There’s a new volume of a certain manga being advance-solicited here! That’s right, after a year and a half of waiting, Dark Horse is finally releasing vol. 16 of “Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project.” Can you feel the excitement here! ARE YOU NOT YET ENTERTAINED!?!?!?
…Ugh. Well, at least this means the manga news from the publisher can only get better from here on out. Right?
Abe Sapien vol. 7: The Secret Fire: A quick check on Amazon reveals that almost a year will have passed since the release of the previous volume and the time this one hits the stands. I can’t say I’m really bothered by that as this series is still the weak link in the Mignolaverse. Still, there are several issues that have been passed over in these collected editions as they feature art from people other than the regular team of the Fiumara Bros. As there has to be at least a volume’s worth of those stories collected by now, I hope we’ll see it solicited sometime later this year. At least it’ll provide a pleasant visual distraction from the morose story being told here.
Aliens: Defiance #1: Brian Wood tackles the xenomorph menace in this new series that I thought was announced as a limited one, but can’t find any mention of it here. It focuses on a Colonial Marine dealing with a haunted past while escorting some Weyland-Yutani synths. Things go bad, as they are often wont to do in this universe, and she finds herself on a treacherous journey across the stars. While “The Massive” was a mixed bag, Wood’s work on Dark Horse’s other licensed properties -- “Star Wars” and “Conan” -- was quite good. It’s also worth noting that with this series the writer appears to be working his way through the company’s host of licensed titles. Start placing your bets as to whether he’ll take on “Terminator,” “Predator,” or “Tomb Raider” next.
Baltimore: Empty Graves #1 (of 5): You know, I just pre-ordered the next volume in this series. With solicitation text that says, “With no bodies to bury, Baltimore lays to rest the memories of good friends,” should I be worried that most of the characters introduced in vol. 5 aren’t going to make it through vol. 6? Naaaaah, I’m sure they’ll be fine and what I’m seeing here is just clever misdirection on Mignola and Golden’s part. Now that that’s settled…
Conan the Avenger #25: Fred Van Lente’s run comes to an end in the same amount of issues as Wood’s. Apparently the company feels that this is a nice solid number for a “Conan” series as it was also the length of Tim Truman’s “Cimmerian” run. Between the multiple ongoing series and Roy Thomas’ “Road of Kings” maxi-series, there have been 137 issues of this take on the character and his stories published by Dark Horse so far. I bring it up because the sales numbers on “Avenger” haven’t been so hot and this may wind up being the last ongoing “Conan” series we get. If it is, then it’s a hell of a run to have with the vast majority of it being generally quite good.
Dept. H #1: With the end of “Mind MGMT,” Matt Kindt is starting a new series. It takes place at a deep-sea research station that is currently being investigated for the possibility of sabotage. Mia, the special investigatory looking into things, may have been expecting things to be different given the exotic location of this place, but there’s no way she could’ve counted on this taking place in a Matt Kindt-created comic. I feel sorry for her already. That’s regarding what’s likely going to happen to the woman, not that she has somehow found her way into a bad comic. Then again, the first volume of “Mind MGMT” was pretty rough. Kindt has earned himself some leeway from me with how that series is turning out, but it’d be nice to like this series from the very first volume instead of the second.
Fight Club 2 HC: Still on the fence about buying this. However, for those of you who are already itching to pick this up, it looks to be a good value for your money: 280 pages for $30. It’s tempting for me too. Even though I should probably read the original book before giving this a go.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties HC: Now this, on the other hand, features a TERRIBLE price-to-page ratio: 64 pages for $18. Why would anyone pick up a comic as pricey as this? Well, when it’s a comic that’s adapted from a Neil Gaiman story by the team supreme of Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, you stop thinking about things like the price-to-page ratio. Instead, you start anticipating what’s going to happen in this story about some boys who crash a party featuring some girls who are much more than they appear. Advance-solicited for June, like all of the collections here, and the wait feels agonizing already.
Poppy! and the Lost Lagoon: As if it wasn’t enough having the first issue of his new series featured here, Matt Kindt has a new graphic novel in these solicitations as well. A couple things: He’s only writing this, and it’s an all-ages book. That last part is the most surprising bit as nearly all of his work to this point has not exactly been what you would call “kid friendly.” He does have a good hook here with the title character being a great kid explorer who is called across the world on the hunt for a legendary fish and clues regarding what happened to her father. Art is from “Queen & Country” and “The Sixth Gun” artist Brian Hurtt, someone with great cartooning skills. I enjoy a good all-ages read, though the appeal here will be seeing how much of Kindt’s avant-garde style he’ll manage to sneak into here.
Semiautomagic: Writer Alex De Campi and artist Jerry Ordway team up for this story of a college professor who will never get tenure. Because she’s always ditching her lectures to go kill monsters. This time around, she’s facing off against a dark force that lurks between universes and is seducing young souls through a computer game. I imagine that she calls a job like that “Thursday.” It has a fun premise and comes from two creators I like -- I’m in.