“Invincible” was a pretty great comic. So great that it might wind up having two concurrent adaptations to two different mediums. That Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg had snatched up the rights to a film version and were in the process of developing it broke last year. Now, Amazon has announced that they’ll be producing an animated version of the series to premiere as part of Robert Kirkman’s development deal with them. It’s described as an “adult animated” series, which means the over-the-top violence of the series will make the transition intact, and has been commissioned for eight hour-long episodes. While such an announcement would normally mean the film version has been put on the back burner, word is that Rogen and Goldberg are still working on it.
Which version am I more interested in seeing? The look of “Invincible” is definitely more suited to animation and I’m expecting that Kirkman’s involvement will mean that the series hews as close to the source material as “The Walking Dead” did. While I wouldn’t be averse to seeing what Rogen and Goldberg do with the material, their handling of another comic book series that’s near and dear to my heart, “Preacher,” does leave me a little hesitant. The first season’s slow pace was mostly excusable in that it was designed to be a prologue to the story of the comic. Season Two was a distinct improvement, even if it wasn’t really following its source material all that closely. After watching the Season Three premiere, I was left with the feeling that it wasn’t bad, but in adapting a specific story from the comic (one of its best) it left a lot to be desired. So Rogen/Goldberg film version of “Invincible” might wind up being good even if it bears little resemblance to the comic it owes its name to. I’d prefer a version of the series that’s good and resembles its source material, so I’ll make some time for the animated series when it premieres either later this year or early next.
Bully Wars #1: New from “I Hate Fairyland” writer/artist Skottie Young, except he’s only writing this. Aaron Conley provides the art. It’s about Rufus, the biggest bully in Rottenville since kindergarten who suddenly becomes one of the bullied on his first day of high school. Now he’s got to team up with the kids he formerly bullied to survive the school’s Bully Wars, where the last one standing will rule the school. At least the solicitation text makes it clear that you shouldn’t go into this expecting a nuanced take on the subject of bullying, like we saw in the magnificent first volume of “A Silent Voice.” However, Young has never delivered on his signature series’ potential, showing only that he’s content to mine its surface for laughs. I don’t see any reason why we should expect anything different from this title.
Man-Eaters #1: Menstruating women turn into ferocious killer wildcats! From Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk the writer of Marvel’s “Mockingbird” who pissed off fanboy manbabies everywhere by daring them to ask the title character about her feminist agenda! Do you really need to know anything else to determine if this comic is for you? Well, the first issue also has a glitter variant cover if that helps any.
MCMLXXV #1: Joe Casey doing things differently again, this time with artist Ian MacEwan along for the ride. The idea of an African-American cabbie in New York circa 1975 who has a side job slaying monsters with an enchanted tire iron is a good one. Yet for some reason Casey thinks it’d be a good idea for his latest series to have the year of its setting spelled out in roman numerals as its title. It’s an act that comes off as nonsensical more than anything else and that’s even before you consider this is coming from a guy who chose “Sex” for the title of one of his comics. Speaking of which, it’s been a long time since we’ve had any “Sex” in these solicitations. I don’t know if Casey is planning on giving us anymore “Sex” in the future, but right now it seems like it was a mistake to get involved with “Sex” in the first place what with “Sex” having no climax at this point.
Cemetary Beach #1: New from Warren Ellis and Jason Howard. “Wait a second,” I hear you saying, “Weren’t these guys working on ‘Trees’ which has been on hiatus for a while?” That is correct. According to Ellis, he hit a block while working on the third volume and came up with this series for Howard who was looking to do something more action-oriented. It’s a sci-fi series about a professional pathfinder and a disaffected young murderess who find themselves unlikely partners as they try to escape an off-world colony filled with generations of lunatics. Ellis has done some pretty great action series over the years so I’m interested in seeing what he can do with Howard here. As for “Trees,” the writer said in his weekly newsletter that he’s had a breakthrough regarding the third volume and has started writing it. So expect more word on it later this year.
My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies HC: Well, this is a surprise. I thought that “Kill Or Be Killed” would be last Brubaker/Phillips joint before the writer went off to focus on his Amazon series with Nicholas Winding Refn. That’s apparently not the case and we’ve got this OGN about a teenage girl, Ellie, who idolizes drug addicts. Unsurprisingly Ellie’s idolization leads her to a rehab clinic where she gets firsthand experience with two things that drugs can bring you: love and murder. This is a slim 72-page volume for its $17 cover price, but as it’s coming from the team supreme of Brubaker and Phillips I think this will be worth it.
Analog vol. 1 & Infidel: Collected editions of an ongoing series and miniseries, respectively, that have both been optioned for feature film development. “Analog” comes to us from writer Gerry Duggan and artist David O’Sullivan and “John Wick” director Chad Stahleski is currently attached to bring its vision of a mass-doxxed world where the most important information is transported by couriers in the real world. “Infidel” has the high concept of focusing on the multiracial inhabitants of an apartment building which is haunted by beings which feed off of xenophobia. It doesn’t have the same pedigree as “Analog,” coming to us from writer Pornsak Pichetshote and artist Aaron Campbell, with Michael Sugar producing the film adaptation, but I’d give better odds on the film version of “Infidel” turning out pretty well. “Get Out” showed that you can mix racial politics and horror and have the whole thing turn out really well in the end. “Infidel” seems very much in that vein.
