Friday, November 30, 2007

The Goon – Chinatown – A Review

Quick editor's Note - We will do two posts today and tomorrow.

The Goon – Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker – by Eric Powell

Wow. This book was just amazing an unbelievable tour de force by Mr. Powell.

So I gave it away in the first sentence what I think about this book, but I don’t really care because Eric Powell has taken his creation to a whole new level with this story. The Goon has always been a relatively semi-comical character to me, with excellent art and a strong sense of sarcasm. There was an underlying edge to the work, but never like it has been shown in this book.

The story itself was so well told that it was a pleasure to sit down and read the book in one sitting. The biggest struggle was wanting to read the book too fast and then miss the fantastic artwork.

First, as comics are a visual medium let me talk a little bit about the artwork. The book was almost a painting. Every page and every panel was a work of art. Eric’s deft use of shading and ability to convey texture was on full display here. His work has fluidness to it and sense of realism to it, that it is almost a mixture of Steve Ditko and John Buscema. An odd pairing, I know, but there it is and what it really is, is Eric Powell.

As no one else is credited as working on the book I have to assume that he did all the gray tones and coloring throughout the book. By use of colors we go back and forth in time telling a tale of the Goon’s early life and a tale of today. The ease in which it works without captions is a lesson that many other story tellers could use. During the current story it is essentially black and white with a sparing use of other colors. That limited usage of the full palate give the yellows and reds and other colors more power since they are hardly used.

One of my absolute favorite pages (of which there maybe 128 of them) is a flashback scene between Goon and Bella. It is an eight panel page showing that the Goon is very attracted to Bella. The last five panels are pictures of Bella’s lips, shoulder, chest, legs and an eye. This page is so damn sexy and portrays Bella as so alluring that it is a true joy to look at (all without any nudity). It captures the elegance of sexy from a bygone era and gets an old man’s pulse racing.

Last and certainly not least is Mr. Powell’s ability to convey emotion. Every single emotion and emotional nuance that you can think of it’s captured on the faces of the characters throughout this story. This is humor, fear, anger, anguish, lust, love, disappointment, heart ache, surprise and deep unabated pain.

The early age story tells of a young Goon just establishing himself as a crime lord. The modern day story is of a mysterious Mr. Wicker who is taking over all of the Goon’s business operations. The early story is told all in lighter brown tones to denote it is a story of the past. It tells us the story of how the Goon fell in love and was willing to live a good life for the love of a woman (Bella) he freed from a Chinese crime lord. When the Goon professes his love and wanting to start a new life together she tells him she does not want to be with him. The Goon reverts back to being a crime lord. He then goes to fight the Chinese criminal he had given the docks to for Bella’s freedom. It is during this battle that the Goon earns the face he has today.

The current storyline has him dealing with girl troubles and a Mr. Wicker who is a thing of the supernatural. The Goon's empire is being rapidly taken away from him and he fights back to try and reclaim what was his. At the same time he tries to reconcile with a woman he had turned away. This story also does not end well. The two stories bounce back and forth and form a perfect rhythm that develops the character of the Goon and gives us a glimpse into his psyche.

After the title page the one page “forward” states “This Ain’t Funny” and it wasn’t. It was a tragic romance in the finest tradition and an action adventure story with a bit of a buddy movie thrown in for good measure. I’m not doing the story justice, but trust me I rather leave a lot of what happens untold and have probably said too much.

Bottom line, this is a fantastic graphic novel, a terrific tale and one for the ages. Run down to your local comic store and buy a copy or buy two and give one to a friend at Christmas.

Thanks Eric for a great book that will remain on my bookshelf forever (except when I lend it out or take it down to read it again).

Review: Scorn #1-2

Lee: Well, as our happy little blog continues to grow and gain exposure we get more requests to review books. It’s all been from smaller publishers but that’s ok. I always loved being the first kid on the block with the new toy and this is no different. Someday, these creators on these smaller books will be successful and they will either love us or… respect out opinion.

The latest request came from Septagon Studios. They have a new book out and wanted to know what we thought. So, today Gwen and I will review…

Scorn by by Kevin Moyers with art by Philipp Neundorf

The Synopsis

Gwen: This is a fairly straightforward revenge plot at the moment. Here's the official hype from the first issue which sums it all up nicely: "19-year-old Michael Riggs witnesses the murder of his best friend at the hand of notorious gang leader Robert Torres. Michael becomes obsessed with revenge, and nothing can stop him on his vicious and bloody rampage of vigilante justice."

The Review

Gwen: I wasn't terribly impressed with this book. I found the art to be unattractive and while that works for some books it lacked the fluidity of Templesmith and the distinct character of Teddy Kristiansen (both artists who pull off the darker art style). While this story does need a darkness and even primal feel to the art to compliment the plot I felt that Neundorf's work is underdeveloped. Much of the layout looks like Jim's old cutout comic book character book. I found it difficult to pay attention to the story at times because the art was so rough that it was difficult to tell who was who (or even if a certain shape was a person or not). The art is expressionistic at best. The story was unoriginal and to an extent unbelievable. Perhaps if Micheal's lover had been killed it would make more sense for him to go on a murdering vengeful rampage, but his friendship with his roommate - well except for a brief 'buildup' I have a hard time understanding what exactly pushes the main character towards homicide. Throw in the 'hooker with a heart of gold' aspect and I'm losing interest fast (and since Micheal sleeps with said hooker I have to wonder what kind of STDs he's picked up, ew). On the upside the story is easy to follow and moves along quickly.

Lee: Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from this. I’ve never heard of Septagon and this was their first offering. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised that this was pretty good. The story held up for two issues and even managed to get a little characterization in. I mention this because most new comics are all action and setup and forget to introduce us to the characters.

I will admit the story stretches credibility at points but I forgave that. If I can believe men in tights can fly I can believe some duex exmachina type co-inky-dinky’s.

The art was good. It appears the artist is doing his best Ben Templesmith/Ashley Wood impression. His style isn’t quite his own yet but competent enough to hold a persons interest. Let me clarify, it tells the story well and the layout was handled well. There was nice flow between the panels and enough variation between panel angle and layout to maintain my interest. But, the figures were definitely off. The proportions of the bodies tended to change and there were points when the anatomy was off and not on purpose.

I have to say the lettering for sound effects was particularly weak. It was obviously photo shopped in and appeared to be floating on the page instead of an organic part of the page.

Gwen: Lee, you and I seem to disagree on art a lot. I feel that I could have gotten just as much of an idea of how the story was moving with expressionistic stick figures. I'm not saying that the art doesn't have potential, but I draw people better than this and I definitely don't think that my art is strong enough to make comic books. It all just looks so... unfinished. Also, I found the characterization to be forced for the most part. Micheal's encounter with his father seemed to be thrown in for no good reason. Actually the characters that I like were the police officers, they were well done despite only making a few appearances.

Lee: We disagree because you wrong more often than not. Art is more than figure drawing. The art has to be able to tell the story through individual panels and get the eye to flow in the desired path. In that sense the art was strong. The misproportioned anatomy appeared to be a weakness instead of a desired effect. I felt the artist was trying to be detailed but couldn't quite pull it off.

As for the story, I agree, some of the lead characters motivations are thin but it didn't bother me. The author used extreme examples (stretching believability) to show a base for how angry the character was. In that sense, I gave it a pass because I was looking at the grander tale being told.

Gwen: C-

I love independent publishers but in order to succeed with that route you need to be able to appeal to a wider audience. That means more accessible art and more believable character reactions. This book could easily improve plot-wise, but the art needs a lot more work. With more time in the planning stages this comic could improve drastically.

Lee: C+
I disagree about more accessible art. Look at the diverse styles on the market and the wild amount of success each seems to have. The art could be improved but it's good enough to convey the story. As for the story, it's a strong plot with some weak moments. Overall I liked the package and they creators show positive potential.

To see for yourself...

Visit the publisher at:

Previews at:

Visit the Trailer:

Philipp Neundorf can be found at

Thursday, November 29, 2007

2 Guns: A Review

With two issues of 2 Guns coming out for November I thought it would be a good time to catch up on my reading as far as this book goes. Considering the fact that I get over 70 titles a month and that I have full time work and school I fall behind on my reading more than I'd like. Luckily I had some free time today and while most of it was spent cleaning (ugh) I made some comic book time. Sometimes it pays off to wait and read several issues of a book at once as I can tell that this book would have been hard to wait for.

2 Guns is a fast-paced action/adventure, with so many layers and twists that it left my head spinning. That's a good thing in this case. Of course now I have to wait impatiently for the last issue.

I haven't experienced a story with this many layers of subterfuge since I started watching Alias (except minus the destiny stuff). From bank robbery, to being undercover, to getting framed, set up by the Navy, getting shot, not knowing who to trust, following the money, committing treason.... well lets just say there's a whole lot going on for a five issue mini series! I salute Steven Grant for his ability to write such a busy story with both style and pizazz. The plot, while complex, fits together one piece at a time and manages to build up the characters all the while. I really developed a fondness for Steadman and Trench as they race through trying to stay one step ahead of, well, just about everyone.

I think I was sold on this book by page 2 of the first issue. The conversation between the two main characters had fantastic timing and immediately gives the reader a feel for their personalities. My favorite line was, "Orange juice and crullers? Some desperado you are."

The art is boldly done but it works well with the genre of the story being told. Santolouco's art reminds me a bit of Ryan Ottley's work on Invincible. Santolouco's work is simpler in the sense that he doesn't work with as much fine detailing but the character expressions seem similar. I really enjoy accessible art like this that allows me to easily identify characters. The other thing the art does well in these comics is the actual action sequences. It's all done very cinematically, which compliments the story beautifully.

