Showing posts from September, 2007

Previews: December '07 Comics

And here we are again with our picks (from Previews catalogue) for books coming to comic shops in December...


Dave:Mighty Avengers (Volume 1): The Ultron Initiative PremiereHC - I have to say that I’m enjoying the new Avengers book from Brian Bendis and Frank Cho. I love Ms. Marvel in charge (well, in charge for the most part) and the cast of characters included in Iron Man’s team: Black Widow, Ares, Wasp and others.

Dark Horse:
Dave:It Ate Billy On Christmas - This looks like a cute all ages book just in time for the holidays, written by Lenore’s Roman Dirge and painted by Steven Daily.
Dave:Manhunter (Volume 4): UnleashedTP - I believe this fourth trade of the fan-favorite Manhunter series collects the last of the issues (through the trial of Wonder Woman) that have been published so far, in time for the book to start up again in the near future.
Pride of BaghdadSC - And the beautifully-illustrated Vertigo book from Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon finally gets a soft cover …

Picks of the Week: 9/26

This week's best bets for where to put your money...

Patrick's Pick:

Savage Dragon #132 -It’s been a hell of a long time since the last issue of Erik Larsen’s superhero saga was released. Unfortunately, this series has become one I no longer anticipate every month so much as I’m just really happy when it does happen to show up. This particular issue is eighty pages long, with a lead story by Larsen and a backup story featuring members of the supporting cast written by Larsen and drawn by Frank Fosco. I’m not sure how many of those eighty pages are allotted to each feature, or if there may be more material besides.

There was a time I considered Savage Dragon the “ultimate comic book.” My knowledge of and taste in comics has grown considerably since then, to the point I now consider it the “ultimate superhero comic book.” I’ve been reading since issue one and have no plans on stopping now.

Dave's Pick:

The Killer (Volume 1) HC - The acclaimed ten issue mini-series from Archaia St…

Manga Monday 46: Andromeda Stories

Andromeda Stories (Volume 1)
Keiko Takemiya

As much as I liked Keiko Takemiya's outer space adventure To Terra, I am really, really loving the beginning of her new manga series from Vertical, Andromeda Stories. This new series, co-written by science fiction writer Ryu Mitsuse, begins as epic as can be, with the creation of the universe. From there, we are introduced to Princess Lilia of the kingdom Ayodoya, who is about to marry Prince Ithaca of Cosmoralia, leaving her much-beloved brother behind to live with her new husband and the man who is about to be crowned king. The world has an old world fantasy feel, with all sorts of fun creatures and people riding dinosaurs, but before long, science fiction elements get thrown into the mix as well, as the peaceful kingdom is invaded from outer space shortly after the wedding ceremony. A mysterious swordswoman seems to be the sole person who understands what is going on, as she is from a different world herself, and comes to the aid of…

Ultimate Spider-Man #113

Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, Justin Ponsor
I don’t have a lot to say about this comic book, the second part of the “Death of a Goblin” story arc. The cover promises a fight between the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, and the story delivers, although the battle only lasts for three pages. There’s plenty of action here, though, as the Green Goblin escapes from the Triskelion, freeing several other of Spider-Man’s arch-foes in the process. This should lead to some interesting stories in future issues, and indeed this issue is primarily setup for things to come. Spider-Man himself appears only on the final page, as Peter Parker. . I wasn’t blown away by any of the action sequences or story beats in this comic book, but it held my attention and I’m looking forward to more.

More of a good thing

The Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy (Volume 2): 1933-1935Chester Gould
The second installment of IDW’s archival project of collecting the entire run of Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy is a lot of fun. It’s more fun than the first volume, though we still have yet to see manifestations of those things that Dick Tracy is known for: sci-fi devices and distinct bad guys with hammerheads and hair instead of faces and whatnot. But these early works are still definitely worth checking out, and you can sort of see things head slowly in that direction, with villains beginning to appear a little more distinct. Doc “Hump,” for example, is a mad scientist and underground doctor with not only a hunchback, but a huge lump on the top of his head, that makes for a really creepy antagonist. There are several recurring villains from the previous volume of the famous action/adventure strip, such as Steve the Tramp and Larceny Lu, and supporting members of Tracy’s home life like Tess Trueheart and Junio…

