The Experimental Upcoming Comics Commentary Schedule File

March 22, 2004

By Avi Green

This isn't something that I could possibly handle on a regular deadline of any kind, but, this week, I'm gonna give it a go in trying to offer what I think about various upcoming titles in the industry. It's an idea I once got from another comics specialist, and who knows, maybe this could be a worthy try in taking a similar approach...but not quite.

So anyway, what we have here is a list of things that were scheduled to go on sale March 17, 2004. Let's take a look, shall we?

ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN TP $19.95: Heh. Like as if Victor You-Know-Who didn't think that one up already, or even Mary Shelley for that matter! So what's so new about this anyway? Duh.
STEVE RUDE THE MOTH DOUBLE SIZED SPECIAL $4.95: What, indeed, is the Moth? Something written by Steve "The Dude" Rude, that's all I know.
TALES OF THE VAMPIRES #4 $2.99: Oh yeah, like as if there aren't enough of those already, eh?

ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #626 $2.25: I feel that for now, I should probably hold off from the Superbooks until after the developments being made this year, in which split realities occur for the Man of Steel, with Greg Rucka's story here focusing on Supes in a world wherein Lois is unaware that he's really Clark Kent. Just like in old times! Alas, when it comes to things like this, I just can't decide until some later date, can I?
AQUAMAN #16 $2.50: When this was announced a few weeks ago as having sold out, I just couldn't believe my eyes or ears. Sure, it sold well enough when Peter David was writing it back in the mid-1990's, before getting deep-sixed following his departure, but that it would be such a huge success is not something most people knew to happen since the aquatic avenger's debut in the Golden Age.
BATMAN GOTHAM KNIGHTS #51 $2.75: As if it wasn't enough that the year-spanning Hush story arc by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee in the sans-adjective Batman turned out to be just a mediocre excuse to feature just about every member of the Masked Manhunter's rogues gallery, even going so far as to backtrack on Greg Rucka's fine effort to make Poison Ivy more than just the man-killing stereotype Robert Kanigher first created her as in 1966, now the character Hush has to reappear in this book! Good grief, what's the world coming to? And are the Batbooks starting to become what even the X-books are over at Marvel?
Be assured, Loeb and Lee are two of my favorite members of the comics industry, but that story, to say the least, successful as it was, just wasn't on their level, and they've both had much better stuff than that in their careers.
Now, to bring up such a storyline again so needlessly and in such a hurry, well, that just shows how dangerously close DC is to letting the Batbooks become as neglected as the X-Men over at Marvel, even though they're being more or less repaired to some extent this summer. Thank goodness for that!
DC THE NEW FRONTIER #3 (Of 6) $6.95: This miniseries noticably also has a story featuring Hal "Green Lantern" Jordan in his days as a pilot for the USAF. Should be interesting.
KAMIKAZE #6 (Of 6) $2.95
LUCIFER #48 (MR) $2.50
MAD COLOR SPECIAL #9 $3.99: Are you serious? MAD has been in color for close to five years now!
MAD MAGAZINE #440 $3.50: See above.
ROBIN #124 $2.25: It appears that Timothy Drake, the current Boy/Teen Wonder, will be taking a break from the role (hopefully) and wouldn't you know it, Stephanie "Spoiler" Brown, looks like the candidate who's going to take his place!
Well, like I said, hopefully, that'll be the case. Tim's too popular a character to just get shoved out of the role he took back in 1990, some time after the famous Death in the Family storyline of 1988-89, during which his predecessor, Jason Todd, the second Robin, was doomed in a bombing caused by the Joker, and former Batgirl Barbara Gordon was paralyzed by same villain. And while I most certainly do like Spoiler, while this could be a fun romp, it's still best that she maintain her own role as a crimefighter who wears such an odd round mask and a purple cape. Yes, it's a gimmick, wouldn't you know, and I can only hope that Bill Willingham will be able to pull it off.
ROSE AND THORN #4 (Of 6) $2.95: This is a very good miniseries by Gail Simone, now currently writer of Birds of Prey, and who's going to be an upcoming writer on JLA for at least one story arc.
SUPERMAN BATMAN #8 $2.95: At last! Kara Zor-El is back! And Jeph Loeb's the one who's got what to pride himself on if you ask me. I am so glad that Superman's teen cousin appears to be returning to the DCU, in a post-Crisis version, and for now, well, I most certainly hope things stay that way.
Likewise, I hope that Kara will have the pleasure of having her own book, and not only that, but that the errors made when a solo book was tried out for her in the Bronze Age can be avoided this time, and that some really good writing can prevail this time around!
TEEN TITANS #9 $2.50: Having spoken about the upcoming events in Robin up above, I can only wonder what's going to happen in this series, which is very good. If Tim is out for now, who'll be the new team leader among the teens? Superboy? I really just don't know, but it'll hopefully be a good replacement that can be found.
WONDER WOMAN #202 $2.25: While not the most perfect storyline, Greg Rucka is doing a pretty good job here overall, and new adversary Veronica Cale is turning out to be interesting too.

