May 042013
 

There’s been whining about Avengers Arena out there, about how it’s just Hunger Games or Battle Royale, about how it’s all just a gimmick to kill characters, waah, waah, waah!  We’ll we’re here to tell those people to shut up.  Avengers Arena is easily one of the best books to come out of the Marvel NOW line of relaunch comics.  And that is for the same reason that all the above complaints mean nothing:  characters.  Dennis Hopeless excels at many aspects of the narrative process, but primary among them is his ability to write layered, rounded, fascinating characters.  With characters you care about it doesn’t matter what plot structure you apply (because let’s be honest, they’re all just repeats of Shakespeare), the story is always compelling.  So, place your bets, because sixteen teenage superheroes have entered into a deadly game of cat-and-laser-shooting-adolescent.  And only one will leave.

Shaw is on the run.  He’s been running for hundreds of years.  ’Cause he’s immortal.  And pissed off.  Now he’s in Chicago, surrounded by gangsters, police, and other mystical creatures who want him dead.  But that’s okay, because he’s got a closet full of Tommyguns and a pack full of smokes.  This is Chin Music.  Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and Tony Harris (Starman, Ex Machina) have combined their mighty horror powers to produce a moody ongoing series of sci-fi scares and supernatural action.  If you loved this week’s Ten Grand, you’ll dig Chin Music.

Thanks to this next trade paperback, I just jumped backwards in time and change the course of the day so that Free Comic Book Day occurred on May the 4th.  That’s right, time travel.  Comeback is a political thriller basted in a thick coding of time travel mayhem.  Two agents for a prestigious time traveling firm (who you hire to go back in time and stop you from dying) get stuck in the past, chased by the FBI, and their own bosses, who’ve come back to “wipe out the evidence”.  Think Criminal meets Back to the Future.

Finally, because it was FCBD (meaning it was a madhouse), we’ll end tonight on a simply mathematical picture of the Jake figure from the Adventure Time Pop Vinyl figures coming in this Wednesday (also including Finn and Marceline).

Mar 162013
 

I reckon with the first book under discussion being none other than Constantine #1, a rather fine rogue of a gentleman, if I do say, there’s a wee amount of deception bound to occur.

A’right, me fingers are crossed, no lying.

Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes, the present writers of the phenomenal Justice League Dark series, bring their lead character, John Constantine, into his own ongoing series.  Supported by the vivid pencils of Renato Guedes, Constantine sets out on a quest across the mystic underbelly of the DC Universe to hunt down an artifact capable of such destruction…you may actually be rooting against Constantine to get his deceitful hands on it.

Trust me, love, you don’t want to miss it.

Steve Niles returns to his long on hiatus fan-favorite title, Mystery Society, this Wednesday.  The Mystery Society Special 2013 is an oversized, one-off adventure featuring the cast of the previous Mystery Society miniseries, Anastasia and Nick Mystery.  This time venturing to the depths of the ocean, these resilient investigators of the paranormal run across a collector of ancient memorabilia who may not be carrying a full deck.  Crazy, is what I’m saying, he’s crazy for cocopuffs!  Classic, pulpy adventure in a modern day package, the Mystery Society Special 2013 should be in your collection on new comic day.

Speaking of pulpy, it doesn’t get much more so than this week’s Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Grey.  I mean, that title alone should tell you something.  Fabian Grey is a notable treasure hunter, much like a certain fedora wearing, whip carrying hero of the silver screen, who was long ago bonded with the ghosts of five literary heroes (including Sherlock Holmes, Merlin, Robin Hood, and more).  Now, he may call upon their abilities during his expeditions…as long as they’re willing to lend them to him.  Honestly, they cause more trouble than it’s worth.  But that means enjoyable reading for you, so pick up a copy of #1 because it’s better than a cockpit full of snakes.

Picking up where last year’s hugely popular and extremely well-adapted Avatar the Last Airbender:  The Promise miniseries left off, this year’s The Search begins this week.  This time, the story sets out to answer the long awaited question of: “What happened to Zuko’s mother?”  With Aang, Katara, Toph, and Sokka at his side, Zuko leaves on a journey to find his mom and the answers she carries.  The only caveat is that Azula, Zuko’s loony sister, is the key to finding their mother.  Yeah, things are not likely to go well.  For fans of the Avatar series who wished there was more, these comics are like lost episodes of the series, written just as well, drawn in the exact same style, and full of the same blend of serious drama and goofy comedy.

