I met up with some friends last weekend. One of them I hadn’t seen in a couple years and we caught up on some of the manga that had come out since we had last gotten together. She was surprised to learn that “Blade of the Immortal” had wrapped up in Japan, and we all shared a good laugh at the fact that we’d be lucky to see “Berserk” end in our lifetimes. (Or that of Ozzy Osbourne’s, to cite a random metal example.) That mangaka Kentaro Miura has let the length of his epic get away from him seems to be a given at this point, particularly if he’s being distracted by crap like “The Idolm@ster” and has become prone to taking long sabbaticals between runs of the manga. Word is that he has since returned to putting the title out on a somewhat regular basis and I can only hope that holds true for the forseeable future. Why am I bringing this up now?...
Berserk vol. 37: Because it’s that time of year again. Though I’ve enjoyed the current arc, we’re at the point where if it doesn’t receive some kind of closure with this volume that I’m going to start being bitter... well, MORE bitter about the wait between new volumes. Which is likely to be quite long for vol. 38. Were I a betting man, I’d say you should expect it to hit our shores sometime in 2015 in time for “Blade of the Immortal” to show us how a series finale is supposed to be done.
Baltimore vol. 3: A Passing Stranger and Other Stories HC: As with a lot of comics, I enjoyed the first volume of this that I picked up at Comic-Con. Not enough to start buying the series in hardcover, but enough to be on the lookout for the second volume in paperback at this year’s con. It’s about an English lord who gets drawn into fighting the supernatural after provoking the wrath of a vampire in WWI and it comes courtesy of Mike Mignola, with Christopher Golden serving as a co-writer for this series. Ben Stenbeck provides some great Mignola-esque art and I hope they get Patrick Stewart to play the title character if this ever turned into a movie. As this is a Mignola project, you can pretty much guess what the tone and style are like, but I find that more reassuring than off-putting. While we’re on this subject...
B.P.R.D.: Vampire: Mignola. Ba. Moon. ‘Nuff said. ...Except, hopefully being freed from the “B.P.R.D. flashback” series-of-miniseries will lead to a more compelling story.
The Colossal Conan HC: Collects issues #0 to #50 of the first Dark Horse series. That means you get the excellent Kurt Busiek run, the very Mignola-esque Mike Mignola issues, and Tim Truman’s “not quite as great as Busiek’s but still very satisfying” run. The majority of the art is provided by Cary Nord who does some truly spectacular, career-best work in his issues. I wish he could’ve done the whole thing, but then we wouldn’t have had Tomas Giorello show us that he was clearly born to draw “Conan” comics. So while this is a nice collection, it also comes with a hefty price tag: $150. That’s enough to go out and buy each of the volumes collected here in softcover. It’s not the smartest price point the company could’ve come up with, but the stories here are great reads no matter what format you get them in.
Empowered Special: Nine Beers With Ninjette: This sounds pretty self-explanatory. Still waiting on the collected edition for these one-shots, though.
Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde #1 (of 3): Undercover alien Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle is apparently forced to become an investigator after local cops come to the conclusion that a friend of his is responsible for a murder disguised as a suicide. I can’t remember if this is a new title or the latest in a series-of-miniseries but what caught my eye in the solicitations was a quote:
“A pitch-perfect narrative from two of my favourite creators.” -- Alan Moore
So if he’s recommending it, then there’s got to be something to it.
So... I Survived the Zombie Apocalypse and All I Got Was This Podcast: It was the “podcast” bit that caught my attention. This is about a girl, Mara, who is living a solitary existence in a compound surrounded on all sides by zombies. When she’s forced to venture out into the world on a supply run, Mara finds out that the zombies are only attacking men. It’s an unusual setup for a zombie story, so I’m certainly intrigued. It’s also $10 for 72 pages, so the price leaves something to be desired.
Star Wars: Legacy vol. II -- Book I: Prisoner of the Floating World: It’s about Han and Leia’s granddaughter and I still have yet to hear about how this actually fits into or relates to the original “Legacy” series. I’ll be picking it up to find that out, if nothing else.
The Terminator: The Burning Earth: Why is Dark Horse reprinting an arc of the old “Terminator” series from the 80’s? Because it features the first comics work of none other than Alex Ross. That alone will keep it in print regardless if the story is any good or not. It was written by Ron Fortier whose name I can’t place from anywhere. I’d like to think that he’s getting royalties for this as Dark Horse does right by their creators and I’m sure they wouldn’t want to piss off Ross by bringing this back and not give him anything for it. As for whether or not this is any good... I’m content to let someone else do the dirty work of finding out. Ross by himself isn’t enough to get me interested and most licensed comics that weren’t published by Dark Horse in the 80’s were generally pretty terrible. (It should be noted that the company picked up the “Terminator” license after whoever published this series lost it.)