New Comics Wednesday (3/18/20)

Happy New Comics Wednesday!

Go here for a complete list of comics releasing this week.

What are you getting this week?

My comics

  • X-RAY ROBOT #1 – I love me some Allred
  • STARSHIP DOWN #1
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE #43
  • ROBIN 80TH ANNIVERSARY Special – Robin (Dick Grayson) is my favorite comic book character, so I’m happy to celebrate his 80th.
  • TREES TP VOL 03 – Can’t wait to read the conclusion of this story.
  • UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY #5
  • VALKYRIE JANE FOSTER #9
  • ARTEMIS & ASSASSIN #1
  • DRAGONFLY & DRAGONFLYMAN #5
  • MONEY SHOT TP – It sounded interesting but not enough for me to buy the singles. But I heard enough positive things about it that I ordered the trade.

Other comics

  • IMMORTAL HULK TP VOL 06 – Didn’t order it but should have.
  • MARVELS 25TH ANNIVERSARY HC – But is it worth $50?
  • SPIDER-WOMAN #1
  • ARCHANGEL 8 #1 – I almost ordered this one. Maybe I’ll get the trade.

What are some other comics I missed that I should buy?

 

 

RandoMonday: Clean Room #15

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Clean Room 15

Clean Room #15 by Gail Simone, Sanya Anwar, Quinton Winter, Todd Klein, Maggie Howell, Molly Mahan, and Jenny Frison (cover)

“All the Pretty Edges”

Clean Room was a wonderful series that began in 2015 but ended all too quickly. This issue is an interlude from the main story, but it’s still a wonderful tale of loss, grief, and the lies we tell each other and ourselves. But first, a bit about the series from DC Comics’ website:

Astrid Mueller is the enigmatic and compelling guru of a giant self-help organization—a devastatingly powerful figure in the industry between psychology and religion. Journalist Chloe Pierce’s fiancé decided to pick up Astrid’s book, and within three months he was dead. Something in Astrid Mueller’s book made Philip blow his brains out all over Chloe’s new kitchen.

Now Chloe is on a mission to find out who Astrid Mueller really is. What is this Clean Room she’s been hearing about where your deepest fear and worst moments are revealed? Chloe intends to immerse herself in the Clean Room and wreak havoc on Astrid’s empire.

In this issue, the story is told from the point of view of one of Astrid’s converts, Mary Carmody. She lost her husband in a suicide pact that she didn’t complete, and later she thinks she’s going crazy because she keeps seeing her husband’s broken and bloody corpse. This leads her to the An Honest World organization and Astrid herself. After she learns the truth about why she is there, she reaches a breaking point. Astrid helps her by having Mary relive her “bereft day” (think Star Trek‘s holodeck) and gifting Mary a final goodbye to her husband, apparently leading her down the path of recovery.

Putting the haunting aspect aside, this story is about grief and acceptance, and the storytelling team do a good job at conveying those facets — I feel I know this woman and what she’s going through. I could quibble about the art not being “spooky” enough, but I like that the somewhat “cartoony” style sufficiently navigates between the horror and  slice of life elements. The one thing artistically that doesn’t fit as well to me is the Frison cover. While well done, it doesn’t really have much to do with either the story or Mary’s journey.

Clean Room was one of my favorite Vertigo titles of the last several years, and I hope I see an eventual return of the book. There was a trade released that contains this issue, but it would be easier to it and the entire series on Comixology.

Breaking Late News: C2E2 Edition

I had planned to have a conversation with Travis (Oddfellowsthoughts on Twitter and YouTube) on the podcast about the comic book news that came out of C2E2 a few weeks ago, but life happens so I am moving the news bits here instead. Hopefully, Travis and I will have future comic con news chats, assuming there will be future comic cons….

C2E2 2020 was the 10th anniversary show. Nearly 100,000 were expected, but I could not confirm any attendance number. C2E2’s own marketing page was advertising attendance of 65,000, but I don’t know how old that information was. What’s interesting  is that C2E2 was happening just as we were getting news that COVID-19, the coronavirus, was developing into a pandemic. How many people were exposed in Chicago…?

