Monday, April 30, 2007

What I'm Getting Wednesday

The beginning of a five Wednesday month. Also no hard cover collections, so it is almost a vacation week. Although two soft covered trades and some new action figures are coming in. The action figures I really don’t need, but I will probably succumb to buying the Animal Man, Isis and Batwoman figures.

52 #52 – The last issue. The wrap up promises to be a good story as last issue was almost a pause. This also concluded the one year gap and except for whatever untold stories are out there the DCU are in the same relative timeframe.

Atom #11 – The end of the three part story where the Atom finds out what has been happening with the girl he loved in high school. I wanted what happened to my high school and college girl-friend?

American Virgin #14 – The continuing story of Lee’s college days. Just wanted to see if anyone ever reads this stuff. The official hype “The shocking conclusion of "Wet." Adam's hormones are driving him down the path of no return at the Miss Teen Miami Pageant. It might take an act of God to stop him from committing the mortal sin he's fought to suppress his whole life…and an act of God is exactly what's descending on Miami as Hurricane Marta blows in.” If he loses his virginity does the title change? All kidding aside Steven Seagle and Becky Cloonan do a great job with this title.

Checkmate #13 – Checkmate goes after the Outsiders. This is a neat cross-over as it makes sense that Checkmate would have to try and take the Outsiders down. The Outsiders are a loose cannon in world events and Checkmate would oppose their methods.

Deadman #9 – Hey this book hasn’t been cancelled yet, so maybe I’m not the only person reading this book. The official hype “A new story arc begins! Sarah's pregnancy mysteriously terminates, while halfway around the world the wife of a self-absorbed movie producer experiences a seemingly immaculate conception. Brandon hops dimensions in search of answers, but he may only be heightening the danger."

Detective #832 – Another fill-in type issue written by Royal McGraw and art by Andy Clarke. The artist is fine, but the last issue by Royal McGraw (whom I’ve never heard of) was really weak, I’m not looking forward to this issue.

Exterminators #17 – Last issue came out last week. How whacked out is that. In a world when late issues have become too normal a comic puts out back to back issues. Love this book. If you don’t get it, pick it up in the trades and read it.

Green Lantern #19 – The continuation of the Star Sapphire story. Hal can never get a break when it comes to his girl friend and his newest possible girl-friend was taken over at the end of last issue.

Hawkgirl #63 – Hawkgirl teams-up with Batman in trying to track down Hath-Set. If she succeeds and ends the curse then I guess this breaks Carter and Kendra as a couple forever, but I’m not sure if this is working. The book is better without Chaykin as the artist and this storyline has more potential.

Jonah Hex #19 – I love this book and this month I love the hype even more. The official line is “Hex heads to Texas to track down some missing men, on a trail built of blood, gambling and lies!” No more needed – how cool is that.

Midnighter #7 – An examination of how Midnighter’s powers actually work. If done right this could be a really cool issue.

Scalped #5 – We learn more of how our central character (Dash Bad Horse) went from a callous youth to an undercover FBI agent. This book would make a great movie.

Showcase : The War That Time Forgot – Reprinting the mundo bizarre series of GI’s combating Dinosaurs on an island lost in time. 560 pages of glorious B&W for only $17, by one of the great all time writers of the comic book form Robert Kanigher.

Shazam Monster Society of Evil #3 (of 4) – Continuing Jeff Smith’s unique take on Captain Marvel. This should have been All Star Captain Marvel and should have been an eight issue series. Still it is fun and different take on the character and I have grown to enjoy it for what it is.

Superman #662 – Returning to our regular storyline, Superman is stuck trying to determine if he is helping or hurting our world by his actions. Busiek and Pacheo are doing some great work on this title.

Teen Titans #46 – Last issue ended with Nightwing and his group coming in to help save the new group. Should be interesting to see how this plays out. The war between Deathstroke and his “Titans” versus the real group has been a good story.

Welcome to Tranquility #6 – Promise to resolve the murder of Mister Articulate that has been the core storyline since the book started. I like this series, but it is very hard to define this book. Also I think the writing is very well done, but I would be this book takes Gail Simone longer to write then any other book she does.

Astonishing X-Men #21 – Or what I like to think of wasting John Cassady’s art. Ord and Breakworld stuff is going on. I have really lost interest in this book.

Avengers: The Initiative #2 – First issue was okay. This issue has a “pivotal moment for Yellowjacket”. They have acted like they are killing him, but I really doubt it. This book has two more issues to be better or it is gone off my list.

Hulk #106 – The official hype is building up this super genius kid and a showdown he has with Doc Samson and She-Hulk. I hate that the actual series for the Hulk will not be featuring the World War Hulk storyline and in fact that will be a separate mini-series. Really a bizarre tactic for Marvel to be trying. I guess this is a way to amp up the sales for WW Hulk and still keep the actual title sales in line with the hyped event. In other words if the main event was in the book, the mini-series supporting it would have less sales then leaving the supporting stuff in the main book. A prologue to WW Hulk, bonus is Gary Frank is doing the art.

Iron Man #17 – Okay I like this book. Tony as director of Shield is still going to have to go up against the Mandarin. This series has been well written and while I’m no longer really sure what I think of Tony Stark, the story is well done. I guess I’m sick of seeing Iron Man everywhere in the Marvel Universe.

Last of the Mohicans #1 (of 6) – I decided to try one of the new “Classic Illustrated” books from Marvel. The old books I have fond memories of reading them when I was a young child and therefore at least having a passing familiarity with some great literature that I sometimes eventually read the actual book and sometimes did not.

Omega Flight #2 (of 5) – I find it amusing the US Agent is a member of Canada’s super team. This series is ill served by becoming a mini-series. I think the premise needed a longer form. Issue #1, did not really get anywhere is building up to the group forming.

Thunderbolts: Born Better #4 (of 4) – Or as my friend Matthew states the real Thunderbolts book. This has been a very good mini-series and I have really enjoyed the examination of the current Baron Zemo. It makes me want to buy the old series and read it. I hope they find someway to keep this side of the story of the Thunderbolts continuing.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #41 – Part 3 of 3 of the Ultimate Diablo story, Can we stop saying Ultimate in front of every character from the Ultimate line? Anyway, this has been a good story and I look forward to its conclusion.

Alien Pig Farm 3000 #1 (of 4) – I mean how can you not love that title for a comic book. Who cares what it is about, just pick it up and read it for gosh sakes. Officially it is a story about a race of pig-eating, flesh-gnarling aliens attacking Kentucky. Written by Todd Farmer and art by Don Marquez is from Raw Studios – which is home to Steven (30 Days of Night) Niles. Looks like great fun.

Walking Dead Volume #6 – It was supposed to be out last week, but did not make it. I love this story about surviving in a world of flesh eating Zombies, so I hope it makes it this week.

Ward of the State #1 (of 3) – A really different kind of book. The official hype “story CHRISTOPHER E. LONG art & cover CHEE - Balitzer is just your typical average foster mother…who happens to train her young wards to be hired killers! Dravis Trucker, her latest ward, has always yearned for a normal life. Now he's hoping to survive long enough to get his driver's license! " A more “real” horror book, almost feels like what EC comics would have done in their day.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Current Best Series

I did this list quickly (and in no particular order) while scanning what I get. I picked out what I considered to be the best series around. These are books that are consistently entertaining or have started off with a bang. When I see one of these titles coming out I feel assured that it will be one of the better books for that week.

Checkmate - DC
Desolation Jones - DC
Hero Squared - IDW
Jonah Hex - DC
Killer - Arachia
Scalped - DC - Vertigo
Silent War - Marvel
Tag:Cursed - IDW
Wasteland - ONI
Wormword Gentleman Corpse - IDW
All Star Superman - DC
Astro City - DC - Wildstorm
Birds of Prey - DC
Brave and Bold - DC
Crossing Midnight - DC Vertigo
Dynamo 5 - Image
Fables - DC Vertigo
Invincible - Image
Iron Fist - Marvel
Mr. Stuffins - BOOM
Fell - Image
New Univerisal - Marvel
X-Men First Class - Marvel
X-Factor - Marvel
Thunderbolts - Marvel
Supergirl and The Legion of Super-Heroes - DC
Spirit - DC
Shadowpact - DC
Snakewoman - Virgin
Nightly News - Image

I may have IDW and BOOM mixed up as to the publishers, but these are all really entertaining books. Also it certainly shows the wide variety of material out there.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Every Other Comics Fan Has A Blog

I have a theory that I believe to be true, but I do not have the real need to research and prove if it is true or not. My theory is that there are only 100,000 comic fans left in the USA. I know some books have print runs of over 100,000 - but very few and one month recently not a single DC book had orders for over 100,000.

First let me define comic fan. That is a person who reads new comics and makes said purchases at least once a month and reads at lest 3-4 titles a month. So my true fan only has to outlay less then $10 a month to qualify (need a heavy burden).

A successful book can sell 20,000 copies a month and still survive in today's market (and if the price point is four dollars I think it can survive in the 10,000 or less range).

Now my central premise is that at least half of us have a blog or webpage of some sort that identifies us as comic fans. There are over 16,100 people on My Comic Space and then look at every blog that is on comics and follow the links and then follow the links and you will discovered that we have a huge community of bloggers. I'm willing to bet that between comic websites such as Comic Book Resources, Newsarama and such, Comic Store Websites, creator blogs and their websites and message boards, comic book dealers on E-Bay and actual blogs (such as mine) that 50% of the community is espousing or soliciting the other 50% to buy something from them.

As I don't necessarily surf around on other subject matters as extensively, my theory is all conjecture, but I bet as a group more of us are online that almost any other group or interest. We are predisposed for the internet as many of us enjoy new things and reading - so the internet was a god send for us. Finally for the most part we all had to enjoy our habit in relative solitude because the people at your work place or other gathering places did not want to talk comics like they would a shared experience of news, movies or TV.

