Happy New Year folks! As we here at the L.E.M.U.R. Comics Blog orbiting space station settle in for a night of sorting comics, we’d like to wish you and yours the happiest of 2013’s. New Comics Wednesday is still Wednesday this week, so let’s take a look at this week’s new and noteworthy titles.
There are six characters on this cover. Care to count how many feet are drawn?
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER WILLOW WONDERLAND #3- I really took a gamble here, betting that Jeff Parker would be able to tell a good story to someone who knows less than nothing about Buffy or their cast of characters. He’s really done a great job getting to the core of the character (Willow is a witch looking to bring Magic back to Earth, nuff said) without burdening the book with needless continuity. MAYBE there’s shoutouts to the diehards in here, but it’s nothing that prevents me from enjoying a really solid fantasy title.
- GLORY #31
- MANHATTAN PROJECTS #8
- PUNK ROCK JESUS #6 – PRJ has been the one of the biggest surprises of 2012 for me. Sean Murphy has just knocked this book out of the park and even as I’m looking forward to the end of the extraordinary comic I know we’re going to continue to see great work from him.
- YOUNGBLOOD #75 – Perhaps the “Extremest” of the Extreme relaunch titles, as it was The Rob’s initial book when he started at Image, and it’s the one that holds closest to its original vision as Glory becomes a fantasy title and Prophet is now lo-fi sci-fi (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). Youngblood sticks to the core idea of government-sanctioned heroes, does it well, and even has some solid Liefeldian art thanks to Jon Malin. And despite all MY predictions, at least, several issues have some out on schedule. They’re doing things right over in the Extreme offices, folks.
That’s it for this week, and see you in 2013.
There are several noteworthy books this week, but surprisingly few I’m picking up. Still, let’s dive in to this week’s new releases.
- INVISIBLES OMNIBUS HC – Grant Morrison’s Invisibles is one of the last great, ambitious titles of modern comics, and even it’s 15 years old now. Still, it’s nice to see that DC is giving it the prestige treatment it deserves, even if compiling all 59 issues into one volume is going to be as awkward to read as it is hernia-inducing. Perhaps one volume for each series, DC?
- JACK KIRBYS FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS TP VOL 03 – I *LOVE* the concept behind the Fourth World Omnibi — Jack Kirby’s Fourth World stories collected chronologically instead of by title — so you really get the experience of reading it as if you were seeing it for the first time as in the 70’s. Not to mention the high production values of the paper, coloring, and whatnot make it a high-value upgrade if — like me — you only have the individual-title TPB’s.
- ROCKETEER CARGO OF DOOM #1 – Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, who have been doing incredible work on Daredevil recently, are bringing their considerable talents over to IDW’s Rocketer with this new 4-issue mini. This is going to be one to watch for, friends.
- SCALPED #60 – I’ve been following Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera’s Scalped in trades, and though it’s terrible, terrible protagonists make it not a book I’ve really LIKED, it’s a book that’s definitely been consistently and quietly GREAT month in and month out. And if that seems like a contradiction then you just haven’t started in on Dash’s story yet. This week’s is the last issue.
- YOUNGBLOOD #73 – (Intentionally) funnier than you’d think a Rob book would be, with art by Jon Malin that mimics The Rob’s strengths without falling prey to becoming a stereotype (see also: Marat Mychaels, Dan Fraga), it’s a solid title if you’re in the mood to “Rub the Blood”.*
That’s it for this week. What looks good to you?
* Just kidding, that’s a Bloodstrike tagline.
…Time to review some comics!
I’m noticing a significant amount of IDW titles producing diminishing returns. They start out great, but drift off directionless and never really fulfill their potential. And so it is with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 10, the most recent issue. The beginning is great but there never seem to be story arcs with a conclusion, so every issue becomes the middle. That’s how life works, but it doesn’t make for a gripping story. Yes, the concept is good. Yes, Tom Waltz’s writing writing is solid enough (the art by Dan Duncan is fine, but not exceptional). But without defined story arcs it feels like we’re just adrift. The recent Micro-series — where each turtle gets his own single-issue spotlight — was much better in comparison because there was a definite beginning, middle, and end. The dramatic arc is a pretty big deal; we always seem to be stuck in rising action, and without the climax, falling action, and denouement you can’t have closure.
