Monday, May 24, 2010

Comic Buzz – Darkwing Duck

Creative Team: Ian Brill (W) James Silvani (A)
Boom! Studios, miniseries ongoing, first issue available in June

Let’s get dangerous!

I almost feel I don’t need to be making an article about this series. When it was announced that Boom! Studios would be releasing a 4 issue miniseries starring DW called “The Duck Knight Returns” the internet exploded. This seems to be one of those “duh” projects that everyone was waiting for. It sort of seems like an excuse to print money, since, let’s face it, I love Darkwing Duck and so do you.

What’s more, the buzz surrounding this project has been so intense that it has been upgraded from miniseries to ongoing BEFORE the first issue has even hit stores. This decision was made based on the preorder numbers from issue one alone. So the buzz is already that insane. I’ve never heard of anything like this before, so it’s pretty exciting.

The comic is set about a year after the end of the TV series and a lot has changed. Drake Mallard has given up being Darkwing and St. Canard is under the control of a nefarious corporation. And of course when evil rears its ugly head, it’s time to get dangerous once again (I never get tired of saying that). The story promises to feature a selection of Darkwing’s fantastic rouges gallery in the first arc with more to come later.

Based on interviews with the writer Ian Brill and artist James Silvani it seems like there is a lot of love for this project. With so much buzz I’m sure there is an unbelievable amount of pressure to please the fans. A lot of eyes are on this project but they seem to be confident that they can deliver the terror that flaps in the night every month. They’re working hard to “make sure the comic has the same feel of anarchic fun of the TV series, while still presenting a whole new adventure in the life of Darkwing.”

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 20 years since the show first aired. If the buzz continues to grow like this maybe Disney will finally release the third season of the TV show on DVD. Here’s hoping that this will help introduce a whole new generation to the wonders of Darkwing Duck. If you know a kid who would love this (and honestly who wouldn’t?) you should pick them up a copy when you go buy yours.

The first issue (available for preview) hits June 16th, so better watch out you bad boys!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Comic Book Issues – Nemesis 1

I don’t really know what I was expecting from this book. We got it mainly for my fiancé because he greatly enjoyed Kickass (although he was very displeased by the delays). I personally liked the premise of an evil, crazy Batman/Joker combo. But I don’t feel this first issue delivered.

I like Blake Morrow. I feel the comic did a good job of setting him up to be the one to face off against this crazy criminal mind. But Nemesis himself didn’t impress me as much. The opening was great. I felt that he was a threat and a large one at that. A very calculating criminal mind. But the scene later with Air Force One simply left me cold. I’ll buy that you knew how to explode a building to make it fall over in the direction of train tracks. I won’t buy that you can walk around on an airplane in flight with no equipment without falling off. And that you can walk all the way down to the nose from the wing. But I’d be willing to overlook that. Surely he did have some sort of special equipment that we just weren’t shown.

But then he crash lands the plane, mini explodes it as it goes under a bridge, and then big explodes it when it hits a “petrol” container. First of all, if you are setting your story in America the truck should have read Gasoline. I get that the writer is Scottish, but I expect him to know the difference. Maybe this is nitpicky. Maybe they do label these truck petrol and not gasoline sometimes in the states, but it distracted me. It was enough to take me out of the story. But my main complaint is that we don’t see Nemesis get out of the plane. Later we get to see that he is alive and well (and seems not to have suffered a single scratch in the whole affair) oh, and he also got the President off the plane as well and now has him hostage. Wait. So I’m supposed to believe that he not only was able to get away, but that he was able to get a hostage out in all that commotion too? During a crash landing?

This would have been a great place to show me how cool Nemesis was. Instead I just feel like the comic is telling me Nemesis is cool because the story says so. It goes back to the old showing versus telling argument. This comic tells me that Nemesis got off the plane with the President instead of showing me how he did it. The fact that he got off the plane was, I guess, supposed to be shocking and amazing. But since he’s the title character I was never really nervous that he wasn’t going to get off the plane. So its not shocking. And since I don’t get to see how it happened it isn’t amazing to me. It’s more magic than anything. And since they were going for kind of evil Batman, I have a feeling magic wasn’t what they were going for.

