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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Chris vs. Previews: March, Part One

Last month, when I did my first-ever ISB Previews Round-Up at the request of my readers, I like to think that it went over pretty well. I got two days worth of content out of it, you guys got a glimpse into the sort of thought process that leads me to fill up a sheet of notebook paper with orders every month, and everybody had a good time. Heck, it was even so popular that it was stolen outright and reposted on another website as a "Hot Blog Post," and if that's not a sign of success, I don't know what is!

So why not do it again?

That's right: It's the comics preview throwdown that you demanded, back for another round. And I'm sure the question on everyone's mind is: Just how excited am I about the new Avril Lavigne manga?

Read on!

P. 7: Free Comic Book Day Solicitations: Say what you want about Marvel Editorial--and I do, pretty much every week when it comes time to review new comics--but man, those guys are on the stick when it comes to FCBD. DC's up to their usual shennanigans, with reprints of a Johnny DC title for the kids and the astoundingly unnecessary Justice League of America #0 for everybody else, but much like last year, the House of Ideas is countering with a bunch of all-new stories by ISB Favorites Fred Van Lente and Dan Slott, and that's pretty exciting.

There's actually a lot of stuff for this year's FCBD that I'm really excited about--like the Fantagraphics book of un-reprinted Peanuts strips and First Second's preview of their new Eddie Campbell graphic novel--but for the first time in FCBD history, it looks like one of my stalwarts is going to let me down. I am, of course, speaking of Archie Comics, who usually put out the best stories of the year for FCBD, like the one with the kid who wanted to rock Archie's world, but ended up wrecking it. This year, though, it's going to be 32 pages worth of Little Archie.

And I hate Little Archie.

Dark Horse Comics

P. 36: The Great Adventure of the Dirty Pair: I like the Dirty Pair a heck of a lot, but my affection tends to be solely rooted in the work of Adam Warren, whose witty, fast-paced stories are a pretty huge departure from anime version, which I'd always assumed to be more in tune with what the original stories were like. Even so, it's something that I've never actually read, and given that it's a 280 page illustrated novel about hot girls in crazy Barbarella outfits blowing up entire solar systems for $8.95, it's more than tempting enough to get me to cave in and satisfy my curiosity about it.

P.47: Weta Original Rayguns: As weird and wholly unnecessary as I think a lot of "prop-style" collectables are, even I have to admit that these things look pretty awesome.

...but for seven hundred bucks, I better damn well be able to rain lasery death on my enemies.

DC Comics

P. 64: Batman #666: Finally, confirmation that I'm not the only person astonished by the fact that we got through both DetectiVe Comics #666 and Action Comics #666 without somebody fighting the Devil. Thanks, Grant Morrison!

P. 66: All-Star Batman & Robin #5: Fun Fact: Hanging up this issue's cover in your home will serve as a ward against Ragnell and other evil spirits. Aside from that, though, I've just got to wonder: Can a comic book really be all that pulse-pounding when it's been solicited three times over the course of being a year late?

P. 67: Batman: Ego and other Tails HC: I can only assume that the "Tails" part comes from the Catwoman story, but groanworthy punnery aside, there are some fantastic comics in here. Ego alone is worth picking up if you don't already have it, but with the addition of Selina's Big Score in its entirety, and the backups from Gotham Knights--one of which was written by the incomparable Paul Grist--it gets pushed up to being an essential purchase if you don't already have these things, much like the Turning Points trade on the previous page.

Now if we could just get those Slam Bradley Trail of the Catwoman backups from Detective collected, it'd be perfect.

P. 74: Countdown #51-48: As much as I've groused about the occasional slapped-together, rushed-out issues of 52--or as I like to call them, the ones about the Space Heroes--and as much as I worry about this finally being the one that pushes Keith Giffen over the edge into full and complete insanity, I've got to say I'm pretty excited about this one. After all, following up a year-long weekly event comic that counted from one to fifty-two with one that counts down from fifty-one to zero is almost amusing enough just as a premise to warrant an entire series, even if it doesn't end up being any good. And I'm reasonably certain that won't be the case. After all, the guy behind this one is Paul Dini, and I've seen what the DC Universe looks like under that guy's direction. And, well, if he could handle the complex weekly schedule of a world as complex as Tiny Toon Adventures, I'm sure the DC Universe'll be a piece of cake.

