Wednesday, October 19, 2005

DC, Marvel, and Image have all released their January solicits, so like any semi-comics blogger worth his salt, I shall wade into the fray and bring out the covers and info-packets that are of some interest to me, along with comments various and sundry. Click on the little-bitty covers to make 'em all big for your perusal.

DC first, just because.

Hey look! I'm starting off with a Superman title! Actually, this nice Kalman Andrasofszky heralds the introduction of the Superman: The Animated Series baddie Live Wire (voiced by the Tank Girl, Lori Petty). I won't be buying, but I always liked that character. This is from ACTION COMICS #835.

Another book I won't be buying is DETECTIVE COMICS #815, although it is the first in a run of stories illo'd by Cliff Chiang, whose work has steadily grown on me over the last couple of years.

CATWOMAN #51 features another striking Adam Hughes cover, but unfortunately the interiors will be tied in with the ongoing Identity Whatnot. Still, I trust Pfiefer and Woods to give me something I can read and still respect myself in the morning. Really.

Same goes for GOTHAM CENTRAL #39. I hope that the Jim Corrigan thing is as close to all that stuff as we get.

If you've ever wanted to see Walt Simonson channeling Mike Kaluta, well, look no further than this cover to DAY OF VENGEANCE: INFINITE CRISIS SPECIAL. You'd think if I was going to stick my toe in the foetid Infinite waters, it would be with this series...but despite my affection for all of DC's supernatural roster, I passed. I might be tempted to pick up a collection one of these days...

As I keep saying, James Jean rules the school. From GREEN ARROW #58. Love the raining arrows and cherry blossom branches, which make no sense to the reader, like myself, who doesn't know what's going on in the title, but are very interesting design elements.

DC UNIVERSE: THE STORIES OF ALAN MOORE TP should be some fine readin'. I've read and owned several of these, still do some of 'em, but there are a few that even I haven't read. However, even with the DCBS discount, it's a bit too rich for my blood. Maybe someday. Snazzy Brian Bolland cover, huh!

Bat Lash returns in JONAH HEX #3; while I'll always love the character as he appeared in those eight 1960's issues by Sergio Aragones, Denny O'Neil and Nick Cardy, almost every revival attempt and guest appearance has been flat and bland. Guess it's just too much to expect writers today to channel that James Garner-Maverick vibe...still, hope springs eternal, and I'll be getting this comic for at least six issues.

It's Atom Girl, aka Shrinking Violet, on the cover of LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #14. She also has a torso like a tree trunk. Did Mike Mignola lay this out, or is this yet another example of Kitson's inconsistency? Methinks the latter.

Nice Doug Mahnke cover for SEVEN SOLDIERS: FRANKENSTEIN #2, featuring my old buddy Spawny, all reimagined for these dark and gloomy times.

Fans of old DC war comics are surely salivating over SGT. ROCK: THE PROPHECY #1, as it features the whole Kubert clan, mostly Dad Joe, on art. Me, I've always been lukewarm about them, even the ones drawn by personal art heroes Jerry Grandenetti and Russ Heath, so I think I'll pass. Can't buy everything!

Ladies and germs, I give you the final issue of the title voted most likely to defy all expectations of longevity, PLASTIC MAN #20. I flirted with this title a while ago, but after an admittedly clever issue or two, mostly involving Kyle Baker having some fun with DC's superhero community, I got tired of the slapdash art and recycled Tom & Jerry plots, and bailed. Judging by this cover and its hurried-convention-sketch look, nothing much changed.

Here's Michael Golden imitating Jason Pearson imitating Baker on the cover of VIGILANTE #5. Aw, I know that it's probably more like Pearson's style is very similar (influenced by, in other words) to Golden's these days, but I can't help but think back on how his style has changed since I was first blown away by it in the pages of Batman Family back in the 70's. I still think that Golden drew the best version of the Demon waaay back then, and no one's topped it since.

Hel-lo, Nurse! I turned my back, no pun intended, on the smirky, sophomoric, FHM magazine-level spy hijinx of Danger Girl a long time ago, and I won't be buying the comeback mini DANGER GIRL: BACK IN BLACK, but this cover image for issue #3 certainly appeals to my love of cheesecake pinup art.

Rumor has it that PLANETARY #24 will be coming out this month, however, this has yet to be officially confirmed. Most in the know say to wait until January and see.

Aw, man. This is the last issue of THE LOSERS, #32. Hope it goes out as well as it came in.