Just my view.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Death of Captain America

Okay the death of Captain America (issue #25) was released on 3/7/07 and we have yet to see issue #26, but Marvel has manged to release two worthless issues of their five part mini-series Fallen Son. The utter crap that the Fallen Son mini-series is to me is destroying whatever good story Ed Brubaker may have started in Captain America. Plus I just do not believe that Marvel has killed off Captain America. We have seen way too many deus ex machina type scenarios for me to buy off on this story. Plus I was willing to give Marvel a pass on the whole over hyping as they seemed to play this under the radar. Now we have this elaborate bullsh*t mini-series that is significant of nothing and a director's cut of Captain America #25 to try and play off of this "event".

This is wrong on many levels. First if they know they are bringing him back, then the entire crap is a money grab and totally disingenuous. Even if they are leaving him dead for a year, haven't they killed the casual customer who might have been drawn into the story by having issue #26 come out so long after #25? If it shows up this Wednesday that is a two month lag for a book that has never had lateness issues before. It smells bad.

The whole thing is a shame as I think Brubaker has done his best super hero work on Captain America and manged to dance around Civil War while his character was screwed around with the most in that series. Now when he had to deal with the repercussions of Civil War on Cap, he kills him off. If dead he now never has to deal with those issues, but Brubaker has been on this book for awhile and this is just an arc in the comic, with the death being an element of the plot. If you read the whole run (which I have, but not recently) he has been laying out a long form story of the ultimate battle between Captain America and the Red Skull. This story does not read like one that was leading up to Captain America dying.

I contend if Captain America was really dead the supposed repercussions would have been played out in his book and not this Fallen Son money grab from Marvel. Also if he was really dead we might actually have something happening in the Fallen Son mini-series.

Ultimately it might be a good story and enjoyable, but in the short term it has come across as a total money hungry rip off job from Marvel. Which is a shame as Ed Brubaker may have just wanted to tell this story and the marketing people ran away with it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

E-Bay's New Feedback

Okay so I have sold and bought a bunch of things on e-bay over the years. Two Canadians buyers screwed my 100% rating, but if I had made everyone happy I was probably giving all of my stuff away. E-Bay is a fun place to buy and sell stuff and I have been a member since 1998.

I have been burnt once since E-Bay purchased paypal and I found out that if you ship after someone pays with paypal and you don't pay for tracking then they can get a full refund (never mind it was shipped to Canada). Also my account was hacked twice and people listed expensive stuff under my ID and I had to get that straightened out. Now both times you can never actually talk to someone. Paypal is all via e-mail and e-bay is via an IM type system, where they call you to verify you are who you say you are, then you communicate via the written word. It is all very frustrating when you cannot always express yourself with the proper tone. Still E-Bay was great (but time intensive) and paypal sucked, but I still use both of them.

Now E-Bay is adding a detailed rating system to give you four stars on mailing time, shipping charges, item description and something else that I forget (communication?). This will absolutely blow chunks. When I was selling a lot of stuff on E-Bay I could charge next to nothing for shipping and handling and get complaints. I would charge exact postage and $1 for handling and people would complain (as if mailing envelopes and packing material grows on trees). As for item description - I post pictures now of whatever I'm selling and try to avoid saying too much about it. Look at it and I rather not describe it. That let's get to mailing time. I almost always mailed the next postal day after payment was received (worse case two days after), but I mailed a lot of stuff via media rate mail (which almost all sellers of comic books do) and media rate is not fast. The further apart you are from the buyer the more you understand that media rate is the bottom of the barrel in delivery time. Now the same people who would bitch about postage also seemed to always cry about how long it took to show up. People want to pay a good price for something, but not pay the freight charges to get it there fast. It should be amusing to see how hard some people are hit by this new rating system. As I don't sell as much anymore it will be interesting to see how it hurts or helps me. You have to have 10 full rating before that information will show, so at least one bastard buyer can't waste your rating away.

Still after doing this stuff for almost nine years now my 99.6% rating could look like crap if two people don't think I shipped fast enough or said a book was in good shape and there definition of good is like new condition. The old rating system was better, yes, no or neutral. People are more hesitant to be negative if they are happy with the product and price.

I think in the future I will sell items with zero postal costs and just up the price of the item to cover the shipping. Of course the media rate mail will still not satisfy the person. Plus let's say I advertise it will take 10 days to get there and you pay me on day 1, I mail it on day 2 and it gets there on day12, but you still think it took too long and rate me poorly for mailing time. Now I have to complain to e-bay and provide documentation of what happened. When you have to IM e-bay you sometimes have to wait 30 minutes to get a rep and then are online for 15-20 minutes resolving it. This new system will have more people then ever on line with them. Maybe there is an opt out of the new feedback system I failed to note, if there is I will take it.

I know E-Bay is trying to give people more information about stuff to help them make a decision, but if you are like me and don't sell that often anymore having limited feedback (unless it is all positive) will hurt a lot of sellers. People will be more willing to give you 2 stars here and 4 stars there as opposed to just saying good or bad job. If this causes less people to sell on e-bay, then e-bay could be shooting themselves in the foot.

Maybe their business plan is for more large scale and "professional" sellers to be out there, but if that happens e-bay loses it's initial charm and may be susceptible to a new competitor.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More Birthday's for Me!!!

This week… back to our regularly scheduled slice-o-Lee’s life entry.

April is a really good month at my house, and not just because it was my birthday. Well, that’s part of it but there was another birthday at my house this week. No, no, I didn’t have another birthday. It was the youngest’s birthday. That’s right, Tiny, my daughter and I share a birthday month. Don’t worry, I shall teach her to celebrate her birthday in style.

This year was the big 0h-two. I can’t believe how fast she has grown. For those readers who don’t have children, this is the first fun birthday. Don’t get me wrong, birthday oh-one is fun but mostly because the child smears cake all over herself. But, she doesn’t really get what the whole occasion is. The second birthday is much more of an adventure. The child finally starts to “get it”. The twins were kind enough to teach Tiny that the word birthday was synonymous with cake. They would ask her if she was ready for her birthday, heavy emphasis on the word “birthday” and Tiny would run into the kitchen squealing “Cake! Cake! Cake!” It was funny the first 20 times. It was cute the next 30 times. After that it got old.

Well, the big day finally got arrived and special dinner consisted of soft tacos. Usually, tacos are a big hit at our house, but not tonight. Tiny picked the shredded cheese off, ate the cheese, and decided she was done. That was fine and off she went to the toy room while the rest of us finished our meal. Finally, the event was to start and the twins were given permission to let Tiny know it was her birthday. They screamed, in unison, from the table (because neither felt like leaving their seat) “Tiny! Birthday!!”

Tiny came screaming, both literally and figuratively, “Cake! Cake! Cake!” She paused briefly in the middle of the kitchen to spin like a top and then rushed over to her seat at the table. Mom brought cake for all of us and we proceeded to warble out one of the worst versions of happy birthday ever. I shouldn’t say that because Mom can carry a tune, Girl can carry a note, but Dad… and the Boy… WOW, are we bad. All those years of listening to Iron Maiden and Venom made me a fine grade of tone deaf. The Boy isn’t much better. All together we make William Hung sound like Pavarotti. But, the important thing is we sang.

Of course, as soon as we were done, Tiny cried “Again! Again!” It was Tiny’s birthday so we sang again. And, if you can believe it we were even worse the second time.

Cake was had by all. Cake covered everyone’s face and the table and the floor. And a wonderful birthday was celebrated.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Best and Worst of Last Week

Let's get the worst candidate out of the way first this week and be done with it.

Worst Book

Superman/Batman #34 - The first issue involving the Metal Men and featuring art by Pat Lee. Okay the art sucked, the story is convoluted and why has this book been a constant disappointment. Just really a poorly executed job of which is essentially a re-introduction of the Metal Men.

Best of the Week

This week in addition to the books mentioned also included Invincible and X-Factor, which because almost every issue is a gem, could have easily been included, but they are great series all the time.

Flash #11 - Wow, this book is what it should have been from the start. Bart really is starting to become a character whose voice is being heard as you read the book. Often characters feel generic and that has changed now for Bart. Tony Daniel is the new artist and he has done a great job in upping the quality of the book. Marc Guggenheim in three short issues has taken this from a crap book into one of the better series on the shelves. It an exciting ride right now and I can't wait for the next issue.

Hellblazer #231 - The art has always been good as long as Leonardo Manco is drawing the book, but Diggle has made Constantine the coolest bastard around again. I hadn't even noticed how somewhat lost Constantine had become, the last couple of writers had done okay and told some good stories, but John had lost his edge. Well Andy Diggle has changed all of that and John is the consummate bastard again. He may do you a favor, but be careful what you wish for. Summarizing the plot of the last two issue is pointless, but if you left this book, come back now, if you never read Hellblazer, then come on in and try it out.

Fallen Angel #15 - New artist and since last issue a whole new energy is back in this book. Peter David is the writer and it has constantly been a good book, just not always one of my favorites of the moment. This issue we learn more about Angel's predecessor and it appears to be David's Supergirl from his DC work (the Linda Danvers/Matrix character). Obvioously it can't actually be her, but it is her. I'm not sure if this was his idea all along or if it was a recent inspiration, but it is playing out really well. Kristian Donaldson's artwork is a much lighter style then the previous artist and I believe fits this new storyline better. Great time to jump on this book.

Monday, April 23, 2007

What I'm Getting Wednesday - April 25

The “I’m going broke week” as I have three hardcovers and possibly two trades coming out, plus a lot of regular comics

52 Week #51 – The second to last issue that encompasses the year long gap. On the whoe this has been a very well done series and I may invest in the trades.

Action #848 – Part 1 of a 2 parts fill-in saga. Often comics have material that comes into play after one arc ends and for the most part I have no issue with it, but the indeterminable delays in the Last Son storyline is dragging down both in continuity Superman books.

Amazon Attacks #1 (of 6) – Will Pfeifer and Peter Woods bring us this mini-series where the Amazons come back and attack America. This could be really bad or it could be good, we shall see, at least I like the creative team, so that is a plus.

Astro City The Dark Age Book 2 #3 – Busiek (the writer) stated that they would not solicit an arc until it was pretty well complete and this arc has suffered from lateness. Still the story is strong enough that I can wait. Should be another good issue.

Batman Confidential #5 – The Diggle / Portacio arc on this book has been okay. At times really good and at times too over the top. This is the penultimate chapter of Bruce Wayne vs Lex Luthor.

