Comic Picks By The Glick
Image Previews Picks:  June 2019

Image Previews Picks: June 2019

March 31, 2019

Above-the-Board Recommendation:

Heavy Liquid

 

There are a few reasons I’m completely in the tank for any major project from Paul Pope.  This is one of them. “Heavy Liquid” was originally a five-issue prestige format miniseries from DC/Vertigo in the late 90’s.  It’s about a man known only as S who is hooked on the title substance. While this Heavy Liquid is a helluva drug, it can also function as an artistic medium.  Something his ex-girlfriend was exceptionally skilled at working in. Which is why S has been recruited to find his ex by a very wealthy benefactor who has promised him enough money to wipe out all of his debts.  Debts which are being actively and murderously collected upon by some masked gangsters.

 

Pope has a kinetic style that moves unlike any other artist’s in comics.  It’s easy to see here from the effortlessly breakneck action scenes he choreographs.  What really makes this worthy of a place in your library is that the story actually hangs together pretty well too.  Some of it may be a little minimalist and confusing, but Pope spins a pretty engaging tale about art and addiction to go along with his incredible art.  While this new edition doesn’t promise any extras that will make me replace the one I already own, anyone who doesn’t already own this should absolutely pick it up.

Read the rest of this entry »

Marvel Previews Picks:  June 2019

Marvel Previews Picks: June 2019

March 30, 2019

Above-the-Board Recommendation:

Miles Morales:  Spider-Man vol. 1 -- Straight Out of Brooklyn

 

While Miles Morales has been written by other people in the past, his solo adventures were exclusively handled by co-creator Brian Michael Bendis prior to his departure from Marvel to DC.  This volume represents the first time another creator will be writing Miles’ solo adventures. So who’s the lucky person who gets to follow in Bendis’ footsteps? That’d be Saladin Ahmed, who’s best known for writing the “Black Bolt” solo series that got axed last year.  While writing an “Inhumans” spinoff might not seem like the greatest recommendation, “Black Bolt” was a title that was beloved by critics -- it even managed to score an Eisner nomination -- and the fans that actually read it. This is encouraging even if the individual stories described in this collection, which involve the Rhino and his minions, Tombstone, and “Miles’ Day Off,” don’t sound immediately compelling.  Also encouraging is that Javier Garron is providing the art as his work on “Spider-Man” and “IvX” showed that he’s got some serious artistic chops.

 

One thing working in Ahmed’s favor is that while Bendis did a great job establishing Miles as a character, he did this mainly by putting him through familiar “Spider-Man” stories.  There’s yet to be a definitive “Miles Morales” story in comics to really set him apart from the other Spider-People in the Marvel Universe. If Ahmed can deliver that, then we all win.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dark Horse Previews Picks:  June 2019

Dark Horse Previews Picks: June 2019

March 29, 2019

Above-the-Board Recommendation:

Snow, Glass, Apples HC

 

This is the latest entry in “The Neil Gaiman Library” from the company.  Coming back for her second tour of duty on this kind of project is Colleen Doran, best known for her epic creator-owned series “A Distant Star.”  She’s also worked with Gaiman directly on a couple of issues of “Sandman” and previously adapted his “Troll Bridge” story for the “Library.”

 

“Snow, Glass, Apples” has a simple high concept that makes it sound like a lot of fun.  Assuming your definition of “fun” aligns with Gaiman’s. In this case, fun is flipping the script on “Snow White.”  Instead of the evil stepmother trying to get rid of her stepdaughter, it’s the other way around and the queen is trying to do this for the benefit of her kingdom.

 

“Troll Bridge” was one of the more overlooked entries in the “Library”...  In the sense that a few months had passed before I found out it existed and finally got around to ordering and reading it for myself.  It’s a melancholy, sad tale about the potential and pitfalls of growing up and making the most offered to you by life. An actual troll is involved, of course.  It’s worth checking out if you’ve overlooked it for longer than I did and a good reason to not sleep on “Snow, Glass, Apples” when it comes out.

Read the rest of this entry »

DC Previews Picks:  June 2019

DC Previews Picks: June 2019

March 27, 2019

Above-the-Board Recommendation:

The Green Lantern vol. 1:  Intergalactic Lawman

 

I never planned to keep reading “Green Lantern” after Geoff Johns left.  He redefined and expanded the character’s mythos in a way that’s rarely seen in superhero comics.  It was the kind of high water mark that left you feeling sorry for the writer who was going to follow Johns because how could they match this?  I do remember thinking something along the lines of, “Well, maybe I’d consider reading it if they got Grant Morrison…”

 

Flash-forward to today and Morrison has teamed up for a twelve-issue run on “The Green Lantern” with artist Liam Sharp.  The writer’s aim for the series was to take Hal Jordan fully into the role of “space cop” with his run essentially being a sci-fi police procedural.  It’s the kind of simple yet brilliant high concept that Morrison has pulled off time and again in his superhero comics and I’m trusting him to deliver the goods here as well.  So much so that I’ve got no problem picking up his first volume in hardcover when it arrives.

 

Oh, and as for the writer who did follow Johns’ run, Robert Venditti, he wound up delivering an 80+ issue stint on “Green Lantern.”  Not only is that almost as long as the run Johns had, but the simple fact is that you don’t have a run that long on any superhero comic in this era or the ones past without doing something right.  What I’m trying to say is that I may have been a little premature in deciding not to check out what Venditti had to offer. So I’m planning to rectify that… as soon as the start offering the first deluxe/omnibus/compendium edition of his run.

