Comic Picks By The Glick
Image Previews Picks:  April 2021

Image Previews Picks: April 2021

January 31, 2021

Above-the-Board Recommendation:

Decorum HC

 

It’s not like you need to twist my arm to get me to buy anything written by Jonathan Hickman.  Especially when he’s working with a great artist like Mike Huddleston.  They could be doing a comic about their respective grocery lists and I’d still buy the trade paperback.  In hardcover.  “Decorum,” however, is something of a rarity in my recent comics reading experience.  This is because I’m going in mostly blind regarding its actual contents.  What art I’ve seen of the series suggests a sci-fi version of the setting from “Assassin’s Creed IV” (the pirate one).  The plot, however, is an even bigger mystery because the solicitation of each issue of this eight-issue series, as well as this collection, has been accompanied by the same sentence:  “There are many assassins in the known universe, this is the story of the most well-mannered one.”  I have nothing to go on besides this and the creators’ reputations.  Which makes me very excited to dig into this (mostly) unknown quantity when it comes out.

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DC Solicitation Sneaks:  April 2021

DC Solicitation Sneaks: April 2021

January 30, 2021

Above-the-Board Recommendation:

Batman by John Ridley HC

 

It was supposed to be a lot bigger than one volume.  It still might be.

 

The plan was to have Bruce Wayne retire and for Tim Fox, son of Lucius, to take over the mantle of the Dark Knight.  It was going to be the most high-profile in a series of changes that would’ve seen familiar DC characters replaced with newer, younger versions of themselves in an attempt to keep the line vital.  Then things fell apart behind the scenes and all of the changes that were planned were retconned into the two-month “Future State” event that we’re living through now.

 

This hardcover collects the lead story from the four-issue “The Next Batman” miniseries, stories from the most recent “Batman Black & White #1,” “Batman:  The Joker War Zone,” and an all-new story illustrated by Dustin Nguyen.  I realize I recommend A LOT of “Batman” related titles in these columns, and this one is no different.  Yet, the stories in this collection promises to do something different with the character.  Whether it’s good or not -- and I’m expecting that it will be with Ridley writing it -- that’s something I still want to see.

 

As for why this still might be a bigger story…

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Dark Horse Previews Picks:  April 2021

Dark Horse Previews Picks: April 2021

January 29, 2021

Above-the-Board Recommendation:

Grandville Integral HC

 

Unfortunately this isn’t a new installment in Bryan Talbot’s excellent series of graphic novels set in a late 19th Century steampunk world where humans are second-class citizens compared to the anthropomorphic animal individuals who run the show.  “Integral” is just a fancy way of saying that this is an omnibus collection of all five “Grandville” graphic novels.  Given that this is coming from Dark Horse, expect some excellent production values on the volume, and lots of notes from Talbot on the series that have never been published before.  I already own all five volumes, so there’s no need for me to pick this up (unless I hear those notes are really interesting).  To everyone who hasn’t yet familiarized themselves with the adventures of Detective-Inspector LeBrock, the craftiest badger to come out of Scotland Yard, then this $70 600-page Integral absolutely deserves a spot on your bookshelf.

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Marvel Previews Picks:  April 2021

Marvel Previews Picks: April 2021

January 27, 2021

Above-the-Board Recommendation:

Way of X #1

 

Right now, there’s room for a lot of “X-Men” stories.  We’re getting a modern-day pirate story with lots of conflicting agendas in “Marauders.”  Character-driven detective action in “X-Factor.”  Dark comedy and action in “Hellions.”  And whatever Head of X Jonathan Hickman feels like writing about in a given month over in “X-Men.”  Yet the appeal of “Way of X” is in how it makes what seemed like a very unlikely fit several years back look completely natural now.

 

I’m talking about Simon Spurrier writing another X-title.  While I really enjoyed his Legion-centric take on “X-Men:  Legacy,” it initially struck me as commercial suicide.  Then he had a fifteen-issue run on “X-Force” where he took a long, hard look at the team’s (Cable’s, actually) violent tendencies.  Now he’s back with Nightcrawler’s efforts to establish a mutant religion and answer some of the big questions facing mutantkind now that death is no longer an issue for them.  Spurrier’s mainstream comics work usually succeeds because he’s willing to look into the weird, dark corners of a given setup and ask some hard questions about them rather than do a straightforward story involving them.  Here, he and artist Bob Quinn have been given a weird, open-ended premise to do what they want with.  I can’t wait to see what kind of questions Nightcrawler will be asking, and what he’ll do with the answers he’ll find!

