Leave Your Spandex At the Door: Previewscope for June 2005

Welcome to the 51st installment of Leave Your Spandex At the Door!

It took me two or so years to get to number 50, it’s no surprise it would take 6 weeks to reach 50+1. Now that annoying English flus, painful food poisonings and mind-numbing work deadlines are out of the way, I hope to return to a regular program (, he said, only one week before heading back to Greece for Orthodox Easter).

First order of business, with my triumphant return is going through with the June PreviewScope, even if it’s only one week before the release of July’s Previews. As I said, English flu = bad stuff! Normal stream of lateness will be resumed shortly!

DARK HORSE COMICS

HELLBOY: THE ISLAND #1 (of 2)
MIKE MIGNOLA (W/A)
On sale June 22, FC, 32pg, $2.99

After more than two years at the bottom of the sea, Hellboy washes up on an island full of sunken ships where he is tempted by singing dead men and stupidly ignores good advice from an ancient enemy. This tale of gods and monsters offers the first revelations about one (or more) of the great secrets of Hellboy’s world.

Award-winning creator Mike Mignola presents the long-awaited sequel to 2001’s The Third Wish, and the first Hellboy series since the character was pushed into the mainstream by 2004’s hit film.

Mike Mignola returns to Hellboy as writer and artist! After the hit movie, lots of heads are turned to the crimson giant, although I’m sure Mignola’s return would have had more impact if it was closer to the movie’s release date, when interest on the property had peaked.

MAN WITH THE SCREAMING BRAIN #2
Written by Bruce Campbell, David Goodman, penciled by Rick Remender, inked by Hilary Barta and covers by Remender and Humberto Ramos.
The second issue of this film-cum-comics series from Bruce Campbell, star of Evil Dead and Army of Darkness, begins with our square-jawed anti-hero facedown in a ghetto alley, a bullet blown through his head, and ends with a reanimated monster that only this king of B-Movies could bring to life. How he gets there is the whole point in this bizarre romp involving mad scientists, retired KGB, trophy wives, and more scorned women than you can shake a stake at. In this crumbling Eastern European city straight out of a classic Universal horror film, all anyone wants is a way out, and they’ll stop at nothing–not murder, not extortion, not organ theft–to get it.
32 pages, $2.99, in stores on June 15

Bruce Campbell is a cult favourite “action/horror” actor, apparently made famous in comic geek circles by starring in a series of bad movies, followed by a supporting role in a family of bad Greek myth-raping TV series. Plus, he has an uncannily-shaped chin! I haven’t sampled his writing before, but this seems like another case of a celebrity comics fan being approached to write a comic with the purpose of cashing in on his name recognition value. Still, he’s writing a comic version of a B-movie, so he’s pretty much writing from years of experience.

DC COMICS

BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #192
Written by J. H. Williams III & Dan Curtis Johnson
Art and cover by Seth Fisher
J. H. Williams III, Dan Curtis Johnson (CHASE) and Seth Fisher (GREEN LANTERN: WILLWORLD) deliver the 5-part “Snow,” telling the origin of Mr. Freeze from a new perspective! A family tragedy, coupled with the creation of an untested technological development, forges the obsession of a super-villain.
On sale June 8 o 32 pg, FC, $2.50 US

Seth Fisher is the genius artist behind Willworld and the unjustly not-tpb’d VERTIGO POP: TOKYO mini-series. He has a truly distinct “wide-eyed” style that makes every single page a wonder to behold! I haven’t seen his name attached to any comics project the last few years, so I’m overjoyed he’s resurfaced, and on a gothic character like Batman who will be quite an intriguing fit to his style.

ACTION COMICS #828
Written by Gail Simone
Art by John Byrne & Nelson
Cover by Byrne
The amazing new creative team of Gail Simone, John Byrne & Nelson reveals the truth about the terrifying new villain Repulse, who levels half the city in her search for Dr. Polaris. And Superman is helpless before her power…
On sale June 8 o 32 pg, FC, $2.50 US

VILLAINS UNITED #2
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Dale Eaglesham & Wade von Grawbadger
Cover by J.G. Jones
The explosive miniseries exploring the underbelly of the DCU continues! Six extraordinary criminals stand against DC’s heroes and the combined might of Earth’s villains, united by the powerful and secretive Society. Plus, someone on the team may be a traitor who will push the villains beyond the limits of endurance!
On sale June 1 o 2 of 6 o 32 pg, FC, $2.50 US

Gail Simone continues to take giant leaps to the top of DC’s current creators’ pool, after cementing her name with her definitive long-running Birds of Prey run, she’s tried her hand at a psychological superhero thriller with Rose and Thorn, and now she is working on the company’s #1 character and is an integral part of DC’s big summer blockbuster event with her Villains United mini! I don’t see how she can top herself right now. Well, maybe with her JLA run, that has yet to see print and will likely crop up in an upcoming JLA: Classified arc. DC shows they can recognise true talent in new creators and go through the right steps to bring them to stardom.

