On The Shelves: 12/20/06, by Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

Reprinted courtesy of Comic Book Commentary.

Reading is fundamental. Don't waste your time reading bad comics out of habit!

My weekly, semi-informed look at select comic books being released Wednesday, 12/20/06 follows. 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]


Walk In #1

Black Coat Call To Arms TPB, $12.95

I met Ben Lichius back in 2005 at Wizard World Philadelphia, where he'd gotten himself a booth on the main floor (as opposed to a table in artist's alley) to pitch his Black Coat concept to potential readers and publishers. He had a nice promo piece that outlined the potential appeal and versatility of the character and concept, and it was clear that he was committed to getting it published. After barely dodging the collapse of Speakeasy -- the first issue was due to be released about a week after word leaked they were shutting down -- he wound up with Ape Entertainment who published the four-issue mini-series to some acclaim and decent sales. In a just world, this TPB collection will find new readers and the adventures of the Black Coat will continue for years to come, in print and, perhaps, on screen.

Artesia Besieged #1 (Of 6) (AA), $3.95

One of the most wonderful series being published right now, I am a huge fan of Artesia and her creator, Mark Smylie, and demand that you pick up a copy of this re-offered issue, which kicks off the Fourth Book of Dooms and will make you want to pick up the previous three volumes and the role-playing game adaptation. Check out my review for the lowdown.

Warhammer 40K #1, $2.99

ADVANCE REVIEW: I'm not terribly familiar with the Warhammer universe, but this first issue of the comic adaptation is a solid read that has some potential, but not quite enough meat on the bone to guarantee I come back for seconds. No idea how its core audience will react to it, but I suspect Boom! might have been better off releasing a bigger first issue, though, to rope in potential readers like me. A quick stroll through the Warhammer internet didn't turn up a noticeable mention of the comic book on the Games Workshop or Black Library sites, nor did a quick scan of the latter's forums' active topics -- which includes a ton of fan fiction posts -- which isn't a good sign.

Conan #35, $2.99

Old reliable.

Fables Vol 8 Wolves TPB, $17.99

I've read the first four trades of Fables so far, and partway through the third one, I was officially hooked, as it got better and better with each chapter. I've had to hold off on buying Volume 5 as I don't want to catch up too quickly, but it kills me to skip over solicitation info for current issues as I don't want to spoil anything.

GI Joe Special Missions Antarctica, $4.95
Forgotten Realms Crystal Shard Seeley Cvr A #3 (Of 3), $4.95

Devil's Due is doing right by both of these licenses. In fact, they're doing better work for Hasbro than Marvel and DC do for most of its own licenses!

Code #1, $2.99
Genesis Five #1, $2.99
Joe & Max #1, $2.99

I'm definitely not the target audience for a line of Christian-themed comics, but it's a smart one to aim for, and I have to admit that I'm curious from an observer of the business standpoint. The initial line-up looks to be of professional-level quality, so it's a step ahead of most new publishers. (Check out the Washington Post's coverage of the new line.)

Criminal #3, $2.99
Thunderbolts #109, $2.99

Repeat after me: Ed Brubaker is The Man. *** Fabian Nicieza's pretty good, too, and I believe this is his swan song on Thunderbolts before Warren Ellis takes over and I drop it.

Walk-In #1, $2.99

This is the first Virgin release that sounds like it has a truly original concept, and a rather whacked out one to boot: "This is a story about outsourcing. See, there's a planet out there called Terra and they outsource their prisoners to us here on Earth. We're their penal colony. But the prisoners don't know it. Nor do they know their crimes. Ian Dormhouse is one of those prisoners. He doesn't know it. Until he meets Astrid the stripper in a past-its-prime burlesque club in Moscow. Oh -- and there's the octopus on her shoulder. And there's the gangster who's dreams Ian saw that he wasn't supposed to. (Because now he's posing as a dreamreader in the club to get close to the girl). And there's the German rock band that plays mind-altering music -- literally. Weird?" Indeed!

Pokemon Best Of Pokemon Adventures Yellow, $7.99

After getting through Ultimate Alliance on my Gameboy Advance SP in under 3 hours, I've moved on the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, so this is perfect timing as I've wanted to check out a Pokemon comic for a while and never remember to look for it.