Archive for April 29, 2010

Welcome back to my trawl through Previews Magazine, this time for comics shipping in June, your comic book service should be able to pre-order these comics for the next week or so. Normally considering that I’ve featured Marvel and then DC first in the last 2 columns I should feature the Independents first but its an important month for DC so they should come first this time.

DC

Superman #700
$4.99
40 pages
Page 64 of Previews

It really is a huge month for DC comics with 3 comics hitting huge milestones, Superman hits 700 issues and sees the torch passed from James Robinson’s so-so tenure to J. Michael Stranczynski (hereafter to be called JMS, damn that name is hard to spell!) with the hopes of great things to come. He completely revitalized Thor and his universe so he should be a shoe-in to revamp the original god-like character of the DC Universe. Dan Jurgens writes and draws a story, then Bernard Chang helps James Robinson bring Superman back to earth after 12 months on New Krypton after which JMS and Eddy Barrows “sets the stage for an explosive all new direction for the Man of Steel!”, that’s the claim of DC’s marketing department anyway. Eddy Barrows isn’t my favourite artist, I would have hoped they’d get someone bigger…or at least better but hopefully he can bring his A game.

Batman #700
$4.99
56 pages
Page 65 of Previews

Tony Daniel is not writing it, yay!. I guess I could end the preview right there but he does pop up as one of the artists with Andy Kubert (he probably had to start working on it 2 years ago he’s so slow) and Frank Quitely (who is quick by comparison) on art duties. This issue paves the way for the return of Bruce Wayne, funny I was quite liking Dick Grayson as Batman thanks very much. Other than that it doesn’t really feel like that spectacular an anniversary issue.

Wonder Woman #600
$4.99
56 pages
Page 66

This feels a bit more like it, anniversary issues should be a celebration and not too heavy really. This has JMS, Geoff Johns, Gail Simone and “others” writing pieces to celebrate the history of DC’s top female character with a legacy going back to the 1940’s. The solicit also promises we’ll see the “exciting all-new direction for the Wonder Woman universe”…but then solicits always say that, but with JMS it might actually be true…..as long as we don’t get “wonder-totems” or something like that.

The cover is by George Perez who to me is “the” Wonder Woman artist, he just seems to get her portrayal just right, strong but not over-muscly, sexy but not porny over the top sexy, confident and unstoppable. Also on art is Phil Jimenez, Joe Madureira and “others”, I hope they also do a sort of “secret files” entry for those picking this up who might be doing so for the first time. Hopefully JMS can make this into a top 20 comic for the first time in a long time.

Green Arrow #1
$3.99
40 pages
Page 70 of Previews

Ok, lets get this out of the way…Justice League: Cry for Justice was shit. Right, now we’ve got that said I have to mention that the Green Arrow regular title has actually been pretty decent (I started getting it because of Blackest Night). I think JT Krul, who also did an unexpectedly good job with Blackest Night: Titans, has a good handle on Ollies character and has impressed me with the issues he’s done so far. The art is by Diogenes Neves who is one of DC’s up and coming artists.

What’s going to happen to Ollie after what he did to Prometheus and how is he going to redeem himself? I didn’t expect to like this series but I do.

Conclusion – A historic month for DC, even though one comic should be as significant as the next there’s no getting away from the fact that an issue number like 6 or 700 is going to be important. If DC don’t get dominate the top 10 bestselling comics of the month I’ll be amazed, they should be promoting the crap out of these to get lapsed readers back into shops.

Other comics that almost made the list are the Tom Strong miniseries from Wildstorm by Hogan and Sprouse and Titans from the DC which is focusing on Deathstroke and Ravager, two characters I’ve always liked….don’t confuse this with the Teen Titans book which is horrible.

Independents

The Bulletproof Coffin #1 (of 6)
Publisher: Image Comics
$3.99
32 Pages
Page 168 of Previews

Bulletproof Coffin is co-written by David Hine and Shaky Kane with the art by Shaky, it’s their take on the stories of a fictitious comics company from the 1960’s. Hine of course is writer on Detective Comics and has done a lot of work in the states, he’s friends in real life with Shaky Kane, his collaborator on this book. Shaky mostly worked in the UK (except for some Doom Patrol covers) on the magazines 2000AD and Deadline. His art is quirky, superficially it looks like Jack Kirby’s but there are a lot of other influences in there from underground comics to Steve Dillon and Moebius. This is will a very nice looking and fun comic.

