Saturday, November 30, 2013

Infinity by Hickman vs Uncanny Avengers #14 by Remender

Marvel has become the king of the epic story telling. No longer are they content with decompressed six part stories and writing for the trade, Hickman now writes stories for the Omnibus. The Game of Thrones success has probably emboldened writers to go for the epic. The Odyssey is now the standard for short stories. The difference is that as I read Game of Thrones (on book 4 at this point) characters die and they are not coming back in the next issue. Once Ned Stark is beheaded his story is over. In comic books a death is just something to mark the occasion as it were. It can be a big climax scene, a precursor to future stories, but we know in a year or three when the character is needed they will be revived in some way shape or form.

This week Hickman’s Infinity mini-series came to a close, bringing to a conclusion parts of some story lines and in the same week in Uncanny Avengers #14 three old time Marvel characters bit the dust. In my view the single issue of Uncanny Avengers #14 was a lot better then Hickman magus opus.

Infinity ends and the Avengers and many others beat back the Builders who were destroying the Universe. They then come home to Earth and are being beaten by Thanos. That is of course until his son beats him and then flies off to be the next generation of Thanos; his son Thane. Thane (sound like saying Shane with a lisp) apparently will be worse then his Dad. After 10 issues or more of Avengers, about 6 issues of New Avengers and six issues of the actual mini-series what exactly happened. Well the characters Hickman introduced when he took over Avengers are now defeated and some are back to work rebuilding all the worlds destroyed. All the former Empires in the Galaxy are back up and running and Earth is saved. Except in New Avengers Earth is still in danger of being wiped out as Black Swan laughs off what the Avengers accomplished as next to nothing. And wait, the Inhumans have loosed the Terrigen Mist on earth.

Okay so for about $100 retail, essentially nothing happened and it is all setting up the Inhumans. Apparenty they are the next set of mutants because Marvel does not own the X-Men for the movies and need a franchise to use as surrogate X-Men for the movies. No explanation that I picked up (and granted I’m reading a ton of stuff and do not follow the Avengers in great detail) made sense for why all of a sudden we have branches of Inhumans all over the Earth or why Black Bolt decided to loose the mists worldwide. Also the entire battle against the builders is already been shown to be a thing of the past and no repercussions even in comic book terms happened. Worse the real menace is still building as Hickman drones on and on in New Avengers. I can’t follow this guy anymore at Marvel. I was unable to hang on to Secret Warriors, Fantastic Four and now have to kick Avengers to the curb. Hickman has some great ideas, some very cool moments and is now being blessed with top tier artists, but the books are a mile wide and an inch deep. What happened that changed anything? All stories do not have to have some game changing moment, but a $100 epic should.

On the other hand Remender, who is guilty of the long long story form also, manages to make a single issue in his epic stand out as a great stand alone issue. Oh the deaths are not super important as they will be fixed down the road or next issue, but it was about Wanda, Wonder Man and Rouge. The characters and the way they feel were front and center in the midst of telling a greater story. Hickman never builds his characters as it is about the ideas and not the people. All stories have to be about the people and Remender made me feel like he actually cared about the characters.

A small side bar to end this column, back Remender with Black Science and Hickman with East of West are doing their best stuff with creator owned books at Image. I get that the Marvel check is important and a great job for these guys, but for my money these books are more fun. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Why DC Has Killed The Love of Comic Books

I asked both Gwen and Jamie to give me their thoughts on what has happened in general to their love of comic books as both of my daughters are now grown and have started families of their own. I waited and waited but Gwen’s schedule never allowed her to be able to give any input to me. Jamie managed to squeeze out the time to give me her feedback.

My continual rants about how the new DCU has pushed me over the edge with super hero books may sound like a one note complaint, except for the fact that both of my daughters have lost interest also. So the fifty plus crowd losing interest maybe one thing the 24-34 year old market is another. With further ado or prelude Jamie’s thoughts on the matter.

The first book I ever remember reading was a comic book. I don’t remember what issue, but I do remember some of the details. It was a Detective Comics book and Joker (surprisingly) was attacking Batman. I found the issue in our basement and I remember being delighted that I could figure out the basic words on my own. It must have been familiar to me, as my father regularly read us Batman comics as bedtime stories. The pictures were exciting and the voices he used to reflect the various characters compelling captured my sister and my intent interest. Is it any wonder we both grew nostalgically attached to the DC Universe.
            Yet, this wasn’t the only reason for the attachment. I was born in 1986, and for those that remember DC universe history this was a huge period for character development and epic story arcs. I was born the same year the Crisis story arc came to completion. I worked in my father’s store during the build-up and fall-out of Zero hour. I worked in my father’s store during the Death of Superman. I worked in my father’s store when Batman’s back was broken. I saw the story of the speed force completely revamp the nature of DC’s speedsters and change them from individuals to a family. I fell in love with the golden age heroes as they returned from the parallel world they had been sent to and were given a mini-series that still reigns as an all-time favorite.  I even wrote my first letter to DC at the age of seven after being devastated by the death of Doctor Midnight. I am the avid fan, I am the loyal reader; so how is that I now dread opening a DC comic.
            If I was going to mark the beginning of this dramatic shift in DC’s stories, I would have to focus on the death of Elongated Man’s wife (Identity Crisis) and then his death (52 Series). I believe DC was concerned about the rising interest in edgier realistic comics. They wanted to show the dark side of the heroes, the realty that may couple this extreme power and intense lifestyle. DC missed the mark. Sure, many readers were interested in this arc, at first; after all it was different, new and it explored the characters we knew so well in a fresh light. But in the aftermath, the whole adventure tainted the images we had. Wonder Woman a murderer, Batman a traitor to his friends, and another Robin an orphan. When it dawned on DC that its readers went to vertigo and independent comics for the darkness and came to them for the hope; they scrambled to get back the former glory of “wonder years.”
            The return and replacement of Hal Jordan and Barry Allen was intended to reignite the love of fans with their former heroes; however, the loyal fans who had continued to read the series through the next incarnation of these heroes were left wondering why. Why did we commit ourselves to embracing the alterations in the story arcs and the growth of the next generation if they are so easily replaced? Why did we become interested and involved in storylines that will simple be erased when the death of a hero is no longer convenient? How can we trust the people in charge of our favorite stories when they have no respect for continuity?
            And it didn’t end there. The age of rebirth and convoluted story arcs that crippled Marvel in the late 80s and early 90s has found its next victim. The twenty seven years I have spent devoted to characters in the DC universe has meant nothing, we are supposed to just accept that beautiful stories will be corrupted by the hands of the now artless DC creators. When people used to ask me why I read DC over Marvel, I never hesitated… I said, “DC focuses on the character development and story arcs; whereas Marvel, is all about the action and the quick buck.”
Now I say nothing, and wondering where poor Wally West went.
And so it goes as the DCU now is a place that any pre NEW DCU fan feels alienated from. Now none of us eagerly anticipate any of the stories as the characters we know are not who we know. They have the same names, but with their history changed the characters are just names and not characters we care about.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Handle with White Gloves!

