Comics Creators

The Trades Thread - Hardcovers, Graphic Novels, and More


Captain America and Bucky
I reread two volumes of this and they demonstrate a sharp decline in quality on two fronts.
First is the stories. Volume 1 is credited to Ed Brubaker and Marc Andreyko as co-writers and it feels suitably like the rest of Brubaker’s Cap material, keeping the high standard of quality and feeling authentic to his take on Bucky. The story is essentially Bucky narrating the cliff notes of his life pre-modern day revival and it hangs together a lot better than it sounds. What really helps it along is Chris Samnee’s art, which is retro yet modern and full of vitality and character (Bettie Breitweiser colours too, which really makes it sing).

Volume 2 though sees Brubaker teamed with James Asmus and here Bru is credited only for story, while Asmus handles the script and boy does it show. The dialogue is pedestrian at best, over-wrought at its worst. Brubaker’s plot hits his usual interests of revisiting Golden Age(ish) material, by acting as a sequel to an Invaders What If story (included in the back) about a robot called Adam II trying to replace humanity. But it’s pretty standard stuff with obvious twists and hackneyed villains, the only up-point being the use of Fred Davis, the second Bucky.
The art here is by Francesco Francavilla, who, on paper (so to speak) is of the same pseudo-retro ilk as Samnee. But his work is quite different and doesn’t really fit the story well. He treats the entire thing as a horror story, particularly in his use of lurid, limited palettes, and it doesn’t quite work. Adam looks terribly uninteresting, especially.

The other front on which this is a downgrade in quality is the physical nature of the books. Volume 2 is from when Marvel really started skimping on production values. Despite having as many issues as volume 1, it’s thinner, with much flimsier paper (volume 1’s feels practically stout by comparison). It’s not as cheap as more recent Marvel trades have been, but you can really see the difference.


Agreed. Duggan has written the best cable in the last 20 years. The problem is he’s to high profile now to be on a Cable book!

His Deadpool kills Cable had way more character development and nuance than Ed Brisson’s Cable newer mutants storyline that was being produced at the same time.


Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars - This book had some beautiful art but the stylized text made it difficult to read in places. The story is interesting but only managed a couple reveals in the span of the first volume. I doubt I will continue but wonder if the creators have an endgame in mind. It seems to be presented as such.


The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl OHC1

Having enjoyed the graphic novel they did, this was the next step and it’s a very fun collection. It’s a shame Marvel isn’t promoting this more as it’s a great little book. It also has a very stable writer and artist, which when artists are being chopped and changed to crank the books faster than ever, is a big deal. It’s also a major benefit to the book, as it gives it a very distinctive visual identity.

The only minor flaw is the footnotes are both a bit too small and the font too light to be easily read, which is a damn shame as they are very good - when I make the effort to read this light micro-text on a white background.

This collected the 8-issue 2015 miniseries that set everything up and introduced the gang, so be interesting how the ongoing builds on this.

Action Comics Deluxe Volume 2

There’s only one major flaw with these deluxe editions DC are putting out - their complete failure on collecting crossovers. DC are sticking to the issues only, so this one has the Action Comic pieces of Reborn, but not the Superman issues and it’ll vice versa on the Superman Deluxe Volume 2 due in a few months too. It irks more now that DC have issued a Deluxe edition of Batman / Flash: The Button - so they can do it, they’re just choosing not to. Which is more a habit from DC’s bad old days than the new Rebirth DC.

Outside of that major flaw, the two stories here are very good and fit into the overall mosaic leading to Doomsday Clock that they’ve slowly been building. Despite an absolute grab-bag of artists, with a fair amount of visual change, it never veers so much as to be jarring. It’s quite the trick to pull off and is arguably one of the secrets behind DC’s success with Rebirth.

Even though I know it’s probably doomed, the idea of a Superman and Luthor reconciliation is still one I find very interesting. Not least as hatred, at its heart, is pretty much the opposite of that rationality that Luthor lays claim to. What gets sketched out here is that Luthor’s biggest flaw is his ego, if not for that he might have done so much more. It’s going to be interesting to see how things play out with Apokolips, given the future he saw.

