Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Marvel and DC's May previews reviewed

DC’s solicitations for their May titles didn’t hit Newsarama until today, the same day that Marvel’s were posted. I believe this was on account of President’s Day, and the people who usually email them to Newsarama HQ were out taking advantage of President’s Day sales.

So, for whatever reason, they all came out on the same day, and instead of posting two separate posts examining them for things to make fun of and/or get excited about reading three months from now, I’ve combined them all into one, super-long Marvel ane DC previews review posts. In-SANE, huh?

Let’s see how it works out…

Written by Gerry Conway
Art by Chris Batista & Dave Meikis
Cover by Brian Bolland

Is Buddy Baker losing it all? Everyman hero Buddy Baker has fought hard for our world, and for his family. But by the year 2024, the Earth has seen better days: The heroes are growing tired, the villains have grown nastier and Buddy’s own hometown of San Diego has struggled for years to recover from a cataclysmic typhoon. His children have grown and his marriage has gotten colder... and now, as San Diego faces the most vicious Super-Villain it’s seen in years, his powers are starting to fail him! Without his powers, without his family – who is Buddy Baker? Can he still be a husband? Can he still be a father? Can he still be Animal Man? And more importantly, can he even survive the bloodthirsty plan his arch-rival’s progeny has in store for him? Comics legend Gerry Conway (TV’s Law and Order) makes his return to DC with this can’t-miss miniseries!

I like how the solicit goes right from calling Conway a comics legend to citing as his only credit “TV’s Law and Order.”

I’m not convinced the world needs any more Animal Man stories after Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan and Jamie Delano took their swings at him, but I’ll probably at least give the first issue a shot. I like the character a whole lot—there aren’t that many vegan superheroes to look up to, you know?—and I like Batista’s art okay and hey, that sure is a nice Brian Bolland cover (not that there are bad Brian Bolland covers, of course).

Aquaman and Mera his and her tentacle rape busts…?

Illustrated by Asuka Izumi
Original story by K-Ske Hasegawa

Shinigamis are usually thought of as dark and scary, but not Momo. She’s the beautiful and sympathetic messenger of death who helps people transition to the other side, prevents others from ending their own lives, and carries messages from the dead to the living.

Based on the Japanese light novel series that later became an anime, BALLAD OF A SHINIGAMI is a collection of stories about people coming to terms with death that are alternately sad, funny, and heartwarming.

Advance-solicited; on sale June 3 • 5” x 7.375” • 184 pg, B&W, $9.99 US • TEEN +

Is that legal? Are they allowed to make manga about Shinigami?

Help me out here…is Batgirl wearing a tight dress with an open front and gold lacing, or black chaps with gold lacing around each leg…? Also, what the fuck is this thing and why does it even exist? It depresses the hell out of me that this Batgirl can barely move twenty thousand comic books a month, and yet an audience apparently exists for weird-ass expensive statuary of her.

Written by Bill Finger, Edmond Hamilton and others
Art by Sheldon Moldoff, Dick Sprang and others
Cover by Alex Ross

Discover the stories that inspired recent events in the Batman universe with this new collection! Featuring stories from BATMAN #65, 86, 112, 113, 134, 156 and 162, DETECTIVE COMICS #215, 235, 247 and 267, and WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #89. With an intro by Grant Morrison.

Advance-solicited; on sale June 17 • 144 pg, FC, $17.99 US


Not only did DC wait way, way, way too long to put this together—back when fan’s were still trying to figure out who The Black Glove was and might have had extra incentive to sift through these old stories form clues would have probably been a better time to release this—but the presentation isn’t anywhere as cool as it should be.

First, they’re just slapping one of Alex Ross’ lame-ass random iconic covers on it. They should have at least made him paint the Club of Heroes or The Batman of Planet-X.

Me, if I were in charge of putting-DC-trade-collections together, I would have given it a faux black leather pattern cover, with just the title on it, and lead each story off with a fake entry in Batman’s journal written by Morrison in the character of Batman. If Morrison would have done it. That would have been awesome.

This will still likely be a damn good read, as all of these stories are pretty great and all of them should make Tony Daniel feel like a real asshole when Batman readers are more easily able to compare the highly-imaginative and well-constructed zany imagery of Sheldon Moldoff to the tired, half-scribbled crap Daniel came up with when covering the very same panels.

And it’s nice Morrison at least wrote an intro, but still, this could have been soooo much better.

Hmm, who’s that vaguely insect-like character supposed to be? Black Spider IV? Is that even the right roman numeral for which legacy Black Spider we're on at this point?