Marvel Zombies

Robert Kirkman & Sean Phillips
I finally got a chance to read the ultra-popular mini-series Marvel Zombies. Written by the mind behind the popular-in-its-own-right zombie comic The Walking Dead, and drawn by superstar Sean Phillips, this concept comes from an idea spawned in Ultimate Fantastic Four, and proved to be a real force to be reckoned with, going through several print runs in floppy format and well into its fifth printing in the hardcover collected edition. It’s a clever title, as most people immersed in comics are aware, that fans devoted to the company are often referred to as Marvel Zombies, and given the popularity of zombies in comics as of late, it seemed a natural fit, and one that fans were ravenous for. No pun intended. So, the concept: an alternate Earth is overridden by zombies, the superheroes of which are also infected and are the last survivors. They scurry to find new food on a dead world, where it seems only Magneto’s Acolytes have found safe refuge aboard …

Picks of the Week: 9/19

It seems to be another week of slim pickings, but there are a few gems coming out to comic shops tomorrow. Here are our choices for where to invest your money this time around...

Dave's Pick:

Thunderbolts by Ellis (Volume 1): Faith In Monsters Premiere HC - The Thunderbolts, relaunched following the events of Civil War, is a great concept. Put into the hands of Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato, it's one of the best superhero comics currently coming out. It's a fun, thrilling read starring a cast of some of the best supervillains from the Marvel Universe led by Norman the Green Goblin himself. This collection is a little misleading, as it's not just the Warren Ellis/Mike Deodato stuff's also some chapters from Civil War that led up to how the Thunderbolts came to be in their current situation. But that could be good stuff too. Think of it as a bonus on top of the awesome Ellis/Deodato story.

Patrick's Pick:

Phoenix Vol. 11: Sun Part 2: The penultima…

Manga Monday 45

I didn't get around to reading the first volume of Keiko Takemiya's Andromeda Stories for this week's Manga Monday, so look for that next week. I did finish Takemiya's To Terra however, plus some extra goodies.

To Terra (Volume 3)
Keiko Takemiya

Keiko Takemiya's space epic To Terra comes to a bang of a conclusion with this final volume, as members' elite Keith Anyan confronts the leader of the psychic Mu race over the fate of the two races and the planet Terra itself. I really enjoyed Takemiya's art through this series. It was a great choice to have this boys' sci-fi space story complete with a more shojo look, since much of the story is centered around the emotions of the characters and there's so much about loyalty and love and struggling to come to terms with your emotions...the types of themes you'd see when picking up a typical shojo book, but grafted onto the setting of this huge worlds vs. worlds battle with spacecrafts shooting one another …

X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #1 (of 5)

Christopher Yost & Paco Diaz

The new X-Men mini-series that debuted this week picks up where Ed Brubaker and Salvador Larrocca's epic Uncanny X-Men storyarc, The Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire, left off. I admittedly grew a little bored of The Rise and Fall of theShi'ar Empire story and abandoned ship about halfway through the story. Apparently some interesting events unfolded for those who stayed with the book, leaving the Shi'ar empire in a state of disarray. Basically, the X-Men lost. Vulcan married Deathbird and became emperor of the Shi'ar, overthrowing Lilandra, eliminating D'Ken, and murdering his own father, Corsair of the Starjammers. Some very bold choices. Following these events, Ed Brubaker separated the team. Half of them went back to earth, and continued in Uncanny X-Men proper (Warpath, Professor Xavier, Hepzibah, etc.), while the other half's story is about to unfold here in this mini-series. Havok has taken over as leader of the Star…

Manga Monday 44: MPD Psycho!

This week, a review of the madness that is MPD Psycho and I'm finally getting to more To Terra, just in time for me to pick up the first volume of the creator's US debut of Andromeda Stories (look for the review of that book next week).

MPD Psycho (Volume 1)
Sho-u Tajima & Eiji Otsuka

The infamously gory manga MPD Psycho, from Dark Horse, is a delightful indulgence. In wake of the "torture-porn" trend in film, this doesn't seem quite as shocking as it perhaps would have five years ago, but the creators are certainly trying to do Hostel one better, with some hard scenes to watch unfold. Add a dash of CSI, stir in Profiler, and mix it all with Death Note, and you get MPD Psycho. MPD stands for Multiple Personality Detective, which sums up our protagonist in a nutshell. Yosuke Kobayashi, or Kazuhiko Amamiya, or whatever he calls himself, is a famous profiler who tries to get into the head of serial killers and draw conclusions about them and their lifestyles. When …