How do you like this variant cover?  Check out the ultra-rare one-of-a-kind thumb print!  How did I get such a special issue.  I made it myself!  Accidentally of course.  My hands were not wet in the least -- this simply happened from body heat and I've got a lite touch!  It's a good thing I liked the issue so much, because I would never be able to resell it now.  The other problem is that the digital code sticker stuck.  For a big time outfit like Marvel, they sure do skimp on the printing!!!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Books I Looking Forward To Getting

Posting only on rare occasions and on a blog I never pushed or developed means this is going out to only a few parties. Of course I never worried about audience as it is not like I’m running for political office (yet).  Plus it gives me a list of what I’m looking for every month.

I plan to have another write up on what the new DCU has done for many fans. I hope to have both of my daughters’ views as young adults who have also been turned off comics in general and DC in particular.  I feel that despite the current sales success that house of cards that is the new DC is primed to collapse.

Alright on to the list, the first company I want to check out is Image.

A new book by Rick Remender is coming out called Black Science. I love most of Rick’s work but it often falls apart as he gets too convoluted in some of his story telling. I loved Fear Agent, X-Force and have enjoyed Uncanny Avengers so this book is a definite yes.

32 PAGES / FC / M
Grant McKay, former member of The Anarchistic Order of Scientists, has finally done the impossible: He has deciphered Black Science and punched through the barriers of reality. But what lies beyond the veil is not epiphany, but chaos. Now Grant and his team are lost, living ghosts shipwrecked on an infinite ocean of alien worlds, barreling through the long-forgotten, ancient, and unimaginable dark realms. The only way is forward. The only question is how far are they willing to go, and how much can they endure, to get home again?
Join writer RICK REMENDER and the superstar art team of MATTEO SCALERA & DEAN WHITE for this face-melting science fiction epic spanning the lifetimes of a cast of dimensional castaways lead by the man who caused it all.

With this type of story I’m starting to think that I want about 3 issues in hand before I start reading it.

Next up is a book called Alex & Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn. I have enjoyed some stories by Luna and have no clue about Sarah Vaughn. The big selling point is the premise.

art / cover JONATHAN LUNA
32 PAGES / FC / T+
From JONATHAN LUNA (GIRLS, THE SWORD, Spider-Woman, ULTRA) and SARAH VAUGHN (Sparkshooter) comes ALEX + ADA, a sci-fi drama set in the near future. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But when Ada is dropped into his life, will Alex keep her?
This will be JONATHAN LUNA’s return to comics after three years off since the end of THE SWORD!

I liked the Sword. I like the science fiction theme and it reminds me of the movie coming called “Her” with Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams. It is a movie where a guy falls in love with a “Siri” type operating system. How humans attach to objects is interesting and when you make the object more human it becomes even more interesting. I’m onboard for an issue or two.

Now this book is something very different so I’m gambling on unknown creators 100% based on the premise.

32 PAGES / FC / T+
In 1804, Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark set out on an expedition to explore the uncharted American frontier. This is the story of what they discovered lurking in the wilds…
Skybound’s newest original series unveils the monsters of the western frontier in the adventure of a lifetime by writer CHRIS DINGESS (Being Human) and up-and-coming artist MATTHEW ROBERTS.

Lewis and Clark as monster hunters is an oddball item. Half historical and half “Proof”, a series I enjoyed about all the monsters of myth. It is something that will have to be a very good first issue or I could be tearing it up and causing a minor stir on the internet (see Pretty Deadly reviews).

Next up is the newest JMS comic; Mr. Straczynski is a prolific writer. He has written a ton of comics over the years, Babylon 5, movie scripts and more. He is the definition of a professional writer. I’m always willing to try out a book by JMS.

32 PAGES / FC / M
Protectors, Inc.: Heroes in a world without super-powered bad guys. Heroes with corporate sponsors and far too polite rivalries and sporting franchises. Heroes without anything or anyone to fight...until one of them is murdered in ways that could only have been accomplished by someone with equal powers.
Solving the mystery falls to Lieutenant Detective John Riley, an ordinary man whose investigation takes him into a strange and dangerous world light years beyond his abilities to understand and very likely far beyond his capacity to survive. The trail leads to a fifty-year-old secret that could threaten the very existence of Protectors, Inc., an impossible love affair, and a serial killer whose work is not yet finished.

The detailed premise is almost turning me off the book. The last line saved it for me.

Image has one more new series I’m going to be checking out, Drumhellar #1 by Alex Link and Riley Rossmo. I’m getting it based on Rossmo’s art whose work I have enjoyed on Proof, Cowboy Ninja Viking and other books.

32 PAGES / FC / M
When shock-induced visions drive a detective specializing in the paranormal to a small town in South Dakota, he finds himself up against flesh-hungry bog-men, his ex-girlfriend, their mutual ex-girlfriend (did we mention she’s a werewolf?), and a demon that’s stolen his arsenal of psychedelics. Then things start to get weird. We live in strange times. They call for strange ways!

Now the title was originally Stangeways and has been changed to Drumhellar, I’m guessing Strangeways was a copyright infringement or something as Drumhellar sucks as a title.

So Image has a great line up of new material coming out in November, time to check in on Dark Horse.

Ghost #1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Chris Sebla as writers with Ryan Sook on art is a winner for me. I enjoyed the mini-series and why I was not blown away with it, I did enjoy it. Adding Ryan Sook as the artist is a huge plus, count me in.

Kelly Sue DeConnick (W), Chris Sebela (W), Ryan Sook (A), On sale Nov 6
FC, 32 pages
Ghost, the hero trapped between two worlds, fights to protect Chicago from extradimensional demons disguised as humans. When a familiar stranger destroys an el train, Ghost makes a deal with a devil for the chance to uncover her own mysterious past. The perfect issue to join this action-packed superhero title!
• Ryan Sook on interiors!
• Cover artist Terry Dodson!
• Chris Sebela (High Crimes) joins the fray!
• Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel) continues her hit run on the Dark Horse hero.
"DeConnick has a strong sense of dialogue and the rhythms that sound right; the end result is a script that isn't just natural but hard to pull yourself away from."–Comic Book Resources

That’s it for Dark Horse for me, they have a couple other books launching, but nothing that was making me want to try it out. I really want to keep getting the Creepy and Eerie collected editions but I have almost 30 volumes and have yet to re-read one of them in its entirety.

