Release of the Week – Crossed 9

You’ve read zombie books, you’ve read books about the walking dead, but you’ve never read a book like this before. This is Garth Ennis on fire for the dirtiest, most un-apologetic “what would happen if” story ever. The violence and brutality of this book come from the depths of the human soul, making it that much more stunning, as in “stunned by a blow to the head.”

We’re so sure of the quality of this book that we’re recommending you go and get the first 8 issues, if you can find them, so you can enjoy this one in a mad rush of vicious insanity.

Issue 9 promises to be 40 pages of pure series-ending glorious comic cattle-prod, and will be in stores this coming Wednesday.

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Marvel Releases 3-3-10

Marvel Releases 3-3-10

And this isn’t even including all the variant covers involved. These folks put OUT, baby.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #623
AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #32
CAPTAIN AMERICA: REBORN #6
DAFFODIL #3
DEADPOOL TEAM-UP #895
FALL OF THE HULKS: THE SAVAGE SHE-HULKS #1
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #24
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN MGC #1
MIGHTY AVENGERS #34
PRELUDE TO DEADPOOL CORPS #1
PUNISHER MAX: BUTTERFLY #1
REALM OF KINGS SON OF HULK #2
SPIDER-MAN MAGAZINE #10
SPIDER-MAN NOIR: EYES WITHOUT A FACE #4
STEPHEN KING’S N. #1
ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS #5
WOLVERINE WEAPON X #11
X-MEN NOIR: MARK OF CAIN #4
X-MEN: HOPE #1

Collections On-Sale:

BLACK WIDOW: DEADLY ORIGIN PREMIERE HC
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN VOL. 1 HC
IRON MAN: ARMOR WARS TPB (NEW PRINTING)
IRON MAN: DEMON IN A BOTTLE TPB (NEW PRINTING)
NEW AVENGERS: THE REUNION TPB
SPIDER-MAN: AMERICAN SON TPB
STARR THE SLAYER: A STARR IS BORN TPB
STRANGE TALES HC
X-MEN FOREVER VOL. 2: THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE SENTINELS TPB

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Wildstorm Releases March 2010

Wildstorm Releases March 2010

March Madness, anyone? Go get you some!

* ASTRO CITY: THE DARK AGE BOOK 4 #2 (OF 4) (MAR-03)
* SPARTA: USA #1 (OF 6) Preview Available (MAR-03)
* THE AUTHORITY #20 (MAR-03)
* THE AUTHORITY: RULE BRITTANIA (MAR-03)
* PLANETARY VOL. 4 (MAR-03)

* DANTE’S INFERNO #4 (OF 6) Preview Available (MAR-10)
* EX MACHINA #48 (MAR-10)
* FREE REALMS #7 (OF 12) (MAR-10)
* MODERN WARFARE 2: GHOST #4 (OF 6) (MAR-10)
* PROTOTYPE (MAR-10)

* SUPERNATURAL: BEGINNING’S END #3 (OF 6) (MAR-17)
* THE AUTHORITY: THE LOST YEAR #7 (MAR-17)

* RESIDENT EVIL #4 (OF 6) (MAR-24)
* VICTORIAN UNDEAD #5 (OF 6) (MAR-24)
* WILDCATS #21 (MAR-24)

* ASTRO CITY: THE DARK AGE BOOK 4 #3 (OF 4) (MAR-31)
* GOD OF WAR #1 (OF 6) (MAR-31)

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Vertigo Releases – March 2010

Vertigo Releases – March 2010

Yeah, yeah yeah. Vertigo lists their releases in one monthly push. Fun, right? Well, now you know.

March 3
* CINDERELLA: FROM FABLETOWN WITH LOVE #5 (OF 6) (MAR-03)
* DEMO VOL. 2 #2 (OF 6) (MAR-03)
* GREEK STREET #9 (MAR-03)
* JACK OF FABLES #43 (MAR-03)
* SWEET TOOTH #7 (MAR-03)
* TRANSMETROPOLITAN VOL. 6: GOUGE AWAY – NEW EDITION (MAR-03)

March 10
* DAYTRIPPER #4 (OF 10) (MAR-10)
* DMZ #51 (MAR-10)
* HOUSE OF MYSTERY #23 (MAR-10)
* GREEK STREET VOL. 1: BLOOD CALLS FOR BLOOD (MAR-10)
* THE UNWRITTEN #11 (MAR-10)