The second story is built around the Superman Revenge Squad and exploring the aftermath of Reborn. It’s pretty much a masterclass in how to use continuity and other stories to greatly enhance the story being told without confusing the reader. As there’s six villains, all with different axes to grind and it summarises all the info needed quickly and effectively. Very intriguing and surprisingly open-ended conclusion too.

Looking forward to the Oz Effect Deluxe now which is out in towards the end of the month.


They were both ongoings, it was just interrupted by Secret Wars.

I’m glad the book is under-the-radar enough that it never has to tie in to (or even acknowledge) any of the big crossover events.


I was thinking more in terms of the character cast it now has, so more micro rather than macro.

I’ve got the second OHC downstairs, as it and the first were going for a bargain price, but as the third OHC is out soon - 'twas time to get around to reading it.


Good Squirrel Girl review, glad you like it. I think it’s terrific, and only gets better.

I believe it sells like gangbusters in the non-direct market. I think they are promoting it intensely, just not in the places we’d see.


Hmm, still think it’d be unusual for Marvel in terms of promotion as they don’t tend to care much about trades. If so though, no bad thing.

Can easily see why it’s doing well - there’s a lot to like.


It’s doing well enough that they gave it a OGN, as well as two kids’ novels. Plus that New Warriors TV show, whatever’s happening with that.


Yeah, so they must have noticed the trades started doing well. I’m actually happy Marvel is giving a toss about trades for a change.

Hmm, what’s this?


They announced a cast last year:

But then the network couldn’t find a spot for it in its 2018 schedule, and Disney asked for it back.

There hasn’t been any update since.




It’s stuff like publishing through Scholastic, appealing to school librarians etc.


Oh, that’d do it!


Should the lack of a second Tomb of Dracula complete collection, while Werewolf By Night has had three in the same timespan, be a cause of concern (for those wanting more ToD completes, I mean, not just general concern for everyone)?


Moon Girl, which is also possibly getting a TV show (animated) does the same thing.


Glad you’ve been enjoying Action Comics Ben, I’ve enjoyed the good old fashioned superhero style of Jurgens writing and whilst not every arc has been a blinder there’s been a few cracking story ideas and it’s been delivered at quite a nice relentless pace; definite feeling of a writer giving his all and not holding back ideas and decompressing for future issues.


Global Frequency

For some reason I’d never got around to Global Frequency, so when I saw this complete collection of all 12 issues on sale on Comixology a while back I went for it.

It’s a great book that distils a lot of Warren Ellis’ major preoccupations into a fun slice of sci-fi secret-agent action, with a done-in-one structure that delivers a constant flow of ideas and also keeps things constantly tense and energetic.

That structure also sees a different artist handle each of the book’s twelve issues, with some top names lining up to work on the series. It means that every issue is a single complete story - which keeps things tight and pleasingly compressed - and it also gives us a chance to see lots of different visual takes on the same core concepts, which provides a great example of just how much influence an artist has over the feel of a series.

Despite the basic structure of each story being more or less the same, the twelve issues each have their own distinctive tone, with Ellis tailoring his stories to the artists’ particular strengths. Glenn Fabry, Chris Sprouse and Steve Dillon provide some of my favourite issues in the bunch, but they’re all good in their own way.

Some of the tech and cultural references are slightly dated now - over-explaining things like GPS and parkour that are now part of everyday vocabulary - but for the most part it’s actually fairly timeless stuff.

I also love the little touches of levity and humour that Ellis throws in, like this little moment during a story set in London.

That page also touches on another aspect of the series that’s handled well: the diversity of its cast. The book never beats you over the head with it, but the concept of a global secret agent network allows for a wide range of races, cultures and locations, and the book makes full use of them, stopping things from feeling too samey or familiar.

It’s a great series and I wish there was more of it. It’s also something that seems obviously ripe for TV adaptation - I think they made a pilot a while back but I’m surprised it didn’t get further, as it feels like it would lend itself very well to the small screen for lots of reasons.


For anyone interested, it’s getting an OHC release in April.


Yes, I was considering that before I saw the digital version so cheap. I like it enough that I might be tempted to get the physical copy even so. It’s up there with Ellis’ best stuff for me.