Comic Picks By The Glick
DC Previews Picks:  February 2013

DC Previews Picks: February 2013

November 16, 2012

After 300 issues, “Hellblazer” ends in these solicitations.  It’s disappointing news but I suppose the writing was on the wall after its sales dipped below the 10,000 mark.  There was a time when DC was considering cancelling the series, after Warren Ellis abruptly exited the title after the company declined to publish the school shooting issue he wrote (which eventually saw the light of day in the rarities collection “Vertigo Resurrected”).  Then Brian Azzarello took over with issue #146 and revitalized the title whose sales have been on a slow decline ever since.  By the time it ends, the title will have run for 25 years, which is an impressive length by any standards.  The feat is all the more impressive because “Hellblazer” was always a writer-driven title, something of a rarity early on in an industry that was heavily artist-driven at the time.  It certainly helped that it had some of the best in the business (in chronological order):  Jamie Delano, Garth Ennis, Paul Jenkins, the aforementioned Ellis and Azzarello, Mike Carey, Denise Mina, Andy Diggle and Peter Milligan (with the likes of Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison and Eddie Campbell providing fill-ins along the way).  Artistically, it was no slouch either; though, Sean Phillips led the pack with Marcelo Frusin a close second.  I’m sad to see it go, but it leaves a rich legacy of stories that outshines a lot of other series that have lasted as long.

In other news, the last of the “Before Watchmen” mini-series ship this month and all I can say is good fucking riddance.  More on this month’s offerings after the break.

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Comic Picks #120:  Star Wars — The beginning of the end at Dark Horse?

Comic Picks #120: Star Wars — The beginning of the end at Dark Horse?

November 15, 2012

With Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm it seems inevitable that the company will lose the license in the near future.  Is that a good thing?  I'm not convinced.

The Judas Coin

The Judas Coin

November 13, 2012

Having read this, any thought I had of its premise being “perversely intriguing” seems pretty misguided now.  It could even be called “quaint” when you consider what DC is currently doing with Judas himself in his ongoing series.  Fortunately for the reader, Walt Simonson is a far greater talent than Dan Didio will ever be and the end result here is in a very modest way the “complete package” in its romp through the adventure, superhero and sci-fi genres.  Those of you looking for original storytelling won’t find it here, but the level of craft on display makes it a fun read for kids of all ages (more on that later).

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Superman:  Earth One vol. 2

Superman: Earth One vol. 2

November 12, 2012

​Arriving almost two years to the date after the first volume, this second one almost singlehandedly makes the case for the “Earth One” line as a series of original graphic novels.  It’s hard to imagine the material here being drip-fed to the public over that length of time managing to sustain anyone’s interest for that long.  Doing it this way gets around that problem and one other.  You see, if this story had been serialized and held up to critical scrutiny over its run I doubt that it would be selling as well as it has.  While the craft here is competent, it’s just that the version of Superman J. Michael Straczynski gives us here isn’t one that I can, or want to, believe in.

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Crossed vol. 4

Crossed vol. 4

November 10, 2012

With this volume it becomes clear that Garth Ennis is the only writer who really “gets” this series.  That should come as no surprise, he created it after all, but I have yet to see another writer deliver a fully satisfying take on the concept.  David Lapham had two tries with the halfway-there “Family Values” and the so-disgusting-it-was-boring “Psychopath” and Jamie Delano gives it a shot here.  Unfortunately, the three issues that Ennis writes here, again with artist Jacen Burrows, puts them all to shame.

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Wolverine:  Goodbye Chinatown

Wolverine: Goodbye Chinatown

November 8, 2012

This came out a little while ago, but I still feel like it’s worth mentioning for a couple reasons.  First and foremost is that the main story here is as entertaining as it is ridiculous.  How ridiculous?  Well it starts off in the middle of a secret gang war in San Francisco’s Chinatown district where a reporter is questioning the detective on the scene about the fact that kung-fu related deaths are now up over 200% in the past year.  This is at the same time a street urchin identifies the murder weapon as a dragon’s tooth -- a fact that is immediately picked up on by the trenchcoated gorilla in the crowd.  So yeah, this is crazy even by writer Jason Aaron’s usual Marvel standards.