Blue Beetle #14 - Beetle and Guy Gardner together trying to stop the aliens trying to kill Beetle. This is just a really good solid little series.

Catwoman #66 – This series has quietly done a really good job of building up Catwoman’s supporting cast and has really made her a strong character in her own right. Between the two Catwoman series (which were almost back to back) she has had a run of over 150 issues.

Connor Hawke Dragon’s Blood #6 (of 6) – With stories like this I would enjoy Connor having his own series. This has been a really good mini-series.

Crossing Midnight #6 – The official hype “Part 1 of the 4-part "A Map of Midnight." With both a new role and a new life in service to Lord Aratsu, Toshi must choose her weapons and begin her hazardous training through a fairy-tale-gone-wrong world like nothing anyone has ever experienced.” – A really great book, Mike Carey at his best.

Exterminators #16 – This book has a slow building underlying plot and still has great fun with some shorter story arcs that weave into the longer story. Who knew a book about Exterminators could be such whacked out fun and horror all at the same time.

Firestorm #35 – This is the final issue for this run of Firestorm and while it was noever a big series I think it did a great job of establishing Firestorm’s new identity of Jason. To me it is very cool that DC has taken a relatively speaking newer hero and started a second generation for the Firestorm entity. A side note, but throughout the DCU I feel like they have a lot of big plans brewing and I think that 2007 will be the build up year and 2008 will be a year of really major changes for the DCU. I hope I’m right and I hope DC takes some real chances with making significant changes in the characters. I can get trades and hard covers to read the great stories of the old status quo, but I want the big 2 to dare to be different.

JSA Classified #25 – The hype has me interested in this story and I can never get enough of the JSA characters. The official hype “In order to save lives, Alan Scott is forced to renege on a deal he made years ago with one of his Golden Age enemies. But will this betrayal mean this reformed villain is permanently out of retirement?”

Justice #11 (of 12) – The actual book itself no longer interests me that much as it was really written to be read all at once, but boy am I looking forward to the Absolute Edition of this series.

JSA #5 – Part 2 of the JSA/JLA cross-over “Lightning Sage”. I have a total fan feeling about this cross-over it contains the JSA and what appears to be the 8 original members of the Legion of Super Heroes, I’m really almost totally pre-sold on this story and I enjoyed Part 1 immensely.

Outsiders Annual – Revealing how the team “died” and why they re-established themselves as the more pro-active type of underground team they have become. Concluding the happened during the one year gap story.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #29 – Last issue rocked as the Legion outsmarted the dominators and managed to jump to their home world. This issue the Legion and Wanderers try to put the Dominators down once and for all. Great series.

Wetworks #8 – The Vampires have ended the truce and a major war is breaking out. I was not familiar with Wetworks prior to this series and it has grown on me, but so far this series has been one long story, which is okay, but I think we need a resolution by issue #12 and a new story line to start then.

Wonder Woman #8 – This issue is an apparent lead in to the Amazon Attacks storyline. This series has been lost, but should be saved when Gail Simone takes over with issue #12. Flash has been saved and has fast (pun unavoidable) become a top series again.

Agents of Atlas HC – Very seldom do I get the hard cover collections of recent series, but I loved this series and it also contains “Collecting AGENTS OF ATLAS #1-6 – plus the Agents’ first appearances in stories from YELLOW CLAW #1 (Jimmy Woo; October 1956), MENACE #11 (Human Robot; May 1954), VENUS #1 (August 1948), MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #82 (Namora; May 1947), MARVEL BOY #1 (December 1950), MEN'S ADVENTURES #26 (Gorilla Man; March 1954) and WHAT IF? #9 (1950s Avengers; June 1978). Also featuring blogs, creator interviews, character designs and other extras! 256 PGS $24.99” That is one heck of a bargain in my mind.

Daredevil #96 – Part 2 of the new arc that is essentially re-establishing DD’s new status quo, which feels a lot like the status quo of five plus years ago.

Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus #1 – This mammoth hard cover clocks in at over 1,000 pages. It essentially contains the best part of the Spider-Man comic and what every one else has been building on for the last 40 plus years the Lee/Ditko era. It is almost too big and I’m sure it will be hard to see some of the page edges when you are reading in the middle of this monster, but oversized reproduction of Ditko art and the original letter pages, this was a book I had to have. I have it in Masterworks already and will keep this material in two different versions (which is a rarity for me as I usually sell one version and keep me favored version).

Fantastic Four #545 – I have no hopes for this book as last issue was a disappointment and really did not feel like Dwayne McDuffie had who these characters are yet. Plus I think he wants to make the Black Panther and Storm the stars of the book, which is boring as they have their own series.

Heroes for Hire #9 – Okay the new creative team now has the reins of this book in their hands and I will give Zeb Wells and Clay Mann a couple issues to make me like it or drop the book. This book at first was a nice twist during Civil War, but has fallen flat during the transition period to a new team, but Wells has done okay with Snakewoman at Virgin, so I will try it a little longer.

Silent War # 4 (of 6) – Really enjoying this book and this issue a major reveal is supposed to occur. Each issue has ended with a great scene and brought me back for more. The fact that it doesn’t seem to fit within any Marvel continuity right now (it’s all current and yet not current) is okay as the story itself is so good. Hell the Inhumans should get a series with David Hine and Irving Frasier if they can produce a story this interesting.

Wisdom #5 (of 6) – This series has been okay. The advertised artist ahs not been on every issue, but the overall story has been okay. Side note – Marvel in their official web site never notes that a series is 6 or 12 or whatever issue long, it will say issue #5 and mention it is a mini-series, but not how many issues it runs, just seems odd.

X-Men First 1st Class #8 (of 8) – Jeff Parker and Roger Cruz are producing the second best x-book out there (X-Factor is the best) and this is a fun updating of the early years of the X-Men. Also it is not sad that it is ending as the series has been given an unlimited series launch in a couple of months.

Unique #2 (of 3) – A story of parallel worlds. Dean Motter is a good writer, but this book is only so-so, but a three issue commitment is easy to ride out and maybe it will pick up.

Walking Dead Volume #6 – Yeah! I love this series and the waiting between trades is a killer, but I cannot wait to read this volume as Volume 5 was great and the series seems to have gained (pun intended – wait for it – dare I say it) a new life (ouch).

30 Days of Night Spreading the Disease # 5 (of 5) – This series fell off the rails and the amateurish art work ahs hurt it, but the overall story is still decent enough. The next mini-series has Steve Niles (the series creator) as co-writer.

Hunters Moon #1 (of 5) – A new mini-series – The official hype from Boom – “The Academy Award-nominated writer of the film Ray comes to comics in a big way, kicking off a new series at Boom! Stockbroker Lincoln "Linc" Greer, divorced dad, is looking forward to a hot date in a remote cabin for the weekend. When his date cancels and he gets stuck with visitation rights with his son, he takes the boy hunting in the wilds of Oregon. Before he knows it, his son is kidnapped and a voice at the other end of his cell phone tells him to do what he asks -- if he ever wants to see his son again! Linc soon finds that he's the only African-American man in this small mostly white logging community. Isolated and alone, he's got to face a contentious community and save his son! “ Could be good.

Planetary Brigade Origins #3 (of 3) – More Keith Giffen / JM DeMatteis madness. Just fin and goofy stuff giving us background on the heroes of the now defunct world of Captain Valor (of Hero Squared – which you should be reading).

Nick Cardy Comic Strips Trade – I’m co-buying this one as it contains the NicK Cardy Tarzan strips from the 50’s I believe and as I love Tarzan I want to read this, but have no need to own it, so it can go to Lee later.

Snakewoman #10 – Continuing the saga of the 68 and the reincarnated assassin of the group. I saw that the series will stop and start again with a new number one, is there a reason for that or not I do not know.

EC Archives Weird Science Volume #2 – The last hard cover for this week and is more of the great EC stuff done up in a really well produced and loving reproduced format. I will get these as long as they publish them.

Tag Cursed #3 (of 5) – Tag was a good mini-series and I have enjoyed the search by one victim of the curse in trying to find it’s origin. A really different type of idea and a horror series that feels a little more real then most.

War of the Undead #3 (of 3) – This has been pretty much of a mess and if it had been a four issue mini-series I would have dropped it.

Wormwood Gentlemen Corpse # 7 – Just one of the best series out there. Ben Templesmith is doing a great job with this bizarre twisted series as writer and penciller. Go out and buy this series and get some laughs and enjoy some slightly twisted humor.

And that's all for this week (thankfully).

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Image / Dark Horse - July Preview Review

Part three of our five part series of the books solicited for July.

JACK KIRBY’S SILVER STAR HC, art & cover JACK KIRBY JACK “KING” KIRBY’S SILVER STAR is collected in an oversized full color hardcover at last! SILVER STAR is a surreal masterpiece! Insightful, thought-provoking, uproarious, frantic and deadly! SILVER STAR was Kirby’s final creation, originally published by Pacific Comics in the early ‘80s. It’s a huge, sweeping epic, filled with classic Kirby trademarks: crackling energy, memorable characters, outrageous dialogue, explosive action and ham-fisted romance!Featuring lush inks by Mike Royer and lovingly reconstructed colors by Erik Larsen, this deluxe hardcover is a must-have for any Kirby fan!
Lee: This is so out there, I can’t decide. I will probably get it because it’s Kirby. I probably won’t read it because it will be awful. BUT, I will look at it many, many times because the pictures will be so nice. Be warned, this is truly for the Kirby collector because I’m not about the writing.
Jim: I have a desire to see this material, especially since I hear that they are re-coloring it and treating the material as best they can, but I can’t bring myself to pull the trigger on this stuff. The Fourth World Omnibus series and the Devil Dinosaur stuff is enough.