P. 109: Re-Gifters GN: I already mentioned it last month, but for those of you keeping score at home, this is the new Minx graphic novel from the team that brought you the amazingly underrated My Faith In Frankie, and I'd be looking forward to that even if the solicitation didn't involve the following sentence:

"Korean American, dirt poor, and living on the ragged edge of LA's Koreatown, Dixie's only outlet is the ancient martial art of hapkido."

Congratulations, Mike Carey and Sonny Liew: You guys win again.

P. 127: Batman: Batman & Son DC Directs: I am not going to buy a Ninja Man-Bat Action Figure.

I am not going to buy a Ninja Man-Bat Action Figure.

I am not going to buy a Ninja Man-Bat Action Figure!

I might buy a Ninja Man-Bat action figure.

Image Comics

P. 142: Gutsville #1: It's not often that I have to read a solicitation three times before I'm sure I've got it all, but to be honest, it's not every day that I encounter a series with a premise like this one: An ocean liner swallowed by a whale grows over the course of 150 years into an entire city, which is also inside said whale. That is either the best or worst idea I have heard all month.

P 169: If you truly want to purchase a 3D wall-hanging of the poster for RoboCop, then you deserve to pay whatever price your local retailer is asking. Just a thought.

P. 172: Madame Mirage #1: I can't be the only person to think it's hilarious that the word Top Cow's using to market the first issue is "Oversized," can I? Anyway, despite my initial misgivings, I'm actually looking forward to Madame Mirage more and more as we get closer to its release date, although I'm not sure why. It could just be the wellspring of goodwill I'm feeling towards Paul Dini as each (non-fill-in) issue of Detective Comics hits the stands. Heck, to be honest, I'm even thinking about entering the "Who Is Madam Mirage" contest from back on p. 7, but really, the only thing keeping me from doing that anyway is that I thought I'd have to write an essay or something.

Marvel Comics

P. 13: Ultimate Power #6: Special Note to Greg Land: Drawing her all squinty-eyed on this cover does not make up for the fact that you forgot Ultimate Wasp was supposed to be Asian back when you were tracing the pornography used for #1.

P. 24: Black Panther #28
P. 41: Marvel Zombies: Dead Days
P. 44: Marvel Zombies/Army of Darkness #3
P. 87: Marvel Milestones Zombie Spider-Man and Mary Jane Statue
P. 87: Marvel Select Marvel Zombies Spider-Man Action Figure

Seriously: You guys have no fucking idea what you're doing over there sometimes, do you?

I'm not saying it's easy: Marvel Zombies hit a lot bigger than I think anybody ever expected it to, so the desire to capitalize on it is completely understandable, and as someone who thought the original mini-series was a hoot, I'm definitely planning on getting Kirkman's follow-up one-shot. But Sweet Christmas, man, a $125 statue featuring Mary Jane's eviscerated corpse in a wedding dress?! Who the hell is going to buy that?

By that, of course, I mean "Who thought it was a good idea to make and subsequently market such a product," but now that I've typed it out, I actually do want to know. If you can read this through the haze of thorazine, dictate a comment to someone who can operate a computer and let me know how you plan on explaining it to people who don't read comics whenever they drop by for a highly uncomfortable visit. I'm curious about my audience here.

P. 32: Incredible Hulk #106: With as much as I've been enjoying "Planet Hulk," it really shouldn't come as a surprise that I've been unreasonably excited about "World War Hulk" ever since I heard about it. After all, as the record will show, I consider the Hulk throwing down on the rest of the Marvel Universe to be a good time had by all. That said, the closer we actually get to the whole thing kicking off, the more I worry about it.

