Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews February 2017: “X Gonna Give It To Me”


By Phantom Troublemaker

If you don’t know, Previews is the catalog that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for. It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.

So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but are typically about three months away. Most of this month’s offerings are scheduled to ship in May.

Now it’s time to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition!


Rose – Image Comics (Front Cover, 197)

In my mind Image Comics is still a distant third to Marvel and DC. I don’t know how accurate this is, numbers-wise, but that’s the spot the independent publisher occupies. But this is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the birth of the home of so many critical darlings and they seem to be making a push to be seen as a more serious contender in the marketplace.

The first thing of note is that an Image book is on the front cover of Previews while a DC title – featuring an illustration that is full of marketing significance – is on the back. I know this isn’t the first time Image has had the front and it might not even be the first time they’ve shared covers with DC. But the fact that some newbie book called Rose is featured more prominently than Batman holding the Comedian’s trademark button from Watchmen speaks volumes to me.

Side Note: I am aware that in all likelihood the only reason Image has the front is that they paid more than DC, but in terms of persuading the average consumer, it sends a powerful message that Batman – DC’s biggest moneymaker - is playing second fiddle to Image’s title. Personally I see this as a huge mistake on DC’s part. Whoever handles DC’s dealings with Diamond should be replaced. You may doubt the significance here, but it’s Marketing 101.

Thing of note number 2 is Image’s new slogan – “The Future of Comics”. This powerful message is printed in huge block letters down the side of every single page of Image’s section of Previews. It’s not so much what the message says about Image as it is what it says about the publisher’s competitors. That they’re the past. And our brains know that Image publishes a lot of books that are fresh and new and different while Marvel and DC are selling the same books they’ve been selling for the past seventy-plus years. Even their newest characters are just thinly-veiled attempts at diversity dressed up in the same old costumes. Not Image, though. Image is the trendsetter. Image has been embracing real diversity for years. IMAGE IS THE FUTURE.

Batman/The Flash – DC Comics (Back Cover, 81-83)

Man, I think I just talked myself out of caring about “THE BUTTON!!!!!”.

JUST KIDDING.

I am absolutely intrigued by whatever the heck DC is doing with Watchmen in the DCU; probably to the point where I’ll start picking up The Flash in addition to Batman. Just so I can read “THE BUTTON!!!!!”.

Final Fantasy Action Figures – SQUENIX (2-3)

Final Fantasy VII is my second-favorite RPG (Chrono Trigger is my favorite), but I didn’t know they were doing a remake. Either way I’d love to have nice figures of the characters, but not a hundred and fifty bucks nice. I got Final Fantasy XV for Christmas, but haven’t started it yet. I’m a busy guy. Once I do pay I’m probably going to think this guy – whoever he is – is pretty cool.

Kids Comics Month (28-29)

It’s great that Diamond is spotlighting these family-friendly titles – and others throughout Previews – but it’s also a shame that it even has to happen. I believe that sixty percent (or so) of comic books should be family-friendly in the first place. That doesn’t mean for kids, that means for everyone. Especially superhero books.

Free Comic Book Day (33-41)

This year Free Comic Book Day falls on Saturday, May 6th. Visit FREECOMICBOOKDAY.COM for more details!

Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 (of 4) (51-53)

I don’t believe I’ve ever read anything by James Stokoe, but I know his name from admiring his art in past previews. Since Dark Horse’s Aliens comics tend to range from very good to excellent, I’m going to give this one a shot.

Superman #20-21 – DC Comics (85)

That is a much better costume.

I have finally resolved my feelings about trunks-less Batman and Superman. I was reading Trinity (which is very good, by the way) and there was this one panel where I realized it was the first time I didn’t notice that Batman and Superman were missing their trunks and realized that I hadn’t been noticing it for a while. For whatever reason, the trunks-less look has finally clicked with me and it looks fine. Especially with Superman’s red boots back. I think the red belt with the yellow buckle helps for some reason.

Cyborg #11 – DC Comics (99)

I love the look of this guy’s pixelated powers. He’s called 8-BIT because duh.

Teen Titans #7 – DC (113)

Aw, man – I thought we were done with stupid hammerhead New 52 King Shark. Did anyone like this design? I mean, obviously someone did, but I sure don’t. Regardless, this is a great cover. It is reminiscent of JAWS without being a direct lift.

Batman: Detective Comics Vol 2: The Victim Syndicate TP – DC (134)

If you’re not reading James Tynion IV’s excellent Detective Comics you’re missing out on some excellent Bat-Family stories. I haven’t enjoyed Batman in a team book this much since… I don’t know. Ever?

