If you don’t know, Previews is the catalog that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for.
It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.
So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but are typically about two months away. Most of this month’s offerings are scheduled to ship in January.
Now it’s time to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition!
The Terrifics – DC (Front Cover, 71)
There’s a whole lot to unpack here.
First, this title is written by Jeff LeMire with art by Ivan Reis. That’s two creators that aren’t “I’m buying everything they do” guys for me, but are still big time trusted names.
Second, for all intents and purposes the idea of this book appears to be, “If Marvel isn’t going to publish Fantastic Four comics, we will”. I’m sure I don’t need to spell it out, but:
Mr. Terrific + Plastic Man = Mr. Fantastic
Metamorpho = Thing + Human Torch
Phantom Girl = Invisible Woman
I mean, they’re not even trying to be sly about it.
Third, TOM STRONG! I did not expect to see this Alan Moore (with Chris Sprouse) creation show up anytime soon. If you haven’t read Moore and Strouse’s comics about this science superhero, you should:
Then there’s the description, which states that the four main protagonists have been literally bound together by something to do with the Dark Universe. I’m pretty sure whoever wrote this misused “literally”, but what’s interesting is that this book is further fallout from the current Metal crossover (which I am loving, by the way).
End result: I’m adding this to my list. Because DC just keeps kicking ass.
Swamp Thing Winter Special (75)
Swamp Thing creators Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson both passed away this year and it looks like this book will serve as a tribute to them. That alone would be enough to compel me to pick it up, but it’s being written by the excellent Tom King with art by Jason Fabok. Not only that, there’s a backup story by Wein with art by Kelley Jones – one of my long-time favorites.
Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt #1 – DC (76)
I still feel very strongly that there needs to be a moratorium on any use of the word “rising” in a title for anything. I stated this back in 2009 and still believe it to be true.
However, DC is great right now, so I’ll allow it.
I also hate the practice of putting A “#1” on one-shots. It’s dumb.
DC is breaking a lot of my personal rules with this one, but for a new chapter in the amazing Metal storyline.
Batman and the Signal #1 – DC (77)
Wasn’t this already offered? Whatever. I’ve grown to like the character of Duke Thomas quite a bit. Snyder is writing (to start, at least) with a guy I haven’t heard of and Cully Hamner is on art. Hamner is a great artist and I think I’ve finally gotten over his horrendous costume designs for the New 52, so I’m excited for this one.
Scooby-Doo Team-Up #34 – DC (124)
Isn’t it funny that Huntress has her more recognizable costume in the all-ages book and is all covered up in the adult book?
The Challengers of the Unknown by Geoff Loeb and Tim Sale – DC (129)
Loeb and Sale are one of my all-time favorite creative teams. I have only a passing familiarity with the Challengers, but I’m strongly tempted to pick this book up.
DC Meets Looney Tunes TP – DC (129)
Apparently these were all pretty good, or possibly even great. Everyone was talking about the one with Elmer Fudd and Batman. Heck, it made the cover!
Jack Kirby 100 TP – DC (137)
Collecting all of the tribute one-shots from the past few months. I haven’t gotten through all of them yet, but The New Gods and Manhunter were awesome.
DC Designer Series Metal Batman by Greg Capullo Statue – DC Collectibles (140)
This looks fantastic. They’ve brought Capullo’s unique art style into three dimensions in an effective manner. The blood and damage, in particular, work nicely. I limit the number of larger scale statues (or any statues, really) that I buy, but I’m tempted by this one.
DC Artists Alley Christopher Uminga Vinyl Figures – DC Collectibles (142-143)
Years ago me and the missus became fans of Christopher Uminga’s artwork after seeing his stuff and meeting him at Heroes Con. He’s come a long way since then and seeing his style adapted for the vinyl figure format is awesome. I don’t love the $40 price tag, but I think that Mrs. Trouble maker will agree that we need these in the house.
Avengers: No Surrender - Marvel (Cover, M1-9)
In the history of these posts I don’t think I’ve ever gone directly from DC to Marvel, skipping the other top publishers entirely. Weird. But this is shaping up to be a light month, so we’ll see what happens in December.
I want this to be the big story that returns Marvel to greatness and is the catalyst for a line-wide reset that lets me get invested again.
