Or, my would-be clever attempt to call my look at the December comics solicitations, (along with random interspersed comments about stuff that catches my attention) something besides "judging books by their covers", which is perfect but is already used by at least two, maybe more, people.
Anyway, without any further ado (cliche central!):
DC FOR DECEMBER
BATMAN #660 & 661 is by the Ostrander/Mandrake team which excelled on The Spectre, which was usually always a highly readable book when they did it back before I started blogging and reviewing. Will this make me want to buy? Nah.
DETECTIVE COMICS #826 is once more sporting art by the highly mediocre Kramer/Faucher team, which means I pass even though I like what fellow half Scotsman Paul Dini is doing.
CATWOMAN #62 promises all sorts of overwrought soap operatics, but fortunately Will Pfiefer doesn't indulge himself in the usual comic book-style overwrought soap opera, so I continue to be interested.
BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK #5 boasts a "ferociously injured Batman". Is that the best adjective they could come up with?
The BATMAN: YEAR ONE HUNDRED TP is well worth picking up. But then again, I'm a huge Pope fan. The artist, not the religious leader. Your mileage may vary.
I love me some Frank Quitely, but doesn't it look like his Bizarro on the cover of ALL STAR SUPERMAN #7 (above left) has been in the bathtub too long?
SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL #2 sports a really nice cover, above center, with a rare (for him) sexy female (in this instance Lois Lane) drawing. I'm not the biggest admirer of Sale's work these days, but this is a good one. I'm still on the fence about buying, however.
BIRDS OF PREY #101 : Looks like Manhunter is joining the cast of this book. I really don't want to have to start buying this title, so thanks for nuthin, DC!
THE CREEPER #5 See? The Joker! What did I tell you? About the only thing left for this extremely uninspired title to do is bring back Proteus, the first Creeper archfoe.
DCU INFINITE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: (above right) Interesting that DC is doing these again; there may have been others in recent years but I don't recall them. The last holiday-themed DC anthology book I remember had that story about Santa meeting Darkseid. This cover tries really hard to look cheery, but the facial expressions, especially Superman's, are just off. The A DC UNIVERSE CHRISTMAS TP may have that story, and would appear to be a better value.
HAWKGIRL #59: Jeez, Chaykin, what's wrong with you these days? Could Hawkgirl spread her legs any wider?
JONAH HEX #14: (above left) Jordi Bernet! Oh, yeah. Looking forward to this one.
CONNOR HAWKE: DRAGON'S BLOOD #2: Y'know, I've always thought that Green Arrow the Younger was a more interesting character than his dad these days, but there's always been a bit of vanilla in his character that's kept me at arm's length. I'm not planning on buying this, but I may give it a look on the racks first. I like that cover.
The thing with this otherwise fine Art Adams cover for JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #5 (above center) is something that's always bugged me about this rendition of Kendra, and HawkMAN for that matter- those metal claw things on their boots. Those things have GOT to be uncomfortable sitting on top of what appears to be soft leather boots; plus I'd bet the janitors for the JSA really hate them for leaving scratch marks all over the floors and furniture! Not the most practical accessory in the superhero world, I say.
MANHUNTER #26: Another nice Art Adams cover, even though he does things with anatomy that bug me when lesser artists do it- impossibly long, thick legs and tiny torsos abound. And Elayne: looks like I'm finally going to get a book with your husband's inks!
THE SPIRIT #1: (above right) Finally!
SHOWCASE PRESENTS: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD - THE BATMAN TEAM-UPS VOL. 1 TP features many of the stories that Mag and H over at the Treadmill have been spotlighting for a long time now, and one of my most favoritist comics ever, #80's Batman-Creeper teamup. This should be a good read.
TEEN TITANS GO! #38 , above left, is another Mad Mod appearance. Smashing, baby!
Love that cover for JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED #28, above center, featuring the good ol' Phantom Stranger. It's by Ty Templeton, but the interiors are by someone else not named Burchett so for me it's caveat emptor.
That Alex Ross cover on ASTRO CITY: THE DARK AGE BOOK TWO #3 - hoo, does that hurt my eyes! I mean, I understand the whys and wherefores of it, but those colors.
December also marks the welcome return of DESOLATION JONES with #8.
ROKKIN #6: Rokkin, eh? Does he have a partner named Rollin? Will he make a guest appearance on Metalocalypse? Just wondering.
Those Quitely covers on AMERICAN VIRGINhave been nice, but I'm liking what I've seen of these new Josh Middletons. Above right is the one for #10. I'm still very much on the fence about this title, but it definitely speaks to my fanman crush on Adam's sister!
You should all check out the DOOM PATROL VOL. 5: MAGIC BUS TP if you haven't already. I liked the second appearance of the Brotherhood of Dada as much as I liked the first, and Agent "!" (he comes as no surprise!) and the Love Glove were flat out inspired. The above cover, not the final, is actually the cover for issue #52.
Another lovely James Jean cover, above center, with a Christmas theme graces the latest FABLES, #56 to be precise. The copy says that we'll find out how Santa Claus figures in to Willingham's world.
