This is the week where we celebrate the noble sacrifices of all those men and women who have laid down their lives to defends this country by…waiting an extra day to read new comic books. No wait, we honored them by giving everyone Monday off, which pushes new comic book day from tomorrow until Thursday. What will be waiting 24 extra hours to read this week? Let’s take a look at see what comics has in store for us…
Aliens #1: The aliens-with-a-capital-A first introduced in Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie Alien are turning 30 this year, and Dark Horse is marking the occasion by returning the monsters to their comics in a big way. This is a four-issue, subtitle-less miniseries written by John Arcudi and featuring artwork by Zach Howard and Mark Irwin. The plot revolves around a group of prospectors who land on a distant but mysterious new world and, I think it’s safe to assume, are slowly picked off by eye-less horrors with stabby tails, acid drool and a very unpleasant way of reproducing. Preview here.
Batman in Barcelona: Dragon’s Knight: If you’re not digging DC’s current Batman-free Batman books, this should prove a perfect antidote. Mark Waid writes an over-sized one-shot about, well, Batman in Barcelona, and Barcelona-based artist Diego Olmos illustrates it. So let’s see, Batman, a great writer, and a great artist—I can’t imagine how this could possibly end up not being pretty good.
Jan’s Atomic Heart: This looks like a pretty interesting book. It’s a $5.95 graphic novella with nice, delicate black and white art with strong shading. The story revolves around a cyborg who gets a loaner body in the same model of a sort recently used in a terrorist attack, and it seems to wind through science-fiction, conspiracy thriller and slice of life scenes. You can download a hefty, 22-page preview of the book here.
Justice League of America #33: This is the issue with the cover depicting the Justice Leaguers all strewn about unconscious on the ground. Not, not that one. Or that one. Or that one. Or that one. Or that one. This one.
Last Days of Animal Man #1: This series looks like something of an odd duck. It’s written by Gerry Conway, who, you may notice, has a name other than “Grant Morrison.” And while Morrison didn’t create the character, it’s his version of Animal Man that is foremost in the minds of most fans, and which established the direction that other writers seem to have had the most success following (Most notably Peter Milligan, Tom Veitch and Jamie Delano). Is there something left to be said about Animal Man? I’m not so sure, but I really like the character, and I did enjoy seeing him pop up in 52, even if it was just to spend some more time with him. As the title indicates, Conway’s six-issue miniseries will be set in the near future, and, judging by future covers, squarely in the DCU. Chris Batista handles the pencils, and Dave Meikis the inks, so it oughta look nice. The covers by Brian Bolland sure aren’t going to hurt any either.
Melvin Monster Vol. 1: Drawn and Quarterly presents a handsomely designed (by Seth) and produced collection of the great John Stanley’s Melvin Monster comics. Melvin is a monster who would be a good little boy, since he likes going to school and behaving well, but makes a terrible little monster, which gets him in trouble with his Mummy and Baddy and the other monsters in Monsterville. This first volume collects the first three issues of the title, and two more are planned to finish the book’s run. It’s part of D and Q’s ambitious (and welcome!) plans to collect Stanley’s work under a “John Stanley Library” umbrella. I’ll have a full review here this weekend. In the mean time, you can download a preview here. The book’s 110-pages long, and will cost you $20.
Muppet Robin Hood #1: Boom certainly had great success with Roger Langridge’s Muppet Show comic, one of the best-reviewed book’s of the year. Their next Muppet project is Langridge-free, and rather than focusing on recreating the show for the comic book medium, it’s taking the approach of those made-for-TV (and sometimes made for theaters) Muppet movies wherein the various Muppets fill out the casts of a popular work like Treasure Island or A Christmas Carol. Tim Beedle and Armand Villavert Jr. are on creative duties, and Mouse Guard’s David Petersen will providing one of the covers. The main site has a preview of it here.
Power Up: Doug Tennaple’s 130-page, $13 original graphic novel about a family man who discovers a video game console that gives him powers.
Runaways #10: From Marvel’s solicit: “When Runaway Molly Hayes responds to the X-Men’s psychic invitation welcoming all mutants to a new home in San Francisco, she declares it ‘Moll-ifest Destiny’…” Sold! Given how well Molly’s first encounter with Wolverine worked out, I’m all for another encounter and/or a rematch. This issue has two writers and two pencil artists listed—James Asmus and Christopher Yost, and Sara Pichelli and Emma Rios—so hopefully it’s over-sized and contains two stories, since it’s listed at the higher New Avengers/Hulk/Max/miniseries price point of $3.99.
Special Forces Vol. 1: This 200-page, $17 trade paperback collects virtuoso cartoonist Kyle Baker’s blistering Iraq War parody, which imagines that every deceptive lie and self-deluded fantasy that those who sold the war was actually the truth, and presents the results as a completely ludicrous Hollywood movie. It’s alternately hilarious and devastating and, because it’s Kyle Baker, every page is beautiful.
Spider-Man: The Short Halloween #1: Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader and Seth Meyers team with Kevin Maguire for a $3.99 one-shot about Spidey getting replaced by a guy dressed like Spider-Man during a costume parade. I know Maguire is an expert at drawing funny comics, Hader and Meyers work for a show that I hear is still funny sometimes, and Spider-Man is allegedly supposed to be a funny character (you know, when he’s not whining about money or crying about something), so this could end up being pretty funny.
Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool: Dwayne McDuffie, John Paul Leon, Robert L. Washinton III and Steven Michell’s Milestone comics about a electricity-powered teenage hero are back in a 192-page, $20 trade paperback. This means I can finally quit trying to find Milestone back issues in bins and simply buy the trades of this and, soon, Icon.
This is a Souvenir: The Songs of Spearmint & Shirley Lee: I have to confess complete ignorance of mid-90’s British indie pop band Spearmint, whose lead singer Shirley Lee’s name also appears in the title of this graphic novel. This book gives Spearmint the same treatment that Image’s Put the Book Back on the Shelf and Comic Book Tatoo gave Belle and Sebastian and Tori Amos. Chynna Clugston, Scott Mills, Jamie McKevlie and Salgood Sam are among those who contribute to this 200-page, $30 anthology, so I have to assume this is well worth a look. I’m going to have to acquaint myself with Spearmint before I give it a read though.
Trinity #52: Congratulations to Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza, Tom Derenick, Mike Norton, Scott McDaniel and the rest of the Trinity creative team for completing a solid year of solid super-comics. While I enjoyed some issues more than other, I liked many more than I disliked, and think Busiek and Nicieza proved that of the three models for weekly comics DC has tried these last few years, this one manages to avoid a lot of the problems that the last one was plagued with. (There’s really something to be said by having one or two cooks in a kitchen, so long as they’re good cooks). And, of course, it was always nice to know no matter how light a particular shipping week might be, I could count on at least one DC superhero comic I’d like being there. Now bring on Wednesday Comics!
Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk #6: Whew! Deadline incomprehender Damon Lindelof and artist Leinil Francis Yu bring their years-in-the-making six-issue miniseries to a close, just before Marvel re-boots the entire Ultimate line (Lucky for them, the line’s swan song series Ultimatum is also behind schedule.