Imaginary Comics

Below is a list of comics that don’t exist, but that I wish did….primarily reprint projects and translation efforts I’d love to see happen someday soon. We’re living in a kind of golden age as far as such projects go, particularly with the embarrassment of riches that is the many high quality classic comic strip reprint projects, and with the major mainstream publishers keeping more of their older material in print than ever before. Still, I’m a greedy bastard and I want more. Publishers, take note…
1. Multi-Force - Mat Brinkman’s fantasy comic strip appeared in the now defunct Paper Rodeo, a delightfully bizarre publication showcasing work from the great Fort Thunder cartoonists. I’d love to see an ambitious and forward-thinking publisher, like Dan Nadel’s Picturebox, take up the challenge of packaging this engaging, highly imaginative strip.
2. The Best of Captain Marvel - DC’s “Archive” books make for attractive packages, but they’re too damned expensive. I understand the cost of re…

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight #6

Brian K. Vaughan, Georges Jeanty, Andy Owens, Dave Stewart
Brian K. Vaughan is the first writer to work on this series, following creator Joss Whedon, and he does a very nice job here, in the first part of the “No Future For You” storyline, featuring the Season Eight debut of Faith, a kind of rogue slayer played by Eliza Dushku on the television series. As you might expect, this first chapter is primarily setup. Faith has been operating out of Cleveland, where fans of the show may remember a Hellmouth is supposed to be located. It is suggested that Faith’s role in the slayer army is to tackle the more disagreeable tasks others may not have the stomach for. We see her reluctantly slaughter a group of child vampires in a disturbing sequence, for example. Afterwards, Faith returns home to a rundown looking apartment, similar to the one she occupied during season three of the show, where she finds Giles waiting. He presents her both with an important mission, and a way out of the miserable…

Chance In Hell

Gilbert Hernandez
Gilbert Hernandez’s latest offering is an original graphic novel from Fantagraphics, that, like Speak of the Devil, is an adaptation of one of Fritz’s (a character from Love & Rockets) films. The story follows Empress, who was abandoned in the city dump as a baby and raised by its strange inhabitants, surrounded by rape and violence and death. One day, she is whisked away from this horrible world to the city, where she is brought up by a struggling editor of poetry who has problems of his own. Despite this rescue, Empress is still drawn to violence and eventually a prostitution ring, the rest of her life playing out in a tragic way.
As always, Gilbert’s artwork is pretty much second-to-none. And while I expected this to be the sort of Grindhouse book that Speak of the Devil is shaping up to be, this is a genuinely good story with an interesting character caught up in horrible situations. It does go over-the-top from time to time, but in the end, this is a Gilbert H…

Picks of the Week: 9/6

Remember, comics come out on Thursday this week! Here are our best bets on this week's offerings...

Dave's Pick:

Laika SC - From :01 First Second Books this week is the tale of the first dog in space - actually, the first being from Earth in space, as told by Nick Abadzis. An abandoned pup in Moscow makes the joyage to space in Sputnik 2. Check out an excerpt at First Second's site.

Patrick's Pick:

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (Season 8) #6 - This issue is noteable as the first not written by series creator and "executive producer" Joss Whedon, the first (of five) written by Lost scribe Brian K. Vaughan, and the Season Eight debut of fan-favorite character Faith.

Previews: November '07 Comics

And here we are again with our picks (from Previews catalogue) for books coming to comic shops in November...


Dave:Daredevil by Frank Miller Omnibus Companion HC comes out this month, obviously a companion book to Frank Miller's more high profile Daredevil work, like the Elektra saga, that's in the Daredevil by Frank Miller Omnibus. This companion volume, I believe, features the classic Daredevil: Born Again.

Also, we see a couple of X-Men collections come out. Essential X-Men (Volume 8) TP, which contains the Inferno story, among other things. And then there's the X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills Premiere HC that some events from X-2: X-Men United film were based. An overrated book, in my opinion, but I'm surprised that they didn't release this back when people were probably clamouring for it. And the thing I'm most excited about from Marvel this month...Excalibur Classic (Volume 4): Cross-Time Caper Book 2 TP. I'm very pleased that they're doing more …

Music Review: One Cell In the Sea

A Fine Frenzy

Boasting influences from Ella Fitzgerald to Bright Eyes, Alison Sudol - aka A Fine Frenzy - is an exciting new singer-songwriter from Seattle. Self-taught on the piano, the 22-year-old has been causing a stir with her haunting debut album, One Cell In the Sea. A truly unique sound comes from this CD, full of rich strings and piano weaved into some of the most heart-breaking sounds ever recorded. And some of the most catchy. While it sounds very stuffy, A Fine Frenzy manages to keep a pop-sensibility about her music that makes it quite the indy-alt album. And with rich lyrics and a beautiful voice, she entrances listeners with her stories of love lost, sirens and the human condition. A- Key Tracks: Come On, Come Out, The Minnow & the Trout, You Picked Me, Liar, Liar, Lifesize.