New Comic Book Day
It’s New Comic Book Day! (Yay!) And one of the books hitting the shelves is Batman Incorporated #8, it’s a big deal because a major character from the Bat-family dies in the issue, a culmination of nearly a decade of planning and writing on the part of DC Comics mainstay Grant Morrison.
So in order to discuss this, I guess we need a… SPOILER ALERT!!!!!
Damian dies. Yes, the current Robin, and only son of the Dark Knight, gets killed off. How, why and how painful I leave for you to discover for yourself (or maybe you already know), but Morrison took to his blog to comment on his decision to kill off such an important character, and how it plays into the larger themes of the Batman books as he sees it.
“I chose to build my story around the basic trauma, the murder of his parents, that lies at the heart of Batman’s genesis. It seemed to me there would be a part of Bruce Wayne that resented his parents for leaving him and especially resented his father for not being Batman that night, so the principal villains were an archetypal bad father figure in the form of Dr. Hurt and a dark mother in the form of Talia, our villain for the concluding chapters of the story.
This master theme of damaged and ruined families was nowhere more in evidence than in the creation of Damian, the first “Son of Batman” to be acknowledged in the canon. In many ways this has been Damian’s story as much as it has been the story of Bruce Wayne and it’s a story that had its end planned a long time ago – for what son could ever hope to replace a father like Batman, who never dies?
And so, via Batman, Batman and Robin, Return of Bruce Wayne and Batman Inc. this epic tale has finally reached its finale.”
Bastards: Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on the (new) death of Robin below. Have you read the book? Was it good? Will you miss Damian Wayne? Sound off below.
We’re back to the high point of the week (for comic nerds that is), it’s another new comics Wednesday. If it’s a high point, why are so many people so low?
Yes, there are a lot of things we could talk about to open up AotNCW this week, such as Image Comics celebrating its 20th anniversary, happy b’day you plucky little upstart, keep fighting for the creative types, down with the suits! However, I can’t stop it, we have to address the giant blue naked dude in the room.
When the news hit this morning it wasn’t a surprise (Bleeding Cool broke and rebroke this story months ago), but it did slowly settle in some shock. They are really going to try this? They are going to muddle with The Watchmen? It’s the damn holy bible of comics, it is untouchable, may their faces melt of like that one Nazi’s at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Around my third cup of coffee my rage starts to subside a little. oh sure I kept up with what people were saying on twitter on the matter, if you don’t want to scan through a days worth of tweets here’s a summary. No one thinks its a good idea, everyone hates it. When I finally made it to my local comic store, I ducked in quick and grabbed some books and got out, the heated discussion about how it is the worst thing ever was there too.
Is it really that bad? Yes, my apathy started to set in a little and I got to thinking. Yes, The Watchmen was a damn special little book filled with some wonderfully flawed characters and a mind blowing story. Yes, it can probably take credit for giving the industry a level of respect it hadn’t seen in a long time (if ever). Is it really untouchable though? Every other damn character in comics has been done, redone, flipped over, butchered, remade and recycled. Hell, the Watchmen are retreads of Charlton Comics characters themselves. For crying out loud, Alan Moore has made a habit taking ‘classic’ characters and telling new stories about them (Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Wendy from Peter Pan, and Dorothy from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in Lost Girls and everyone in every edition of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) What makes the Watchmen so special that they can’t be run around a bit and explored.
There is a chance a couple of good stories out if. If it’s not good, don’t buy it? Yes, this could be the biggest stink burger of a book DC (or any one for that matter) has ever put out or it could turn out to be a nice little addition to this slice of comicdom. The nice thing about comic books is the story doesn’t have to end, it can grow and evolve and continue. Let’s see what the various creative teams have to offer before we ride them out on a rail.
I could go on, but we do have some books to get to this week, don’t we. Like I said, I did’t spend much time before the racks today, luckily I knew what I was getting. Bucky is back and all Mission Impossible in his new book, so we have that. The newest incarnation of the Justice League International wraps up its first arc and, since it’s their birthday, I check out Images book about killer ladies in the 80’s
Your rapid fire and possible spoiler filled reviews start after the jump.