Oct 272012
 

Preparing for this Wednesday’s Halloween ComicFest and actual Halloween, tonight’s Comic List Highlights features numerous creepy tales of horror and suspense, all of which arrive next new comic day. They may not be free like some of the other books for ComicFest, but they are freaky.

First up, for all the kids who still haven’t gone too bed, we’ll start with something a little less spooky. A + X is the new anthology series from Marvel coming out of AvX. Just like the AvX: Versus series, A + X features two separate stories featuring interactions between an Avenger and an X-Man as told by top artists and writers. Issue one has a Wolverine and Hulk story, sure to become a classic, told by Jeph Loeb and famous Hulk artist Dale Keown as well as a Cable and Captain America tale written by Dan Slott and drawn by Ron Garney. A + X is sure to be a fun, fast tale perfect for kids and those who adore classic Marvel missives made in the merry manner!

Alright, all the young’uns off to sleep?

Now for some adult stuff.

Bedlam #1 has been receiving some terrifically terrifying press as being the next huge Image comic series after Happy, Saga, and Revival. Nick Spencer, the notable mad genius behind Morning Glories, Infinite Vacation, and Thief of Thieves, joins forces will the ever-present Riley Rossmo (Rebel Blood, Wild Children, Cowboy Ninja Viking) to weave a narrative of a former psychopath and ruler of a tiny, quite town who used to go by Madder Red but now goes by Fillmore Press. A moody blend of Poe and Lovecraft, Bedlam #1 is an over sized story that’ll keep you hiding under the sheets at day’s end.

Are your teeth chattering in terror yet? No. Then let Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and Glen Fabry (Preacher) keep you shivering with Lot 13. A rare horror miniseries brought to you by DC Comics, Lot 13 calls back to famous scary films like The Amityville Horror, The Shinning, and Thirteen Ghosts as it relates how a normally happy family stumbles across a haunting apartment complex as they stop over on a cross-country move. Will they all still be alive by the next morning? Read and find out. If you dare.

DC‘s really keeping the hell fires burning this year with another horror series, this one being a one-shot anthology featuring at least ten short comics by, literally, DC‘s top, top talent. That’s Geoff Johns, Jeff Lemire, Paul Pope, Phil Jimenez, Amy Reeder, and one of the last stories by the late, unmatched Joe Kubert. The stories range from a robbery on a futuristic ghost ship, a haunt-for-hire agency, and numerous other inventively chilling campfire yarns. Get in the spirit and pick up this collection about spirits!

Jun 022012
 

Whether you love the idea or despise it with a passion, the first of the Before Watchmen prequel books launches this Wednesday.

I know there are haters out there, but in an attempt to counter the arguments against Before Watchmen, allow me to make a few points.

1. Alan Moore made his career off of working on other people’s characters: Swamp Thing, Superman, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen characters, and the Charlton characters (who the Watchmen were based off).

2. The line-up of creators assigned to these books is one of the most impressive creative bodies I’ve ever seen. Especially, with Minutemen, the first book, which is written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke. Cooke does not release that much material, but when he does we get exceptional works like DC New Frontier and the Parker series of graphic novels.

3. Comics are all about re-interpretation. If creators weren’t allowed to work on characters invented by different authors we would never have the great body of Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman, Green Lantern, and so forth, stories we do today. Personally, I’m thrilled to see other, talented writers and artist offer their interpretations of Alan Moore’s creations.

So, I recommend sampling each of the miniseries. I know I will be.

There’s been a ton of alien invasion stories propagating various media over the last couple years, but not too many where they aliens actually win. And there are NONE where the only only surviving resistance against them are two super powered individuals, one a villain and one a hero. This is the premise of Boom Studios! new ongoing series, Extermination. Written by novelist and wackadoo comic writer Simon Spurrier (X-Club, Gutsville), Extermination is going to be a back-to-the-wall action-adventure book with some smartly written dialog and conflict. Plus, the first
issue is only a $1.