March 17
* JOE THE BARBARIAN #3 (OF 8) (MAR-17)
* UNKNOWN SOLDIER VOL. 2: EASY KILL (MAR-17)
* AMERICAN VAMPIRE #1 (MAR-17)
* THE BRONX KILL (MAR-17)
* FABLES #93 (MAR-17)

March 24
* NORTHLANDERS #26 (MAR-24)
* NORTHLANDERS VOL. 3: BLOOD IN THE SNOW (MAR-24)
* SCALPED #36 (MAR-24)
* HELLBLAZER #265 (MAR-24)
* AIR #19 (MAR-24)

March 31

* UNKNOWN SOLDIER #18 (MAR-31)
* MADAME XANADU #21 (MAR-31)
* JACK OF FABLES #44 (MAR-31)

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DC Releases for 3-3-10

DC Releases for 3-3-10

Sweet DC Comic Releases for this coming Wednesday. Excited? You bet we are!

* ADVENTURE COMICS #8
* BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #42
* CARTOON NETWORK ACTION PACK #47
* DETECTIVE COMICS #862
* FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH: INK
* FIRST WAVE #1 (OF 6)
* THE GREAT TEN #5 (OF 10)
* JONAH HEX #53
* JSA ALL-STARS #4
* JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL VOL. 4
* JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE #7 (OF 7) Preview Available
* THE LAST DAYS OF ANIMAL MAN
* LOONEY TUNES #184
* MILESTONE FOREVER #2 (OF 2)
* NEMESIS: THE IMPOSTORS #1 (OF 4)
* SUPERMAN: BRAINIAC
* THE WARLORD #12

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Staff Pick Mondays 3/1/10

Staff Pick Mondays 3/1/10

Most comics come out on Wednesdays, from what we hear, so we figure we can start your new comics lust on Mondays. We’ll point you in the direction of books WE are interested in, and YOU can, in the comments below, let us know what YOU are interested in, k? This week, we’ve got plenty to get excited about.

Rob’s Picks

Fell: Feral City, Volume 1

Yeah, I already have this, but you need to get it right now. It’s Ben Templesmith AND fooking Warren Ellis, so you know it’s good. It’s better than good. It’s freaking must-own classic comic book goodness. The  melancholy of the colors and Templesmith’s crazy artistic sensibility mesh ever so perfectly with Warren Ellis’ traditional poignant insanity. If you don’t own this, grab it NOW before it goes out of print AGAIN.

Demo #2

I’m so enamored by the concept of this book – Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan get to revisit their zine-like black and white roots and have complete creative control over this book, including not allowing ads in it. The story in #1 was well told, paced well, and felt like a slice of life gone mysteriously supernatural. You’re doing yourself a disservice by not picking this one up on Wednesday.

Mike’s Picks

Invincible Iron Man #24

Matt Fraction is definitely one of the most talented writers working today, and he deserved the Eisner nod he got on his IIM relaunch (the 3rd in 15 years).  This is the last book before the new era of Tony Stark begins.  Fraction created a clever and entertaining ‘end of life’ storyline that comes to a close here, before we get the new suit, back to basics, no more ‘Extremis’, ‘Age of Heroes’ shellhead.  The question is, will he have redeemed himself after Civil War and World War Hulk?

The Boys #40

I’ve been reading this since it started, and after Garth Ennis got done ‘taking the piss’ on all the main DC and Marvel characters, and even a certain famous creator, he started to turn the book into a narrative about the internal struggle of shadow governments and how they utilize powered up d-bags.  While the quality of his satire has been hit and miss, lately the book has been pretty on target, especially coming off the ‘started strong and fizzled at the end’ spin-off “Herogasm”.  Finishing up the origins (if they are to be believed) of the Boys (and one Girl), a new arc has begun, this time looking to poke some fun at the Legion of Super Heroes.

Tyler’s Picks

Green Hornet #1

So a million years ago, our favorite fatty Southwest flier was hired to develop the Green Hornet screenplay for Hollywood. Cut to this week: Dynamite Entertainment has blown the dust off this puppy and is prepping 2 other A-list titles (Matt Wagner’s Year One and Brett Matthew’s The Green Hornet Strikes!) for release this spring. Smith’s script has been speculated on for years so hopefully the wait for a female Kato and revamped origin is worth the wait.  Here’s to hoping Smith’s writing is as taut as the the days on Daredevil and Green Arrow and not as indulgent as the recent run on Batman. With Seth Rogen’s GH movie approaching fast, we’ll soon know who deserved the paycheck.