THE ASTOUNDING WOLF-MAN #2 story ROBERT KIRKMAN, art & cover JASON HOWARDTHE ASTOUNDING WOLF-MAN #1: DIRECTOR’S CUT Gary Hampton puts his newly acquired powers to the test. Wolf-Man finally takes to the streets – saving lives and doing good. How will the public react to him – and can he control the beast within? Don’t miss out on the first action-packed adventures of THE ASTOUNDING WOLF-MAN!
Lee: Wow. So not only can I get Astounding Wolf Man #2 BUT I can get a directors cut of #1!!!! Double WOW do I not care. The premise is interesting enough. For some reason Kirkman writes crap for Marvel but good stuff for Image. AND, for some reason I am always willing to give Kirkman a second chance. I do have to wonder about the decision about a directors cut. I haven’t seen issue one so this is a preorder. Why would I pay an extra dollar for a book that I might have bought the month before AND might not be any good. Makes ya wonder.
Jim: In this case I just think it is a shot at trying to charge us for something that is being given away free on Free Comic Book Day. Knowing the way Kirkman does things it is probably his way of trying to but some money into the artist hands. I have to agree that Kirkman’s Image work is so far superior to his Marvel work that I’m looking forward to this book.

THE CHEMIST story art & cover JAY BOOSE Vance Larroche is not your typical drug dealer. He’s a manufacturer – a chemist, to be exact. He doesn’t waste time making street drugs like Heroin. He’s looking to the future. The real money is in prescription drugs. Lately, it seems everyone wants him dead. Will he be able to survive when a mysterious woman further complicates his life?FEATURES ARTWORK BY PIXAR ANIMATOR JAY BOOSE!
Lee: Interesting look. And another animator makes the jump to comics. I have no idea if this will be any good but I like the premise. Cover art looks nice too.
Jim: I agree that the premise sounds okay, but for whatever reason it is not compelling enough to rope me in. I guess I really don’t care about reading a story about a drug dealer.

DUST #1 (of 2) story mink & PAOLO PARENTEart & covers PAOLO PARENTE
It’s THE DIRTY DOZEN versus robots, zombies and more! Jump into battle as the Allies and the Sino-Soviet Union join forces to fight the evil Axis; a powerful group (Germany, Japan and Africa) whose plans to dominate the world are bolstered by their amazing weapons – built using alien technology taken from a crashed space ship.
Lee: Three books in and already Image has upped the BS hype factor in there solicits. They are almost as bad as Marvel. The good news is, if you can survive it there are some really interesting books here. This for example Parente has a great visual style. The writer is untried but it should be stunning to look at. Check out the link.
Jim: Wow, the artwork is stunning and maybe worth the price of entry.

THE BAKERS: BABIES AND KITTENS HC story art & cover KYLE BAKER Shock and “Aaaw.” After a humiliating defeat at the hands of a mouse, Dad is covered in glue traps. Mom & the kids adopt a cat against Dad’s wishes and hide it from him. Dad doesn’t catch on for days. (You can’t make this crap up. I live like this!) Baby Jackie demonstrates fifteen wrong ways to pick up a cat, then suddenly discovers she’s been replaced as the center of her big sister’s attention! It’s an all-out war between the jealous baby and the fuzzy kitten, and no Baker is safe!
Lee: I love Kyle Baker. From Plastic Man to his slice’ohome life “The Bakers”. Always good stuff.
Jim: I think another plus is when you meet Baker or hear him talk at a convention. He comes across as such a nice person and a real family man that I occasionally want to buy his stuff just to support someone of such character.

BLACK CHERRY OGN story art & cover DOUG TENNAPEL Down-on-his-luck Mafioso, Eddie Paretti is so desperate for cash he’s agreed to steal a dead body from his own mob boss! Things only get worse when he discovers the body isn’t human!
With few options and fewer people he can trust, Eddie calls on the man who raised him, Father McHugh. The priest tells Eddie that the body was stolen from his monastery by the Mafia. Father McHugh is accompanied by a beautiful woman Eddie swears looks just like a stripper he once fell in love with named Black Cherry.
Blending crime thriller with TENNAPEL’s utterly breath-taking brushwork, BLACK CHERRY is delicious.
Lee: Doug Tennapel’s work is either really good or really bad. He has never found a middle ground for me. But, this sounds darker and grittier than most of his other work. It’s always worth a try.
Jim: Yeah, I have to pass. I enjoy that such a wide variety of material is getting published, but I don’t want to read ever single genre out there.

FULL COLOR story art & cover MARK HAVEN BRITT 176 PAGES $15.99 A lifetime marked with Napoleonic bosses has generated a rage in Boom that she can’t contain anymore – only aim. Her target? Her boss. That same day, Boom comes home to find an old friend standing on her fire escape. David’s double-crossed a drug dealer and he's looking for help. FULL COLOR is an action-packed odyssey through New York. Fast-paced and thoughtful, compelling and funny, FULL COLOR is a revenge-fueled morality tale for a post-September 11th world. BY XERIC AWARD-WINNING ARTIST MARK HAVEN BRITT!
Lee: I have a weakness for new stuff. There is something about being the first kid on the block to find “the next big thing”. This looks like it might have potential. Art looks solid and free preview at
Jim: I have an understanding of Lee’s sentiment, but this is still a pass for me. I want to wait until someone reads the whole thing and then tell me this is worth my time or not.

SCRAP METTLE HC art & cover SCOTT MORSE, 400 PAGES, $39.99
Award-winning storyteller Scott Morse’s SCRAP METTLE is the culmination of every spare moment spent away from the creation of his graphic novels and his duties at Pixar. This book is the reservoir of the products of a mind that won’t empty of its ideas.
SCRAP METTLE, a gargantuan volume of both electrifying images and smaller, personal thoughts, is a must-have for any admirer of sketching and painting, and a sure favorite of any follower of the retro pop art scene.
Lee: I really like Scott Morse’s stuff. And I am sure this is real pretty to look at but… 400 pages of sketches? That’s an awful lot.
Jim: I’m not a big Scott Morse’s fan, so this is an easy pass for me, but still if you like his work this looks to be a nice edition.

When a tiny U.S. town becomes an independent country, its clueless citizens decide to model their new nation after America – with hilarious results! This collection of the first 150 strips of the popular webcomic includes pin-ups by special guest artists, exclusive never-before-seen strips and an Introduction by GREGORY ITZIN (President Logan on the TV series “24.”)
Lee: Well, I checked out the link and read a couple of strips. It actually seemed pretty funny. Heavy on the social commentary and sarcasm. Might be worth checking out.
Jim: Social commentary and sarcasm – sound like I should check this one out also, but I do enough of that on my own.

THE COLLECTED normalman TP story & art JIM VALENTINO Rocketed into space by his Junior CPA father, who thought his planet was going to explode -- it didn’t – he traveled for 20 years until landing on the planet Levram (read it backwards) where everyone has super powers, except him! Befriended by the witless Captain Everything – who can negate all known laws of physics, but forgets how to fly in mid-flight – normalman only wants to escape from this insane world (don’t we all)!
Collected for the first time, every single story and drawing from JIM VALENTINO’s award-winning seminal parody series, in glorious black and white!
Lee: This is a great parody series. It collapsed under its own weight by the end but it had some great moments. Gotta love the Legion of Superfluous Heroes roll call. I still chuckle at that.
Jim: Again Lee has this one called spot-on. For me reading the first couple of issues was enough and I will pass on this material easily as a trade. Once is enough for this material.

Collects GØDLAND issues #1-12 plus over 40 pages of cosmic-powered, behind-the-scenes extras!
Lee: Joe Casey can either write wonderful over the top silliness (Deadpool, Majestic Vol 1) or some real junk. Luckily, this falls into the real silliness. Good stuff.
Jim: I have never been drawn into this stuff. I know it is Kirby homage and they have fun with it, but Kirby’s own work was too chunky for me the later in his career we get. So reading a homage type book is another pass.

MELTDOWN: THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION TP story DAVID SCHWARTZ art SEAN WANGThe Flare is dying. His own super-powers are eating him alive, melting him down from within. During his final days, The Flare must struggle with his volatile life and the questionable decisions he's made along the way, hoping to find redemption before time runs out. See the final moments that prove what a hero can -- and should -- be, in the stunning mini-series that took the comic industry by storm. One of the year’s MOST CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED series is finally collected in this ULTIMATE trade paperback edition,
Lee: I did hear good buzz about this. And now available in a nice trade… Did you read it?
Jim: I did read this and was very impressed. The artist did a good job of changing styles as we flashback into the hero’s life. Also I thought it was a good story of how someone deals with knowing they are dying. At the end he showed what a true hero he was and it was really an inspirational story.

THE GOON #19 Written and art by Eric Powell.
The long winter of our discontent is over -- feast your eyes on the return of Eric Powell and The Goon! That's right, Powell has finally escaped Albatross's basement and returned to the sweet, nurturing bosom of funny books. The regular ongoing series picks up right where it left off as the Zombie Priest's sanity cracks up. His endless swarms of beastly little minions attack the Goon and Franky en masse, and there's no telling how long the brand-new Norton's Pub will last this time around!
Lee: Eric Powell returns to The Goon!
Jim: It took me awhile to get around to this book, but it is really a fun read and well worth picking up a trade or two of this material.

GRENDEL: BEHOLD THE DEVIL #0 MATT WAGNER (W/A)b&w&r, 16 pages 50 centsMatt Wagner (Batman: The Mad Monk, Sandman Mystery Theatre) presents a 50-cent primer to his all-new miniseries staring Hunter Rose, the original Grendel, launching this fall.
Lee: All new Grendel. Do I have to say anymore?
Jim: This is a book that all Grendel fans have been waiting for, now the problem is once you have anticipated something for this long can it possibly be as good as you have built it up to be in you mind. Matt Wagner’s latest Batman work was almost perfect, so I think this should be very, very good.

MARTHA WASHINGTON DIES FRANK MILLER (W), DAVE GIBBONS (A), and ANGUS MCKIE (C)This all-new story by two of comics’ legendary creators is the unprecedented conclusion to one woman’s epic struggle for life’s most valuable quality—freedom.
Lee: Either you have read Martha Washington and enjoyed it or not. I have always liked it. BUT, I won’t get this issue. I am waiting for the nice HC because I know it’s coming.
Jim: Martha Washington has always been a hard sell for me. Sometimes I read it and think this is fascinating stuff and other times I really don’t like it. I do not think this will ever make it onto my bookshelf even as a hard cover.

