Tom Morello’s “Spartacus of Whores” epic “Orchid” is missing from this month’s solicitations after #8 was solicited for June. I’d heard it was supposed to last twelve issues though the last solicitation had it as an ongoing. Though I have yet to read any of it, I find it a little depressing that the series crashed and burned so badly because I am a fan of Morello’s music. Maybe the book is another victim of Dark Horse’s inability to sell material that can’t sell itself, or maybe it was just that bad. Anyway, this makes me more inclined to pick up the still-scheduled collection of the first four issues just to see what went wrong.
A Christmas Carol: The Night That Changed The Life Of Eliza Scrooge HC: When I first saw the title, I was less than impressed. Do we really need another telling of “A Christmas Carol” Whose main hook is gender-swapping? Then I saw that it was from Rod Espinosa, creator of the thoroughly enjoyable “Neotopia,” and the not-quite-as-great-but-still-entertaining “A Courageous Princess” and “Prince of Heroes.” Now I’m morbidly curious about the project because I can’t be certain that his talent will overcome the tiredness of the material. Then again, Lee Bermejo made the Batman equivalent of this compelling almost solely on the basis of his visuals, so maybe Espinosa’s Global Manga style will give the story a similar shot in the arm.
The Art Of Portal 2 HC: This reminds me. I should probably see about picking up “The Sacrifice And Other Steam-Powered Stories,” which was Dark Horse’s collection of the online comics published by Valve based on “Left 4 Dead,” “Team Fortress 2,” and “Portal 2.” It came out last year, but it slipped under my radar for some reason despite the good word I’d heard about the comics themselves. What about the “Portal 2” artbook? The game was brilliant for the quality of its puzzles and razor-sharp writing. Its art design wasn’t bad, but it got the job done as opposed to being truly memorable itself.
Cherubs! HC: Bryan Talbot is one of comics’ most distinctive creators and if you doubt me, go and read “The Adventures of Luther Arkwright,” “The Tale of One Bad Rat,” or either of his “Grandville” books and then try telling me otherwise. I’d add “Alice in Sunderland” to the list, but I haven’t gotten around to picking it up yet. My bad. Anyway, he’s only writing this story of four cherubim who are framed for the first murder in Heaven and have to make their way to Earth on the eve of the apocalypse in order to prove their innocence. Along the way, they make friends with a stripper. This sounds like the kind of weird and bizarre that I like, so even if he’s not drawing it the book sounds like it’s sure to entertain.
Dark Horse Presents #15: This gets a mention because the issue features the return of something that I was not expecting. At all. That’s because when “Rex Mundi” ended, it went out with more of a whimper than a bang and a final page that so overtly evoked one of the most famous bits of the New Testament that I had to roll my eyes. So either Arvid Nelson is going to be telling another untold story from the time of the series, with the fantastically talented Juan Ferreyra in tow, or this is going to be the start of a new “Rex Mundi” series picking up from the end of the first. My money is on the former as it would take a considerable amount of guts and lack of common sense for the writer to do the latter. All in my opinion, of course.
Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories #1: Because I really can’t stop beating dead horses, it’s time to talk about the sheer unlikeliness of Bendis and Oeming’s creator-owned projects ever coming out on any reasonable schedule. In addition to the upcoming launches of “Powers FBI” and “Takio” there’s this five-issue miniseries from Oeming about a group of six superheroes sworn to protect the world from what is best described as “all bad things.” Now, one of them is on the verge of self-destruction due to some psychic trauma and a painful past. The relative seriousness of the solicitation text is undercut by a bullet point promising “the raunchiest superheroes since ‘The Boys.’” We did get plenty of that stuff in “Powers” so this isn’t coming completely out of left field, though Bendis either found a way to tie those excesses into the plot or get some good laughs at their expense. Without him around, I’m skeptical. Oeming’s a decent enough writer, but his art has always been the man’s biggest selling point for me.
Star Wars: Agent of the Empire vol. 1 -- Iron Eclipse: I’ve heard the story described as involving the “James Bond of the Empire.” Here we have a highly skilled operative dedicated to utilizing subterfuge and trickery (without aid of the Force, I think) to tip the scales of galactic power in specialized cases. Of course, while the book is asking us to sympathize with an Imperial agent that’s just the kind of moral dilemma that writer John Ostrander thrives on. While I’d love to read more of his run on “Suicide Squad,” his previous work in the “Star Wars” universe with Quinlan Vos’ adventures in the Clone Wars and Cade Skywalker’s in “Legacy,” is more than enough to get me to pick this up as soon as it hits the stands.