Here are some thoughts I had while thumbing through the nine pages of Marvel Previews devoted to the “No Surrender” event:
-“Beginning of the End” means nothing anymore. Marvel will have to prove to me that this has any significance. They have years of meaningless new #1s weighing them down.
-I still love the idea of Rogue as a leader of the X-Men or Avengers. It’s a shame so much of her time in that position has featured terrible stories.
-The idea of two teams of villains going to war with each other on Earth and the Avengers having to deal with it appeals to me.
-Quicksilver’s new suit is terrible.
-The idea of Quicksilver overcoming his checkered past in order to rejoin the Avengers is cool.
-I didn’t know Red Hulk was still around. His mustache is great.
-Falcon’s new suit makes Quicksilver’s look cool.
Jean Grey #11 - Marvel (M15)
I dig the heck out of this cover. It’s by David Yardin, who I’ll have to assume is good. I like the layout and I love the character poses and style. I do find it odd that Jean isn’t looking where she’s pointing, but maybe that’s a sneaky clue that she’s knowingly misdirecting everyone?
Probably not. I still think this cover rocks.
Darth Vader #10 – Marvel (M83)
“Vader’s showdown with Jocasta Nu comes to a startling conclusion!”
What’s startling is that Spellcheck didn’t flag “Jocasta Nu”. And that I immediately recognized that’s who she was on the cover. And that Vader is having a showdown with her.
I dropped this after the first issue because the story didn’t grab me and I really didn’t care for the art. The most powerful Sith in the galaxy battling the Jedi librarian is not a compelling enough reason for me to check back in.
Punisher MAX by Garth Ennis Omnibus Vol. 1 HC – Marvel (M92)
This was a tremendous run. It seems to me that the MAX books tend to get overlooked, and I suppose it’s because they’re not quite “canon”. I highly recommend this one and, if they ever collect it, Deadpool MAX. It’s my favorite Deadpool.
Inhumans: Once and Future Kings TPB – Marvel (M95)
By now you should all know how I feel about the work of Christopher Priest. This is the Inhumans miniseries he wrote –with art by Ryan North, no less! - that I said I would buy when the trade came out. You should, too.
New Mutants by Zeb Wells: The Complete Collection TPB - Marvel (M110)
I liked Wells’ run on this book quite a bit. Some didn’t care for the Necrosha storyline, but I dug it. I suppose in the wake of DC’s “Blackest Night” it might have seemed a little derivative, but whatever. If you’re complaining about Marvel and DC stealing ideas from one another, you haven’t been paying attention for the last sixty years.
Star Wars: Han Solo HC - Marvel (M110)
This was a great story, one of my favorites of Marvel’s current run with Star Wars. I was resistant to the idea of Han Solo having a wife, but it totally worked. If you didn’t read this back when it first came out, go ahead and order this hardcover (just in time for Ron Howard’s Han Solo!).
Excalibur Epic Collection: The Cross-Time Caper TPB - Marvel (M120)
This was the storyline where I discovered Excalibur. I recently finished the first Epic Collection and loved it. If you like Marvel’s Mutants, but like them even more when things get weird, Excalibur is for you.
The New Mutants Epic Collection: Curse of the Valkyries TPB - Marvel (M121)
The story of the New Mutants’ adventures in Asgard is referenced often when the team comes up, and rightly so. It’s an epic tale that puts Mutants in surroundings we don’t often see.
Unfortunately this volume also includes the execrable X-Terminators which, despite being a tie-in to my favorite comic book crossover of all time, Inferno, sucks. It was one of the first Marvel Mutant books that I ever truly hated and it’s just as bad today as it was back then.
So you have to decide if it’s worth it to get fifteen great issues of New Mutants alongside four terrible issues of X-Terminators.
Animated Darkseid T-shirt – Graphitti Designs (481)
This shirt is cool for two reasons – first that it’s representing the best version of the DC Universe, the animated one. Second that it looks like something you would have found at the Warner Bros. Studio store back when those existed in malls across the country. I miss those stores.
Pacific Rim Uprising Action Figures – Diamond Select Toys (491)
For some reason I am not at all excited for the new Pacific Rim. I love the original, but this one isn’t exciting me. Probably because of the del Toro deficiency. The new director, Stephen S. DeKnight, has been a producer on tons of projects that I’ve liked, but has very little experience as a director.
