After a couple of somewhat slow weeks, Marvel and DC return to their summer event comics with new issues of Secret Invasion and Final Crisis — plus a pair of tie-ins, of course.
They don’t stop there, though. DC’s Vertigo imprint rolls out collections of Northlanders and Y: The Last Man, and re-releases Paul Pope’s Heavy Liquid as a hardcover. Not to be outdone, Marvel brings out their dead, and undead, with omnibus editions of Frank Miller’s Elektra, and The Tomb of Dracula.
Elsewhere, Blank Slate Books debuts Trains Are Mint and We Can Still Be Friends, Rebellion revisits The Ace Trucking Co., Viz delivers the penultimate volume of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, and Del Rey and Dabel Bros. unleash The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle.
To see what other titles Chris Mautner and I think are worth mentioning, just keep reading. As always, let us know your choices in the comments below.
Chris’ pick of the week: Criminal 2 #6
It’s a quiet week for me alt-comix wise, so I’ll go with the tried and true for this week’s pick. As I’ve said ad nauseum here, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ noir series remains one of the most compelling, smartest and, yes, literary monthly reads around. I suppose I could wait for the trade, but I honestly love all that back-page features.
Kevin’s pick of the week: Northlanders, Vol. 1: Sven the Returned
When Brian Wood’s Viking epic debuted last December, I greeted it enthusiastically. After all, it’s rare in comics to find medieval adventure presented as historical fiction rather than sprawling fantasy. (Not that I have anything against the latter, mind you; it’s just that I’m a history buff.) As I wrote more than a year ago, I found the first issue of the revenge tale promising because of Davide Gianfelice and Dave McCaig’s stunning art, and because Wood delivered the unexpected: a cosmopolitan Viking protagonist, not a monastery-sacking marauder.
But after the first handful of issues, I drifted away. Now, after sitting down with this first trade paperback, I’m wondering what possessed me to do that. At the risk of invoking a cliche, maybe it’s because the initial arc, “Sven the Returned,” reads better in collected form. Maybe I don’t have the patience for monthly installments, at least with this title.
Whatever the case, I’m kicking myself for not sticking with the series. It’s really good. Now I have to decide whether to track down the issues that have been released since the end of this arc … or wait for Vol. 2.
Crayon Shincan, Vol. 5
Gon, Vol. 6
Chris: I must say, I really like these low-priced, slim volumes that CMX is putting out these days. Here, Shinchan disrupts a soccer game while Gon battles a forest fire.
DC Universe: Halloween ’08
Kevin: The solicitation for this 80-page special is kind of vague — it may tie in to Final Crisis, and definitely features El Diablo — but Gene Ha’s cover of trick-or-treaters terrified by The Demon really sells it.
Kevin: I’ve really been looking forward to this, a two-parter featuring interior art by Kristian Donaldson, and cover art by John Paul Leon. You can see a preview here.
Final Crisis #4 (of 7)
Final Crisis: Submit #1
Chris: Well, hey, look who’s finally decided to come to the party — it’s the latest issue of Grant Morrison, JG Jones and Carlos Pacheco’s apocalyptic superhero extravaganza. Curious to see what Morrison’s view of a Darkseid-subjugated DC Universe looks like. I know I am.
As if that weren’t enough, this week also brings the Submit tie-in, written by Morrison with art by Matthew Clark and Norm Rapmund, about Black Lightning and the Tattooed Man battling the forces of evil. No, you read that right …
Heavy Liquid hardcover
Kevin: Paul Pope’s well-regarded, and Eisner-nominated, sci-fi miniseries from 1999 finally receives the hardcover treatment.
The Spirit: Femme Fatales trade paperback
Chris: Just in time for the upcoming movie, here’s a trade paperback collecting all of Will Eisner’s tales involving some of his most infamous (and sexy) female characters, including P’Gell, Sand Saref and Silk Satin. Alliteration was a big thing back in the ’40s.
Y: The Last Man Deluxe Edition, Vol. 1 hardcover
Chris: The first 10 issues of the popular Vertigo series are slapped together in an oversized hardcover format, and not much else in the way of extras.
Pilot Season 2008 Set
Kevin: I presume this bundles all five one-shots from Top Cow’s second “Pilot Season” initiative: Alibi, The Core, Genius, Lady Pendragon, Twilight Guardian and Urban Myths.
Elektra By Frank Miller Omnibus hardcover
Kevin: Marvel collects classic — or is that definitive? — tales of Elektra Natchios by her creator, Frank Miller, and Bill Sienkiewicz in this oversized hardcover edition: Elektra: Assassin, Elektra Lives Again, Bizarre Adventures #28, and What If? #35.