Coronavirus concerns postponed Emerald City Comic-Con (ECCC), as well as Wondercon and SXSW. In the Boise, Idaho, area (about 5 hours away from me), two smaller cons (Bordertown and Gem State) cancelled/postponed — I’m sure we’ll be seeing more and more of this happening in the near future. Sporting events and movie premiers have been affected. Artists, some of whom depend on comic con income, have instituted online sales of their art (Terry Moore, Jen Bartel, others), while some publishers and creators have been offering free comics online to help us pass the time — I got Postal volume one as a PDF from Top Cow and Jeremy Whitley provided Princeless volume 1. And this weekend, many people are engaging in social distancing (staying home or at least away from crowds), which made for an interesting Saturday on Twitter for me.

Anyway, the Marvel and DC news (there wasn’t much else)!

Hanging by a thread

There will be a new Silk ongoing written by Maurene Goo and art by Takeshi Miyazawa. I like that this is a Korean-American character — we need more representation in the superhero genre. I do find it interesting that Marvel has so many spin-off/legacy characters now. Spider-Man not only has several of these characters running around New York with him, he has a multiverse!

An order of magnitude

There is a planned summer X event from Jonathon Hickman and Tini Howard, X of Swords (the X being Ten in this case). The title “may refer to the ‘Ten of Swords’ Tarot card – which, in the parlance of Tarot fortune telling, indicates abject disaster and ruin.” So, a normal Tuesday for the X-Men, yes?

I wanna rock!

Not to be outdone (like it’s a competition, right?), DC Comics will be serving up an “anti-Crisis” called Dark Nights: Death Metal by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. This is a sequel the Dark Nights: Metal, which is still reverberating around the DCU (much to my chagrin). “It connects all the stuff you’ve read from Crisis on Infinite Earths through Doomsday Clock, and a couple more,” said writer Scott Snyder. As always, Scott is ambitious in scale, but hit or miss on execution for me. Metal was a bit of a dud for me, so I’ll be skipping Death Metal, though the Crisis kid in me is interested in those crisis connections and what the outcome will be. If it’s similar to what came out of MetalJustice League: No Justice and the subsequent Snyder-written run in Justice League  — then no thanks.

Wakanda forever …?

Ta-Nehisi Coates will end his four-year Black Panther run with June’s issue #25. I read the first few issues when Coates first came onto the book and I was underwhelmed, but since it seems he has really developed an interesting story (based on solicitations and general Twitter reactions I’ve read  that I may have to revisit some time.

That’s no Beta Capsule, that’s a spoon!

I’m not sure why I put this down, but Marvel will be publishing an Ultraman limited series by Kyle Higgins, Mat Groom, and Francesco Manna. I watched very little of Ultraman when I was younger, but for some reason I’m still intrigued by the concept (and I know very little about it) after all these years (but not enough to actually buy this). Did you ever watch Ultraman and what did you think about it?

One is the loneliest number …?

Finally, Jim Lee, now sole publisher of DC Comics, talked a bit about the new status quo. As most people know by now, Dan DiDio abruptly departed DC Comics almost a month ago. As far as I know, the reason behind this departure hasn’t been announced (and likely won’t be).Say what you will about DiDio, love or hate him, he oversaw an interesting time at DC Comics, not the least of which was the New 52 line-wide relaunch in 2011. After the news broke, what I saw overwhelmingly on Twitter from the creators who worked for and with Dan was support and gratitude for the man — he must have been doing some things right.

Of course, when changes like this are announced at any major company, there are those who sound the death knell of DC Comics (or comics generally) or even celebrated the downfall of the company (what sad, sad people they are). At his spotlight panel, Lee quashed rumors of Marvel licensing or acquiring DC characters/publishing assets (something that Jim Shooter tried to do years ago as well). About the 5G initiative (purportedly a DiDio plan), Lee said, “our intent is not to do a line-wide reboot that ages up characters and kinda shuffles them off to the side, our focus is to continue what we’ve done best, which is to really create character-driven stories, pairing the right creators on the right characters, organically developing a universe that is inclusive, diverse.” So, there has been a change in the direction (not replacing older characters with younger ones), but the kernel of the generational aspect remains: the March Previews catalog contains the Generation One one-shot solicitation (establishing Wonder Woman as the first superhero, though that was also done in Wonder Woman #750) that appears to be kicking off this new state of the DCU.

Lee also stated “we understand the tradition of DC is NYC-centric stories, North East coast-related, but our goal is to reflect the entire world. And to me, when I look to the future, I hope there’ll be even greater representation behind the camera — people editing, writing, drawing the books“. As I stated with Marvel previously, this is a good and necessary thing. I hope that Lee and Bob Harras and others at DC Comics will make good on this promise.