Don't get me wrong: I like Gary Frank a heck of a lot, but John Romita Jr.'s been one of my favorite artists since I was 14, and I've been operating under the assumption that he was going to be the artist for the whole thing, which apparently isn't the case. Add to that the things I've heard about how it's going to involve the evacuation of New York (presumably so it can get smashed in a big stupid fight and a bunch of Super-Heroes can whine about it), the possibility that it's going to be the magic cure-all for the divisions caused by Civil War, and the fact that it's going to come complete with its own completely skippable Frontline mini-series, and a load of other stuff that doesn't specifically relate to the Hulk picking up Iron Man and Wonder Man and bashing them together like cymbals, and "cautiously optimistic" drops to "Man, I hope it doesn't suck."

But I didn't care for "Planet Hulk" when it started either, and ended up liking that a heck of a lot. So we'll see, I guess.

P.39: Marvel Adventures: Iron Man #1: A few days ago, I mentioned that while I actually do like the character of Iron Man, I can't imagine why anybody'd want to read about him now. That, of course, was before I knew that Fred Van Lente was going to be writing a continuity-free Iron Man series in the vein of Marvel Adventures: The Avengers, and realized that there was nothing about that sentence that wasn't awesome.

P. 55: Punisher War Journal #7: "Frank ditches these duds for a new costume you will not believe!"

Translation: "What If #51: Now In Continuity!"

P. 56: Runaways #26: Runaways, by Joss Whedon, guest-starring the Punisher. Oh, Marvel! You know I can't stay mad at you!

P. 108: Fantastic Four Visionaries: Walt Simonson v.1: Despite the fact that they still haven't gotten around to putting out that last trade of his Thor run, I do think it's awful nice of Marvel to wait a mere seven pages after this month's quartet of Civil War trades before soliciting the story where Reed Richards testifies against the Super-Hero registration act.

Seriously, though, this run also involves Reed hooking Mjolnir up to Iron Man's armor while riding through space on his time sled so they can fight the Black Celestial at the center of the Universe, and then keeps it rolling with a battle against a thirty-foot tall half-Robot Josef Stalin. I have heard the word, and it is awesome.

And that's the major publishers. Next up: The rest of the catalog, including this month's offerings from the always super-classy Apparel section. Can you afford to miss it?!

The Second Opinion:

| Mike "Sugarbear" Sterling's The End of Civilization: March 2007 |


Blogger Cullen Waters said...

"I can't be the only person to think it's hilarious that the word Top Cow's using to market the first issue is "Oversized," can I?"

You aren't.

Trust me on this.

2/26/2007 2:21 AM

Blogger LurkerWithout said...

Ooo. Double post. Anyhow, I go into EVERY new comic hoping for a My Faith in Frankie sexytimes ending. Some day it will be true again. Some day...

Just like I'll watch Bring it On whenever it comes on with the pure and holy faith that THIS time the movie will have Kristen Dunst and Eliza Dushku start making with the girl-kisses...

2/26/2007 2:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incidentally, the Slam Bradley 'Trail of the Catwoman' stories ARE collected, in the first trade of the new Catwoman series, I believe.

2/26/2007 3:00 AM

Blogger Mike Haseloff said...

Tagential confession: Miller's bike shorts Wonder Woman design really revs my engine.

No, Sims. I mean really...

2/26/2007 3:03 AM

Blogger Dorian said...

All What If?s eventually end up in continuity.

"What if Spider-Man's clone lived?"
"What if the Hulk was intelligent?"
"What if Phoenix hadn't died?"

Even that one about Conan traveling to the future and becoming a pimp.

All of them.
(Mike is so going to kill me for stealing his gag.)

2/26/2007 3:10 AM

Blogger LaRue said...

Okay. Well, I guess I have a confession to make.

I...almost would buy the Zombie Spider-Man and Mary Jane statue. If I had a hundred and twenty five dollars to blow.

As for explaining it to people, well, most everyone that knows me knows of my love for zombie-movie stuff, and that I'm a relatively non-crazy sort, so I imagine anyone that saw that in my apartment would just think..."Oh, LaRue has some zombie stuff.", and that'd be that.