My one complaint is that there are quite a few times in these issues where the word bubbles are switched around between characters. It makes things a bit confusing and threw me off of the pace of the story. Hopefully these typos will be caught before this goes to trade.

Overall I had a good time reading these four issues and I'm looking forward to the last installment. I have no idea how Grant can possibly wrap this up in one issue, but if the build up is any indication it should be one hell of a roller coaster ride.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Save the Whales

It's not often that I support lots of things but this one is worth looking at... is trying to get a million people to sign a petition to stop whaling.

If you could tell as many people as you can about the website, that would be a great help.

Thanks for your support and remember to sign the petition.

And, it comes with a cool flash game.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Best to Worst of Last Week

This was a really big week in pure number of titles and it had a wide mix of really great books, good books and some mediocre books. As always for an individual title it is often the luck of the draw, if the week is filled with tons of great stuff, an individual title may look much worse in comparison. One really positive trend I want to point out from the big 2 is the way they have handled multi-part cross-overs. Both the Ras As Ghul story and the X-event have crossed over multiple titles to create a weekly story. The actual beats of the story have held up from book to book and have been an almost seamless read. Not sure if this is just better planning or what has driven it, but it is nice to see and makes these events more enjoyable.

Action Comics #859 - This is great. It is like an Adult Legion story only much better as the Legion is hunted on Earth and a powerless Superman is helping them fight back. Johns has captured the essence of a classic Legion story and made it modern. Anchored by Gary Frank’s superior artwork and you have a winning book.
Grendel Behold the Devil #1 (of 8) – Very tough call between this and Action. Maybe I’m nostalgic, but it is also based on Matt Wagner’s ability as an artist and a writer. The opening sequence of this book was fantastic and so simple yet so effective, Four pages of bloody white walls leading to a two page spread of Grendel alive in a roomful of dead people. The arrogance and power of Hunter Rose was apparent from that point and carried through. Great story telling and a wonderful start to this mini-series.
Left on Mission #5 (of 5) – I was thinking of making this best book of the week, but with my review and my declaring it the best mini-series of 2007 for me, I thought that as an individual issue, while well done, not the absolute best of the week.
Circle #1 - Really strong opening issue. We get introduced to a set of characters, get an adventure started and have a group of assassins try to take out the everyman character that is in over his head. This book is obviously a labor of love by Brian Reed (writer) and Ian Hosfeld (artist) as the background material reveals they have been playing with this concept off and on for a few years. The Circle is an underground worldwide network that is trying to reclaim their country from a military dictatorship. The smartest part of this book is using Wallace Christopher as a storytelling device to allow us to be drawn into the group as this adventure has drawn him in. The story is fun and action packed and I’m already hooked to find out more about the Circle’s leader Ulee and Ilona (who appears to be a second in command). The art is phenomenal, Ian Hosfeld’s work reminds me of Jordi Bernet, but has a more realistic edge to it. He has superb layouts and beautiful action shots. Bottom line this guy is one heck of an artist. The Circle looks to be a winner.
Countdown to Mystery #3 (of 8) – This is really a good mini-series. Both stories are excellent. The main feature about Dr. Fate and his path of learning about himself and his powers is well done. Especially as this is not about a young man learning to be a hero, but about an older adult learning about being a hero and rebuilding his own life. The Eclipso story has multiple story lines. Eclipso’s story, the corruption of Plastic Man, Specter and Cripus Allen separating and the return of Bruce Gordon. The art in Eclipso by Stephen Jorge Segovia is really well done and Matthew Struges story has me waiting or more.
Walking Dead #44 - This book is really moving now. I was forced to switch to the single issues, because so much is happening and I did not want to wait. Andrea gets shot and Rick is gut shot. Kirkman promised no one was safe and he is not kidding. The War with the Governor is going to be a pivotal moment in this series.
Brave and Bold #8 - Every issue of this book is a gem as Mark Waid and George Perez deliver great issue after great issue. This issue we get The Chief from the Doom Patrol trying to help the Flash with his kids. Humor, action and adventure as well as strong characterization is injected into this book along with flat out the best super hero art in the business, George Perez.
Detective Comics #838 - Another good chapter in the Resurrection of Ras As Ghul. This book is reading like one long story and this issue was especially good as the confrontation was directly with Ras. Ryan Benjamin did a beautiful job with the interior art and Dini’s script was well done as always.
Countdown to Final Crisis #23 – This book has really gotten back into a good rhythm. Superman Prime is the focus and we learn he looks older because he is bloated with power. The sense that he is getting even more out of control is very real. Thomas Derenick’s art has never looked better then it has in Countdown.
Catwoman #73 - Great issue, an unknown enemy is stripping everything away from Selina and he is doing a good job of it. We end with Catwoman trapped and drugged with her assailant gleefully watching her fall. This is one of the best series for 2007.
Hellblazer #238 - Andy Diggel has made Constamtine back into the ultimate bad ass character. This was a tough story as John plays the hero, but then has to sacrifice the girl he saved to a fate worse then death. Guest artist Daniel Zezelj does a good job, he has such a dark style and uses so much shadow that his work is almost impressionistic.
Spirit #11 - Great issue. The second part of the El Morte story was well done and it was nice to see Ellen saving the day with help fom a friend of hers. Darwyn Cooke has only one more issue left, not sure what happened to make him to leave the book, but it is hard not to look forward to Mike Ploog’s artwork. Still Cooke wrote and drew this book and it is hard to replace a great writer/artist.
Checkmate #20 - Great crosses and double crosses all resolving in Amanda Wall being taken down by the other royals. Greg Rucka is in his element writing this type of story. Joe Bennett is all over the DCU and he is such a solid super hero artist, that I hope they have him signed to a long term exclusive.
Suicide Squad Raise the Flag #3 (of 8) - Javier Pina’s art seems to be getting stronger with every issue. We finally wrap up the flashback of how Rick Flag survived and next issue we get the new Suicide Squad back in action. This needs to be an ongoing series.
Zero Killer #3 (of 6) - Good Issue. This series is getting better and better. We have set the premise and now Arvid Nelson (writer) is peeling away bits and pieces of the world as it is and slowly revealing who Zero is. Matt Camp’s artist style is very clean and strong rendered. It has a Gulacy smoothness to it, but also has a more realistic sense to it in some panels.
Strange Embrace #6 (of 8) - What an impossibly hard book to read. The level of depravity of the people involved in this book makes you almost feel dirty from reading it. Still the “Strange Embrace” will not let you go and you are compelled to follow the story further. Sarah’s story is so tragic and she is trapped by the rigors of the society of her time that you wish she would just run away and find a good life. Well done by David Hine as writer/artist and impossible to categorize.
Heroes for Hire #15 - Final issue, ended with a bang. Humbug dies, which was fitting within the story, but you had just turned him into something different and wasted it. Shang-Chi killing him was harsh, but Colleen’s words to end the book were nice “we should have just been heroes”.
Flash #234 - Another really good issue. Freddie Williams’ art really fits this book and it is coming out monthly again. Freddie has a more fluid style and some of his expressions for the kids are priceless. Mark Waid is making the return of Wally West a real family affair.
Invincible #46 - Another strong issue. Advancing both sub-plots and also giving us some insight into Mark’s personality. Also a nice surprise as Dupli-Kate saved herself by keeping one of her selves in a safe house. Even the building issues of Invincible are enjoyable.
Umbrella Academy Apocalypse Suite #3 (of 6) - This is just an odd book. It doesn’t lend itself to any true categorization. Gabriel Ba’s is more of a cartoonist then typical comic book artist and it fits well is this mad potpourri of Harry Potter, X-Men and madcap science fiction. A fun offbeat adventure and I’m just strapped in and enjoying the ride.
Penance Relentless #3 (of 5) - Very well done, this mini-series continues with the twist and turns and Robbie continues to outsmart everyone. This series is establishing Penance as one of the more powerful Marvel heroes and shows he has smarts to go along with it. Paul Jenkins and Paul Gulacy have a winning mini-series on their hands.
Fall of Cthulhu #8 - As the Black Pharaoh continues his gathering, each chapter continues to terrify. The “horror” in this book is more psychological then physical, but some of the physical is gruesome also. The art was uneven this issue, but certain pages really did a great job, especially when the “vessel” expelled his soul.
Captain America #32 - Still a good story, but damn if this isn’t one of the most dragged out stories in a long time. The book is moving at such a slow pace it makes me want to drop it and wait for the trade.
Shadowpact #19 - Good issue. I liked seeing Enchantress in charge of the smaller group of heroes. This offbeat group is a fun read and Matthew Sturges has taken over this title and keep it just as strong as Willingham’s run.
Conan #46 - Nice ending to the Conan “origin” story by Kurt Busiek and Greg Ruth. It will be a worthwhile trade when the entire arc is collected under one cover.
Drafted #3 - Why Earth is being drafted into an Alien War has not been revealed, but the story just keeps on building. This looks to be an epic story and so far each chapter is delivering an entertaining read. Mark Powers story is a good one so far. Artist Chris Lie does a good job, but is art still has a slightly less professional feel to it. It should be interesting to see him grow as the series progress.
Grimm Fairy Tales #18 - Sela’s crisis of fate seems to be resolved this issue with a good little tale showing how we can have a ripple effect on the world. You affect one person who affects five, who each affect five more , etc. etc. One of the better issue in this series and seems to signify a return to more stories structured around the actual Fairy Tales.
Iron Man Director of Shield Annual #1 - Fun issue. The story casts Tony Stark as James Bond taking down Madam Hydra in Mardipoor. Christos Gage is back in top form with this story and I really enjoyed Tony’s ultimate triumph. Harvey Talibao is an unknown artist to me, bad he did a really nice job.
Atlantis Rising #2 (of 5) - This story is on full speed, but due to an over lined artwork and some less then stellar panels I sometimes have a problem identifying who is who. I think Tim Irwin’s artwork shows potential but it is weak at times and has way too many lines and often appears to be unfinished work. Scott O. Brown has the story moving ahead full bore and it seems like we are going to have one hell of a collision when the s**t hits the fan.
Graveslinger #2 (of 4) - Last issue we were in the midst of deadmen running around the old west and Frank Timmons as the Graveslinger trying to put them down. This issue we get the background story on why Frank is a Zombie chaser in the old west. All in all a great supernatural western tale by writers Shannon Eric Denton and Jeff Mariotte. I want to like this issue more by the art was weak and appears that they used coloring to try and hide its weakness.
Thunderbolts Breaking Point - Decent story about Songbird and Moonstone and the battle between them, but all the excess material being published feels like fill in issues without actually making it a numbered issued of Thunderbolts. It was well written by Christos Gage and solid art by Brian Denham. Birds of Prey #112 – A story that really showed us a lot of heart and emotion. Tony Bedard’s final issue on Birds of Prey gave us Lady Blackhawk honoring her fallen comrade in arms Big Barda in her own unique fashion.
New X-Men #44 - Continuing the Messiah Complex. The book focuses on bringing the New X-Men into the fray and as I don’t follow their book; I’m not sure who is who. Still as I have said the book is almost seamless from chapter to chapter. The story itself has too many things happening for me to believe then can resolve all of it in eight more chapters.
Hunter’s Moon #4 (of 5) - Good issue. This story has grown on me. The father finally finds his son and is reunited with him against all odds. Now how will he and his son get out alive?
Incursion #1 (of 4) - Went into to this book with no real expectations. The story by Jay Busbee was well written. The story itself looks to be a war against some sort of demons. Alex Medelin Machain does a good job with the art. His work was a good effort for a young artist.
Batman Confidential #11 – This is a decent story and has great artwork by Denys Cowan, but Michael Green ahs taken this so far from a recognizable portrayal of Batman that I have to count this as an Elseworld story.
Scream #1 (of 4) - So I was all set to write this book off as I was really unsure of what was going on. Peter David’s story drew me in enough for me to come back. Danny is a postal worker who spent time in a sanatorium and apparently can manifest a bizarre monster. There are plenty of mysteries, a cast is introduced and my curiosity has been piqued, so all in all a decent start. Bart Sears artwork is okay, but his over rendered style is very inconsistent almost from panel to panel. Still it was reined in enough that his layouts and pacing carried the day.
Programme #5 (of 12) - A good story, but a long form story, meaning that the individual issues are decent, but it is more of a trade read. C.P. Smith’s art looks good, but is so muted by a dark palette that I feel like I missing half of his work.
She-Hulk #23 - Second Peter David issue and it is not cutting it for me. Jen Walters was a skrull, She-Hulk and the skrull show a casual disregard for the villains lives and cause mass destruction. Limited humor and appears to be no real direction. One more issue.
Testament #21 – As this is the second to last issue of the series my decision whether to switch to the trade route is now a mute point. I believe the book had some critical flaws in the way the story was being told. The juxtaposition of bible and near term future stories was interesting, but the 22 page monthly format was not conducive for this type of storytelling. The subject matter was also not going to draw a large audience as it mixed Judo/Christian beliefs with mysticism and sci-fi.
Countdown Search for Ray Palmer Gotham by Gaslight - A better issue in this series. Greg Tocchini’s art fit this world very well. What I enjoyed most about this issue is Jason’s Todd reaction that he felt at home here. I see this series becoming a story of Jason’s growth as much as anything else. The Victorian Blue Beetle was a nice touch.
Incredible Hulk #111 - This book has no real meaning. It has been background material since the mini-series and now will be renamed into the Incredible Hercules while the Red Hulk story line plays itself out. I’ll hang in for a couple of issues, but this is trying to be a book about Amadeus Cho and I’m not sure I really want to read a book about him.
Ultimate Vision #5 (of 5) - With publishing delays of this magnitude, especially on a little mini-series any buzz is killed. It was an okay ending, but again about something that I lost interest in.
Wetworks Armageddon - The stories are fine, but I have read three of these specials and I see nothing that really pulls it all together. It is obvious that the Wildstorm Universe just needs a total revamping or someone to come in and just tell good stories about these characters.
Snakewoman Tales of the Snake Charmer #5 - One more issue and I’m done with this book. What started out as an interesting and compelling book is now draped in what appears to be so much Indian mysticism, and I personally do not find that of any interest. Only because it appears to be coming to a conclusion will I follow it for one more issue. .
Wetworks #15 – This was the last issue and the series had lost its steam and was no longer really going anywhere.