DC SPECIAL: THE RETURN OF DONNA TROY #1
Written by Phil Jimenez
Art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
& George Perez
Cover by Phil Jimenez & George Perez
You can’t afford to miss DC SPECIAL: THE RETURN OF DONNA TROY, a spectacular
4-issue miniseries written by Phil Jimenez that unites artistic titans Jose Garcia-Lopez and George Perez for the first time and heralds the triumphant return of one of the DCU’s most popular characters! She was raised as a goddess, linked by blood to Wonder Woman, crowned as a Titan among both mortals and gods – but Donna Troy’s story is the triumph of the human spirit.
Torn from Earth by the events of TITANS/YOUNG JUSTICE: GRADUATION DAY, Donna Troy has reemerged among the Titans of Myth as Troia, Goddess of the Moon. But memories of a different life haunt her as she leads the Titans of Myth in the final battle of a long campaign of interplanetary conquest, gathering weapons, warriors, and worshippers to fulfill a mission she has begun to doubt. It will take the combined might of the Outsiders and the Teen Titans to solve this cosmic mystery and reveal Troia’s true destiny to her: a cosmic hero destined to unite legions against a threat to the entire universe!
The RETURN OF DONNA TROY is a new beginning for Donna Troy – and a stunning prologue of things to come throughout the entire DCU!
On sale June 29 o 1 of 4 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US Edited by Joan Hilty

As if anyone really believed she would stay dead after that hackjob of a death scene 2 years back! Donna’s return also marks George Perez’s return to pencilling after the Crossgen fallout and his health troubles, and it’s an occasion that should be rightfully celebrated!

JLA CLASSIFIED #8 & 9
Written by Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Art and cover by Kevin Maguire & Joe Rubinstein
The two concluding chapters to “I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League,” both released in June! In issue #7, the Super Buddies are back from their stint in Hell, faced with bigger problems (if you can believe it)! Blue Beetle has amnesia, and a giant-sized G’Nort is rampaging through the city! But before the Buddies can help, they’ll have to get past the Power Posse!
And it all comes to a head in issue #8! The Super Buddies have got it bad: They’re stuck in a parallel universe, separated into two groups, and in for the fight of their lives. Caught between a Godzilla-sized G’Nort and their evil doppelgangers in the Power Posse, it’s up to Guy Gardner and Booster Gold to save the day and return everyone to their strip mall headquarters!
Issue #8 on sale June 15; issue #9 on sale June 29 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

The end of the final Super-Buddies story. And on quite the high note, with Black Mary Marvel and Giant-Sized G’Nort (we all love G’Nort!) gracing the last two covers.

Giffen has stated he’s not returning the property in the future, and UI don’t see how he could, anyway. Recent big-ass crossover events have killed two of the book’s main protagonists (Beetle and Sue Dibny), sunk one in depression from grief (Elongated Man) and turned another one into an evil murderous mastermind (Maxwell Lord, the always goofy comic relief leader of the group). If I were Giffen, I’d storm the DC offices with a big f**kin’ shotgun and have my revenge! Instead, he’s been nothing but cordial and supportive of DC’s rape (figurative and literal in Sue’s case) of the characters he created or defined. JLA: classified is (along with GLA) the funniest book on the stands, and I can’t wait for this team’s next big strike when they take over Marvel’s Defenders and produce more work on their creator-owned Hero Squared!

SOLO #5
Written by Darwyn Cooke
Art and cover by Cooke
Fan-favorite writer/artist Darwyn Cooke (DC: THE NEW FRONTIER, CATWOMAN) takes the reins in SOLO #5, telling a series of enthralling stories in his uniqye style! Saddle up to the bar and grab a stool next to Slam Bradley, as the down-on-his-luck P.I. guides you through some of the craziest tales he’s ever heard. Thrill to the adventures of King Faraday in Cuba, dig the Question’s Middle Eastern math lesson, and attempt to understand a geek’s growing passion for his vacuum cleaner. And Slam’s stories end with a bang, as he spins a revenge yarn featuring Batman!
On sale June 29 o 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US

Darwyn Cooke wowed everyone on this site last year with his work on DC: The Final Frontier, which was voted as the Best mini series of 2004. His work is always at its sharpest when he inks himself and when he’s working on his own stories, as he has a real deep love for the classic DC heroes, and especially Slam Bradley, who he brought back to fame with Ed Brubaker during their historic Catwoman revival, and often acts as Darwyn’s personal “presence” in his DC projects.

THE AUTHORITY/LOBO SPRING BREAK MASSACRE
Written by Keith Giffen & Alan Grant
Art and cover by Simon Bisley
The team that delivered one outrageous crossover is back for another round – and this time, the kid gloves are off!
In 2003’s THE AUTHORITY/LOBO: JINGLE HELL, Jenny Quantum, after finding a copy of the Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special, brought Lobo to the WildStorm Universe to punish him for killing Santa. The only problem? After bringing Lobo into the WildStorm fold, she forgot to put him back – and he’s been rampaging there for well over a year!
So what would everyone’s favorite Czarnian do? For starters, he’d go looking for the Easter Bunny, who still owes him the money from the Santa hit. Only one hitch: There’s no Easter Bunny in the WildStorm Universe! Chaos ensues!
On sale June 22 o 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US o MATURE READERS Edited by Ben Abernathy

