A Quick View Through the Latest Previews with Locusmortis

Posted: March 10, 2010 in Archaia, Boom! Studios, Comics Shipping, Coming Soon, DC Comics, Marvel, Radical Publishing
Tags: ,

Welcome to my take on the comics scheduled for sale in May. This is my trawl through Previews Magazine in the hunt for new and interesting series to order or old favourites to look at again. May is the start of the summer (allegedly) and traditionally the time where the big two set out their stall for the coming year.

A little added extra is a paragraph giving my overall conclusion in each companies section on Marvel, DC and the Indies overall solicits for the month. So first up this month is DC Comics.


Brightest Day #1 and #2
#1 $3.99, #2 $2.99
#1 40 pages, #2 32 pages
Page 65 of Previews

This is the official start for DC’s big project for 2010/11 and this is the book that will set the tone for the next year’s worth of DC’s books so if you want to keep up with DC then you’ll probably want to get this. Its written by GL and GLC writers Geoff Johns and Pete Tomasi so the story will at least be decent and the art is by Ivan Reis, Fernando Pasarin, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark and Joe Prado although DC haven’t said yet how exactly the art chores are going to be split up. Still, the artists listed are some of DC’s best that can actually hit a deadline. Here’s some of Ardian Syaf’s (yeah I kept calling him Adrian too) deviant art stuff, in case you didn’t check his art on Blackest Night: Batman. This is a biweekly book (two a month) so it is a commitment but the regular books are only $2.99 each, something Marvel can’t always say…more of which later.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1 and #2
$3.99 (both issues)
#1 48 pages, #2 40 pages
Page 74 of Previews

I’m starting with the blindingly obvious picks here aren’t I? Still, after the controversial Final Crisis, Grant Morrison has hit a home run with the Batman and Robin series so hopes are high for this series. As with all Morrison work this could either be pure genius or incomprehensible, you just have to take a chance with him. Chris Sprouse is doing the art on #1 (each issue of the 6 issue series will have a different artist) and issue #2 is drawn by one of my favourite ex-2000ad artists Frazer Irving who will be doing a sort of “Batman as Solomon Kane” issue.

The Legion of Super-Heroes #1
48 pages
Page 83 of Previews

I’ve never really read too many Legion comics and I’ve never read a Paul Levitz scripted comic and this issue has a bloody awful cover….so why am I interested in this? It’s because the concept behind the Legion is so good that someone has to get it right eventually. Jumping straight into an unfamiliar series doesn’t bother me in the slightest, the more characters the better. Pure sci-fi added to superheroes should be a winner plus Yildiray Cinar is an up and coming artist, here’s his blog at http://www.yildiraycinar.net/ and an actal pencilled page . Let’s just hope that Levitz does a better job at writing than Dan Didio did on Outsiders #26 though, yikes.

I, Zombie
32 pages
Page 113 of Previews

So this is another Zombie comic, how bloody boring eh? Not bloody likely mate, this is a zombie comic drawn by Mike Allred so it’s going to look absolutely beautiful, just take a look at the first 7 pages . I kind of lost touch with Allred when he started doing those Mormon comics but previous to that I loved Madman and The Atomics so it’s nice to get in on something new with a favourite artist. This is being written by Chris Roberson who I’m not familiar with but the plot sounds fun and interesting and at $1.00 for this first issue its a can’t miss and even the gorgeous variant cover by Darwyn Cooke is only $2.00 on dcbs. If you don’t buy this then you don’t love comics.

Conclusion: A very good slate of comics from DC this month that I’m really looking forward too. One major fault I have with DC’s presentation this month though is about 2/3rds of their DC Universe books have terrible covers, either poor angles, weird points-of-view or just plain ugly art. When DC are trying to chase Marvels market share they need to do much better on covers. A case in point is Eddy Barrows covers for the War of the Supermen event which are murky and hideous looking. Others are the cover for Justice League Generation Lost #1 cover by Tony Harris where the characters faces are just plain wrong and everyone has weirdly pointy noses, the Birds of Prey cover by Ed Benes where every character has huge collagen lips, and even Nicola Scott’s cover for Wonder Woman #44 is so incredibly dull…..you have to do better DC!


Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard #1 (of 4)
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment
24 pages

Mouse Guard is simply one of the best comics of the last 10 years in my opinion. It’s a true all ages title in that everyone can get something out of it. It’s not watered down “for the kiddies” like some all ages books and its deep enough for adults to enjoy. This volume is a spin-off anthology from the main series, the stories within are written and drawn by guest artists that creator Dave Peterson has chosen, one of whom is Jeremy Bastian whose art is amazingly detailed:

The theme of this miniseries is that there is a gathering of mice in an Inn in Barkstone where stories are told of the legends of the Mouse Guard. The rules are that each story must contain one truth, one lie and have never been told in the tavern before. This promises to be another great series in the Mouse Guard tradition.

7 Psychopaths #1
Publisher: Boom Studios
32 Pages
Page 212 of Previews

Boom Studios presents another exciting looking action series, something which they have become adept at. This is actually a reprint of a French graphic novel issue from 2007, obviously translated into English and reformatted to be a 3 issue miniseries. The main draw here is the art is by Sean Phillips, one of the masters of gritty action artwork. The story is about 7 men sent to kill Adolf Hitler, the very definition of madness one would think.

The plot shares some similarities with a story called Day of the Eagle drawn by the great British artist Pat Wright, originally published in UK comic Battle back in 1975 (I first read it in the Battle 1980 annual) although I’m sure the content of 7 Psychopaths is very different, it’s just a fun similarity that came to my mind. I’m sure that 7 Psychopaths would make for a great collected edition as well.

Mystery Society #1
Publisher: IDW
32 Pages
Page 268 of Previews

It’s always a challenge to find an original title amongst the hordes of licensed stuff on IDW’s slate but when they do one its usually good. The concept is by Steve Niles and Ashley Wood and the writing is by Steve Niles so already this has me intrigued. The story is that the “heroes”, Nick Hammond and Anastasia Collins, are the Mystery Society, sort of like Steed and Emma Peel meets Scooby-Doo meets Dogwitch*. It looks like it’s going to be a fun blast of a series.

The art is by Fiona Staples who has done some work for Wildstorm like North 40 and who seems to be ever improving as an artist, the sample pages I’ve seen for Mystery Society show some dynamic atmospheric work, check her blog at http://fstaples.blogspot.com/.

* Dogwitch was an old favourite Goth horror series from Sirius entertainment, go seek out the trades!

Shrapnel: Hubris #1 of 3
Publisher: Radical Publishing
64 pages
Page 288-289 of Previews

The first Shrapnel series was a well written 5 issue mini with great art that delivered a balls to the wall sci-fi story somewhat reminiscent of some of the Warhammer 40k or Battletech stories but more nuanced and sophisticated. There’s a good dose of politics backing up the mental robot suit planetary war action. This 3 issue series is written by Nick Sagan (co-creator) with Clinnette Minnis and the art is by “Concept Art House” which is a group of artists who create computer generated art for games companies and now for comics. The art is very stylized and is a lot like the old Red Star series from Image (loved that series) and is very atmospheric, their blog is at http://www.conceptarthouse.com/.

With Radical you get bang for your buck, Shrapnel is 64 pages for $4.99, it’s the equivalent of getting a full graphic novel for the price.  Also on page 286-287 of Previews is Earp #0, 32 pages for $1.00, how can you turn down that?

Conclusions: I think that’s a really exciting foursome of comics, Archaia, Boom and Radical are recently coming up as some of my favourite smaller publishers. Radical in particular really know how to make you want to buy their books and their presentation in Previews is excellent, a lot of other publishers could learn from them. On the minus side for the independents there’s nothing really new from Image or Dark Horse. The old favourites like Godland, Dead@17, Invincible, Chew, Sword, King City, Conan, and Solomon Kane are all there but there’s nothing new that I think looks exciting. Perhaps Image and Dark Horse are waiting for the big 2 to get their summer #1’s out of the way before releasing new product.

