All the cool comics bloggers have done it already, but I think I'll try to justify my place in the "Comics Blogosphere" by providing actual comics-related content and running down some reactions to the March '06 DC solicits.
Be warned: this is far from comprehensive. Each month I find less and less that intrigues me from the former National Periodical Publications, and since I pretty much made a point of ignoring all the Identity Foofraw, this "One Year Later" business that premieres with this month's books is mighty underwhelming to me as well. Anyway, here goes nothing.
First, while I'm thinking about it, here's a fond wish. I was standing in a Waldenbooks yesterday, skimming a copy of the latest Batman, drawn by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen, who are among my favorite mainstream comics artists right now, especially when they work together. I really hope this run gets collected. OK, on to the few, the proud.
CATWOMAN #53 is the first thing that catches my eye; I'll miss Pete Woods, that's for sure. But Will Pfiefer, who's doing well on scripts, is still around and Adam Hughes is still doing the covers so I see no reason to drop yet. Apparently Holly, dyed blonde, will be donning the Catsuit for no apparent reason, but I'm sure Will will give us one.
Another candidate for a trade collection purchase: BATMAN AND THE MONSTER MEN, #5 of which is listed. Matt Wagner's work is always a strong incentive.
BATMAN: YEAR ONE HUNDRED #2 continues the Paul Pope series. I loves me some Paul Pope.
I suggest skipping the BATMAN: DARK DETECTIVE TP, which just made me sad when I read half of it in singles format because of the apparent decline of two of my favorite '70s creators, Marshall Rogers and Steve Englehart. Maybe it ended amazingly, but I doubt it.
The synopsis of ALL STAR SUPERMAN #3 certainly sounds like one of those goofball Weisinger/Binder Superman tales of yore, but then I remember that I never cared for those goofball stories of yore all that much, not even as a young child reading them for the first time.
That said, I wouldn't mind having a copy of the SHOWCASE PRESENTS: THE SUPERMAN FAMILY VOL. 1 TP, because the kid that was underwhelmed by the Superman proper stories kinda liked Jimmy Olsen stories. Go figure.
AQUAMAN: SWORD OF ATLANTIS #40: Has it come to this, then? Every time I see the cover scan I hear the voice of Rocket J. Squirrel, addressing Bullwinkle the magician: "But that trick never works!" Kurt Busiek says: "This time for SURE!"
I bought the Bizarro Comics HC a few years ago because I got it at a good price. I'd love to get its sequel, BIZARRO WORLD, in hardcover as well but I think I'll settle for the softcover, which is listed for this month.
The CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN: STOLEN MOMENTS, BORROWED TIME TP was pretty good, nothing earth-shaking, but a not-bad Chaykin patch on the original concept. You could do worse for a couple of hours' read, but I still prefer the Loeb/Sale early 90's take, which is also available.
Part of me looks at that cover image for BLUE BEETLE #1 and goes "Oh, brother. He looks like a fugging Transformer." But then again, the old Beetle just never quite had that visual pizazz, so maybe it will be worthwhile, if you're craving armored superheroics. Cully Hamner isn't a bad illustrator. I won't be buying, but I am intrigued.
The only noteworthy thing about GREEN ARROW #60 is that the run of beautiful James Jean covers is over. Oh well, I always thought he was slumming there anyway. Guess his new car is paid for or something.
In the "What the F--?" department, HAWKGIRL #50. Howard Chaykin? On art? Walt Simonson? Writing? What the hell is this, Sword of Sorcery? My interest in the Hawks is so completely and utterly devoid that not even that team can make me wanna buy. Or can they? But-- Why Hawkman/girl? Sigh. Y'know what I like about Chaykin's women the most? It's that nasty, sexy little lip curl that he always draws them with. That little bit of Elvis inside each and every one of us made manifest. This issue's cover (go on, click the link) is a prime example of what I'm talking about. Don't try to tell me you haven't noticed it!
The mental picture created by JONAH HEX shaving on the cover of #5 gives me the willies, because we're still not sure exactly how he got that lovely profile of his...
SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF THE SUPER-HEROES #16. Well, sure. Why the hell not. Why not throw in the Birds of Prey, the Secret Six and the Metal Men while you're at it? Oh, I know, it's a cutesy/clever nod to the days when it was SuperBOY and the Legion of Super-Heroes, but for my money I'd just as well have Andromeda and you can wake me up when Kinetix returns.
MAD MOD COMICS starring THE TEEN TITANS a.k.a. SHOWCASE PRESENTS: the TEEN TITANS VOL. 1 TP sports one of Nick Cardy's best covers, and should be a good read. Those Showcases are still a bit pricey for me, but if I hadn't read most of the stuff before, in color, I'd be a lot more excited about this reprint series. When will they do Sea Devils, Sugar & Spike, and Bob Hope?
More snazzy Doug Mahnke art on the cover of SEVEN SOLDIERS: FRANKENSTEIN #4, which is the finale of that series. Gosh, has it been that long ago when this all started? And is anybody as excited about the whole Seven Soldiers series as they were when it began? Also concluding will be SEVEN SOLDIERS: BULLETEER #4 and SEVEN SOLDIERS: MR. MIRACLE #4 (the synopsis for this one sounds completely bugfuck), as well as the second trade collection.
I didn't go over DC's solicits last month, so I didn't get to make this statement: I have never, ever, liked the Warlord comic. It always read to me like second-hand Burroughs, with typically bad Grell artwork that featured some of the most ridiculous costumes and armor known to mankind. I know the series has its hardcore faithful, but Iassume it's because of the high camp factor. This said, I'm sure it will come as no surprise that I am less than enthralled about its comeback. THE WARLORD #2 is the latest issue.
THE SPIRIT ARCHIVES VOL. 18 HC contains the great Katherine Hepburn homage that Warren titled "Visitor", with its beautiful splash page. It's one of my favorite Eisner Spirit stories. Right now, the Spirit Archives are featuring the absolute cream of the Eisner crop, and if I was a rich girl, la da da da da, I'd have me a set, you bet.
"Michael Jones has been played for a fool from the start." begins the solicit copy for DESOLATION JONES #6, and if this surprises anybody I have some prime Crossgen back issues I'd like to sell.
"What the f---" department item #2: RED SONJA /CLAW THE UNCONQUERED: DEVIL'S HANDS #1. I read the original Claw series back in the day, kinda sorta liked it (but not as much as Beowulf: Dragon Slayer, I keep telling everyone), but never expected to see this teamup. Who thinks of this stuff, anyway? John Layman's not a bad writer, so it may be worth your while; let me know, OK?
I see that the next issue of THE WINTER MEN, #4, has been delayed until this month. I hope that I remember what the heck it was all about by the time I receive it!
I actually ordered the hardcover of TOP 10: THE 49ERS just this month from DCBS. But now that the softcover version has been solicited, I'm considering cancelling the HC and ordering it instead. Either way, I really want to read it and I've waited long enough as it is!
I had kinda overlooked AMERICAN VIRGIN #1 until I saw the creators involved. Steve Seagle's House of Secrets was a strong, overlooked series and Becky Cloonan is fresh off her excellent DEMO. So I'm tempted, although the title makes it sound like a bad '70s sex comedy flick.
Mike Carey and Glenn Fabry have, as I keep trying to remind everyone, done a fine job of adapting NEIL GAIMAN'S NEVERWHERE. #7 is the latest issue.
Well, gosh darn it, that's all I found noteworthy. And that'll do for actual comics commentary, at least until I finally get my last two weeks' comics shipment!