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Showing posts from April, 2008

New Mutants Classic (Volume 2)

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Chris Claremont & Sal Buscema. I admittedly wasn't overly impressed with the first volume of New Mutants Classic, but this second volume gets into some good stuff, particularly toward the latter half of the collection where the group confronts the White Queen and her Hellions. This book collects issues 8-17 (a sizable chunk) of the original New Mutants series and introduces two new members to its ranks: Magma and Magik. The collection begins with the New Mutants in the Amazon, where they stumble upon a hidden Roman city, Nova Roma. There, they battle each other in an arena, face off against the future Black Queen of The Hellfire Club, Selene, and acquire a friend in Amara Juliana Olivia Aquilla, a girl they meet as a native on the riverbank, but whose dark skin washes off in the river, revealing her to be a resident of this lost Roman city. Kinda weird. When she is sacrificed to a volcano at the hands of Selene, she is reborn as Magma, and quickly joins the New Mutants to …

Picks of the Week: 4/30

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Patrick and I pick out the books with the most potential, shipping to comic shops tomorrow!

Patrick's Pick

Thoreau at Walden - I can’t imagine this isn’t going to be excellent. John Porcellino offers his take on the life of Henry David Thoreau, in the second in a series of comics format biographies sponsored by the Center for Cartoon Studies. Porcellino is unquestionably one of our finest living cartoonists, and this project seems tailor made to his sensibilities. I can’t wait to read it.

Dave's Pick

Dororo (Volume 1) - Any week where a new Osama Tezuka book comes out is a good week. This newest translation is the first of three volumes from the good folks at Vertical, who were responsible for other handsome Tezuka manga being make available in America, such as Apollo's Song and Ode To Kirihito.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Black Summer #6
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus (Volume 4)
The Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy (Volume 4)
DC Universe: Zero
Glamourpuss #1
New Avengers #40…

Manga Monday: Nana (Volume 10)

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Ai Yazawa
If I thought that the previous volume of Nana was amazing, this volume completely blew me away. About a chapter in, another huge event takes place, the ramifications of which are felt far and wide, and dealt with in the following chapters. I was on the edge of my seat for every single page I read - I couldn’t wait to see how things unfolded and how each of the characters reacted to the goings-on, even very secondary characters like Hachi’s sister and parents. I hate having Hachi and Osaki away from each other for such a long period of time, but it certainly makes for good drama and tension, and I’m really looking forward to the reunion between the two of them, and the sides that are slowly being drawn will make for some interesting decisions on the part of the characters involved, Hachi in particular. This is the best that the series has ever been, which is really saying something since Nana came out of the gate running, but it keeps relentlessly changing direction in interes…

Excalibur Classic (Volume 4)

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Cross-Time Caper: Book TwoChris Claremont, Alan Davis & various . The fourth installment of Excalibur Classic collects issues 21-28 of the original Excalibur series, which includes the concluding issues of the popular Cross-Time Caper storyarc, which saw the team jumping between realities via a dragon-powered train. Unfortunately for this volume, only two issues (the end of TheCross-Time Caper) are drawn by Alan Davis, and the fill-in artists are pretty atrocious for the most part. There are a few diamonds in the rough though. Barry Windsor-Smith drew an odd little issue that was inked by Bill Sienkiewicz, and Colleen Doran of A Distant Soil fame surprised me by illustrating an issue featuring Captain Britain and Meggan. But even they paled in comparison to Davis. . While jumping across cross-time, the team loses Kitty Pryde at one point, who actually makes it back home well ahead of her teammates, but finds herself alone save for Courtney Ross, a good friend of the team's. M…

Annihilation: Book Two

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Keith Giffen, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Simon Furman, Renato Arlem, Gregory Titus & Jorge Lucas. I really enjoyed the beginning of Annihilation with Book One of the maxi-series, and just finished the second book, which collects the remaining mini-series focusing on individual cosmic beings, leading up to the material collected in Book Three, which is the Annihilation mini-series itself. There are three mini-series in Book Two, starring Silver Surfer, Super Skrull and Ronan the Accuser. . Annihilation: Silver Surfer introduces the concept that Annihilus is seeking the former heralds of Galactus to feed upon their cosmic power. We saw him feed off of Nova and Quasar in the Annihilation: Nova limited series, and this just goes one step farther, as Annihilus sends out Seekers to bring the beings to him, characters including Terrax, Firelord, The Fallen One, Morg, Air-Walker and, of course, the most famous herald of all, Silver Surfer. Ultimately, the Seekers look into bringing Galactus …

In Stores 4/23

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Patrick and I pick the comics with the most potential shipping to comic shops this Wednesday...