Marvel Comics

Avengers #1
32 pages
Page 33 of Marvel Previews

Well this is the big one for Marvel this month and, indeed for the whole summer, with the launch of the Avengers new flagship title and the Age of Heroes “event”. I should be super-excited for this, the Avengers is my favourite Marvel comics title of all time and it’s got art by JRJr who is one of my favourite artists of all time, so all is gut ja? Well, not exactly. It’s written by Bendis who lately has proven himself adept at writing scene after scene of TV watching and pizza eating but usually fails to have his umpteen characters speak in anything but the one voice (which is his “annoying banter” voice) and act totally out of character. So I’m on the fence about this one, I’m giving it 2 issues to prove itself, that might not seem like many but I am done with waiting for writers to tell an origin story in 6 issues or pad a book out for the trade, I want value for my money.

Atlas #1
40 pages
Page 35 of Marvel Previews

This is something heartening from Marvel. Agents of Atlas is being relaunched, this time it’s just plain Atlas (no, not the DC strongman from the Superman title) with the “agents you love” as part of a new ongoing series. It’s part of the Heroic Age banner so hopefully it will see some upswing from the Avengers fans, Jeff Parker is still writing with art from the very capable Gabriel Hardman. This should be another enjoyable book, hopefully it will revert to $2.99 with the #2 issue, just like Black Widow #2 did this month. Gabriel Hardmans’ deviant art page is here http://heathencomics.deviantart.com/.

Age of Heroes #1(of 4)
40 pages
Page 40 of Marvel Previews

Kurt Busiek is back in his rightful place at Marvel Comics so at least the “House of Ideas” has one writer who can actually write heroes who act like heroes for the Heroic Age. This is a 40 page anthology book written by Kurt Busiek, Rick Remender, Paul Cornell and Dan Slott so it’s a very strong writing line-up ably assisted by Marko Djurdjevic, Chris Samnee, Leonard Kirk et al on art duties. I know some people are skeptical about anthology titles but I think that when done well they can great but the stories have to be compressed. I’m looking forward to this one, hell the cover alone pretty much sold it to me. It looks like the Avengers gathering (heroically) at 34th and 6th looking heroic (of course). There is a tease about the MI13 becoming part of the Avengers so that would be very interesting if it panned out.

Thunderbolts #144
32 pages
Page 60 of Marvel Previews

Holy crap!….a $2.99 book! This is a good jumping on point for the Thunderbolts; it’s an “all new, all different!” team as it were. Luke Cage will be leading (although doing double duty on New Avengers apparently) with the team being fleshed out by Juggernaut, Crossbones, Ghost, Moonstone and Man-Thing(?) which is a pretty good mix in my opinion. Jeff Parker is still on writing duties and the new regular artist is one of my favourite former 2000ad art-robots Kev Walker who’s work is really nice . This is being touted as a full revamp of the title so hopefully Parker will get to do what he wants.

Conclusion: This is the start of the Heroic Age and Marvel is certainly going to flood the market judging by Previews, which is something I hoped they wouldn’t do. Not at first anyway. Sometimes less is more, you know? Speaking of which how many pages do you get for $3.99….40 pages right?….no its 48 pages right? Noooo its 32 pages right? Hell if I know! Marvel has ZERO consistency regarding page count and content. With DC you know its 40 pages for $3.99 and 32 pages for $2.99. In this month’s Marvel Previews you’ve got Dazzler #1 one-shot with 48 pages but on the very same page you’ve got Rescue #1 one-shot (Pepper Potts) with 32 pages for $2.99. Get a consistent policy Marvel and you’ll make me a hell of a lot less skeptical about your offers.

  1. Matthew Guy says:

    I am burned out on Morrison & Batman. Batman comes back…the end. But I will get a few issues of Brightest Day & Avengers the 1st issue at least to try the series out. I usually get Mouseguard in HC but on this one I will get the issues & the HC later on (GREAT indie double dipping). Thanks Locusmortis for posting this.


  2. Deemar says:

    Atlas, 7 Psychopaths and Heroic Age anthology are the only ones I’m really looking forward to.

  3. Chris says:

    Does anyone know if Batwoman is off Detective after the next issue? If so when is she getting her own book?

    I’m not really sure about “the Return of Bruce Wayne”. The best way to bring Bruce back would be a double splash page of Bruce’s fist in Hal Jordan’s face at the end of Blackest Night #8. It wouldn’t even need explaining I would just accept that that’s what Batman does!

