Welcome to my look at what delights …or horrors….the Diamond catalogue has to offer us for comics due to ship in August. This column up till now has echoed a more positive view of the industry but its time to take the gloves off I think. And we’ll start with Marvel.
Shadowland: Moon Knight #1 (of 3)
Page 43 of Marvel Previews
Last month I quit buying Brightest Day in despair at DC screwing up just after making their comics readable again last year. So I’m looking around to add a couple of titles and I’d been interested in jumping on board Andy Diggle’s Daredevil and Shadowland sounded quite interesting. So I’m checking through Previews and what do I see? Only Marvel doing what they did with Dark Reign and Siege and launching a whole heap of unnecessary one-shots and mini-series alongside the main Shadowland mini in yet another attempt to squeeze money out of comic fans. I’ve known loan sharks that were more subtle in their money gathering methods than Marvel.
If Shadowland had been a lean and mean mini-series running along with the Daredevil title then I would have given it a go but the minute I saw 4 mini-series and a one-shot all in one month the part of my mind that considered ordering Shadowland completely shut down and started blaring “fuck you Marvel” like a psychopathic air-raid siren. I know good writers like Diggle, Layman and Van Lente are involved but this ham-fisted method of trying to grow a Daredevil “Universe” just turned me off, especially with every comic at 3-fucking-99.
And to anyone that says “well the 40 pages includes a back up story”, I don’t fucking care, I want comics that are 32 pages for $2.99, every back-up I’ve read recently comics (except for the Question) has been shit and just went to prove that modern American comic book writers can’t write 6-10 page stories so don‘t even start with that justification.
Marvel Universe Vs The Punisher #1 & 2 (of 4)
Page 57 of Marvel Previews
Well you know me, I like to balance out a crap comic and follow up with what should be a great one. Fresh from the surprise hit of Doomwar, Jonathan Maberry is back with a Marvel Knights book with the Punisher standing up for humanity after all the super-heroes have been turned into “sadistic cannibal predators” (is there any other type of cannibal predator?). Goran Parlov joins him on the book as artist, Parlov does great fight scenes and I like his work on Punisher Max even if Jason Aaron’s writing was a bit dumb. The only concern I have is that it’s 2 x $3.99 issues this month and next, which is a bit much. I may wait for the trade on this one .
New Mutants Forever #1
Page 79 of Marvel Previews
This is the latest in what seems to be a regular “what if the fucking 1990’s never happened” series of comics that started with the so-so X-Men Forever and then the rather bloody good X-Factor Forever. So here we have the New Mutants pretty much where Claremont left off around 1990 or so. It’s got all the old favourite characters like Dani, Magma, Illyana, Warlock etc, …btw did any one else hate Whiny?…sorry I mean Rahne, damn I just couldn’t stand her character, she was such a whingebag.
Al Rio is on art on this 5 issue mini-series and he’s pretty decent, he’s well known for his good-girl art, he’s kind of like Frank Cho but without that special zing that Cho has. I’ll probably end up chickening out of ordering this one and wait for the trade as Chris Claremont hasn’t written a good comic book in about 15 years so I’ll probably wait for others to review this one first. Still if it is good I’ll be really happy as New Mutants was one of the first American comics I ever bought.
It’s a real mixed bag from Marvel, the usual good stuff like Atlas, Fantastic Four, Shield, Secret Avengers plus some promising New stuff like Marvel Universe vs. the Punisher, New Mutants Forever and Avengers & the Infinity Gauntlet (Brian Clevinger of Atomic Robo) along with a whole heap of meh (pretty much the whole X-Universe, The Ultimate Universe and anything with Wolverine in it fits into that category. Marvel’s pricing policies leave me confused as usual, tbh I think Stephen Hawking would struggle to figure out Marvel’s pricing structure but while they continue to mess about I’ll continue to be skeptical about how much they give a shit about the fans and the stories.
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1
Page 72 of Previews
32 pages for $3.99?
