It’s a big month for Robert Kirkman as both “Invincible” and “The Walking Dead” hit major milestone issues. This is a much bigger deal for the former series as this is its final issue. More on that and the rest of Image’s solicitations after the break.
Invincible #144: It takes a certain amount of balls to put “The best double-sized final issue of all time” on the cover of your final issue. After 144 issues and (soon to be) 25 volumes, I think that Kirkman and artists Ryan Ottley and Cory Walker not only have the balls, but have earned the right to make such a statement. Throughout its run “Invincible” has stood as a testament to how good superhero comics can be if they’re freed from the constraints of working within a shared universe and have a consistent creative team calling the shots. I’ll miss it when it’s gone, but I also recognize that it’s important for this series to have an ending if only to show that superhero comics can actually end. Yes, the series could completely flame out in its final stretch. I don’t think that’s likely, though, as vol. 24 was a pretty solid buildup to the finale. Oh, and while this series hasn’t been shy about killing off major characters, the final cover doesn’t make things look promising for Thragg.
The Walking Dead #175: Speaking of covers, the one for this issue makes it look like there’s a new group that Rick and his people need to contend with. Compared to the other groups that we’ve seen over the course of these series, the people on the cover look organized, well-armed and armored, and most surprising: clean. Where did these people come from? Either there’s some new warlord out there who really has their act together, or this is what has become of the U.S. military. Aside from Abraham, I’ve always wondered why we haven’t seen more of them in this series. Maybe now I’ll have my answer. Or, more likely, Kirkman has a completely different origin for these people. This is also one of the title’s rare “named” arcs and it goes by “New World Order.” Best of luck to Rick and everyone in dealing with this latest change to the status quo.
Ice Cream Man #1: What kind of flavors is the title character of this series selling? How about chocolate, vanilla, existential horror, drug addiction, and musical fantasy for starters. This new series promises one-off tales about an ice cream man who has the power to change people’s lives. Whether or not it’s for the better or the worse, I imagine that’s down to how the characters deal with what he has to offer. So it’s kind of like “100 Bullets” only with ice cream. I can think of worse ideas! This comes to us from writer W. Maxwell Prince and artist Martin Morazzo. Morazzo was the artist of the never-lived-up-to-its-potential series “Great Pacific” so I hope he’s found a title more worthy of his talents here.
Days of Hate #1 (of 12): New from Ales Kot with art from frequent Vertigo artist and Brian Wood collaborator Danijel Zezelj. This is a series that takes place in the American police state of 2022. Two people are ripped apart and find themselves on opposite sides of the state and the struggle against it. This series is advertised as the story of a war where they meet again. Whether or not it remains that way, or drifts off into Lovecraftian surrealism, or a story about another Beat poet by the end of the series is anybody’s guess.
Scales & Scoundrels vol. 1: Into the Dragon’s Maw: Luvander is a penniless adventurer who gets a lead on the mythical dungeon known as the Dragon’s Maw. Said to house immense treasure and danger, tackling it isn’t something she can handle on her own. So she recruits a scraggly group of followers including a prince eager for his first taste of adventure, his guardian who has the doubly difficult job of trying to keep him alive, and a dwarf also new to this adventuring thing. Naturally there winds up being more to this quest, with the fate of the world even coming into play here. This is billed as an all-ages adventure and it sounds promising enough. It also sounds like a radical departure for writer Sebastian Girner who is best known for unleashing “Shirtless Bear-Fighter” on the world earlier this year. I think I’ll have a better idea of just how interested I should be in “Scales & Scoundrels” after I get my fill of shirtless bear-fighting.
Spy Seal vol. 1: The Corten-Steel Phoenix: Anthropomorphic animal action abounds as the title character has to track down a Soviet double-agent and the mysterious Corten-Steel Phoenix. This has been billed as adventure in the vein of “Tintin” and “Usagi Yojimbo,” which is a description I can get behind. It has also been marked by creator Rich Tommaso’s lamentations about how badly the series has sold in single-issue form. So unless this collected edition sells like gangbusters, this may wind up being Spy Seal’s first and last case. I’ll do my part to make sure that doesn’t happen come January.
Kill or Be Killed vol. 3: After vol. 2’s momentum was stalled by an ending that recalled the ending of the first’s too much for its own good, will this volume also wrap up in a way that calls the reality of the demon haunting Dylan into question? I should think not as Brubaker and Phillips are smarter than that. What we can expect is for our protagonist’s life to get even worse as his vigilante actions have kicked off a war between the Russian mafia and the NYPD. I foresee this ending well for everyone involved… or maybe we’ll see a death or two amongst the supporting cast first.
Curse Words vol. 2: Explosiontown: Vol. 1 left off with a couple questions that I’d really like to see answered here. Then again, this volume is entitled “Explosiontown” so maybe I shouldn’t get my hopes for answers up too much. In the meantime, the solicitation text tells me to expect seeing the Earth’s leaders deciding they want Wizord and his koala familiar Margaret gone, Wizord’s ex, Ruby Stitch, striking out on her own, and the magical overlord Sizzajee trying to take them both out. Oh, and we get a prequel tale in the form of the “Curse Words Holiday Special” which shows us how Wizord and company celebrated Christmas before they set their sights on taking over our world.
Descender vol. 5: Rise of the Robots: Billed as the first major event for this series. Major revelations are also promised with the origin of the Harvester robots revealed here. Oh, and the galaxy is thrown into all-out war as well. I’ve continued to read this series even though it has consistently failed to measure up to its hype and word-of-mouth. Will this be the volume that finally gets me to look forward to future volumes or puts me off the title for good? We’ll finally have an answer to that end come January.
Southern Bastards vol. 4: Gut Check: It’s… been a while since we’ve seen a volume of this series, hasn’t it? That’s what happens when both of this title’s creators are busy with various Marvel projects. While it’s clear that work is what pays the bills and allows them to do a title like this, at some point you’re going to have to decide what’s more important to you. Just ask Jonathan Hickman. That being said, the first three volumes have been pretty good so far, which lets me hope that the irregular schedule the issues collected here were released on won’t waylay its momentum too much. I’m also still waiting to see Roberta Tubb break out her military training and start cleaning up the town that has become Coach Boss’ territory.
The Wicked + The Divine vol. 6: Imperial Phase Part 2: In which the solicitation text asks, “When you’re at the peak of your powers, there’s only one way to go. The question becomes—how many people are you willing to drag down with you?” Oh silly solicitation text, the answer here is obvious. Based on what we’ve seen of these gods so far it’s “All of them!” At least there will be lots of partying to be had as the downward spiral commences.