Gah! What the hell Ladronn…? What is up with Batirl’s gigantic breasts in this picture…? Jeez man, we all know you can do better than this. This is the cover for Batman: Battle for the Cowl—The Network #1, which can and should be skipped, since it has two punctuation marks in the title. Any comic needing a second piece of punctuation beyond a colon can’t possibly be any good. It’s a fact.


Written by Neil Gaiman
Art by Andy Kubert & Scott Williams, Mark Buckingham, Bernie Mireault & Matt Wagner and Simon Bisley
Cover by Andy Kubert & Scott Williams

Best-selling author Neil Gaiman (THE SANDMAN) joins a murderer’s row of talented artists in lending his unique touch to the Batman mythos for this Deluxe Edition hardcover! Spotlighting the story “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” from BATMAN #685 and DETECTIVE COMICS #852 in which Gaiman joins artist Andy Kubert and inker Scott Williams for a story that shines a new light on the Batman mythos. Also collects Gaiman stories from SECRET ORIGINS #36, SECRET ORIGINS SPECIAL #1 and BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE #2. This collection is not to be missed!

Advance-solicited; on sale July 22 • 7 1/16" x 10 7/8", 128 pg, FC, $24.99 US

Either filling out Gaiman’s two-issue “Whatever Happened…” story arc with the other short Batman comics stories he’s done in the past was an extremely obvious move, or I’m totally psychic.

It doesn’t look like the Two-Face and Penguin portions of Secret Origins Special #1, which weren’t written by Gaiman, are making it into this collection, which is only odd in that Gaiman wrote the frame story that included a short Riddler piece by him and the Two-Face and Penguin stories. I imagine it will read extra-choppy with two-thirds of the middle edited out, but we’ll see.

Oh man, who is that guy Wolverine's fighting? I love that guy! He's like...Wolverine made out of knives...? That's awesome. Is that the Stryfe-with-a-y character mentioned in the solicits for X-Force?


Written by Matthew Sturges
Art by Freddie E. Williams II
Cover by Kako

The Human Flame is a dead man. Literally just waking up after the events of FINAL CRISIS, he realizes all the heroes in the DC Universe target him as the lowlife who taped the murder of the Martian Manhunter with his cell phone. On top of that, all the villains in the world want to kill him for selling them out to Libra. He's powerless and penniless, and his only chance for survival is to run! This 6-issue miniseries examines the underbelly of the DCU and what happens when the wrong choices catch up with you. Nothing can prepare you for this chase.

Six issues?! That's almost as many issues as long as Final Crisis itself. There's something kind of appealing about the idea of a loser villain like The Human Flame—it can't be easy being The Martian Manhunter's Silver Age villain; surely even Aquaman's villains like The Fisherman look down on him—but another miniseries that "Examines the underbelly of the DCU" sounds an awful lot like the pitch for Villains United, the Piper/Trickster thread of Countdown, Salvation Run and Gotham Underground. The whole villain on the run from fellow villains and superheroes is the exact same plot as the Piper/Trickster stuff, isn't it? And those were characters that DC readers knew and liked. I can't imagine The Human Flame will be much of a draw...even the Final Crisis branding seems dubious. Wouldn't a better time to explore the aftermath of FC have been soon after FC, rather than five months later?

Props for using an exclamation mark in the title though.


Written by Ivan Brandon
Art by Marco Rudi
Cover by Scott Hampton

In this all-new 6-issue miniseries, Nemesis awakens to find himself held captive by the Global Peace Agency inside the walls of the mysterious Electric City. His fellow prisoners are all members of the superhuman intelligence community, and they're subjected to systematic torture in an attempt to siphon the secrets of the DC Universe heroes in an effort to destroy them. As Nemesis works to escape, he finds few people he can truly trust. But nothing could prepare him for the hideous truth behind his situation!

Okay, here's another six-issues series tying into Final Crisis, this one starring someone who wasn't even in Final Crisis (at least The Human Flame and The Super Young Team and Tatooed Man II, who also get their own six-issue miniseries, appeared in Final Crisis at some point). This one has torture right there in the solicit, and is the one DC pitched at NYCC as a cross between The Prisoner and Saw. Considering how dark, gory and violent many of the DC books that don't make a point of boasting about it ahead of time end up, this one is probably going to be pretty gross.