I would have cancelled if they had not.One thing that I have noticed is that many of the independent books have some really good stories but also have a lot of younger artists who are probably just getting started. Some of the work is obviously aping some artist they admire and some art is trying to be saved with a heavy handed colorist and lots of photoshop work being done. I know that it may make it harder to read some of these stories, but there are still some good stories in all of this material, that doesn’t always look that great. Also some of these artist will grow into great comic artists. Net, net give some of this series and a try and be patient that even if it isn’t the absolute best, it still has something to say.

The real surprise for me is that this week had so many titles come out and I did not cancel a single book.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What I’m Getting Thursday

It is hard to believe that we are already past Thanksgiving and heading towards the end of another year. Also hard to believe that a week with 41 titles would be considered a smaller week, but after last week anything would be a break. Next month is also a four week month and with about 3 to 4 hard covers being late I will have a fair number of Christmas presents that I will be buying myself. Just an observation that while I’m a big DC fan, their output has been overwhelming of late as evidenced again by my breakdown of what I’m getting this week; DC (26), Marvel (7) and Independents (8). On the flip side at least the Independents are coming in second place and a lot of DC will drop off as the Countdown stuff winds down over the next six months.

Archibald Saves Christmas – We had the good fortune of being able to read and review this book on the blog and now it is finally coming out. My last remark was TWISTED HUMOR DONE RIGHT! We also had the pleasure of doing an interview with the writer Dwight McPherson and I think he will be a rising star in the industry. The artwork by Grant Bond was so nice that it pushed me to by Revere “Revolution in Silver” by Ed Lavallee and Grant Bond, which I also enjoyed. This is just a one shot, so try it out and see what you think.

Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer #5 (of 6) – Damn this book was due in August. The story by Joshua Ortega is a solid barbarian/medieval warrior tale but the art by Nat Jones & Jay Fotos is what makes this book. A decent tale based off one Frazetta painting,which reminds me of the silver age DC days when Julie Schwartz would give a cover to the writers and have them make up a story about it.

Proof #2 – It is great to see issue #2 already as I really enjoyed the first issue. The energy and fun that writer Alex Grecian and artist Riley Rossmo put into this book came shining through in issue #1. I’m really looking forward to Proof (our Sasquatch special agent) and Ginger’s first case together.

Bad Planet #4 (of 6) – I believe this is an overall series planned out as 12 issues, but broken into two six part series, but this is not really important. Bad Planet is such a great story filled with Alien good guys, alien monsters, big freaking alien bugs, huge spaceships women with huge ---er, anyway this book is out and out sci-fi / horror madness like it should have been done in the late fifties early sixties movies. Of course without CGI it would have sucked, but this comic does not.

Doc Frankenstein #6 – I believe that last issue of this book came out in 2006, it may have been even further back, still this very occasional comic book cast Frankenstein as a sort of super-hero type out to save people from other horrors of the night. While I would really enjoy this book more if it actually came out, I’ll take it whenever it shows up.

Criminal Macabre My Demon Baby #3 (of 4) – This is another series that is a lot of fun. In fact that is something that really shines in many independent books, the creators’ energy and enthusiasm just shines. Many in the big two also have that same level of enthusiasm, but dictates of company owned characters and shared universes restrict what you can do. The official hype spells it out best about Steve Niles’ (writer) book “Cal McDonald: drug-fueled paranormal private investigator, friend of ghouls and werewolves, vampire slayer . . . babysitter? Cal finds himself protecting a baby who has a good chance of growing up to be Satan’s representative on Earth, while facing down a bunch of devoted devil worshipers and a relentless, reanimated Templar Knight ready and willing to slay anyone in his path!”

Fear Agent: Hatchet Job #1 (of 4) – I just love the cover on this book and along with Rick Remender (writer) we have Jerome Opena as artist. Jerome and Tony Moore are handling alternating mini-series which is a great idea and eases the pressures and hopefully keeps the book coming out on time. This arc has Rick trying to help find a place where humanity can live again.

Dan Dare #1 (of 7) – I’m going into this book with a lot of trepidation. First off it is an old British hero being updated for today and revived by Virgin comics. Virgin comic has a huge bankroll, but has not been very successful in my mind. Next this is written by Garth Ennis, who usually hates super heroes and I don’t think has ever written a good super hero type book. But Dan Dare maybe more of just a Nick Fury, type. Lastly Ennis also prefers to tear apart heroes more then tell stories about heroic acts.

