Previews Poison Strikes Again
By Ray Tate
As always let me remind you that I am not a psychic. I do not know in advanced if any of the selections will turn out to be good or bad. My opinions are based upon gut reaction.
Ultraman Tiga graces the inside cover while the usual Vampi boobs poke out your eyes on the second page. Some have said that Vampi's Brobdignagan blood bags are indicative of the manga style. If so why does the female member of Ultraman Tiga's science patrol sport breasts smaller than her head?
Dark Horse has entertained by publishing books spinning off from Buffy and Angel. For serving as home to Hellboy and Ghost, Dark Horse should be given a government grant that will allow them to compete on an even playing field against DC and Marvel. Honestly though nothing new leaped out at me.
Galactic looks ugly. Syn looks ugly. If I were a Conan fan I would not hesitate buying the full-color trade paperback collecting Roy Thomas' and Barry Windsor-Smith's run on the series especially at the bargain price of fifteen ninety-five.
Maybe Dark Horse is waiting for DC to kill itself before releasing anymore killer projects. This month DC does have a good shot at seppuku. The new Batman and Superman project too "cool" I suppose to be called World's Finest fronts the DC section. Two things come to mind. Superman's glowing eyes should be set higher, and Batman should squeak when he walks. Ed McGuinness can draw streamlined super-heroes. See his back issues of Vampirella as an example. So why do Superman and Batman look hyperdeformed? Maybe the interior art will look better, but I doubt it. In any case I'll pass. Batman and Superman can only be found together in Justice League Adventures. The new don't-call-it-World's-Finest series is firmly set in a continuity I loathe.
Continuity-aside, the blurb does not inspire confidence. "Superman/Batman explores new facets of each legendary character, as the true identity of the man who murdered Bruce Wayne's parents is uncovered." Dead horse, DC's foot. DC's foot, dead horse. Under the pretense of making the Dreary Knight once again about vengeance, DC went to a lot of trouble casting doubt that Joe Chill murdered Batman's parents. So, why would they go and reveal an answer when they went through all that bother in derailing the pre-Crisis solution?
There are only three places where you can find Batman: the aforementioned Justice League Adventures, Batman Legends of the Dark Knight, and Batman Adventures. Batman: Death and the Maidens is by Greg Rucka who has written one of the worst versions of the character. His Batman changes when his mood suits him, and he is one of the writers responsible for portraying Batman as insane. The offer of sex with red-headed, triple-jointed nymphettes could not persuade me to buy Death and the Maidens, which is a pity because I like Klaus Jansen's take on Batman.
Top Ten was a delight, and Alan Moore's giving his fans five issues of Smax. In principle a good thing, but the artwork seems about as far from Gene Ha's as you can get. I'll sample before adding to the subscription list.
Will August be the month that Wonder Woman returns to my subscription list? Greg Rucka has no idea how to write for Batman, but he may fit snugly with Diana of Themyscira. Drew Johnson and Ray Snyder certainly do, and I did like Rucka's ancient Slayer short in Tales of the Slayer. Maybe he has an affinity for Greek women. Another wait and see.
The Batman in Hong Kong hardcover by Doug Moench and Tony Wong takes a lot for granted. It's one-hundred-and-twenty-eight pages for twenty-four-ninety-five. Kia Asamiya's highly recommended Batman: Child of Dreams was twice the length for little over half the price. The new project is not an Elseworlds, which means I'll have to probably tolerate scenes of the crippled Batgirl via phone helping Batman find his tights. "Internet broadcasts of vicious snuff film murders" sounds ludicrous. I like Doug Moench's Batman, Tony Wong's interpretation of the character looks a hell of a lot more proportionate than Ed McGuiness' Batman, but this is simply too expensive.
The Authority returns with nobody important behind the wheel. DC exhibited gross stupidity regarding this title. I like Batman and Superman, and I wasn't offended by their gay parodies. Furthermore, they were not gay stereotypes. DC's homophobia toward Midnighter and Apollo was sad and has no place in the twenty-first century. Besides, DC does damage to Batman and Superman every year. How can they cast the first stone toward those who they have seen to sin?
Reign of the Zodiac is by two veteran writers/artists: Keith Giffin and Colleen Doran. It's an ongoing series, but much about it is still unknown. This is something I'll definitely try, but it's still too early to add to the subscription list.
Hector Hall was created in the pre-Crisis as a sort of updated Blue Beetle combined with a wingless Birdman. His personality was a huge inferiority complex, and he often whined a lot. The only good thing about Hector Hall was his love for the Fury, the winning daughter of the earth-two Wonder Woman.
Thanks to the Crisis, the Fury never existed. The post-Crisis Fury's lineage is just as complicated as the current versions of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, but the point is moot since she's dead any way.
For some reason Hector Hall is the new Doctor Fate. This is of course pig's spittle. Kent Nelson is Dr. Fate. DC should stop equating the hero with the costume while ignoring the person behind the mask. I don't care if Christopher Golden is writing the mini-series. I never had an interest in Hector Hall. I have even less interest now. As Silver Scarab he was mostly harmless. As Dr. Fate he is a reminder of the glory that was chucked.
Joe Casey who can't write Superman will be attempting not to write Batman. If you attempt this one, Tenses is two issues for - get this - six-ninety-five each. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Suckers.
Will this be the month I return The Flash to the subscription list? Nope. Still being written by Geoff Johns.
