Were Money No Object – July 6

So it seems that up here in Canada we’re getting our comics a day before the Americans due to the 4th of July holiday.  No matter the day, here’s my look at what I won’t be buying, due to financial considerations and the fact that Diamond is listing a massive amount of new comics for this week.

What I Wish I Could Buy:

Star Wars Legacy Vol. 9 Monster TPB

by John Ostrander, Jan Duursema, Dave Ross, and Dan Parsons; Dark Horse, $17.99

I’ve become a fan of Ostrander’s Star Wars Legacy series recently, having so far only read the first two trades, although I do have a random smattering of the later ones, and am trying to fill in all the gaps so I can read the whole series in order.

In this book, Ostrander has speculated what the future of the Star Wars galaxy will be like a few hundred years after the conclusion of the Return of the Jedi.  At this time, the Galaxy is divided between the remnants of the Alliance, and two warring factions of the Empire.  One side, led by Emporer Roan Fel and his Imperial Knights, are losing ground in the face of the Sith-controlled other faction, led by Darth Krayt.  The Jedi barely exist, and are outlawed.

The hero of this series, if he can be called that, is Cade Skywalker, the last descendant of the Skywalker line.  When the series begins, Cade is a pirate and drug addict, denying and cutting himself off from his Jedi heritage.  I have no idea what is still going on by the time of the ninth volume of this series, but I would like to find out.

Ostrander has long been one of the best writers working in comics, and Duursema is a capable and competent artist.  The pair have always worked well together, and this series is no exception.

Heathentown GN (New Printing)

by Corinna Sara Bechko and Gabriel Hardman; Image Comics, $12.99

I don’t know much about this book that came out a couple of years ago and is being re-printed this week.  I remember like the cover when it first came out, and now, having been exposed to his work on the various iterations of Agents of Atlas (now just Atlas) for Marvel, I’ve become a fan of Hardman’s art.  I think he would do a great job with a creepy Everglades story.  I have no idea who Bechko is, but the story sounds good.

From the solicitation:

“A new printing of the horrific hit! Anna travels deep within the Florida Everglades to attend her lover’s funeral, but finds an eerie small town where death is but a horrible beginning! In an attempt to discover the truth, she digs up her lover’s coffin, starting a chain reaction which brings an ancient malevolence into the town…bent on her destruction!”

Sounds cool, right?

Absolution Vol. 1 TPB or HC

by Christos Gage and Robert Viacava; Avatar Press, $24.99 or $34.99

Gage has established himself over the last few years as a top-notch writer of superhero comics.  He’s done some really strong work on the second-tier Avengers books, and I loved his Stormwatch PHD until Wildstorm’s ill-advised Armageddon event ruined the title.

This book collects his seven-issue Avatar mini-series which I didn’t buy due to financial constraints.  Like many Avatar titles written by Warren Ellis (I’m thinking of Black Summer especially), this book features morally questionable ‘heroes’ and more gory violence than you would see in a comic from the Big Two.

I am completely unfamiliar with Viacava’s art, but based on the preview pages here, it looks like he’s working in the standard Avatar house style.  I’m sure this is a very good book, and it’s good of the people at Avatar to put out the hard and soft covers at the same time, so people have a choice.

What I Think You Should Buy:

BPRD Vol. 13 1947 TPB

by Mike Mignola, Joshua Dysart, Gabriel Bá, and Fábio Moon; Dark Horse, $17.99

I’m only a recent convert to the Mignola-verse, and this mini-series was the first that I had ever read of his BPRD title.  It’s set in 1947, in the early days of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, when Professor Bruttenholm was still running the show, and before Hellboy started to grow very big.

The story involves vampires in France and a group of soldiers sent to investigate.  I found that the story was a little confusing or oddly-paced in its monthly format, but that should be corrected in the collected version.  The story is interesting, but it is the art that is a huge draw here.

I love Bá and Moon.  I think their stuff is incredible, and they definitely do not disappoint in this book.  Check out the exorcism scene; I thought it was the best part of this whole series.

The Shield Vol. 1 Kicking Down the Door TPB

by J. Michael Straczynski, Eric Trautmann, Marco Rudy, and others; DC, $19.99

I never bothered with the JMS-written one-shot that started off this latest iteration of the old Archie/Red Circle Captain America stand-in, but picked up most of the single issues of the monthly series that is collected here.  Were the series not $4 an issue, and paired the Shield with the utterly uninteresting Inferno back-up at the beginning, I gladly would have bought this title every month.  It’s unfortunate that it was canceled with issue ten, and that DC is repeating its mistakes by making the follow-up Mighty Crusaders series prohibitively expensive.  So, why should you buy a book that has already been canceled?

The Shield is a soldier wearing a high-tech battle suit that uses nanotechnology and greatly enhances him in the field.  He goes up against HIVE troops in Afghanistan, and runs into other D-List DC characters like Magog and the Great Ten while on his missions.  Trautmann is a very good writer for this type of comic.  It’s not quite as good as the run he co-wrote on Checkmate, but given time, I could see him working with this set-up to achieve something at that same level of greatness.

The art is what made this book stand out for me.  Marco Rudy makes interesting use of lay-out and pacing, and in many ways reminds me of JH Williams III.  Actually, this book has a total Chase vibe to it, and it made me nostalgic for that other short-lived and much-missed comic from the nineties.

This title is not brilliant, but it is a very very good superhero comic with a military twist.  It’s worth checking out.

I Would Also Like to Recommend:

My main goal with this column is to write about trades and graphic novels, but this week, Marvel is putting out the new Icon reprinting of Casanova, which has to be one of the best comics of the decade, and I want to encourage everyone who hasn’t read it to give it a try.

Matt Fraction’s writing is absolutely nuts, and Bá and Moon are about the only artists in the industry who can manage his level of insanity.  I don’t know how this will look in colour, as I was very fond of the single-tone approach taken in the original Image series, but I would love to read this series again.

So, what would you buy were money no object?

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