Seven to Eternity vol. 4: The Springs of Zhal
Garlis Slum may have lost his kingdom, been betrayed by family, beaten within an inch of his life, and be down one eye, but that remaining eye is still on the prize. He’ll be on the road to getting it all back if he can make it to the Springs of Zhal with deluded but capable lackey Adam Osidis in tow. Garlis has promised him a cure for his terminal disease, and if he delivers, then Adam will be on his side forever. Which might be sooner than either of them thinks as Adam’s daughter and the rest of the intelligence-challenged crew that took Garlis down in the first place are hot on their trail and looking to make both of them answer for what they’ve done.
I’d imagine that writer Rick Remender and artist Jerome Opena would summarize the events of the first three volumes of this series a bit differently. They’d give you the boring version about how Garlis is the bad guy, corrupting the souls of everyone who listens to him, and that restoring him to power means a lifetime of slavery for everyone in it. That may be true, but everyone else in this world is either honorable to the point of dullness or in need of Garlis’ boot on their throats. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been enjoying this series a good deal. Just not in the way its creators have intended. So will it end in tragedy as its real protagonist’s ambitions turn to ash, or will he triumph over his far less interesting opposition? In Remender’s hands, it could go either way -- which I’m betting will make for an exciting finish!
Spawn’s Universe #1: “Spawn” will never reach the commercial and awareness highs it enjoyed in its post-Image launch back in the 90’s. Yet there’s no denying that it has managed to sustain fan interest after its 300th issue. All because Todd McFarlane finally figured out what people wanted to see: More kinds of Spawns. Which is why we’re now getting monthly “Gunslinger Spawn” and “Team Spawn” titles in addition to a new “Spawn” ongoing. Such an expansion of the brand seems foolish to me, particularly because none of this new hype is being driven by any talk about how the original series has finally become worth reading on a monthly basis. Anyway, “Spawn’s Universe” is ground zero for this expansion and McFarlane is even drawing some of this, along with Jim Cheung, Stephen Segovia, and Marcio Takara, in addition to writing it. So, much like most of “Spawn” up to this point, it’ll at least look good if nothing else.
Compass #1 (of 5): Imagine “Indiana Jones,” if he were around at the time that the artifacts he was pursuing came into being. That’s (mostly) the pitch for this series about Shahidah El-Amin, a Renaissance Woman in the time before the Renaissance, who heads to Britain after rumors reach her that the secret to eternal life is in the hands of the Welsh. This comes to us from writers Robert McKenzie and Dave Walker, and artist Justin Greenwood, with Greg Rucka getting a nod elsewhere for having helped put all this together. I’ll admit that it’s a solid premise and it has me interested in seeing what the creative team does with it.
The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton #1: It feels like a minor part of this round of solicitations revolves around letting me know that I’m not going to get follow-ups to miniseries that I liked. First it was “No One Left to Fight,” and now it’s “Assassin Nation.” I’m bringing up the latter series because its writer, Kyle Starks, is writing this new series, with Chris Schweizer providing the art. Now the reason that Trigger Keaton had “Six Sidekicks” is because he was a huge action star and a terrible person who everyone wound up hating once they got to know him. You’ll notice the use of the past tense when describing him. That’s because Trigger Keaton is dead, and the list of potential murderers is almost endless at this point. This is where his “Six Sidekicks” come in, as they’re going to try and solve his murder on their own terms. Coming from the guy who gave us “Assassin Nation,” this sounds like a lot of fun, even before you bring up the fact that this series is also going to involve a Stuntman War.
Vinyl #1 (of 6): Image published a miniseries called “Plastic” a few years back about a billionaire who kidnapped the love of a serial killer’s life in order to get him to kill someone. The thing was the love of said killer’s life was a sex doll and he wasn’t about to let anyone take her away from him. This came to us from writer Doug Wagner and artist Daniel Hillyard and I’ve been waiting for them to do a proper follow-up ever since. Yes, they did do “The Ride: Burning Desire,” but that was a return to the shared universe of “The Ride” which was compromised by all the space given over to the (admittedly pretty good) back-up stories. “Vinyl,” however, has all the makings of the kind of series I wanted to see from these guys after “Plastic.” It involves a serial killer too, but it involves him rescuing the FBI agent who has been charged with capturing him from an all-female sunflower-farming death cult. Oh, and he winds up in a maze filled with monsters. This all sounds like craziness piled on top of craziness, but if anyone can make this work, it’s the team who wrung a good story about a serial killer and the sex doll he loved.
Birthright #50: Final Issue. Hmmmmm… probably time to start catching up on this one.
Crossover #7: While it’s billed as the start of the next story arc, it’s not coming from creators Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw. Instead, Chip Zdarsky and Phil Hester are writing and illustrating this issue, maybe the next one too, and who knows how many more after that. The solicitation text makes it seem like Zdarsky has stolen the book from Cates, but this is a bizarre move for a series that was selling like gangbusters right out of the gate. If I sound concerned for the future of this series after this issue, it’s because Zdarsky hasn’t impressed me as a writer yet. Hester, on the other hand, has always been a good artist. So it’s nice to see him here.
Fire Power by Kirkman & Samnee #12: Billed as the “Oversized 12th Issue Spectacular” on its cover and the issue where “everything changes” in the solicitation text. The first of these proclamations is objectively true -- this is a 44 page issue for $5. As for the second, statements like that are normally a dime a dozen in comics. This is a comic written by Robert Kirkman, so there’s actually a chance that he’s going to make good on his promise. Which actually happened the last time he reached a volume-ending 12th issue with “Oblivion Song.” I hope it’s something more than a further reversal of allegiances as he already played that card in vol. 2 (review forthcoming). Maybe we’ll actually get to see the dragon in this issue…