Ok time to move on to IDW and see what, if anything they have for November. IDW strikes out this month. I like the quality of IDW products but they are more into the licensing side of comic books.

Okay next up is to check in on Dynamite Entertainment.

Okay they have a three number one issues and one I was thinking about, but I have burnt out on Shadow and other similar stuff from Dynamite and need to pass on Noir #1. That means Dynamite is another bust for November.

Okay time to check on DC, only for the Vertigo material to see if anything new and exciting is coming out. Once again we have a clean miss. I think that Vertigo needs to have one new book a month coming out. The line up is sparse enough and with the recent announcement that Fables has only a year left I’m worried that Vertigo has no strong series holding it together anymore.

Next I will check in on Marvel, which only has Marvel Knights and Icon as anything I would consider for this column.

Finally we have another book to talk about, Marvel Knight X-Men #1 by Brahm Revel. I’m a huge Brahm Revel fan, have interviewed him, backed a Kickstarter, own some artwork of his, huge fan. This is a no brainer even if it is X-Men.

Brahm Revel (W) • Brahm Revel (A/C)
Marvel Knights presents Brahm Revel’s thrilling and dark X-Men adventure that asks: what happens when your past comes back to kill you?
Wolverine, Kitty & Rogue set out on the road to rescue new mutants from being murdered. But their help may not be welcome in this backwoods town--and the murderer may be closer to them than they think.
A gritty murder mystery told by the talented and new to Marvel creator, Brahm Revel (Guerillas).
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Okay so the big two got one book onto my list. For the most part I’m done with Marvel and DC, but that doesn’t mean I will pass on a book because it is from them, just means they are not my main source of entertainment with comics anymore.

I have to check on a few more publishers for new books, next up is Avatar, which is a miss for anything new. Uber is the book that made me start re-looking at Avatar. As a publisher it seemed to be a company whose philosophy was the more gore and shocking the better. Between God is Dead, Absolution and Uber the content of the story is improving.

Boom is interesting as it has been a company in search of an identity for a long time. I still think they are looking, but with the purchase of Archaia they now have some cool projects under their banner. 

I may try out Protocol #1 by Michael Alan Nelson and Mariano Navarro. Nelson has written some good stories and I have no clue about the artist Navarro but the premise has some promise.

Price: $3.99
Author(s): Michael Alan Nelson
Artist(s): Mariano Navarro
WHY WE LOVE IT: Written by Michael Alan Nelson (SUPERGIRL, HEXED) and drawn by newcomer Mariano Navarro, PROTOCOL is an action-packed espionage series with a compelling cast of young characters struggling with their transition into adulthood.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT:PROTOCOL is a tense thriller perfect for fans of fun spy fiction like TV’s Alias or Mission: Impossible.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Grabbed up by the United States government and thrown into training camps, orphans around the country have been raised to become America’s next generation of superspies. Now, as adults, they live amongst us, ready for ‘the family’ to call them back into action.

The solicitation is actually annoying, just tell me the premise and let me decide. Not 100% sold I will be picking this up, but included as a maybe.

Last up in my search is Valiant Comics. I recently dropped Quantum and Woody with Archer and Armstrong probably to follow. If it wasn’t for Peter Milligan coming in Shadowman I would have bid failure to that book also. So curious to see how Unity shakes out.

Written by MATT KINDT
To kill a king, he has created an army.
The world's most dangerous man, Toyo Harada, has been struck by the one thing he never thought possible – fear. Halfway across the globe, a new power threatens to topple modern civilization and, to preempt the cataclysm that is to come, Harada will unite the most lethal, most volatile, most unforgiving team the world has ever known – UNITY. Their mission: defeat the warrior king armed with the universe's most powerful weapon. Kill X-O Manowar!
Be here when New York Times best-selling

writer Matt Kindt (Justice League of America, Mind MGMT) and superstar artist Doug Braithwaite (Justice, Journey into Mystery) launch Valiant's first-ever superteam into the landmark comic book event of the year with an all-new ongoing series in UNITY #1.
You've heard the buzz, you've seen the reviews. If you still haven't jumped onto Valiant Comics, the time is now! This November, UNITY is the perfect entry point for new readers.
$3.99/T+/32 pgs.

I dropped the text about the 14 billion covers that are having for the book. I hate that sales gimmick, but no one is going to stop doing it until it does not pay off. Still that is a lot of money to spend to get artist like Neal Adams and Bryan Hitch to do a cover. It is also a little surprising that this is an all new ongoing series. I had to laugh seeing Matt Kindt as the writer. I love his work, so it is a plus but talk about busy, this guy is writing for Dark Horse, Marvel, DC and Valiant.

That is a wrap for this month. One final comment I have a goal for 2014 to be almost comic book free by the end of next year. One reason why, I have tons of stuff to read that is sitting on my bookshelves. Another reason is that I’m constantly behind on my new comic reading with over 50 books waiting for me to read. I have started to purge series. I have targeted DC and Marvel. This week I’m only getting one Marvel book, the Marvel Knights Spider-Man. Actual DCU stuff is way down also. I’m playing out Infinity and Forever Evil and will then probably cut even more.  One thing I did this year is ignore the ancillary series attached to the events and that has helped and not impacted the story at all. I have cut back on Valiant, Dynamite and have gotten more discriminating on other companies. Still to really get down to brass tacks I have to make harder and harder choices. I don’t want to abandon comics but just look for what I find to be excellent work and corporate comics offer very little in that category. I’m enjoying looking for newer voices and artists. Which all leads back to why this list is important for me. It is time to say goodbye to Avengers and Justice League and look for books with a more singular approach and story line. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I hate it when they end a good series (finishing with #36).  
That's is one wickedly BAD (a.k.a. AWESOME) cover!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Goodbye to the Guardians of the Galaxy

I just read my last issue of this comic. I love Rocket Raccoon, Groot and all the rest of the crew. I was not thrilled with Iron Man being in the group but managed to over look his part in the book. Then Marvel decided that adding Angela to the book was a great idea. I know it is some sort of thing they are giving to Neil Gaiman to curry favor with him or something of that ilk, but now she is the central focus of the book. I think it was funny that Gaiman won in court over McFarlane who at times appears to be a colossal ass, but that does not make me care about a character that I never followed. Now she is the big bad ass of the book and it is all the scary crap because Earth heroes have broken time and blah, blah, blah. For $4 this book will have to sit on the shelves. This is a little disappointing because crazy adventures with a flying squirrel and moose is something I miss ( I mean Raccoon and a tree)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

DC Villains Month – Fail

Granted I did not get every single book from DC’s villain’s month but I got around 20 of the books, so I think that is a fair sample size even without reading this weeks books yet.