Batman: New Gotham Vol. 1 TP – DC (137)

I thoroughly enjoyed “No Man’s Land” and all of the stuff leading up to it, but I never picked up the follow-up stories. Seeing that they’re by Greg Rucka – who still has more hits than misses with me – makes me excited to check this collection out. This seems to have been a good era for Batman that I missed the first time around.

Batman: Zero Hour TP – DC (139)

“Zero Hour” had a ton of time travel/alternate universe stuff going on. It was a line-wide event, but it didn’t require that you read a bunch of books you didn’t want to. I remember enjoying it quite a bit. I think I still have the individual issues of the books I read, I kind of want to revisit them to see if the event was as fun as I remember.

The DC Universe By Mike Mignola – DC (139)

Mike Mignola is one of the all-time greats of the comic book industry and a personal favorite of mine. This comes out on my birthday, May 10th, so someone better get it for me.

Batman: The Animated Series GCPD Rogues Gallery 5-Pack – DC Collectibles (154)

If you were collecting Kenner’s Batman: The Animated Series line back in the day, then you might remember a similar set of figures that came in similar packaging. While the nostalgia is definitely a plus, this is a set of essential figures. It includes my preferred versions of Mr. Freeze, Bane, Poison Ivy, and Killer Croc, along with Renee Montoya, who is a must-have. The $175 price tag is, however, ridiculous, so I’m going to wait and see what happens with this one. $35 per figure is pretty steep. And I might appreciate the fancy box, but you guys know what I do with toy packaging; fancy or not.

Batman Black & White By Norm Breyfogle Statue  – DC Collectibles (155)

Jim Aparo’s Batman is my favorite, but Breyfogle’s is a close second for obvious reasons. I’d love to have a 3D representation of this Dark Knight, but I am trying to stay away from statues. They can be super neat, but in the long run they just don’t satisfy me in the same way that action figures do.

DC Super-Pets!  – DC Collectibles (156)

These plush Super Pets based on the work of Art Baltazar are some of the best things DCD has ever produced. They’re perfectly executed and the fifteen dollar price is right.

Judge Dredd: The Blessed Earth #1 - IDW (169)

If you thought I could just move past cover art depicting Joseph Dredd with a Santa Claus beard you just don’t know me very well.

I’m not current on IDW’s Judge Dredd books and have not read Mega-City Zero, which The Blessed Earth follows up. As a matter of fact, I have only recently found out that Dredd has been aging in real time since his first appearance. I think that’s pretty interesting. 
Considering how much I have enjoyed the little bit of Dredd that I have read and how much I love the idea of the character, I’m surprised I haven’t picked up more books. But British comics can be somewhat impenetrable sometimes and Dredd’s continuity in particular seems to run deep.

Rock Candy Mountain #1 - Image (201)

You should buy anything with Kyle Starks’s name on it. This is the guy that created Sexcastle and The Legend of Ricky Thunder. His stuff rules. JUST DO IT. And go to his website. And order that Sexcastle OGN if you don’t already have it.

Saga Book Two Deluxe HC - Image (240)

The greatest comic book series I have ever read. Order this and, if you don’t have it, order the first hardcover. It’s excellent. I already have the single issues, but I want the fancy hardcover. I want ALL the Saga stuff. Except the lousy action figures.

We Stand On Guard TP - Image (244)

Highest recommendation!

This is the tale of an ugly America and heroic Canadians. Brian K. Vaughn tells a compelling story, but the even bigger draw for me was Steve Skroce’s art. His style is somewhat reminiscent of Geoff Darrow’s in that you can sit and stare at a single page for a long time just soaking in all of the detail.

Image+ #13 - Image (246)

I don’t generally cover magalogs (catazines?), but I just wanted to mention this awesome art by Howard Chaykin. I’d buy this as a poster if they sold it.

X-Men Blue #1 & 2 - Marvel (Inside Cover, M6-9)

I want to be excited for a new beginning for the X-Men so badly. I want to read X books again. I love the X-Men.

X-Men Blue is written by Cullen Bunn (whose work I generally like) with art by Jorge Molina and Matteo Buffagni. I feel like I have enjoyed Molina’s work elsewhere, but the peek at the interior art put me right off of this title:

This is far cartoonier than I want my Mutants. Beyond that, I don’t love the original X-Men as much as I do the All-New, All-Different ones. Speaking of which…

X-Men Gold #1 & 2 - Marvel (Cover, M10-13)

This is a team I can get behind. Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus, (Old Man) Logan, and Prestige (Rachel Grey) led by Kitty Pryde. Even the description makes me happy:

“An all-new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is rampaging through New York City!”

This just feels like my X-Men. And the interior art for this one is worlds better:

Ardian Syaf’s art is fantastic, which makes me feel bad for thinking that he was responsible for that garbage splash panel last month. Marc Guggenheim – best known to me for his work on TV’s Arrow – is writing. Here’s hoping he’s great, because I’m giving this one a chance. At least until they do a massive crossover. Then I’m out.

