Showing posts from May, 2008

Book Review: The Host

The Host
Stephenie Meyer
***Contains Spoilers***
The Host is an interesting idea. It follows Earth as it has been invaded by parasitic aliens called "souls." These souls are implanted at the back of a human host's neck, where it then takes over the body and memories of the person. There have been plenty of alien invasion movies and novels with this premise, but this time around, it's from the point-of-view of one of the parasitic aliens called Wanderer, as she fights to gain control from a strong host whose consciousness won't go away, one of the last rebel humans Melanie. Wanderer is nervous that Melanie won't go away and talks to her, berating her constantly, the two of them wishing nothing more than for the other's disappearance. A "seeker," as the police of the parasitic aliens are called, wishes for Wanderer to delve into Melanie's memories and ferret out the location of the rest of the human rebel forces, something which Melanie has no in…

Previews: August '08 Comics

Here I am once again picking out the gems from the intimidating PreviewsCatalogue... These are books that will be shipping to comic shops in August.

Abstract Studios

Terry Moore's Echo (Volume 1): Silver Rain TP - I think only two issues of the series have come out so far, but apparently a collection of the first five issues of Terry Moore's new series is on the way. . Archaia Studios Press
These may be on hold with the company's recently announced restructuring, but it's nice to know that some good stuff's on the way when they resume publishing in a few months...
Mouse Guard Role-Playing Game HC - I don't get into role-playing games, but if I were, this one featuring adorable mice would be on my must-list. Just in time for the arrival of the final issue of Mouse Guard: Winter 1152.
The God Machine #1 (of 5) - A mortal stumbles upon gods in the graveyard of his recently deceased girlfriend. And other stuff.

Buenaventura Press . The Complete Jack Survives HC - Jack Moria…

Art II

Here's another abandoned series about children monsters. I believe I was going to call them The Creepies or something along those lines...


I wish that these hadn't turned out quite so blurry, but here are the first few pages of a long-abandoned silent horror project of mine...

And here are a few close-ups...

In Stores 5/29

This week, comics ship to comic shops on Thursday, and what a week it is! Dozens of things I've been waiting for months to come out have finally arrived, including the much-delayed Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 and the final issue of Gilbert Hernandez's Speak of the Devil. That's not to mention all of the crazy collections like Skyscrapers of the Midwest! I could easily go broke this week. Anyways, here are the highlights...
Pick of the Week
What It Is HC - Lynda Barry is hands-down one of the best creators in the biz, so it's certainly call for celebration that she is releasing some new material, even if I know next to nothing about it. I did hear that her Ernie Pook's Comeek strips are getting a nice collected treatment pretty soon too, which will be nice.
Other Noteworthy Releases
All-Star Superman #11
The Comics Journal #290
Excalibur Classic (Volume 5)
.....TP - Yay!!!
Final Crisis #1 (of 7)
Firebreather #1
Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1
Immortal Iron Fist (Volume…

Manga Monday: Flower of Life

This is a little later than usual, but please bear with me - it was a busy Memorial weekend.

Flower of Life (Volume 1)
Fumi Yoshinaga

Flower of Life is another manga from the creator of Antique Bakery, and is more comparable to that great book than the yaoi title The Moon and the Sandals, which I reviewed last week. The art's stronger and the emotions that the creator is going for are dead-on. This book follows Harutaro, who enrolls in school a month late (after taking a year off), following a battle with leukemia. The loud, brash youth doesn't let people feel sorry for him though, speaking up to teachers and pointing out when people are addressing him too formally. He makes friends soon enough in the chubby Shota and the strange Kai Majima, who takes a little warming up to. There's a side story about two teachers at the school and other students become more prominent as the book goes along, then Harutaro's family plays a big role in the final chapter of this volume, but …

Marvel Zombies: Dead Days HC

Robert Kirkman, Mark Millar & Reginald Hudlin
Sean Phillips, Greg Land, Mitch Brainteaser & Francis Portela

***Contains Spoilers!***

Bridging the original Marvel Zombies mini-series and its sequel is this book, which collects various material involving the zombies, including the one-shot Dead Days that it is named after, which tells of events that led to the situation at the beginning of Marvel Zombies. Also collected under this cover are issues of Ultimate Fantastic Four (#21-23 and #30-32) and Black Panther (# 28-30) that ventured into the territory of the Marvel Zombies.