The reasons I think it was a fail is due to the content of the books. It felt like almost every book was a fill in issue. They were not origin stories for the most part, they were not character defining moments and most had limited tie-in to the over all theme of what is going on with Forever Evil. They were often just a stand alone story about the character. Clayface is a good example, he is in the middle of a job with a crew, goes nuts and kills the crew. Next he finds out the world is taken over by bad guys. He tries to impress the new leaders and fails. What was the point?

For me, that was the problem, the point was the covers. Heck I find the covers to actually be garish. On one level they are neat and maybe I should hold onto one or two to give my grandsons when they get older as a novelty item. But that is all they are, a novelty item.

Worse then that it has caused an extra month lag in the story lines that I’m still following with DC and therefore loosing even more of my interest in the entire line. I hope that Green Arrow will be back on track and I’m guessing Green Lantern is not impacted as they are all off world. Batman has cleverly side stepped the whole thing being set in the past for an over long arc. I’m not sure if Swamp Thing or Animal Man are impacted by all of this stuff.

Heck even with writers that I love it felt like many of these stories were phoned in, Of course I’m blaming that on the direction that was given out. I have to assume given how DC appears to be run that the list of villains was chosen and direction was given as to what was to be done and often it was to tell a Clayface story or something of that ilk.

As I sit here typing this and thinking about October for the regular DCU nothing jumps to mind as something I’m dying to read anymore. That one month gap lets me know I can drop even more books as time goes on. I tried Superman/Batman, but that has to go after the first arc is over. Maybe I will check out Matt Kindt on Suicide Squad as I’m a fan of his work. Even with Soule on Superman/Wonder Woman I can’t say I’m looking forward to that title. Soule has Letter 44 coming out from Oni (and I forget to mention it last post) and that is what I’m truly looking forward to reading from him.

The final part of what made this marketing gimmick so bad is that it proves how empty the new DCU is and how little they know of how they want to fill it. It could have been a chance to give a ton of writers the chance to write origins for 52 Villains and let them strut their stuff; instead I read a lot of the stories and got nothing. Correction I got that these are no longer the villains I remembered and I got the feeling many writers were not sure who these villains were supposed to be either.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

What Looks Cool For October

Okay as before I’m ignoring anything from DC proper (meaning I will add Vertigo if appropriate) and Marvel proper, which allows Marvel Knights and if Icon ever has another book to be included.  

Very few post lately as I have been super busy with going to Balto-Con and then a stay-cation when my brother and his wife visited (lots of fun) that I have over 80 books yet to be read. I have stayed current on some stuff. I tried to hit what I wrote up on the September version of this post.

First off some commentary on the current state of what the Big Two are doing. The DC Villains month is a disaster. Oh sure I have managed to sell almost all of them on Ebay and have made a buck or two, but man did these books reek of fill in material. Not origins, not setting up anything per say, just place markers featuring the villains. Plus the bloom will be off the speculator rose on the prices of those books quick. The Infinity saga by Hickman is ambitious and overdone. He has too many plates spinning with way too many characters, so far I would call this an expensive fail. I could be eating my words when it is done but right now it is too much. The Battle of the Atom is fun and exciting. I love Bendis on the X-Men and have three different groups of X-Men from three times is an amazing amount of fun. Now it is onto the main attraction.

Ok from September:

I missed mentioning God is Dead #1 from Avatar and Hickman, a great opening issue as the gods of old have returned to Earth and it is not a good time for Mankind.

Hit #1 from Boom was a great opening as a sanctioned Hit squad during LA in the 50’s is already in a lot of trouble.

Brain Boy #1 from Dark Horse is a must read. Van Lente gave us a highly enjoyable picture of a government super hero who is an arrogant prick, but just a damn good book.

Buzzkill #1 was also a lot of fun as the concept is crazy. Our hero needs to be high to have powers and he is trying to get straight and going to AA. All is not what it seems for our “hero?”. 

Codename Action #1 was another good book. Think James Bond from 1960 teaming up with James Bond from 2013 and a awesome plot to start a World War and you have the start of a good mini-series (I believe).

Kings Watch #1 which is a team up of The Phantom, Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician should be a disaster, but Jeff Parker made this opening chapter a lot of fun. All introduction type stuff and the story has yet to kick in, but I liked it.

Reality Check #1 was another winner. The concept is a comic book writer/artist is struggling to have a hit and his character comes to life. A lot more to it then that, but it works and it worth checking out.

Sadly I have not read any other of the new number ones as of this writing.

Ok for October the fun starts with Dark Horse, so let’s pull up those solicitations.

First up is Bloodhound Crowbar Medicine #1 (of 5) by Dan Jolly as writer and Leonard Kirk as artist.  This book has a strange pedigree as it was a DC book that Jolley managed to retain the rights too. Dark Horse republished it with a few succinct edits to eliminate any reference to the DCU. This is a follow up to that part of the story I believe. Jolley’s projects always show hard work and love for what he is doing and Kirk can have a superior art style. The copy for it saysTravis Clevenger may not have superpowers, but he can put a beatdown on anyone who does! Consulting with the FBI in exchange for release from prison, Clev is getting his life together when a rogue superhuman’s destructive rampage and a scientist’s response shock the nation, leading to Clev’s biggest case yet!”

Next up is Shaolin Cowboy #1 by Geof Darrow. One day someone needs to publish all of the Shaolin Cowboy stuff as a high end hard cover. I have missed this book and glad to see it finally getting back onto the stands. Just a crazy mash up of whatever Geof wants to do with the central character being a Shaolin Cowboy. The marketing hype goes like this “The Shaolin Cowboy returns, but nowhere in sight is there a dead Robin, any infinity gauntlets, or a single conquering Ultron—just flat-out action, intrigue, and plenty of roadkill. Geof Darrow’s slow-talkin’, kung-fu-gripping hero proves once again, in this brand-new new series, that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a chainsaw!”

