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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – April 27, 2011: Running with the Shadows of the Night

Reading Comics author Douglas Wolk runs down the hottest comics and graphic novels coming out this week.

KEY:
* Revisionist history
^ Ampersands and virgules
% Half a year from Halloween

^ ACTION COMICS #900
Hey, Superman’s back! And not a moment too soon. 96 pages, written by Paul Cornell, Richard Donner, David Goyer and David Lindelof, wrapping up Cornell’s Lex Luthor serial and shifting into some kind of Doomsday-related storyline; it’s drawn by various folks including Pete Woods. In additional DC anniversary news, this week also sees Justice Society of America #50, notable for being yet another Howard Chaykin sighting. My rudimentary calculations suggest that May 18 may be the first Wednesday in a while without a Chaykin comic shipping, but for all I know he’ll be in that week’s Bart Simpson Comics or Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose or something.
^ AVENGERS #12.1
Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch re-team for a one-shot that guest-star the New and Secret Avengers. It’s allegedly self-contained, but also a prologue to another thing, apparently. Also this week: Secret Avengers #12.1, beginning Nick Spencer’s brief run.

^ BATMAN INC. #5
Grant Morrison’s current Bat-book seems to be feinting in directions other than the ones its solicitations suggest; this issue is, I believe, drawn by Yanick Paquette and involves the Hood (no, the other Hood, the one who’s the Batman of England–no, the other Batman of England), but for all I know it could be a Frankenstein solo story. I’m just going to put my trust in GMo.

* % THE BULLETPROOF COFFIN
A collection of David Hine and Shaky Kane’s metafictional miniseries, a sort of Where Are the Freaky Comics of Yesteryear, Oh Where Have They Gone thing.

* % DC COMICS PRESENTS: NIGHT FORCE
A few years after Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan wrapped up their run on Tomb of Dracula, they launched this short-lived horror series (whose cast included Vanessa Van Helsing, who was the granddaughter of Dracula’s Abraham Van Helsing, but of course no relation to Rachel Van Helsing from Tomb of Dracula. Oh, public domain). This $8 one-shot reprints the first four issues of the series proper, but not the preview story from New Teen Titans #21. Note that there’s a hardcover edition of the whole series due out later this year.

^ DETECTIVE COMICS #876
I’ve succumbed to the persistent prettiness of this Scott Snyder-written Batman series. Jock draws this issue.

^ GENIUS, ISOLATED: THE LIFE AND ART OF ALEX TOTH
Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell’s Alex Toth art book/biography was originally going to be a single volume, then a two-volume set, and has now become a three-volume series, of which this will be the first. Toth is a curious character in the history of comics–a master without a masterpiece, a genuinely great and enormously influential artist who never quite produced a substantial piece of work that you can show people, without hedging, to explain why he deserves his place in the canon. (Darwyn Cooke’s story “The Alex” from a few years ago kind of addresses that idea, though I really don’t think that’s how Cooke would put it.) Can’t wait to see what this one looks like.

* LOVE FROM THE SHADOWS
The newest installment of Gilbert Hernandez’s series of standalone “adaptations” of nonexistent exploitation movies, and the most screwed-up by far. (That’s a good thing.) There are lots of comics that try for a “cinematic” tone, but Gilbert H. is the only cartoonist I can think of who’s tried to approximate the weird narrative power of the kinds of flaws you only really find in movies–dodgy special effects and awkward editing become deliberate, controlled dramatic devices here.

^ MIGHTY THOR #1
Matt Fraction and Olivier Coipel take another crack at launching a new Thor series, not to be confused with all the other Thor series and minis and movies and snack cakes and so on. The Silver Surfer shows up in this one, too.

% OSBORN #5
The crackling, nasty Kelly Sue DeConnick/Emma Rios underwater-prison-riot miniseries concludes, apparently with a courtroom sequence of some kind. Courtroom comics!

* % THE SANDMAN VOL. 5: A GAME OF YOU
A new edition of the collection of Sandman #32-37, redesigned again; Neil Gaiman’s name is now even bigger and everyone else’s name, I believe, even smaller. Also, this is the “remastered” version of the story that originally appeared in Absolute Sandman vol. 2, i.e. Sandman #34 has been re-inked by Colleen Doran, replacing Dick Giordano’s rushed-looking original inks.

* ^ SHOWCASE PRESENTS: GREEN LANTERN VOL. 5
The solicitation claimed this would reprint #76-100, including the O’Neil/Adams run and the first eleven issues of the series’ 1976 revival. Then somebody seems to have noticed that “Green Lantern” was a backup feature in The Flash (including a bunch of Neal Adams-drawn installments) for a couple of years after Green Lantern/Green Arrow got cancelled; those are the stories that appear here instead of #90-100.

% XOMBI #2
The first issue of John Rozum and Frazer Irving’s revival of Rozum’s mid-’90s Milestone series was a treat (nuns with guns!), although honestly at this point I’d buy Sonic the Hedgehog if Irving were drawing it.

^ Y: THE LAST MAN DELUXE EDITION VOL. 5
Reprinting the final twelve issues of Y, which means it contains approximately 11 major cliffhangers, 250 medium-sized cliffhangers and 1000 little cliffhangers. (Also included: the script for the final issue.) Brian K. Vaughan knows how to move a story forward, I’ll give him that. Does he have more comics coming up, or what? There’s been a distinct absence of new BKV on the racks since the end of Ex Machina.

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