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Blood on the Tracks vols. 2 & 3

Blood on the Tracks vols. 2 & 3

January 25, 2021

If you’ll recall  (from last week, when I finally remembered to post my review), the first volume of this series didn’t make the best impression on me.  Much of it felt like self-parody as mangaka Shuzo Oshimi tried to cultivate an air of sinister intent in a way that felt more ham-fisted than suspenseful.  It wasn’t until the last chapter that the mangaka revealed his hand and gave us a (kind of obvious) shock in showing us the incident that would drive the series from here on out.  I’ve read so-so first volumes of series that later turned out to be great, with Oshimi’s own “The Flowers of Evil” falling directly into that category.  So I was willing to give “Blood on the Tracks” some time to see how it turned out.

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Giant-Size X-Men

Giant-Size X-Men

January 24, 2021

“X of Swords” isn’t quite the next volume in Jonathan Hickman’s run.  This volume collects the five “Giant-Size X-Men” one-shots which were released over the course of last year.  Aside from their slightly expanded page count, these issues wouldn’t have felt out of place in the pages of the writer’s “X-Men.”  This is because these five issues take the same anthology approach that series has been doing, while also giving us the expected amount of setup as well.  Of course, “Giant-Size” does have excellent art, some interconnecting story threads between these issues, and some hints that this may be relevant to Hickman’s endgame.  So however you want to classify this, it’s still a solid read.

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X-Men by Jonathan Hickman vol. 2

X-Men by Jonathan Hickman vol. 2

January 23, 2021

I already talked about half of this volume with Rob, and the other half when talking about the tie-in issues to “Empyre.”  Still, as Hickman and crew are onto something special with their
“X-Men” relaunch, I felt that this volume deserved to be written up here and assessed as a whole.  Even if it does continue the trend established in the first volume of offering up short stories which introduce concepts that will be paid off down the line.

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Superman’s Pal::  Jimmy Olsen — Who Killed Jimmy Olsen?

Superman’s Pal:: Jimmy Olsen — Who Killed Jimmy Olsen?

January 22, 2021

It’s the one title on my “Best of 2020” list that I haven’t written or talked about yet, so it’s time to give it its due.  Honestly, letting “Superman’s Pal:  Jimmy Olsen” sit on my review pile for so long was downright disrespectful on my part.  It isn’t just that the adventurous photographer for the Daily Planet has starred in a maxiseries that’s genuinely good.  No, it’s that Matt Fraction has delivered his most purely entertaining series since, well… “Hawkeye.”

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Comic Picks #333:  Best of 2020

Comic Picks #333: Best of 2020

January 20, 2021

Spurrier!  King!  Noda!  Fujimoto!  ONE!  Murphy!  and more inside!

Blood on the Tracks vol. 1

Blood on the Tracks vol. 1

January 18, 2021

True Story:  When I was looking over what I’d written and recorded for 2020, I noticed that I’d posted my review of “Gigant” twice in April.  That was embarrassing enough, but I couldn’t figure out what I had passed over in order for that to have happened.  Well, I finally solved that mystery.  Expect reviews of vols. 2 & 3 next week.

 

All of Shuzo Oshimi’s series that have been translated into English at this point have used a single concept as their starting point:  A strange girl leads an average boy down a path he was never expecting to go.  This setup worked best in “The Flowers of Evil,” and to lesser extent in “Happiness” and (so far) in “Inside Mari.”  However, the mangaka does deserve credit for finding significant deviations from that concept in the latter two series.  With “Blood on the Tracks,” Oshimi is giving us another take on this setup:  This time, the strange girl is a woman, and the mother of the main character.

 

Pointing that out may have set off some warning bells, so let me say this up front:  There’s no incest in this volume.  As for whether or not it’ll be part of the series at a later date… It would not surprise me based on what we see here.

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