It’s here, the last new comics Wednesday of 2011. It’s year end and what a year it has been, we’ve seen a lot happen in the last 365, both on and off the pages. We’ve seen the requisite deaths and resurrections (welcome back Johnny Storm). The Ultimate version of Peter “Spiderman” Paker bit the dust as well, and was replaced with half-black and half-hispanic controversy named Miles Morales. Speaking of deaths, the 20 year run of Wizard Magazine ground to an unceremonious halt, alleged victim of the decline in print media sales. On the upswing, digital comic sales have started the march to becoming the norm. Love the idea or hate it, comics being sold and enjoyed on iPads and other tablets has seen steady growth and now that every major comic book publisher has a Day-and-Date digital initiative in place its now fact more than fad. DC comics flushed the last 25 years of continuity and relaunched their whole main line back at number one, including drawing to an end the 73 year run of Action Comics. Not to be outdone, Marvel ended and relaunched the Uncanny X-Men, a book had a 544 issue run.
All these events and happenings and many other thing led to one unified truth. People were talking about comics again. Be it the ‘bad press’ from the death and recast of Spiderman, the total reboot of DC’s New 52, and yes even Superman loosing his underoo-on-the-outside look, people were talking.
Sales numbers have increased, new and lapsed readers have been brought in, and from my perspective I’d say it’s been a good one for the much loved industry. On a personal note, I know that my monthly spending on comics has taken a huge increase and my enjoyment of the work many of these creators put out on a weekly basis is double that. I guess in short what I am trying to say is a big thanks to all involved in the comic book industry and I look forward to what you bring in 2012. I’d list you off one by one, but that would take awhile.
Now that the fluffy statements are done, we should dig into some books, right? One that I won’t be covering today, but you should really really pick up is the recalled and now finally released DC Comics Elseworlds 80-Page Giant. Originally recalled shortly after its release in 1999 due to ‘questionable content’ involving a baby Superman in a microwave (and really, thank you for protecting us from that. Lord knows had more people seen it we would have gone through endless orphaned alien superbabies being placed in various kitchen appliances, it would have been a nightmare.) A few thousand squeaked out back in ’99 and I was lucky a few years back to pay a sizable chunk of money for one, and now YOU can pick up for too, for a less sizable chunk of scratch. Clocking with a $7.99 price tag, you do get your moneys worth. Talents like Mark Waid, Chuck Dixon, Kyle Baker, my personal favorite Ty Templeton and many many more, DC Comics Elseworlds 80-Page Giant is well worth the money. A hefty handful of stories and more packed in its pages, it gives you the weirdest and funnest view of DC Comics that you’ve seen in a long long while.
Alright, let’s settle in on this weeks books. On the way (and slightly inspired by re-reading Mark Waid’s work above) I find a nice ‘in’ on a deeply storied work that I have been wanting to get into. The DCnU’s wild wild west (or east, since it is in Gotham) swings into its second arc. The Cape proves to be one of the (if not the) most intriguing read I’ve had in a while. Oh, and Deadpool too.
Ready? Then lets begin.
It’s late on a Wednesday evening as I finally get settled into rip though this weeks comics. Blame my wife’s need to drag me out from store to store as she spends my pay cheque on gifts for distant family members for some obscure item exchange ritual that apparently takes place this weekend. Oh don’t get me wrong, I do love Christmas just it shouldn’t interfere with an important day like New Comics Wednesday, damn it.
Sure, I did eventually make it to a comic store but it was late, we spent to much time finding the perfect oven mitts for old Aunt Mable (make sure they are brightly colored, her eyes aren’t so good anymore and you don’t want her trying to take a roast out of the oven with the cat again). When I finally made to one of my local comic shops I came to the realization that you can do about 96% of your Christmas shopping in one. Seriously. I am sure the shops you frequent are much like the ones I do. Yes they sell comics, but also so much more! They are part toy store, clothing shop, used book emporium, magic trick dealer, and just about anything else. If you still have some shopping to do, seriously, go to your local comic retailer and do it there.
