That’s right, #15 isn’t the last issue of this series. I keep expecting the hammer to come down with each arc, but I’m glad to be proven wrong here. There’s a catch with this latest issue, however. It’s the start of an anthology arc featuring short stories about the main cast. The good news is that it looks like creator/writer John Arcudi will be writing the whole thing and the first issue has some strong talent lined up in the form of Gerardo Zaffino, Alex Horley, and Matej Stic. Admittedly the last artist is not known to me, but Arcudi has a knack for finding good artists to work with both on this series and “B.P.R.D.” The bottom line here is that I’m glad to see “Rumble” continue on and maybe this is a chance to start hoping that it’ll continue on for the foreseeable future.
Nah, why mess with what’s worked so far! Enjoy this latest anthology arc of “Rumble” everyone, because it’ll probably be the title’s last!
Assassin Nation vol. 1: Someone is out to kill the World’s Greatest Assassin. So he’s gone and hired 20 other assassins to protect him from this threat. It’s a comedy, really, and it comes to us from the writer of the “Rick and Morty” comics, Kyle Starks, and “Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” artist Erica Henderson. What I’ve heard about this series has been very encouraging -- as in it puts the violent in “violently funny.” Very much looking forward to seeing if it lives up to the advance word-of-mouth.
Battle Chasers Anthology: The hype in the solicitation text is disgusting even by old-school Image standards. Calling this series “one of the most beloved comic book series of all time” would probably have been a stretch even back when this series was originally published. It’s hard to imagine any fan of this series finding the goodwill to make that claim after creator Joe Madureira left it to languish while he went off to make videogames, do a few arcs on various Marvel series, and then do a Kickstarter for a “Battle Chasers” videogame. Contrary to how these Kickstarters tend to work out, Madureira’s company Airship Games was not only able to deliver the game, but have it turn out pretty well according to the reviews. The catch here was that part of the promised rewards for the Kickstarter was the delivery of issues #10-12 of “Battle Chasers” once Madureira could get around to delivering them. Not too long ago he announced that someone else would be drawing the issues in question and the news has gone down about as well as you’d expect. Especially among those who claimed they backed the Kickstarter just to get those issues. Where does that leave this anthology? As an incomplete reprinting of a series whose time has passed and whose creator couldn’t be bothered to give it his all. If you think that’s worth $25 then you’re welcome to it.
Black Science vol. 9: No Authority but Yourself: Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera’s dimension-hopping epic comes to an end. Rejoice or despair (or do both) as Grant McKay most likely fucks things up for everyone one last time. I mean, that’s what I’m expecting him to do. He could do the right thing and create a multiverse where everyone gets what they want. But I kind of doubt that’s going to happen given the title’s track record up to this point.
Curse Words #25: The final issue and the solicitation text promises a finale that’s better than the ones from “Lost,” Battlestar Galactica,” “Game of Thrones,” and “M*A*S*H” combined. I see where that joke is going but it trips up on the inclusion of “M*A*S*H” whose finale never had the polarizing response that the other series did. Whoever wrote this should’ve gone for the safe bet and thrown in “The Sopranos” and then just stopped writing the solicitation mid-sentence to underline the--
Farmhand vol. 2: Thorne in Flesh: “Chew” artist Rob Guillory delivered the kind of amazing art you’d expect from the man who made that title a consistently amazing visual delight in “Farmhand’s” first volume. Unfortunately the writing wasn’t quite on the level of the art and I was kind of inclined to share the exasperation of one character when, confronted with the multiple questions raised in the first volume, he responded with an “I honestly don’t know.” Guillory didn’t burn through all of my goodwill with vol. 1 so I’ll be back to see if vol. 2 can get things on track. It had better if the series is going to last for the creator’s projected 30-issue length.
Monstress vol. 4: This comes out in September? Guess I’ve got that long to sit back down and re-read the previous three volumes so I can get up to speed on all the stuff this volume will be building on.
November, Book One (of Three) HC: This is the story of three women whose lives intersect over the course of one dark night in a city’s criminal underworld. My guess is that each volume will focus on a different woman, but that’s not specified here. What is specified is that this series of graphic novellas will be written by Matt Fraction with art from Elsa Charretier. Fraction’s involvement would normally make checking this series out dependant on a coin toss. Except that “November” is going to be published as a series of three 80-page hardcover volumes for $17 each. That format makes me go “NOPE!” at least until the inevitable one-volume edition is released down the line.
Oblivion Song by Kirkman and De Felici vol. 3: After the creators wrapped up the big story threads introduced in the first volume, where do they go from here? Well, they pick up on one of the smaller threads from vol 1. Specifically, the threat represented by the Faceless Men. Who are they? How’d they get that name? Are they even a threat? These are the questions that I’m expecting this volume to answer.
Paper Girls vol. 6: Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang’s sci-fi puzzle-box of a series reaches its conclusion in this volume. Will the ending elevate what has generally been a good but not great series? Will the series read better after I’ve re-read it from beginning to end? Will they provide a translation for all of the dialogue cryptograms that have popped up over the course of the series? I’d really like to see that last one happen because I’m tired of having to Google for a translation every time I see one of those pop up in the series.
SFSX #1: This series was originally set to be published under the Vertigo imprint until, well… Kink writer Tina Horn and artist Michael Dowling give us a series about a future America where attitudes towards sexuality have become even more draconian. This leads a group of queer sex workers in an underground club known as the Dirty Mind to infiltrate the government Pleasure Center, free their friends, and fight the power along the way. That’s more or less how the solicitation text describes the series and it works for me. What doesn’t work is the part of the solicitation text that claims the series “reads like SEX CRIMINALS in Gilead crossed with Oceans 8—with a SUNSTONE twist!” Did deadline pressure prevent them from name-checking “Game of Thrones” along the way?
Spawn #301: STOP THE FUCKING PRESSES! Todd McFarlane is coming back to pencil and ink (part of) another issue of “Spawn!” That’s the first time he’s contributed art to consecutive issues of the series since the 90’s! Be still my beating heart. Credit where it’s due, McFarlane clearly recognized that the sales bump from #300 was going to immediately evaporate so he needed to do something to keep everyone’s interest for the actually-record-breaking #301. It should be noted that Jerome Opena, Jason Shawn Alexander, Clayton Crain, and Greg Capullo are also going to be providing art for this 48-page issue. Which means that each artist will only be providing 8-9 pages of art, tops, for the issue. Still, two issues featuring art from McFarlane is unheard of in this modern era. Will he return for issue #302 and make it three for three? I hope not because I don’t think my heart could take it! REALLY!!!
Trees: Three Fates #1 (of 5): Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s series about life in the shadow of giant alien pylons returns for a third go-round. This time around it involves a dead body found by a Tree that landed near a remote Russian village. Okay. It’s not that “Trees” has been a bad series, but it’s definitely been the lesser of the two series Ellis has done for Image, the other being “Injection,” in recent years. I think that this might be the final series, I’d have to go back over the writer’s newsletters to be sure. If that’s the case then that’s fine. Unless this third time proves to be the charm were the series finally clicks with me.