Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Is It Wednesday Yet?

After a three-week hiatus involving an unfortunate move to a website I am now too embarrassed to mention, my weekly column about new comics is back. I've altered the format slightly. "Pick of the week" is the single most exciting new release of the week. "New stuff" includes #1 issues as well as new story arcs or creative teams on ongoings. "My pull list" includes all the titles I play to buy (unless they were previously mentioned). And finally "Books and trades" includes noteworthy graphic novels or collected editions.

Pick of the Week

  • Butch Baker: The Righteous Maker #1 (Image)
A new series written by Joe Casey and drawn by Mike Huddleston is reason enough to celebrate. I don't think there's anything I can say about it that will be more convincing than Casey's own description of it: "This one ain't for the faint of heart," declares Casey. "BUTCHER BAKER is a sleazy, mature readers superhero book about a semi-retired 'patriotic' superhero who gets the call for one last adventure. It's everything you want a superhero comic book to be. It's simultaneously iconic and subversive and a whole lot of fun." Here's a NSFW preview.

New Stuff
  • Captain America and Secret Avengers (one-shot) (Marvel)
  • Captain America #616 (Marvel)
  • Secret Avengers #11 (Marvel)
This week from Marvel you can either get Captain America, Secret Avengers, or both combined in a special one-shot! The one-shot is the last in the series of 70th anniversary one-shots featuring the character this month. It looks very skipable to me, although I have heard good things about writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. Captain America #616 promises a "bold new direction" and Secret Avengers #11 is starting a two-issue story set in the past that will explain the connection between Steve Rogers and the Shadow Council. I don't know how new-reader friendly that last one is going to be, as it sounds more like an epilogue to Brubaker's run on the title to tie up some loose ends before he hands over the reigns to newcomer Nick Spcencer with issues #12.1 and 13. All of which is expected to tie into Fear Itself this summer. (Personally, I've lost interest and dropped the title.)
  • Cyclops (one-shot) (Marvel)
I can't tell you what this books is about, because Marvel didn't think it was necessary to say anything about it in the solicitations or on its website. I'm going to go on a wild limb here and suggest that it's probably going to be about Cyclops. I bet it's also going to be set in the era of "First Class" like that truly pointless Marvel Girl one-shot I read from a month or two ago. I'd suggest you pretend this doesn't exist.
  • Jimmy Olsen (one-shot) (DC)
This $5.99 "80-page giant" collects the first few chapters of the Jimmy Olsen story written by Nick Spencer, which appeared in Action Comics, plus 30 pages of new material concluding the story. This is infuriating because I already paid an extra dollar on Action Comics for several months while this was the back-up feature, and now I have to pay six bucks to buy that material again, just so I can get the conclusion of the story. Yet another example of how there is ZERO cohesion or foresight to DC's editorial decisions these days. They make a big deal out of "Drawing the Line at $2.99" because they care about their readers, but meanwhile the mid-story cancellation of this back-up feature results in this. And I understand that it makes more sense now to collect the full story rather, so that new readers can buy this and not have to hunt down those back issues of Action to piece things together. But the losers are the ones who did buy this the first time around and paid that extra dollar for nothing. The worst part is I still have to recommend this, because it's actually pretty good.
  • American Vampire #13 (Vertigo)
New story arc starts this issue. I bought issue #12, which was a quick done-in-one in between arcs, and I loved it. Raphael Alburquerque is now back on art duties and I'm psyched. Scott Snyder, whose been blowing my mind on Detective Comics lately, is of course the writer and creator of this title. Preview.
  • Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #1 (IDW)
The last time I got excited about a title from IDW, it was that awful Infestation crossover event and I lived to regret it. So much so that I said I might never buy another IDW title ever again. Well, I changed my mind. I'm probably going to get this one. Because it's Godzilla and it sounds awesome. Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh are writing, while Phil Hester provides the art. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Caligula #1 (Avatar)
In the comments that followed my non-review of Neonomicon, I declared that Alan Moore's four-issue limited series was in poor taste, and Rich Johnston agrees with me, though he sees that as a good thing, comparing it to South Park and the Bible (!). Poor taste is what Avatar does best, and Caligula looks like another fine example of it, with David Lapham writing and German Nobile on art. Here's a NSFW preview.
  • Dollhouse: Epitaph (one-shot) (Dark Horse)
This is a one-shot that follows the canceled TV series's last episode and sets things up for the upcoming ongoing comic book series. Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon are writing, and Cliff Richards does the art. If you're a fan, you probably know all about it already. Otherwise, like me, you probably don't care.
  • Undying Love #1 (Image)
A new horror-action vampire comic set in Hong Kong, by Tomm Coker and Daniel Freedman. There's an interview here and a preview here.

My pull list
  • Action Comics #899 (DC)
  • Detective Comics #875 (DC)
  • Teen Titans #93 (DC)
  • 5 Ronin #5 (Marvel)
  • Amazing Spider-Man #657 (Marvel)
  • Thor #621 (Marvel)
Action Comics is inching closer to #900, which is going to be amazing. Detective Comics, by Scott Snyder and Jock, is possibly the best book DC publishes at the moment, so if it's not on your pull list, you're missing out big time. Speaking of Big Time, Amazing Spider-Man is pretty good these days. Thor concludes Matt Fraction and Pasqual Ferry's epic cosmic story. 5 Ronin, a five-issue limited series, also concludes.

Books and trades
  • Superman: The Black Ring HC (DC)
There's something really stupid and dishonest about putting Superman's name in the title of this book, since he's not even in it. I guess DC marketing figures it's okay to lie to your audience as long as it helps sell a few more books. But this is just like when movie studios market a film as one genre when it is actually a completely different type of film. It might attract a few more people to the premiere, but they're all going to hate it because it's not what it was advertised as, whereas the actual audience that might have enjoyed it won't bother showing up. This hardcover collection includes the first five issues of Paul Cornell's excellent Action Comics run, which stars Lex Luthor. It should be titled Lex Luthor: The Black Ring, but I guess that wasn't marketable enough.
  • Strange Tales II HC (Marvel)
If you didn't buy this in single issues, then you MUST get this collection. It's probably the best thing Marvel released last year. An anthology of short stories by some of the greatest indie comics creators currently working, given more or less free reign to do whatever they want with Marvel characters. Solid gold.


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