Daredevil #102- Well a friend of mind says this book is done and is no longer a book that he will champion, the last issue was the final straw for him. I also have not been as high on this book as others, but when the “Hood” showed up, that brought this book too much into the post Civil War MU, which was a mistake in my mind. Also I believe Ed Brubaker has crafted an overly long arc with the Mr. Fear story line. Still Ed Burbaker and Michael Lark keep this book very readable, just not as great as I had hoped for it to be.

Sensational Spider-Man #41 - One More Day Part 3 – I think the best thing that I can hope for out of this story line is that it is a short term thing. In other words after we get the “special magical fix” that wipes away years of continuity, that it is a one year story that culminates in Peter realizing things should be the way they are supposed to be. The other headache with these types of fixes is that now continuity is a pick and choose thing for the writers. So a long term fan who closely read the series (not me) has no clue as to what is or what is not canon.
Sub-Mariner #6 (of 6) – All in all I have enjoyed this series for the most part, but the ending will definitely make or break this book. In my opinion it needs to also set a new status quo for who the Sub-Mariner is and what role he is to play in the MU in the future. Personally I would prefer him to be more of anti-hero based on the fact that the US is portrayed as more of a police state since Civil War.

Ultimate Spider-Man #116 – I know this is sacrilegious, but this book looks better under the pencils of Stuart Immonen then it did under Bagley. That is not meant as a condemnation of Bagley, but a high compliment to the fact that I think Immonen maybe one of the best in the business. The first arc with Bendis and Stuart has been a really good read and I’m looking forward to the next chapter of Spider-Man versus the Green Goblin.

Zombie: Simon Garth #1 (of 4) – Written by Kyle Hotz and Eric Powell and art by Kyle Hotz. The first mini-series was a prelude; this one is where it gets interesting, the official hype “The last time we saw Simon Garth, the bank teller single-handedly stopped a gang of murderous robbers and got shot, bitten by zombies and med-evac-ed straight into Army custody for scientific experimentation as death and the necrotic infection overtook him fast. No problem, right? Find out how Simon got out of THAT one --- assuming he did ---- and check out his further adventures battling the undead ---unless, that is, he’s one of them now --- in a brutal, gory, disgusting…awesome re-imagining of one of Marvel’s strangest horror heroes”

X-Men #205 – Chapter 5 (of 13) in the Messiah Complex. What I have liked so far is that the chapters have read like one long story. Who every outlined the story did a good job and the writers have kept the beat of the plot threads going very well. Next each chapter has followed within a week, so the story line remains fresh. What I don’t like is they appear to be cramming everything and the kitchen sink into this story. We have Predator “X”, Purifiers, Marauders, future story lines, internal conflicts, probably Magneto running around and who knows what else. It is way too much and as usual with most “event” storylines they are saving way too much for the end and not giving us a moment in each book. Ultimately the ending determines how good the story really will be judged long term.

X-Men First Class #6 – This book always brings a smile to my face. A lighter tone book re-imagining and updating the early adventures of the original X-Men. Highly recommended and one of my favorite series of the last year.

52 Aftermath The Four Horseman #4 (of 6) – This has continued to be such a nice surprise. I’ll try out various mini-series and go in with various expectations. This series I was really going in with a what the heck attitude and have gotten a really well done story and one of the best characterizations of DC’s Trinity (Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman) ever done. The dialogue by Giffen has been excellent and the art by Pat Olliffe is making me pay attention to who is doing the art. All in all this is a nice story about fighting off the Four Horseman.

All Star Batman and Robin #8 – I use to denigrate this book and say what a horrible example it was and that it hurt the All Star line that DC has started. The lateness of the book did hurt it, but if you have ignored this book, get back in on it. This is such a great over the top version of Batman and Jim Lee’s art has never been better. Consider it an Elseworld and sit down and let the book take you for a ride. The G*dd**n Batman is a wonderful eye catching down and dirty adventure guaranteed to shock and amuse you.

Batman #671 – The Resurrection of Ras As Ghul Part 4 (of 7). The story has read great issue to issue and I’m looking forward to this chapter of the story. Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel bring us a showdown between the Sensei, Ras and Batman.

Batman and The Outsiders #2 – A second issue coming quickly on the heels of issue #1. The first issue was enjoyable, but it appears that the initial plans for this series have been scuttled and I not sure what the point of this book is anymore. Still Chuck Dixon knows how to write an action/adventure super-hero book.

Blue Beetle #21 - Looks like a fill in issue as we have a guest writer and a guest artist. Still the premise sounds like a great issue to see Jamie continue to grow up faster then he should have to. The official hype “Jaime Reyes gets a shot at punishing the man who crippled his father — only to discover he's in line behind the Spectre, making for one of the young hero's hardest choices yet!”

Countdown Presents Lord Havok and the Extremists #2 (of 6) – This issue is supposed to feature a battle between the Challengers of the Beyond (stupidest name ever for any group) and the Extremists. We have already seen this fight in Countdown and it better bring something new to the table in order to be a worthwhile read. I do like getting more background on players who should have a role to play in Final Crisis, but I wish we were getting a better reason for Captain Atom (Monarch) acting like he is.

Countdown to Adventure #4 (of 8) – Continuing the adventures of Forerunner in the back up feature and Adam Strange, Animal Man and Starfire in the lead feature. Both stories have been good, not stellar but good. The lead story is a nice follow up to see where these three heroes will end up since 52. The back-up is tied into Countdown, but I’m still not sure how much of a player Forerunner is supposed to be.

Countdown to Final Crisis #22 – Let’s hope they keep up the pace. The last two Superman Prime focused issues really made this a strong book again. I can almost hear the clock ticking as I read the last issue. Let’s see if they can move some of these stories to a conclusion before we hit the Final Crisis.

Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of Blood #2 (of 5) – The first issue was such an easy read and well told story that I’m really looking forward to this issue. Greg Rucka is telling a good story of the possible corruption of the Question and Tom Mandrake’s art was a perfect compliment for the tone of this story. Lesson #2 is the lesson of lust.

Death of the New Gods # 3 (of 8) – Jim Starlin on story and art and this is one of the most important tie-in mini-series to Countdown. The official hype says it all “The carnage of the Fourth World continues as more New Gods die in this COUNTDOWN tie-in! Who will be the next victims? Who — or what — is responsible for so many deaths? How is Darkseid connected to them? And will Superman, Orion and Mr. Miracle be able to uncover Darkseid's schemes before it's too late?”

Gotham Underground #2 (of 9) – This started off a lot better then I thought it would be. Most to the villains are disappearing off the streets of Gotham courtesy of the Suicide Squad. Batman and his cohorts are trying to find out what is going on and who will rise up to fill the power vacuum. This appears to be the one Batman book that is closely tied into the entire DCU and Countdown.

Green Lantern Corps #18 – This seems poorly planned as DC is releasing this book now and GL #25 has been delayed to let the artist get it right. It is billed as an epilogue to the Sinestro War and also has been billed as a fight between the new Ion and Superboy Prime. Whatever it is as long as it does not reveal the ending in GL #25, I’ll look forward to this book.

JLA Classified #47 – A series I could easily drop as it has no impact to the DCU proper, but I have enjoyed the story arcs by different writers and artists telling their JLA story. Not every book needs to be the book of the year, a good yarn well told is just that. This issue we see Mike W. Barr back to comic book writing and Julian Lopez on the art.

JSA Classified #32 – By Junior Thomas (who?) and Staz Johnson. Another one shot featuring Alan Scott. I love the Alan Scott character and while I’m going in with limited expectations I always have hope when a favorite character of mine is being featured.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #36 – The quest for Cosmic Boy concludes as does Tony Bedard’s run on this book. Looking forward to see how they wrap this up. Next issue Jim Shooter comes back to the Legion. I’m enjoying this version of the Legion, but no matter what the first version will always be my favorite iteration of the group.

Superman Annual #13 – The concluding chapter of Camelot Falls and a back-up story. Looking forward to Carlos Pacheco’s final issue on this book and it was a shame that this issue’s finale had to be pushed off to the Annual. Way too many times the big 2 are screwing up timing on “big” storylines. Since they are both waiting for the artist lately I have to assume book and trade sales must be better when one artist does the work and so both companies wait for the artist.

Superman / Batman #43 – I am confused as all get out by the hype line on this book The official hype is “Dr. Light is back — and he's got the Titans on his side! Identity Crisis showed how evil Dr. Light could be, but writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and fan-favorite artist Mike McKone take him to a new level in this stand-alone special issue guest-starring Steel!” The cover is all Teen Titans – how the heck is this in Superman/Batman?

Teen Titans #53 – Sean McKeever’s run on the Titans continues as the “Titans of Tomorrow” storyline heads into the penultimate chapter. The Titans are a solid book again and I have enjoyed this future version of the team. The book has definitely stepped up a notch.

Trail of Shazam #10 (of 12) – Not sure why Howard Porter dropped off the book, but glad to see this series get back on track. I really want to see Freddie take over the Captain Marvel role and I’m enjoying that his own nemesis is earning her powers as Freddie is earning his powers. I also hope to see the Marvel Family take a bigger role in the DCU proper over time.

Uncle Sam and The Freedom Fighters #3 (of 8) – This is the second time in a row that this series is a revelation. The first mini-series was great and this one looks to even top it. This issue we get the origin of Doll Man. Like many other fans I always get a kick out of seeing some second and third tier heroes get their day in the sun.

American Virgin #21 – I hate that this series is ending with #23. This last story line is so good, with Adam getting married, not consummating the relationship and all the rest of the shenanigans with his highly dysfunctional family. Vertigo has had a few series bite the dust recently, but they always strive to find something new and different for us to read. The Vertigo Line from DC is at least a commitment on DC’s part to do more then super heroes.