I’ll admit, I nerd out hardcore come Christmas. I spend the free time fake killing people and acting out fantasies via video games (Boxing Day/Dec. 26th is my 1 year anniversary on DCUO), I will get at least one action figure and my lovely and thoughtful wife will usually clean out the (rather large amount) of books that linger in my pull file. Now, it is the season of giving so I spread the nerdy as well (heads up to any other nerd dads out there Fisher Price Imaginext and the Playskool Heroes, action figures for toddlers, you’re welcome), comic books make great stocking stuffers, the trades are great secret Santa gifts.
I guess my message is two fold this week. For one, hats off to the retailers out there. While I do dabble in buying digital comics, your stores will always be a wondrous haven, please keep packing them with anything and everything and being an eclectic source of awesome. For everyone else, give the gift of comics this year, you’ve got to have a kid on your list that needs to learn that Batman isn’t just a video game character, that Wolverine isn’t Australian (he’s Canadian, damn it). At the very least you can probably pick up a cheap GI Joe bobble head for Aunt Mable, her eyesight is bad, she won’t know its a misshapen Baroness that you paid 99 cents for.
Suppose we should get into some books this week, shouldn’t we. Ok, this time around I hopped out my comfort zone and picked books I really know next to nothing about. From Image I pick up a character I haven’t looked at since the early 90’s, Dynamite yields one I haven’t cared about since the very early 80’s and from the big two, their confusingly similarly titled obscure books that make think of an AC/DC song.
Ready? Reviews after the jump.
Yes it is that time again, time to rip into a new week of comic book releases. A handy guide to how you should spend your money at the comic store and also a great excuse for me to ignore my wife and family. I assume an oversized pull list is not grounds for divorce. One small note about this weeks edition, when I got home (stack of comics in hand) a power outage forced me into reading them all by candle light, just like Amish comic book fans! Hey, it was either that or learn to churn my own butter and how am I suppose to do that without access to Wikipedia?
As another calendar year is about to wrap I’ve been reading a lot of speculation on the comic industry in 2012. My opinion? I think it’s going to grow and flourish. Not the heady heights of the speculative driven market of the early 90s but it will thrive. Six months ago there was a lot of doom and gloom about the future of comics, sales where shrinking, readers where starting to drop off and, the whole industry seemed stagnate (and also Marvel fired a bunch of support staff, always a bad sign.) Now? Sales are up, hitting some highs even, and say what you will about digital, it is a evolution of the industry and is apparently reaching new readers. Yes, I am old fashioned and prefer the ever growing stacks of comics that crowd my office. I also have an iPad filled and each week seem to buy at least one or two books digitally.
One last thought on 2012 in comics, and that is Free Comic Book Day! Mark your calendars kids, the next one hits on May 5th, 2012 – the day after Avengers debuts in theaters – so it should be a damn exciting time to be a comic nerd. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Jim Lee’s t-shirt design to mark the event.
Looks good, love the return of the thought bubble (so… the ‘Y’ is thinking about what year it is?), just… I know this is old news and we’re all suppose to be over it by now, but… damn it. Superman looks naked without the red underoos on the outside.
We should probably get to reading some comics today, shouldn’t we. Ok, this week we’ve got a whole new number one from DC’s New 52 to go through. It’s something old that is new again, for like the 9th time, I’ll warn you my expectations are low. Also, Marvel’s latest hero vs hero slug fest kicks off with a shot so we’ll see who fired first and if we really should care. The last two, horror comics seem to be hitting a renaissance of sorts so we’ll check back in on a book that helped make that happen and a new one that looks so damn nice.
Your 4×4 fast and furious reviews start after the jump.