Dynamo 5: Sins of the Father #1 (of 5)
Publisher: Image Comics
$3.99
32 pages
Page 174 of Previews

With all the love for Invincible sometimes I feel that other Image series sometimes get overlooked. The first volume of Dynamo 5 lasted for 25 issues written by Jay Faerber and drawn by Mahmud Asrar (since hired by DC). The first series stopped after Asrar was poached by DC and was meant to restart with art by Yildiray Cinar…until he got poached by DC too. Now its back with a 6 issue miniseries by Julio Brilha, a young Brazilian artist who looks as good as either of those artists.

In case you haven’t bought it before, Dynamo 5 is a team of superheroes who all got their powers from their father Captain Dynamo but they all different mothers so it ends up with a multi-racial cast of characters from different backgrounds which makes for some great character interaction. In this series Dynamo 5 confronts an alien invasion linked to an old adventure of Captain Dynamo, Supreme and other Image Heroes.

Robert E. Howard’s Hawks of Outremer #1 (of 4)
Publisher: Boom Studios
$3.99
32 pages
Page 248 of Previews

Short description time – This is Conan by another name, he even looks like Conan, however I like the medieval sword and sorcery genre so I’m going to give Cormac FitzGeofffrey the main character of Hawks of Outremer a chance. This is written by Michael Alan Nelson who has done Dingo and 28 days Later for Boom amongst other things and the art is by Damian Couceiro who has drawn Nola for Boom so the team does have a history of good quality work. Couceiro’s blog can be found at here.

Classic Red Sonja “Re-mastered” #1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
$3.99
32 pages
Page 272 of Previews

Written by Roy Thomas, Art by Esteban Maroto. That’s it, that should be enough to get you to buy this, one of the greatest comics writers of them all plus one of the greatest artists of all time, this is all win.

Conclusion - Image finally starts delivering the goods, what with Invincible, Turf and now Bulletproof Coffin and Dynamo 5 they’re finally getting back in the game. One disturbing trend though is it seems that $3.99 is now the default price for all new titles from Dynamite and some titles from Image. Although Images pricing policy is rather like Marvels in that it doesn’t make a lick of sense, I think ALL comics companies are going to have to get better at explaining their pricing policies.

Marvel

Avengers Prime #1 (of 5)
$3.99
40 pages
Page 34 of Marvel Previews

I’m only getting it for the Alan Davis artwork I swear. It’s Bendis writing so who the fuck knows if it will read well or not, I just can’t imagine Alan Davis’ artwork with Bendis’ stupid New Avengers type dialogue so maybe he’s writing this in a different style….one can only hope.

Darkstar and the Winter Guard #1 (of 3)
$3.99
40 pages
Page 40 of Marvel Previews

Well, it’s only given half a page in Marvel Previews which is never a good sign, they’re not exactly marketing the hell out of this book but I’ve always liked Darkstar, Crimson Dynamo and Red Guardian….Ursa Major not so much but they’ve always been around. I’m guessing with the Age of Heroes that Marvel needs to bring back some more classic characters. The Winter Guard have usually been villains or at best reluctant allies but in this book they take more of a heroic role. “Foreign” characters don’t usually sell that well in America but perhaps this can do well enough. Artist Steve Ellis’ blog can be found at right here, check it out there’s some nice stuff there.

Hercules: Twilight of a God #1 (of 4)
$3.99
32 pages
Page 49 of Marvel Previews

This is a miniseries starring the Prince of Power from Olympus purporting to tell his final adventure rather like “Fantastic Four: The End” etc. Its written by former Iron Man writer Bob Layton and steady as a rock penciller Ron Lim who’s done so much Marvel work its beyond belief. This is sure to be a quality book, sure its not in continuity but who gives a fuck about that anyway?

Dracula #1 and #2
$3.99 each
48 pages each
Page 63 of Marvel Previews

Dick Giordano never did much work for Marvel (being as he was mostly employed by DC comics) but he did do a serialized adaptation of the Dracula novel written by Roy Thomas in the early 1970’s magazine Dracula Lives!. Marvel are reprinting that tale in a 4 issue miniseries which is coloured for the first time and issued in comic book format. Giordano was a beautiful artist and Thomas was at the top of his game at the time so this is a don’t miss product although I could understand if you waited till the inevitable stunning looking hardback collection came out.

Conclusion – A quieter month for Marvel but there are a few gems amongst the usual dross. I was going to recommend New Avengers…..actually I lie, why would I recommend more of the same? This will be Bendis’ monthly $3.99 justification for how great New Avengers was and how genius a writer he is. No thanks. And if Avengers is shit I’ll be dropping that like a stone too. Avengers Academy looks kinda ok but the art by Mike Mckone is kind of like Barry Kitson but not nearly as good….why didn’t they just hire Kitson instead? Bah. Rawhide Kid is another to steer clear of but do check out Iron Man Legacy written by Fred Van Lente, I read the first issue yesterday and it was pretty enjoyable.