Crossing Midnight #13 – Speaking of Vertigo books and something different. Mike Carey’s best comic series ever continues. The official hype “New storyline. Finally, Kai has a tangible link to the trail of his sister, Mimi Uguno, the lady-boss of Ueno Park who met Toshi while she was in Tokyo. But it might all be for nothing, because Aratsu has agreed to give Toshi back her memories. She only has to do one thing: Kill her brother Kai.” If you are not buying this book, you should be.

Faker #5 (of 6) – This series has been a nice little story that explores how far we can take technology and re-examines the definition of what it means to be alive or not. Terrific story by Mike Carey (him again) and art by Jock.

Jack of Fables #17 – This book is an incredible feat of writing as the lead character is a despicable a**hole and yet you still continue to read the comic. The various side characters in the book are a big help and the fact that Jack seldom comes out 100% on top is also a draw. Since you don’t like the character I don’t think you want him to win.

Authority Prime #2 (of 6) - Christos Gage and Darrick Robertson give us the battle between the Authority and Stormwatch Prime. These are always tough books to do as the premise for the fight has to well done. Next you have to make the battle feel like it has an edge to it, without totally making one team look lame. Usually with the talent level they have on this book it should be entertaining.

Gen 13 Armageddon – In this Armageddon book Catlin is pulled into the future to face what has happened to her family. So far this series has not pulled it all together and I’m curious to see if there is any point to the series or not.

There it is another big week of books, but not a single hard cover or a trade. Still after last week it seems almost small (ha). I flipped the order of who goes first around this week to hopefully keep it fresh and give the smaller press books the top billing for a change.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mainstream Comics

For the past few days I've been reading through last week's comic books. As this last group was mostly mainstream books I've come to the conclusion that I'm tired of the front running comic book companies.

This isn't to say that there aren't some books that I still enjoy. However, for many current Marvel and even DC (this includes WS and Vertigo) books I find myself losing interest. I mean, the mainstream books have become seriously predictable. As much as I enjoy a good standard superhero story more and more I'm craving something different. There are exceptions of course: Fables and Crossing Midnight are two good examples. Still, so many of the books I read this week were almost tedious.

Black Canary/Green Arrow #2 was fun. Ollie running around naked while being chased by Amazons was amusing. I enjoy this book and the characters. Yet, even without reading the solicitations it's obvious that they're setting up for romantic strife between Dinah and Ollie. I'm soooo tired of this relationship scenario. Really, does anyone in Marvel or DC have a lasting relationship beyond Lois and Superman? Love makes some of the best stories out there and yet the writers seem to have little interest in keeping characters together.

Gen 13 #14 was painful. C'mon, can we please get past the stereotypical rebellious teenager act and try something more interesting. We really have a bit big of a team for them to all have separate storylines being told simultaneously. Also, I want to like the art but Caitlin's breasts should be making her fall flat on her face.... I mean, she's not even fully grown! Ugh. I hope we're going somewhere with this because I do like some of the characters on this team, but I think they need to pick up the pace on this book.

Teen Titan's East made me want to start a fire. I realize that they're trying to set up for Titans #1, but this book was everything that's wrong with the comic book industry. Gruesome needless 'deaths' of mostly C-list (if even) characters. The only character I even cared about was Cyborg. Even that felt forced though. There was no real story here, and I was fairly disgusted by the whole thing. The art was decent though. Still, is it just me or are more and more artists living in the Jim Lee/Mike Turner stylistic world of art? I mean, how many hotties can there possibly be in one world. Is anyone normal looking anymore? *sigh*

On the upside of things, Atomic Robo #2 from Red 5 Comics made me happy. It was cleverly paced and well executed on both a visual and plot level. This book and it's main character is quickly endearing itself to me and I look forward to new issues. On a cool side note, apparently a friend of mine, P. Songy, actually knows Clevinger, the writer on this book. I was pretty interested to find that out.

All in all I find myself falling away from mainstream comics in favor of the independents. I have just found that more of the independent books seem to focus on telling a good story rather that generating massive sales through various hoaxes and gimmicks.


Also, I know there's quite a lot of Ron Paul love on this blog, but I felt this needed to be shared. Personally, I think Chuck should just be added to the ticket as V. President. I bet they'd get a lot more votes, haha :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Marvel Preview Review for February

Lee: I always look forward to Marvel previews because I am such a huge Marvel Zombie. But, with the DC previews being weak I wonder if Marvel isn’t going to have a weak month too.
Jim: Personally I have always believed that January and February are the slowest months of the year. Plus with all the build up to the big mega-events coming up I think they are holding back on some projects.

CLANDESTINE #1 (of 5) Written, Pencils & Cover by ALAN DAVIS Alan Davis' freaky family returns! They've existed, hidden among mankind for centuries, a mysterious bloodline of superhumans, eternal and apart. And all they've desired is to be left alone, to pursue their individual interests in peace. But now, the existence of their hidden clan is threatened with exposure by the activities of one of their youngest siblings, Rory Destine, who aspires to be the costumed crimefighter called the Crimson Crusader! And now that the cat's been let out of the bag, who or what is going to come calling at the Destine family's Ravenscroft doorway?
Lee: Alan Davis must have a green light from marvel for just about anything. Because, really, there was no demand whatsoever for this. I’m sure it will look pretty but I wonder if anyone will care.
Jim: I love Alan Davis’ art and many of his stories, but I have no idea what this is about and it is nothing that I care to get. Plus the trade will be out in a month after it is over and I rather get a project like this as a trade.

INCREDIBLE HERCULES #114 Written by GREG PAK & FRED VAN LENTE Penciled by KHOI PHAM In the wake of WORLD WAR HULK, the Mighty Avengers are hot on the heels of unrepentant renegades Hercules and Amadeus Cho. Driven into a mindless berserker rage by Ares, Herc has become the critical piece of Cho's plan to utterly destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. What is Cho's master plan to wipe out the spy agency...and is he willing to get Herc killed to do it? Guest-starring the Champions of Los Angeles! Yes, seriously.
Lee: So, last month we got no details and now we learn this is all about Hercules. Seriously… Hercules???
Jim: Wow, I’ve been clamoring for the adventures of Hercules for years. Why would I want to follow the Hulk in his own comic, when I can get Hercules. Another fan favorite, that people have been dying to see.
THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST: ORSON RANDALL AND THE GREEN MIST OF DEATH Written by MATT FRACTION Art by MITCH BREITWEISER, CHRIS BRUNNER, RUSS HEATH & LEWIS LAROSA Cover by KAARE ANDREWS Mothers, lock up your daughters when we revisit the continuing adventures of that dashing rogue, Orson Randall, the Golden Age Iron Fist! The last time we flashed back to the life and times of Orson Randall, in the much fan-loved and critically acclaimed IMMORTAL IRON FIST ANNUAL, readers unlocked several secrets affecting Danny Rand, the Iron Fist of today. Now get ready for more! We promise you spine-tingling chills, ass-kicking action and pulp-fiction adventure like you've never seen, featuring gorgeous flashback art by Mitch Breitweiser, Chris Brunner, Russ Heath and Lewis LaRosa! Orson Randall goes head-to-head again and again versus none other than…the endlessly mystifying and unstoppably powerful Prince of Orphans! How will their battle through the ages echo in the life of Danny Rand?! You bet your kicked butt it has everything to do with the kung fu tournament of death unfolding in the pages of IMMORTAL IRON FIST!! 48 PGS / …$3.99
Lee: This is such a good series and I am sucker for flashbacks. This should be really, really good.
Jim: This should really, really be bad. Number one it is just Matt Fraction writing it without Brubaker – strike one, it is a bunch of artist and no Aja – strike two and finally they are trying to make Orson Randall into some sort of Doc Savage type adventurer and it really was the worse part of the Iron Fist Annual – strike three and it’s an out!

FANTASTIC FOUR #554 Written by MARK MILLAR Pencils & Cover by BRYAN HITCHMARK MILLAR! BRYAN HITCH! Need we say more? All right, we will! Who is Mrs. Fantastic? And how will her return into Reed's life rock comicdom's First Family? Also, get ready to meet the Invisible Woman's brand NEW super-team! This issue kicks off a year-long storyline that will make FANTASTIC FOUR "The World's ULTIMATEST Comic Magazine!" Promise!
Lee: The team behind the Ultimates returns!! Now this is cool. But wait, there’s more! Like the minor detail that neither creator has managed to wave to a deadline as it passes them by. Let’s just say I am recommending waiting for the trade.
Jim: I have to agree that this screams wait for the trade. I have waited for Ultimates 2 to come out as a single hard cover and it is coming out very soon. I hope that they do a good job with it and they do make it come out monthly, but if it is really good even eight issues a year would be alright. I’m guessing they are exempt from all the Marvel cross-over nonsense.

GIANT-SIZE ASTONISHING X-MEN #1 Written by JOSS WHEDON Pencils by JOHN CASSADAYToo big to be contained in a normal issue, the grand finale of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's landmark run is right here! The powerlords of Breakworld bring the fight to Earth. Can the X-Men stop them from destroying the whole planet? Will the Avengers join their fight? What we do know is this: one of the X-Men won't walk away from this fight. Plus spotlight interviews with Whedon and Cassaday!
Lee: So, let me see if I got this right… Whedon decompresses the story so much that he over runs the allotted number of issues and now a giant size is required to complete the tale. AND, in fact, the story is longer than a single issue but shorter than an annual so they had to back fill with spot light interviews. Uuuummmm, yeah. Did I mention I was very happy not to be getting the single issues of this?
Jim: You made the right move, getting this as single issues has been a waste of time. As much as Whedon has done great stories, this was not it and was almost a waste of Cassady’s talent.

