The 500+ page Previews catalog can be pretty tough to get through, even for the most jaded comics reader. That's why every month, ComicsAlliance contributor Chris Sims sits down to scour the pages for the best, worst, and most mind-bogglingly insane items and bring them to you, the discerning reader, in our recurring feature, Chris vs. Previews!

P. 46 - Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites HC: Here at ComicsAlliance, we've been fans of Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson's "Beasts of Burden" since they first showed up in the 2003 horror anthology, "The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings." Admittedly, we bought it for Hellboy, but we stuck around for the "Wise Dogs" (and cats) or Burden Hill, the household pets of a picturesque community with dark and terrifying secrets behind the picket fences. Essentially, it's "Bunnicula" as written by HP Lovecraft, and c'mon, folks: That's awesome.

Sharply written and beautifully drawn, the full-length mini-series was one of our favorite comics of the last year, effortlessly moving from slapstick comedy to genuine horror (there's a page in #2 that still creeps us out) without ever feeling jumbled or confused. We're definitely up for the hardcover, especially with a great-looking new cover by Thompson, but if you're still on the fence, Dark Horse has put up one of the early stories on their website for free! We all know how that's how they hook you, but in this case, we really don't mind.P. 55 - 12" Barb Wire Figure: Uh, guys? It's definitely 2010, right? We didn't somehow wake up back in 1996? And you're sure about that?

P. 71 - Detective Comics #864: Originally, we figured this was just another solicitation (though sadly not for a Greg Rucka Batwoman story), but then we spotted something that sparked our interest:

That's right: It's Black Mask verses Jeremiah Arkham! The shocking events of Batman: Poetry Slam start here!

P. 144 - Wonder Woman Tiara, Bracelets and Lasso Replica: We're certainly not the only people who a "Previews" roundup every month, and this time around, Progressive Ruin blogger Mike Sterling beat us to the best joke we could've possibly made about this one in his monthly "End of Civilization" column:

"'Wonder Woman's tiara, bracelets and lasso are prop replicas ONLY and are not meant to be worn or used as weapons.'



And would be totally embarrassing to have noted in your coroner's report. So please, friends, use your safewords."



P. 144 - Image Firsts: Over the past few months, DC, Marvel and now Image have been offering some new printings of easy-to-jump-on issues at a retail price of a dollar. We're all for this, both because they make a nice way to sample a story on the cheap rather than going ahead and dropping twenty bucks for a paperback and for the way that a lot of retailers are planning on just converting them to extra Free Comic Book Day books, but let's be honest here, folks:

Is there anyone out there actually having trouble finding copies of "Youngblood" #1 for a dollar?

P. 16 - Marvel Her-Oes #1: Much like "Girl Comics," which rolls into a second issue with an awesome Jill Thompson cover in this month's "Previews," we love the concept behind this one, but oy, that name. Still, with the soft spot we've got for stories that combine high school drama and super-heroics, something that Marvel's been able to do pretty well in everything from the original "Amazing Spider-Man" to "New X-Men: Academy X" and the "Mary Jane" books, we're looking forward to this one, especially with the fact that it's cast Namora as the school's resident Mean Girl.

Besides, the alternate title, "Marvel Schoolgirls," may -- may -- have sent the wrong message.


P. 212 - Faith #1: Jesus Christ - After stripmining the world of entertainment and politics to get subjects for their terrible, shoddily produced biographical comics (watch for Lady Gaga on Free Comic Book Day!), Bluewater has finally set their sights on religious figures.

We've got a pretty good idea of what's going to happen in this one -- the editors at Bluewater may be interested to know that there are already a lot of books about Jesus -- but we're really hoping that, like the Stephenie Meyer bio-comic, this one will also be narrated by Dracula.

P. 284 - Green Hornet Year One: The "Green Hornet" comic written by Kevin Smith that we mentioned last month hasn't come out yet -- in fact, as of this writing, initial orders haven't even been finalized -- but apparently Dynamite's banking on it being a success. How do we know? Because they're tripling the number of "Hornet" comics they're putting out, including both a direct spin-off of the Smith series and "Green Hornet: Year One" by Matt Wagner and Aaron Campbell:

We're pretty interested in this one, at least -- pretty much everything Matt Wagner does is worth reading, from CA favorite "Mage" to Dynamite's recent, highly enjoyable "Zorro" -- but we had to raise our eyebrows at the solicitation's assertion that the Green Hornet is "comics' most iconic hero."

Guys, we understand that it's your job to sell the comic, but if you're going to call the Green Hornet "comics' most iconic hero," at least have the sense not to do it in a paragraph where you compare the series to a Superman book in the very next sentence.

P. 290 - WWE Heroes #2: And now, solicitation text from Titan's second issue of "WWE Heroes":

After the epic, epoch-spanning first issue, there was only one place for our eternal champions to end up--WrestleMania! What will the stars of the WWE do when mystical terrorists grab the ringside seats?

Okay, look: We know we said that this series was probably going to be terrible, but now we're willing to admit that it might just be the best comic of all time.

P. 312 - The Amazing Adventures of Nate Banks v.1 and 2:

In the interest of full disclosure, author Jake Bell is a friend of mine from the old days when he was a comics blogger, but the upside of that is that I got to read an early draft of "Secret Identity Crisis," and friend or not, it's a darn good kids' book. The series follows Nate Banks, a comic-obsessed kid who suspects that his new teacher might be a super-hero, and it's incredibly fun, with nice little in-jokes (like the name of Nate's hometown, Kanigher Falls) thrown in for good measure. Plus, each book's got an eight-page comic sequence by Bell and "Mini-Marvels" artist Chris Giarrusso that function as prologues. They're good stuff, and well worth picking up if you've got kids in your life that love super-heroes.

P. 331 - Super Hero Squad: Stark Brown T-Shirt: Fun Fact! This t-shirt?

Not available in kids' sizes.

P. 370 - Iron Man 2 ArtFX Statue: Is it just us, or does Iron Man totally look like he's wearing a red garter belt in this statue?

Congratulations: Now you can't unsee that.

P. 378 - Queen's Blade Airi PVC Figure: Initially, we figured that putting Airi here into a "tattered maid's costume" was just another example of putting a completely unrelated character in a fetish outfit...

...but once we'd turned SafeSearch back on, a quick round of Googling let us know that, while she usually does wear a shirt with it, the maid outfit/gigantic scythe combo actually is Airi's standard look.

Congratulations, Japan: Once again, you mystify us.