So the big news this week is Marvel-related, but borne out of Image. The announcement that “Spawn” supporting character Angela will be appearing in that formerly so-secret-they-had-to-get-Joe-Quesada-to-draw-it epilogue to “Age of Ultron” and subsequently decamping to “Guardians of the Galaxy” is more interesting than exciting. Let’s face it, we’re talking about a character whose commercial appeal peaked well over a decade ago and has been out of circulation as a result of the since-concluded legal battles between Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane. The only, and I mean ONLY reason we’re seeing her here now is for the express purposes of Sticking It To McFarlane. I’m sure that Gaiman and the crew at Marvel were giddy with schadenfreude when the former got the character as spoils from his lawsuit against the “Spawn” creator. After all, I’m sure there are still some people at the company that are smarting over McFarlane’s defection to Image all those years ago.
So good for them! I’ve never thought much of McFarlane as a creator mainly because it always looked like he was more interested in building a media empire around “Spawn” rather than actually creating comics. Yeah, he’s been back writing the character for a while, but the biggest buzz you hear about the series these days is from its alternate covers -- its largest sales in recent memory were tied to cover that homaged the first issue of “The Walking Dead.” That said, he may have the last laugh if Angela’s stint in the Marvel Universe turns out to be a flash in the pan. Sure, I hear that Gaiman will be coming onboard to co-write the issue of “Guardians of the Galaxy” in which she appears, but will he really be sticking around for all of the character’s appearances? I can’t imagine he’ll want to leave her in Bendis’ hands for long -- look at what happened to The Sentry if you need an example.
Talk about actual comics from Image follows after the break.
Lazarus #1: Greg Rucka and Michael Lark together on a new series? I’m sold! Wait, it takes place “In a dystopian near-future, government is a quaint concept, resources are coveted, and possession is 100% of the law?” Doesn’t matter. I’m confident they’ll find a way to make that setup seem fresh again.
Fatale vol. 3: West of Hell: I’m looking forward to seeing if the momentum from the second volume carries over here. It’s not immediately obvious that it should, though. The four issues collected here tell stories about the history of the demonic beings that haunt this title. At least, that’s what I’m guessing here since they take place in such disparate eras as the Depression, the Middle Ages and the Old West and none of the main characters were involved in the supernatural until the Post-WWII era. So what we could be seeing here is an attempt by Brubaker and Phillips to expand the scope of the story and world they’ve created here. It sounds admirable and I’m betting it’ll translate into something worth reading.
Dark Skullkickers Dark #1: Not so much beating a dead horse as it is stuffing the open orifices with TNT and lighting their fuses. Given that the title operates in five-issue arcs, we should be getting the last of these next month. That is, unless this stunt has proved so successful and they’ll keep doing this FOREVER! If that is what happens, then more power to writer Jim Zubkavitch and artist Edwin Huang.
Saga vol. 2: In which little Hazel gets to meet one set of grandparents. Now, the first volume didn’t blow my mind as I was fully expecting it to but I wasn’t disappointed like I was with the first volume of “Fatale.” Given that the second volume of that series was a distinct improvement on its predecessor, I feel there’s every reason to expect an equal uptick in quality here. Because that’s the way things work. Due to my feelings. …Yeah, maybe I should start adjusting my expectations now...
Aphrodite IX: Reloaded vol. 1 HC: This series about a female assassin who is also an android was best known back in the day for having art by David Finch. As for the writing, well the only reason I’m mentioning this now is because the solicitation copy states that in addition to the swank hardcover treatment this is getting, the issues collected here are also going to be re-scripted by “Think Tank’s” Matt Hawkins. Now I don’t doubt that redoing the dialogue on an art-driven Image title from the 90’s will result in a superior product. The problem is in whether or not doing such a thing will make shelling out for this limited edition (of 500 copies) worthwhile. That I what I sincerely doubt, but if you’re a fan of Finch, you’re not likely buying this for the story and having dialogue and plotting that won’t get in the way of enjoying his art is likely the most someone buying this could ask for.
Infinite Vacation HC: Nick Spencer’s long-delayed series about one individual trying to trade up in his life by dealing with a company that specializes in buying and trading one’s alternate realities gets the hardcover treatment. At 192 pages for $25, it’s a better deal than most Marvel hardcovers, but even though I’d heard a few good things about this, it never struck me as something that warranted this kind of presentation. Maybe something to keep an eye out for at Comic-Con...
Moriarty Deluxe HC: Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis -- In his own series at last! I can’t remember anyone talking about this title, but I like the concept and the price -- 272 pages for $30 -- isn’t bad. Maybe if there’s nothing else that catches my eye on the shipping list that week.
Prophet vol. 2: Brothers: FINALLY! I am so looking forward to seeing if this can get any weirder than it already is while still maintaining some kind of narrative coherence. Given what I’ve read from Brandon Graham so far, I’m hoping that’s not too much to ask.
The Walking Dead vol. 18: What Comes After & Witch Doctor vol. 2: Mal Practice: You know what would be cool? If everyone who bought a copy of the former also bought one of the latter as well. The first volume of “Witch Doctor” was a lot of fun and the second isn’t selling at the level its acclaim currently warrants. Kirkman could probably swing a bundle deal with these two as they both come out of his Skybound imprint. Say, buy both of them for $25? That’s just me throwing this out there.