X-FORCE #1 Written by CRAIG KYLE & CHRISTOPHER YOSTArt and Cover by CLAYTON CRAIN (Also Bloody Variant Available)"ANGELS AND DEMONS" Part 1 (of 6)There are lines that the X-Men have sworn never to cross. But after the shocking events of "Messiah Complex," Cyclops realizes that some enemies need to be dealt with permanently... and the X-Men can never know about it. Enter WOLVERINE, WARPATH, X-23 and WOLFSBANE...X-FORCE.
Lee: OOOOHHHH does this look bad. Aren’t Kyle and Yost the ones that drove the New Mutants into the dirt???? And, why exactly do we need a team of knife wielding superheroes? And wtf is a Bloody Variant cover??? Marvel does realize they aren’t Avatar right? So many questions, so few answers!
Jim: I’m going to try out a couple of issues, just because I’m curious, but this is yet another damn book with Wolverine in it. I mean they are killing this character for me. The Bloody Variant sounds really nice – Mommy can I buy an x-man comics, sure Bobby let’s get the bloody variant cover for you.

CRIMINAL VOL 2 #1 Written by ED BRUBAKER Pencils & Cover by SEAN PHILLIPS That's right, the most acclaimed crime comic in the industry is giving readers and retailers a second chance to get onboard as we relaunch with a new format, featuring more pages, longer main stories, and an expanded magazine section! "Second Chance In Hell" begins the first of three standalone issues, this one focusing on Gnarly the bartenders and telling the story of the last days of his life as a boxer and revealing how the Undertow bar came into his hands. It's a hard-hitting period-piece, set in the grimy early 70s, where crime, seduction and betrayal go hand-in-hand. And on top of this longer-than-usual length main story, CRIMINAL now features an expanded back-pages section, as well - with articles by Brubaker and other top crime writers, from novelists to screenwriters to comic writers. These noir articles have become a popular piece of the CRIMINAL package, and are something that can only be found in the comics, not in any collections. So please take this SECOND CHANCE IN HELL to find out what everyone's been talking about! 40 PGS / …$3.50
Lee: Now this is interesting. Not so much that the comic is being relauched (which is good) but the fact that they are advertising there is material in the floppie that won’t be in the trade. GOOD FOR THEM! Out of all the screw ups in this month’s previews (and there are more to come) Marvel actually got this right. I think it is a great idea to put unreprinted material in the comics. It may stop people of going trades only. It won’t stop me but I am sure it will stop so other slob.
Jim: Still this smells of low sales for this book. What the heck is wrong with the buying public when no matter how good a book is, if it is not “super” it does not sell.

DEAD OF NIGHT FEATURING MAN-THING #1 (of 4) Written by ROBERTO AGUIRRE-SACASA Art by KANO Biochemist Ted Sallis and his team are on a mission: To recreate the serum that spawned the world's first super-soldier. But like the swamp itself, there are dangers lurking beneath the surface...Ted's partner Eric, his girlfriend Ellen, the government, terrorists...everyone wants what Ted has, but what Ted doesn't realize is...the swamp itself may want him! A radical re-imagining of the Man-Thing's origin begins here, in a horror-tinged tale narrated by Digger, keeper of the Tower of Shadows! 32 PGS /Cardstock Cover/ …$3.99
Lee: Did the ManThing need a new origin? I thought his original was so simple that there wasn’t much that could be done. Oh well, I like Kano and I like ManThing so this will most likely come home. BUT, the real reason for mentioning this book… can someone explain Marvel’s pricing philosophy? Serious, can anyone? Let’s review, Criminal Vol 2, #1, 40 PGS, $3.50, Iron Fist one shot, 48 pages, $4.00. So far so good. This book… 32 pages $4.00. HUH????
Jim: The future is here as the $3 comic is fast becoming the $4 comic. It is like a zero sum game. Sales decrease so they raise the price, so sales decrease and the cycle goes on and on. Man-Thing has been a dead character with no one using him, so giving him a do over is fine and I’m going to try it out.

KICK-ASS #1 Written by MARK MILLAR Pencils & Cover by JOHN ROMITA JR. The greatest super hero comic of all-time is finally here. WOLVERINE: ENEMY OF THE STATE's team of MARK MILLAR (CIVIL WAR) and JOHN ROMITA JR. (WORLD WAR HULK) reunite for the best new book of the 21st century. Have you ever wanted to be a super hero? Dreamed of donning a mask and just heading outside to some kick-ass? Well, this is the book for you--the comic that starts where other super hero books draw the line. KICK-ASS is realistic super heroes taken to the next level. Miss out and you're an idiot!
Lee: The embarrassed to be a fanboy cover isn’t the typical cheesecake. Oh no, this month it goes to the comic with the dumbest name ever. Seriously… kick-a? Who thought that was a good idea. It makes comic book readers look dumb and juvenile. An image that is hard enough to over come anyway so they reinforce it with drivel like this.
Jim: In fact I think it is so stupid, that I’m going to chance being an idiot and not order it. Oh I will probably break down and buy issue #1 on the stands, but it sounds so incredibly inane. Millar has never produced a really solid new character that I’m aware of.

Lee: Offered just in time for the movie. Another $100 book. I can’t believe Marvel is printing as many of the Omnibus’s as they are. Sheesh
Jim: Plus the Omnibus format is not for me once I have the Masterworks. I made an exception for the first FF and Spider-Man, but you need to be the Hulk to lift these puppies.

HOWARD THE DUCK OMNIBUS Written by STEVE GERBER Penciled by GENE COLAN, VAL MAYERIK, FRANK BRUNNER, JOHN BUSCEMA, CARMINE INFANTINO & MORE Cover by FRANK BRUNNER Get down, America! Vote Howard the Duck in 2008! That's right, folks. It's an election year, and what better way to celebrate than to cast your vote for the one candidate who'll really tell it like it is. Born on a planet populated by talking waterfowl, Howard the Duck found himself trapped in a world he never made: ours! Howard was the archetypal outsider, able to see through the absurdities of human society in the 1970s with uncanny accuracy and an acerbic wit. His adventures presented writer Steve Gerber with a platform from which to engage in an ongoing critique of contemporary fools and pretenders, from power-mad capitalist wizard Pro-Rata to cult leader Reverend Joon Moon Yuc to the dreaded Doctor Bong! Experience for yourself the complete comic adventures of Howard in this Omnibus collection, reprinting his first appearances and the entire run of his first series. Collecting stories from ADVENTURE INTO FEAR #19, MAN-THING #1, GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING #4-5, HOWARD THE DUCK #1-33, MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #12 and MARVEL TEAM-UP #96. 800 PGS./Rated T+ …$99.99 HOWARD THE DUCK OMNIBUS - DIRECT MARKET ONLY
Lee: And speaking of a What the??? Moment. Howard the Duck gets an Omnibus? Is there really a demand for this? With all the backlog that Marvel has this got green lighted first? That is surprising. The weird part is that Howard hasn’t even made the Masterworks series yet. He went straight to Omnibus. And, did you notice Hulk gets variant covers but Howard gets a Direct Market only cover. I wonder what the difference is?
Jim: My only hope is that Steve Gerber is dealing with an illness and I hope that he gets some decent bucks for this being reprinted, but $100 for Howard the Duck? I don’t think so.

Lee: Wheee, A giant man reprint. 304 pages for $55. Not to bad a deal.
Jim: It is exciting. I love this stuff and glad that they finished the run that Giant-Man had in comics.

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: ATLAS ERA HEROES VOL. 2 HC Featuring Captain America, Human Torch & Sub-Mariner Penciled by JOHN ROMITA, DICK AYERS, BILL EVERETT, MORT LAWRENCE & BOB POWELL Cover by JOHN ROMITA The Atlas Era Hero Revival continues with the adventures of the comics' most famous trio of Communist conquering heroes: Captain America, the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner! Beginning with the Big Three's anthology adventures in Men's Adventures, we then dive headlong into Captain America's complete 1954 solo series. Illustrated by Bullpen legend John Romita in some of his very first super hero stories, you'll see Cap and Bucky fight Fifth Columnists, Commie spies and even the Soviet Electro! Next up, it's the Human Torch and Toro! Returned from his slumber by an atomic bomb, the Torch has rejoined his young sidekick in a battle to clean up threats as amazing and entertaining as vampires, killer robots and his 1950s nemesis, the Vulture. Their crime-fighting adventures even take on a global purchase, stretching all the way to the 38th Parallel and Communist Korea! And finally, for a quick taste of what's to come in Atlas Era Heroes' next volume, comes an assortment of Bill Everett's lavishly drawn tales of the lord of the Atlantis, Namor the Sub-Mariner. Considered by many to be the definitive take on the character, Everett's '50s Sub-Mariner is nothing less than treasure from the deep! We'd be remiss to leave you without a bevy of historical bonuses, including a rare Human Torch tale that went unprinted for more than a decade, original artwork, Atlas Era house ads and an introduction by Hero Revival scholar extraordinaire Roy Thomas. Collecting MEN'S ADVENTURES #27-28, CAPTAIN AMERICA #76-78, HUMAN TORCH #36-38 and MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #16. 240 PGS./All Ages …$59.99
Lee: WAIT WAIT WAIT. Giant Man is 304 pages for $55, yet this is 240 pages for $60. How does that work? Oh wait, I know. It’s targeted at the older readers like Jim who can afford it. Wow. Marvel is really working hard to screw the older collectors.
Jim: Hey, be nice, you’ll want my collection when I die. I hope the higher price for this material signals that they are doing the reproduction to a higher standard and not just pricing for the market.