Mass Effect Redemption #3

Okay, I admit. I have played waaaay too much of this game trying to get all the possible dialogue trees out of the deep soil of this Game of the Year contender. Mac Walters did a fine job on the RPG crafting characters that rival Farscape in breadth and this filler story is no exception. I would talk about it more, but I actually have to pick up the 3rd printing of Issue 1 and 2nd printing of #2 because its been frakking sold out since the dawn of the Reapers. Word is Liara collects Shepard’s remains, which turns me on because my Lesbo Cmmdr. Shepard and Liara got it on hardcore in the firs t game. Space sex FTW!

First Wave #1

The DC pulp universe is finally unveiled. Seems 2010 is the Year of Noir, with Marvel schucking a few similar titles (Spidey, etc.) but its the Doc Savage and Batman books that are looking gritty and nifty. With an alternate DCU sans supermen, mere mortals Doc Savage, Batman and the Spirit fight for the city’s allegiances and likely suffer much angony at the expense of Brian Azarello’s brilliant writing. It doesn’t hurt that Rags Morales is doing the scribbles for this one either. Here’s to hoping DC can launch a new A-list book that doesn’t end up lining the bird cages (Ahem…”Trinity?”)

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Webcomic of the Week: The Parking Lot is Full

Webcomic of the Week: The Parking Lot is Full

Comic: The Parking Lot is Full
Writer: Pat Spacek
Artist: Jack McLaren

For this week’s webcomic we need to be prepared, get out your shotgun and rope, cover any exposed flesh and tie your running shoes tight, because here…’thar be zombies’.  That is right, this webcomic has been dead since 2002.

Why have I dug up this decayed and forgotten web entity? Because it was that damn funny and deserves to be shared. Also, it was quite popular in its day.  Many of its topics are timeless, as easily understood today as they were then.

Warning: This webcomic is dark humor and may be considered offensive. Dark humor is nothing new, from Aristotle’s The Poetics, Dante’s The Inferno, Kafka, Vonnegut, Twain and hundreds of others, it is a part of our nature.  It is a motif often found in other webcomics as well. But, where other webcomics occasionally dip their foot into the dark churning pools, PLIF dives in and revels in it, while laughing insanely.

From the  PLIF’s database of comic themes:

Abortion, aggression , alcohol, bureaucracy, cannibalism, censorship, childhood, cloning, conspiracy, consumerism, crime, death, disability, discrimination, disease, divorce, drugs, education, holocaust, insanity, linguistics, literature, love, media, military, nihilism, political, religion, sex, suffering, suicide, superstition, technology, world domination

Time seems to have erased most traces of the writer and artist, even their post-PLIF projects are no longer live websites. In an old article the writer, Pat Spacek, commented on his comic-creating vision:

“I’d probably end up writing the kind of characters Kafka always used to do. Wimpy losers crushed by forces they don’t understand, able to dredge up some kind of dignity but not being able to make it mean anything. Someone with an unconscious streak of masochism.”

The elements of existentialism definitely exist in Spacek’s writing; angst, despair and absurdity. But there is also meant to be a spark of hope originating from within the individual. I feel that Spacek shows that as well in some comics where he rants against an unjust system.

Philosophical considerations aside, the point of the various themes may or may not make you think, but they most certainly will make you laugh, even if its an uncomfortably chuckle.

Posted in headlines, webcomic of the week0 Comments

Joe The Barbarian, Issue 2 (of 8) Review

Book: Joe The Barbarian #2
Publisher: Vertigo
Price: $2.99
Author: Grant Morrison
Art: Sean Murphy
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Todd Klein
Cover: Sean Murphy
Verdict: Even better than Issue 1; be sure to grab this

Let me tell you this, right off from the start: this one’s even better than the last one.

Last month, we found Joe, diabetic kid with a room full of toys, suddenly confronted by those very same toys — army men, superheroes, transformers — on the last page. Joe’s life had gotten VERY strange.