Speaking of IDW, despite the rage-inducing Kingdom of Monsters #12, I gave them another shot with their new “ongoing” Godzilla series. I shouldn’t have, it’s identical to KoM. Every monster suddenly starts attacking and only one elite ass-kicker charged to look over a little girl looks like he’ll be able to survive the assault. No thanks, IDW, you printed that one already.
Which brings us to Youngblood 71, the last title of The Rob’s Extreme Relaunch. Much like Bloodstrike, it picks up where the last title (an ongoing series that lasted 9 issues) left off, with a few missing characters (Badrock) and a new Shaft. And of all the things I expected from a Youngblood title, what I didn’t expect was for it to be funny. Sure, the Honey Badger gag would have been better had it not been explained, but it’s a good shot. And everyone in the team referring to the naive n00b as Not-Shaft is a nice touch that rings true for a team dynamic. Vogue was a comic book cliche of the girl on the team, but I get the feeling that was the point. I think this is going to be the most accessible of the relaunches. And while it may end suddenly (Youngblood volume 4), with the way the relaunch has been going I don’t expect it to fade into oblivion after an issue or two like volume 3, Imperial, Bloodsport, or Genesis (whew!).
Free Comic Book Day is one of the greatest comic-reading days of the year, but it’s not just
Looking for IDW’s Hostess Artist’s Edition? Get there early!
the free comics. Sometimes publishers take the opportunity to introduce a new character, kick off a huge event (like this year’s Age of Ultron), or experiment with something new. It’s always these experimental books that are the hardest to find. For this week’s LIST we present Rare Free Comic Book Day Issues.
Archie Presents: Moose and Reggie –
The jock and the stomach get their own title at last! But the real draw for this book was the rediscovery of the lost 1948 character Mr. Winklefarthing.
Geoff Johns’ The Darkening (Fanfic press, 2004)
Things We Found Digging in Alan Moore’s Rubbish Bin (Avatar)
The Liefeld Podiatric Sketchbook (Image)
Spider-Man: Night of the Lepus #0
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, A Gentleman # 0.5 of 50 –
Dynamite Entertainment continues their unrelenting acquisition of public domain properties with this graphic novel translation of the most incomprehensible novel in the English language. Written and drawn by Tony Daniel with inks by Wade von Grawbadger.
Ben Grimm’s Man vs Food (2005)
Blinded by Scientology! The L. Ron Hubbard Story (Bluewater Comics) –
This marks the first in a series of bio-comics exploring the lives of famous figures in Scientology.
Cerebus, the one-volume edition –
All 300 issues of the indie comic, in one free volume!
Portraits of Famous Beards (Arctic Press)
Bone: Year One –
a fresh new take on a stale old classic!
The Cathy Sampler (IDW) –
ahead of the release of Cathy vol. 1 (Nov. 1976 – April 1977), IDW presents The Cathy Sampler revisiting everyone’s favorite shopa-choco-holic. This 40 pg. sampler includes the controversial arc where-in Cathy ate pot laced brownies, ACK!
I’m so excited for this week, no preamble. We’re jumping right in! Here are this week’s new and noteworthy releases.
Yes, that's a robot about to whack something with a tiny dinosaur.
- ATOMIC ROBO REAL SCIENCE ADV #1 $2.75 – New Atomic Robo, and look at that price! Many issues of AR include backup features written by Brian Clevenger and drawn by other available artists. Real Science Adventures takes these from the backups and makes them the featured story. I admit I always appreciate Scott Wegener’s art the most on Robo, partially because he’s just that good, but mainly because the quality of the guest artists tends to fluctuate pretty wildly. Still, new Robo is new Robo, and you can’t go wrong for less than $3.