All-New Wolverine #1 - Marvel (M14-15)

While I’m giving mutants a chance, I might just check out All-New Wolverine. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it and this is a jumping-on point. I’ve been meaning to check out X-23’s adventures as Wolverine proper for a while, but just haven’t known where to start.

Weapon X #1 - Marvel (M16)

I’m always up for a new stab (GET IT?) at the Weapon X program. All of these characters are old favorites of mine and I’ve liked pretty much everything I’ve read from Greg Pak. Here’s hoping we’re entering into a new age of quality for Marvel’s Merry Mutants.

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1 - Marvel (M18)

I never read any of the stuff about the clone. I’m just here to say that I think the new costume is mostly cool, the hood is lame and clearly trying too hard for Spider-Gwen-ness, and that the smiley head is stupid. I like Bagley, but that was a bad call.

Nick Fury #1 - Marvel (M24)

Someone explain to me - why Marvel didn’t just import Ultimate Nick Fury alongside Miles Morales?

That aside, I don’t really care too much about the hows of Marvel’s black Nick Fury. We all know why they did it. What matters is that James Robinson is writing this and his Starman is fantastic. This art, though. Having read the first issue of Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye from the Distinguished Competition, I can tell you that I am too old for this shit. Fifteen-year-old me would have loved it, but I can tell you just from the preview page this book would annoy the heck out of me.

Mighty Thor #18 - Marvel (M43)

Noted for Quentin Quire sighting.

Ghost Rider #6 - Marvel (M70)

Noted for being the most 90s thing I have ever seen in a modern comic. Except maybe for New 52 Deathstroke. That was downright embarrassing.

True Believers: X-Force #1 - Marvel (M92)

If you really need a copy of this I know about a dozen retailers that will sell you one for a quarter. And it’ll come in a nifty polybag.

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop Vol. 1 TPB - Marvel (M128)

The jury is still out on this one. I’m two issues in and it’s pretty good, but I don’t think I love it. There are some pretty heavy-handed SJW overtones that keep me from really enjoying the characters and story. Writers have zero subtlety these days. Mike Grell’s agenda in Green Arrow was less obvious.

Explorer GNs – Amulet Books (280)

First the eyeball caught my eye, then the giant, floating box. These covers are compelling. The description puts these anthologies over as a pretty big deal without telling us much about them. But something is telling me to take a leap and check them out.

Gene Simmons’ Dominatrix GN – Arcana Studios (281)

I was ready to mock this one as being the obvious product of Gene Simmons’ publicly documented pervy mind. I can’t think of anything that says “Gene Simmons” more than a patriotic sex worker.

Then I read the description and not only does the plot sound interesting, I can see it working as a movie or even a TV show. It would be outrageous and almost certainly have to have a humorous bent, but it’s a solid concept. Some government peon drops by for his monthly spanking and spooks in black suits show up to terminate him, with our heroine escaping with a briefcase full of secrets. Or something. You get the idea.

Now I’m actually tempted to check this thing out just to see if it’s as well-executed as it could be.

There’s Nothing There – Black Mask Studios (298)

This one just walloped me right in the head with selling point after selling point:

*Great art
*Weird sex stuff
*Like Eyes Wide Shut, except supernatural (and possibly good)
*VERY clever title with many interpretations, all of which are relevant to the story
*Name-dropping Drag Me to Hell

There's Nothing There, like Dominatrix, seems movie-ready to me. I’m almost a little surprised that there isn’t one of those “Soon to be a major Hollywood film from ________ and starring ________” blurbs on the solicitation.

The Sovereigns - Dynamite (330-332)

Wait – why is Dynamite doing a comic about these Valiant guys?

Also, is her name actually “Corn”?:

As far as I can tell Dynamite doesn’t address the issue that these characters have been the stars of comics from Valiant for years now, but I’m assuming that they’re public domain. 
They’re all originally Gold Key properties that Valiant either licensed or used because they were already public domain way back when. Someone ask Jim Shooter about all of this.

It’s worth noting that Valiant does not appear to be using any of these characters right now.
Anyone want to come on the Needless Things Podcast and explain all of this to me?

Vessel #1 (of 3) – Zenescope Entertainment (461)

This sounds interesting. I’m all about century-spanning mysteries, especially ones that go all the way from the Mayans to futuristic outer space times! I’ll review this one and let you guys know how it is.

Grimm Tales of Terror 2017 April Fools’ Edition – Zenescope Entertainment (462)

I’m a big fan of the Grimm Tales of Terror series, but even more so of the seasonal and holiday specials that Zenescope puts out. I’ll recommend these to any fans of horror and old-school pre-code comics. They’re a fun, modern take on familiar themes. I can’t wait to see what they do with an April Fools’ issue.