Dave's Pick
The Complete Terry and the Pirates (Volume 3): 1939-1940 HC - It's an incredibly light week, but it's certainly nice to see this. I loved the first volume of Milton Caniff's adventure strip, and while I haven't gotten around to reading the second volume yet (I have a hard time fitting in my comic strip reading - I alternate between Dick Tracy and Terry,but they take me forever), I hear it only gets better. . Patrick's Pick . Ultimate Spider-Man #121 . Other Noteworthy Releases . Batman #675 Deadpool Classic (Volume 1) TP Queen & Country Definitive Edition (Volume 2) TP White Picket Fences: Double Feature TP

Manga Monday: Bizenghast

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Bizenghast (Volume 1)
M. Alice LeGrow

Bizenghast is a Gothic thriller about a young girl who lost her parents in a car accident and has been sent to live with her aunt, where together they reside in a house renovated from a school for boys, which itself was once a hospital. Since coming to live on the former grounds of St. Lyman's School For Boys in Bizenghast, Dinah has been sickly. On top of that, she is tormented by the ghosts that haunt its corridors, giving her aunt and doctor cause for worry. Her only real friend through all of this is a boy her age, Vincent, who lives in the neighborhood. The two of them sneak out one night and stumble upon a mausoleum, where Dinah unwittingly enters into a contract to help the creatures that live there in their quest to release the spirits locked within its vaults. Under her obligation, she visits the mausoleum every night with Vincent and together they solve one of the riddles (and subsequent puzzleboxes of sorts) and walk through a gat…

Flight Explorer (Volume 1)

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Edited by Kazu Kibuishi

I've never actually read any of the Flight anthology books before, though I've been meaning to do so for awhile now, for a few reasons. Every time I flip through them, I think that there's a lot of amazing talent housed in its pages, plenty of beautiful art to gawk at. I also recently read editor Kazu Kibuishi's first all-ages Amulet graphic novel, as well as frequent contributor Kean Soo's Jellaby, the latter title of which actually prompted me to pick up the Flight Explorer, as Kean Soo contributes once more, with a story featuring the cute purple monster featured in his graphic novel that I enjoyed so much. Flight Explorer is basically a Flight anthology aimed at children, vying for the same high quality that the original anthology is known for. I had thought that the Flight anthologies intended each story, at least initially, to include an aspect of "flight," however interpreted by the artist, but I guess that that was a misconc…

In Stores 4/16

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Patrick and I pick out the books with the most potential coming to comic shops this Wednesday... . Dave's Pick . Hellboy Library Edition (Volume 1) - It's a pretty light week for major releases in the world of comics, but this caught my eye. A nice deluxe edition of Mike Mignola's first two Hellboy stories, Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil. Nice for the bookshelf, and timely, with the new Hellboy movie coming out this summer. . Patrick's Pick . The Drifting Classroom (Volume 11) - Last week, the final volume of the excellent Dragon Head was released to comic book shops. This week, another horror manga reaches its conclusion with this final volume in Kazuo Umezu’s insane saga about a group of schoolchildren transported to a nightmarish, post-apocalyptic future world. David reviewed both books yesterday. . Other Noteworthy Releases . Faker TP Hana-Kimi (Volume 23) - Final volume. Also reviewed yesterday. Naoki Urasawa's Monster (Volume 14) X-Men: Divided We Stand #1 (of 2…

Manga Monday: Final Volumes

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This month we say goodbye to three prominent manga series, with the hopes of reading more from these creators in the near future. Here are their reviews...

The Drifting Classroom (Volume 11)
Kazuo Umezu

The over-the-top screaming and maiming of the elementary school students in The Drifting Classroom draws to a close, but with two volumes of Umezu's The Cat Eyed Boy to look forward to in June, I'm not really too upset by this fact. I'm just glad that The Drifting Classroom sold well enough to warrant Viz's publication of other works from the creator. And to be quite honest, I don't know where Umezu would have gone next, as he was quickly running out of natural disasters for the students to avoid. I am happy with how the series ended, not all tied up nicely like a science fiction series such as this certainly could have. But with all that had gone wrong for the kids of the book, it was nice to end on a good note.

Dragon Head (Volume 10)
Minetaro Mochizuki

Like The Dri…

Annihilation: Book One

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Keith Giffen, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Mitch Breitweiser, Scott Kolins & Kev Walker

Annihilation is a big cosmic crossover that includes several mini-series and many galactic characters of the Marvel Universe, including The Silver Surfer, Galactus and those pesky skrulls. Included in this first of three books collecting the entirety of the first Annihilation crossover are Annihilation: Drax the Destroyer #1-4, Annihilation Prologue, and Annihilation: Nova #1-4. I'd heard that this was a pretty good crossover from Marvel, and since I'm digging the beginning of Secret Invasion, I thought I would go back and check this one out too. And it hasn't disappointed so far.

Annihilation: Drax the Destroyer follows a maximum security spaceship that is transporting superpowered beings across the galaxy to an intergalactic prison which, of course, malfunctions, allowing several of the beings to crash land on Earth, including Drax the Destroyer. Now Drax hasn't been himself lately…

In Stores 4/9

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Patrick and I pick the books with most potential shipping to comic shops this Wednesday, and this is one of those weeks where it was really difficult to narrow it down to just one pick - there’s a boatload of great releases!