The Fables sidekick title JACK OF FABLES #6 sports lots of good old spoiler copy, but said copy also informs us that the backup story will feature art by regular title inker Steve Leialoha, and that's great news. You see, I'm not especially impressed by the Buckingham/Leialoha team, but I've always loved Leialoha's work on his own. So I'm looking forward.
Gave up on this title months ago, but that's a sharp Marcelo Frusin cover on LOVELESS #14, above right.
MARVEL FOR DECEMBER.
I am far from being a Marvel zombie, but I am finding myself as interested in that company's output as I've been in decades. Here's a few which caught my eye:
DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN SKETCHBOOK is a freebie promo for a Peter David adaptation of the Stephen King series (which I've never read) with art by Jae Lee. I care less than nothing for this particular King work, but I like Lee's art so I might look for a copy of this. I'm kinda-sorta hoping that DCBS will stick one in my box, like they do some Free Comic Book Day titles.
Nice to see that ULTIMATES 2 #13 is at least on a schedule. It will be a little bittersweet because I most likely won't buy U3 with its new script/art team.
Much has been made of the big metal boobies that the title character in ULTIMATE VISION #1 (of 5) is sporting, and it's true, they're el grande. It matters not one iota to me, I won't be buying. She kinda reminds me a little of the robot in Metropolis, though...
Things sound pretty dire in the copy for AGENTS OF ATLAS #5...but at least we have a nice Venus cover, above left, to sweeten the medicine a bit.
I just don't think it's possible for me to anticipate an upcoming new series more than I am DOCTOR STRANGE: THE OATH. Above center is the cover for #3, which features many of Doc's rogues gallery, including Tiboro and best of all, the Unbelieveable Umar, va va voom! Looks like a kind of homage to the 173rd issue of Doc's '60's series. I have to keep telling myself, though: "It's scripted by Brian Vaughan...it's scripted by Brian Vaughan..." and that keeps me grounded.
Meanwhile, here we have a newish comic by the fellow who botched the last attempt to launch the good Doctor in his own series: J. Michael Straczynski. It seems to be a What If-? type book called BULLET POINTS, and to its credit it boasts art by the always-excellent Tommy Lee Edwards. Does this mean I'll pick up #2, cover above? No.
HEROES FOR HIRE #5 sports a cover which looks like a rejected Purgatori illustration. This does not bode well.
Back in the 80's, I was completely and blissfully uninterested in the New Universe. Not my cuppa, old chap. But now Warren Ellis has gone and revived it, sort of, and I'm tempted. newuniversal #1 : another one to look over on the racks before I decide.
Isn't NEXTWAVE: AGENTS OF H.A.T.E. #11 the penultimate issue? It's been kinda up and down, but lately it's been very amusing and I'll be sad to see it stop. Funny cover.
I know absolutely nothing about this MARVEL/DABEL BROTHERS joint project thing, but one title sounds intriguing: RED PROPHET: THE TALES OF ALVIN MAKER. I've yet to sample the wares of Orson Scott Card, whom word of mouth around the intarwub paints with an unsightly brush...but I rarely let personalities enter in to the mix when it comes to deciding what I want to read. Another game time decision, I guess.
So, if we all buy CRIMINAL, are we guilty of aiding and abetting? Harboring a known criminal? Just wondering. Anyway, at left is the cover for #3. Looking forward to this, the latest from the Brubaker/Phillips team.
There be some serious crack in that ESSENTIAL DEFENDERS VOL. 2 TPB...but for me, the series didn't really get good until a few issues later. Look for Vol. 3, which should have the Scorpio/Zodiac issues, the open membership audition, the arc with the Blue Oyster Cult song lyric references, and much more. That shit is bananas. B-a-n-a-n-a-s.
IMAGE FOR DECEMBER.
Don't know anything about the DRINK AND DRAW, VOL. 1 HC except that I like the title (have been known to do that myself upon occasion, more the former than the latter sorry to say) and I was about to make it a point to buy until I saw those two magic letters: HC. These letters transform mild-mannered me into Super-Not-Buyerman. The only way to bring him back to normal is to print those other letters: SC.
JACK STAFF, VOL. 3: ECHOES OF TOMORROW TP: I'm excited by this because it holds out hope that #12 will be out before December, when this is scheduled for release!
I trust Matt Fraction to make something as simple as monkey-slaughtering, as noted in the promo copy, into an understanding-defiant mindfuck. CASANOVA #7 is supposed to be the last issue of Vol. 1. What this signifies, except for a hiatus of sorts, is anybody's guess.
I kinda wish I'd made more of an effort to keep up with GØDLAND after the first issue, which I received as a comp. Oh well, life is short and money is scarce. The semi-cover for #15 reproduced here and the synopsis looks/sounds as freaky as all the others.
Also in that category: PHONOGRAM. I didn't even get a comp of that one. The cover for #5 will certainly attract some attention, I'd think.
I'm thinking I'll look for the trade of THE PIRATES OF CONEY ISLAND. Writer Rick Spears sent me a promo email about it, but typically I neglected to post anything about it. The cover for #3, above right, is done by Becky Cloonan...I think. The regular artist does the other version, and I'm not familiar with his work enough to know the difference!
And that's it! Boy, this took a long time, didn't it! Anyway, next up: reviews of some books I got in the mail, as well as a couple of comics I got at the ol' LCS on Friday. Be there or be elsewhere.