Alright this one for DH is something I’m just going to take a chance on, S.H.O.O.T. First #1 (of 4) by Justin Aclin writer and Nicholas Daniel Selma on art. The first two I’m buying based on having read both series before, so I know what I’m getting for the most part. This is one where artist and writer are unknown but the premise and hype is good “The Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce—defending humanity from angels, demons, and a bunch of other crap S.H.O.O.T. doesn’t believe in. Justin Aclin (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Twisted ToyFare Theatre) and Nicolás Daniel Selma (Tomb Raider: The Beginning) take aim at the supernatural in an all-new big-action, big-ideas sci-fi adventure! • Original, irreverent, and controversial!The sci-fi in the premise was the final selling point and Dark Horse produces quality material.

Not a bad start from Dark Horse, let’s check on IDW next. And after scanning the listing we get a zero. Damn, I love the quality of IDW work, but wish they had more new stuff coming out, maybe next month.

Let’s move onto Image, which is fast becoming the go to place for most creator owned material.

First up is a slam dunk for me, Velvet #1 by Ed (Fatale) Brubaker writer and Steve Epting as artist. The level of artist talent that is coming onto these projects now is amazing. A few years ago many of the bigger names were not coming onto creator owned projects. Not sure if part ownership is the incentive or if the writers have the wherewithal to pay the artist up front or what is going on, but the talent level is incredible. The premise is When the world's best secret agent is killed, Velvet Templeton, the Personal Assistant to the Director of the Agency, is drawn off her desk and back into the field for the first time in nearly 20 years... and is immediately caught in a web of mystery, murder and high-octane action. Sexy and provocative, with a dark twist on the spy genre, this EXTRA-LENGTH first issue by two of the industry's best-selling creators will knock you out!” Okay we are getting lot’s of spy type stuff, but well done is well done and the twist is a good one.

Next up is Pretty Deadly #1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick as writer and art by Emma Rios. Why does the big two struggle to get female creators when the industry has this level of talent? I have been growing to like Kelly Sue’s work more and more and Emma’s work at Boom was very good. But neither is a slam dunk for me to try a new book, the premise is what made my decision an easy one. It is  “an all-new ongoing series that marries the magical realism of Sandman with the western brutality of Preacher.  Death's daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her tale of retribution is as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage.” Sounds like it could be promising.

Next is Rocket Girl #1 by one of my favorite artists Amy Reeder with the writer being Brandon Montclare. They did a Halloween one shot and the premise sounds great “A teenage cop from a high-tech future is sent back in time to 1986 New York City.  Dayoung Johansson is investigating the Quintum Mechanics megacorporation for crimes against time. As she pieces together the clues, she discovers the “future” she calls home – an alternate reality version of 2013 – shouldn’t exist at all!Blast off with the new ongoing series by BRANDON MONTCLARE (Halloween Eve) and Eisner Award nominee AMY REEDER (Batwoman, Madame Xanadu).” Now I backed the Kickstarter for this book and will be getting the first issue that way, but I’m all in for this book.
The last new series from Image I want to try out is Three #1 by writer Kieron Gillen and art by Ryan Kelly. The premise is “When a member of the Spartan ruling class visits an isolated homestead of Helot workers, a brutal massacre is only the beginning. KIERON GILLEN (PHONOGRAM, Über, Iron Man), RYAN KELLY (Saucer County, Local) and JORDIE BELLAIRE (THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS, NOWHERE MEN) unite to tell the heroic story of three slaves and their desperate attempt to escape 300 of the finest warriors who've ever lived.” It feels like Kieron is perhaps wanting to show another side of the Spartan life which was glorified by the 300. Not sure that I thought anyone had a great life back in those days. Sometimes it is nice to believe the legend and stop showing everyone having clay feet, but the other side of the coin is that perhaps it also shows that we can all be heroic even with our faults.
Now onto check and see if Boom can offer any new October titles I want to try.
Imagine Agents #1 by Brian Joines writer and art by Bachan. The title says no to me, the creators are who and who to me, but the solicitation copy says Ever try to wrangle an illiterate, 30-foot tall rock monster away from his 5-year-old best friend? Or calm down a 400 pound muscle-man rag-doll during her daily temper-tantrum? For Dave and Terry, it's all in a day's work. As agents for I.M.A.G.I.N.E., they are responsible for keeping your imaginary friends in-line...Little do they know that six-year-old Elliot and his best bear-friend, Furdlgurr, are about to be entangled in a plan to change everything!” It sounds like it could be a lot of fun and maybe a neat book to pass onto a younger reader. So this book gets a one issue try out. I’m not sure if this is a KaBoom book or not.

So a one and done for BOOM, next up is Avatar. Avatar is a zero, not surprising as they are a smaller publisher and are not going to have new projects every month. Let’s look at Valiant for October. Again we get a big fat zero. Valiant is being very cautious about adding books so no new titles is a good thing. Onto Dynamite to see if they have anything new in October.

This is a new series but iffy as it is a continuation of Dynamite exploiting The Shadow as much as possible. The Shadow Now #1 by writer David Liss and artist Colton Worley. I dropped the Spider by these two as the art was too computerized for my taste. Still I like Liss’ writing and the concept is a good one, so I will give it a go. The premise Having spent decades in the east to rejuvenate himself, the greatest pulp hero of them all, The Shadow, returns to New York in modern times. Lamont Cranston seeks to resume his old life, and his heroic alter-ego is ready to stand once more as an enemy to evil. But while he was gone, his foes have remained vigilant, and the most dangerous man The Shadow has ever faced prepares to rise once more. It's the shocking beginning to a new era for The Shadow!” Of course The Shadow has been moved into the present before but always nice to see a different take. Also the last time was back in the eighties I believe.
This is it from Dynamite, now let’s turn to Vertigo. An imprint I thought was dead, yet is struggling to regain some life. A quick remark, I know Sandman: Overture #1 by Gaiman and Williams is coming out, but I’m skipping this as it will be a deluxe hard cover in no time and I see no need to spend $30 for the mini-series which is going to be bi-monthly. With all that I read it is too difficult to follow a story that comes out every other month.

Fist up from Vertigo is Coffin Hill #1 by Catlin Kittredge as the writer and art by Inaki Miranda. Neither name is one I recognize. The premise is “COFFIN HILL stars Eve Coffin, a rebellious, teenage lowlife from a high-society family with a curse that goes back to the Salem Witch trials. Following a night of sex, drugs and witchcraft in the woods, Eve wakes up naked, covered in blood and unable to remember how she got there. One friend is missing, one is in a mental ward—and one knows that Eve is responsible. After a stint as a Boston cop that ends in a bullet wound and unintended celebrity, Eve returns to Coffin Hill, only to discover the darkness that she unleashed ten years ago in the woods was never contained. It continues to seep through the town, cursing the soul of this sleepy Massachusetts hollow, spilling secrets and enacting its revenge.
Set against the haunted backdrop of New England, COFFIN HILL explores what people will do for power and retribution. Noted novelist Caitlin Kittredge, author of the Black London series, brings a smart, mesmerizing style to comics. Artist Inaki Miranda (FABLES) brings his dynamic storytelling to COFFIN HILL, following an acclaimed run on FAIREST.”
Well I’m not excited as it sounds like the Sleep Hollow TV series and/or a little like Rachael Rising, but I will try it out.

