EXCL. PREVIEW: "Avatar: Smoke & Shadow" TPB Threatens the Fire Nation
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d start out with Legend of Luther Strode #1 (Image, $3.50). I was behind the times on the first series, but now I will raise my fist to the air and decree “NO MORE!” (to the stunned silence of my local comic shop owner). Justin Jordan really brought a different take on this story, but for me the sizzle on this is Tradd Moore’s art. It reminds me of Sam Keith’s middle-period during his Marvel Comics Presents Wolverine run, and that’s nothing but a good thing. After that I’d get Stumptown #4 (Oni Press, $3.99). Some might compare Dex’s journey to that of Jessica Jones in Marvel’s Alias, but it’s anything but. Greg Rucka really knows how to make a story feel more than just mere fiction. My third pick this week would be Invincible #98 (Image, $2.99), seeing Mark Grayson get his powers back – just in time to be stomped into the ground, from the looks of it. Reading this series since the first issue, I’m noticing the colorist change more and more here; John Rauch definitely is a step removed from FCO Plascencia, and I’m still getting used to it. Kirkman and Ottley are delivering here so well that Domino’s should be jealous. (ba-dum CHING!) Last up in my Wednesday haul would be Avengers #1 (Marvel, $3.99). I’ve noticed in doing Food or Comics for as long as I have how I’ll routinely follow writers but when they manage to get an artist I particularly like I’ll fall over myself trying to get to it. Case in point, this book, with Jonathan Hickman joining forces with Jerome Opeña to kick off a new era for Marvel’s flagship book. I’m all for “Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers,” but I’m even more excited to see Opeña’s take on this.
Lightning round: Because it’s free and because I liked the first issue, I’ll thank my LCS for paying so I can get Cyber Force #2 (Image, Free) for free! I’m a big fan of Stryker (Stryke Force and Stryke Files, too!) but I’m even more keenly interested in the take Silvestri, Hawkins and Pham have for this outing.
If I had $30, I’d woefully pull Avengers #1 (Marvel, $3.99) and Legend of Luther Strode #1 (Image, $3.50) to free up money to get Fury MAX, Vol. 1: My War Gone By trade paperback (Marvel, $19.99). My local shop discount might let me keep those two singles, but either way I need this Fury MAX book. I’ve been listening to iFanboy’s Pick of the Week Podcast, and they’ve berated me about how good this Ennis/Parlov series is and how much of an utter loon I am for not getting it in singles. Nick Fury, how will you forgive me?
If I could splurge, I would get the out-of-nowhere book The Ten Seconders: The American Dream (Pocket Books, $19.99). With publicity nil, I’m glad I saw this book in Previews a few months back: Rob Williams earned my coin with Cla$$war and his Marvel work, and seeing him team with with Dom Reardon is something. I read that this is a collected story from 2008-era 2000AD, but it’s new to me – and arguably everyone else who isn’t a 2000AD devotee. With a plot description slightly reminiscent of Wildstorm’s Stormwatch: Team Achilles, the idea of normal humans banding together to fight off superhumans who took over the government is a real winner for me. I’m sold on the creators and the plot, and I hope the inside matches up to my expectations.
If I had $15 this week, I’d run — not walk — to grab Doctor Who #3 (IDW, $3.99) because, come on: Philip Bond art? Brandon Seifert story? There’s no way this can fail to be wonderful. I’d wash that slice of greatness down with a helping of Evan Dorkin’s House of Fun (Dark Horse, $3.50), because it’s rare that you can ever go wrong with Dorkin’s work, and I skipped these strips’ appearances in Dark Horse Presents the first time around. To wrap up the list with some sense of the circle of comic life, I’d add Action Comics #15 (DC, $3.99) to see if Morrison keeps the oddly Doctor Who-esque vibe of Issue 14 going now that the devil stands revealed in all his five dimensions.
