Comic Picks By The Glick

Image Previews Picks: January 2016

November 1, 2015

What to do about lateness?  It’s something that has dogged Image ever since it was founded and continues to be a nagging issue to this day.  Publisher Eric Stephenson rightly acknowledges the short attention span of today’s audiences in that whenever a book misses it shipping date, it makes it easier for the audience to shift its attention to something else.  When this happens consistently, it erodes consumer faith in the product and the series will die a slow, ignoble death.  (See Also:  Bendis’ creator-owned titles.)  Stephenson cites “Saga” as a series that manages to sidestep this issue by taking planned breaks between each arc, something that other titles are taking a cue from.  New series are also required to have three full issues in the can before they can be solicited, reducing the risk that they’ll hit delays early on.  Still, simply being a responsible creator who knows how to manage his or her time well -- like “Saga’s” Vaughan and Staples -- is the best way I can see to combat this issue.  Lateness will never go away, but knowing your limits and working within them will make it less of a problem.

Cry Havoc #1:  “X-Men:  Legacy,” “X-Force,” and “Crossed:  Wish You Were Here” writer Si Spurrier launches a new title with art from frequent Brian Wood collaborator Ryan Kelly.  The solicitation text is kind of all over the place, calling it a mix between “Jarhead” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” while also making the claim that its use of multiple colorists to define different eras is unprecedented.  Then at the end it offers up a winkingly succinct summation of the premise, in that it’s not about a lesbian werewolf who goes off to war (but that it really kind of is).  “Lesbian Werewolves in Wartime” from Spurrier and Kelly!  Consider me SOLD!

Four Eyes:  Hearts of Fire #1 (of 4):  Joe Kelly and Max Fiumara’s Depression-era story of a boy and his dragon comes back for another go-round some five years after the first volume was published.  That’s quite a hiatus between volumes for a title that didn’t set the world on fire when it came out.  Also, Max is the Fiumara brother whose style I’m not partial to on the “Abe Sapien” ongoing series.  I’ll likely skip this and see about picking up some of Kelly’s other Image work.  Or maybe take the plunge on the “Deadpool” omnibus of his run on the character, hailed by many as the definitive one.

Injection #6:  Beginning the second arc of Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey’s story of new weirdness infecting the modern world.  In this issue, the title’s detective investigates a case that invokes a murderous sandwich.  I bring this issue up not because of the murderous sandwich, but because I recently finished the first volume.  A re-read is pending, mainly to see if my feelings that this is Ellis’ best new project in quite a while hold up.  “Trees” was a step in the right direction after years of hit-or-miss Marvel work, but we could be looking at a genuine return to form for the writer here.

Prophet:  Earth War #1 (of 6):  Speaking of lateness, this concluding volume of Brandon Graham’s (and friends’) reinvention of the old Rob Liefeld character gets its second solicitation after originally being slated to start earlier this year.  I’d be upset about the false start, if it weren’t for the fact that this re-solicitation is basically an admission that Graham and co. clearly weren’t ready with these final six issues.  Let’s hope that this finale will be delivered in a timely fashion and provide a satisfying… well, let’s just hope for “coherent” at this point, ending for the title.

Invincible vol. 22:  Reboot:  Not a sitcom, but this volume takes its name from the CGI kids show that ran from the mid 90’s through the early 00’s.  It’s also the title of the arc hyped up in these solicitations that has Mark Grayson going back in time to when his powers first manifested themselves with all of the knowledge he’s gained over the past 120 issues.  Will he change history?  Will the series continue on from this point in the past if he does?  Will he return to a nightmarish or utopian future based on his actions here?  I honestly don’t know.  Kirkman isn’t beholden to anyone but himself when he’s writing this series so any of the above possibilities are a lot more viable than you’d think.  That said, my money’s on Mark returning to a future with some changes since I doubt that Kirkman is going to want to chuck all of the setup he’s done for the characters and storylines in that area on the trash heap just for a SHOCKING PLOT TWIST like this.

Lazarus vol. 4:  Poison:  Malcolm Carlyle, head of the Family Carlyle, may have been a bastard but he was still a better leader than most of the other family heads.  Now he’s at death’s door and it’s up to his dysfunctional children to keep the peace along with the family’s Lazarus, Forever Carlyle.  I’m actually not too concerned for the fate of the family, as the scheming youngest sibling will likely prove to be a capable interim leader (after she’s dealt with her brothers and sisters), up until the point that Malcolm recovers and more drama ensues as he has to wrest back control.  The solicitation for this volume also promises a revelation that will change everything for Forever, which likely means that she’ll find out the truth about her origins and whether or not she’s actually a part of Family Carlyle.

Manifest Destiny vol. 3 and Nameless:  More about lateness now:  Vol. 3 of “Manifest Destiny” was originally scheduled to be out in time for the holidays, but it’s being advance-solicited for February here.  Meanwhile, it’s not entirely clear if the concluding issues of Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s miniseries will arrive in time for the series to be collected in January.  I’m sure they’ll be worth reading when they arrive, but at least I know that “Manifest Destiny” will be out in February because issue #18 finally came out.  As for “Nameless…”  your guess is as good as mine.

Trees vol. 2:  Two Forests:  Only six issues collected this time, which will hopefully allow for a more focused experience this time out.  The solicitation text is encouraging in this regard:  Only two plot threads are identified and they both appear to revolve around the title objects.  No crime stories in Italy to waste everyone’s time here.  Improvement would be nice, and is likely possible.  Still, a new volume of “Injection” is what I’m anticipating from Ellis most these days.

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