Issue two picks up right where the last one left off. A bald man with a crutch, ranting about scriptures and prophecies pronounces Joe to be “The Stranger On The Road To The Edge of Endless Night,” as well as “The Dying Boy.”  Handing Joe a ray gun and holster right out of a 30s pulp serial, the man, dressed in a Jean Luc Picard-style jacket and outfit, missing a leg (as many action figures are wont to do), kneels to Joe and tells him the fate of the land he finds himself in.

But is this really where Joe is? With stunning hallucinatory switches in perspective, Morrison and Murphy show us the world from our young protagonist’s perspective as well as from what we might consider “reality.” Namely, Joe is in what appears to be a diabetic fugue state, in which the toys in his attic room are larger than life-size, in a land he can walk along through. The scenery is vast, detailed and suggestive. The colors are stark, cool, and hot at varying times, supporting the heightened intensity of mood in each particular scene.

Joe stumbles his way further into the urban scene of his room, noticing a lone warrior rat samurai figure in a cage. Joe calls him Jack, the name of his pet rat back in the “realtime.” Jack asks for release from his imprisonment, just seconds before the ghostly mist-wraith-esque enemies (Ulrik’s Deathcoats, we learn later) approach, making the high pitched SKRIIII sound they obviously have to. Jack rescues Joe from their foul attack, then puts Jo on his shoulder, rushing away from the terrifying enemies as fast as his rat body can carry them. Opposite each section is a panel that shows Joe’s “real” life: opening his rat’s cage, putting the rat on his own shoulder, falling through the trapdoor, rather than into the meadow in his fantasy.

Halfway through the book, a giant orange burning face appears and spouts prophetic and dire prose. This is Lord Arc, a powerful spirit looking to restore his throne of light. This interesting vision within a vision is unsettling at best, as it will take a read through or two to truly understand who or what Lord Arc is. Coming to, Joe is helped to his feet by warrior Jack (Chakk, he corrects), who is on his way, saying, “Anyway, thanks for getting me out of that cage back there. Good luck with your visions.”

Joe pleads with Chakk to stay, and shows him the ray gun from the first scene. Chakk takes pity on the boy with the pathetic weapon of light and sound and promises to help him get to safety with King Draka and his Pirates before leaving Joe to go his own way. In the real world, Joe is in the bathroom, vomiting into the toilet and resting on the bathtub. The book ends with the great warrior Chakk gearing up for battle wiht the wriaths, who have begun to swirl about in earnest.

Throughout the book, Joe keeps reality-testing, telling his new found friend about a need for glucose, praying for a soda, repeating to himself that none of this is real. Wondering when his mom will come home. It’s a bleak picture of a young man in physical need, enriched and heightened with a visual splendor of the fantasy world he’s fallen into. We come to empathize with this boy, to hope only the best for him, all the while realizing, foreshadowing or not, that the journey will not end with Joe unscathed.

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Tesla-punk* Theories, or the ‘Ellis Juice Effect’

Tesla-punk* Theories, or the ‘Ellis Juice Effect’

Book: Captain Swing and the Electric Pirates of Cindery Island
Publisher: Avatar
Price: $3.99
Author: Warren Ellis
Art: Raulo Caceres
Colors: Digikore
Verdict: Though slow to start, is sure to please fans of Ellis as well as fans of steampunk

The truth may be stranger than fiction according to Lord Byron, but for Warren Ellis this is both a battle cry and a challenge. Ellis’s modus operandi is to veraciously consume information; history, science, technology, and lore, then to reconstitute the strange seeds he finds into his own fantastic imagined possibilities. I could go on for quite a while with demonstrations, but to list a few:

  • The concept of Feral cities in Fell
  • The potentials and possibilities of emerging transhumanism in Docktor Sleepless
  • And many more theories expanded on in Desolation Jones, Planetary and Transmetropolitan

In Ellis’s newest work, Captain Swing and the Electric Pirates of Cindery Island, we are introduced to two opposing police forces and their mutual target, chasing their way through a variant-Victorian London.

Our Pro(An)tagonist is both, Captain Swing and Spring Heeled Jack an amazing creation of Tesla-punk* enhancements whose full range of powers are currently unknown. He is able to leap great distances, has enhanced strength and shoots “clockwork” electric bullets.

The historical Captain Swing was the signature on several letters written during the English Swing Riots of 1830, a rural revolt against the loss of jobs from machines and low wages. Several of the protesters ‘swung’ from the Gallows, thus the name Captain Swing. This makes Ellis’s Captain Swing an interesting juxtaposition of history and fiction, a technologically advanced symbol of Luddism.