Finally it’s new Comics Wednesday and its time to dive into a whole new random pile of books and see what we come up with. To be honest, this week came with a few hints about what 2012 will look like, well for one company that is. Yes, we are on the cusp of hitting comic book crossover event season. “Hey, wait… Fear Itself and Flashpoint JUST wrapped up” you might say, but you know how it works. Big guys are warming us up for the next one.
DC looks like they might be going for smaller events at the moment. Crossing over a few books and letting the characters meet each other again for the first time in the DCnU. Don’t fool yourself, There is the mystery purple hoodie lady, there is something brewing. Who is she? How does she fit in? Is this a set up to how the new Multiverse set up since the reset? Personally, I really wish last weeks Tiny Titans was the true canonical answer to who the mystery lady is, but Dan DiDio would never let that happen, would he.
The other guys, Marvel that is, have an event they just dropped some details on, oh we’ve already covered it, but I just wanted to chime in here. Avengers Vs X-Men? Come on. This had better be bigger than that. Back a few weeks, Marvel Point One hinted more than just your typical and done to death hero vs hero slug fest. Also, what is Wolverine going to do? He’s on both damn teams! Oh the drama. With any luck, when the Phoenix smacks her/itself into the Earth, maybe Marvel will get is own (imo) much needed reboot.
Ok, so what do we have this week? I bite into another one of those books. You know the one everyone is talking about, one that’s winning awards, one that I probably should have picked up long ago. Also, check in with one of DC’s New 52, one I dropped at issue one and never looked back, even though everyone was talking about great it was and probably going to win awards. Speaking of next years event for Marvel, I grab a book that is supposedly made up of the ‘connective tissue of the Marvel Universe’ so, we should have something to talk about beyond Captain America fighting Cyclops, again. The last one? I prove a point about Alex Ross and marketing ploys.
It’s all up after the jump in the fast and dirty reviews.
A.K.A. the curse of the 5th week. Ok, that’s a little harsh. Sometimes 5th weeks are awesome in the world of comics and packed with specials and events oh the fun, other times its just an excuse to dump out a few trades and poop out some filler.
The kings of filler this week are the folks at DC Comics. Nothing to speak of for their New 52 here, other than one Batman title and the second issue of LOSH secret origin that we’ll get to in the reviews. The rest of their releases are filled with video game tie-ins and trades (including Absolute Hush, a steal at $100 for a story that’s probably been washed out of cannon.) I did hover over the video game tie-books to be honest. inFamous, Uncharted, and the DCUO comic, I’ve played all the games, I have enjoyed all the games. Hell I even read the first few issues of the DCUO one since I still play that game, but… do I need to read it? Maybe it’s just that the DCUO book that turned me off the idea of reading about a game I could be playing. That book was (and I assume still is) terrible.
This fifth week is also the unofficial (or official, I don’t know, no one sent me any invitations to the party) anniversary of Marvel Comics, which they are celebrating with… VARIANT COVERS! Lots of them. Well, that is lame. I really hate the whole variant cover thing, really. Yes, they are often pretty, but also pretty useless and petty. It’s still that lame old 90’s trick to get me to shell out more money just because someone may or may not be wearing pants on the cover and that makes it rare. I will, however revisit a boyhood favorite title of theirs this week.
The rest of the companies? Looks like Dark Horse just publishes Bettie Page merch these days, IDW dole out new issues of two really great books, Start Trek and the insanely great TMNT. Oh, and Archie, yes the gang from Riversdale rock and roll all night and party every day with the rock band Kiss. Will I read that? Will anyone?
Let’s get to the fast and dirty reviews and see!
Let me start off buy saying Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Holidays! Happy Black Friday! Oh, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us and we have all been busy with family and friends and turkey and football and… ah crap. I am a Canadian and I can’t use that as an excuse for why we’re doing new comics Wednesday late on a Friday. As a Canadian, I celebrated Thanksgiving weeks ago and we don’t really have a ‘Black Friday’ here unless you count the odd solar eclipse. My usual jaunt to the local comic store this week was delayed by a combination of day job computer server troubles and acts of Sasquatch.