Speaking of cheap first issues, popular (and accurate) comic rumors and news website, Bleeding Cool, is launching Bleeding Cool Magazine this week for only $1.49. Filled to the brim with the same scoops, articles, analysis, and factual reporting you’ve come to respect. Unlike most comic news websites, Rich Johnson has inside industry connections, which makes causes most of his scoops to be accurate. If you’ve been missing Wizard Magazine, Bleeding Cool Magazine is a superior replacement.

For all of the Kevin Mellon followers out there (and I know the store has a bunch), his next project releases this Wednesday. As usual with Kevin, it is a unique experience unlike any other book on the shelves. Creator Owned Heroes is a new comic experiment, offering two individual stories bridged by interviews, pictures, sketches, and other extras, all for $3.99. Before Kevin’s story, there is Trigger Girl 6 by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey (All-Star Western, Jonah Hex) and Phil Noto about a genetically engineered, hottie assassin. Filling out the issue is American Muscle, a wasteland, post-apocalyptic actioneer reminiscent of Road Warrior and Mellon’s freshman book, Gearhead. Topping that flambe of awesome off is an interview with Neil Gaiman as well as cosplay photos of Trigger Girl 6. That’s like a pound of comic-y goodness, folks.

Oct 152011
 

Are your windows boarded?  Do you have ammunition by the door?  Does your TV get cable?

Hopefully, the answer to all of these questions is “yes” as tomorrow heralds the return of The Walking Dead television series on AMC.  If you don’t have cable, though, and are going to be deprived of zombie-faction for the time it takes for the season two DVDs to come out, you might want to bide your time with the first in a trilogy of Walking Dead novels.  Rather concisely summing up the arch of the three book series, the first one is called Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor.  If you’ve read far enough into the comic series, you’ll know that The Governor is a bad, bad, bad dude.  As stated, this series will follow his ascent to power as he back stabs, murders, and cheats his way to the top of the post-zombpocalypse heap.  Written by the creator of Walking Dead, himself, Robert Kirkman, this series is sure to live up to the shocking quality of the comic and show.   

Usually, as I’m transferring from one zombie related book to another I’d attempt to create some sassy, stupid transition, but considering this next book I feel I only have to say two words to get people’s attention:  Claudio Sanchez.  Yes, a mention of the front man of famous cult band, Coheed and Cambria, has a way of sending rabid fan boys and girls rushing in every direction, but for those who you who are scratching your head, I’ll elaborate.  Set in post-zombie infestation New York, Key of Z, follows a man who has lost his entire family but found a mystical object that gives him an upper hand in the deadly city.  Not only will he have to contend with the undead denizens of the city, but also a violent battle for control between three rival safehouses operating out of Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, and Madison Square Garden.  Considering Sanchez’s surreal outlook on…well, everything, this should be a zombie book like no other.

There are comic books that we attempt to warn people are not for the faint of constitution.  A lot of the times we’re just overselling it so that people don’t wander into something that they’re going to regret purchasing.  Understand that in no way am I overselling the absolutely insane content found in Alan Moore‘s Neonomicon.  This.  Book.  Is.  Intense.  Dark, spooky, violent, filthy, and, as is commonly the case with Alan Moore, brilliant.  Building off of his previous series, The Courtyard, and connecting a number of H. P. Lovecraft‘s famous ideas, Moore tells the disturbing story of two FBI agents who investigate the wrong Cthulhuian cult and pay for it dearly.  Both the softcover and hardcover editions are dropping this weak for any out there brave enough to delve in.  The Great One is coming.

We’ve had zombies, Cthulhu monsters, and now vampires tonight.  You’d think we’re getting close to Halloween or something.  30 Days of Night, the popular series from Steve Niles about vampires who show up in an isolated Alaskan town over a thirty day eclipse is finally getting a much overdue ongoing series.  Yes, issue one drops this Wednesday, still written by Niles, but this time drawn by famous artist of such gritty titles as The Maxx and Arkham Asylum: Madness, Sam Keith.  If you take a look at the cover to the right, I think you’ll see why Keith is the perfect artist for the title as he can capture that haunting, moody creepiness a book like this requires.  But what about the plot?  Moving the story from Alaska to L.A., Niles will follow the mystery of a growing vampire uprising and a foreboding letter sent to a little girl.  Creep up your October and jump on board.