Yeah, now you mention it, that is odd. I ordered it a week or so back. It says “dispatched in 3-5 days” but still has the 18th Sept as the release date.
Well, they’re also currently flogging the last Wild’s End volume which I’m waiting out because I don’t want to pay over £12 for it and that’s officially due 6 Sept.
There’s some odd early cases right now.
Couple of Image trades I’ve been waiting a while for:
Looking forward to going back to the start on postal once vol 7 arrives ( and I finish sandman and whatever else I’ve got stacked up as priority reads)
A Marvel weekend:
S.H.E.L.D: Architects of Forever / The Human Machine OHCs
Best read as a 12-issue epic with the Infinity issue as a coda, this is perhaps the most HIckman of his Marvel works - written script pages, diagrams, complex ideas - it’s all here. The story is staggeringly ambitious spanning a decade, along with past and future and multiple timelines. It’s the kind of story you can only see Hickman pulling off - and he does.
Weaver’s art is equally extraordinary too. A particular example is a double page towards the end for time travel which covers specific points in the Marvel timeline to make its point. It wouldn’t work in any other medium except comics.
Ms Marvel OHC4
If you want to see how diversity and plot topicality is done, this is the book to read. It makes two things very difficult things look effortlessly easy. Nor, even at the end, after 48 issues, is there any indication Wilson’s running out of things to do in the book.
This volume is focused on the Civil War 2 fallout, a necessary evil, but like the event itself, Wilson makes it work for the book, not against. There’s subtle indications of a reconciliation eventually with Bruno. There’s some subtle observations on society, American and Wakandan. There’s villains torn from the headlines of papers and the internet, but both really work.
Avengers: No Surrender OHC
I think this story might have suffered because it was a self-contained epic that doesn’t have any really major continuity impact - well, save one and people know who that is by now. For me that was one of the attracting factors about it.
What you get here is an old school multiple team team-up, against a horde of adversaries including the Grandmaster. Hmm, do you think there was a film out with that character? Maybe. It’s married to a good high concept - that Earth is moved to act as a battleground, some Avengers are frozen into stasis too, but it still leaves a very large cast that the various creative teams use skillfully.
It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read, with some great art in places, some massive punch-ups and it all ends as it should.
RRP $34.99, so RRP £32, so perhaps down to £20, for a 4-issue series. Ouch. Story’s good but…
Good book with nice art but that’s ridiculous
Thing is when it’s Dark Horse whacking the price up, then the game is well and truly up!
So I was at a loose end last night, and pulled down the first two Blue Monday trades from my shelf, as I hadn’t read them in ages.
For those who don’t know, Blue Monday is a slice of life comedy/romance comic written and drawn (sporadically) by Chynna Clugston
-Major Flores, loosely based on her adolescence in California in the early 90s.
And like a lot of comics I’ve revisted in the last year or two that I found hilarious when I first encountered them, they’re not as funny now, but still enjoyable. That very first strip that caught my eye in Action Girl Comics (reprinted in the Oni edition of The Kids are Allright, but not the recent Image reprint) doesn’t have the same impact or sense of fun it did … checks calendar… 19 year ago? Christ. But the books are still enjoyable. It helps that i like a lot of the music the characters do, and they feel real.
Or they do to me anyway, half the group of friends in the books don’t seem to like each other very much, which sounds like a lot of the people I hung out with in school. Alain’s growing infatuation with Bleu is handled very well - from the bit early on where he claims he doesn’t care what she thinks about attractive boys while searching want ads for a moped (one of her fantasies is cool mod on a lambretta), and later dressing in total mod gear when they all go out to the ska show. It follows on into the second story when he realises he fancies her, but doesn’t realise that maybe the day after videoing her in the bath without her knowledge lisn’t the right time to ask her out. It rams home that these characters are 14 and 15, they’re not adults playing teenagers as is often the case in teen romance comics.
So yeah, revisting the indie comics I liked as a teenager and into my early 20s has been weird.
Buy, buy, buy!
Seven Soldiers Omnibus - Books Etc - £31.79
4001AD Deluxe edition
A bit of background. Rai was OG Valiant’s first original superhero, spinning out of Magnus, Robot Fighter. As Magnus was set in the future while Turok and Solar were set in the present, there was little crossover between Magnus and Rai and the other charcters.