    • Morlock50 says:

      I asked the same question a while back, and someone here mentioned June or July. Rucka and Williams will be on it.

  4. generaldark says:

    im looking forward to return of bruce wayne. i really think grants run has been epic. B$R ten was very cool.

    • DidioForever says:

      Just finished #10…Goddamnit it was so good! How is this the first time I’ve ever read a Batman comic ABOUT Wayne Mansion? Creepy stuff, and I’m very, very excited for Return of Bruce Wayne now.

      And I’m loving Mozzer on Batman too. I read the whole run in one sitting recently (Batman & Son through to Batman & Robin #9) and it just never gets old – there were so many details I missed before that make perfect sense now. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever got as much out of a mainstream superhero comic as I have here.

      • Pobra says:

        Agreed! Some of his Batman stuff can seem a little disjointed when your reading it month to month, but when you go back and read his run straight through, it’s fucking brilliant. Could be my favorite run on Batman ever, so I’m definitely looking forward to the Return of Bruce Wayne.
        B&R #10 was my favorite issue since the Quitely arc, it’s what Batman’s all about, it reminds me of the Batman arc with J.H. Williams, a super fun mystery story with great art.

      • Stamps says:

        I agree, I LOVED all the Wayne mansion stuff. The paintings having clues, and the secret passageways was very cool.

        I really like the cover from Quitely this month, I wish he was still doing the interiors.

        • DidioForever says:

          My favourite part of #10; “You freak”…I really was imagining Adam West under the cowl with all his camp enthusiasm in solving the mystery…And then you’ve got Robin strutting behind, all “-tt-“. So funny

  5. MattyB667 says:

    The Return of Bruce Wayne should be fun but I don’t want him back yet! The Dick Damian duo makes for great comics.

    • DidioForever says:

      I’ll miss the dynamic duo too…If it goes, that is. I’m sure GM hinted in an interview not long ago that there were plans to expand the title after Bruce comes back. No reason why we can’t have two Batmen, is there?

  6. DidioForever says:

    Personally, I’ll be HC-waiting on Brightest Day due to lack of funds…Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long for those to come out anyway.

    You hit the nail on the head RE: LOSH#1! That cover is pretty fugly… And I don’t know what to expect from Levitz…But I’m planning on trying out the first arc at least, just because he’s using the same Legion from that Johns/Frank Action Comics arc… I’m hoping it’ll be a colourful Sci-Fi/Superhero book that’s fun enough to fill that Mighty Avengers-shaped hole (*sob*) in my pull list this summer.

    I’ve been loving Morrison on Batman (Even RIP/Final Crisis, which were my fav books of 2008), so ‘Return’ is a done deal.

    I, Zombie looks amazing, I was a massive X-Statix fan a few years back and I’ve been enjoying Madman in trades too. Can’t wait.

    And finally – despite the price-tag and me not wanting to spend money on Marvel events in general – I’ll grab that Age of Heroes mini just for the talent and a small hope that it’ll lead into some kind of Mighty Avengers/MI13 hybrid-title later in the year.

  7. Pobra says:

    Thanks for including all the blog and deviant art links Locus.

  8. Mitiators says:

    Are they relaunching an Aquaman series?

  9. Stamps says:

    Out of these I’m probably getting:

    Brightest Day – Because I really excited to see what happens

    The return of Bruce Wayne – because it’s what it is, the return of…Bruce…Wayne!

    7 Psychopaths – I heard about this when it was first announced that it was going to be translated and released in America but I had forgotten about it. It looks like a fun read.

    I, Zombie – Because you can’t have enough zombie literature in your life.

    Thanks for the post Locus, I really enjoyed it as I did last time.

  10. VEGEGDE says:

    cant wait for i zombie. mike allred is a genious(wish he was drawing the new flash)

    dc looks interesting. brightest day better be more blackest night and less 52.

    fuck marvel now. they cancelled mighty avengers(dan slott was doing great)
    cancelled initiative.

    and now have 3 NEW NEW avengers books, new, secret,academy?

    what a bunch of hacks. the avengers became the book for the b characters and a’s to be put in the spot light together. we could see captain america and yellowjacket and vision together. initiative was great, a ton of new characters ruined, armory, cloud 9. and now? because of bendis its every single big name who has had their own movie in past ten years together in one mega super group.

    how lame.