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If you don’t have this in your collection…

If you don’t have this in your collection…

November 7, 2012

Now I don’t usually take the time to explicitly shill for for something* but this is a special case.  The deluxe hardcover editions of Hayao Miyazaki’s “Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind” came out today and even though I’ve had copies of the four-volume “perfect collections” from back in the day re-buying this was a no-brainer.  I normally hate, hate, HATE doing that but this is a fantastic edition of what is -- in my opinion -- the greatest comic ever made.  It’s the entire saga in two handsome hardcover volumes with the color art from the Japanese release intact.  They even included a poster too, which I’m seriously considering framing.

There are a few quibbles.  Though it’s printed on good quality paper, the actual manga looks a bit lighter than I’ve seen it before.  I’m not arguing for a recall, and there’s a chance I’ve only noticed this because of all the times I’ve read the “perfect collections” and have their images burned into my mind.  The other one... well, I’m REALLY curious about it.  Back in the day, the first half of the manga was originally translated by Toren Smith and David Lewis of Studio Proteus (pre-dating their tenure and eventual buyout by Dark Horse) with Matt Thorn taking over for the second.  This was reflected in subsequent editions, but not here as Smith and Lewis are credited with the entire series.  Unless they did some additional work here, we may be hearing a public apology from Viz about this in the very near future.

Regardless, this is still the definitive version of the one comic that I think EVERYONE should have in their library.  It’s the “complete package” in terms of scale, subject matter, characters, art -- it doesn’t get any better than this.  Go.  Buy.

*Except for “Eden!  It’s An Endless World.”  I’ll continue to (politely) demand that you all buy it until Dark Horse finally publishes all eighteen volumes.

Journey Into Mystery/New Mutants:  Exiled

Journey Into Mystery/New Mutants: Exiled

November 6, 2012

This was a fun little crossover that took the premise of what happens when the Asgardian gods are turned into “normal” humans and ran with it for a little bit.  Written by Kieron Gillen and frequent writing partners Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, it also features capable art from Carmine Di Giandomenico that suffers from coloring which is somewhere between “over-rendered” and “garish.”  If you’re reading both titles, or even just one like me, then it’s worth your time to pick it up (though more so for the “JiM” audience).  Of course, the most interesting thing about this collection is the sleight of hand Gillen is revealed to have pulled off.

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Skullkickers vol. 3:  Six Shooter on the Seven Seas

Skullkickers vol. 3: Six Shooter on the Seven Seas

November 4, 2012

It may have started out with a bit too much style and not enough substance, but “Skullkickers” continues to improve with this volume.  Things start off with the dwarf and the big guy stowing away on a ship with an all-female crew only to find out that the elf assassin who has followed/worked with them in the past has decided to stow away too.  Complicating matters even more is that the egg from a pan-dimensional cthulhu-esque entity known as Thool is also on board... and has already hatched.  This leads us to the secret origin of the big guy, formerly known as Rex Maraud monster hunter of the Wild West, as well as his gun which never runs out of ammo.

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Powers vol. 14:  Gods

Powers vol. 14: Gods

November 3, 2012

I give this series, and its writer Brian Michael Bendis specifically, a lot of crap for its (to put it charitably) irregular release schedule.  The fact that four of the issues collected in this volume shipped in the same calendar year is frankly amazing by the title’s standards.  Particularly when you consider that only one issue shipped in 2011.  Following this title in single-issue form seems like an exercise in patience that I prefer not to be a part of.  If nothing else, this volume shows that a move to an original-graphic-novel format might do this title a world of good.  That’s because for all of the waiting, this is another worthy entry in the series.

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