On The Shelves: 6/28/06

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My weekly look at select comic books being released Wednesday, 6/28/06. The full shipping is list available at ComicList.

[NOTE: Not all of these titles will actually arrive in all stores. If your LCBS offers a pre-ordering service, be sure to take advantage of it. If not, find another one; or try Khepri.com or MidtownComics.com]

PICK OF THE WEEK

Solo #11
ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS

According to Johanna at CWR, Archie will finally be releasing a collected edition of Tania Del Rio’s Sabrina, the Teenage Witch this October. While I’m not really the audience for it, I’m a fan from a business perspective since Archie’s distribution network reaches beyond the direct market and into supermarkets and the evil empire of Wal-Mart, places where I’d love to see the likes of Bumperboy and Amelia Rules! pop up!

DARK HORSE COMICS
Conan And The Demons Of Khitai TPB, $12.95

I’ve got the floppies but I highly encourage anyone who trade-waited this one to pick it up. I plan to get my father-in-law a copy as he’s been a big fan of Dark Horse’s revival of his favorite barbarian.

DC COMICS
American Way #5 (Of 8), $2.99
Batman #654, $2.99
Blue Beetle #4, $2.99
Crisis Aftermath The Spectre #2 (Of 3), $2.99
DCU Brave New World #1, $1.00
Solo #11, $4.99
Warlord #5, $2.99

Because the last issue was a Pick of the Week, American Way #5 will have to settle for the unofficial “F*ck, yeah!” nod this time out. The first four issues are still available on eBay, while the first three and the fourth are available separately from another seller. Get on board with 2006’s sleeper hit now! (NOTE: I’m not affiliated with any of those sellers; I just want more people to read this series!) *** The OYL “Face the Face” crossover wraps up here and it’s going to have to pull out all of the stops to be memorable for anything other than hitting the big reset button on Gotham City and Batman’s dickish attitude. The last few issues have been somewhat disappointing after a nice start, and while I’m going to give Grant Morrison and Paul Dini’s respective runs a shot, I’m starting to think I should just stick to the peripheral, continuity-light mini-series for my Bat-fix. DC certainly publishes enough of them to keep me satisfied. And, of course, there’s the outrageously over-the-top and consistently delayed ASBARTBW to always look forward to! *** Blue Beetle, like Firestorm, is clinging to my pull list as much on the strength of their lead characters being minorities as for the quality of the stories themselves. Both have a lot of potential and have been relatively entertaining so far, but when the budget’s tight, it takes that extra oomph to justify not just reading them in the store like I did for the Red Hood nonsense in Batman and bits of OMAC and Villains United. *** Ditto the Spectre mini-series, which I’ll probably stick with only because there’s only two issues left. The first was solid, but if not for Crispus Allen being one of my favorite Gotham Central characters, I’d probably skip the rest. *** On the one hand, it’s only one dollar, so why shouldn’t I buy Brave New World? On the other hand, you often get what you pay for, and look what happened with Countdown? *** I still haven’t finished reading Howard Chaykin’s Solo effort from a while back — the only issue I ever bought — but there’s no way I pass on Sergio Aragones’ turn! I’m a big Groo fan and always loved Aragones’ work in the margins of Mad Magazine. *** Warlord‘s been solicited through September with the promise that “a cast member dies” in that issue, #8. Judging by its sales and the lousy first issue, I’m guessing the series itself dies very soon thereafter.

DEVILS DUE PUBLISHING
Forgotten Realms Dark Elf Sojourn Seeley Cvr A #3 (Of 3), $4.95

How much of a sucker am I for the Forgotten Realms? I’m not even reading the single issues anymore, simply bagging them and adding them to the licenses portion of my collection, waiting for the trade to read in one shot.

IMAGE COMICS

Except for Fell, Hysteria: One Man Gang, Strange Girl and now Casanova, everything else I was reading from Image has been shifted to wait-for-the-trade. That said, there isn’t anything on this week’s list that I’m looking forward to reading.

MARVEL COMICS
All New Off Handbook Marvel Universe A To Z #6, $3.99
Avengers & Power Pack Assemble #3 (Of 4), $2.99
Black Panther #17, $2.99
Daredevil #86, $2.99
Marvel Milestones Rawhide Kid & Two Gun Kid, $3.99
Moon Knight #3, $2.99
Nextwave Agents Of Hate #6, $2.99
Storm #5 (Of 6), $2.99
X-Factor #8 Cw, $2.99
Young Avengers #12, $2.99

The Marvel Handbooks are all icing, and that’s just fine with me! *** I really hope the Power Pack minis are getting some attention in digest form because they’re the good clean fun so many people claim to want from their comics but so few seem to actually buy. My 5-year-old son is reading on his own now and I plan to get him a copy of all of the digests so far for his birthday in October. *** Black Panther‘s “Wedding of the Century” story arc continues to be a solid read that in less cynical times would probably be much better received than it has been. This is another series that I’m hoping is actually reaching its target audience outside of the direct market and isn’t wholly dependent on the Civil War / Infinite Crisis fanboys to stay afloat. *** Under Ed Brubaker, Captain America has been a revelation and Daredevil is off to a good start, so I’m worried about some of the other projects he’s working on for Marvel. Isn’t this how Bendis started going downhill? *** The Marvel Westerns have been solid fun so far, though at $3.99 a pop, you can tell they knew the audience was somewhat limited. *** Charlie Huston’s revival of Moon Knight continues and it looks like his new Profile character (and the return of the Committee, perhaps?) is about to play a big part. Should be fun! *** NextWave is officially on notice. It’s fun, but it’s inconsequential, and on a tight budget I need to feel like there’s some consequences coming from the shared universe portion of my pull list. A little more icing on the already sweet cake, if you will. Ironically, if this were an independent series, I’d keep buying it without a second thought. *** I’ve been enjoying Eric Jerome Dickey’s take on Storm, but the true test will be to see how it plays in the mainstream bookstores when shelved next to his novels without pictures. Will his large female fanbase give it a shot or has Halle Berry (or, to be fair, the writers of the three X-movies) ruined the character for them? *** Son of M ended up being a surprisingly effective bridge between House of M and Civil War, and now it spills over into X-Factor as Quicksilver makes an appearance. Peter David made Bendis’ deus ex machina Layla Miller interesting, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with David Hine’s intriguing work on Quicksilver. *** Young Avengers wraps up its first “year” with a Kree-Skrull war that presumably kills much less than the 800 hundred Stamfordians whose deaths led to the declaration of Civil War. (And presumably takes place before, assuming this series had shipped on time over the last six issues.) Seriously, for all of the editorial retreats these guys seem to have, you’d think they’d do a better job of managing the icing.

NBM
Bluesman Vol 1 GN New Ptg (AA), $8.95

I finally read Volumes 1 and 2 and highly recommend picking them both up and pre-ordering Volume 3 which is due out next month.

VIPER COMICS
Villains #2 (Of 4), $3.25

The first issue of this was actually a pretty good read, shades of Stephen King’s “Apt Pupil” from Adam Cogan, the co-writer of The Black Coat. Viper has a solid track record with me so I’m onboard for the full ride. If not for Solo, this would have been my Pick of the Week, so instead, it’s my inaugural Sleeper Pick of the Week!

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

As in guillotine. Old/new media pragmatist. Sometimes loud, sometimes poet, always opinionated. Beer, bourbon, books, games, running, soccer.

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