Steve Vance teams with Jennifer Graves and Darwyn Cooke for Bad Girls. The concept turns Buffy inside out. I doubt DC has much faith in it, and it's most likely to be added to my subscription list. I'm predicting it to be the surprise hit of the waning summer.
Cinnamon: El Ciclo looks like a western, stars a new incarnation of a pre-Crisis western gunslinger but takes place in the twenty-first century. Why do I think DC asked the creators to switch the setting so as not to upset the ever so brilliant--insert heavy sarcasm--Hawkman/Hawkgirl reincarnation wheel? Here's a horrible thought. Maybe this Cinnamon descends from the original. Just what the comic book world needs: another Hawk whelp and therefore subject to tampering by Johns and Goyer.
In the irregular Batman department, "You may think you know the truth about the death of Jason Todd...but you're wrong." Translation: Scott Beatty has started to smoke bananas. What are we wrong about? The number of times Joker smacked him with a crowbar or the exact number of bones that were broken in the explosion?
Batgirl: Year One finishes up just in time for Babs to be crippled by an imaginary bullet. Damn right I'm bitter.
You know I'll bet you can create a better Superman story just by putting the covers together. Superman "is attacked by an unknown assailant and left for dead". He's Superman, and you're an idiot. "A new candidate for the presidency makes his presence known." So now we know that the heroes have aged exactly four years. If Luthor is re-elected, they will have aged eight years. Never give something the fans can use as a strict time-piece.
Aquaman? I thought that was cancelled. On a brighter note Justice League Adventures spotlights the genuine Hawkgirl. Not the cretinous Kendra or the soon to be dead Hawkwoman from Hawkworld.
On to Image and The Faction Paradox. This group sends a chill down my spine for all the wrong reasons. Lawrence Miles introduced them in the Doctor Who novel Alien Bodies. My opinion was that this novel was a brilliant send up of all things Who. The Faction Paradox I thought represented an astute parody of the fans who wanted, nay demanded, the books to be included into the canon of the television series. I was of course told in no uncertain terms that I was wrong. I still think despite the vociferous outrage expressed by the blowhard author/fan clique that I was correct in my assessment and probably a little too close to reaching home for these deluded yahoos. Later books however did take a more serious approach to the Faction Paradox. This meant somebody thought the group of screwballs were a good idea. Me? I think having spikes nailed into one's head would be far more humane.
Why do none of the characters in Feather possess noses? Why isn't Heirs of Eternity recommended for mature readers given that the cover character's humpy-plumpies seem to be the stars? Lots of covers for Hellhounds, but not a single scrap of interior art. The Twisted Land of Oz toys has got to be the stupidest thing I've seen in awhile. Todd McFarlane takes Dorothy and her crew not down the Yellow Brick Road but to the Concrete Cenobite Highway populated by Irving Klaw. Rotogin Junkbotz relies on traditional anime values to sell its product: naked, prepubescent females entangled in phallic symbols.
Marvel will soon be sued by DC since Supreme Power looks a lot like Superman used to look. Got to applaud Marvel's audacity. Namor looked like Smallville wet and this looks like Smallville dry. Accept no substitutes.
1602! It's bold! It's black! I have no idea what it's about. Banking on the past talents of the creators used to be reliable. Killraven changed all that.
Mystique is an ABC Afterschool Special waiting to happen. Kids should not stick.45 automatics between their butt-cheeks. Guns and Butt-cracks don't mix. "And-uh-don't forget. Take a bite out of crime."
There must have been a poker game between DC & Marvel. DC lost the Weather Wizard, and Marvel's gloating by featuring him on the cover of an X-Men book. What? That's Ice-Man? Are you on drugs!
Independents are next on the roster. Abstract Studios invites you to a wedding. I'll be unable to attend since the book ended with another aborted wedding about seven years ago.
If the AC books weren't so expensive, they could easily scoop up the audience DC shunned. Nightveil looks extremely good, but it's six-ninety-five for thirty-two pages.
Soooooooooooulfire debuts in August, and once again we are forced to ask if Michael Turner ever feeds his characters.
I'm sure somebody will be thrilled about Stargate coming to comic books. I never cared for the show. It's U.N.I.T. without the Doctor fighting aliens who look like humans often clad in leather loincloths and frequently talking funny.
As for Tarot Witch I think they actually got bigger. The question: are they big enough?
Dragon's Lair and Space Ace hail from CrossGen. Was there a demand? Does this mean I'll see a Growing Pains tie-in someday? I'll say this though. Both books still follow the CrossGen golden rule of art.
Komikwerks sounds horrible doesn't it? However, the volume is a veritable who's who of creators of whom you have heard and/or whose work you are familiar. Each includes a small sample on the next page. The book also costs nine-ninety-five for one-hundred-and-twenty pages. That's how it's done. Excellent page count. Fair price. Samples.
One Bad Day is by Steve Rolston from Queen and Country. It's page count is exact to Komikwerks and also bargain priced, but then I read the graphic novel has been "printed in a special green ink". Okay. Why? Is it a stealth Green Lantern project? Does it glow in the dark? I've experimented with different colors as inking media, and green only looks good for the Hornet. I'll need to flip through this one.
Vamperotica. Usually I ignore this publisher, but I cannot help but notice The Babearians. Attention, Jim Balent! A challenge has been issued. Can you make 'em as huge as arenas?
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