The one-shot Marvel Zombies: Dead Days doesn’t so much explain where the zombie virus comes from as illustrates how it spread over Earth, infecting the superhero population, beginning with The Avengers who were first at the scene of the “incident,” which was never fully explained. Magento was the one to let loose the virus onto the populace, unaware that it would affect mutants as well as humans, but how he stu…

In Stores 5/21

Here are the highlights of comics shipping to comic shops today!

Pick of the Week

Hulk collections - With Iron Man soaring high in theaters, it's time to look forward to Marvel's next film, The Incredible Hulk, and the inevitable merchandise and collections that come with it. This week, The Incredible Hulk Omnibus (Volume 1) HC becomes available, as well as Hulk Visionaries: John Byrne (Volume 1)TP (pictured).

Other Noteworthy Releases

Bottomless Belly Button SC
Comic Arf SC
Hank Ketcham's Complete Dennis
.....the Menace 1951-1952 SC - Now
............................................................available in softcover!
Hellboy (Volume 8): Darkness Calls
Mushishi (Volume 4)
Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution SC - Also in softcover after a long wait.
Sheena Queen of the Jungle (Volume 1) TP
Spider-Man (Volume 1): Brand New Day HC

Manga Monday: The Moon and the Sandals

The Moon and the Sandals (Volume 1)
Fumi Yoshinaga
The Moon and the Sandals is a yaoi manga from the creator of the excellent Antique Bakery. The book follows a young intimidating student, Kobayashi, who has a crush on a new young teacher, Mr. Ida. The initial chapter is a nice little story about the two of them confronting their feelings about one another. After this, the book sort of follows each of them in alternating chapters and scenes, where they often meet up with one another, but not always. New characters come into the fold, particularly Toyo Narumi, the beautiful arrogant boy who tutors Kobayashi in English, and both Kobayashi and Ida learn about love and life on their own and through each other. The art isn't quite as refined in this book as it is in Antique Bakery, but it's still really elegant and pretty. There are genuinely erotic moments amid the soap opera, and there's a generally cheerful feel to the book overall. I can't say that there's much to the…

Sky Doll #1 (of 3)

Alessandro Barbucci & Barbara Canepa

Soleil is a popular publisher of genre comics in France. Marvel recently acquired the rights to publish Soleil comics in English, Sky Doll being the very first offering to hit stands. The debut issue is 44 pages long with other future Soleil offerings previewed in the back. As far as first issues go, this is a very strong debut. Forty-four pages is a good amount of space to get a story rolling, and I feel like I got a full story from just this initial issue. A lot of action, likable characters and phenomenal art. The creators worked together on story, art and colors alike for a perfect overall package. I haven't seen cartooning this amazing in years, and somehow it's really appealing in a science fiction environment with adult themes. The story follows Noa, a robot owned by an abrasive fellow who has her, along with other robot "dolls," washing space cars seductively. In one funny little scene, events are going on surrounding t…

Captain Britain and MI-13 #1

Paul Cornell & Leonard Kirk

A new on-going series launched this past week from Marvel, sort of spinning out of events from Secret Invasion, although it was originally intended to be a new Excalibur series. Captain Britain and MI-13 follows the former leader of Excalibur and other British superheroes as they, at least initially, deal with the invasion of the skrulls on their side of the world. Paul Cornell was the writer behind the recent MAX series Wisdom, and of course the star of that particular mini-series, Pete Wisdom, is also prominent in this new book. Other characters involved include Black Knight, Spitfire, the good skrull John and a new character - a human doctor named Faiza Hussain who gets caught in the blast of some skrull device before the issue ends. While Black Knight and Faiza Hussain work to save bystanders of the skrull invasion ships on the streets, the other superpowered members of MI-13 work to prevent the skrulls from reaching the portal to the magical Oth…

Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1 (of 3)

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Barry Kitson

***Contains Spoilers***

I don’t know why I’m giving into this crossover event, but I am. Secret Invasion is just a lot of fun and I’m enjoying every step of it so far, which is why I decided to pick up this issue of Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four. I don’t follow the Fantastic Four at all, but I’ve read some issues in the past and it’s not like much has changed over the years. However, I’m not really familiar with the whole “I Married a Skrull” story, so Patrick had to fill me in: The skrull Lyja replaced Alicia Masters in an attempt to get close to the Thing, but had to improvise her plans when the Thing didn’t return to the team in wake of Secret War. So she began a relationship with Johnny Storm instead, eventually marrying him and developing feelings. In the end, she turned her back on the skrulls and became a member of the foursome for awhile. So why does this matter? Well, because, as a skrull, Lyja returns to the lives of the Fantastic Fo…