- BLOODSTRIKE #26 – I am SO torn about this one! On the one hand, it’s Bloodstrike, the main signal that the 90’s had gotten dangerously out of control (yeah, yeah, I read it. Shut up.). On the other, The Rob’s Extreme relaunch has been surprisingly good, so it’s got the virtue of being in good company. I’m in for now.
- DAREDEVIL #10 – I believe I covered this.
- FF #16 – After finally finding FF #1, I’ve read the first year’s worth of stories now. It’s technically good, but I definitely feel like it misses out on part of the appeal of Hickman’s run, namely that just about every story was a standalone but fed into the whole. It was very artfully done, and after 12 issues a complete story hasn’t been told yet. I think that’s pretty poor form. Still, it’s solid FF’ery if you can be patient with it.
- SNARKED #6
- TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ONGOING #8
I had planned to take this space to mention Greg Rucka’s new Punisher series, but that will have to wait until next week, when I’ll pair it up with Rick Remender’s new Venom. So that’s it for this week. What looks good to you?
Oh, we've THOUGHT about telling you where his nose went, but we kept it to ourselves.
We’ve been running our weekly LIST for a while now…82 weeks to be exact, which makes it one of our longest-running features.. We don’t give ourselves a lot of boundaries, but there are some things even we consider crossing the line. For this week’s LIST we take you behind the scenes to LISTS We’ve Scrapped. For one reason or another, these just were not and could not make the cut.
Things found in Alan Moore’s beard
Superheroes’ Favorite Numbers
Heroes that are also Urban Dictionary Entries
Other Things Hank Pym Has Hit
Crimes that would land you in the Phantom Zone
Mutants Based on Kama Sutra Positions
Characters and Titles that never made it past the Comics Code Authority
Fish Aquaman Has Only Commanded Once
Wanna know the weirdest things ever found in these envelopes? Trust us, you don't.
Where to hide a body in Gotham City
Other characters Bob Kane has taken credit for
Aunt May’s Favorite Sex Toys
Distances measured in units of Wolverine
Ant-Man’s Trophy Room
Things Rob Liefeld Can Draw Better Than Anyone, Ever
Friend of the Blog Andrew pointed this out while I was picking up comics over the weekend.
Here’s a panel on page 24 of Prophet #21, by Simon Roy:
Here’s the alternate cover of Prophet #21, by Rob Liefeld:
Another week, another strange half-dozen assorted comics. There’s this week’s new and noteworthy titles.
Not your daddy's Prophet comic!
- PROPHET #21 – The Rob’s Extreme relaunch begins here! When comicdom’s best writers like Warren Ellis and Rick Remender praise Liefeld’s comics, you KNOW they’re going to be something special. Prophet looks to be the best of them, as John Prophet’s story picks up years after the original Stephen Platt series and promises a more more European-style book. I don’t know how much it’ll appeal to me, really, but I’ve GOT to check out such a drastic revamp.
- STEED AND MRS PEEL #1 (OF 6) – This one is new to me, but it looks like a new Grant Morrison series, so I’m in.
- SUPERIOR #7 (OF 7) – I picked up the first handful of issues before last year’s experiment and I’m astounded to see it hadn’t wrapped up yet. And it looks like I hadn’t missed it that much.
- THUNDERBOLTS #169
- VENOM #12
- VOLTRON #2 – The Voltron relaunch wasn’t especially good. Give it a miss unless your love of the big guy won’t let you do otherwise.
If your area is anything like mine, Fatale #1 got a lot of press and sold out quickly. And with good reason. Brubaker and Phillips’ latest is essentially a Hellblazer noir title, and the mystery is pretty intriguing. While the seemingly-endless run of new mysteries is unquestionably producing more misses than hits, this isn’t one of them. These guys have a great, established track record and I’ll be picking this one up for a while.
That’s it for this week. What’s looking good to you?
There is just a huge amount of Marvel titles I’m looking at right now, both due to quality and an addiction the New 52 isn’t filling. Here’s this week’s noteworthy titles.
- AVENGERS #17
- DAREDEVIL #4 – By all accounts, Mark Waid is knocking this one out of the park.