Pencils & Cover by ROGER LANGRIDGE

There was a time when giants walked the Earth! Monstrous creatures! Products of science gone mad!!! FIN FANG FOOM! ELEKTRO! GOOGAM! GORGILLA! Once they were great and terrible, and all trembled in their wake! Now, reduced to human size, they must live in the modern world and earn a buck. So what happens when the freakish foursome tries to play nice? Find out in this one-shot from the depraved minds of acclaimed comedy maestros Scott Gray and Roger Langridge!
48 PGS./One-Shot/Rated A ...$3.99

Okay, I'll take one of these, please.


Written by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar
Art by Mike Parobeck, Paul Ryan, Pop Mhan, Steve Lightle and others
Cover by Steve Lightle

Grant Morrison and Mark Millar’s run with the Fastest Man Alive continues here! Collects THE FLASH #136-141 as well as a story from SECRET ORIGINS #50.

Advance-solicited; on sale June 10 • 160 pg, FC, $14.99 US

Cool, they’re continuing their collection of this run. I really, really liked this “Human Race” story.


Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ethan Van Sciver
Covers by Ethan Van Sciver

What's happened to the Speed Force? One of the world's most powerful speedsters is dead, and Barry Allen must discover who – or what – is responsible! But the reborn Barry is a man haunted by a dark secret in his past. A secret that drives him to push far beyond his limits. A burden that, if he's not careful, could send him right back into oblivion! Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver's reinvention of the Scarlet Speedster picks up the pace – we dare you to keep up!

Gasp! "One of the world's most powerful speedsters is dead, and Barry Allen must discover who – or what – is responsible!" That sure sounds like an exciting plot point, in a comic book about one of the world’s most powerful speedsters whose been dead for 20 years coming back to life!


Written by Garth Ennis
Art and cover by John McCrea

The cult hit from writer Garth Ennis (PREACHER) returns! Rediscover the story of Tommy Monaghan, an ex-military operative who has set himself up as a hired gun on the back streets of Gotham City. Collects THE DEMON ANNUAL #2, THE BATMAN CHRONICLES #4 and HITMAN #1-3!
Advance-solicited; on sale June 17 • 144 pg, FC, $14.99 US

If you haven’t already read Hitman, you really should; this is one of my favorite comic books of all time, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Unfortunately, they’re still not collecting the Demon story arcs guest-starring Tommy Monaghan (which would actually get me to buy this new printing), but fortunately, they won’t be collecting the letters pages either, which would include plenty of gushing letters form young J. Caleb Mozzocco.

I wrote a one billion word post about Hitman and how I thought DC should re-collect it here, if you haven’t seen it and don’t have any more productive ways to waste twenty minutes.

Paul Gulacy sure draws a scary Jonah Hex…! He provides the interior art in May’s issue of DC’s ongoing Western/awesome artist showcase Jonah Hex as well.


Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Rags Morales
Cover by Ed Benes

It's Dharma vs. Starbreaker for control of the greatest source of power in the
DC Universe. No matter the victor, the Justice League loses!

Hey, ditch that shitty cover artist, and JLoA would have a great creative team for the first time in...what, three years? I imagine Morales is just temporary though, as Benes, in addition to being terrible, has regularly needed fill-in artists every couple of issues. Even if it is just for one issue, maybe I'll give it a try...I do try to get everything Morales draws...

Now, regarding that cover, is it just me, or does it seem like the cover of almost every issue of JLoA has involved a bunch of Justice Leaguers lying prone on a pile of rubble?


Penciled by IG GUARA
Variant Cover by NIKO HENRICHON

And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes were unaware of a threat greater than all of them could handle. And on that day, a teleporting puppy scoured the world to assemble a team of animals to fight the foes no single beast could withstand! Strap on your collar and hop on-board the adventures of LOCKJAW, LOCKHEED, REDWING, HAIRBALL, and an all-new FROG THOR! Written by Eisner-nominee CHRIS ELIOPOULOS with art by fan-favorite IG GUARA, color by INCREDIBLE HULK colorist CHRIS SOTOMAYOR and variant covers by PRIDE OF BAGHDAD artist NIKO HENRICHON!
32 PGS./All Ages ...$2.99


If I rubbed a brass lamp and a bare-chested Dan DiDio made out of blue smoke wearing a vest, a fez and hoop earrings appeared and asked me if he could magically grant me permission to write any DC comics I wanted, it would have been a modern day Legion of Super-Pets, where the various current, in-continuity animals of the DCU unite to fight an enemy that has felled every single humanoid hero in their attempt to conquer earth, but overlooked the meta-animals, who rally to save the day.

Oh well...

This should be pretty good. I haven't read much of anything from this Chris Eliopoulos character, but if he thought to assemble Redwing, Lockjaw and company into a superteam, he's obviously a genius.