The Sisterhood #1 (of 3)

Christopher Golden, Tom Sniegoski & Wellington Alves

The Sisterhood is a three issue mini-series from Archaia Studios Press that came out a month or two back. It’s another one of those comics from small publishers that was hard to get my hands on, so when I went back home for a visit to Minneapolis, I picked it up there, where it seemed every comic store I went to had a couple of copies on their shelves - quite a difference from the Milwaukee shops. I was thinking that I would just pick up the inevitable collection since it is a short series, but when I saw it, I had to at least give the first issue a go. And I’m glad I did. The Sisterhood has a cool premise. It follows an order of ass-kicking nuns with some strange powers of exorcism, where they can track down demons and take them into their own bodies, human cages of sorts. If they die natural deaths, the demons die along with them. If they die violently, the demons are released back into the world to wreak havoc. Once a nun reac…

In Stores 5/14

Patrick and I pick out the books with most potential hitting comic shops tomorrow!

Patrick's Pick

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 (Volume 2): No Future For You - This is the second paperback collection of my current favorite monthly comic book, collecting Brian K. Vaughan’s four issue story arc about Faith, the popular character played by Eliza Dushku on the TV series. Also included is the tenth issue, a standalone story written by Joss Whedon. I reviewed Vaughan’s arc upon its initial serialization: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Dave's Pick

Vampire graphic novels from First Second Books - I really enjoyed Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria and Warren Pleece's teen vampire book Life Sucks, and am definitely looking forward to Joann Sfar's Little Vampire, which promises some great art and a cute story.

Other Noteworthy Releases

Batman #676
Captain Britain and MI 13 #1
Guardians of the Galaxy #1
Huntress: Year One #1 (of 6)
New X-Men by Grant Morrison Ultimate Collection (Book One) TP

Manga Monday: Dororo

Dororo (Volume 1)Osamu Tezuka The latest effort from Vertical to publish classic manga from master Osamu Tezuka is one of the creator's unfinished works, Dororo. The story follows a warrior who was born without many of his body parts, including arms, eyes and ears. His father made a pact with forty-eight demons, each taking a body part from his unborn child in return for granting him power. Now that child, Hyakki-Maru, has grown under a doctor who found him abandoned, and raised him as his own. With the aid of some prosthetic limbs and amazing abilities to compensate for his shortcomings, Hyakki-Maru begins a quest to track down the forty-eight demons and vanquish them, and in turn, receive his missing body parts. It's a really cool premise and it's a lot of fun to read. Dororo himself is a boy thief that Hyakki-Maru runs into on his voyages, with issues of his own. I'm not sure exactly why this series is named after what seems to be a supporting character, but t…

His and Hers

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight #14Drew Goddard & Georges Jeanty .
Angel: After the Fall #7
Joss Whedon, Brian Lynch, Tim Kane, Nick Runge & Stephen Mooney .
I enjoyed the fourteenth issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, although I’m not sure I’ve got too much to say about it. As the penultimate chapter of Drew Goddard’s “Wolves at the Gate” story arc, it pretty well resists critical analysis as a standalone story. The book opens with Buffy’s discovery of the murder of one of her people and ends with another horrible, violent event which I probably should have seen coming but didn’t. In between, the villains’ plot is revealed, Giant Dawn attacks Tokyo, and the relationships between Buffy and Satsu, and Xander and Renee are developed with the requisite mix of angst and jokes. Everything that makes the series work continues to work here, particularly the snappy dialogue and well-realized characters, both those carried over from the television show and those created fo…

Life Sucks

Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria & Warren Pleece. Life Sucks is an original graphic novel from First Second Books written by La Perdida'sJessica Abel, with art by Gabe Soria and Warren Pleece. The book follows Dave, who works a crappy job as The Last Stop convenience store, and happens to have recently been made a vampire by the owner to work the night shift and be his general lackey. A lifetime at a dead end job - doesn't seem too promising for him. Until he meets the girl of his dreams, Rosa. Dave doesn't think he has much of a chance with the beauty, but he soon becomes acquainted with her and strikes up a rivalry with fellow vampire Wes for her affections. . I really enjoyed this book. Abel plays with your expectations of the vampire mythos in a witty book with some really fantastic dialogue. It reminded me quite a bit of Clerks just because of the setting of the convenience store mixed with the humor and how Dave and his vampire friend kind of hang out while working th…