WILDSIDERZ #0
Written by J. Scott Campbell & Andy Hartnell
Art and cover by Campbell
Fan-favorite artist J. Scott Campbell (DANGER GIRL) makes a super-heroic return to comics with one of this summer’s hottest new series – WILDSIDERZ, as seen on the cover of May’s WIZARD #165!
A new breed of heroes is born when five teenaged friends create holographic forcefields which allow them to duplicate the powers of the animal kingdom. These high-tech heroes are the WILDSIDERZ, and this is the action-packed issue where the fun begins! This low-priced special – $1.99 for 32 pages – introduces the entire WILDSIDERZ cast in their own fully illustrated bio pages. Join Campbell and Wildsiderz co-creator Andy Hartnell as they take you inside the studio. From exclusive concept sketches to an in-depth interview with the creators, you’ll learn all the secrets behind their latest creation. But this extra-special issue is much more than that, with all-new, full-color, cover-to-cover artwork created for this book, including a Hollywood-style first look at the ongoing series in an 8-page preview story that’s exclusive to this issue! And be sure to reserve your copy of the extra-sized first issue, on sale August 3rd!
On sale June 15 o 32 pg, FC, $1.99 US
Edited by Scott Dunbier

I always cringe at the mere sight of Campbell’s exaggerated art and character designs, but this is a project that Wildstorm is really pushing forward as their hope for a new hit series. Although I still maintain my position about the quality of the artwork, I’ll admit the costume designs for the characters are really eye-catching, and something that could become a big pokemon or power rangers-esque hit with young kids, if correctly marketed. The characters wear normal spandex but each has a different-coloured flashy energy signature that forms a different animal characteristics on them.

LUCIFER #63
Written by Mike Carey
Art by Peter Gross & Ryan Kelly
Cover by Michael Wm. Kaluta
Part 1 of the 6-part story “Morningstar.” As Lucifer and Elaine re-enter the world, they must confront the offspring of the living tarot deck known as the Basanos, newly spawned from Jill Presto. Meanwhile, the lines of battle are being drawn around the Silver City, and the angels of the host are about to face an ambush from a quarter they never expected.
On sale June 15 o 32 pg, FC, $2.50 US o MATURE READERS

This is it! The final year of Lucifer begins, as the title runs full-steam ahead towards its apocalyptic 75th issue conclusion. After God abandoning his position, and Lucifer with the Gabriel-daughter Elaine creating a new third Creation to avoid Ragnarok, Mike Carey has set up a volatile new status-quo for his final year of stories, and I’m waiting with baited breath for the culmination of his epic.

NEIL GAIMAN’S NEVERWHERE #1
Written by Mike Carey
Art and cover by Glenn Fabry
NEIL GAIMAN’S NEVERWHERE, the classic novel of urban fantasy by the New York Times bestselling author and acclaimed writer of SANDMAN, comes to comics for the first time in this unforgettable nine-part series. VERTIGO’s exclusive adaptation features brilliant scripts by Mike Carey (LUCIFER, HELLBLAZER) and the astonishing artwork of Glenn Fabry (THE SANDMAN: ENDLESS NIGHTS, PREACHER), with Neil Gaiman overseeing the project as consultant.
Hidden far beneath the modern city is London Below, a strange alternate world of swirling colors, casual magic and gothic danger, populated by misfit characters who have, quite literally, fallen through the cracks of the workaday world above. The tale begins as Richard Mayhew, a very decent but very ordinary man, stumbles across Door, an extraordinary young lady from a London that Richard never dreamed could exist. His single act of kindness toward her immediately costs him his fiancι, brings a pair of unthinkably ruthless assassins to his flat, and sends him on a quest that could quickly end with his own untimely demise.
Don’t miss a free 8-page preview of this issue in FABLES #36!
On sale June 22 o 1 of 9 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US o MATURE READERS

FABLES #38
Written by Bill Willingham
Art by Mark Buckingham & Steve Leialoha
Cover by James Jean
In part 1 of the 5-part story “Return to the Homelands,” after fighting his way from one world to another, Boy Blue reaches the Imperial City, the capital of the Adversary’s vast empire, and confronts The Adversary. Can he possibly defeat The Adversary in single combat and rescue his lost love?
On sale June 8 o 32 pg, FC, $2.50 US o MATURE READERS

Boy Blue facing the Adversary might just mean we’ll finally learn the truth behind his identity, the series most closely-guarded secret since its inception!

IMAGE COMICS

BATTLE POPE #1
June 29 o 32 pg o FC o $2.95
written by ROBERT KIRKMAN
art & cover by TONY MOORE
When he’s not leadin’ mass, he’s out kickin’ ass! After the Rapture the sole protector of the sinning masses is BATTLE POPE, and his trusty sidekick, Jesus. They’re the last line of defense in a world overrun with demons and depravity. Reprinting ROBERT KIRKMAN’s first published work, now in stunning full color, with a brand new cover by original artist TONY MOORE and original cover colorist VAL STAPLES. Just in time for the book’s Fifth Anniversary!

Kirkman and Tony Moore have shot (back) to fame last year with their latest work, so there’s no better time to reprint their old work in this new trade. Or is it? With last week’s big Papal funeral, I fear retailers may consider it distasteful to carry this book on their racks. Good think I’m pre-ordering to be on the safe side ^_^ !

GODLAND #1
June 22 o 32 pg o FC o $2.95
written by JOE CASEY
art by TOM SCIOLI
cover by TOM SCIOLI & RICHARD STARKINGS
BOOK ONE: COSMIC WHEELS IN MOTION
Adam Archer is Earth’s star-powered champion. But what does his existence mean for the rest of humanity? And how long until the rest of the universe takes notice? Mind-altering aliens! Surreal super-villains! All-out action! The greatest heroic epic of the new age begins here! One issue of GΨDLAND and you’ll be hooked!