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5
Page 80 of Previews
I’ve read parts 1 and 2 of this and they were ok, not great, not terrible….which is more than you can say about a few DC books the last couple of months. The reason I’m picking this book out is Ryan Sook is on penciling duties and his artwork has improved so much in the last couple of years, he’s an outstanding talent.
Superman: Earth One HC
Page 68 of Previews
For a while its been said that DC were going to launch a line of stand alone hardcover graphic novels for its Earth One continuity as a sort of Ultimate Universe or in effect what the All-Star books should have been until Frank Miller completely ruined that line with his “goddam” Batman. JMS and Shane Davis team up to re-tell the origin of Superman in a modern-day context rather than in the 1930’s. Shane Davis art does look pretty sweet and JMS writing for DC has so far been great on Brave and Bold so it might be worth a shot. $19.99 might seem daunting but you can get this at big discounts if you look hard enough.
DC Universe Legacies #4
Page 92 of Previews
I got issue #1 of Legacies this month and if I’m honest I’d actually forgotten that I’d ordered it. I had read maybe one Len Wein comic in my whole life so I didn’t have many expectations so that’s maybe why I was pleasantly surprised by it. The story is told in a slightly old fashioned way and by that I mean its unlike the decompressed shit that the likes of Millar and Loeb foist on the market and people proclaim them as the best comixz evar! Its also probably why only 3 people and a dog bought this comic but I think its one of the sleeper hits of the year so far. Issue #4 covers the 60’s and especially the Nick Cardy era Teen Titans which I love and even better…..the art is by JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ and DAVE GIBBONS.
An odd and confusing month for DC, one gets the feeling that DC editorial is pulling in several different directions at one. The grim n’gritty copy Marvel brigade has Brightest Day, Titans and $3.99 32 page books and the more sensible side has JMS, Len Wein and Garcia-Lopez. There’s some great stuff coming out from DC…with equal amounts of insultingly bad comics…interesting times.
Bokurano Ours Vol 2
Publisher: Viz Media
Page 329 of Previews
Since DC has delivered some awful atrocities masquerading as comics lately I’ve cut back on them and freed up some budget for manga and this is one I identified as being something interesting. It has a similar premise to Shadow Star (from Dark Horse) where a group of kids are being used by shadowy forces, in this case 15 kids are being used to control a huge mecha that battles gigantic alien monsters, it has some resonance with Evangelion as well. I’ve read the first chapter online and it was good stuff, roll on Vol 2.
Last Days of American Crime #3 (of 3)
Publisher: Radical Publishing
Page 313 of Previews
Issue 2 arrived this month after being horribly late so issue 3 may well be late too but it is very much worth it. The heist story to end all heist stories….literally… by Rick Remender is real edge of the seat stuff and the art by Greg Tocchini is beautiful and gritty at the same time. Either pick up the individual issues which are pretty much graphic novels for the same price that Marvel asks for its slipshod annuals or wait for the trade collection but make sure you get this book.
Also Radical puts out 24 page previews of upcoming series every month, this time around its Mata Hari by Roy Allan Martinez, you can’t lose at that price.
Guardians of the Globe #1 (of 6)
Publisher: Image Comics
Page 168 of Previews
A super team from the pages of Invincible written by Robert Kirkman? Just order this comic already for gruds sake! Benito Cerino co-writes (I guess Kirkman does have to sleep) with art by Ransom Getty. Did I say order this already?
Dungeons and Dragons #0
IDW has gotten the franchise for Dungeons and Dragons from DDP who didn’t do a great job with it and overpriced their trades, but I expect IDW will do a better job. I’m a bit of a sucker for D&D stuff after the classic 1980’s cartoon which I loved and I played AD&D briefly when I was a teenager so this will probably bring back pleasant memories and at $1.00 for a taster issue you can’t really go wrong. The art is by Andrea Di Vito who is pretty damn good
For the second month running, the Indies are putting out the more interesting new (or newish) series while with Marvel and DC trying to find good new series is tough work at the moment. Magnus Robot Fighter from Dark Horse almost made my list but I’m not a huge fan of artist Bill Reinhold. IDW and Radical continue as two of my current favourite publishers although Boom and Archaia don’t really have anything new this month.