    • Locusmortis says:

      As I said in the description, I’m skeptical. There are other writers that I’d FAR prefer to see scripting the Avengers but I don’t want to go into this with too negative an attitude, Bendis may surprise me (I doubt it but hey who knows?)

      • DidioForever says:

        I wish Avengers was being penned by Fraction and Brubaker, like how they did Iron Fist a few years back. THAT could have been epic.

  11. Deemar says:

    Been checking out the previews on Newsarama for Avengers Academy and man does it look like shit. Fortress, Veil, Strike? really not liking what I’m seeing and Mike McKone’s art just don’t see the appeal very bland.

  12. VEGEGDE says:

    reptile?! they added some horrible character made for the cartoon superhero squad into the marvel universe. a guy who i think this arms can turn into like reptile arms? cool.

  13. DidioForever says:

    I dunno, at least Avengers Academy actually looks, you know, NEW…! A relaunch that’s actually a relaunch! Shocking! And the fact that it’s comprising of newer/z-list/teen characters rules out my initial worry that all the MA characters were gonna get sent over to that title without Dan Slott writing them.

    So we’ve got Initiative, MI13 and Mighty Avenger characters, all in team-book limbo… I’m almost glad Slott doesn’t have anything confirmed yet!

    • Deemar says:

      I can appreciate it’s something new, but McKone’s design work so far is pretty bland. I mean this is a guy who can’t even draw the Punisher looking intimidating everything he draws looks balloony and doughy. The Dodsons by comparison are Jae Lee.

    • VEGEGDE says:

      why would that be a good thing?

      i hope he goes to dc or does some independent stuff. he always picks up after bad runs and is left out in the end.

      • Locusmortis says:

        Indeed, whats wrong with a more Alex Raymond-esque art style?

      • DidioForever says:

        Only because I wouldn’t want to see Pym go over to Bendis or another writer, after all the effort Dan Slott has put into that character this year. No news is good news IMO, because there might be something happening further down the line.

        BUT I do agree with you, he’d get more love at DC if they made him an offer. I can imagine him running wild on Adventure Comics or rebooting Teen Titans or something. Or maybe even a JLA spin off in the vein of JLI.

        • Locusmortis says:

          I’d be with a Slott reviving the Titans, the JLA at the moment has most of the classic Titans characters, all it needs is Raven, Wally and BeastBoy to join lol

        • Deemar says:

          I dread the thought of a Bendis written Pym, he’ll have Hank beating women within 6 issues.

  14. heckimlistening says:

    Wow. None of these titles interest me that much. I might check out LoSH but that’s only if it drops back down to $2.99.

    • Locusmortis says:

      See, I did the hard work for you, I should have posted the comics I thought were not worth touching with a barge pole maybe? (I almost did but the article was getting pretty long already) 😉

  15. Locusmortis says:

    I’m most looking forward to Shrapnel which is the kind of widescreen action story that Mark Millar wishes he could tell, Atlas because of Jeff Parker and I, Zombie because Mike Allred is the best cartoonist in the business.

  16. Morlock50 says:

    Thanks for the previews, LM. Brightest Day and Bruce Wayne are definately on my pull list. Anyone excited about War of the Supermen?

  17. Mattcd42 says:

    Personally I think that Age of Heros cover looks sloppy and that’s enough to keep me from picking it up.

  18. kurumais says:

    ive been with the t bolts since the beginning another new line up does not thrill me. the promo about luke cage keeping them in line …really? luke cage is going to keep juggernaut in line? i know BMB ubered cage up a bit but thats a 2 panel fight panel 1:juggy hittin cage panel2: juggy wiping whats left of luke cage off his fist. crossbones is irredeemable why waste a really good evil to the core guy? have him out there doing horrible stuff your heroes have to stop. what kind of heroic age is it if there are no bad guys to stop?

    man thing i think that might be just vanity on jeff’s part

  19. zcorp79 says:

    J. what do you think of Tony Bedard taking over writing duties of GLC and the fact Gleason is no longer doing art duties?

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