Joe Casey has been at his most busiest the last year, at some point seeing 3 titles in print in the same month, all for different companies and with completely different flavours. “CaseyWorld” round two kicks off with Godland, a superhero epic featuring art by the Kirbyesque artist of the Freedom Force comic, Tom Scioli.

STRANGE GIRL #1
June 8 o 32 pg o FC o $2.95
written by RICK REMENDER
art & cover by ERIC NGUYEN
Ten years after the Rapture, the Earth is unprotected by God, and the demonic citizens of hell have flooded our world, enslaving the remaining human population.
After saving the life of a runt demon named Bloato, bartender, occultist, and all around arse kicker Bethany Black discovers that God is soon returning to wipe the Earth clean of everything unholy. With the end of the world coming, Bethany and Bloato set out to find the last doorway left into heaven and plead for admission.

INVINCIBLE: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION, VOL. 1 HC
June 8 o 400 pg o FC o $34.95
written by ROBERT KIRKMAN
art by CORY WALKER, RYAN OTTLEY, and FRIENDS
cover by RYAN OTTLEY & BILL CRABTREE
Get in on the ground floor. This MASSIVE hardcover collects the first 13 issues of Robert Kirkman’s Eisner Nominated superhero hit along with all the extras from the first three trade paperback volumes and even MORE on top of that! INVINCIBLE: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION, VOLUME 1 is a can’t miss for anyone who’s wanted to start reading INVINCIBLE, but needed an easier way to start from the beginning. Introduction by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS.
collects INVINCIBLE #1-13, plus LOADS of extras!

Image matches Marvel prices on Hardcovers, with the collection of the series that caught everyone by surprise and shot Kirkman to star status in the House of Ideas, writing books in a Bendis pace, whilst keeping the quality at normal standards (at least most of the time! Looking at you, you smelly mallrat!).

GIRLS #2
June 22 o 32 pg o FC o $2.95
written by JOSHUA LUNA
art & cover by JONATHAN LUNA
Like many men, Ethan has always envisioned a dream girl – someone who could defy the mundane trappings of reality and become a living fantasy. But when Ethan’s dreams are finally fulfilled, will it really be that fantastic?

With ULTRA, one of 2004’s best MR titles (as voted by yours truly, of course), the Luna Brothers proved they’re a creative pair to watch out for, especially when it comes to writing female characters. They were wise to quickly follow up on Ultra’s success with another new title strongly focusing on female characters, although they still run the danger of getting typecast into a corner. But that’s something only worth considering when their choice of 3rd project rears its head. GIRLS is set in a small town, contrary to Ultra’s flashy metropolitan setting, and will have the battle of the sexes as it’s central theme.

HERO CAMP #2 (of 4)
June 15 o 32 pg o FC o $2.95
written by GREG THOMPSON
art & cover by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ & RUSS LOWERY
A day off at Camp Enokchuk means a good time for everyone — except Eric. A quiet day of writing turns into a fight for survival against Goat and Hook, and only a trio of unlikely heroes stand between Eric and a grisly fate!

MARVEL COMICS

It’s HOUSE OF M season at the House of Cheap Crossovers, and we’re doomed to see ripples of Bendis-mania all across the line of titles. From what I gather Scarlet Witch is gonna f**k up the mainstream Marvel continuity so that mutants are loved and embraced by a world that understands them. Yay for Xavier’s dream. And all because Magneto, after 4 or so decades of stories finally realised he actually gives a shit for the daughter he used to carry around as his slave. Yay for Bendis continuity. The solicits warn us of course that this is the Marvel Event of the Decade (sic), kind of like Avengers Disassembled. Or the new Arana series! Or the new Age of Apocalypse. The House of M(isinformation)…

Damn you Jesse Baker, get out of my head!!! Rant over, here’s the solicit text, although this gets a bad vibe nod from me this month

HOUSE OF M #1 (of 8)
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Pencils and Cover by OLIVIER COIPEL
THE MARVEL EVENT OF THE DECADE IS HERE!! The Avengers and the X-Men are faced with a common foe that becomes their greatest threat: Wanda Maximoff! The Scarlet Witch is out of control and the fate of the entire world is in her hands. Will Magneto help his daughter or use her powers to his own benefit? Starring the Astonishing X-Men and the New Avengers!! You know how sometimes you hear the phrase: AND NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN? Well, this time believe it, buster!! NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!
32 PGS./T+ Suggested for Teens and Up – $2.99 please note: Each issue of house of M will have a special variant cover.

