Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – April 11, 2012: That Which Remains Concealed
Reading Comics author Douglas Wolk runs down the hottest comics and graphic novels coming out this week.
* Continuity implants
^ Stars and/or garters
% What lies beneath
^ % UNTERZAKHN
The wonderful Leela Corman's long-in-the-works graphic novel, which was appropriately enough serialized in the Forward, concerns two sisters growing up in the Jewish community on the Lower East Side in the early 1900s, and how incidents from their childhood echo in their adult life. Despite what a certain amount of Unterzakhn's press has been suggesting, it's not her "debut"--Queen's Day came out in 2000, Subway Series in 2002--but it's been way too long since there's been a new full-length book by her.* ^ % 2000 A.D. #1772-1775
Ah, I see we're finally catching up. The five-stories-a-week lineup is shifting rapidly in these issues--the only holdovers from the previous batch are John Wagner, Ben Willsher and Henry Flint's ultra-taut Judge Dredd serial "Day of Chaos: Eve of Destruction" (which is starting to echo elements of Grant Morrison's "Inferno") and Robbie Morrison starting to wrap up his long-running Nikolai Dante series with artists Simon Fraser and John Burns. #1772 reintroduces Alec Worley and Jon Davis-Hunt's urban fantasy Age of the Wolf, #1774 features Pat Mills and James McKay's revival of the early-2KAD dinosaurs-eating-people series Flesh, and #1775 launches Brendan McCarthy and Al Ewing's long-anticipated psychedelic freakout The Zaucer of Zilk. Also this week: Judge Dredd Megazine #321 (whose new material is augmented by reprints of the early-2KAD serials "Death Planet" and "Angel"), as well as Judge Anderson: The Psi Files Vol. 2, reprinting some particularly gorgeous-looking stories drawn by the likes of Kev Walker, Arthur Ranson and Steve Sampson. (I wrote about it here.) All of these are on the Midtown list, not the Diamond list.
% ALABASTER: WOLVES #1
The first of a five-issue sixteen-year-old-girl-as-monster-killer miniseries, written by Caitlín R. Kiernan (and taking off from her Dancy Flammarion stories), and drawn by Steve Lieber. As I understand, Alabaster is intended as an ongoing project, on the Hellboy "series of minis" plan.
% AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6
Maybe the point of this series is to be the designated Spider-Man crossover title. Mark Waid and Greg Rucka (half of the 52 team!) are collaborating to write "The Omega Effect," a three-part crossover with Waid's Daredevil and Rucka's Punisher that begins here. Marco Checchetto draws.
* ^ BATMAN INC. DELUXE EDITION VOL. 1
Grant Morrison's Batman-as-corporation series had a very rocky first year: schedule bumps all over the place, at least a couple of issues that appeared to have switched their order at the last minute, and the late-out-the-gate Leviathan Strikes! special that condensed a lot of material that was supposed to have run before the New 52 reboot. (Having the entire universe reworked in the middle of an extended serial might have been a problem too.) But it also had high entertainment value, occasionally splendid artwork, and Morrison pushing his writing in a few new directions. This hardcover collects the whole run to date for $30, in anticipation of next month's relaunch. Also this week in the Bat-franchise: artist Amy Reeder's final issue of Batwoman, #8, written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman.
^ HITMAN VOL. 6: FOR TOMORROW
The reprint program for Garth Ennis and John McCrea's late '90s-early '00s spot of troublemaking in the DCU has sped up--this one covers #37-50, in which (among other things) Tommy Monaghan tangles with dinosaurs in what has to have been a homage to Flesh. The next one should be able to wrap up the series; maybe it'll even throw in JLA/Hitman?
^ % JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #636
Kieron Gillen and Richard Elson conclude the "Terrorism Myth" sequence of their Loki series; the recap page this time is narrated by a Cthulhu-esque Elder God.
* ^ NEW AVENGERS #24
Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato begin their AvX tie-in. Also this week: Bendis and Mark Bagley's Avengers Assemble #2. On top of that, there's Essential Avengers vol. 8, a fat $20 black-and-white paperback that reprints #164-#184, a 1977-1979 sequence with art by John Byrne, George Pérez and others, as well as the 1977 Avengers and Marvel Two-In-One annuals in which Jim Starlin wrapped up his Warlock/Magus sequence. And in further AvX- and Byrne-related news, this week sees the paperback edition of the expanded version of X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga, the Chris Claremont/ Byrne sequence from 1980 with which these franchises are still trying to grapple more than 30 years later.
% SECRET #1
The launch of a new ongoing Image series by Jonathan Hickman and Ryan Bodenheim. I'm happy to see Hickman forcefully moving back into titles he's created.
^ SHOWCASE PRESENTS THE LOSERS
Robert Kanigher and a host of artists worked on this early-'70s series that teamed up a bunch of lesser DC war-comics characters: no relation, other than the name, to the recent Andy Diggle/Jock project. The issues reprinted here (G.I. Combat #138 and Our Fighting Forces #123-150) feature some particularly excellent Joe Kubert cover designs--see, for instance, this one or this one or this one or this one.
* % UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN OMNIBUS
I always enjoyed Kurt Busiek and Pat Olliffe's kicky, bargain-priced, mid-'90s series, set between issues (and sometimes between panels) of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's Spider-Man stories. (Back then, I wrote an enthusiastic review of it, from which a sentence appeared on the back cover of the paperback collection--and then, a few months later, an editorial note in Untold Tales' letter column apologized for quoting it. Long story.) This $100 hardcover--significantly more than it'd cost you to buy the original issues, although presumably on nicer-than-newsprint paper--includes the entire run, plus Amazing Fantasy #16-18, the Strange Encounter special, the 1996 and 1997 annuals (the former of which has some very sharp Mike Allred artwork), and Busiek and Olliffe's piece from 2010's Amazing Spider-Man Annual #37.