spooky tale of terror set in the 1937 Dustbowl. To me, that recollects Carnivale, which is certainly a good thing. A sinister stranger, a shadowy illness, and an abandoned barn. Right up my alley.

Remember, especially with the indy books, that pre-ordering is your friend, and the best way to make sure you get the books you want. Tell us in the comments what you thought, and what did we miss?

2 comments:

tyg said...

I'll confess that I'm completely baffled by the Red Circle revamp by DC. At least the last time they tried it, they had a goal of making it a younger ages/gateway comics subline (OK, by the end that'd been tossed out).

But there's no real demand for the characters per se, these are different versions to boot, and seem to be just regular DC mainstream books, so why bother to buy the characters instead of just making up new characters or revamping existing DC ones? Yeah, new characters don't generally sell in their own books, but I don't expect these to do any better just because they have the same names as obscure 40s and 60s characters that weren't very good in their original versions.

Jim B. said...

*My Adventure Comics = your Doom Patrol: The "co-feature" is the selling point. If the Legion still has a hook, count on Johns to find it.

*Days Missing: I'll wait for the trade. Love Hester, but am still waiting on the second Atheist series to finish. Consider me once burned.

*The new Ultimate books: Jason Wood noted on the 11 O'Clock Comics podcast that usually, a good jumping-on point also makes a good jumping-off point. Smart guy.

*Glad Dark Horse was so quick to collect UA: Dallas. Are you paying attention, DC?

*Finally, how about the Essex County trilogy collection by Jeff Lemire? I've already ordered Lemire's "The Nobody" based on the great things I've heard about these stories. Any opinion?

Happy Father's Day, guys.