SPIDER-MAN: HOUSE OF M #1 (of 5)
Written by MARK WAID & TOM PEYER
Pencils and Cover by SALVADOR LARROCA
32 PGS./T+ Suggested for Teens and Up – $2.99

GRAVITY #1 (of 5)
Written by SEAN MCKEEVER
Pencils & Cover by MIKE NORTON
You’ve made your way through high school and moved out of your parents’ house. You’re finally ready to get a job, pick a major, and meet the girl of your dreams. You’ve got it all figured out… right? Right?!
Meet freshman Greg Willis, NYC newbie from the rural Midwest hoping to realize his dream of becoming a big-city super hero. But will the realities of city life, college and saving the day prove to be too much for him? Let Sean McKeever and Mike Norton, the creative team responsible for the acclaimed Indie drama, The Waiting Place, introduce to you the next great Marvel hero!
32 PGS./T+ Suggested for Teens and Up – $2.99

Another new Marvel series from the talented Mr. McKeever. Marvel seems to be of two minds about mr McKeever. On one hand they obviously realize his great knack for writing teen dramas, by constantly giving him new titles in that vein (Mary Jane, Sentinel, Inhumans and now GRAVITY). On the other hand, they always seem to change their minds a few months afterwards, when the titles fail to sell in mainstream X-title numbers (gee, noone expected that) and they cancel his titles by the 12th issue mark at the latest. Eventually someone will realize McKeever’s teen drama sells better in the digest manga trade format, and let us enjoy his stories past the dreaded 1-year doom mark.
Special note to New Warriors fans: a beloved former New Warrior and former Avenger is making a guest-appearance in this issue! I hear it’s all the Rage!

X-MEN: KITTY PRYDE – SHADOW & FLAME #1 (of 6)
Written by AKIRA YOSHIDA
Pencils and Cover by PAUL SMITH
A deadly mystery draws Kitty Pryde and her fire-breathing friend Lockheed from the Astonishing X-Men to the shores of Japan. Ninjas and dragons will be the least of their worries! Featuring art by legendary X-Men artist Paul Smith and written by Age of Apocolypse scribe Akira Yoshida!
32 PGS./T+ Suggested for Teens and Up – $2.99

Paul Smith returns to monthly penciling duties on an X-Men title! An X-Men title starring Kitty Pryde and Lockheed! And Ninjas, let’s not forget ninjas!! Of course, the title is also written by Akira “I remember I left my plot somewhere around here, can you please help me find it, sir?” Yoshida, but I’m buying this strictly for the art. Paul Smith is the best artist in the X-Men’s history, managing to cement his name as one of the title’s definitive artists with less than a full year’s worth of stories! Here’s more hoping that Marvel wakes up and gets Smith on alternating art duties with Alan Davis on Uncanny X-Men, or as deadline relief for Cassaday on Astonishing (Paul Smith’s X-Men era is amongst Whedon’s favourites, as seen by the various nods to those events in his first issue).

ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #20
Written by MIKE CAREY
Pencils and Cover by JAE LEE
“THINK TANK” Our special two-part saga continues as the fledgling F.F. find themselves helpless in a Baxter Building gone mad! Has young Reed Richards, the world’s smartest man, finally met his match? Part 2 (of 2)
32 PGS./T+ Suggested for Teens and Up – $2.50

FANTASTIC FOUR: THE MOVIE #1
Written by MIKE CAREY
Penciled by DAN JURGENS
PHOTO COVER
The First Family of Marvel makes the leap from the printed page to the silver screen. It’s the Marvel movie everybody’s been waiting for! Featuring the all-new 52-page adaptation of the sure-to-be-a-hit film–telling the origin of Marvel’s greatest super team and their first encounter with Doctor Doom! This comic is also jam packed with bonus features!
64 PGS./T+ Suggested for Teens and Up – $4.99

Mike Carey has officially become a part of the Ultimate family of creators with this second project after Ultimate Elektra. Now he’s widening his scope, writing about Marvel’s first family and the black sheep of the Ultimate line quality-wise. I’m not sure if I should get my hopes up, as no creator so far has managed to avoid the Fantastic Curse and give us anything interesting with these unnecessarily ultimatized characters.
Ad of course, Carey follows up on the Ultimate FF, with their movie counterparts. Again, despite my love for Carey’s work, I can’t have any hopes for the tightly-plotted movie adaptations that try to cram 2-3 hours of film into 64 comic pages.

LAST HERO STANDING #1 – 5 (of 5)
Written by TOM DEFALCO
Penciled by PAT OLLIFFE
Cover by MARK BAGLEY
A WEEKLY FIVE-PART EVENT THAT UNITES TWO GENERATIONS!
The great heroes of the marvel universe are vanishing without a trace! What has happened to Spider-Man, the thing, the scarlet witch, Captain America, and the rest of the MU’s heavy hitters? Spider-Girl, the fantastic five and a-next must join forces with today’s superstars to uncover the answer – and the trail leads to a major Avengers villain! Does the presence of the Watcher signify the end of this age of heroes?
32 PGS. each/ALL AGES – $2.99 each

G.L.A. #3 (of 4)
Written by DAN SLOTT
Pencils and Cover by
PAUL PELLETIER
Sure, we killed a Great Lakes Avenger in #1. And another in #2. But this time it’s personal!
32 PGS./T+ Suggested for Teens and Up – $2.99

This year’s best new series from Marvel! Darkly comical, satirising the recent dark trend in both companies, dismembering the Mr. Immortal’s beloved loser squad and adding in new favourites from Marvel’s more colourful past like Squirrel Girl (with squirrel advice-dispensing sidekick) and Grasshopper! I hope they do battle with the Legion of Losers soon enough, and that this gem is extended into 12 episodes as it richly deserves.

