On The Shelves: 07/19/06, by Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

Reprinted courtesy of Comic Book Commentary.

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, 7/19/06. 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]


The Hunger
Aya #2, $2.95
Jalila #2, $2.95
Rakan #2, $2.95
Zein #2, $2.95

The first issues of these weren't bad, but they weren't terribly good, either. Hopefully their intended audience found them worthy, though, because they're well-intentioned.

Strange Eggs Presents Boxing Bucket, $3.95

I was really disappointed with the first volume of Strange Eggs, a great premise kneecapped by not so great execution and a willful lack of editorial direction. Since it was considered sucessful enough to rate a sequel, though focusing on a different character (the titular "Boxing Bucket"), I'm guessing this will be more of the same.

Public Enemy #1, $3.99

The Zero Issue was pretty bad so I can't imagine anyone but the most hardcore PE fans picking this up. ie: The same ones who bought the Last Asiatic Disciples and Sister Souljah's albums back in the day.

Twerp And The Blue Baboon One Shot, $8.95

This is the kind of title that piques my interest and sends me to Google. Unfortunately, the lack of a decent web presence in this day and age is the kind of that kills my interest. Marketing 101, people.

Conan #30, $2.99

Old reliable continues to be one of the most consistently satisfying reads on the shelves.

Justice League Of America #0, $2.99
Robin #152, $2.99
Rush City #1 (Of 6), $2.99
Shadowpact #3, $2.99
Uncle Sam And The Freedom Fighters #1 (Of 8), $2.99

I have to admit that I'm curious about Brad Meltzer's take on DC's marquee team, as I actually enjoyed most of Identity Crisis. He does good atmosphere and character work -- whether it's in character or not is something for the continuity heads to debate -- but his plotting isn't a strong point, a flaw many of his best-selling mystery/thriller novelist peers seem to share. He's only getting two issues to convince me that Batman makes sense on this team outside of the SuperFriends before I move on, though. *** Apparently Adam Beechen said in an interview somewhere that his first story arc on Robin was editorially mandated -- the resolution of Cassandra Cain's story had to be told somewhere, I guess, and DC was probably hoping to boost Robin's numbers by roping in her small but rabidly loyal fanbase -- so all things considered, he's off to a good start. I'm looking forward to seeing how he handles the relationship with the new Captain Boomerang, son of the man who killed Tim Drake's father, and also what the deal is with this new hero he introduced last issue. *** Excepting OYL Nightwing, I'm always curious when DC drifts into real world settings, so Rush City will get a looksee just because it's set here in NYC. I'm pretty sure I've never read any of Chuck Dixon's work, so it will be a first. *** Two issues in and I feel like I've been buying Shadowpact for reasons other than actually enjoying it, which I have to a degree, but not quite enough to keep it on my pull list. Plus, I actually like Willingham's art, so that this is his last issue doesn't help. *** There was something about the Uncle Sam preview in Brave New World that stuck with me, and I've enjoyed Gray and Palmiotti's work on Daughters of the Dragon, so I think I'll give it a shot.

24 Seven GN, $24.99
Afterworks Vol 1 GN, $17.99
Casanova #2, $1.99

Image is really making a strong push into the realm of original graphic novels, yes? If only they weren't tied to their exclusive agreement with Diamond Books, maybe they'd actually get more of them into mainstream outlets and Iron West wouldn't still be unavailable on Amazon.com. I've rarely seen more than a couple of Image TPBs in Borders or Barnes & Noble, and it's usually Spawn or the Top Cow stuff when I have. *** Casanova #1 was a serious head rush that set the bar pretty high for itself, and I'll be curious to see if Fraction can work within the 16-page Fell format and still pull off a good story.

Brodies Law #7, $3.50
Dark Mists #4 (Of 4), $3.50
Done To Death #1, $3.50
Hunger Vol 1 TPB (resolicited), $18.95

While I enjoyed the self-published, first volume of Brodie's Law, there was a certain roughness to it that didn't quite feel ready-for-prime time. Slight characterization and loose plotting hampered it a bit, but its strong visuals and full-speed-ahead pacing make it a perfect Renny Harlin vehicle. Hopefully Osiyemi and Bircham have stepped their game up a notch with this second volume, because the premise has a lot of potential. *** Dark Mists, the APComics refugee, finally concludes, and while I'll have to dig up the previous three issues to remember what the hell was going on, it's been a pretty satisfying read so far with lovely, Joshua Middleton-esque art by Lee Garbett. *** Done to Death sounds like it will be fun, and writer Andrew Foley proved to have a great ear for dialogue with the underrated Parting Ways, so I'm looking forward to this one. *** Markosia's motto could be, "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." as they've become home to several titles and/or creators who were left in the lurch by other publishers who bit off more than they could chew (the aformentioned APComics, Speakeasy). Hopefully they're in the game for the long haul as they have some intriguing work in the pipeline. I slept on The Hunger the first time around, but thoroughly enjoyed the first two issues writer Jose L. Torres slipped me at NY Comic Con earlier this year and am looking forward to reading the complete first arc. Told from the perspective of a newly converted zombie, Charles Lee -- whose zombification is similar to Bruce Banner’s little problem with his green alter ego -– Torres and Chris DiBari have crafted an intriguing premise where zombies live underground in a corrupt (pre-Katrina) New Orleans and Charles is caught in the middle of a high-profile murder case. Plus, you know, he’s a zombie, coming to grips with his new reality while trying to get back home to his parents who think he’s dead. Good stuff, highly recommended.

Civil War #3 (Of 7), $2.99
Civil War X-Men #1 (Of 4), $2.99
Daily Bugle Civil War Newspaper Special CW, AR
Daughters Of The Dragon #6 (Of 6), $2.99
Marvel Westerns Western Legends, $3.99
Planet Hulk Gladiator Guidebook, $3.99
X-Factor #9 CW, $2.99

Heavy week from the House of Ideas as I've been roped into following (to varying degrees) three of their big events: Civil War, "Planet Hulk", and "Marvel Westerns". I'm cherry-picking CW and am all-in for the other two. Plus, the fun as hell guilty pleasure, Daughters of the Dragon, concludes.

Atomika Vol 1 TPB, $19.99

I'm not a big fan of splitting collections of 12-issue maxi-series into two volumes unless there's a clear separation between the two halves, but it makes sense with something like Atomika, which I think will read much better in two large doses than spread out over single issues and many, many months.

Sadhu #1, $2.99

I'm firmly on the fence with Virgin, at this point drawn to their comics mostly by who is publishing them than what they're actually publishing. Devi and Snakewoman had solid, if unremarkable, debuts, and I'm pretty sure I'd have already moved on if not out of curiousity for whether or not Branson and Chopra can pull off their ambitious experiment.

Gumby #1, $3.99

It's Gumby, dammit! If this looks even half-decent, I'll pick it up because Gumby hits that same nostalgic sweet spot as the Smurfs and G.I. Joe.

Back Issue #17, $6.95
Write Now #13, $6.95

Speaking of nostalgia: "It's ladies' night in BACK ISSUE #17 as the Super Girls of the '70s and '80s take center stage!" Back Issue is my favorite comics fanzine, hands down. *** Danny Fingeroth always pulls together an interesting assortment of interviews in every issue of Write Now, and Dennis O'Neil talking about writing the novelization of Batman Begins (which I've yet to read, but want to) and Kurt Busiek talking about breaking into comics, this should be another good issue.