Anyway, these figures look great and if they’re anything like DST’s usual releases will be much sturdier and more functional than NECA’s Pacific Rim toys. They might not be quite as pretty, though. Either way, I’m anxious to see these in person.
At first I wasn’t crazy about the design of Saber Athena (the red one), but the more I look at it the more it seems like sort of an Ultraman analog, which is cool. Gipsy Avenger is a nice update to the Jaeger we all know and love, but Bracer Phoenix is definitely my favorite of this bunch. I always love the big, solid power robots.
One:12 Collective Previews Exclusive Ascending Knight Batman (Blue) Action Figure - Mezco (510)
This design has grown on me, and for some odd reason I think it looks much better with the blue than it does with the standard figure’s black. But I’m still not ordering it. I’ve already got two One:12 Batmans and I’m counting on Mezco delivering a much better modern comic book version at some point in the future.
If this one ends up on Amazon at a cheaper price like some of the other One:12 figures I might pick it up, but it’s not a must-have by any means.
DC Heroes Statues (513)
Is there demand for poorly sculpted and painted 8” $50 statues of Batman and Superman? And what version of Batman is that, anyway?
If these were ten dollar vinyl figures like Applause used to release, I might understand, but when JAKKS Pacific is releasing simplistic Big Figs that look way better than these for a much lower price, I completely fail to understand what this product even is, let alone who would buy it.
To be fair, they might look better in person.
Hanna-Barbera Retro Action Figures – Figures Toy Company (516)
These are toys that I dreamed of when I was a kid. My first action figures were Megos – Spider-Man, Batman and Robin, and Superman – and even though I got caught up in the Star Wars 3.75” excitement just like everyone else, Mego’s 8” line was always a gold standard of action figures for me.
Scooby-Doo, Jonny Quest, and Space Ghost helped to shape my identity.
Seeing these 3D versions of so many characters I grew up with is practically blasting me with nostalgia. I already have Mezco’s One: 12 Space Ghost and it’s great, but I can tell you right now they probably won’t be doing Jan and Jace. And let’s be honest – this Figures version looks more appropriate, anyway.
I mean, aside from the boots. What’s up with those?
Texas Chainsaw Massacre Nubbins Sawyer Action Figure Set - NECA (517)
It was a little surprising that we got Chop Top before we got the Hitchhiker, but seeing the accessory that comes with ol’ Nubbins here, it all makes sense now. NECA was just planning smart. In an amazing move, this figure includes the dead Nubbins “puppet” that Chop Top uses in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Genius.
Christmas Pop! Figures - Funko (536)
I LOVE THESE.
We will be filling our shelves with Buddy, Jovie, and Papa from Elf, the Grinch and Max from How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated special and not the nightmare starring Jim Carrey), and Krampus!
I don’t normally comment on Pop! figures because they’re so omnipresent, but these were too great to skip.
*I am way behind on my comics. I just the other day read Captain Kronos #1 (it was just okay; I’ll give it a few more issues). There are books that I have four issues of that might suck and I don’t know because I haven’t read them yet. It’s time to cut back again. Although I have been super busy, too.
*Netflix invested heavily in marketing Stranger Things 2 to comic book customers. Not only did they put a pull-out poster in this Previews, they put a two-page ad inside, an ad on the spine, and sent a standee to comic shops. For what it’s worth, the second season is excellent and I’m already looking forward to watching it a second time once we’ve gotten through the DVR buildup that October’s busyness has caused.
*Thor Ragnarok was great, but honestly I thought it was too silly. I still liked it, but the humor was over the top at points.
*We stopped watching Supergirl. Even Phantom, Jr. doesn’t care anymore and that was his favorite of the DC shows. Flash got much better in episodes 3 & 4, particularly the latter. Arrow also improved after a couple of episodes. We haven’t caught up on Legends yet. Gotham is still the best.
Let me know what you’re looking forward to in the comments, or join the discussion in the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group!
That’s all I’ve got for this month. Start putting your pennies in your Diamond Select figural bank and remember to drop your order form off at your Local Comic Book Shop!