ZERO KILLER #1 (of 6) ARVID NELSON (W), MATT CAMP (A), and DAVE STEWART (C)The creator of Rex Mundi presents his vision of a shattered alternate future, as brutal gangs struggle for supremacy in a New York City ravaged by nuclear war. All that remains of the once mighty city are skeletal, irradiated skyscrapers, inhabited by thugs who abide by their own twisted rules. While crime lords vie for power and amoral paramilitary forces torment survivors of the devastation, one skilled outcast—the mysterious Zero—uses his strength and wits to stay a step ahead of everyone. Working for anyone while pledging allegiance to none, Zero is a bounty hunter who hunts the dregs of a ruined society . . . he is the Zero Killer.
Lee: Rex Mundi is excellent so this is worth looking at. It will be interesting to see if Nelson can handle the change from people to Superheroes.
Jim: Lee has been kind enough to loan me a Rex Mundi trade, so once I read that I may be interested in looking into this series. I love the post apocalyptic type future books so the premise has me curious.

The independent comics reviews usually clocks in at two parts and we should have something cobbled together for that in a week or so.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

My Candidate for 2008 - Congressman Ron Paul

No one believes that Ron Paul has a snowball's chance in hell in winning the Presidential nomination from the Republican party because he has no big money and has limited name recognition. But if we don't back someone with principles we will never have the right type of leadership.

I need to believe that we can have a better future or my having children would be tantamount to pure ego on my part. The hope for a better future still resides within my cynical soul and at times I to can be Don Quixote and blaze through the fierce jungle to bring a golden civilization to the land (okay it is just cutting the back yard that is over grown).

In my search for a candidate that I can believe in I have found perhaps the last principled member of our Congress. The republican party sponsored a candidate against Mr. Paul because he refuses to tow the line.

He believes in our constitution and is the type of politician that I would try and emulate if I ever obtain a political office within our government.

I have mentioned him to others and some already want to write him off as someone who is too off the beating path to support. SO YOU WANT WHAT WE HAVE TO CONTINUE! HILLARY, OBAMA, EDWARDS, GUILLIANI, MCCAIN are still the same beasts that we have in office today.

I have already donated money to his campaign and will give more and will campaign for him in anyway that I can. Look at his record, check what he believes, this is a man that should be our President.

Brief Overview of Congressman Paul’s Record:
He has never voted to raise taxes.
He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
He has never taken a government-paid junket.
He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
He voted against the Patriot Act.
He voted against regulating the Internet.
He voted against the Iraq war.
He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.

His official website for running for the President is

Friday, April 20, 2007

Preview Review for July - Marvel

Looking ahead to Marvel July 07

CAPTAIN AMERICA #25 - DIRECTOR'S CUT Written by ED BRUBAKER Pencils and Cover by STEVE EPTING Go behind the scenes on one of the most important issues in Marvel history! The events in CAPTAIN AMERICA #25 have been covered in news outlets nationwide, and this bonus edition brings you closer to the tragedy than ever before. Reprints CAPTAIN AMERICA #25 in its entirety and featuring Ed Brubaker's complete script and other extras. 64 PGS
Lee: The only thing that is remotely interesting here is to see how close the script is to final execution. AND, I would be more interested in first or even second draft of the script to see how it changed from concept to execution. I wonder if the people for paid big bucks on ebay for the “death” issue are pissed at all the reissues yet?
Jim: Somehow I’m already tired of Captain America being dead. The storyline is supposed to be nine months long. I have ignored these special editions because if I really like the story and art I will get a collected edition and hopefully it will have the extras. But I seldom read them or watch all the special things on a DVD. Who the heck has time to watch 12 hours of specials about making a 2 hour movie.

HALO: UPRISING #1 (of 4) Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS Pencils and Cover by ALEX MALEEV Blah blah video game tie in yakkety yak yakMicrosoft, Bungie, the Bungie logo, Halo, the Halo logos, the Microsoft Game Studios logo, Xbox 360, the Xbox logos are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries and are used under license from owner. © 2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Lee: So Marvel branches out into the world of video game tie ins. Not the first nor the last. The interesting thing… all the legalize after the hype. There is almost as much junk for MS as there is for anything else. Not even King’s Dark Tower had this much copyright info on it.
Jim: You wonder with all the owners who is making any money off of this puppy.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #111 Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS Penciled by MARK BAGLEY & STUART IMMONEN The artistic baton is passed from longtime penciler Mark Bagley to stunning new ongoing artist Stuart Immonen, of Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four fame! Peter and his Aunt May have perhaps the most important conversation of Peter's life. It's a gut-wrenching, emotional roller coaster you'll never forget. And on the lighter side, we introduce the latest addition to the Spidey villains gallery-say hello to Ultimate Spot! We kid thee not.
Lee: Well, Bagley is gone but what a great run it was. He shall be missed. BUT, in with the new and the Ultimate Spot? You have got to be kidding me! Talk about a through away villain from 1986. Well, it goes to show that Bendis knows and loves his Spidey history.
Jim: I just feel like the hype is almost disrespectful to Bagley. I like his Spider-Man and think he has been a big reason why this book is a success. Never late and probably can produce 15-18 books a year. This guy is a throwback and will be impossible to replace.
Lee: Another Annihilation wave. The first mini/maxi series did well enough that it’s gets another round of adventure. AND, I must say it looks interesting. Art by Tim Green and Kyle Hotz should be great. Giffen and Gage are proven writers. Should be another strong start.
Jim: The Gae and Giffen as writers with Tim Green on art are tough to pass up on. Now I think Kyle Hotz is a decent artist, but I think his style is not a mainstream style and will be a harder sell. Star-Lord is an easy yes as I have a fondest for that character – the other two I don’t know.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #28 Written by ED BRUBAKER Pencils by STEVE EPTING & MIKE PERKINS Meet the New Serpent Squad, their leader -- Sin, the daughter of the Red Skull!
Lee: Fine, fine this is all well and good but Brubaker is playing loosey goosey with CA continuity here. I hate to casually mention but the Serpent Squad has villains that are all based on… ready for this… snakes. Sin leading the group is kinda… I don’t know… counter to the concept of the group? I wonder if Bru was thinking “Oooh. Haven’t used the Serpent Squad yet. Next issue it is!” I am sure the story will be fine but it’s a definite shoe horn of the villains.
Jim: I have to agree. Sin is not a snake. I wonder is Snakewoman could be loaned from Virgin comics?

THE CHAMPIONS #1 Written by MATT FRACTION Pencils and Cover by BARRY KITSON Variant Cover by STEVE MCNIVEN THE CHAMPIONS introduces the all-new and Los Angeles-based crown jewel in Tony Stark's FIFTY-STATE INITIATIVE. A team of Stark-branded and created super heroes, these young actors, athletes and models are infused with tremendous powers and even more tremendous fame, reborn as the First Super Hero Team of Tomorrow™ -- THE CHAMPIONS. Here the same ol'-same ol' means hooking up at the Standard, drinks at SkyBar and a death-duel on Sunset Blvd. against some villain too stupid to realize that, in Hollywood, the good guys always win. The catch: you can be fired at any point along the way. And every inch of your life will be subjected to intense public scrutiny. And if you survive all that for a whole year, you'll face mandatory retirement. And there's no guarantee you'll live to see that retirement. If you had one year to save the world, what would you do?
Lee: And this month’s pointless mini-series goes to… drum roll please. The Champions!!! This seems like a concept that has been done in any number of ways. Fraction could make it interesting but it isn’t new.
Jim:I think this is an ongoing. Also Marvel has some issue to resolve as they don’t own the rights to publish a comic with the name Champions. Based on a Newsarama article Heroic Publishing owns that right. Now the group can be called Champions, just not the title. Along the same lines why DC calls any Captain Marvel book Shazam. So far though Marvel is not backing off the title. Nice to know they can be bullies when they want to. I hate to see Kitson wasted on this concept. I’ll try it, but I’m going to be a hard sell. Maybe the can call the book the West Coast Avengers.

SHE-HULK #21 Written by DAN SLOTT Penciled by RICK BURCHETT Cover by GREG HORN THE MOST IMPORTANT MARVEL COMIC YOU WILL READ ALL YEAR! "ANOTHER ME, ANOTHER U" Ever notice how in some Marvel comics, characters who are SUPPOSED to be dead show up with NO explanation whatsoever? Or in the wrong costume? Or acting in a way they NEVER have before? Well guess what, True Believer, there was a reason. And that reason is going to have She-Hulk and her friends working on some of their STRANGEST cases yet! Don't miss it-- 'cause this is the issue that fixes 90% of Marvel's continuity problems-- from NOW ON!
Lee: I love this!!! Because I have wondered why the heroes act out of character! And I sure Slott’s reasoning should be completely ridiculous. What can I say, I am looking for to it.
Jim:I hope that this book signals Slott making this title fun again, because the whole Civil War has drained the life out of this book.

SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP/M.O.D.O.K.'S 11 #1 (OF 5) Written by FRED VAN LENTE Penciled by FRANCIS PORTELA Cover by ERIC POWELL While the heroes are away fighting World War Hulk, the villains can play...M.O.D.O.K., sick of being hunted and hounded by A.I.M., gathers together an eclectic team of Marvel's Most Wanted to pull off one last, big score. But news travels fast along the grapevine of villainy -- and pretty soon every bad guy in the Marvel Universe is gunning for the Big-Headed One's unspeakably powerful prize. Executing their heist may be the easy part, because getting away with their loot alive is going to be the real challenge for M.O.D.O.K.'s 11!
Lee: Speaking of re-hash. Wasn’t this done like two years ago with “The Imperfects” or something like that? Great cover, blah otherwise.
Jim: I don’t remember the imperfects but this feels like total drek.

THUNDERBOLTS: DESPERATE MEASURES Written by PAUL JENKINS, Penciled by STEVE LIEBER Norman Osborn has his own agenda when it comes to directing the Thunderbolts. But will he go too far when he sends Penance on what could be a suicide mission against the brutal, rogue law-enforcer, Americop? It's Thunderbolt against Thunderbolt in a battle of fists and wills in this special issue by the masterminds behind CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE.
Lee: And, speaking of overexposure. Apparently Ellis’s Thunderbolts has sold very well because here we have the first pointless one shot. I wonder if Marvel realizes that the book sold well because of Ellis and not because of the characters or concept. Jim: Still Paul Jenkins is a decent writer and Penance was his creation (I think). So I will pick it up, but my mind says this will suck.