So, did I miss anything important? Have some thoughts about the news I did spotlight here? Leave a comment below!

New Comics Wednesday (3/11/20)

Happy New Comics Wednesday!

Go here for a complete list of comics releasing this week.

What are you getting this week?

My comics

  • JOIN THE FUTURE #1 – I forgot to mention this last week.
  • KNIGHTS TEMPORAL TP – I also forgot to mention this one last week.
  • GREEN LANTERN SEASON 2 #2
  • HAWKMAN #22 – I’m loving the Pasarin art!
  • SUPERMAN #21
  • DECORUM #1

Other comics

  • ALL MY FRIENDS ARE GHOSTS ORIGINAL GN – A younger readers book that sounds like a fun read.
  • JUST IMAGINE STAN LEE CREATING THE DC UNIVERSE TP BOOK 01 – I’ve read a few of these issues and was not wowed by them, but it’s an interesting piece of history.
  • STEALTH #1 – I almost preordered this, thinking if I hear some good buzz about it I’d get the trade. Let me know how you like it, yeah?
  • HISTORY OF MARVEL UNIV TREASURY ED TP – I so very much want to read this, but I’ll wait for the trade paperback.
  • DAIRY RESTAURANT GN – I totally missed this before, but now I’m intrigued. This is an example of the power of comic book/graphic storytelling knowing no bounds!
  • NICNEVIN AND BLOODY QUEEN GN – This book was on my short list, but I ultimately passed on it.
  • SWEET HEART #1 – Another book I seriously thought about ordering.

What are some other comics I missed that I should buy?

Best comic I read recently

JUSTICE LEAGUE #40 by Robert Venditti, Doug Mahnke, Richard Friend, David Baron, Tom Napolitano, Andrea Shea, and Alex R Carr, with cover by Bryan Hitch and Jeremiah Skipper

Justice League returns to my pull list because Robert Venditti is writing it. I dropped this title shortly after the Rebirth relaunch because I just don’t really care for Scott Snyder stories. But Venditti is awesome, and he’s got Doug Mahnke visualizing the story, so there’s a great team here. I understand that this story takes place prior to the story Snyder and company were telling that ended (for now) in issue 39, but it does occur after recent events in the Superman and Batman titles (i.e., Superman having revealed his identity to the world and the death of Alfred), so that’s not confusing. I don’t particularly care for yet another Eradicator story, but I do like the interaction between the characters, especially the conflict between Batman and Flash. Even better, Madame Xanadu makes an appearance, though it’s a different take of the character than the one shown in Hawkman last year, but I don’t mind the apparent incongruity — continuity isn’t that important to me anymore. I heard Venditti on a podcast explain that DC wants him to tell shorter stories, so I’m looking forward to where he takes these characters.

RandoMonday: Xombi #1

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Xombi #1 by John Rozum, Frazer Irving, Dave Sharpe, and Rachel Gluckstern

“The Ninth Stronghold, Part One: Prison of Industry”

I’ve written about Xombi before, but it was such a great series that I’ll let this duplication of a sort pass. Plus, how does this issue hold up after almost 10 years? But first, some plot!

Xombi is David Kim, a man infected (imbued?) with nanomachines that help keep him in peak physical condition and can rearrange the molecular structure of things he touches (in this case, paper to popcorn). David gets a tip from an associate to go to the Prison of Industry and prevent a prisoner from escaping. When David arrives, he is greeted by some rather extraordinary (superpowered) nuns. They investigate the prison, which is located on a long table because the prison is shrunk down to model size, but the prisoner David came to see is not there. The group is then attacked by snow angels and the issue ends with evil spirit-possessed children coming to (presumably) kill them all.

So, how does this issue fair after all these years? Quite well, it turns out. Frazer Irving’s art is the standout (I had, at that time, encountered his work first in Batman and Robin, shortly before this series debuted), but Rozum’s ideas (at least, I assume they were Rozum’s — was any of the wacky stuff from the Milestone edition of Xombi?) are pretty on par. It’s rare for me to find a comic book whose writing/plot/ideas mesh so well with the art/presentation, and Xombi was one of those books. It’s a real pity that Xombi did not continue as part of the New 52 relaunch in 2011.

There was a trade released in 2012, but is now out of print. However, it is available on Comixology and on the DC Universe app. If you’re looking for something quirky and intelligent, try Xombi.