Next up is Hintertkind #1 by Ian Edington on words and art by Francesco Trifogli. I read Ian before but nothing that I can recall and the artist is a total blank to me. The premise is “Men go and come, but Earth abides.”— Ecclesiastes 1:4
Decades after “The Blight” all but wiped out the human race, Mother Nature is taking back what’s hers, and she’s not alone…The Hinterkind have returned.
From the last, lost corners of the world they come, a myriad menagerie of myth and magic...but these aren’t childhood fairytale creatures. They are flesh, blood and passion, and they have a long-simmering hatred for those who drove them into the shadows: The human race! 
After her grandfather disappears, Prosper Monday must leave the security and seclusion of their Central Park village to venture into the wilds to find him, unaware of how much the world has changed. Or how hungry it has become…”
  Sounds like the mix of post apocalypse with fairy tale creatures and humans fighting it out.

Both books are benefiting from my love of the Vertigo imprint and I’m willing to see if Shelly Bond can right the Vertigo ship that was almost sunk by Didio.

So that leave Marvel Knights and or Icon imprint to see if they have anything worth trying out in October.

Low and behold Marvel Knights Spider-Man #1 (of 5) by a favorite writer of mine Matt Kindt with art by Marco Rudy. The hype is “From the haunted heights of a mysterious castle to the dizzying depths of the deep seas, the Amazing Spider-Man has to take on not one, not six, not twelve – but ninety-nine of the Marvel Universe’s deadliest villains to save the lives of countless innocents! A defining hour in the life of the webbed wonder in a race against time and a battle against evil.” This would be a pass for me but for Matt Kindt. Of course Rudy is a solid artist. This should be fun and I believe it is Peter Parker as Spider-Man.

That wraps up October, but a ton of great stuff to look forward to. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why Marvel and DC are Stale

Like bread left out too long Marvel and DC are stale and I’m starting to see some mold on the sides of the slices.

Okay I’m about to take some vacation time and part of the trip I will be in Baltimore and attending Balto-Con. I have decided that I NEED to stop getting all Marvel and DC books and will try and set a target date of six months from now. I will make up to ten monthly exceptions and Vertigo will not count.

My problem is that Marvel and DC refuse to modify their approaches with the characters and that the characters no longer work because you cannot continuously publish a character for 50 years and still maintain continuity.

One problem I believe is with both companies is the lack of new characters. There is no real money in it for the creators to create any new characters. Why add a new villain into the DCU or Marvel or a new hero and watch them become the next Wolverine. Do you think Len Wein and John Romita Sr. (who designed him) are living off the riches this character has generated for Marvel and the movies? If you honestly believe that those two guys are now fats cats living off their millions from that creation I can sell you part of a bridge in Brooklyn, cheap. To the best of my knowledge neither Marvel nor DC is paying for new characters and I’m sure it is work for hire.  

Heck this problem could be solved with some creative thinking. Lease the character for five years with a fixed payment and then reopen negotiations or have options built in for both sides. Lots of stuff gets optioned and nothing every happens, but at least this way creators could maintain a financial interest in the success of the character and the company can exploit the character in agreed ways. Let’s say I create Kinetic Man and I lease the character to Marvel for five years for $50,000 with additional payments if they market him into cartoons, t-shirts whatever. Of course the problem is that neither Disney nor Warner Brothers want to exploit something then do not own lock stock and barrel. This means that creators are going to hold back new ideas and try to do something new with a creator owned project. It also means that consciously or unconsciously the creators are not putting their best effort into these books. They want to do a good job, because it is a good paying job for most of them, but it is a job. Ownership in a process creates a better product (usually).

Specific to Marvel comics is the problem that their characters are too much a product of their times. I think Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Spider-Man and other characters are truly tied to the sixties. If those characters were created today they would be radically different at least in their approach. The problem is that you have characters that have been continuously published for 50 years and they are still the same people. Instead of Val and Franklin running the FF, they are children forever. With too few new characters being added it is just an endless recycling of using the same characters over and over and over again. No matter how many events and gimmicks you try it is till Reed Richards, Sue Richards, Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm. Any growth is wiped out with the next writer. When you look at the origins of the characters they no longer make any sense which is why the movies desperately try to update the material. So we get Thanos and Sentinels as the villains for the current events – wow that is different.

Specific to DC comics is the issue of lost continuity. When they launched the new 52 they threw the baby out with the bath water. There is no legacy and the history of the characters is a blank slate that we have to guess at, but have no basis for our belief. Issues like how did Nightwing has a relationship with Starfire with out having a Teen Titans, if Hal never went crazy (which I’m convinced is the case now) why is Kyle a Green Lantern? You start to push on any continuity or history of the characters it all falls apart. I would have preferred a brand new start from the beginning instead of this squishy mess of continuity.

Another point is that now the actual stories have been devalued, not only from a collector or resale standpoint, but from the standpoint as a reader. On Ebay selling pre 52 stuff is giving away the books. The interest is very low in the more recent books. As a reader when I re-read the stories something is lost knowing that a favorite story no longer is “in continuity” for  a character.  I know many stories are that way and over time I’m sure I will just enjoy what I have.

Of course that is the point; I think it is time to just enjoy what has gone before. I can pick up stuff like Wonder Woman, Batman, Hawkeye and a few others. I can keep my finger on the pulse of good stuff from the big two via the websites. I can indulge myself with more and more of the indy titles and enjoy Todd the Ugliest Kid, East of West, Uber, Suicide Risk, Bloodshot, Red Team, Mind Mgmt, Wild Blue Yonder and other books. Time to leave the big two behind for the most part and to hope that maybe they can help maintain the fan base to keep the industry alive.

I think one solution for the big two is to so screw continuity and just tell the best stories then can or they can. Or they can continue their event driven marketing stunts to cover up the fact that both companies are stagnant. If they drop continuity at least the writers are free to tell their best story about a character. Look at Daredevil Knights by Lee Weeks and the old Batman black and white stuff, just iconic type stories. No worriers about what is in continuity or what is not.