I don't know if the word "fan-favorite" fits Ig Guara, but he draws the Marvel Adventures Avengers, and that's a favorite series of mine, so maybe it does apply after all.

Nice Frog Thor cover, too... and hey, only $2.99, rather than the inflated $3.99 Marvel's been charging for miniseries lI want to read like Marvel Zombies 3 and Marvel Apes lately. Huzzah!

Written by TOM DEFALCO
Variant Cover by MARCOS MARTIN
The original Human Torch, Toro, the Sub-Mariner, the Angel and the Ferret team up to prevent Nazi saboteurs and one of the Torch's earliest foes from creating the ultimate weapon of mass destruction in this all-new 22 page story. Plus another 10 page classic vintage tale from Marvel's Golden Age!

I have no idea who The Ferret might be, but I can't wait to find out. (Dara, you really need to pitch Marvel a Ferret series!) I'm pretty excited about all of these _________ Comics #1 70th Anniversary Specials Marvel's putting out this spring. They're unfortunately all at the $3.99 price point, but at least they have reprint back-ups to maybe sorta kinda justify the extra $1. I guess I'll have to wait and see.


Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art and cover by Lee Garbett & Trevor Scott

“The Deep” part 4 of 6. The Outsiders finally discover what The Insiders are searching for thanks to the help of a long lost being known only as “The Outkast.” And the ensuing battle may take them to the very center of the earth itself!

You know, I’m almost certain there’s no “k” in the word “Outcast”…

R.E.B.E.L.S. #4

Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Claude St. Aubin & Scott Hanna
Cover by Ed Benes & Rob Hunter

The stakes grow higher as the galaxy’s new would-be conqueror stands revealed. Dox and the Omega Men each plot their next steps while the alien Khunds and Dominators get involved against the rising mysterious threat to their galaxies. Believe us, the last page of this issue will blow even Dox’s mind!

Still not cancelled!



When Runaway Molly Hayes responds to the X-Men's psychic invitation welcoming all mutants to a new home in San Francisco, she declares it "Moll-ifest Destiny" and heads to the Headlands to investigate! But when she finds herself back-to-back with Wolverine, cornered by a villain with a vendetta, she might find being an X-Man isn't just secret clubhouses and cool-looking costumes...
40 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99

So did I miss an announcement about a new creative team, or is this just a fill-in, or....what, exactly? I dropped Runaways on account of not really liking what the current creative team is doing, so I'll probably check this out. It's certainly hard to pass up a book called "Moll-ifest Destiny," and I really enjoyed the first Molly and Wolvie encounter. Cover by David LaFuente, who rules.


Story and Art by YAMANAKA AKIRA
Translation by YUKO FUKAMI
English Adaptation by MARC SUMERAK

Fresh from Japan...SPIDER-MAN J! Originally published only in that country, SPIDER-MAN J enjoyed a large following of loyal readers. Now, fans here can enjoy Spider-Man J's manga-styled adventures, as well – collected for the first time in America and translated for your reading pleasure! Reprinting stories from SPIDER-MAN FAMILY #7-9.
128 PGS./All Ages ...$9.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3718-4

I didn't even know there was a volume one of this. Did anyone in the reading audience read this? Should I have read it? It sure looks potentially fun...

Pencils & Cover by KEVIN MAGUIRE
Two stars of Saturday Night Live make their Marvel debut with an all-new story set right on the bustling, hot dog juice covered streets of New York City. Halloween is coming early this year as Spidey is knocked out during the Greenwich Village costume parade and an intoxicated reveler in a Spidey costume takes his place. Really, we don't want to say more than that. Trust us, with comic book legend Kevin Maguire (JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL) along for the ride, this'll be more exciting than putting a president on a comic book cover!
48 PGS./One-Shot/Rated T+ ...$3.99

That's a pretty inside comics joke for a book written by two SNL writers. Still, it's almost impossible to go wrong with Kevin Maguire pencils.

I liked the first issue of Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eight Grade okay, but not so much that I bought the second one. I’ll probably pick this last one up though, as that’s a great cover, and I do so like a good Superhorse story.

TIMESTORM 2009/2099 #2 (of 4)
Written by BRIAN REED
Penciled by ERIC BATTLE
It's the heroes and villains of 2099—as you've never seen them before! Washington, D.C. overrun by Hulks! New York City controlled by massive corporations that know your every thought and desire! A man from 2099 in the present day, killing our heroes! Brian Reed (SECRET INVASION: CAPTAIN MARVEL) and Eric Battle (Batman) bring you the world of tomorrow as it collides with the world of today!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99

Eric Battle drew Batman? Really? Why don' t I have any memory of that at all?

