It's time to go through the latest Previews to discover the good, the bad, and the strange:
The big debut this month for DH is Paul Jenkins & Humberto Ramos's Revelations; this supernatural thriller set in the Vatican looks like it could be good, but like most Dark Horse offerings it also has 'Wait for the Trade' written all over it.
Speaking of waiting for the trade, Mignola, Arcudi & Davis's BPRD: The Dead gets collected; their new BPRD mini, The Black Flame also debuts.
The second issue of the Serenity preview hits the streets, again with 3 covers. I'll opt for Jo Chen's Kaylee cover.
There's a second hardcover Conan collection: The God in the Bowl and Other Stories, which collects issues #7, #9-14, mysteriously skipping issue #8. (Presumably the paperback will show up in next month's listings.)
Mark Verheiden's old series The American gets a thick, trim-sized collection.
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures gets a fourth volume of all-new material.
Jack Pollack's Devil Chef: The Man with the Soft-Serve Brain is a digest-sized full-color OGN about, well, a devil chef.
Paul Dini and company's recent Jingle Belle series gets collected.
In classic series collections, Mark Verheiden's old series The American gets a thick, trim-sized collection, and Paul Chadwick's complete Concrete gets a second collection, Heights.
Manga-wise there's the debut of Kazuo Koike & Kazuo Kamimura's Lady Snowbird.
New Recruits would appear to be Dark Horse's version of Rising Stars, soliciting submissions from undiscovered talent.
Andrew Helfer & Tan Eng Huat bring us Batman: Journey Into Knight, a twelve-issue series that "explores the formative years of the Dark Knight." C'mon, does no one there even remember Miller & Mazzuchelli's Batman: Year One? Helfer & Huat are decent enough creators, but do they really need to compete with one of the best Batman stories? And for twelve issues? The memory of Superman: Birthright is still fresh in my mind: fool me twice, shame on me!
David Lapham's "City of Crime" in Detective Comics goes on a hiatus for a month so that the title can cross voer for two issues with Batman for a "War Games" epilogue. And as if that wasn't enough to get me to skip the title, The cover for issue #809 features the bloody corpse of Robin/Spoiler prominently splayed for all to see. Disgusting. Ah well, that's money I can save to buy more worthy comics.
Gotham Central goes for crossover gold by featuring the Teen Titans on the cover, but you should buy it anyway.
There's another Catwoman collection, Wild Ride, collecting the last of the 'good' issues before they decided to go back to T&A artwork.
There's a fourth collected volume of classic post-Crisis Superman stories. This voluem includes the excellent Superboy/Legion crossover with Legion of Super-Heroes that tried to harmonize the post-Crisis Superman mythos with the pre-reboot Legion.
Supergirl debuts. Depending on which cover you choose, Supergirl has added either the power of super-collagen or super-bulimia.
Identity Crisis gets a relatively reasonably-priced hardcover collection.
Two issues of DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy means twice the Jose-Louis Garcia-Lopez art this month!
Want some fun space opera action? Pick up the Adam Strange: Planet Heist collection by Andy Diggle & Pascal Ferry.
Warren Ellis & Gary Erksine's Jack Cross series would apepar to be the standard Ellis protagonist, but set in the DCU.
Justice. Twelve issues. Bimonthly. It'll take two years. If you're inclined to buy this, wait for the trades.
If you don't get all giddy at the thought of the DC's Greatest Imaginary Tales collection, there must be something wrong with you!
Gail Simone & Rob Liefeld on Teen Titans--I wouldn't miss this for the world!
Solo #6 features Jordi Bernet, a european artist virtually unknown in the States. Good that DC are going outside to expose people to such talent, but probably not the best move sales-wise.
Wonder Woman gets handcuffed on the cover of issue #220, but she's apparently lost her blindfold...
Watchmen: The Absolute Edition is a muy-expensive hardcover, but I'll be interested to see the results of the new coloring by John Higgins & WildStorm FX; printing realities of the mid-80's mean that this otherwise excellent comic has always been somewhat marred by rather garrish colors.
For some reason I have a soft-spot for J. Scott Campbell. Even so, I'll probably wait for the trade on Wildsiderz (even with its kewl spelling).
The two new CMX titles, Testarotho & Young Magician are labeled as Mature Readers, so maybe they won't try to censor them and piss off the otaku? Otherwise though they look like standard fare that one could get from TokyoPop and the like. DC should pay more attention to what Del Ray has been doing when it comes to a major publisher selecting manga to bring Stateside.
The Winter Men is a new eight-issue series with art by John Paul Leon, featuring the Russian Mod vs. ex-Soviet super-heroes. Don't wait for the trade on this one folks, because if you do there might not be a trade.
Lots of ABC stuff this month, with Terra Obscura vol. 2 & Tom Strong's Terrific Tales getting trades and Tom Stong book 5 out in hardcover, plus Paul DiFilippo & Jerry Ordway on a new Top 10 mini.
Fables #40 promises to finalyl reveal the identity of The Adversary.
Sandman Presents: Thessaly - Witch for Hire was a decent story by Bill Willingham with good art by Shawn McManus & excellent covers by Tara McPherson. Not essential, but if you're in the mood for a Sandman universe fix it's a pleasent enough and is now available in a handy trade collection.
V for Vendetta gets a hardcover collection after all these years, just in time for the movie that Alan Moore hates.
I normally don't touch DC Direct items (except of course for the plush toy of Beppo!), but there's something compelling about the Superman #1 cover statue...
Every month Image debuts several series, most of which last just three or four issues and then fold. This month's choices are Ant, Dusty Star, Season of the Witch, and Ferro City. Of those, Ferro City, a "sciece-fiction robot pulp noir," by Jason Armstrong, is the one that looks the most interesting.
Image gets in on the 80's indy nostalgia bandwagon with a collection of Englehart & Rogers Coyote.
Dude, where's my Hawaiian Dick?
Negative Burn gets a Summer Special--how much do you want to bet that there's snow on the ground when it actually comes out?
Lots of things tying-in with House of M, so depending on what sort of consumer you are you'll either be saving a lot of money or spending a lot of money. (Or, you know, just ignoring it completely.)
Remember Annuals? Well, the Ultimate Marvel U does--and they're back!
You know, it's just too easy to make Daredevil: Father late jokes.
Okay, so people were willing to spend #3.50 an issue for the original Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman & Andy Kubert, but do they really think that the same will be true for Marvel 1602: New World by Greg Pak & Greg Tocchini?
Hey look, it's Wha... Huh? again.
Oh Sean McKeever--why are you spending your time writing stuff like Mega Morphs?
Takeshi Miyazawa comes back for a two-issue stint starting with Runaways #7.
Defenders by DeMatteis, Giffen & Maguire continues with a second issue, as does Peter David & Jim Muniz's Hulk: Destruction.
David Mack has book 5 of his occasional art book, Kabuki: Reflections.
All 18 issues of the first volume of Runaways in one handy hardcover!
Marc Sumerak & Gurihiru's Power Pack mini gets an affordable digest. Now you have no excuse.
Ultimates 2 gets a collection, and there's a second trade of Astonishing X-Men. Peter David's Hulk: Tempest Fugit too.
That's it for the front of the catalog. Part 2, the middle, will be along shortly...