THOR #1 Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI Pencils and Cover by OLIVIER COIPEL Not a clone! Not a robot! Not an imaginary story! The God of Thunder is officially BACK! You've waited for it, you've demanded it…and we say thee YEA! The Odinson comes roaring to life in this highly anticipated ongoing series by red-hot superstars J. Michael Straczynski (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) and Olivier Coipel (HOUSE OF M)! But how does a god return from Ragnarok? And what place will he find in a world torn by CIVIL WAR?
Lee: Ooooohhh boy. Where to go with this??? How about Thor doesn’t wear sleeves.
Jim: I want this to be good, but it is JMS and Olivier Copiel. Copiel can be very good, but JMS really did not do any justice to the FF and I fear his Thor will be boring also. I think I will buy this and then realize I should just re-read the Lee/Kirby stuff and then read Simonson’s run.

UNCANNY X-MEN #488 Written by ED BRUBAKER Pencils and Cover by SALVADOR LARROCA "The Extremists" The X-Men (re-united with Storm) take to the tunnels to discover why the Morlocks have been erupting with violence. It ain't going to be pretty. Also, Professor X goes off in search of a VERY IMPORTANT character from X-History. Do not miss this tale brought to you by the white-hot team …
Lee: So, to parse the hype, we’re looking for a VERY IMPORTANT character from X history. That effectively narrows it down to… all of them according to X-history. AND, some we haven’t heard of yet, re: retcon The newest Summer Brother introduced last year… what’s his face. BUT, please note, this isn’t by a “RED HOT” creative team, this creative team is “WHITE HOT”! Whatever.
Jim: So if they are white-hot is that better then red hot and if white hot is the top then does that mean any other writer/artist team is not as good.

WOLVERINE: ORIGINS ANNUAL #1 Written by DANIEL WAY Pencils and Cover by KAARE ANDREWS "Return To Madripoor" Double-sized issue! Madripoor. A dirty town custom-made for dirty work. A long time ago, one man ruled this place with an iron fist, a wicked grin…and a patch over one eye. That man is back, and he's looking for answers. Problem is, the answers are dying faster than he can ask the questions. Is there a new player in town…or is it the same old game? Don't miss Logan's long-awaited return to Madripoor, a twisted tour leading from the blood-streaked gutters of Lowtown to the glittering, razor-sharp spires of Hightown and back again. 48 PGS
Lee: Ummmm should we mention that Annuals have always been double sized??? This months review is becoming more and more “look at silly hype” instead of look at cool books. But, if I were to care about the content… well I wouldn’t really care because I never liked the Madripoor location anyway.
Jim: This is a snooze alert and called save your dollars for the independent reviews to come.

DEADPOOL/GLI - SUMMER FUN SPECTACULAR Written by DAN SLOTT Penciled by FABIAN NICEZA & VARIOUS MAGNIFICENT ARTISTS Cover by PAUL PELLETIER Wisconsin's only greatest heroes team-up with the world's most annoying deadliest merc in this slightly larger than average super sized special! Marvel as DEADPOOL and the newly--crowned GREAT LAKES INITIATIVE face off against hitmen, ninjas, and the POWER OF THE GODS! Swoon as the scintillating SQUIRREL GIRL is reunited with her first love, ROBBIE BALDWIN! And prepare yourself as DEADPOOL trains a GLI'er in one of the deadliest killing arts of all time!!! Ye gods, man! What are you waiting for? This thing's got time travel, strange bodily functions, and NINJAS? Did we mention the ninjas? Sick of ninjas yet? We thought so. That's so 80's, right? Forget about the ninjas. (They are there, though.)
Lee: Uuummm This is double sized! Wonder why they didn’t mention that??? Maybe because it was only a spectacular and not an annual. Something to ponder long after you are done reading this! BUT, this plays to all of Slott’s strength’s. Silly characters, silly heroes, silly villains, the should be a boat load of silly fun!!!
Jim:I may have to buy this as where else can I get my squirrel girl fix from.

POWERS ENCYCLOPEDIA VOL. 1 Written by TIM DANIEL and BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS Penciled by MICHAEL AVON OEMING Cover by MICHAEL AVON OEMING THIS IS IT: THE DEFINITIVE POWERS HANDBOOK! The most requested Powers item has finally arrived!! Heroes glide through the sky on lightning bolts and fire. Flamboyant villains attempt daring daylight robberies. God-like alien creatures clash in epic battle over the nighttime sky. And on the dirty city streets below, homicide detectives Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim do their jobs. Now, an in-depth look at the Eisner Award-winning series in this all-new volume! Featuring bios on Christian Walker, Deena Pilgrim, Retro Girl, Captain Cross, Queen Noir, Millenium Guard and many more! Plus: all-new character artwork and cover by Powers co-creator Michael Avon Oeming! The legacy of Powers is laid out before you like never before. Including entries for characters who have yet to make their debut in the series itself.
Lee: Wow oh wow is that crappy. Last line of the entry… “Including entries for characters who have yet to make their debut in the series itself. “ Uummm so I need to buy this to know what’s going on? Crap crap crap.
Jim:Is this is lieu of actually producing a comic. I dropped off during the great monkey saga. I keep thinking I should start getting this as a trade and get back into this book.

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE MIGHTY THOR VOL. 6 HC Written by STAN LEE Penciled by JACK KIRBY Enter one of the most beloved baddies in all of the Asgardian entourage-The Wrecker! The decidedly mortal Thor must battle to his very last breath against this crowbar-wielding wingnut, who himself is powered with Asgardian might! And we'll warn you now, the last note is a tragic one as Thor faces his ladylove, Sif-in the body of the undefeatable Destroyer! It's drama as only the Masters of the Marvel Age can make it! Collecting THOR (Vol. 1) #141-151.
Lee: A MUST HAVE!!!! This run on Thor is some of Kirby’s absolute best bar none. And the books with the battle between the Wrecker, closely followed by a battle with the Destroyer. It’s a silverage lover dream come true.
Jim: I’m giddy just remembering reading these books when they came out. I could happily just buy this type of reprints forever. I love pulling these things off the shelf and just breezing through the art.

DEVIL DINOSAUR BY JACK KIRBY OMNIBUS HC Written by JACK KIRBY Penciled by JACK KIRBY No gods from outer space could beat THIS Devil! Jack Kirby crossed into a new cosmos with this crimson carnivore and his faithful sidekick Moonboy! Now, for the first time, Marvel collects the King's saga of Devil Dinosaur in his prehistoric prime! Collecting DEVIL DINOSAUR #1-9.
Lee: After speaking of Kirby greatness, we come to Devil Dinosaur. Uuummmm, well it’s good natured fun and will look great as a HC. Might not be the best read but it’s a ton of fun.
Jim: I ordered it, but this is my Kirby line. After this timeframe I really can not justify buying his other later stuff. Much of it (as this was also) is unreadable.

Lee: One of the greatest series of the past year. There isn’t a lot that needs to be said about this that hasn’t already been said.
Jim: I’m holding out for the full series hardcovers. I like the 12 issue format hard covers the six and sometime four issue hard covers are not my cup of tea. I want something with a little heft to it.

THE HOOD PREMIERE HC Written by BRIAN K. VAUGHN Penciled by KYLE HOTZ Cover by KYLE HOTZ With great power ...comes great opportunity. Nineteen-year-old Parker Robbins couldn't afford college, but he was able to buy a ski mask and a Lorcin .380 handgun. After dropping out of high school, he hoped to follow in the footsteps of his late father, a soldier in the Kingpin's vast criminal empire - but life in the mob isn't always as glamorous as the movies make it seem. With a pregnant girlfriend, a demanding mistress and an institutionalized mother to care for, Parker can barely make ends meet. So when the small-time crook finds mystical apparel that grants him strange powers, he elects to forgo organized crime ... for the more prestigious and financially rewarding world of costumed villainy. Collecting THE HOOD #1-6.
Lee: I thought I heard rumor that the Hood was going to become a major player in the Marvel U. As mini-series went this was fine. Worth the money for a fancy HC… only if you love Hotz art.
Jim: I can’t do it – pass.

UNCANNY X-MEN: RISE & FALL OF THE SHI'AR EMPIRE HC Written by ED BRUBAKER Penciled by BILLY TAN & CLAYTON HENRY Cover by BILLY TAN A brand-new era for UNCANNY X-MEN begins here! Fresh off X-MEN: DEADLY GENESIS, Ed Brubaker takes the helm of Marvel's mighty mutants. Young Guns Reloaded artist Billy Tan and Clayton Henry join Ed for a story that won't just affect Earth, but will rock the foundations of the entire galaxy! Vulcan is out for revenge and has his sights set on the Shi'ar Empire! Get ready for the ride of your life! A perfect starting point for any new reader! Collecting UNCANNY X-MEN #475-486. Lee: A full year of X-men under one cover. The entire Space soap opera all in one place. I do like the idea of collecting the entire series. It will look nice on the bookshelf. Someone else’s bookshelf because the storyline was “ok” but it will still look nice.
Jim:I agree this can look great on someone else shelf. Again we have material not deserving of a hard cover treatment. So much great older stuff should be done and this crap hits the stands first. Ugh!!

Lee: This is a fanboys wet dream. I cannot wait for this to get here. Love the Invaders! Love the Robbins art. I am so looking forward to this. As always, I wish it were a HC.
Jim: Ditto to every word.

Lee: I wonder if they are going to keep releasing these PAD trades. It made sense when it had McFarlane art. But Purves? A passable artist but one largely forgotten after what Keown and Frank did later. A great series but not the high point…
Jim: But I love having this in sequence and enjoyed the first five to seven years of PAD’s run on this book.

Lee: Another gotta have trade. This is some of Byrne’s best work after X-men! Cap fights Brother Blood, Mr. Hyde, and a great battle with Dragon Man. Good, good stuff. It’s only a matter of time until the get to the Byrne Marvel Team Up. It’s coming!!!!
Jim: I have this trade already (I may have sent it on to someone) and it is well worth owning and it should be done as a hard cover and then I could buy it again.