TESTAMENT #2 is on the list; I haven't had an opportunity to write about it yet, but I was kinda impressed with the preview which appeared in the latest issue of Fables, so I'll be picking this up for a while, it appears.

And that's it for DC. Now, Marvel. Four books have piqued my interest:

Looks like Milligan and Allred are being given another shot with their smarter-than-the-norm take on Marvel's X-population with X-STATIX PRESENTS: DEAD GIRL #1 (of 5). I bought X-Statix for a good long time, but there was just a perceived-by-me disconnect between Milligan's scripts and Allred's art that made the books dull and static (as opposed to "statix", I suppose) more often as not, so I bailed long before the Princess Di flap. This looks fun, with lotsa dead superheroes coming back as zombies or something, but it will be a game time decision in regards to whether I'll buy.

DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON #1 (of 6) gives us a long-overdue spotlight on two supporting characters that used to appear in Claremont and Byrne's 70's issues of Iron Fist, back before they became major annoyances. Claremont and Byrne, that is, not DotD's Colleen Wing and Misty Knight. I don't know what, if anything, has been done with them since then (I know they had some 70's kung-fu magazine backups and appeared in Power Man/Iron Fist) but this triggers the nostalgic response in my head so I'll be buying.

NEXTWAVE #1 (of 12) looks like it could be fun, and I like the samples I've seen so far. "Fun" isn't natural to Ellis, though, so I could be disappointed but I'll sample it anyway.

MARVEL VISIONARIES: ROY THOMAS HC: In the 60's, I really loved Roy Thomas' scripting. His character's patter was snappy, he knew how to give a tense situation the proper amount of desperation and edge, and he threw in all kinds of cool pop culture references of the day that even I, as a somewhat more-than-the-norm-perceptive preteen, recognized. Thomas, unfortunately, got lazy writing Conan for about 50 years, lost his mojo, and lapsed into overwrought, needlessly convoluted nostalgia-pandering...and on top of that, the very same snappy patter and hipster vibe that was fresh when Thomas did it in 1966-1969 inspired the worst excesses of a host of writers that followed in his wake and gave us over two decades' worth of cringe. In my opinion. Anyway, this is a hardcover collection of some of the Rascally One's good stuff, and although I wish there was more of his Neal Adams collaborations on X-Men, my favorite of all his work then, there's plenty of good readin' here nonetheless. The one X-Men story represented here is inexplicably the Don Heck/Tom Palmer illo'd origin of Sunfire, and while I kinda liked the character, the art just didn't cut it. The Avengers stories contained here are top-notch, with the origin of the Vision and the Barry Smith-drawn #100, which featured every character that (at the time) had ever been an Avenger.

Now, last but not least, IMAGE:

Probably the most noteworthy release is, to me, Jason Pearson's return to all-new Body Bags adventures in the BODY BAGS: ONE SHOT, er, one-shot. BB was bloody and excessive, but it was bloody well-drawn and often amusing, and I liked it.

GØDLAND, VOL. 1: HELLO, COSMIC! TP collects the series of which I've read the first issue, because I got it free, and liked it but not enough to buy it with my own dime. I figured it would be collected soon enough, and by golly, I was right! It's a fun and skillfully done Post-DC 70's Kirby pastiche. GØDLAND #7 will also come out in the same month, enabling slackers like me to get caught up fast if we so desire.

I'm wondering if the FLAMING CARROT SPECIAL is the fumetti which Bob Burden mentioned last issue. Oh well, I'll most likely pick it up regardless- I love me some Carrot.

In the text of the solicit for MICHAEL GOLDEN?S MONSTERS PORTFOLIO they describe him as "The elusive artist...", which evokes images of the Image guys dressed in pith helmets and jungle gear, stalking Golden with tranquilizer darts.

Arthur Suydam has had his moments in the past, and he's a fine artist overall, but his ORIGINAL ADVENTURES OF CHOLLY & FLYTRAP always struck me as poor man's Vaughn Bode. I'll leave the final decision up to you.

THE ATHEIST #4: Atheist seems to be coming out under the Planetary release system. Just saying.

EXPATRIATE #6 is solicited; I haven't seen #3 yet.

FELL #5: I've been wracking my brain to come up with a clever song tie-in to this book's title, but all can think of are "If I Fell" and "Fooled Around and Fell in Love"...and those don't work. Oh well, I'm still gonna get this anyway.

And that's all I got! Thanks for sticking with me till the end!

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