Secret Invasion #7 ( of 8 )
Chris: It’s massive-crossover Wednesday, as Marvel has the penultimate issue of its big flibberty-jibbert out as well. I’m honestly not sure why I’m still buying this, as it’s quickly gone from promising to mediocre to confusing to awful in no time flat.
The Tomb of Dracula Omnibus, Vol. 1 hardcover
Kevin: If I had an extra 80 bucks lying around, I’d be all over this 768-page tome that collects the first 31 issues of the ’70s horror series, plus Werewolf By Night #15, Giant-Size Chillers #1 and
Giant-Size Dracula #2-4.
The Art of Bleach
The Art of Full Moon
Kevin: If you’re getting a head start on holiday shopping, and have a manga fan on the list, you could do far worse than picking up one of these art books. The first, devoted to Tite Kubo’s wildly popular fantasy-adventure, includes art from the first 19 volumes, annotations, extra character information and a poster. The second takes a similar approach to Arina Tanemura’s magical-girl series, with full-color art, posters, character cards and the like.
The Complete Ace Trucking Co., Vol. 1
Kevin: Rebellion collects the first year or so of the popular science fiction-comedy by John Wagner, Alan Grant and Massimo Belardinelli, which ran in 2000 AD from 1981 to 1986.
Death Note: The Complete Box Set
Kevin: Add this to your holiday shopping list, too — particularly if you’re buying for me. Sure, it’s $90, but I’m worth it. Really! It collects all 12 volumes of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s insanely popular thriller, plus Vol. 13, “How to Read,” a “How to Use It” fold-out, and shinigami bookmarks.
Drawn & Quarterly Showcase, Vol. 5
Chris: Swedish artist Anneli Furmark, Finnish artist Amanda Vähämäki and our own T. Edward Bak are the contributors to this latest D&Q anthology celebrating new and upcoming talent. I’d pick this up for Bak’s contribution alone.
The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle hardcover
Kevin: Novelist Jim Butcher’s professional wizard/supernatural investigator, Harry Dresden, makes the jump to comics in this collection of the four-issue miniseries — written by Butcher himself. Set before the first novel, 2000′s Storm Front, Welcome to the Jungle finds Dresden looking into a mauling at the Lincoln Park Zoo. This being Harry Dresden, he soon discovers it’s more than just an animal attack.
Dungeon Monstres, Vol. 2
Chris: This second volume in the series of ancillary stories set in the Dungeon universe follows the future Herbert, now dark and all-powerful, as he tries to find a key to a new world. Sfar, Trondheim, Blanquet & Andreas Terra Amata offer a wealth of fantasy-based entertainment for your $13.
Chris: Touchstone has picked up Lucy Knisley’s travelogue of her adventures in Paris (originally self-published, I think?), giving it the chance for a wider audience. It’s a likeable, heartwarming book that will be familiar to anyone who’s ever traveled abroad in their youth.
Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, Vol. 17
Chris: Speaking of penultimate comics, here’s the second to last volume of Urasawa’s Fugitive-style thriller. I’m way behind on this series, so nobody tell me what happens here. I will track you down and find you.
The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation
Chris: Hill and Wang’s latest nonfiction book has writer Jonathan Hennessey and artist Aaron McConnell taking readers on a Civics 101 tour through our nation’s most important document. (By “our” I mean USA, obviously. Sorry, Newsarama readers of other nations). It’s surprisingly better than a lot of Hill and Wang’s books have been so far.
Trains Are Mint
We Can Still Be Friends
Chris: Two new books from the relatively new UK-based publisher known as Blank Slate Books. The first is Oliver East‘s travel diary of sorts as he meanders and ruminates along the northwest sector of England. It sounds dull, by East’s art is nice, and the work been getting strong reviews and was up for an Ignatz, so it can’t be all navel-gazing. The second is an autobiographical tale of unrequited love by the artist known as Mawil. No guesses as to which side of the failed romance he stands on. Alan David Doane has a review here. Preview here.
Papillon, Vol. 1
Chris: For some reason, this was listed in the magazine section, even though it has no business being there. It’s a new manga series by Miwa Ueda, best known for her work on the shojo series Peach Girl. This is another shojo manga, from Del Rey, and concerns a bookwormish teen who’s constantly in the shadow of her more popular twin sister. Can a unconventional guidance counselor bring her out of her shell? Are there stars in the sky?
I Live Here hardcover
Chris: Pantheon is really pushing this new anthology book, compiled by L Word actress Mia Kirshner, what with the website and the blog and everything. The book combines journals, prose and comics to delve into the issue of refugees and displaced people. Alt-comics fans should give a look since it contains stories by Joe Sacco (“Chechen War, Chechen Women”) and Phoebe Gloeckner (“La Tristeza”). It’s certainly one of the more interestingly designed books I’ve come across this year.
The full list of titles shipping this week can be found here.