Comic Picks By The Glick

Dark Horse Previews Picks: November 2013

August 26, 2013

The successful partnership between Dark Horse and Joss Whedon got another shot in the arm this week.  In case you haven’t heard, there’s currently a new “Firefly/Serenity” series in the pipeline from the publisher.  No word on when this will actually hit the stands, but the safe money is on the nebulous term of “sometime next year.”  The teaser images imply that Serenity and its crew are headed to some unknown region of space which would seem to put it at odds with its “space western” roots and a bit more into “Star Trek” territory.  Still, its creators have shown that they know what they’re doing with the franchise in the past so the odds are that it’ll all work out for the best once it arrives next year.

Baltimore:  The Infernal Train #3 (of 3):  From the solicitation text, “Baltimore jumps aboard the Infernal Train and fights high-priest vampires and an evil witch to stop them from resurrecting a vampire god.”  Will you read anything that sounds more awesome than this for the rest of the week?  I sincerely doubt it.

Blade of the Immortal vol. 28:  Raining Chaos:  A new volume of this series is always a noteworthy event around here, but seeing the solicitation here is particularly good news.  If you’ll recall, I spoke with the book’s editor Philip Simon at Anime Expo about whether or not we’d be seeing the volumes released at a faster rate now that the series is concluded in Japan.  He said that they’d like to, except that they didn’t want to put too much stress on the book’s current English localizer/retouch artist Tomoko Saito.  That said, this volume will be arriving in January which is four months after the next volume is set to arrive in September, and two months sooner than the series’ usual six-month wait between volumes.  This puts the final volume on track to arrive in January 2015 and still my pick for the entertainment highlight of that year.

B.P.R.D.:  Hell on Earth vol. 7 -- A Cold Day In Hell:  My thoughts on vol. 6 will be coming soon, and it’s good to see them putting out these collections on a regular basis like this.  One thing I will say about that volume is that it really underlines the point made in “Hellboy:  The Storm and The Fury” that this world of man is on its way out.  The B.P.R.D. is not going to save the day at the end.  They’re only here for damage control, and more importantly to determine what part of humanity will survive the transition into the next world.  It’s a very grim tact for any series to take, yet as they’ve shown in the past I think this team is capable of pulling it off.

Clown Fatale #1 (of 4):  Female clowns are mistaken for contract killers and leave the big top for a life of crime.  It sounds utterly ridiculous and like something I’d normally want to give a shot.  However, it’s written by Victor Gischler who has yet to write anything that I feel compelled to check out.  Wait a second…  What’s this!?

Conan:  The Phantoms of the Black Coast:  Gischler also wrote a “Conan” miniseries forDark Horse?  Well, that changes things.  The miniseries featuring the character from the publisher have generally been very entertaining  even when they’re from a creator who I don’t have a lot of familiarity with.  Josh Dysart, for example, wrote one of the best with “Conan and the Midnight God” where Conan dealt with his mid-life crisis by going to the land of Stygia to kill their god.  This one has the barbarian king journeying back to the title place to put the ghost of his first love to rest, which makes it sound like it loosely ties in to Brian Wood’s current run on the main title.  If that’s the case, then Gischler is pitting himself against some high standards.  I’ll be picking this up for sure in January to see what the result is.

Criminal Macabre:  The Eyes of Frankenstein #3 (of 4):  I just noticed that this also features art from Christopher Mitten.  Between this, “Wasteland” with writer Antony Johnston, and his new Image series also with Johnston, he’s a busy man these days.  That said, I have no idea what the shipping schedule is like for the books he’s currently working on.  If he’s hitting all of his deadlines, then more power to him.

The Manara Library vol. 6:  The Borgias:  Dark Horse has been putting out these prestige collections of the legendary artist’s work for a few years now, yet this is the first one to really catch my eye.  That’s because not only is it about the legendary Renaissance-era Italian crime family, but it’s also written by Alejandro Jodorowsky of “The Incal” and “Metabarons” fame.  The latter is proof that the man knows how to do over-the-top storytelling with insanely creative amounts of sex and violence, which would appear to be quite appropriate for the subject matter here.  Now I just need to convince myself that whatever discount Amazon is offering on its massive $60 cover price is going to make it worth picking up.

Star Wars:  Dawn of the Jedi -- Force War #1 (of 5):  Ah, here we go.  Picking up where the last volume left off, the Rakata have arrived in the Tython system and the hopes of the Je’daii lie in two individuals.  The mad Daegen Lok and Xesh, the Force Hound who was the aliens’ slave until recently.  Coming from John Ostrander, it makes perfect sense that the fate of everyone is going to ride on the most morally compromised individuals in the book.  I’ll be picking this up, no question, though I can only hope that after the previous two volumes things have been explained enough to the point where the expositionary dialogue is kept to a minimum here.

Star Wars Omnibus:  Dark Times vol. 1:  Some fortuitous timing here as the final issue of the most recent miniseries is also solicited here.  So now they have enough material for vol. 2 when they decide to get around to it.  While this series has always been an interesting look at the post-”Episode III” universe where the Jedi are the most wanted and hunted fugitives in the galaxy, it wasn’t until vol. 5 that Dark Horse co-founder Randy Stradley took over as writer.  However, he’s the sole credited writer here which is strange as all the material was originally credited to one “Mick Harrison.”  Was it really Stradley writing under a pseudonym or is this just a misprint?  I’ll likely try to find a copy of this on the shelves somewhere to see about sorting out the confusion here.

Jason Glick

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