If the plane had not exploded none of this would bother me really. Then it would just have been a case of getting away during the chaos and confusion following the crash. I buy that. But with the explosion none of that makes sense to me.

Also, the gore in this issue was silly to me at times. The shootout in the hostage situation made me wonder what kind of magic exploding bullets Morrow was using since the people’s heads seemed to be exploding. I could be wrong, I’m not a gun expert, but as far as I know more entry wounds are pretty small. The exit wounds are gruesome and would be more explosive and bloody. But these guys’ heads seemed to just be bursting from the inside. I’m not adverse to blood and violence in my comics, I like that people who get shot do in fact bleed. But I don’t like it to be gratuitous and silly. Again it takes me out of the story.

Overall I felt like this was a pretty sad start to the mini. And with only four issues it has a lot of work to do to win me over.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Comic Buzz – iZombie

Creative Team: Chris Roberson (W) Michael Allred (A)
Vertigo (DC), ongoing, first issue available now

Vertigo is on fire right now (and not the bad kind that involves hospital visits). All of the titles I’m pulling from Vertigo at the moment are very satisfying, with "The Unwritten" at the top of my read pile every month. This new title looks like it won’t be far behind.

I like zombie stories. Zombies are probably my favorite of the mystical monsters (vampires, werewolves and the like). There is just something cool and scary and awesome about the idea of zombies. I love the “Walking Dead” (and before anyone cries foul as to why it isn’t on my pull list, it’s one of the few exceptions that I pick up in trade. I started reading it in trade form and now I’m kinda stuck with the six month wait). So even just the title was enough to grab me and make me want to read more.

It sounds like a book that will be fun to read with a quirky fresh take on the zombie idea. Instead of a post apocalyptic dark tale, this book offers a modern world with monsters infused within it. Our main character Gwen is just your average zombie gravedigger detective. As a zombie she must eat a brain once a month to keep her own memories and personality and not become a mindless shambly thing. But as she digests a brain she shares the memories of the deceased person for a week and is compelled to help resolve any unfinished business they may have had.

The title features an amusing cast of characters including a hippie ghost and a were-terrier. We’ve also been promised future characters in the form of monster hunters, vampires, a sexy mummy, a mad scientist, a Teen Frankenstein, a ghostly pulp avenger, a fish-man, a cultist, secret agents, Soviet Zombie Super Soldiers, and a talking chimpanzee. Roberson seems to have a lot planned for the world of "iZombie", and I look forward to being along for the ride.

But don’t take my word for it. Links are your friends. You can find the solicitations for the first three issues on Vertigo’s website. There are not one, but two interviews with the creators of the project, the second of which contains a preview of some pages from issue one. And there is another bonus preview, seven pages that were published in the “House of Mystery Annual” back in February. I have no idea if this is a separate thing or a preview of some pages from a later issue, but it lets you see the art and some of the characters. I can’t imagine that it’s really a standalone though since it doesn’t really resolve anything, but what do I know. However it’s worth a read if nothing else than to see Gwen dressed up in a “Shaun of the Dead” inspired Halloween costume.

I’m really excited about this one, and in wonderful Vertigo fashion the first issue is only be $1. You have very little to lose by trying this one out. It was released May 5th, so you still have time to get to your comic shop and find it. I won’t get this issue until early June, so you can enjoy it before me!

By the Numbers – May

I won’t get the comics noted here until the end of the month, but here’s a look at a numerical representation of the comics I’ve ordered for May. Comments and speculations welcome!