Spring Heeled Jack is another name pulled from Victorian history. A terrifying urban legend with the ability to leap great distances:

Spring Heeled Jack was described by people claiming to have seen him as having a terrifying and frightful appearance, with diabolical physiognomy, clawed hands, and eyes that “resembled red balls of fire”. One report claimed that, beneath a black cloak, he wore a helmet and a tight-fitting white garment like an “oilskin”. Many stories also mention a “Devil-like” aspect. Spring Heeled Jack was said to be tall and thin, with the appearance of a gentleman, and capable of making great leaps.  (Wikipedia)

Replace references of “fire” with bright, arcing electricity and you have a pretty fair description of our Captain Swing.

Interwoven between the frame by frame pages of the comic is a letter to the reader, revealing the secret social order and technological mysteries of the times, written by Swing himself. This letter, along with his anti-authoritarian actions against the police, seems to reveal Swing as an anarchistic liberator, in the same vein as Grant Morrison’s ‘King Mob’ or Alan Moore’s ‘V’.

This first issue of Captain Swing is just a tease, with little plot progression. But by introducing a historical context and the various players, with only loose assumptions of their pro(an)tagonistic roles, the story successfully draws the reader in.

Although I am a man of text, I would be remiss to not mention the illustrations of Raulo Caceres. Caceres does a great job of showing us the gritty industrial darkness of the London nights, where bad things could be hiding in the shadows and alleyways. While by daylight, the citizens seem to be content with the order of things. Although the industry of the age, and Swing’s own devices, give the book a “steampunk” feel, Ellis is quick to correct people that it should be called Tesla-punk. This is due, I imagine, to Swing’s reliance on electricity over mechanics.

As with most of Ellis’s works, Captain Swing will be an interesting trip as he leads us through this alternative history of a scientific revolution. So all aboard Swing’s “ionic air propulsion” jolly-boat, don’t look down, and hold on tight.

*Ellis’s chosen term

Posted in Avatar Press, headlines, REVIEWS2 Comments

Free Comics Friday! 2-26-10

Let’s spend some time with some first issues – designed (like crack) to bring you into a series by offering you the first taste for free. Today? Spend some time with us over at Image:

Invincible #1 - Kirkman • Walker • Crabtree – Yep, this is the same Robert Kirkman that continues to wow fans and critics alike with “The Walking Dead” every month. Son of the famous hero, Omni-Man, Mark starts the book off as a normal teenager, juggling an after-school job and the pressures of not being able to go to a party with his friends. All a bit Peter Parker, right? Turns out he’s just waiting for his super powers to appear, as they do one fine day, his super strength showing up as he tosses a trash bag WAY past the dumpster. “It’s about time, ” he says. Watch the family plan a suit, watch Mark choose a name, deal with the foibles of a two-week old super power manifestation and see if you like the story enough to start picking it up at the real comic store. I found the artwork breezy and the writing fairly transparent, all serving a story that could have been severely cliche but only ends up to be moderately so.

Elephantmen #1: Starkings • Moritat • Comicraft • Ladronn- From the comic world of “Hipflask” comes this issue one that reads as more of a one-shot than anything else. The melancholy facial expressions of the protagonist are underscored by the dark, neon lighting and mood rain through the story. It’s the future, and elephantmen were created as teh ultimate super soldiers. Seem slike they’ve been forgotten and/or abandoned, so they wander the streets like so many other veterans in our own time. Our protagonist chats with a little girl in this comic, showing her how he can put his nose in his own mouth in response to her question, “Hey, do you pick your nose?” This is good stuff, and I can’t wait to check out more of the series and the writer/artist team’s current output.

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    Folks, George Romero needs no introduction, but — just in case, you’re unaware: this is the legendary film-maker who pretty much introduced the concept of flesh-eating zombie bastards with NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, DAWN OF THE DEAD and DAY OF THE DEAD.
    So, when we saw the Godfather of Grue would be bringing his unique vision to the world of comics in collaboration with Marvel Comics — we knew we were in for a treat.
    In EMPIRE OF THE DEAD, we’re taken to NYC years after the undead plague has erupted — but just because Manhattan has been quarantined, it doesn’t mean everyone inside is safe!
    Not only do flesh-eaters roam within Manhattan, but there’s another ancient predator about to take a bite out of the Big Apple!
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