Isola vol. 1: “Gotham Academy” co-writers Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl team up again for this series with Kerschl providing the art. The captain of the queen’s guard is journeying to the Land of the Dead, Isola, to break the spell that has been cast on his mistress. After “Gotham Academy” I’d definitely be up for seeing what these two can do together. (It also can’t be much worse than how Fletcher and the “Batgirl” team’s “Motor Crush” turned out.) The main thing that gives me pause here is the “Recommended for fans of Studio Ghibli and the work of Hayao Miyazaki” bit in the solicitation. Saying that your series is comprable to the works of Japan’s most famous anime studio and director definitely implies a lot. However, the last Image series I read which did the same was “Extremity” and that turned out to be kinda “meh.” So it sounds like “Isola” has a couple of low bars to clear and one really high one. I guess I should pick up this volume to see how it manages with that.
Oblivion Song by Kirkman and De Felici vol. 1: Ten years ago 300,000 citizens of Philadelphia were lost in the apocalyptic hellscape dimension known as Oblivion. The government failed to bring them back and gave up trying a few years back. All that’s left is one man, Nathan Cole, who just can’t let this mass disappearance go. As this is coming to us from Robert Kirkman you can bet that I’ll be picking this up to see if he’s managed to make lightning strike a third time for him after “The Walking Dead” and “Invincible.” I’m not familiar with the work of the artist for this series, Lorenzo De Felici, but Kirkman’s had a pretty solid track record when it comes to working with great artists for his series.
Descender vol. 6: The Machine War: I was prepared for this to be the final volume of Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen’s not-nearly-as-good-as-I-was-expecting-it-to-be saga of humans, the robots they’ve created, and the things that keep them divided. However, the solicitation text mentions that “The ‘Descender’ saga comes to a startling climax and sets the stage for the next mind-bending adventure.” Sooooooo… are we getting a relaunch with “New Descender” later this year? I can’t say I’m enthused by that thought so you can bet that I’ll be using this volume as a jumping-off point unless it happens to be utterly transcendent in quality compared to the previous volumes.
The Fix vol. 3: As glad as I am to see this third volume, I’m wondering if it might just be the final one for this series. Issue #13 was cancelled a few months back and its writer Nick Spencer currently has his plate full writing “Amazing Spider-Man” over at Marvel. Given these things it’s my hope that this volume doesn’t end on a cliffhanger. Furthermore, if this volume does represent an end of sorts for this series then it’ll be a rarity amongst Spencer’s creator-owned works. “Bedlam” is gone and forgotten while I’m still waiting for some word on whether or not we’ll see any more of “Morning Glories” again. At this point it just seems like a bad move to get onboard with a creator-owned project from this writer.
Head Lopper #9: Norgal is back! And so is the head of Agatha, the Blue Witch! Only now it seems that she’s managed to grow herself some legs. Did she grow herself a body to go with them, or did she just grow them out of her head? That’s a serious question for this series. I knew that it would be back after vol. 2 promised “Head Lopper’s” return later this year, but it’s still reassuring to see it in these solicitations.
Monstress vol. 3: I’m also glad to see the latest volume of this series after its second wound up being one of my favorite reads of last year. There’s not a whole lot to go on here as vol. 2 ended with the revelation that sinister forces were waking up to come after Maika Halfwolf and the solicitation text for vol. 3 lets us know that in order to save her life she’s going to have to do something incredibly difficult: make friends. I’m giving even odds on Maika having to make friends to help fight the forces coming after her versus Maika befriending the forces coming after her. Should be a good read regardless of how that turns out.
Moonshine vol. 2: Misery Train: The first volume of this series wound up being on the low end of Azzarello/Risso collaborations. It was all about the slow burn to the exclusion of interesting plot developments until the end. I wrote that I wouldn’t be too put out if the creators decided to move on to another project rather than follow up on this one, but since it looks like they’re committed to it I might as well check it out to see if they’ve stepped up their game for this second volume.
The Walking Dead vol. 30: New World Order: In which we find out whether or not the other community Eugene has been in contact with for the past few volumes is being run by a genuinely decent person or is just “The Governor Reborn: Extreme Crazypants Edition!” The answer is neither, obviously. I’ve been reading this series for long enough to realize that while its leader may present a good face to the outside world, she and the people she’s leading have obviously done some awful things in to maintain order. The question is whether or not they’re still doing these things today.
The Wicked + The Divine: 1373: In which penitent nun Lucifer hears the confession of *ahem* penitent murderer Ananke. Gillen had me at “penitent nun Lucifer.” Goodnight folks!