My final thought is that I was talking with a friend about how long print comics will last as the next generation will not give a damn about print. The new generation will be happy to read their comics on a table style computer. I said that they will still be a niche market and then I realized that with a successful comic only needing to sell 50,000 issues in a country of 350 million, comics are already a niche market. It is the fact that they have been so integrated into the main stream via movies, cartoons and apparel that we tend to forget the actual product is a very small market. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Marvel You Are Boring Me

So my last post was of a positive note and I had even forgotten a book like Overtaken #1 from Aspen comics, a promising science fiction book and the first issue was only $1. It came out last Wednesday.

Of course in order to continue to explore new series I need to chop away some dead wood and Marvel has grown a little too bloated in the buy category. I always need to be aware of the creep factor with Marvel. Marvel comics are usually the fastest reads of any book so I often forget to critically evaluate kicking some books to the curb.

This week the first kick to the curb is Captain America. I love Rick (Fear Agent) Remender as a creator but he often gets lost in trying to bring his story to a conclusion. This “epic” was 10 issues long and the retail price (I get a decent discount from my store that saves my ass) is $40 and often plus tax in many states. For this we got a story that (SPOILER ALERT)
kills off Cap’s girl friend Sharon Carter for no apparent reason. In Remender’s back matter, I think the time shift is the bigger deal with Captain America. Rick apparently felt that the time lost warrior theme was missing with Captain America. The fact that ten years or more passed for him in Dimenson “Z” while no significant time passed for the “real Marvel universe” brings back that time lost factor. This is too subtle of a change and will be ignored by every other writer and does not have the same impact of being out the real world for decades to only come back into a brave new world. Plus with Marvel’s sliding scale of time Captain America apparently was unfrozen in 2004, which means he missed almost 60 years. That idea or element is never brought up much at Marvel because it creates way too many problems with character that are all 50 years old. We are pretending they are not. Just think if the USA every gets out of being at war in ten years Iron Man will have to be injured in a mining accident or something and create his armor there or something as stupid. This of course is the problem with comics that want to be continuity based but are being continuously published forever.

The bottom line is that the story was not that great and while I’m happy Romita is off the book I have no interest in paying $4 for another epic. Captain America is boring. Heck I see him in Avengers all the time anyway. Finally Remender never invested us in the relationship with Sharon and relied on past history to make her death seem like anything. Then he added a cornball Nomad thing in Dimension Z.  Add to that Romita’s work turns into crap after a few issues and by the end of this he apparently is barely sketching an outline and it was an easy drop.

Next up on the drop parade is Thor. After an 11 issue epic story that was enjoyable and had terrific art we get a $4 fill in issue that focuses on an old character now having brain cancer. Ugh. Heck even the epic had a one shot of Gorr’s origin as a middle fill in book. Thor is by Jason Aaron, who I like and the art by Esad Ribic was great, but it was not worth $40 retail price. Heck most states are at 6% so it is $42.40 in reality. Would I pay $40 for this story as a graphic novel ($44 with the bad guy origin). The answer is no. Plus the design of floppy ear Gorr was something I never liked. So I save $4 a month and can spend it on Jason Aaron’s new Image series coming out called Southern Bastards. This is a win/win in my book.

Next up on the elimination parade is FF. With issue #11 Matt Fraction continues doing a little bit of homage to the original FF run on many issues. If you go back to the Lee/Kirby stuff issue #11 had the Impossible Man as does this issue. The problem is again the forever story. This group who is filling in for the FF has been fun in some aspects and with Allred’s art guaranteed to be quirky but nothing is moving forward. The old Torch story line has languished, the Doom story is going nowhere, characterization is being spread among a ridiculous large cast. You only have 20 some pages a month and therefore with a large cast you either ignore some people or move every character a tiny step each issue. I would rather read Fraction’s mini-series from Image. Another book I have to leave is Fantastic Four, but let’s face it 11 issues in and we are getting nowhere. Plus Fraction feels Inhumans series is more important and is leaving the script writing to others to finish out his story. Why should I invest if Fraction is not investing?

So that is four books off my list.

This week Marvel bored me even more with their mini-event, Battle of the Atom. At least is almost self contained as it includes the two Bendis books, the two part book end pieces and 2 issues of Wolverine and the X-Men as the entirety of the event. But the prelude is in Uncanny X-Men and who is attacking them Sentinels. Oh boy that is something different. We haven’t seen Sentinels as the big bads in X-books only all the fucking time. Oh wait a mysterious person is behind it – yawn. These books may have to go soon.

We also got another chapter in Infinity along with the last issue of Thanos Rising. My god this is really boring, I can eliminate three series in one fell swoop. I will probably follow the whole thing because I thing complete arcs sell better on Ebay.


Make Mine IDW, no Image, no Valiant, no Dark Horse, no Dynamite, no Boom, if only we had some alternatives to check out.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

September New Series to Check Out

Since the Big Two suck let’s see what else is coming out.

Let’s start with Boom Studios. I don’t get a lot from them but they don’t publish a lot of books either. Still they now have George Perez as an exclusive artist, Mike Carey and Paul Cornell onboard as writers and they just purchased Archaia. They are a company that appears to be moving up.

In September that have Hit #1 coming out by Bryce Carlson (w) and Vanesa Del (a). I have no clue about either one of the creators, but it is just a four issue mini-series and the cover looks awesome so I will give issue #1 a shot. The premise Los Angeles. It’s 1955. It’s dark; it’s sexy. It’s dangerous. Everyone has an angle. And while infamous gangster Mickey Cohen rots in a prison cell, Los Angeles ignores the blackest parts of the city’s heart…where clandestine groups of LAPD detectives moonlight as sanctioned hitmen knows as “Hit Squads.” Sounds a little Red Team and is territory that has been done before, but I want to see if this team can make me interested in their version.

Next let’s look at Dark Horse. Dark Horse has been a solid publisher over many years and recently they have restarted the super hero books they once did. This time they are rolling stuff out slowly and doing limited series to start some books. Plus they have not abandoned other type of material.

For September they have Brain Boy #1 by Fred Van Lente (w) and RB Silva (P). This is a mini-series and is taking an old Dell comic character and updating him for today. This just sounds like crazy fun. The premise “When the United States Secret Service needs to stop an assassination before the killer’s even decided to buy a gun, they call the world’s most powerful telepath: Matt Price, a.k.a. Brain Boy. But when the secret agent that can read anyone’s mind finds that a powerful psychic network has been hidden from him, Brain Boy begins to wonder whether he knows everything or nothing at all!Van Lente will always hold a special place in my heart for his work on Action Philosophers and he has done good stuff for Marvel and Valiant comics.