Though, since I don't have that kind of spare cash, it's all academic.

I'd rather get the raygun, though. That thing's just pure super-coolness.

2/26/2007 4:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two good friends of mine are getting married at the end of this year, and the bride is a huge zombie fan. As in "has Tom Savini's home phonenumber huge".

This would almost be the perfect wedding present, were it not for the fact that neither of 'em really like comics too much. So.. crap.

I got nuthin'

2/26/2007 6:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"... Fred Van Lente was going to be writing a continuity-free Iron Man series in the vein of Marvel Adventures: The Avengers, and realized that there was nothing about that sentence that wasn't awesome."

I agree - I'm not a huge Iron Man fan but I'm looking forward to this. I'd like to see a Jeff Parker Marvel Adventures Captain America book in the mix too, actually, or a Marvel Adventures Team-up book or something. I'm really liking the MA books right now - and not just for the fun MODOK issue of MA Avengers.

2/26/2007 9:56 AM

Blogger Jeff said...

I hope Marvel doesn't realize that Marvel Adventures is bad for its 616 business, as I keep replacing one brand with the other. I mean, I can't be the only one.

2/26/2007 10:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for continuing this monthly/feature column. I like.

2/26/2007 11:07 AM

Blogger Phil Looney said...

>> a $125 statue featuring Mary Jane's eviscerated corpse in a wedding dress?! Who the hell is going to buy that?

You know who else asked this question? THIS GUY.

2/26/2007 11:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't received the new PREVIEWS yet, but I know, as far as World War Hulk is concerned, Gary Frank is drawing the HULK title series, and JRJr is drawing the W.W.H. MINISERIES.

There's a ton of crossover crap as well, but that's to be expected.


2/26/2007 11:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

..or... Frank is drawing the Intro one-shot, someone else is drawing the series... I forgot.

Either way, JRjr is drawing the mini.
THAT much I know.


2/26/2007 11:55 AM

Blogger Jason said...

Yeah, the Slam Bradly shorts are in the first Catwoman trade. Excellent stuff, I wish Brubaker had stayed on that series. Of course, i feel like a chump since I bought Selina's Big Score when it came out for the same price of the new hardcover.

2/26/2007 12:51 PM

Blogger nightfly said...

Not to be a big pedantic jerk, but I think that's Johnny Storm laying there, and not Reed Richards - which makes too much sense for a Marvel comic lately, but I just thought it bore a mention.

2/26/2007 1:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mid-way through Ennis' Marvel Knights Punisher run, there's a panel where Punisher looks in on some crooked cops, playing cards and dealing drugs with one rather corpulent, mobbed-up gentleman.

His line at the time:

"If that guy's a cop, I'm Captain America."

He then proceeds, as is his wont, to knock the guy off by dropping him in the river. It's a nice throw-away, predicated on the patently absurd notion that Punisher and CA have anything in common. Ooops. Might want a take-back on that one, Frankie.

For ref: it's in the '01 6th series, in one of the issues of mini-arc 20-22. (I only know this because I read it last week.)

2/26/2007 2:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hadn't realised there was a Dirty Pair novel getting translated. Yay!

Also Mughi in Displacer Beast character design on that image. Double Yay!

2/26/2007 2:32 PM

Blogger Philip said...

I know it's hard to believe (based on his superhero work), but Valentino's autobiographical comics are actually pretty good.

2/26/2007 7:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My feeling isn't that My Faith in Frankie was overrated, more that it wasn't rated at all. Fantastic stuff - can anyone comment on how the digest b/w collection compares to the coloured original run?

2/26/2007 8:29 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

I'm kinda excited about the Avril Lavigne manga, but hey I would also be happy if Marvel and DC started printing non-superheroic romance comics again.

2/26/2007 8:39 PM

Blogger thekelvingreen said...

Simonson's FF also featured the good Death's Head! Yays!

2/27/2007 5:26 PM


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