On the Shelves: 7/26/06

Read GOOD Comics, not just the ones you’re used to! Try something new EVERY month.

My weekly look at select comic books being released Wednesday, 7/26/06. 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

Bumperboy and the Loud, Loud Mountain
ADHOUSE BOOKS
Bumperboy & Loud Loud Mountain GN, $8.95

Only irredeemably evil people would take a pass on Bumperboy, the best thing to hit all-ages comics since…well, ever. On my Top 5 list of “Things I’ll Do When I Win the Lottery”, #4 is a one million copy print run of both Bumperboy GNs, all of which I will donate to the NYC Board of Education for distribution to every single school age kid from Pre-K through High School. Save your immortal soul and pick up a copy of Bumperboy and the Loud Loud Mountain today.

ARCHAIA STUDIOS PRESS
Mouse Guard 2nd Ptg #2, $3.50

If you’re still sleeping on Mouse Guard — or, for that matter, anything Archaia publishes these days — you’re doing yourself a serious disservice.

AVATAR PRESS INC
A handful of random comics with a million variant covers each…

If you were to purchase a single copy of everything Avatar is releasing this week, including every one of the multiple variant covers, you’d spend a total of $280.29. Figuring a minimum retailer discount of 50%, they’re spending $140.15 to stock a single copy of everything Avatar is releasing this week. At a glance, this is the norm for Avatar on any given Wednesday. Who’s buying this stuff?

BOOM! STUDIOS
Black Plague One Shot, $3.99
Jeremiah Harm #4, $3.99
Second Wave War O/T Worlds #5, $2.99

No advance reviews this week, just brief notes on each. Black Plague: Decent, if inconsequential, one-shot from Joe Casey that felt like something he had sitting in his files for a while and tossed to Boom! as a way to spread his brand. *** Jeremiah Harm #4: Giffen’s decompressed, by-the-numbers quipfest nears its conclusion. *** Second Wave #5: “War of the Worlds” is officially dropped from the title as of this issue, which continues Michael Alan Nelson’s solid tale of post-apocalyptic America coming apart at the seams.

DC COMICS
American Way #6 (Of 8), $2.99
Astro City Samaritan Special, $3.99
Batman #655, $2.99
Blue Beetle #5, $2.99
Crisis Aftermath The Spectre #3 (Of 3), $2.99
Jack Of Fables #1, $2.99

American Way continues to fly under pretty much everybody’s radar, despite being one of the best comics on the shelves right now, and this issue introduces its own twist on the Civil War motif that’s running through both of the Big Two’s universes right now. *** Astro City: The Dark Age was my first introduction to Busiek’s personal playground, and I liked it enough to want to check out more, so the Samaritan Special gets a looksee. *** Not being a Grant Morrison fan — can you feel the internerd cringe at the thought? — I’m not nearly as psyched about his taking over my favorite DC character, but he does have the advantage of following the overrated hackery of Jeph Loeb and the creatively bankrupt Judd Winick, who actually managed to get me to cut Batman from my pull list for the first time since I got back into reading comics. *** Hopefully Blue Beetle #5 picks up the pace a bit as it feels like this opening story arc is crawling along at a snail’s pace, and only the likeability of the primary cast is keeping me interested. That won’t last forever, though. *** If The Spectre mini was a typical 6-issue arc, I’d have dropped it after the last issue. Having gone 2/3rds of the way in, though, I’ll reluctantly finish it out. *** I’m up to the 3rd volume of Fables’ TPBs and am enjoying the series enough that I’ll likely end up reading through the whole thing, so the timing of this new Jack Of Fables spinoff is perfect.

IMAGE COMICS
Afterworks Vol 2 GN, $24.99
Godland #12, $2.99

Both Afterworks volumes and 24seven are on my wish list for when I can afford them, as they appear to be some of the most interesting work Image has published in a while. *** Godland is one of the last Image titles I’m buying as a floppy, and that’s only to complete the arc. It moves to wait-for-the-trade after this one.

MARVEL COMICS
All New Off Handbook Marvel Universe A To Z #7, $3.99
Avengers & Power Pack Assemble #4 (Of 4), $2.99
Black Panther #18 CW, $3.99
Captain America #20, $2.99
Civil War Young Avengers & Runaways #1 (Of 4), $2.99
Daredevil #87, $2.99
Powers #19, $2.95
Storm #6 (Of 6), $2.99

It’s another expensive House of Ideas week for me as, except for the YA/Runaways team-up, everything here is a must-read for me. That one exception is more a curiosity thing, to see if yet another writer does a better job with the Civil War concept than its primary chronicler. Not a difficult thing, for sure, but it says a lot about the smoke and mirrors effect of the star system the Big Two employ. ie: If Marvel and Wizard keep insisting that Mark Millar is a great writer, and Marvel keeps putting him on high-profile projects that are going to sell well regardless, it sort of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Until, of course, you look at the steadily declining sales figures of any of his writing projects that last more than a six-issue arc, where his first issue offers a boost that can almost always be connected to a combination of a full-court-press from the hype machine (Marvel’s and his own) and variant covers and incentive deals for retailers, before tailing off back to numbers attainable by most of their B-list creators if given similar marketing support.

MOONSTONE
Werewolves Call O/T Wild #2, $3.50

I really liked the first issue of this mini-series and am looking forward to this one. Good werewolf comics are hard to come by and Mike Oliveri and Joe Bucco have come up with an intriguing premise in Call of the Wild.

NBM
Bluesman Vol 3 GN, $8.95
Brownsville TPB, $12.95

I’ve yet to get around to reviewing the first two volumes of Bluesman, but suffice to say that they are excellent reading and would be a great addition to any bookshelf. *** I missed out on the Brownsville HC but am looking forward to finally getting a chance to read it in my preferred softcover format.

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Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

As in guillotine. Old/new media pragmatist. Sometimes loud, one-time poet, still opinionated. Reading, writing, running, gaming, soccer, beer.

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