Pencils & Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU
Had enough yet? Neither have we!!!
Red-hot writer Damon Lindelof (LOST) and superstar artist Leinil Francis Yu (Secret Invasion) conclude the slobberknocker of the century! With his mission a wreck and Fury hot on his trail, can Wolverine pull himself together (literally & figuratively!!) to do what he does best before Hulk pounds him into oblivion first? Don't miss this explosive final chapter as the battle between Berserker and Behemoth goes to ELEVEN!!

ULTIMATUM #5 (of 5)
Written by JEPH LOEB
Pencils & Cover by DAVID FINCH
Variant Cover by ED MCGUINNESS
Sketch Variant by ED MCGUINNESS
Gatefold Variant by DAVID FINCH
Fallen Heroes Variant by OLIVIER COIPEL
Is this what the end of the world looks like? You better believe it!!
As only Emmy & Eisner award-winning writer Jeph Loeb and superstar artist David Finch can deliver, it's an apocalyptic conclusion where every, and we mean EVERY, score is settled! The Ultimate heroes have faced their final judgment...and when the dust settles will they be found wanting? If you can handle the growing body count, stick around as ALL is answered in this explosive series finale that will shock fans for years to come!

Whew, it looks like they'll manage to get Ultimate Wolvie Vs. Hulk completed just as they were finishing off the Ultimate Universe. That was a pretty close one, wasn’t it?

Two covers, 800 characters on each one and no feet. Not unless you count Lockheed's. I really like the artist Jim Lee's become in the past decade or so, but his popularity sure had a negative effect on comics art via the people who he influenced during this period.


LurkerWithout said...

Chris Ellio..Elio..HardtospellGreekname did a humor book with Image for a bit, that was based on a strip he did as a back-up in Savage Dragon. He's also had a few humor comics strips for Marvel. That and the generally pretty cool Franklin Richards Son of Genius all-ages stuff...

*Looks for most recent FRSOG book*


Tucker Stone said...

That batgirl statue line was genius.

Dean said...

Gah! What the hell Ladronn…? What is up with Batirl’s gigantic breasts in this picture…?

Maybe it's Power Girl subbing for Batgirl? :)

Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool said...

Googam AND the Thunder Frog in one month. OOOOOOOOO I am gonna get the vapors for sure!

mordicai said...

I wish I collected comic book statues so I could say "I WANT THAT CASSANDRA CAIN BATGIRL!" I do really like Cassandra Cain as Batgirl; she's a super strong concept, & she has a "tough guy" motivation usually reserved for male characters, not female. She's a killer, trying to go straight! Also, her favorite movie is Alien? She's so great. & side note, Babs is better in a wheel chair, as Oracle.

grifter said...

Chris Eliopoulos letters around half your Marvel books.

SallyP said...

I must admit that I'm all agog over the Fin Fang Four. AND the Human Flame. And ok, the ones with the various super pets too.

Jon Hansen said...

Hey, I can see Lockheed's feet!

Mr. Fob said...

You know, I’m almost certain there’s no “k” in the word “Outcast”…

They must be referring to the rap duo.

Hdefined said...

Aquaman and his cast are some of the only characters around whom tentacles really aren't out of place or suggestive.

tgiokdi said...

Hey, I have those two x-men covers, but in poster form. The poster was from the 90's, and I still have it somewhere. Why are they reusing the art like that?

Dave of Apocalypse said...

"He's like...Wolverine made out of knives...? "


chiasaur11 said...

Fin Fang Four?

That's my favorite use of Fin Fang Foom ever! Including Nextwave, even.

I will buy that even if I have to sell a kidney.

Matt Ampersand said...

Isn't it weird that in that X-Men image there's a part of it that is repeated on both covers?

Dara said...

Dara, you really need to pitch Marvel a Ferret series!

Wasn't there a Ferret comic from Malibu? I think he was part of that Protectors team made up of public domain superhero characters.

In any case, I'm too busy working on my West Coast Avengers: Dark Reign pitch to bother with a ferret pitch ;-)

Matthew J. Brady said...

Re: Spider-Man J: John Jakala has written about it here. It sounds fairly enjoyable.

Matt said...

Presumably, that's the Fin Fang Four stuff that's up now on Marvel Digital Unlimited.

If so, it's really good.

Keith said...

If someone could draw like Jim Lee but add masterful feet, that person would rule the comics industry.