Read the rest of this entry »

Inside Mari vol. 1

Inside Mari vol. 1

March 25, 2019

After “The Flowers of Evil” and “Happiness” this is Shuzo Oshimi’s third series about a girl who takes a boy down a path in life that he couldn’t have imagined.  Like the latter series, there’s a supernatural aspect to this story about college dropout and social recluse Isao. He spends his days jerking off and playing videogames while also making the daily trip to a local convenience store.  Not for anything the store sells, but to see the girl who he considers to be its “angel.” This description of the story may seem like it’s headed into stalker territory, except that the actual beginning of the volume has Isao waking up in this girl’s, Mari’s, body.

 

That’s right, “Inside Mari” is a body switch story where a twenty-something loser winds up in the body of a pretty, popular high school girl.  We get the expected gags about how he has difficulty acclimating himself to being in a girl’s body and her school social life presented in a pretty straightforward fashion.  In fact, much of this first volume plays out exactly as you’d expect this kind of story to. That Oshimi takes his time in establishing Isao’s new life doesn’t work in the story’s favor either.

 

It isn’t until the volume is two-thirds over that the mangaka starts to deviate from expectations.  When Isao makes a visit to the convenience store he frequents, he sees a very familiar face that happens to throw the central premise of the series into question.  Then one of his classmates, Yori, sees through his attempts to fake Mari’s life and becomes quite insistent about getting the right girl back in the right body. That her interest in Mari appears to be more than personal is also interesting to consider.  While these things do suggest that Oshimi has a plan for where to take this series, my interest in it mainly comes from the fact that “The Flowers of Evil” overcame a similarly slow start to be a great read in the end.  That makes this first volume of “Inside Mari” one best enjoyed by established fans of the mangaka.

 

jason@glickscomicpicks.com

Mister Miracle

Mister Miracle

March 24, 2019

I was honestly surprised with how much I liked this story by the time it was over.  This is in spite of the fact that Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ take on the New God who is also the universe’s foremost escape artist starts off in a very depressing place:  A depiction of self-harm that will likely make this a no-go for anyone who is sensitive to that kind of thing. While Scott Free is able to come back from that in a physical sense, it’s clear that his mental state is as fragile as ever.  Though he’s supported by his wife Barda, they’re both immediately drafted into the latest war between the forces of Apokolips and New Genesis. It’s all handled in a dreamlike and occasionally hallucinatory way that causes you to wonder if the events of this story are actually happening at all.  Which I was kind of hoping they weren’t because the tone of the early issues is set to “low-key bummer” and there’s no deviation from it. It’s due to this that the story of Scott Free’s sad, depressing superhero life almost comes off like a parody of how a serious adult superhero comic is supposed to be.

 

And yet…

 

Halfway through the series, something happens.  It’s not that Scott suddenly finds a way to overcome his depression -- in fact, the story’s acknowledgement that impairment isn’t something to be defeated but to find a way to live with is one of its more impressive aspects.  No, something happens that changes the tone and the nature of the series itself as Scott now has a whole new set of issues to contend with. Issues that are easily recognizable and connect directly back to his own problems with the father who gave him up for the sake of peace between worlds.  It also leads to some quality absurdist humor as we get to see the (frankly crazy) inhabitants of Apokolips trying to interact in ostensibly normal settings. The series also manages to be consistently interesting on a purely visual level as its rigorous adherence to a nine-panel-grid layout for 99.9% of its length forces an economy of storytelling and even some innovation.  “Mister Miracle” is definitely not an easy read, but it turned out to be a rewarding one that surpassed my expectations.

 

jason@glickscomicpicks.com

Death of the Inhumans

Death of the Inhumans

March 23, 2019

This miniseries effectively represents the end of Marvel’s big “Inhumans” push of the last few years.  The reason for such a thing was rumored to be down to how Marvel owned the film and TV rights to these characters, but didn’t have them for the X-Men, and was looking to push the Inhumans as a replacement for mutants.  Whether or not that was actually true, the end result was that we got a lousy “Inhumans” TV series and a bunch of comics that didn’t inspire anything more than a collective shrug in the comics-reading audience. Now it’s up to Donny Cates and Ariel Olivetti to bring an end to this particular era of these characters.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cosmic Ghost Rider:  Baby Thanos Must Die

Cosmic Ghost Rider: Baby Thanos Must Die

March 22, 2019

How successful was Donny Cates’ run on “Thanos?”  So successful that Marvel looked to find some way, ANY way to capitalize on it.  This is in spite of the fact that the nature of the story, about Thanos teaming up with his older self to murder the last things in the galaxy, made that a little difficult.  Difficult, but not impossible. Which is how, after his death in “Thanos Wins,” we’ve come to this miniseries featuring the Cosmic Ghost Rider and his efforts to make the galaxy a better place.  By snuffing Thanos when he was still in his crib.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comic Picks #285:  Frau Faust

Comic Picks #285: Frau Faust

March 20, 2019

In which I find lots of ways to say, "It's good, but not as good as 'The Ancient Magus' Bride'" about Kore Yamazaki's latest series.

Die Wergelder vol. 2

Die Wergelder vol. 2

March 18, 2019

When I originally wrote that this series would appeal to people who like weird and interesting manga, provided they had the patience for it, I didn’t think that patience would also have to extend to the wait between volumes.  The first omnibus volume of “Die Wergelder” arrived on our shores back in December of 2015 and this second one finally showed up in January. That kind of wait between volumes is usually only something established series can get away with (lookin’ in your direction “Berserk” and “Vagabond”) and is usually fatal to the momentum of a series that’s just getting started.  I’ll have more to say about this in a week or two, but the lengthy wait between volumes turns out to not be that much of a dealbreaker here.

Read the rest of this entry »