It’s the end of an era as the final “Star Wars” comics from the company are solicited here. Though I’ve already written plenty about this subject, the fact that they're doing it now makes a good amount of sense. Not only are the actual issues solicited here, but the final trade paperbacks are being advance-solicited for October. Getting them out then will allow the company enough time to make one last, deserved batch of cash before these volumes either go out of print or are reprinted with the “Marvel” logo on their spine. Given that the “Star Wars” novels from the “expanded universe” are going to be kept in print under the “Star Wars Legends” banner, is there a similar plan for the comics published by Dark Horse? Maybe we’ll find out at Comic-Con. However, if the convention comes and goes without any word about this then you’re probably going to want to see about picking up whatever “Star Wars” comics you can before they’re gone for good.
Abe Sapien #15: This is a flashback issue with two major selling points. One is that it features Roger the Homunculus, last seen accepting death to reflect the humanity he had come to embrace during his life. The other is that Juan Ferreyra provides the art. I loved his work in “Rex Mundi” and I’m already expecting that he’ll put the book’s regular artists to shame. We’ll see if that’s the case once this is collected in paperback.
Action Philosophers HC: Figures. I just picked up the old softcover edition of Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey’s signature work about the great minds of our age at WonderCon. However, as I predicted that Dark Horse would be reprinting Van Lente’s old work now that he was working for them on titles like “Conan,” this isn’t a very surprising development. It does mean that I’m going to miss out on the new eight-page story the creators are making for this edition. Yet I’m putting the cart before the horse here as I have yet to read the version I bought. Maybe it’s crap and I’ll be glad I got the discount I did at WonderCon. Van Lente and Dunlavey’s work on the great “Comic Book History of Comics,” on the other hand, suggests that’s not likely to be the case.
Arkwright Integral HC: Collects “The Adventures of Luther Arkwright” and its sequel, “Heart of Empire,” in one volume. These two sci-fi adventures from Bryan Talbot are hailed by just about everyone as brilliant and innovative works of graphic fiction. The first volume never quite clicked with me, though I remember liking the second more than the first. It’s been long enough that I think both are due for a re-read. That said, if you’ve never read them and are looking for a good reason to, this sounds like it.
Blade of the Immortal vol. 30: Vigilance: It’s the penultimate volume. THE PENULTIMATE VOLUME! After all these years, the end of my favorite ongoing comic series is in sight. It doesn’t quite feel real yet. In fact, what feels more real are my concerns about whether or not it’ll be able to stick its landing since this volume talks about nothing but the fights within its pages. There’s usually always something more to the conflicts in this title, so I’m hoping that there will be plenty of surprises in store once this volume arrives in October.
Concrete Park vol. 1 HC: You Send Me: Collected from the “Dark Horse Presents” anthology. This is a slim hardcover, 64 pages for $13, but advertised with “bonus materials.” We’re told that this series about outcasts from Earth exiled to a distant planet was “acclaimed” and co-written/illustrated by a blockbuster screenwriter whose credits they neglect to mention. Man, I was going to say something about giving this title a shot anyway because I liked the idea that the outcasts might try to build a new society on the desert planet, but the more I write up my thoughts on the solicitation text here I realize I just can’t do it. Great job there Dark Horse copy writer.
Dark Ages #1 (of 4): Now this is better, if only for the “‘Starship Troopers’ meets ‘Kingdom of Heaven’” pitch given in the bullet points section. Judging by the cover and solicitation text, it sounds like we’re getting a medieval mercenaries vs. aliens story but the real selling point for me is the creative team cooking this up. Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard previously gave us “The New Deadwardians,” which was a great tale of vampires and zombies in Victorian England up until the point magic entered the picture. Still, it was good enough that I’m willing to pick this up to see if they’ve learned anything from their previous collaboration.
Dark Horse Presents #1: The Eisner-winning anthology is back with a slimmer page count and price to match: 48 pages for $5. To kick it off, they’ve got a new “Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot” story from Frank Miller and Geof Darrow to get your attention. Given the quality of Miller’s output over the last decade, this strikes me as more of a threat than something to be excited about. Frankly, I’m more interested in the new “Resident Alien” story from Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse being published here. Hopefully it’ll lead to a new volume in the future.
The Eltingville Club HC: Hey, so my hopes were answered after all. Now we get to see if this lives up to its hype.
The Goon vol. 13: For Want of Whiskey and Blood: Until the current “Occasion of Revenge” miniseries is collected, we’ll have this last batch of comics from the ongoing series to tide us over. I’d honestly forgot that there had been enough issues left over from that to get us this volume, so this is a pleasant surprise. Of course, I’d heard that one of the issues was done entirely in Spanish so I’ll have to be reading it with an internet translation nearby to see whether or not it makes any sense. Let me tell you this: after reading through three volumes of “Sayonara, Zetsubou Sense,” nothing kills comedy in comics faster than having to break your immersion in the story to look up what you’re supposed to be laughing at.
Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens HC: In hardcover no less! Putting these crossovers in such a format doesn’t devalue it so much as send it spiraling through the floor into the Earth’s crust and out the other side so that it has literally circled the globe in order to become awesome again. In all honesty, I’ve read the “Aliens” crossover and that was actually pretty decent. With “Dredd’s” co-creator John Wagner and Andy Diggle writing the whole shebang, I’m willing to bet the rest of the stories collected here are of a similar quality. Even so, I think I’ll wait until I’m rifling through the half-off bins at a convention before adding this to my collection.
Star Wars vol. 3: Rebel Girl, Star Wars vol. 4: A Shattered Hope, Darth Maul -- Son of Dathomir, Star Wars Legacy vol. II Book 4: Empire of One, and Rebel Heist: All of these are coming your way in October! In particular, the final two volumes of Brian Wood’s “Star Wars” series are arriving two weeks apart. That’s actually really annoying because it underlines the fact that I’ll effectively be paying $34 for eight issues of the series. As I said above, I’ll have to take it and like it since the other option will be to not have them at all. Same goes for the other titles mentioned here. I haven’t been reading the “Darth Maul” comics, but if I can’t get excited about the thought of never being able to read them, period, there’s probably not much point to it.
Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #1 (of 6): In case anyone was wondering, my thoughts on this haven’t changed since the last time I talked about this almost two weeks ago. That shouldn’t be surprising, really.