NEW WARRIORS #1 (of 6)
Written by ZEB WELLS
Pencils and Cover by SKOTTIE YOUNG
Because you demanded it – the return of the New Warriors! When Night Thrasher strikes a mysterious deal with a Reality-TV producer, the team moves out of New York to help the villain-plagued denizens of small-town America. But will their filmed exploits be uplifting, or just exploitative? And is heartland America ready for Big City Super-Heroics?
32 PGS./T+ Suggested for Teens and Up – $2.99

Yuck. That’s my only response to this cover (it took me 15-20 minutes before I realized where Namorita’s (newly blue again) body extended next to the Blob-like Warrior. Supposedly this new take on the once-popular ’90s team will be a humour book, which is totally missing the point of the NW concept. Back when Nicieza and Bagley first brought these C-stringer characters together, they were shot to the heights of popularity (once unwisely logging 2 or 3 spin-off books) because they made these characters deal with serious issues like Civil War, pollution, parental abuse, violence and murder. Playing it for laughs now, will likely seal this book’s fate similarly to volume 2’s bland superheroic failed revival.

INCREDIBLE HULK #82
Written by PETER DAVID
Pencils & Cover by JAE LEE
Stand-Alone Story!
On his own in London, Bruce Banner watches in horror as a young woman is blown to bits right in front of him. But she is no ordinary woman: She is a sorceress with a strange connection to Banner, and the Hulk is the only one who can aid her rapidly fading spirit self in seeking vengeance on those who murdered her.
32 PGS./T+ Suggested for Teens and Up – $2.99

Hulk Smash London! With Jae Lee! And Peter David still on board after his first story arc. Buy, puny human!

RUNAWAYS #5
Written by BRIAN K. VAUGHAN
Penciled by ADRIAN ALPHONA
Cover by JO CHEN
“TRUE BELIEVERS”
As Chamber and the other teen former-heroes continue to scour Los Angeles in search of the Runaways, Victor Mancha finally learns which classic Marvel villain is his father… a revelation that will have everyone in comics talking! Part 5 (of 6).
32 PGS./T+ Suggested for Teens and Up – $2.99

Brian K. Vaughan is the one guy I don’t doubt when I read these silly hyperbole solicits from Marvel. If he says everyone will be talking about this, you can be damn sure it’s gonna be a big and pull-the-carpet-under-your-feet unexpected twist! Here’s hoping (lots of hoping in this month’s Previewscope) that the True Believers get their chance at a spin-off mini-series from this, Vaughan has revitalized my interested in these failed super-teens (and Chamber).

NEW X-MEN: HELLIONS #2 (of 4)
Written by CHRISTINA WEIR AND NUNZIO DEFILIPPIS
Pencils and Cover by CLAYTON HENRY
The Hellions are faced with the ultimate temptation: one wish each, a whole new life. What will they wish for? And what will it cost them?
32 PGS./T+ Suggested for Teens and Up – $2.99

Talk about your interesting concepts! The wish-fullfillment gig isn’t anything new in comics, but it’s a perfect way to flesh out these new characters who have so far only held the villains-antagonists role in New X-Men: Academy. The team includes the underexposed Afghani Mutant Dust from Morrison’s run, who made a big hype splash with her first appearance and then disappeared into the New Marvel regime’s “please keep quiet” directions to comics creators.

X-MEN UNLIMITED #9
Written by MATT FRACTION & DAMON HURD
Pencils by SAM KIETH & MARK BROOKS
Cover by MARK BROOKS
Critically acclaimed indy writer Matt Fraction (Last of the Independents) joins legendary artist Sam Kieth for an action-packed story about Wolverine’s greatest deaths, and just how they’ve affected the nearly-invulnerable mutant over the years. Then, Eisner-award nominee Damon Hurd (My Uncle Jeff) and Mark Brooks tell an extraordinary story about X-Man Bobby Drake, a.k.a. Iceman, and just what it means to have been a part of the X-Men from the very start!
32 PGS./T+ Suggested for Teens and Up – $2.99

oh, a name-dropping recommendation! Matt Fraction! Sam Kieth! Damon Hurd! And featuring a satiric take on Wolverine’s deaths and a personal character story with the favourite dysfunctional X-Man, Iceman.

FANTASTIC FOUR OMNIBUS Vol. 1 HC
Written by STAN LEE & JACK KIRBY
Cover & pencils by JACK KIRBY
Variant Dust Jackets by JACK KIRBY & ALEX ROSS
They were visionaries. Explorers. Imaginauts. They were Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. And like their creations – the Fantastic Four – they continually strove to overcome the impossible and achieve the extraordinary. Now, the first three years of their landmark run on FANTASTIC FOUR – issues #1-30 and Annual #1 – are collected in one oversized volume. This keepsake edition also includes all original letters pages and pinups, critical commentaries, a historical overview, and other DVD-style extras – and features the best-ever reproduction of FANTASTIC FOUR #1.
All Ages, 848 pgs, $99.99
TRIM SIZE: OVERSIzED

See that on the title? “Vol.1”! We can look forward to two (or three) more to complete Stan and Jack’s legendary run that shaped the Marvel universe, and provided the next 3 decades of writers with tons of material and character to retread into a mushy pulp. The price point is a bit excessive. Although this baby is indeed thicker than your average Essential volume, it’s still priced in current Marvel Hardcover logistics, although these are all Marvel archive issues, and logically don’t carry a royalties burden for the company. Still an unmissable edition for any serious FF fan.