ESSENTIAL DEFENDERS VOL. 3 TPB Written by LEN WEIN, CHRIS CLAREMONT, STEVE GERBER, BILL MANTLO, MARY SKRENES, TONY ISABELLA, JIM STARLIN, DON MCGREGOR, ROGER SLIFER, GERRY CONWAY & SCOTT EDELMAN Penciled by SAL BUSCEMA, KLAUS JANSON, VINCE COLLETTA,MIKE ESPOSITO, FRANK GIACOIA, JOHN TARTAGLIONE, SAM GRAINGER, JIM MOONEY, GIL KANE, JIM STARLIN, DAN ADKINS, DON NEWTON & DON HECK Cover by ED HANNIGAN There's nothing the non-team can't handle when mutants, gods, demons and miscreants of the 1950s all get their crack at the sensational super heroes of the seventies! With Luke Cage! The Guardians of the Galaxy! The Son of Satan vs. the Sons of the Serpent! Brain transplants, foreign intrigue and the tumultuous terror of Tapping Tommy! Daredevil, Yellowjacket, Bambi! And Elf!? Featuring the first appearance of the ever-reliable Wrecking Crew! Collecting31-60, and Annual 1
Lee: This is another must have. Giffen’s art on this series from late 30’s thru 50 is spectacular. And issue 53 where 4 artists (including Mike Golden) each do 3-5 pages so the book can be done on time… maybe current editors should take note.
Jim: This was not the best comics ever done, but the fun for the buck in this material makes it worth it.

Jim: A real pass for me. I got the first collection and that was enough of this material for me.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

DC Preview Review for July

Jim :Well we are off to the races with July already. It just seemed like a little while ago we wrapped up June and we are off to the races with DC’s July solicitations. DC has hit some major sales slump lately and that bothers me as I’m a huge DC fan and think their stuff is far superior to Marvel as a generalization.

Lee: As a generalization, I would agree DC’s crème is better than Marvel’s crème but both companies both issue their fair share of junk. It is hard to believe it’s July already.

ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER #6 Written by Frank Miller Art and cover by Jim Lee & Scott Williams Variant cover by Miller
Jim: Does any one care about this series anymore?
Lee: This is a book???? I wonder how this being released will affect JL’s ability to do WildCats #3.

ACTION COMICS #852 Written by Kurt Busiek Art and cover by Brad Walker and John Livesay 3-2-1-ACTION! (part 1 of 3) Hot on the heels of SUPERMAN #665's "Jimmy Olsen Countdown Dossier" comes this true blue COUNTDOWN event! Superman has always been Superman's pal. Will he now become Superman's partner?! More secrets of Jimmy's past revealed, the Kryptonite Man on the loose, and more! This issue ties into the events of COUNTDOWN #40! On sale July 25 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Jim: looks like Countdown will definitely be tying in with books each week and that will work as long as everyone maintains their schedules. I picked Action out as a book that has been plagued with Adam Kubert delays from most reports. Still I think Countdown will be a more exciting series then 52 as it happens in “real” time.
Lee: There is so much riding on keeping the overall schedule with this book, I just don’t know. That said, I find it hard to get excited about these books. Another tie in, another long three issue arc…. I haven’t read this in awhile but there really isn’t much motivation to jump on either.

BATMAN CONFINDENTIAL #7 Written by Michael Green Art and cover by Denys Cowan & John Floyd What kind of person becomes a Joker? Writer Michael Green (Heroes writer/producer) and classic Batman artist Denys Cowan shed light on who the Joker was before he became the Joker?and how he and Batman crossed paths even before the day he was created. On sale July 11 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Lee: It’s good to see Denys Cowen back in comics. I loved his stuff on Question and Hardware. And from the cover it doesn’t look like he has lost his touch at all. It’s going to depend on whether or not Mr. Green can actually write for books and not just television.
Jim: I have to agree his Question work was really great. I wish that stuff would get collected in an Omnibus.

BATMAN: BLIND JUSTICE TP Written by Sam Hamm Cover by Walter Simonson Art by Denys Cowan & Dick Giordano Reoffered to coincide with BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #7, also featuring art by Denys Cowan! This classic trade paperback collects DETECTIVE COMICS #598-600 ,written by Batman (1989) screenwriter Sam Hamm! Bruce Wayne discovers a series of murders linked to WayneTech in this tale that leaves him in a wheelchair! On sale July 5 o 160 pg, FC, $14.99 US o Relist
Lee: I seem to remember this being really good. But, Cowan art at its peak if you are a historical type buff.
Jim: I believe the artwork was good, but my remembrance of the story is that is was not a keeper.

SUPERMAN: THE DEATH AND RETURN OF SUPERMAN OMNIBUS HARDCOVER Written by Dan Jurgens, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern, Jerry Ordway and Karl Kesel Art by Jurgens, Jon Bogdanove, Tom Grummett, Brett Breeding, Rick Burchett and others Cover by Jurgens & Ordway For the first time, the historic story of the death and return of Superman is collected in one massive, 784-page hardcover volume featuring an all-new cover by pivotal creator Dan Jurgens, timed to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the event! THE DEATH AND RETURN OF SUPERMAN OMNIBUS includes the best-selling trade paperbacks THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN and THE RETURN OF SUPERMAN, as well as portions of WORLD WITHOUT A SUPERMAN, plus 40 pages of bonus extras including promotional material and product spotlights. Advance-solicited; on sale September 12 o 784 pg, FC, $75.00
Jim: There is so many other reams of DC material that deserve this type of treatment before this stuff, but they have suckered me into buying it. Soon I will have so many of these oversized monstrosities that I will have to buy a reinforced bookcase just to hold them and then reinforce my floor.
Lee: I think it is cool they are doing this! The debate for what should/should not be traded is a whole different discussion but this is well worth it. For the mega event this was and the impact it had, I think this is great.

THE ALL-NEW ATOM #13 Written by Gail Simone Art by Mike Norton & Dan Green Cover by Ladrönn The Search for Ray Palmer continues as the Atom finds himself with people who knew Palmer very well: the jungle-dwelling little people from SWORD OF THE ATOM! And they may be hiding the Atom's predecessor among their people. On sale July 5 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Jim: I’m looking forward to this story. If done right it could be a really nice look at what happens to a hero when all he knew has gone wrong. And as a big Gail Simone fan, hey it should be good.
Lee: Sorry but I just don’t care about the Atom. Sometime, not that long ago, my 12 yr old brain said “He’s so small he travels over telephone lines? That’s just dumb!” and it’s be over ever since. BUT, if you are a fan of the Atom then Gail is the person you want handling the writing chores. Should be good.

GREEN LANTERN #21 Written by Geoff Johns Art and cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert Variant cover by Andy Kubert The first chapter of "Sinestro Corps" explodes! Sinestro's army of fear has gathered: Arkillo! Karu-Sil! The Cyborg-Superman! And hundreds more of the most terrifying villains the universe has ever seen! Hal Jordan has overcome great fear throughout his life, but what fear still lingers inside him? Parallax knows, and Hal's about to be reminded as he leads Earth's Green Lanterns on a life-or-death rescue mission in the middle of this war. Meanwhile, the Guardians of the Universe find dissent within their ranks as a bizarre prophecy is fulfilled. The secrets of the Green Lantern Corps and its power are about to be revealed!
Jim: Okay I’m looking forward to the new GL stuff, but my god does GL win the award for longest hype for all of his books lately. I mean a teaser or two, but my god there is more information in this solicitation then in 25% of most actual titles in today’s books. Bendis doesn’t give us this much information in a six issue story arc!
Lee: So, is lots of hype a sign of good things or bad things? Is the greater detail due to lack of sales? Makes you wonder. But, the Sinestro Corp storyline should be interesting.

BLACK CANARY #1 & 2 Written by Tony Bedard Art and cover by Paulo Sequeira & Amilton Santos Black Canary takes flight in a 4-issue miniseries written by Tony Bedard (52, SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES) with art by Paulo Sequiera (BIRDS OF PREY, Gypsy) & Amilton Santos! The League of Assassins tracks Black Canary to Star City in an effort to liberate the child, Sin, they believe to be the DCU's next greatest assassin. Luckily, Black Canary has other plans for Sin's abilities and future. Issue #1 on sale July 5; issue #2 on sale July 18 o 1 & 2 of 4 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US Edited by Mike Carlin
Jim: Love Black Canary and glad to see she is getting a solo shot. Now DC is running a GA Year One and Black Canary mini right after Ollie proposes and then cancel his title. Is this building back to them as a team. It would seem dumb at this point as Black Canary is now running the JLA and seems very independent and had moved on.
Lee: You and Zatanna… oh wait, we’re talking Black Canary now. This is for the fanboys and Black Canary people. I wonder if they are going the Lone Wolf and Cub route with the little girl in tow.
Jim: What can I say I love a beautiful woman in fishnets.

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA VOL. 1: THE NEXT AGE HC Written by Geoff Johns Art by Dale Eaglesham, Art Thibert and Ruy Jose Cover by Alex Ross The world's first super-team returns in this volume collecting the first 4 issues of the all-new JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA series, written by Geoff Johns (52, GREEN LANTERN, ACTION COMICS) with stunning art by Dale Eaglesham (VILLAINS UNITED) & Art Thibert (OUTSIDERS) and a cover by Alex Ross (JUSTICE, KINGDOM COME)! Advance-solicited; on sale September 19 o 144 pg, FC, $19.99 US
Jim: Ouch four issues per hard cover and a $20 entry fee. Pass for me no matter how much I like the material.
Lee: Again, I wonder what the motivation is here. 4 issues for $20 is steep and I can’t imagine it wouldn’t keep the casual collector away. Then again, this is probably targeted at the fanboy and not the casual person. The story was well received. The art is great. I will most likely plunk down the change for this one.

SHOWCASE PRESENTS: WONDER WOMAN VOL. 1 TP Written by Robert Kanigher Art and cover by Ross Andru & Mike Esposito Don't miss more than 500 pages of Amazonian action in this black-and-white volume collecting WONDER WOMAN #98-117! Advance-solicited; on sale August 22 o 528 pg, B&W, $16.99 US
Jim: I’m buying it, but I won’t really like it that much. I was never a Ross Andru art fan and it detracts form the stories. Still I want to re-read Kanigher’s WW and see what I think today about it.
Lee: How is it that you buy this, which you don’t really like, but fail to mention Showcase Presents: Adam Strange Vol. 1? It makes no sense to me. I would buy the Adam Strange first and then buy this. Even though you don’t like the art this is the series that established Andru & Esposito as superstars.
Jim: I love Adam Strange and have the Archives which covers the same material.