But the new Valiant doesn’t have the rights to Magnus, Solar and Turok, and as such Rai is off on his own in the future. Well, he has his own comic, and it was set in the year 4001, and because the Valiant universe has immortals some of them show up. And 4001AD is an event that builds out of the first two arcs of Rai’s solo comic.
The event itself is pretty standard. In 4001 New Japan is an orbiting habitat, the nation having grown upwards over the course of centuries before ultimately being launched into space. It’s ruled by Father, an AI which of course claims to be benevolent, but isn’t. Rai was Father’s enforcer, a human enhanced with nanotech, but he discovered Father’s true nature and rebelled, ultimately being exiled to Earth where he met up with Gilad Anni-Padda - the Eternal Warrior. The event picks up with Rai and Gilad working out how to get back into space, while Rai’s allies in New Japan deal with the fallout of their inserting a virus into Father’s systems. There’s some nice setpieces, which are rendered in spectacular fashion by Clayton Crain’s artwork. If you wanted to ever see a giant mech build out of the X-O Manowar armour fight a robot dragon head in space, this is the comic for you!
The reason I wanted to talk about it though is the ancilary material. Like most Valiant events, 4001AD is a miniseries with a series of one-shots, and linking stories in the regular comics that tie into the event. This event takes the best parts of two of the prior big Valiant events - Armour Hunters and Book of Death - and does some sterling work. For the duration of Armour Hunters, X-O Manowar didn’t feature any of the book’s regular characters, but instead told the origin story of he Hunters themselves, and here Rai is given over to the history of New Japan, the problems they faced that lead to Father’s creation of Rai, and how the various incarnations of the character prior to the current one highlighted different social aspects Father wanted to protect or enhance. This story is often tragic, especially the very first Rai, a child Father essentially abducts, experiments on, and is ultimately brutally murdered by dissidents.
Similarly Book of Death’s greatest asset was the one-shots showing the deaths of various characters - Harbinger, Bloodshot, Ninjak and X-O Manowar. Here the one-shots give us the distant future of X-O, Bloodshot and Shadowman, plus launch a new character called War Mother. Those first three one-shots are fantastic, melancholy stories. The X-O one is the only one that ties into the main story (it’s the origin of the mecha Rai uses to return to space), but that doesn’t detract from the impact of the other two. War Mother is a decent enough story, but it’s detfinitely the kind of thing you see as an introductory issue, there’s very little meat on the bones.
Thanks for writing this. I really enjoy almost everything Valiant puts out — i think they have a higher hit ratio than any publisher out there. But their stuff doesn’t really get discussed too often on this board, which I think is a shame. It’s very high quality sci-fi/superheroing
I keep meaning to talk more about Valiant comics, but I tend to only get them in Humble Bundles, read a bunch, write about some of them, but it takes significantly longer to write about than to read and I forget or can’t be arsed to go back to them…
Valiant do have excellent quality control. You never feel they just shove a book out there for the sake of it like other publishers do. They don’t make my very favourite comics but there is a confidence that whatever they put out is worth reading, in art as well as writing.
I’m a bit like Lorcan and tend to pick them up in Comixology sales in bulk so also probably don’t comment as much as I should.
I started a complete Fables read a couple of months ago and I’ve just got through volume 13 The Great Fables Crossover. Holy cow, what the hell was that? Absolute turd is what it is.
Just to clear things up. At first I though Kevin Thorne was supposed to be Willingham but then I wondered if he was actually supposed to be God. Now I’ve finished I’m still not sure. Also, who is that stupid little blue ox. He’s wasn’t funny and seemed pointless.
The blue ox was Babe the Blue Ox. He was a staple of Jack of Fables. The crossover is blah, but I can’t imagine it making any sense for people who didn’t read Jack of Fables. Because it was really a Jack of Fables story that they branded as a Fables tpb to sell more copies.
I’m hoping their recent sell-out to a Chinese multinational (and the departure of some key people) doesn’t affect that too much.
I think the key man seems to be Warren Simons, from all I’ve heard he’s the guy hiring the talent and is highly praised. I hope they’ll leave him to it and DMG are just interested in the IP. I can’t imagine they make a huge amount of money from the comics.
Simons left a bit after the sale:
Oh OK, not so great then.