INDIES PUBLISHERS

GIFFEN’S WHAT WERE THEY THINKING ONE SHOT
BOOM! STUDIOS p.270

Keith Giffen re-writes and re-mixes a classic Wallace Wood WWII comic in the tradition of Mystery Science Theater 3000! With Woody providing the eye-searing art, Giffen comes in and re-writes the dialogue in his classic Ambush Bug and Lobo style! 32pgs, FC SRP: $3.99

HERO SQUARED #2
BOOM! STUDIOS p. 270

by Giffen, DeMatteis, & Abraham Things heat up. In most super-hero circles, it’d be enough to have a love triangle. But in this tale of two dimensions, Captain Valor starts going for Milo’s girl Stephie, while Milo starts to think Valor’s arch-enemy Caliginous is pretty hot. 24pgs, FC (2 of 3) SRP: $3.99

Mentioned earlier in my JLA Classified rant, this is Giffen and DeMatteis’s new creator-owned venture, starring an average bloke who meets his alternate reality self, who is a superhero, trying to discover from vaillainess who is revealed to be the alternate reality self of his girlfriend! Things can only get hairy after this.

RED SONJA #1
D. E. p.282

by Oeming & Carey, Rubi, Rodriguez & Isanove D.E. presents the ULTIMATE Red Sonja! The opening issue of this new, ongoing series finds Sonja on an epic quest; a quest to rid the world of an ancient evil. And a quest that places her in battle between the Zeddas and the Kingdom of Gathia. The legend of Red Sonja begins here! This story re-introduces Red Sonja to the world of comics, and is a classic in the making! All-Star covers by Micahel Turner, John Cassaday, Paolo Rivera, Joseph Michael Linser, and Alex Ross. Also available in a Mel Rubi Red Foil cover edition, featuring cover art available nowhere else! REGULAR–7×10, 32pgs, FC SRP: $2.99 RUBI FOIL–7×10, 32pgs, FC PI

ANTIQUE BAKERY VOL. 1
DMP publishing

Writer/Artist: Fumi Yoshinaga A high school crush; a world-class pastry chef; a former middle-weight boxing champion… and a whole lot of cake! Antique Bakery was so popular in Japan that a TV drama was made from the series! Winner of the 2002 Kodansha Manga Award equivalent to a Eisner or Harvey award in America, other popular titles that have won are Fruits Basket, Peach Girl, Love Hina, Initial D, and GTO some of America’s best-sellers! Ono has come a long way since the agonizing day in high school when he confessed his love to handsome Tachibana. Now, some 14 years later Ono, a world-class pastry chef and gay playboy has it all. No man can resist Ono’s charms (or his cooking skills!) but he has just found a new position under a man named Tachibana. Can this be the only man who resisted his charms, and if so, will the man who once snubbed the “magically gay” Ono get his just desserts? And how in the heck did a former middleweight boxing champion wind up as Ono’s cake boy? MATURE AUDIENCES SC, 6×8, 200pgs, B&W $12.95.

YELLOW VOL. 1
DMP publishing

Writer/Artist: Makoto Tateno Taki and Goh are an expert team of bandits hired by the police to steal from the mafia. But lately, Goh has become preoccupied with acquiring Taki rather than the usual caches of arms and drugs. Will Taki and Goh become a new kind of partners? Yellow begins with a brewing personal interest between Taki and Goh, but Taki is still unwilling to answer to Goh’s desires. A gangster’s jealousy of Goh’s feelings for Taki leads to Taki’s kidnapping and it’s up to Goh’s cunning and charms to save him. Working solo, it’s also up to Goh to find the drugs he was hired to steal while sidestepping a police conspiracy powder keg. MATURE AUDIENCES SC, 6×8, 184pgs, B&W $12.95

DMP, or Digital Manga Publishing is a new company that seems to specialize in the market of Yaoi (or “Boy Love”, featuring boy-boy romance) manga comics. This month sees the solicitation of two new titles: Yellow and Antique Bakery. Although Yaoi manga is usually created by female mangakas and aimed at female readers, I’ve recently become enamoured with the genre. With DEMO having wrapped up recently, and Gravitation ending this month (both from TokyoPop), it’s great to see there’s a new company that’s willing to cater to the needs of the Yaoi fans!

GRAVITATION VOL. 12 SC (OF 12)
TOKYOPOP

Creator: Maki Murakami Bad Luck is out to crash Nittle Grasper’s concert with a brand new song! Can Shuichi steal the thunder from Ryuichi, or has Bad Luck’s streak finally run out? At the same time, Shuichi and Yuki’s relationship has hit the roof–will the shadow of a former love bring down the curtain for good? Don’t miss this rocking finale! SC, 5×7, 192pgs, B&W (12 of 12) $9.99

FRUITS BASKET VOL. 10 SC (OF 14)
TOKYOPOP

Creator: Natsuki Takaya Tohru and the Sohmas are spending time at the Sohma family’s summer house, but it’s not all fun in the sun on this little trip. Akito pays a surprise visit, causing a commotion for the rest of the family at the house. Shigure takes a trip down memory lane with an old friend, remembering the days when Hatori wasn’t so aloof. Meanwhile, Tohru starts thinking — what must life be like for the parents and lovers of a cursed member of the Sohma family? Can life with this family truly be happy while bearing such a burden? SC, 5×7, 196pgs, B&W $9.99