TANGENT COMICS VOL. 1 TP Written by Dan Jurgens, Kurt Busiek, James Robinson, Ron Marz and Todd Dezago Art by Gary Frank, Mike McKone, J.H. Williams III, Jurgens and others Cover by Jurgens & Norm Rapmund In 1997, DC's Tangent event presented a group of strange new heroes with very familiar names. Now, these hard-hitting heroes are back in a fantastic new collection including TANGENT COMICS: THE ATOM, METAL MEN, THE FLASH, GREEN LANTERN and SEA DEVILS! Advance-solicited; on sale August 29 o 208 pg, FC, $19.99 US
Jim: It could be my memory slipping, but this was some decent stuff, by some really solid creators.
Lee: I’m glad to see this material traded because there is some great art in here. I always had trouble buying the single issues because I knew the stories weren’t going anywhere. It was DC’s version of What If?. But, collected like this should be a blast.

THE PROGRAMME #1 Written by Peter Milligan Art and cover by C.P. Smith Variant cover by Ethan Van Sciver From the brilliant mind of critically acclaimed writer Peter Milligan (X-Statix, SHADE THE CHANGING MAN, JLA CLASSIFIED) and with the incredible art of C.P. Smith (Punisher, Wolverine) comes a tale a half century in the making! In 1991, the Cold War ended without the two primary players ever facing each other in direct conflict. The vast arsenals of democracy and communism were put on ice, and the world moved toward a new millennium. While the U.S.S.R. disintegrated, the United States rose to unchallenged dominance?but now a long-forgotten Soviet weapon is awakened on one of America's many battlegrounds, threatening the global balance of power. Conventional warfare is suddenly outdated: the new weapons of mass destruction wield super-powers. Does America have an answer to...The Programme? On sale July 18 o 1 of 12 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Jim: See new launches deserve a long promotional piece as you have to sell the premise to an audience. Sounds like fun to me. Milligan is hit and miss for me, but I think this is more his strength.
Lee: This looks great. And this is absolutely Milligans strength. Weird heroes against weird villains in weird situations. Should be very good.

ALAN MOORE: THE COMPLETE WILDC.A.T.S TP Written by Alan Moore Art by Travis Charest, Mat Broome, Ryan Benjamin and others Cover by Charest Alan Moore is considered by many to be the finest comics writer of the last quarter century. His standout achievements in the medium include WATCHMEN, V FOR VENDETTA, THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, and From Hell. Now Moore's defining run on WildC.A.T.s is collected into a single volume, collecting WILDC.A.T.S. #21-34, plus a story from issue #50, featuring the impressive art of Travis Charest and other fine artists who provide breathtaking visuals. Alan Moore took the WILDC.A.T.S back to their roots and stirred up the WildStorm Universe considerably, creating a perfect starting point for catching up the flagship WildStorm superhero team. It's a tale filled with unsettling revelations and gripping drama - and the introduction of one of WildStorm's great villains: Tao! Advance-solicited; on sale August 8 o 392 pg, FC, $29.99 US
Lee: The greatest WildCats story ever. Alan Moore weaves a tale that is just fantastic. And with art by Charest (his pre-looney tunes, primedonna phase) this is a must have. My only question… why no HC???
Jim: I have to see if I have this stuff in another trade, if I don’t I agree a no-brainer in the buy column.

SENTENCES: THE LIFE OF M.F. GRIMM HARDCOVER Written by Percy Carey Art and cover by Ronald Wimberly Underground rap icon Percy Carey tells the true story of his life in the "Hip-Hop Game" - the dizzying heights and heartbreaking losses - in the raw and brutally honest hardcover graphic novel memoir SENTENCES: THE LIFE OF M.F. GRIMM. In SENTENCES, Carey chronicles his life in the sometimes glamorous, and often violent, hip-hop industry; from the first time he picked up a microphone at a block party as a youngster, to the day he lost the use of his legs to gang violence, to his incarceration, and eventually, to his self-reinvention and rise back to the top of his game, becoming a Hip-Hop Grand Master and being placed among the pantheon of the culture. No questions are left unanswered and no apologies are made, resulting in what's sure to be a groundbreaking graphic novel. Joining Carey is up-and-coming artist Ronald Wimberly (LUCIFER, HELLBLAZER: PAPA MIDNITE covers), who breathtakingly illustrates this gritty tale of righteous redemption. If what you know about hip-hop is the flashy cars and voluptuous women that music videos try to sell, be prepared to experience the real side of the industry that only someone who has survived the rise, fall, and rise again, can tell. Advance-solicited; on sale September 5 o 7" x 9" o 128 pg, B&W, $19.99 US MATURE READERS
Jim: I will be passing on this book, but it is nice to see that a wide variety of material is being covered by a major publisher.
Lee: You can’t say that DC doesn’t try things. Kudos to them. BUT, a quick search turned up… I think this is the artist. WOW. He has talent. I can’t really tell because he goes by D-pi but it certainly could be him…
Jim: I followed the link and wow this guy is very good.

FAKER #1 Written by Mike Carey Art and cover by Jock In the numbing cold of a Minnesota winter, Jessie Kidby and her freshman friends kick off their second semester with a wild party. But in the aftermath of the big blow-out, things start to go horribly wrong for all of them. Jessie is troubled by nasty memories she's been suppressing for years, while her best friend Nick Philo has become an un-person: Nobody outside their tight-knit little clique can remember seeing him before, and his records have been erased from the college's computers. At first, it doesn't seem like a big deal, but it becomes increasingly obvious that one of them is not what he appears to be. Chock full of ruthless characters with hidden agendas, FAKER takes place during freshman year in college; the ultimate time of reinvention, where, if you're up for it, you can lie, cheat and fake your way through almost anything. FAKER is by the Eisner-nominated team of Mike Carey (LUCIFER, CROSSING MIDNIGHT) and Jock (THE LOSERS). On sale July 5 o 1 of 6 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US o MATURE READERS
Lee: This looks really good too. Carey’s Lucifer was outstanding and this is a return to his horror roots. Should be great. Jock’s art was last seen on Losers and should fit the theme of the title well. Looking forward to this.
Jim: Carey is almost impossible for me to pass up on. Even his poor work is usually okay. Right now his X-Men stuff is his weakest, but that’s because I don’t like the group he has selected, his writing and the stories are actually holding me in on the X-Men, so I’m a big yes for this book also.

THE COMPLETE BITE CLUB TP Written by Howard Chaykin & David Tischman Art by David Hahn Cover by Frank Quitely Don't miss this 264-page volume collecting both the original critically acclaimed BITE CLUB and its sequel, BITE CLUB: VAMPIRE CRIME UNIT! The Sopranos have nothing on the Del Toros, a vampire clan that has run organized crime in Miami for nearly a century. Beautiful, rich and immortal, these bloodsuckers are also masters of backstabbing and in-fighting. Advance-solicited; on sale August 29 o 264 pg, FC, $19.99 US o MATURE READERS
Lee: You know, this is… I think.. the third large scale trade offered this month. Moore’s WildCats was 392 pgs, this is 264 pages. I don’t care about the series but I find these large trades interesting. I wonder if it will be lower grade paper like the World At War trade? Almost an essential in color. I think that’s a great way to go and wonder why they don’t do more of it.
Jim:It is interesting that so much is getting traded now days. When I review the list of books coming out from Marvel and DC on a weekly basis a good 25% are trades.

SCALPED VOL. 1: INDIAN COUNTRY TP Written by Jason Aaron Art by R.M. Guera Cover by Jock Jason Aaron, the hot new writer of the critically acclaimed series THE OTHER SIDE, teams with gritty artist R.M. Guéra for an intense crime drama that mixes organized crime with current Native American culture. This special low-priced volume collects the first five issues of the riveting Vertigo series SCALPED. Fifteen years ago, Dashiell "Dash" Bad Horse ran away from a life of abject poverty and utter hopelessness on the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation searching for something better. Now he's come back home armed with nothing but a set of nunchucs, a hell-bent-for-leather attitude and one dark secret, to find nothing much has changed on "The Rez" - short of a glimmering new casino, and a once-proud people overcome by drugs and organized crime. Is he here to set things right or just get a piece of the action? Advance-solicited; on sale August 1 o 128 pg, FC, $9.99 US
Lee: Great crime series. Get this. Get caught up. Buy more issues!!!
Jim: I have really enjoyed this series and if you are not buying the monthly issues pick this up.

CATWOMAN VINYL STATUE By KOTOBUKIYA Under special arrangement with Japanese manufacturer Kotobukiya, DC DIRECT once again brings the exquisite craftsmanship of KOTOBUKIYA to fans. A purr-fect companion statue to the previously released BATMAN and THE JOKER Vinyl Statues, this CATWOMAN VINYL STATUE is approximately 6"-7" long and is packaged in a 4-color window box. The CATWOMAN VINYL STATUE is manufactured to order! Advance-solicited; on sale December 12, 2007 Vinyl Statue o $69.99 US

SUPERGIRL VINYL STATUE By KOTOBUKIYA Under special arrangement with Japanese manufacturer Kotobukiya, DC DIRECT once again brings the exquisite craftsmanship of KOTOBUKIYA to fans. A companion piece to the previously released SUPERMAN Vinyl statue, the SUPERGIRL Vinyl Statue stands approximately 10" tall and is packaged in a 4-color window box. The SUPERGIRL VINYL STATUE is manufactured to order! Advance-solicited; on sale December 12, 2007 Vinyl Statue o $79.99 US

Jim: I have included these two together to show how much more mature the Japanese audience is when it comes to producing statues.
Lee: Oh yes. I see what you mean. Light years ahead of the American audience. Then again, maybe it is a Japanese Light year v. an American light year. Gotta make sure the units of measure are correct before I make a rash decision.

That's it for the DC material.