We’ve got several new #1’s premiering this month: four ongoing titles and two one-shots. There’s one more if you count Howard Chaykin’s “Century West” graphic novel as one too. Speculators should take note that two of the ongoing titles are marked as “Gems of the Month” and are coming from established creators. I imagine that’s what warrants their status as such, and they certainly sound like the more interesting of the four. After all, one sounds like a raucous fantasy comic in the vein of “Skullkickers” and the other... has a premise that I’m surprised to not have seen in hentai manga yet.
What’s the best way to establish a new villain’s credentials? Have him kill off a member of the main cast in his very first appearance. That’s what Negan, leader of The Survivors, did and it made him instantly hateable. Of course, death is really cheap in this series and a real bad guy in this title needs more than just straight up murder to be memorable. Is there any reason we should actually be interested in this new guy, or is he just another Governor? Fortunately for us, Negan proves to be a compellingly unstable presence in this volume who may not be sticking around long enough for his schtick to grow old.
This one comes with a big caveat (see if you can guess what it is), but this collection of every tie-in to the crossover event is more entertaining than the event itself.
Glick's Note: The name of Kieron Gillen's Kid Loki series is "Journey Into Mystery." I can't believe I blanked on that in the middle of the podcast...
Come September it’ll have been two years since the start of the “New 52” and just as they did last year with “zero month” DC will be putting out a new event for this anniversary. “Villains Month” will see the start of a new mini-series called “Forever Evil” which kicks off from the premise that the Justice League (and all of the other superheroes that matter I assume) are dead and now the bad guys have inherited the DC Universe. We’re not told any more of the plot than that, but if I were a betting man I’d say that Geoff Johns will be giving us a status quo between the bad guys who want to make a better world now that the heroes are out of the way (expect Lex Luthor to head that faction) and those who just want to see the world burn (led by the Joker, because who else). David Finch will be illustrating, and while this would be the point where I’d make a joke about the series actually being able to ship on a monthly basis, he proved with the “New 52” incarnation of “The Dark Knight” that he could actually pull off such a feat.
More interesting will be looking at DC’s plan of shipping multiple “point” one, two, three and even four issues of certain titles this month. It’s possible that they could collect each issue in the next collection for each series, or even do a giant omnibus for the month. The trick here will be seeing which of these issues actually matter to the ongoing stories from each series. Fortunately it’s an easy one to figure out: just look for a creator from that title on one of the issues.
As we were led to believe at the end of the previous volume, Sakuragi leads the charge in getting Shohoku’s momentum back through means both unconventional (yanking on a player’s jersey) and skilled (swatting a player’s lay-up down onto his shoe). Even though he’s doing his best, there are still other issues at hand, such as Akagi being shut down by Kawata and Mitsui running so out of stamina that the only thing we’re told that’s keeping him going is “faith.” Still, in a series that’s all about momentum we see Shohoku’s finally turning a corner as they get back in the game and chip away at the seemingly insurmountable lead that their opponents have built up.
That’s not the issue here. The issue is that I did something somewhat unadvisable last night that has me somewhat concerned for the forthcoming end of the series.
I’ve talked about mangaka Tsutomu Nihe’s evolution as a creator from “Blame!” to “Biomega,” and this volume manages to continue that trend. Now, the growth of Nihei isn’t the same as other writers as “Blame!,” for all of its fantastic art and mysterious nature, left me with the impression that he doesn’t quite get the fundamentals of characterization and storytelling. “Biomega” went a ways towards correcting that, and vol. 3 of “Knights of Sidonia” sees him doing something I haven’t seen before: taking the time to explain the story.
So you’ve got a series about a bath engineer from Roman times who makes a habit of falling into water and waking up in modern day Japan. Once there, he observes some notable aspect of their bathing culture and then tries his best to replicate it after he falls into water again and winds up back in the Roman era. That’s your formula and there’s no deviating from it. How do you shake things up without “shaking things up?” Rather than give us any “Back to the Future” or “Terminator”-style time travel shenanigans, mangaka Mari Yamazaki decides to play with the pacing a bit to give the stories more room to breathe. The end result doesn’t transcend the title’s premise, but it does keep things interesting enough for those of us who liked the first volume.
Thanks mainly to the writing of Paul Cornell, the first volume of “Demon Knights” was one of the more entertaining offerings from the New 52. While the overall story of several individuals of questionable character and great skill banding together to save a town from certain destruction has been done so often that it even served as the basis for the pilot episode of “The A-Team,” we still got enough wit, character and adventure to make it all worthwhile. The second volume arrives on a fairly sad note as Cornell has since decamped from DC back to Marvel with Robert Venditti taking over for him. Only the final three issues of his aren’t collected here, and based on the quality of what I’ve just read I’ll make sure to pick them up in the near future (read: probably at Comic-Con).
Today (at least at the time I started writing this) marks the fifth anniversary of the first post ever made to this site. More than anything, I continue to write, podcast, and post to this site because I don’t want to remain just a consumer of the comics I read. Before I started writing this, I’d constantly make resolutions to “write more this year” but never got around to it for one reason or another. Usually that reason would involve videogames. Then John told me that he was looking to get into podcasting and wanted to utilize my knowledge of comics for a podcast specific to that. Initially “Comic Picks by the Glick” was weekly until the burden of editing it and two other podcasts understandably became too much of an issue. Things were scaled back to the once-every-two-weeks schedule we’ve maintained since then.
The journey of young upper-atmosphere window-washer Mitsu and his friends wraps up in satisfying fashion with this volume. After the plant explosion, the lower levels have been sealed off from the middle and upper ones to prevent the chaos and rioting from spreading. Everyone down there prepares for the worst, and Mr. Nishimaru seizes this as his chance to get the public onboard with his plan to send Mitsu down in the craft that he, Sohta, and their team have made. Of course, that’s the public part of his plan. Mr. Nishimaru actually sees this as his chance to get revenge on the upper levels for the injustices done to him and his wife and has his own goals for this launch.