If I had $30, I’d add Colder #2 (Dark Horse, $3.50) to my pile pretty sharply. I liked the first issue a lot, but wished it were longer. Here’s hoping the second issue gives me the answers I’ve been wondering about since finishing Issue 1. And, just because I can’t shake the curiosity, I’ll likely ice up the first issue of Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opeña’s Avengers (Marvel, $3.99), as well, because … well, I liked the New Universe back in the day.
When it comes to splurging, I’m likely to save my money for once, but that’s only because the book I would buy is material I got in singles. If you didn’t, however, you could do a lot worse than grabbing the X-O Manowar, Vol. 1 collection from Valiant – the first storyline of the new series — for just $9.99. It’s good stuff.
If I had $15, the first $9.99 would go toward manga. Viz has just released Demon Love Spell, a new comedy by Mayu Shinjo that sends up romantic-goddess manga, and that sounds about right to me. Then I’d spend $2.99 on the second issue of Joe Harris’ Great Pacific, as this is the issue in which we get to see the hero land on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and try to colonize it.
If I had $30, I’d turn back around to the manga rack and grab the sixth volume of A Devil and Her Love Song, a really smart high-school romantic comedy about a sharp-tongued girl who says what she thinks about everything. This is Not Done in Japanese high schools (or any high school that I have ever been in) and causes much consternation. I would still have room for one more floppy in my budget, and that would be The New Crusaders #4, part of Archie’s new Red Circle line, in which the children of the original Red Circle heroes form a superhero team of their own.
As is so often the case, my splurge would be from Fantagraphics: The second volume of Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips, a steal at $39.99. I’m old enough to remember when Pogo ran in the Sunday paper, although I never understood it then. Later on, I picked up some of the paperbacks and really came to appreciate Walt Kelly’s sense of humor. I’d love to read them all.
If I had $15, I’d go for some sure things in terms of enjoyment. Hawkeye #5 ($2.99) and Stumptown: The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case #4 ($3.99) continue a couple of street-level detective series I’m eating up with a serving spoon. My feelings about BOOM!’s Planet of the Apes series are well-documented, so PotA: Cataclysm #4 ($3.99) is another easy pick. And though there’s some question about whether or not Atomic Robo and the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #5 ($3.50) is actually coming out this week, I’m playing it safe and leaving myself enough budget for it.
With $30, I’d add Red She-Hulk #60 ($2.99) and then a couple of Steve Niles comics. Legends of the Dark Knight #3 ($3.99) has Niles doing a story in which Batman questions his own relevance, which sounds fascinating from this particular writer. Niles’ character work is my favorite thing about his writing. Creator-Owned Heroes #7 ($3.99) is also out and has Niles teaming with Scott Morse while Palmiotti, Gray and Lando continue their very good “Killswitch” story. Finally, I’d add Guarding the Globe #4 ($2.99), because it’s Phil Hester.
I picked up Fantagraphics’ Spacehawk Halloween mini-comic this year and selfishly did not give it to a Trick or Treater, because I loved how strange and awesome Basil Wolverton’s pulpy space comic is. That’s why I’m splurging on the full Spacehawk collection ($39.99) this week.
If I had $15, House of Fun would be the first item on my shopping list, as I’m always down for whatever Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer are willing to throw my way, especially if it involves new Eltingville and Milk and Cheese material. Then, even though I’m so far behind in my Hellboy reading it isn’t funny, I’d consider getting the first issue of Hellboy in Hell, if only because it marks the first time creator Mike Mignola has written and drawn the comic since the Conqueror Worm saga way back when.
If I had $30, I’d add Vol. 1 of Fury MAX: My War Gone By to the list. A friend loaned me the first few issues of this new Garth Ennis and Goran Parlov series, in which Fury recounts his counter-espionage days spent in places like Vietnam and Cuba, and it’s really wonderful stuff. In fact it might be the best thing Marvel is publishing at the moment. In fact, if I had any money leftover, I’d throw in the seventh issue of Fury MAX just for good measure.
Splurge: I’ve heard good, or at least interesting, things about Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker, Joe Casey and Mike Huddleston’s over the top, happy-to-offend superhero parody, so if I found myself in a capacity to splurge this week, that’s what I’d be getting.