Better late than never, here’s some light reading for your holiday weekend, regardless of where you are take make the next couple of days a holiday, you deserve it.
I want to quickly touch on an industry tid bit that dropped this week, and well other weeks. Digital same-day comic publishing. Between DC’s rather awkward deal with Amazon to Mark Millar’s little ‘don’t buy digital‘ marketing ploy, its been back in the news lately. I will admit, some of my retailer friends are not fans and worry that it will slowly erode their already shrinking customer base. That is fair. To play devils advocate, I don’t disagree with the publishers feeling that releasing comics on digital platforms is a way to increase revenue and tap into untouched markets. Hell, one of the main reasons I own an iPad is because its so nice for reading comics. Yes, every week I will digitally buy an issue here or there, mostly back issues sold on the cheap, but there is no culture on Comixology, message boards and twitter will never replace hanging out in a place that has an odd smell and stacks of crappy 90’s comics on sale for 50 cents mixed in with other crappy 90’s comics for $20 bucks. I’ve said it before, I just wanted to say it again.
Enough of that, we have 4 comics to quickly run through, and one of them is 4 all in one (in price at least)! We also revisit one of the boobtacular comics from DC’s New 52, check in on the return of a fan favorite and also, based on a semi-anonymous tip, check out ‘best superhero comic book in the universe’, all coming at you now!
It’s that time again, time for the greatest day of the week, New Comic Wednesday!
As we have previously reported, DC Comic’s New 52 is still dominating the sales numbers. Will Didio and crew be able to maintain this? Probably not. The hype is slowly dying down and pull lists will be trimmed, however so far there doesn’t seem to be any books on the verge of cancellation. It’s anyones guess when the axe will start to drop over at DC. One thing that is happening is most of the creative teams are ending their 6 month runs and its turning into a game of musical chairs.
Over on the Marvel side, their recent round of layoffs of editorial and production staff and shows that there is some serious belt tightening going on and its starting to hurt some books. Punisher Max is getting the axe, as Alpha Flight and one book we review this week. To boots some sales, the house of M has also decided to double ship some of the bigger books: Uncanny X-Force, Amazing Spider-Man, FF, etc. An interesting strategy. Rather than putting out more books worth reading, make readers double on on the few they buy?
Personally I think both companies are dancing with the devil. Let’s face it, comic book sales are just now starting to pick up again after a few years of slowly dropping. If they play the wrong card, it could crash again.
Anyway, enough of that lets move on to this weeks picks. The new Batman (that is, slightly younger but still all Batman) hits issue three and really starts to pick up. I inadvertently picked up a Marvel book they decided to cancel today, purely because I thought the cover reminded me of a nice childhood memory. We also check to really unique independents, and one of them is free!
Let’s get to the fast and dirty reviews!
My usual Wednesday trip to my local comic store is impossible this week as I’ve been on the couch recovering from a minor surgery to a very tender and major part of my body (guess what it is and win a prize!) So it’s off to the new and exciting world of same day digital comics for me!
I have downloaded digital comics in the past, picking up mass amounts of back issues when they have a sale, sitting in airports bored and looking to spend money or just wanting to buy comic books without having to bother with pants. Seeing as just about every electronic device I own can display digital comics (come on microwave and coffee maker, pick up your game) this should be easy, right?
Just a couple of quick thoughts on the current state of comic industry going digital. The slew of Comixology apps are still rather clumsy and while I like how I buy a comic once and can read it on any device, why do I have to download it on each one? Is it not possible to just stream the data? As I sat on the couch with my new best friend, a bag of frozen peas (oh, a clue to what the surgery could have been) I got a little frustrated having to wait for each one of them to download. Add in the fact that while I like my iPad, call me old fashioned but it’s never going to replace the joy of reading a comic on paper or killing 20 minutes to an hour in a comic store.
So lets get to the books, up ahead its Marvels big tease for 2012, we check in with the new Spider-Man that had people who never read a comic all up in arms, the latest issue of Green Lantern and we’re off to Cuba for spies and espionage.