#310- Brand New Flavor
So, I’m going to a new comic shop now…
Thing about moving that always sucks (apart from the actual moving obviously) is having to find another decent comic book shop to visit every Wednesday. Complicating matters is that I’ve been really lucky in the past to find great shops to spend too much money in, and have never gotten stuck frequenting any of these horrible places that I see described on so many message boards. Thankfully, fortune smiles once again, as I’ve found another new spot that offers an unheard of discount, and is supported by a fantastic website that allows me to order any book I need from the Previews catalog, no matter what company puts it out. It’s the perfect arrangement for a control freak like myself, and one week in, I’ve decided to make this column all about the “new” things that I found in a particular stack of comics.
My first week’s haul contained an assortment of excellent books like King City, Green Lantern, Scalped, Unknown Solider, Detective Comics, New Avengers, and several others that are referenced in further detail below. Enjoy.
Days Missing just has an unbeatable premise, and Hester and Irving delivered a gem of an opening issue, which is certainly worth more than the single dollar I paid for it. Hester might actually be a more talented writer than he is an artist, which is saying something, and I’m happy to see that he’s doing a ton of stuff in the near future. We got the new affordably priced Vampirella mini-series to look forward to, alongside his new BOOM! ongoing The Anchor, etc. etc. He’s everywhere recently, and in this case, he had the difficult task of introducing and selling a potentially confusing series concept, but he makes it look all too easy. This story detailing what really happened on November 11, 2004, is a great way to get the ball rolling, and the story is dense, poignant, engaging, and clever on all fronts. Can easily see this having a very successful run and turning into a collection of cool little minis, especially if they can keep the creative teams cycling in and out at this level. Fine job from all involved.
Just as important as keeping an eye out for new books, is keeping a close watch on emerging creators, provided they’re not already attached to the aforementioned new books of course. Two “new” writers I’ve been following lately are Kathryn Immonen and Eric Wallace. The former wrote the criminally underrated Patsy Walker: Hellcat mini, with wonderful artwork from the oft-mentioned David Lafuente, and honestly, was a book I was little shocked that I enjoyed so much. Remember talking to my guys Nate and Craig Mack about it, and they were both surprised how excited I was about it, as I think a lot of readers (including myself) approached it with strong pre-conceived notions about what it would be. If I had to distill it down to a single word, think I’d chose “whimsical”, as the series was filled with mystical characters, ancient curses, and a great dose of well-timed humor. The recap pages packed more creativity than most entire books really, and I’m glad it was traded because it deserves to be discovered by more people in the future.
On top of that, Immonen has started a good run on Runaways, with artist Sara Pichelli. The book has recently disappeared from the Marvel solicits [Newsarama Note: The series is taking a hiatus, but is not cancelled], but I hope she’s able to continue on as the permanent writer, as she’s got the voices and personalities of the characters nailed down. It's been hard for me to get real excited about the book since Vaughan left years ago, but I think with some time and some space, she could turn it back into something special.
Across town we got Eric Wallace, who apparently had written scripts for the Syfy show Eureka, before making the transition into comics. Right now he’s scripting the Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink series, and has turned a character as potentially ridiculous as the Tattooed Man into something compelling and believable. The central idea of having him speak to his tattoos, which in some cases have escaped from his body and gone completely rogue, is a great one, and gives the series a cool, strange hook. Anxious to see what the writer does with Titans on a regular basis, as the black superhero defending his small but impoverished neighborhood has turned into a pretty familiar theme over the years. Titans should be a prime opportunity to spread out with some more popular characters and really show off a little. But thus far he’s doing a great job on one we’re not supposed to even care about, so I’m confident.
That’s Immonen and Wallace, for those at home keeping score. Expect big things.
New Creative Teams
His FF: Dark Reign mini was essentially an elaborate prologue for this, but Fantastic Four #570 is where Jonathan Hickman’s tenure on Marvel’s first family truly begins. As a lot of writers often do, he instantly plugs into Reed Richards and his powerful intellect, contrasting him with an equally brilliant Wizard, and carrying his previously introduced Bridge thread into even more clever directions. Really enjoyed Reed’s “room of ideas” when McDuffie used it in his run too, and Hickman is hitting full stride as he continues to explore just what goes on in this secret room…and the other secret room hidden inside of that one. How much you wanna bet that the Council’s motives and dealings aren’t nearly as altruistic as they appear? Maybe it’s just the cosmic gauntlets that make me nervous, but in any case, the FF seems to be in great creative hands.
Also, Hickman’s Secret Warriors kicked off a new arc with a new artist that provides the perfect complement to Caselli’s opening foray. And he draws Ares with a huge ______ axe, which can never be seen as a bad thing. Can see Hickman contributing great things to Marvel for years to come based on his strong start.
New Batman & Robin
Yes, you’re right---I will use any possible excuse to talk about Batman & Robin. Think this last issue was a little late in arriving, but the glory (and the horror) of what it contained made the small delay well worth it. First thing I should mention is how it gets harder and harder to dislike Damian, even with my own prevailing Tim Drake attachment. This little brat has a series of awesome moments in this concluding issue that shows just how effective Dick can actually be at playing Batman, and how deeply disturbed and twisted Professor Pyg really is. That scene (you know the one I’m talking about) is just so creepy and unpleasant that Damian has to speak for all of us with, “You. You just redefined “wrong”.” What clearly isn’t wrong is Quitely’s artwork in parallel fight sequences that quickly synch up and turn into another fantastic visual depiction of this new Dynamic Duo. How great is the shot where Dick hands Damian back the little “R” for his suit? Or the little clip at the end that fits this series into that random scene from "Batman R.I.P."? All around greatness, keep it coming.
New Wednesday Comics
The Commish seems more than a little pissed at Batman, doesn’t he? Kamandi helps forge an alliance with the lion king. Could the Jetpack Aliens have infected Superman with something that explains his recent fits of whininess? First, Deadman gets beaten to a pulp, then he gets to kiss the ghost girl---being alive is certainly a gift and a curse. Joe Quinones should draw one of Morrison’s Multiversity issues. Periodic table in Metamorpho is great fun, but Java takes the prize once again. Paul Pope? Still awesome. Supergirl strip needs Aquaman back, or this same creative team should do an entire Aquaman strip in Wednesday Comics 2. Wonder Woman story is really turning into something nice. Rock almost escaped. Barry Allen (all 5 or 6 of them) has made a terrible mistake. Kyle Baker is going to draw more dinosaurs next week, and it’s going to be glorious, I just know it.
And naturally, while I was putting the final touches on the outline for this installment, that little piece of news about Disney acquiring Marvel was dropped onto the internet like an atom bomb, and thousands of jaws simultaneously crashed into the floor. With comics, there’s always some kind of unbelievable plot twist just around the corner, and this will undoubtedly have our favorite sites buzzing for weeks and weeks to come, speculating on what this means for everyone. Going to play “wait and see” personally, but it doesn’t have to be a horrible, terrible thing, and could actually position Marvel to wholeheartedly embrace whatever new form is coming for the industry. Interesting move for both parties, and right now, the optimist in me can imagine the big, beautiful possibilities right alongside all of the other less pleasant ones.
Also, completely random, but this might be one of the best commercials/ads I’ve ever seen…especially for something hip-hop related…