Patrick’s Pick

The Complete Peanuts (Volume 9): 1967-1968 - The latest volume in the Fantagraphics published series collecting the entirety of the greatest comic strip of all time is available in comics shops this Wednesday. Buy it.

Dave’s Pick

Jessica Farm GN - Josh Simmons made a big splash with his first book last year, the silent graphic novel House. This is his highly-anticipated new work, the first volume of an epic story.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Chickenhare (Volume 2): Fire In the Hole - An excellent all-ages title.
.....Read my review.
The Comics Journal #289
Hall of Best Knowledge SC
- Ray Fenwick’s first graphic novel!
The Last Defenders #2
Marvel Zombies: Dead Days HC
Most Outrageous: The Trials & Trespasses of Dwaine &

.....Chester the Molester
Mushishi (…

Manga Monday: Gyo 2

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Gyo (Volume 2)Junji Ito . I really enjoyed the first volume of Junji Ito's horror title Gyo, so the second and final volume of the series had a lot to live up to. I actually read the first volume of Ito's more well-known horror title Uzumaki years ago and wasn't very impressed, so the first volume of Gyo came as a pleasant surprise. It's a very creepy story of a young couple in Japan who are terrorized as fish begin to walk out of the ocean. Unfortunately the final volume moves the book into The Drifting Classroom territory: a lot of screaming, over-the-top events, and horrifying monstrosities chasing down the protagonists. It's such a shift in tone that it feels like a completely different book altogether, and not in a good way. As the fish rot away, humans and animals take the place of the marine life on their walking machines, tubes unceremoniously placed in their mouths and butts to extract the gas given off by a germ they are infected with, to power the mac…

Secret Invasion #1 (of 8)

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Brian Michael Bendis & Leinil Yu
***Contains spoilers*** . Events in the Marvel Universe, particular in New Avengers, have been building toward this eight-issue mini-series that will infect a majority of other Marvel titles over the next few months. In New Avengers #31, Elektra was killed and was revealed to be a skrull. From there, various characters of the universe have been striving to uncover just what the skrulls are planning, and who else has been replaced. Well, the shit sure as hell hit’s the fan in the first issue of Secret Invasion. Basically, the skrulls make their move, shutting down S.W.O.R.D. and S.H.I.E.L.D., Iron Man and all things linked to him (including satellites and various Stark facilities), maximum security prisons such as The Raft, and Thunderbolts Mountain. And the Baxter Building is being sucked into The Negative Zone. So basically, the skrulls have crippled Earth’s superheroes. They are deaf, dumb and blind. And a crapload of skrull ships are on their way t…

Angel: After the Fall #6

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Joss Whedon, Brian Lynch & Various

The sixth issue of Angel: After the Fall takes a hiatus from the story that has built up thus far to flash back to exactly how things went down for the characters of the universe after the final scene in Angel the television series’ season five, where a handful of good guys are in an alley facing down Armageddon. In those moments, we see Los Angeles transported to Hell, events unfolding through the eyes of several characters in short stories focusing on one or two of them, each illustrated by a different artist. Bookending these short stories are scenes taking place in current continuity, of the psychic fish Betta George, wondering about how the transition to Hell went for other people of LA, and recounting his own underwhelming story. After this, we are treated to a story of Spike as he is reunited with Illyria, then of Connor and the effects that the transition to Hell had on him (the transition has effected several people in different ways, inc…

Three Shadows

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Cyril Pedrosa

Three Shadows is a graphic novel recently published in America by First Second Books, from French creator Cyril Pedrosa, whose credits include working in Disney animation on The Hunchback of Notre Dame and my personal favorite Disney film Hercules. Pedrosa is a great cartoonist, with a unique look that seems ever-changing as Three Shadows moves along, with some scenes more finished and fully-realized and others sketchier, yet still really quite beautiful. It's pretty interesting. Between ten pages, trees can be drawn in three completely different ways, always fluid with the environment, and never really jarring from one page to the next. And pencils overall can be thick and angry in some pages while thin and elegant in others. This captures mood pretty perfectly, and makes the atmosphere a vital part of the story. It really makes the cartooning that the artist does integral to the plot and characters, as he takes more advantage of the medium than most artists seem cap…

In Stores 4/2

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Patrick and I highlight the books with most potential among the new releases to comic shops this Wednesday.

Patrick's Pick

Dragon Head (Volume 10) - Dragon Head is a solid work of survivalist horror fiction from writer/artist Minetaro Mochizuki, about a small group of high school students who survive a natural (possibly supernatural) disaster and must struggle against an unbelievably hostile environment to survive, hopefully with their humanity intact. Gritty, realistic artwork and great storytelling skills have made this one of the best of the current crop of translated manga. This is the final volume.

Dave's Pick

Secret Invasion #1 (of 8) - Marvel's latest mega crossover kicks it into high gear with this eight-issue mini-series, spinning out of events from New Avengers and bleeding across most of the Marvel Universe.

Other Noteworthy Releases

American Splendor: Season Two #1 (of 4)
Angel: After the Fall #6
Anna Mercury #1 (of 5) - Warren Ellis's latest Avatar effort
Buffy the…