Star Wars: Thrawn HC Novel (476)

I’m not necessarily recommending that you order this from Diamond because I don’t know if it will actually hit your Local Comic Shop on April 11th – the release date – or what kind of condition it would be in if it did. You’re probably much better off getting it from Barnes & Noble or even Target. But for me this is a landmark release. Thrawn is one of my all-time favorite villains and his creator, Timothy Zahn, is getting the opportunity to re-tell his origin as it fits in with the new Star Wars continuity.

I was excited enough when Thrawn was announced as part of Disney’s Star Wars plans, but the fact that Zahn was brought back to fill in his history is remarkable.

As prescient as I apparently was five years ago, even I didn’t see this coming!

Howard the Duck T-Shirt (489)

I hate that they rarely credit the artist on these shirts. This appears to be Joe Quinones’ work from the recently canceled Howard book (one of the best things Marvel has ever published). I’d love to have it, but I just do not need any more t-shirts. I’m drowning in fucking t-shirts over here.

Stupid Jason Todd T-Shirt (490)

You know why all you got was a t-shirt? Because you did a lousy job, stupid. We’ve seen a lot of bad “humorous” shirts in Previews over the years, but I think this is one of the worst.

Deadpool T-Shirt (492)

Once again these bozos miss the mark on a seasonal shirt. Sure, this Deadpool shirt isn’t specifically Valentine’s Day-related, but don’t you think it would have been a good idea to solicit it that way? And a few months ago? It would’ve sold like hotcakes!

Arkham City: Harley Quinn 1/1 Scale Foam Replica – NECA (522)

Alright, weirdos – I don’t even want to know what you’re doing with these. I’ve seen them in stores and they are odd.

One:12 Collective Deathstroke Action Figure - Mezco (522)

I am totally addicted to these now. This Slade Wilson looms like possibly the best one so far. I can’t wait. So far very few of these have come out on time, so I wouldn’t expect this one until October or so. And I’m okay with that. I’d rather have a perfect figure late than a shoddy figure on time.

One:12 Collective Spider-Man Action Figure - Mezco (538)

This one will be a true test of the One:12 aesthetic. In theory, Spider-Man’s costume is pretty much all fabric. Obviously that wouldn’t work with the detail and playability that we expect from this line. I won’t be able to judge it until I’ve got it in hand, but it looks like Mezco has done a fine job of combining plastic elements with their usual materials. This could be the best Spider-Man figure ever released.

Prometheus Series 4 Action Figures - NECA (541)

This wave was originally canceled due to poor sales of the twenty Engineer figures that NECA produced. For folks like me that dug Prometheus this was crushing, as the wave included the only figure of Elizabeth Shaw – an excellent character with a name lifted directly from Doctor Who. It looks like NECA is taking the opportunity to release these thanks to Alien: Covenant and I couldn’t be happier. Plus we get a Charlize Theron action figure, something which is bizarrely missing from my collection!

Side Note: I can’t wait to see Covenant toys at Toy Fair in a couple of weeks. Hear all about them on the February 24th episode of Needless Things Podcast!

Katamari Damacy: Prince Statue – First 4 Figures (546)

Man, I loved this game so much. Not enough to pay almost three hundred bucks for a statue, but a lot. I just want an action figure of the King of All Cosmos.

Apexplorers: Space Adam Quarter Scale Action Figure - Apexplorers (569)

These are incredible and also probably cost six hundred dollars. If I were super rich, I’d buy one. Or both. Why not?

Ghoulsville Vac-Tastic Plastic Masks – Retro-a-go-go (602-603)

Spooktastic! I want ‘em all! I had to do some research to find this out, but site favorite artist Doug P’Gosh is responsible for designing these.

Unaffiliated Thoughts

Clearly my mind is going. I don’t know how it is that every month when I’m flipping through the Image section I see all of these books on issue #14 or #27 or whatever and I’ve never heard of them.

Legends of Tomorrow has finally gotten good. As of this writing, the last two episodes were awesome! I think this is largely because they were about the Legion of Doom more than the “heroes”. Also, I find that I like mindwiped Rip Hunter a whole lot more. My guess is that Legends is lifting the plot of the Doctor Who episode “Human Nature” and Rip’s memories are stored in a pen or something.

I can barely pay attention to Flash anymore.

Let me know what you’re looking forward to in the comments, or join the discussion in the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group!

*****
That’s all I’ve got for this month. Start putting your pennies in your Diamond Select figural bank and remember to drop your order form off at your Local Comic Book Shop!

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4 comments:

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  2. I collect the B&W statues so this one by Norm Breyfogle, is a must buy for me so it's time to get saving again.

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