SPAWN #133 $2.50: Will the madness never end? Enough already!
STREET FIGHTER NYUGEN CVR B #6 $2.95: So, what's this one like? Just the other week, I came upon Capcom vs. SNK, the former company's idea from 2000 for combining the fighting games of both companies into one game, and I wonder if a comic book can pull off anything better, something I've always wished for. I mean, if it weren't for video games, who knows, comics might have a much better chance audience-wise!
TOMB RAIDER #39 $2.99: Now here's something where there most certainly is an adventure that can come as better than spending time trying to figure out how to work those confangled control options on the joystick, the adventures of Lara Croft, and if you ask me, this is something that's more than worth it! I figure it's because for the most part, there's really only one character involved here, in contrast to Street Fighter's vast overhaul, that the trick can be pulled off. And it was. Lara is decidedly better off in the comics than in the computer games nowadays, and she's drawn real hot, hot, hot by Adam Hughes at the moment. This is one comic I'd definately take over the games any day.
WALKING DEAD #5 (MR) $2.95: Far as I'm concerned, this book is already there.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #505 (#64) $2.25: As much as I'd like to enjoy J. Michael Straczynski's work here, or even Fiona Kay Avery's, the way they overdose on mystical elements better suited to Doctor Strange just doesn't work. So why don't TPTB just give JMS the title he seems to want to deal with? Answer: because they'd rather drag the whole hodgepodge here on and on and on and on...
CAPTAIN MARVEL #21 $2.99: I lost interest in this some time ago. It's not that the adult tone is a problem, it's that it's just not working for me, that's all.
CAPTAIN MARVEL VOL 3 CRAZY LIKE A FOX TP $14.99: And enough to make me the same, I'll bet!
DAREDEVIL #58 $2.99: Brian Bendis is said to be taking over the Avengers - get this - by starting a fourth volume of it that's meant to try and imitate the approach used in JLA in 1997, with otherwise just several prominent members, namely, the big seven, in the spotlight, and few other regulars taking part. How do you like that? I can't say that whole idea back then impressed me that much, given that it reduces the family feeling that works better for it, if you ask me, but with the EMH it's even more questionable an approach. For heaven's sake, the feeling of family is even more important for the Avengers due to how they've dealt with realistic problems far more than the JLA ever has! I'll be glad when a more reliable writer than the awful Chuck Austen takes over, but still, that this is the way they're going and the fact that they're relaunching is exactly what makes this even less exciting to behold that I would've hoped.
ELEKTRA #34 $2.99: Due to be cancelled next issue. I figured as much myself.
FANTASTIC FOUR #511 (#82) $2.25: It's good to see that this series didn't end up going the knee-jerk route of the Jemas-reign, and so, it's good to see that here, they depict the UN as the crooked entity it really is, which is opposed to bringing down Doctor Doom, and Reed Richards and company have their hands full trying to figure out how to overcome such obstacles. A very recommended book indeed.
FANTASTIC FOUR VOL 3 AUTHORITATIVE ACTION TP $12.99: Oh, it's here already, isn't it? A tad too quickly though, I might add, but that's what happens when a company becomes all too consumed by the wish to get into the trade business.
HULK NIGHTMERICA #6 (Of 6) (RES) $2.99: It's really depressing when a character like the Hulk can only be seen as such outside of his own ongoing series, as is the case with his book being written by Bruce Jones. And as if that weren't bad enough, now it's being shoved into the Marvel Knights line, with total disregard for purists. Sad, isn't it?
INHUMANS #11 $2.99: As if it weren't enough that New X-Men had the people at the X-mansion casually referring to the human race as inferior and headed for extinction, which would be even more insulting had they existed in real life, in this book they have the Inhumans saying similar things!
And it really saddens me. The Inhumans are one of the most facinating humanoid communities in the MCU, taking some inspiration like a couple other comics from Greek mythology, and here they have to ruin everything by making them in some ways like their own name, were it to have a meaning of actuality.
Like Namor's book, I don't expect this one to last much longer, and have no interest in it myself just now either.
MARVEL MASTERWORKS FANTASTIC FOUR VOL 6 2ND ED HC $49.99: Man, do I love this stuff.
NAMOR #12 $2.99: With the way this book was handled, cover-wise and with now ousted chairman Bill Jemas making sure his name was credited to the book's procedures, it won't surprise me if this series ends up in Davy Jones' Locker very soon. The story may have value, but other than that, nothing much is working for it here.
NEW MUTANTS #10 (Note Price) $2.99
NEW X-MEN #154 $2.25: I'm not sure if this is the last Grant Morrison-penned issue, after which they'll be changing it back to a sans-adjective title again, but as far as I'm concerned, with Chuck Austen coming onto it, I can't help but feel it's getting exactly the punishment it deserves. And regardless of how they waste their time with the concept of the Phoenix, it is simply aggravating as to how they keep bringing it up again so needlessly, a notion I could never stand, that reeks of the Brothers Grimm, and which will not matter in our lifetimes.
If anything, I can say this: it makes no difference whether anyone enjoys this or not - in a number of years, I can assure everyone reading this, Morrison's run is going to be considered as little more than a mere blip on the radar, and little more than an excuse to try out many of Chris Claremont's ideas of yore once again, the only difference being how the ideas are approached. That's right, no matter what anyone thinks of it today, tomorrow you can be sure it'll be just gone, fogotten, fin, sayonara, shalom, finito. And when Stephen King or Clive Barker come on board, then that prediction will be hammered home even more than it is now. Because then, King and Barker will be the next big thing, and Morrison and Mark Millar just a mere footnote in history.
PUNISHER THE MOVIE #3 (Of 3) $2.99: So soon? The movie isn't even out yet!
RUNAWAYS #13 $2.99
THANOS #8 $2.99: Well I hope that Keith Giffen is doing well with this now. As much as I like his work, though, I can't say it was right of Marvel to oust Jim Starlin from the helm.
THOR #76 $2.99: I think that in the wake of the Avengers relaunch, this might undergo some kind of reboot as well, I don't know just now.
THOR SON OF ASGARD #1 (Of 6) $2.99
WEAPON X #19 $2.99: So this is still going, eh? But I'm not going with it. Not with Frank Tieri, one of Marvel's stable of hack writers, on it.
WOLVERINE #12 $2.25: More power to Greg Rucka, if he can breathe life into such an overexposed, overrated character. But even so, I'm not buying.
X-TREME X-MEN #43 $2.99: This is to be cancelled as Chris Claremont returns to Uncanny X-Men. I can't say I'll be missing this much, unless things can be done to fix what mistakes were made.