Next up is Buzzkill #1, another mini-series by Donny Cates & Mark Reznicek (w) and Geoff Shaw (p). I’m unfamiliar with the writer and only have a vague recollection of the artists, but I need to try the first issue due to the premise Ruben is not your average alcoholic; he's an unstoppable superhero who derives his powers from imbibing MASSIVE amounts of alcohol. After all the disasters it's caused in his personal life, he's ready to get clean . . . and the city's supervillains couldn't be happier!” That type of over the top odd ball premise will at least get me to buy issue #1.

Also Dark Horse has new mini-series for Resident Alien and Baltimore (Mignola’s early 1900’s Vampire Hunter).

Dynamite is an interesting company. They almost have a house style and seem to try and exploit characters in the public domain or those with less cache or utility for licensing deals. Still they have made great strides and boost a talented writer line up. They are producing a lot of very good books with original material as well as licensed work.

The first book that has my interest is King’s Watch #1, a mini-series by Jeff Parker (w) and Marc Laming (a). I have no clue about Laming and Dynamite is usually weak on art. What has me most exciting is Jeff Parker. I have loved his work from Marvel (Agents of Atlas, especially), but he never became a name at Marvel. If it was not for his name on the credits I would have passed on this oddball team up of Flash Gordon, The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician. The premise “Panic spreads across the world. Strange phenomena fills the skies. Millions have nightmares of wild lands filled with horrible creatures... then wake to find the monsters are real. What are three men willing to sacrifice to save us all? “ If anyone can pull this bizzaro shit off it is Parker. Of course expect multiple covers as only Dynamite can deliver.

Next up is Codename Action #1, another mini-series. I appreciate that Dynamite does these books mainly as mini-series. Otherwise I would be less likely to try them out as unlimited series. This is by Chris Roberson (w) and Jonathan Lau (a), both are quality creators. Roberson has my admiration for willing to speak out about what was going on at DC and of course probably burned that bridge forever. Lau’s art is solid and sometimes excellent. The book is about the old Captain Action character that DC once published as a licensed deal and the character was a GI Joe like doll for boys back in the old days. The premise During the height of the Cold War, unknown forces scheme to heat up a global conflict. As key officials on both sides of the Iron Curtain are replaced with doppelgangers, the infiltration threatens to disrupt the precarious state of world affairs. The security of the Free World depends on a young secret agent, one assigned to shape the world's masked heroes into a force with singular purpose and unyielding resolve!” The mix of creators and premise make this a book that I want to check out. Again Dynamite does not skip on producing a host of variant covers.

Okay so now we need to check in on Image. Image seems to be the place for new projects from many people. Can’t believe the company founded by artists is more of a writers’ haven today.

The first one that I’m going to try out is Sex Criminals #1 by Matt Fraction (W) and Chip Zdarsky (A). Fraction I’m well aware of and Zdarsky I have no clue about his work. Fraction is a decent writer, but I worry that he often is trying too hard to be the cool kid and does not trust himself enough. I say that because of the Hawkeye series, where he often changes the order of the pages to make a story non-linear. The stories have been good enough and with most of the artists being strong the book has done well. So the writer is a yes, I do not judge the artist until I see the book. The premise Suzie's a normal girl with an extraordinary ability: when she has sex, she stops time. One night she meets John... who has the same gift. And so they do what any other sex-having, time-stopping, couple would do: they rob banks.”  It is being labeled as a comedy and I would guess a raunchy comedy. I’m buying number one, but no guarantee I will be buying another issue. This will be a hard premise to pull off.

Another book I want to try the first issue of is Reality Check #1 by Glen Brunswick (w) and Victor Bogdanovic. I know Glen from New Jersey Gods and have no clue about Victor. The premise is very convoluted “A struggling artist, Willard Penn, scores an unlikely hit with his new comic. The story centers on a hero more concerned with his libido than serving justice. After an unexpected sell out, Willard can't recall anything about his story. That night the book's hero shows up outside Willard's window refusing to return to the comic until he finds true love. Exasperated, Willard is forced to help the lovesick hero meet the perfect woman. But he'll need to hurry because the book's villain, a homicidal maniac, has entered his world as well.” This either works well or will be a total disaster. Let’s say this, that the first issue better be good or else this book crashes and burns. It may crash and burn anyway.

The last number one from Image for September I want to try out is Zero #1 by Ales Kot (w) and Michael Walsh and Jordie Bellaire (a). Again the writer I know from Suicide Squad and the art is unfamiliar. Ales had a good vibe on Suicide Squad. The premise “Edward Zero is the perfect execution machine – a spy who breaks the rules to get things done. When a stolen device appears in the center of a long-running conflict, Zero comes to retrieve it. The problem is, the device is inside a living, breathing, bio-modified terrorist and there's an entire army after it.” It sounds like a good premise and if the art is decent this could be a hit.

Also in September the former mini-series, Todd The Ugliest Kid #5 is due out. This was one of the funniest books I have read in years and the premise and characters are fantastic. Finally this month is almost light in what Image has planned to roll out in the coming months.

Next up is IDW. Let’s check in and see if they have any new series that are of interest.  And after scanning and scanning the answer is no, which is fine as IDW has many books that I get and enjoy and I do not need new series from every publisher every month.

Next up to check in on is Valiant. This restart has been hit after hit for me. A little hyperbole but every series has been readable and enjoyable and I have yet to drop a title.

The first and only new series is Eternal Warrior #1 by Greg Pak (w) and Trevor Hairsine (a). Greg is somewhat hit and miss for me with his work. So that is both a negative or a positive, Trevor’s art is usually above average and the preview pages have looked nice. The other big plus is Valiant’s EIC seems to have a good mix of building a cohesive Universe but letting the writers be the best they can be inside the structure. The premise “Across ten millennia and a thousand battlefields, Gilad Anni-Padda has traversed the darkest, most mysterious corners of history. But the horror and bloodshed of constant warfare has finally taken its toll on the man myth calls the Eternal Warrior…and he has abdicated his duties as the Fist and the Steel of Earth for a quiet life of seclusion. But when a blood vendetta from the distant past suddenly reappears in the modern day, he must decide if he will return to the ways of war…for the child who betrayed him thousands of years ago...The premise allows for stories to be told in modern day or the past, could be fun. I like the slow roll with how Valiant is adding titles.

Ok the final place to check is the Vertigo Imprint under DC. I hate the new DCU but always have hope that Shelly Bond can keep Vertigo alive. Checking, checking and no we have a miss for Vertigo this month.

So that is it for the new number ones I’m looking for in September, join in and try a few to avoid lenticular Villains at DC and event mania at Marvel.