CAVALCADE OF BOYS VOL. 1 SC
POISON PRESS

by Tim Fish Cavalcade of Boys is a critically acclaimed series revolving around the romantic lives of a number of gay men. While the characters’ sexual appetites have been described as “healthy,” the series focuses on the complexities of modern gay relationships and friendships. In addition to collecting the early issues of this soapy gay romance series, this trade paperback also includes little-seen and exclusive material. MATURE THEMES SC, 6×9, 192pgs, B&W SRP: $14.00

ACTION PHILOSOPHERS: ALL-SEX SPECIAL
EVIL TWIN COMICS

by Fred Van Lente & Ryan Dunlavey For All Ages! (Yes, really!) A 2004 Xeric Winner! “I Was the President’s Love Slave!” tells the shocking true story of Thomas Jefferson, the contradictory genius of American Democracy (and Racism)! Also: St. Augustine: The hard-loving, hard-drinking African mastermind of Catholic dogma; and Ayn Rand: A steamy love affair nearly ruined her Objectivist Institute! 32pgs, B&W SRP: $2.95

BRONTES: INFERNAL ANGRIA #1
HEADLESS SHAKESPEARE PRESS p. 313

by Craig McKenney & Rick Geary Living in the isolation of the Parsonage house in Haworth Village, the four Bronte children make a startling discovery: a doorway to another world! But what seems like a paradise soon reveals itself to be just as dark as the real world! Can the siblings resist the allure of Angria, or will they be seduced by it? Either way, their spirits, their beliefs and their family bond will be tested to the limit. 24pgs, B&W (1 of 3) SRP: $4.00

ANGEL: THE CURSE #1
IDW PUBLISHING

Jeff Mariotte (w); David Messina (a); David Messina, Tim Bradstreet, Igor Kordey, Ben Templesmith (c) Joss Whedon’s classic vampire character returns to comics and IDW’s got him! In this first issue of a new Angel tale, Angel has survived the conclusion of his TV show and finds himself in a mysterious Romanian forest. There, his search for the Gypsy tribe that cursed him years ago takes a turn for the worse. This book, written by fan-favorite Angel author Jeff Mariotte, under the creative guidance of Joss Whedon, will be of sure-fire appeal to fans of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Angel alike! Issue one will feature variant covers from Tim Bradstreet, Igor Kordey, and Ben Templesmith. Also available in a Signed Edition, signed by Tim Bradstreet. Note: Covers will be shipped in a 1 to 1 ratio. REGULAR–32pgs, FC (1of 5) $3.99 SIGNED–32pgs, FC (1of 5) PI

The story of TV sweetheart vampire-with-a-soul/detective Angel continues past the last TV season in comic-book form! I expect Whedon fans to climb out of the woodwork for this, although the book isn’t actually written by the man himself.

SHAUN OF THE DEAD #1
IDW PUBLISHING

Chris Ryall (w); Zach Howard (a); Jason Brashill (c) Presenting IDW’s official adaptation of last year’s wildly popular rom-zom-com (that’s “romantic zombie comedy,” of course!). This “director’s cut” adaptation, produced with the full participation of the movie’s co-writer/director and co-writer/star, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, will feature deleted scenes and other never-before-seen material. In issue one, Shaun has no time for zombies; he’s too busy trying to sort out his own troubled love life. Of course, zombies have a way of intruding on even the most mundane of lives. Adapted by IDW’s Editor-in-Chief, Chris Ryall, with art by Zach Howard (Detective Comics). Also available in a Signed Edition, signed by Chris Ryall. REGULAR–32pgs, FC (1 of 4) $3.99 SIGNED–32pgs, FC (1of 4) PI

Another screen-to-comic adaptation from IDW, this time of the cult hit Zombie-movie geek homage, Shaun of the Dead! I’m surprised with how Simon Pegg (the film’s writer and star) isn’t more actively involved with this adaptation, seeing as he’s a comics writer himself.

HEARTBREAKERS MEET BOILERPLATE
IDW PUBLISHING

Anina Bennett (w); Paul Guinan (a) It’s kung fu clones and robot romance! From Anina Bennett and Paul Guinan (Chronos) comes a brand-new tale of the pioneering female action heroes, Heartbreakers, and the long-lost 19th-century robot, Boilerplate (already a worldwide legend), who team up for a science fiction adventure. The art for this manga-sized graphic novel is created in a revolutionary new illustration technique called “paintography,” combining drawing, painting, and photography, and printed in rich brown ink. You’ve never seen anything like it! For sample pages and more info, visit www.BigRedHair.com. SC, 6×9, 104pgs, FC $9.99

NORTHWEST PASSAGE #1
ONI PRESS

by Scott Chantler Rupert’s Land, 1755. Follow famed adventurer, Charles Lord as he and a small band of survivors flee into the wilderness after a band of French mercenaries ambush England’s Fort Newcastle. Charles’s only hope for survival is to unite the various people of the land and of his past against this new threat. Set in the vast wooded expanses of Canada, Northwest Passage marks the beginning of an ongoing two-fisted historical-action series. 72pgs, B&W SRP: $5.95

DUMPED SC
ONI PRESS

by Andi Watson A girl who collects vintage clothes and a boy who loves old books attend the same party. When he catches her throwing out a box of her possessions, he discovers she is discarding a book that was one of his favorites as a child. It becomes a catalyst for them to start talking, but will true love ensue? SC, 6×9, 56pgs, B&W SRP: $5.95.


As always, I’m waiting for your comments through email or in the new official LYS@D discussion thread.

Manolis Vamvounisa.k.a. Doc Dooplove