Wednesday, January 02, 2008

IN STORES: January 04, 2007
You can probably find complete shipping list updates on most major comics sites. Consider this an opportunity to either do all your info-shopping in the one place, or get a speculative perspective on what might be worth checking out. These are untested reads. Secret Wars on Infinite Earths can offer no guarantee or endorsement of quality. These are simply titles that may be of potential interest. Some items may ship late.

NOTE: Be sure to remember that those in the US (and perhaps elsewhere) will have to wait until Friday for their new books. The Holiday season has shipping running late. Happy New Year!

Thin and Crispy...
OCT070126 COUNTDOWN TO MYSTERY #4 (OF 8) $3.99
OCT072006 DYNAMO 5 #10 $2.99
NOV072041 FEARLESS #3 (OF 4) $2.99
NOV072144 HOWARD THE DUCK #4 (OF 4) $2.99
OCT070193 JLA KID AMAZO TP $12.99
NOV072046 LUCHA LIBRE #3 $5.99

The Deep Dish...
- OCT078502 BATMAN #671 2ND PTG (GHUL) $2.99
Some casual cruising around the message boards turned up a couple of discussions about readers being "confused" by Morrison's Batman. I tend to dismiss this kind of reaction to Morrison's work as a hive-minded exaggeration and evidence of good marketing, moreso than anything inherent to the material.
That said, there might be a good reason for "confusion" surrounding Morrison's work on Batman, and it might just be that it hasn't been very good.

Certain things have certainly piqued my interest, but for the most part, Morrison writes a very different Batman from the one I enjoy. I personally regard the retro introfusion and scattered themes as bad Batman writing that has not been forgotten, but rather, weeded out through time and evolution. This might have surprised, or "confused", some readers. Cross-title tie-ins do little to help.

The Infinite Wars doesn't typically sponsor the kid-friendly Adventures books, but both DC and Marvel have gone leaps and bounds with their material, leaving far behind the stigma of bad storytelling. With promise of a new appearance of the animated Joker going up against what looks like the ragtag team of; Elongated Man, Zatanna, and Crimson Avenger; promises a great, rollicking read! Undoubtedly one of the most fun entries into the inevitable pre-movie Joker-wave.

- NOV072164 MS MARVEL #23 $2.99
Ms. Marvel is trapped on Monster Island. No, not that Monster Island!
The Island that Mole Man discovered, which is apparently now inhabited by Brood aliens!

I can't help but think back to an Attack of the Show review of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, where the question was raised: Who would possibly want to play as Ms. Marvel?!
I know she's a character that bares very little interest for me, and from the few moments I've observed, Reed hasn't really extended the character in any great way. I don't know if Monster Island is the tool I'd be looking for, but if he's able to factor in more high concept issues, I think that's going to go great lengths to breaking up the daily grind that feels typical of the title.

Of course, the upcoming Invasion tie-ins are a double-edged sword, guaranteeing relevance, at the cost of once again becoming embroiled in the outer edge of day-to-day activity in the Marvel Universe.

- AUG072257 THUNDERBOLTS #118 $2.99
Reading some stuff from Countdown, I wanted to come here and just acknowledge that DC are doing a great job of taking every half-decent idea, and making the best of it. I bring that up now, because there seems to be a throughline of having a lot to say about Marvel's output. I think that just comes down to Marvel not living up to their potential in the way the more carefully planned DC projects are.

Thunderbolts is a great example, ignoring late releases. Warren Ellis is a simmering powerhouse in the comics industry, but time and time again his current output of superhero work seems lacklustre and familiar. Thunderbolts is in some ways exactly what we expected, and in others, not at all. It looks like this issue is a much needed punch-punch event involving Doc Samson and Penance, which is something I never thought I'd say a Warren Ellis title needs more of.

As fun as the concepts of some of Ellis' character work has seemed, they struggle to adhere to a regular Marvel superhero schedule. Exploration is sacrificed in favour of the illusion of forward movement, which itself is undermined by the timeframe in which these events appear to occur.
We've seen titles like Nova pick up the slack on the Thunderbolts front, and various mini-series have spun out of the title. I don't know how much Ellis' name has contributed to sales, but as much as I hate to say it, it might be time to cut losses. This is a long way from Iron Man!

- NOV072119 ULTIMATE HUMAN #1 (OF 4) $2.99
Of course, just as soon as we write Ellis off, here's something we have high hopes for.
In the tradition of the long forgotten and terminally unfinished Ultimate Hulk vs Wolverine, comes Ultimate Human, which essentially reads like an excuse to get Hulk and Iron Man punching each other stupid in Ultimate-form.

I think we'd be particularly critical of Ellis' Ultimate output, which has been slow and uninspiring, but with only four issues and an action packed premise, this might just fullfil our itch for techy-talky, face-smacky Warren Ellis goodness. Here's hoping.

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