In Stores 5/7

This is another crazy-good week in comics. It's been hit or miss lately, but this week, comic stores have got the goods. Patrick and I pick out the books with most potential hitting stores on Wednesday... . Patrick's Pick . Gary Panter - Here it is. Expensive, yes, but this two-volume slipcased set of 350-page books sounds like it’s going to be worth it. Billed as “the definitive volume of Panter’s work from the early 1970’s to the present,” the first book features work by the artist across a variety of media (paintings, sculpture, posters….even comics!), as well as essays by a variety of writers and commentary from Panter himself. The second book features selections from the artist's sketchbook. This is the book I’m most looking forward to this year. . Dave's Pick . Suburban Glamour (Vol. 1) TP - Any other week, any number of books could have been my pick out of the great books shipping to stores, but I loved this book by Jamie McKelvie and I feel like it was kind of overloo…

Manga Monday: Andromeda Stories & More

This past week, I read several manga from series I've been following, including the final chapter of Keiko Takemiya's Andromeda Stories. Here's what I thought...

Sand Chronicles (Volume 2)
Hinako Ashihara

When Nana left Shojo Beat magazine, I left with it, but not before I caught a glimpse of the beautiful Sand Chronicles, an emotional book following a young woman who left Tokyo for a small town right before her mother's tragic suicide. In the latest volume of the series, Ann's relationship with her boyfriend grows and changes as the seasons pass. When her father comes to visit, she has to make a heart-breaking decision that leads to some really great dramatic scenes. I love where the book is heading in terms of the supporting characters - I just wish it would slow down a little bit. Time goes by really fast and I just want to be able to breathe with the characters at certain times in their lives a bit more. But it's a small complaint, because I'm genuinely at…

The Weekend Box Office (5/2 - 5/4)

Box Office estimates are in and, no surprise, Marvel Studio's debut film Iron Man reigned, raking in over $100 million. This was my first month predicting box office figures, actually my first week, so how did I do?

Actual Box Office 5/2 - 5/4

1. Iron Man ($100.7 million)
2. Made of Honor ($15 million)
3. Baby Mama ($10 million)
4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall ($6.1 million)
5. Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay ($6 million)

Most predictions put Iron Man in the $70-80 million range, but I took a gamble and went high. For the other films in the top five, I looked at the history of similar movies.

My prediction for 5/2 - 5/4 (from Thursday afternoon)

1. Iron Man ($98 million)
2. Made of Honor ($15 million)
3. Baby Mama ($9 million)
4. Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay ($7 million)
5. Forgetting Sarah Marshall ($6.5 million)

Overall, not too shabby. I was off only $2 on Iron Man and nailed Made of Honor. Then I was $1 million off on both Harold and Kumar and Baby Mama, resulting in…

Annihilation: Book Three

Keith Giffen, Andrea DiVito & various. It all comes to this. Silver Surfer. Nova. Super Skrull. Ronan. Drax the Destroyer. Each of these characters had a story to tell revolving around a wave of destruction led by Annihilus of The Negative Zone, as he thirsted for power and annihilation (Read reviews of Book One and Book Two of Annihilation for details). In a six issue mini-series, the culmination of these events leads to all-out war as these cosmic beings unite to fight back against a common enemy in any way each of them are able. This book felt very grand and was ultimately satisfying. Each of the characters had their moment to shine, while some were more vital to the thrust of the fight than others. DiVito illustrates events beautifully, executing fight sequences and emotional moments with ease. . Gamora, the deadliest woman in space, who was featured in Annihilation: Ronan, played quite a big role in the events, as she was Nova's lover and involved in many of the figh…

Previews: July '08 Comics

Patrick and I pick the best stuff out of the intimidating PreviewsCatalogue, for books shipping to comic shops in July!

Ape Entertainment
Dave: Athena Voltaire (Volume 2): Flight of the Falcon - I don’t know what took so long for this to be collected but it’s finally here, a collection of the six issue mini-series that launched aviatrix Athena Voltaire from webcomics to paper. A great adventure story with beautiful art. Also available again is the collected webcomics, which is volume one of the Athena Voltaire collections.
Archaia Studios Press
Dave: The Bond of Saint Michael #1 - A new six issue mini-series, a vampire thriller featuring the art of The Red Star’s Christian Gossett.
Avatar Press
Patrick: In addition to a major new project with Marvel discussed elsewhere in this post, the prolific Warren Ellis has a couple of new books out from Avatar this month. Warren Ellis’ Aetheric Mechanics is an original graphic novel for the writer’s “Apparat” line of books, a strange science fiction…