Lee: We’ve said it before, let’s say it again. It’s nice that Marvel is supporting this type of material. AND, I am really surprised it went to HC at all. I wonder if it’s aimed at the Library market?
Jim: Has to be and bookstores in the kids section. I believe the comic was just an underwriting tool to pay the artist and writer as they produced it and then they can publish this and keep it in print forever.

IRON MAN: DEMON IN A BOTTLE PREMIERE HC Written by DAVID MICHELINIE & BOB LAYTON Penciled by JOHN ROMITA JR., BOB LAYTON & CARMINE INFANTINO Iron Man faces his most untouchable foe in criminal industrialist Justin Hammer and his literal army of super-villains! But can the Armored Avenger overcome an even more implacable personal demon, invulnerable to technology or wealth? Guest-starring Ant-Man and the Sub-Mariner! Collects IRON MAN #120-128. 176 PGS./Rated T+ …$24.99
Lee: One of the all time great stories. I can’t wait to get this.
Jim: Agreed and I also (hiccup) order thisss book, cause it will be *burp* the greastestt book of all time. Seriously a good read that should still hold up.

CLANDESTINE CLASSIC PREMIERE HC Written by ALAN DAVIS Penciled by ALAN DAVIS For centuries they have lived among us - mysterious, elusive, what are they doing with brightly colored costumes and codenames?! Teenagers Rory and Pandora want to pull Alan Davis's family of extra-normal outsiders into the world of heroes and villains, little knowing that M.O.D.O.K. and A.I.M. are waiting for them! Centuries-old patriarch Adam Destine knows the disastrous duo has a lot to learn about power and responsibility...and we all know who's the web-spinning specialist on that, don't we? Plus Adam and his super-powered scions join the X-Men in a demonic debacle against the sinister Synraith! Also guest-starring Doctor Strange, the Silver Surfer and the Invaders! Collecting CLANDESTINE #1-8, MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #158 and X-MEN & CLANDESTINE #1-2. 312 PGS./Rated T+ …$29.99 Lee: The story is ok but, as always, the Alan Davis art just shines. 300+ pages of Davis goodness is something I can’t pass up!
Jim: I can as it sounds like a lame story.

FRANKLIN RICHARDS: COLLECTED CHAOS DIGEST Written by MARC SUMERAK & CHRIS ELIOPOULOS Penciled by CHRIS ELIOPOULOS Cover by CHRIS ELIOPOULOS Move over, Mr. Fantastic - the progeny of Marvel's First Family has a brand-new digest! Franklin Richards returns with this collection of four critically acclaimed FRANKLIN RICHARDS: SON OF A GENIUS one-shots! Join Franklin and his robot pal H.E.R.B.I.E. as they head into Reed's lab for all kinds of fantastic fun, amazing adventures and more trouble than you can shake an Ultimate Nullifier at! This compilation is bound to bring out the kid in every reader! Collecting FRANKLIN RICHARDS: MARCH MADNESS, WORLD BE WARNED, MONSTER MASH and FALL FOOTBALL FIASCO. 112 PGS./All Ages …$8.99 FRANKLIN RICHARDS: LAB BRAT DIGEST STILL AVAILABLE! $7.99
Lee: I wish they were full size but I will take what I can get. These are too much fun to pass up.
Jim: Oh no they are not.

MARVEL FANFARE VOL. 1 TPB Written by CHRIS CLAREMONT, ROGER MCKENZIE, CHARLIE BOATNER, DAVID ANTHONY KRAFT, DAVID WINN, DAVID MICHELINIE, SANDY PLUNKETT, MIKE W. BARR, ROGER STERN, STEVEN GRANT & BILL MANTLO Penciled by MICHAEL GOLDEN, PAUL SMITH, TREVOR VON EEDEN, DAVE COCKRUM, MARSHALL ROGERS, P. CRAIG RUSSELL, LUKE MCDONNELL, SANDY PLUNKETT, CHARLES VESS, JOE BARNEY& GEORGE FREEMAN Cover by MICHAEL GOLDEN One of Marvel's most unique anthology titles had a strong start with a classic Spider-Man/X-Men team-up saga in the Savage Land, presented here in its entirety, with more than a half-dozen additional tales! Mister Fantastic, alone against Annihilus! Captain America faces a forgotten wartime legacy! The Hulk vs. the circus! Christmas with Daredevil! Deathlok, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Ian McNee of MYSTIC ARCANA fame and more! Collecting MARVEL FANFARE #1-7. 240 PGS / …$24.99
Lee: And, finally, a classic series from Marvel. The first four issues of Marvel Fanfare with art by Mike Golden and Paul Smith are worth the price of admission alone. And a great story to boot. This is an expensive trade but well worth having on your shelf.
Jim: See this is where I think they have forced me to stop buying. Way too many trades and hard covers and I’m putting money into the Masterworks and will get Demon in the Bottle, but that’s it. Even I will only buy so much/ I counted and Marvel had 36 collected editions solicited this month. Glad I’m not a store owner anymore as who the heck can afford to stock extras of all of these books.

Lee: Oh my oh my oh my was that a bizarre month. Weird marketing decisions. Strange pricing points. And titles for new books that make you want to hide your head in shame. I was right, it was a strange one for Marvel. The only saving grace is the fact that Marvel is doing their HC’s so well with a nice mix of Omnibus, new material (Classics Illustrated), and older material (Demon is a bottle). At least it seems like Marvel has a good game plan.
Jim: February is just an off month for the big two and I expect limited “wow” factor in our next two columns.

Friday, November 23, 2007

DC Preview Review for February

Jim: Wow, this is the first time I can remember in almost forever that not a single #1 or new mini-series is being launched by DC. Also no Archives were solicited at all. I figure that Final Crisis is impacting the DCU as Final Crisis is almost over and all the new mini-series are winding down at the same time. I have also heard that DC is revamping the hard cover program and Archives maybe biting the dust.
Lee: There really isn’t much new this month. After all the market flooding that occurred recently, it’s very surprising.
Gwen: Yay, a break from all sorts of new confusing stuff. I think there should be more months like this, but I guess in a sales driven industry that's not terribly feasible.

BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #4 Written by Chuck DixonArt by Julian Lopez & BitCover by Doug BraithwaiteGreen Arrow joins the Outsiders! But is the Emerald Archer's induction into Batman's new squad cause for celebration…or destruction? And with Green Arrow's recent run-ins with the League of Assassins, how will he react to having their former leader - Batgirl - as his teammate?On sale February 20 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Jim: Since we don’t have new books to rant about, we can focus on some individual titles. I read issue #1 and I’m a Chuck Dixon fan, but here we are at issue #4 and they already have 2 members who were not with the group in issue #1. I’ll cut the book some slack, but with three different writers and two different artist being announced on this book, I have a feeling that some of DC’s execution of their grand plan has been made on the fly.
Lee: You only think that now? Still, you have to give Dixon time to build. I am sure it will make sense when the issue gets here.
Gwen: I'm still reserved in my opinion on this one, but Chuck Dixon and Batman go together so well...

GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY #5 Written by Judd WinickArt by Amanda ConnerCover by Cliff ChiangVariant cover by ConnerWith a recent tragedy hanging over their heads, Green Arrow and Black Canary realize that they may not have actually gotten married. But will they try again or drift apart in the wake of all that's happened to them?
Jim: I have to hand it to Judd Winick. I was never a fan of his early work at DC, but he has totally sold me with his run on Green Arrow after year one and now this book. We are only on issue #5 and based on the solicitation had more twists and turns in this book then most series have in a year.
Lee: The problem for me is that I’ve never really liked Winick and I don’t really care about Green Arrow either. It may be good but I will wait to find out.
Gwen: Ok, I enjoyed the marriage twists... but after all that they better damn well be married.

DETECTIVE COMICS #841 Written by Paul DiniArt by Dustin Nguyen & Derek FridolfsCover by NguyenScarface and the new Ventriloquist make their deadly return to DETECTIVE COMICS in a story destined to surprise readers! Plus, Zatanna guest-stars in this special tale!On sale February 6 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Jim: I want to start writing the hype for comics. We can say, destined to change everything, after this nothing will be the same. Jaw dropping art, shock follows shock, but this book does it with some subtlety “destined to surprise readers”. Maybe the new Ventriloquist gets butt naked and does it with the dummy – that would surprise readers.
Lee: Whatever the hype, I like the new Ventriloquist. And, I think Dini has done wonders with this title just by making it readable again. Hype or no, this is one of the few books I look forward to every month.
Gwen: I agree with Lee, this is my favorite Batman book out there.

ACTION COMICS ANNUAL #11 Written by Geoff Johns & Richard DonnerArt and cover by Adam KubertVariant cover by KubertThe extra-length conclusion to "Last Son" is here! Superman and the new Superman Revenge Squad - Lex Luthor, Bizarro, the Parasite and Metallo - take on General Zod, Ursa and Non in a battle for Metropolis, the future of Krypton and Christopher Kent!
Jim: Memo to DC, any buzz on this book has been killed by the numerous delays on this book. At one time I could not wait to see what happens, now I have seen multiple stories where Chris Kent is hanging around with Superman. DC did this with both Superman titles and Wonder Woman and Marvel has been killing their big launch of Mighty Avengers with the same crap. How can professional comic companies screw up so royally on major stories! Inexcusable.
Lee: This story didn’t end? Let’s cut right to the cop out.. It’ll read better in the trade.
Gwen: I have to say I forgot this story was still going on... with something like 70 titles a month it's hard to stay focused with such ridiculous delays.