WIZARD EDGE HORN STREET FIGHTER HALO CVR $4.99: If this is being put out by the most sugarcoated magazine on comics, then sorry, but no sale.

ABADAZAD #2 $2.95: CGE's new title for the family audience is certainly striking paydirt critically, and I should hope, financially as well. I recommend it strongly.
KISS KISS BANG BANG #3 $2.95: They made all the right moves on just how an evil James Bond should be, and I'm proud of them for that.
PATH #23 $2.95: Is this to end with this issue, or with the next?
ROUTE 666 #21 $2.95: This isn't something I'm particularly interested in, maybe because the horror genre is something I have a low tolerance for, and with good reason. However, much to my surprise, if I'm not mistaken, this is going to undergo a Nu-Marvel-style relaunch soon! No kidding. Not the best move, IMHO.

DF ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR MILLAR SGN #1 $29.99: Whoops! Is that Mark Millar I see there? Guess I'm just going to have to jump out. Oh well.
FADE FROM BLUE #9 (Note Price) $1.99
FEMFORCE #124 $6.95: The kind of idea I like, but wouldn't know where or how to look this over.
FEMMES FANTASTIC PACK #1 (MR) $25.90: This neither.
SIMPSONS COMICS #92 $2.99: Already fast approaching its 100th issue! Ever since it first got tried out in the mid-90's, it's been a runaway success. Which is far more than can be said for the now way overlong TV series, which may be ending as preparations are made for a major motion picture, just like Star Trek!
TRANSFORMERS WAR WITHIN VOL 2 #5 $2.95: They can say that again. The internal war they've got to deal with here, to say the least, is the writing and editing staff who forgot to put in the part about transforming! Alas, that seems to have been one most important element, if any, that they forgot to include here, one of the reasons why some folks have said that it's turned out to be a real disappointment. So much for nostalgia.
YOU CAN COLOR ANIME STYLE CD ED #2 $15.95: Cool. Now if they'd show us how to draw, then we'd be getting somewhere, eh?

And with this, the experiment ends. With any luck, I'll give this concept another shot in time. Until next time, enjoy the coming weeks of release schedules!

Copyright 2004 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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