- HULK #41
- MARK TWAINS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1910-2010 HC – Michael Kupperman’s new book finally makes it out this week! Even though I miss Tales Designed To Thrizzle, getting a new OGN makes it all worthwhile.
- RED WING #3 (OF 4) – I confess, Jonathan Hickman’s time travel epic hasn’t done a whole lot for me, but it’s still worth seeing where it goes.
- TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ONGOING #2 – I picked up the first issue last month and it was pretty solid. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here, but I’m 90% sure this is an entirely new continuity. Worth picking up if you’re a fan of the Turtles.
- THUNDERBOLTS #163 POINT ONE
- X-MEN SCHISM #4 (OF 5)
The Rob and Robert Kirkman’s Infinite #2 shows a marked improvement over the first issue, although Rob, whose work is improving, still needs to focus on his consistency, as the pouches, pockets, straps, and miscellanea change with characters from panel to panel. Even worse, the inconsistency occasionally spreads to Hi-Fi Design’s colors. Kirkman’s story, though not revelatory, is solid and serves the story.
One benefit to waiting until Saturday to get new comics is that you have the opportunity to review your pull list between Wednesday and the trip to your comic shop. After reading several positive reviews I decided to pick up Pigs #1, by Nate Cosby (former Incredible Hercules editor and source of that titles amazing onomatopoeias), Ben McCool, and Breno Tamura. It’s not a perfect start, but it is a very good start. I could have done with less pages of an old man on a bicycle — who only exists to get killed off — and more explanation of who the talking heads are, especially the Cuban family. The investigators also reminded me more of TV police officers rather than federal agents. Still, the intrigue of a KGB Cuban sleeper cell in the US is intriguing enough to keep me coming back through the first arc. I’m hoping this book turns into The Losers, though that may just be the influence of the beautiful cover by Jock.
That’s it for me. What are YOU looking at?
There’s a lot to talk about this week, including how strange it is to take a look through Diamond’s new releases and see so many #1’s. Which brings be to a question I’m throwing out to our reading public. Not that many folks have been following my experiment to pick up new releases on the cheap, but if you have, should I keep including DC books throughout this year for the purpose of the experiment?
It’s been going exceptionally well, picking up books a couple months later for under cover price, and if left to my own devices I would just drop all the DCU titles and be done with it. But I’m concerned that it would throw off the results, and I’m wondering if I should keep up the list with DCnU titles through the year for the sake of the experiment. If you have any thoughts, or just want to berate me for such a dumb stunt, hit us up in the comment section.
Meanwhile, here’s what’s noteworthy for this week.
- 27 SECOND SET #1 (OF 4) – The first series had some promise but just never really jelled with me, unfortunately.
- DAREDEVIL #3
- FEAR ITSELF #6 (OF 7)
- FEAR ITSELF HULK VS DRACULA #1 (OF 3) – I wonder if my ditching DC titles is going to lead to my making up for it with other books I would never otherwise pick up. This is a good case in point. I’m really just sucked in my the high concept, partially due to the Dracula/Sgt Fury WWII story I’m currently reading in some old Marvel Comics Presents. Ah, what’s the worst that could happen?
- GHOST RIDER #3
- GLADSTONES SCHOOL FOR WORLD CONQUERORS #5 – It’s strange, but I really think this is the title I look forward to most each month. Just an all around excellent title.
- HERC #7
- INFINITE #2 – I admit it, Infinite #1 wasn’t great. It was just too vague in all respects. Still, The Rob has had two books come out in two weeks, which means he’s put out more books in 8 days than Todd McFarlane has put out in the last decade.
- NEW AVENGERS #16
- UNCANNY X-FORCE #15 – My Rick Remender love continues unabated.
In other administrivia, you can now email Matt and I directly at matt or jesse at lemurcomics.com. We also have a fledgling Twitter feed up. Check out @LEMURComics for all the minor thoughts that enter our brain but aren’t enough for a full post.
Well, that’s it for me. What are YOU looking at?