Crossovers between creator-owned properties are rare, to say the least. When you’re that passionate about telling your own story, teaming up with someone who is likely to be equally passionate about theirs is more of a recipe for disaster than anything else. That’s why the recently announced crossover between “Chew” and “Revival” comes as a genuine surprise. John Layman and Rob Guillory’s series about a guy who gets psychic images from the food he eats doesn’t seem like it’d be a natural fit for Tim Seeley and Mike Norton’s tale of a rural town where the dead have returned to life. Of course, that incongruity is part of the appeal and both creators strike me as smart enough to have realized that this is going to take some work in order to pull off and can’t appear half-assed.
Why do it in the first place? The pairing seems random until you remember that Layman got some unwelcome attention back in December after venting on Twitter about “Chew’s” sales. There’s also the fact that “Revival’s” sales have also been on a steeper downward trend recently as well. So the main reason that this is happening is for the oldest reason in the book: to boost sales. Cynicism aside, I hope it works. “Revival” is fine, but I’d certainly like “Chew” to reach its planned ending at issue #60 without any issues.
MPH #1 (of 5): Another Mark Millar series, and he’s snagged the very talented Duncan Fegredo to illustrate it. As the title implies, it’s about speed; specifically, some inner-city kids who stumble upon a drug of that name and get super-speed. Now here’s where I’d express my usual derision for Millar’s output, except he’s gone and done it for me. After all, would you want to buy a series where the solicitation text asks if these kids will use it to fight crime and then responds with, “Hell no! Not when there's dolla, dolla bills to be had, y'all.” Clueless. Tone-deaf. Basically that line is everything that I can’t stand about the writer.
Nailbiter #1: The concept behind this series doesn’t really grab me. After an obsessed FBI profiler investigating the town of Buckaroo, Oregon -- the home of sixteen notorious serial killers -- goes missing a rookie NSA agent teams up with a serial killer to solve the mystery of the town. This mystery is described as being, “Where do serial killers come from?” which strikes me as a very reductive approach that strips the subjects of this series of their vile mystique. That aside, I will give credit where credit is due to artist Mike Henderson who came up with a genuinely creepy cover for the first issue. Maybe we’ll get lucky and writer Josh Williamson will be able to deliver on that promise with Henderson on the issue itself.
Rise of the Magi #1: Only morbid curiosity here. After all, would you buy a comic that was written by Marc Silvestri? One of the Image founders, he’s one of the few artists whose name can still draw an audience for whatever he illustrates. But will that hold true when he’s just writing something? Given how the premise for this series sounds like dead standard fantasy stuff, I’m betting no.
Burn the Orphanage vol. 1: Born to Lose: This series flew under my radar last year, and I’m going to fix that when this volume comes out. Though the story is summarized as one man fighting through the mean streets for revenge, it’s actually an homage to old-school videogame beat-em’-ups. That in itself wouldn’t normally get my attention, except that this series has earned some good word of mouth in the course of its publication. Now I’m interested in seeing what the fuss is about.
Prophet: Strikefile #1: Basically a sourcebook for Brandon Graham and co.’s take on the Liefeld character. If it’s not reprinted in the final volume, then I’ll track this down myself. I’m honestly curious to see how much thought they’ve put into this universe they’ve inherited/created.
Fatale #24: Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ supernatural demon noir series reaches its conclusion in a double-sized issue. I’d be more excited for them if it hadn’t turned out to be the least of their collaborations so far. Again, that’s not to say that it’s bad, but when you’re keeping company with “Sleeper,” “Criminal,” and “Incognito,” just being “good” is going to be a little disappointing. Still, they’ve already got their next series announced: “The Fade Out.” I’ll be up for that as well, though I’m still waiting for them to get back to “Incognito” so we can find out what’s going to happen to Zack Overkill in that prison.
The Walking Dead #127: Also getting an oversized issue, but at no extra cost. It’s the first issue after the “All Out War” arc so I’m guessing Kirkman and Adlard really want to make sure you’re onboard with whatever new direction they have planned. I’ve got no problem with that. Of course, it also means that there’s a lot more room in that issue for someone to get killed. With 56 pages, I think it’s highly likely that there will be some suspense building with regards to who gets brutally murdered this time.
Black Science vol. 1: How to Fall Forever: I’ve enjoyed Rick Remender’s mainstream superhero work more than I have his signature creator-owned title “Fear Agent.” Now that his first creator-owned Image title is getting this collected edition, I’m going to see if that still holds true. Wish me luck.
Manifest Destiny vol. 1: It’s a comic about Lewis and Clark’s expedition from Kirkman’s “Skybound” imprint by two creators I’m not familiar with for $10. This doesn’t appear to be a historically accurate tale either as the solicitation text mentions the monsters they find in their journey through the wild. Even so, my feelings about this are conflicted enough that I’m ready to say, “What the heck,” and put down my money for this title. We’ll see if that’s a wise decision come May.
Umbral vol. 1: Out of the Shadows: Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten’s fantasy series gets its first collection. Seeing this, I’m more reminded about their previous series, “Wasteland” which Mitten departed from, and how I need to get caught up on that. If it’s not one thing…
Elephantmen #58: Now I said earlier that “Nailbiter” had a creepy cover? Well artist Boo Cook has seen that creepy and raised it. Wow. I’m honestly not sure if people will look at this and either be repulsed by it, or fascinated enough to check out what’s inside. I fall into the latter category here, though this is another series where I have to get caught up on the trade paperbacks first.