Total comics for the month: 51
Change from last month: 0

Company Run Down
DC: 30
Vertigo (DC): 5
Icon (Marvel): 1
Marvel Authors: 1
Image: 5
Antarctic Press: 1
Avatar Press: 1
Boom!: 3
D. E.: 1
Dark Horse: 1
IDW: 1
Oni: 1

Average price I paid: $ 1.90

First Issues: 8
Last Issues: 3

Ongoing: 24
Mini-series: 27
One shot: 0

Batman Issues: 11
Superman Issues: 4
Brightest Day books: 5

Comic Book Issues – Powers #3

My issue with this comic was its nonexistence. This issue was meant to come out in January. It’s didn’t come out until the tail end of March.

I understand all too well that delays are common in the comic industry. Something has to be changed at the last minute, the artist can’t draw fast enough or is injured, a personal matter arises that causes the schedule to be thrown out the window in favor of more important things, there is a mess up at the printers, computers crash, or any number of other things that can cause a book to be late.

Since I get my comics monthly I normally don’t even notice if a comic is a week or two late, unless its released at the tail end of the month and thus won’t be shipped until the next month. It’s frustrating when comics I was excited to read aren’t in the box when it arrives, but I usually have enough to keep me distracted from being too upset about it. And sometimes when that happens I get two issues of the series the next month and that makes me very happy.

The reason Powers upsets me more than most delayed comics is that they advertised to the fans that this wouldn’t happen. I believe the words “And yes it will ship monthly” were in the solicit for the first issue. I’m new to Powers and so I’m not up to speed on what happened with the last volume of the series, but from what I read it seemed to lose steam because of massive delays. Which would explain why this time they advertised that there would not be those kind of delays.

Now if I was going to make such a promise I would have 6 issues ready to go by the time the first issue was solicited. That way, even if something came up, you could go half a year without missing a shipping date. Which would keep the fans happy and would help you to keep the promise you made to them. Because I think that missing the shipping date on your THIRD issue by what is likely to be over two month is rather embarrassing.

Now Powers #3 is not the only January title that is still AWOL on my list, but it is the only one that seemed to suggest that this would not happen. All of these delays are made more frustrating by the fact that things like Rucka and William’s Detective comics with Batwoman came out on time every month. And while event comics are normally plagued by delays Blackest Night shipped on time for its entire run. I know they skipped a month, but it was a planned skip so that everything would ship on time in later months. I appreciate the forward thinking.

Powers isn’t new. They should know what the hold ups will be, who the slow people are. And if they say they’re going to get it right the second time around, it would be nice if they tried a little harder. Powers is getting close to becoming a series I drop to eventually pick up in trade (if I even remember or still care about it by the time that eventually happens). Issue 4 is on its way with my April comics, but if there is another massive two month delay I will put my money where my mouth is and stop supporting the title. What about you? What comics series do you read that are plagued by delays and are delays a factor in seeing a series through monthly?

By the Numbers – April

This is pretty late, but I’ll post it for continuity’s sake. And since I still haven’t received my April shipment it’s not as late as it could be. I’ve decided not to post my monthly 50 anymore. I don’t think anyone will read it apart from me anyway. The Monthly 50 might eventually come back once I am in the states and will be getting comics at the same time as everyone else and can thus review them while they are still relevant. But for now, its shelved.

By the numbers however, is slightly more interesting if I didn’t just post the same info in list form, so we’ll keep it around. Now it allows for speculation about just which comics I’m getting and speculation might lead to discussion somewhere down the road once people wander onto the site.

Total comics for the month: 51
Change from last month: +10

Company Run Down
DC: 27
Vertigo (DC): 5
Wildstorm (DC): 1
Icon (Marvel): 2
Marvel Authors: 1
Image: 3
Top Cow (image): 1
Aspen: 1
Blacklist: 1
Boom!: 3
D. E.: 2
Dark Horse: 1
IDW: 2
Oni: 1

Average price I paid: $2.05

0 Issues: 2
First Issues: 5
Last Issues: 5

Ongoing: 25
One shot: 1

Batman Issues: 10
Superman Issues: 6
Brightest Day books: 3 (plus Blackest Night Directors Cut)