SUPERGIRL #26 Written by Kelley PuckettArt and cover by Drew Johnson & Ray SnyderSupergirl's battle with Reactron explodes out onto the streets of Metropolis,and Neutron doesn't care what happens to innocents! And as civilians fall, Supergirl makes a vow so impossible and startling, even Superman doubts she can keep her word!On sale February 6 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US Jim: Four issues in and we still have the same creative team! A record for this book.
Lee: Remember this is advance solicitation, there’s still time for the team to change. And if even it doesn’t change, does anyone care?
Gwen: And yet I still read this book. Maybe they lace the pages with crack.

JLA CLASSIFIED #52-53Written by Roger SternArt by John Byrne & Mark FarmerCovers by Joshua Middleton"That was Now, This is Then" continues as the legendary team of writer Roger Stern & artist John Byrne depict two separate battles with the same villain years apart in the JLA's long and storied history!Issue #52 on sale February 13;issue #53 on sale February 27 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Jim: I list this to note how times have changed, that now a book with art by Byrne looks to have a cover artist other then Byrne on the book. It seems like it is easier for writers to make a big come back then artists.
Lee: Byrne’s stature in the business is undisputed but to an extent times have passed him by. Comics, especially when it comes to the art, is all about the new, hip thing. Byrne will give solid, dependable art but it isn’t anything new.
Gwen: I still like Byrne even though his women look mannish.

THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #10 Written by Mark WaidArt by George Pérez & Bob WiacekCover by PérezThe Book of Destiny has cracked open wide...and wild team-ups spill out! Featuring Superman! The Shining Knight! Aquaman! And the Teen Titans!On sale February 20 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99
Jim: How can you not love this book. Waid uses all the toys in the DC chest and George Perez draws the crap out of it. Has to be one the best books put out by DC. And this book can be late as it does not affect anything but this book.
Lee: Consistently good. There is no higher praise.
Gwen: Awesomely supercalifraduliously good.

BATMAN: LOVERS AND MADMEN HC Written by Michael GreenArt and cover by Denys Cowan & Prentis RollinsMichael Green, writer/producer of NBC’s smash-hit series HEROES, teams with classic Batman artist Denys Cowan for a tale set early in the career of the Dark Knight that sheds light on who the Joker was before he became the Clown Prince of Crime.In this volume, collecting BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #6-12, discover how Batman first crossed paths with the punk who was destined to become his deadliest foe, and see just how far he’ll go in order to bring down the new criminal insanity that's inspiring Gotham City’s underworld.Advance-solicited; on sale April 2 • 144 pg, FC, $24.99 US
Lee: Wow, this is coming to HC really fast. Was the story that good??? I haven’t read it but I am not sure I want another Joker-before-he-was-Joker story. Then again, Cowan’s art looks sooooo good I might cave.
Jim: The story line has not even finished yet. It has been good so far, but DC has joined the bandwagon of hardcover fast and soft cover slow. The market must be driving everyone that way. Plus Lee, Cowan rocked this book so far.
Gwen: Haha, when Lee said that all I could think of was straight to DVD movies!

LOBO: PORTRAIT OF A BASTICH TPWritten by Keith Giffen & Alan GrantArt by Simon Bisley & Christian AlamyDon’t miss this new volume collecting both the 4-issue LOBO and LOBO’S BACK miniseries that helped make the Last Czarnian a legend, co-written by 52’s Keith Giffen! First, Lobo is sent to capture a crotchety old teacher who, along the way, makes life miserable for her captor. Then, Lobo must take in the most dangerous being in the universe — and is promptly killed. But heaven doesn’t want him and hell can’t handle him, so Lobo is reincarnated — as a woman with big guns and a very bad attitude!Advance-resolicited; on sale March 12 • 208 pg, FC, $19.99 US
Lee: This series is definitely a product of it’s time but it still reads really, really, well. Bisley’s art is worth the price alone but these are the stories that defined Lobo for a generation.
Jim: I enjoyed the material when it come out, but it was funny then and probably be enjoyable now if it is new to you, but once read that’s it in my opinion.
Gwen: I've never jumped on the Lobo bandwagon, and I don't believe I will anytime soon.

SHAZAM: THE GREATEST STORIES EVER TOLD TPWritten by Bill Parker, Dennis O’Neil, Elliot S! Maggin and othersArt by C.C. Beck, Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, Barry Kitson and othersCover by Alex RossAn earth-shattering volume collecting stories from Whiz Comics #2,Captain Marvel Adventures #1,137,148, Marvel Family #21, 85, Shazam! #1, 14, DC Comics Presents Annual #3, Superman #276, L.E.G.I.O.N. '91 #31, Power of SHAZAM! #33 and Adventures in the DC Universe #5.Advance-solicited; on sale March 26 • 224 pg, FC, $24.99 US
Lee: Talk about a big Captain Marvel push. But, this is a nice way to get exposure to the character if you are unfamiliar with him.
Jim: True. My question is what are the “big” plans for Captain Marvel?
Gwen: I want to own the Jeff Smith's Shazam story in HC. Though this does look neat.

THE SPIRIT ARCHIVES VOL. 24 HCWritten by Will Eisner Art by Eisner and Wally WoodDon’t miss this massive final volume of Eisner’s weekly Spirit stories. This volume collects adventures from the early 1950s, including the lushly illustrated series that took The Spirit from Central City to the surface of the moon, with art by Wally Wood!Advance-solicited; on sale April 30 • 294 pg, FC, $59.99 US
Lee: Wow, this is expensive but it is some of the best Spirit material ever. And, as an added bonus this has Wally Wood’s story about the Spirit going to the moon. This is great story telling and a pair of comic book masters at their absolute peak. Well worth the investment.
Jim: Wally Wood is really one of the great masters of comic book art. I think if you study his art you can see where he influenced a lot of the top artist today.
Gwen: Mmm, not interested, must be before my time. Although I have enjoyed the Spirit relaunch. I respect the earlier comics out there but I just don't have an interest in delving into them at the moment.

SHOWCASE PRESENTS: PHANTOM STRANGER VOL. 2 TP Written by Bob Haney, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman and othersArt by Jim Aparo, Dick Dillin, Ross Andru, Mike Grell and othersCover by AparoThe adventures of the Phantom Stranger continue in this volume collecting stories from Phantom Stranger #22-41, Justice League of America #103, House of Secrets #150, Brave and the Bold #8 and #98!Advance-solicited; on sale March 12 o 496 pg, B&W, $16.99 US
Jim: I loved the Phantom Stranger. Even though all of his stories are not great, the character himself is just really cool. Happy to see a second collection of this work as it would not see the light of day other then this type of reprint.
Lee: This is some great stuff. The stories were up and down but Aparo was at the top of his game. It’s really beautiful to look at.
Gwen: I LOVE Phantom Stranger. This looks really cool. I don't think the Phantom Stranger gets enough panel time these days.

DEATHBLOW #9Written by Brian Azzarello Art and cover by Carlos D’AndaIt ends here. The dream, the nightmare, the war. The good, the bad…all of it comes crashing down. There's not a damn thing Deathblow can do about it, and even if there was, why would he? He didn't start it. Ending it, however…On sale February 27 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • Final Issue
Lee: Well, if this doesn’t mark the end of a failed relauch nothing does. What a unbelievable train wreck the latest Wildstorm relauch was. But, good for me I can find these issues in the quarter bin and read them then.
Jim: Train wreck is being nice. The two big books were going to be Wildcats and Authority by Grant Morrison and we got one issue of each – maybe 2 of the Authority.
Gwen: Don't care, at all.

AME-COMI: WONDER WOMAN VINYL FIGUREDesigned by UDON STUDIOSDon't miss out as the world's greatest superheroine goes from Amazonian princess to Ame-Comi warrior!The WONDER WOMAN VINYL FIGURE is a limited-edition, hand-painted piece in a 9" scale. This non-articulated plastic display figure comes with a base, is packaged in a 4-color window box with J-hook and is manufactured to order.Advance-solicited; On sale July 23, 2008 o Vinyl Statue o $49.99 US
AME-COMI: CHEETAH VINYL FIGUREDesigned by UDON STUDIOSWonder Woman's number one nemesis joins her in the world of Ame-Comi!The CHEETAH VINYL FIGURE is a limited-edition, hand-painted piece in a 9" scale.This non-articulated plastic display figure comes with a base, is packaged in a 4-color window box with J-hook and is manufactured to order.Advance-solicited; on sale July 23, 2008 o Statue o $49.99 US
Jim: These just crack me up. Is there really a demand for these anime style figures? Especially at $50 a pop!
Lee: Uuummm, can anyone explain why the cheetah has boxing gloves on and not claws?
Gwen: I am confused by this trend. Seriously. I mean, if you're an anime fan, wouldn't you be buying actual anime stuff?

Jim: On one hand the slow month is sad as I like the new and shiny things as well as anyone (and they are better fodder for this column), …but (and you knew that was coming) just focusing on what you have is not a bad idea either. As Final Crisis starts to hit we shall see what happens, but 2008 is going to be a year of some major changes I believe.
Lee: It was a nice, standard month. But, honestly, I dread the start of Final Crisis. I don’t think all that much will change and we will be flooded with more bad books.
Gwen: I reserve my opinion on Final Crisis. I would say hope springs eternal, but it'd be a lie right now. This month looks like a nice solid one though, its nice to take a break from the hype.