Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews April 2018: “A Marvelous Month”

By Dave

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 June.

Now it’s time to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition!

Note: Previews has changed things up this month. For some reason you now have to flip the catalog over and turn it upside down for the toys and merchandise section. I find this to be stupid and inconvenient. Even more so because the pages are renumbered upside down and designated with an “M” suffix, making my recap potentially confusing because I use an “M” prefix to denote Marvel’s listings in their own completely unnecessarily separate book.

Oh, and apparently DC will have a separate book of their own soon.

Dynamite Entertainment and BOOM! Studios are both now Premiere Publishers, which means they have their own sets of pages and no longer have to languish in the Green Section.

There is a new Manga section highlighted by brown pages.

Thor – Marvel (Front Cover, M2-5)

I wish I had been reading Jason Aaron’s Thor books for the past several years. As much as I love mythology – any mythology – I can’t explain why I’ve never liked Marvel’s Thor more than I do.

I do, however, like Jason Aaron’s work and I love Mike del Mundo’s art. This title seems to be the organic result of the stories Aaron has been telling for years now, but it also happens to come at a time when we’re starting to see the evidence of CB Cebulski’s reign at Marvel. There are other books coming which seem to be more evidently a direct result of the change in management. I’ll talk about those later on.

For now, I’ll just say that this and a few other Marvel offerings have me taking a close look at my pull list and likely making some adjustments as I make room…

Justice League - DC (Back Cover, 81)

I guess this is replacing the current Justice League comic that Priest is writing.
I have to assume that Priest is telling his story to completion, but I’m not sure how I feel about a relaunch and a new #1. It feels very Marvel, and I don’t mean that in a good way. If DC needs Snyder’s run (he’s writing this one) to stand out that much, maybe just call it All-Star Justice League instead of this.

I do like this team lineup. My favorite version of the League is the DCAU, and this is basically that team. But League books have never been a priority for me, and my satisfaction with Snyder’s work has been fairly variable, so I don’t think this is an immediate add. I’ll be waiting for word of mouth and trades.

Free Comic Book Day (29-37)

This year Free Comic Book Day falls on Saturday, May 5th. Visit FREECOMICBOOKDAY.COM for more details!

The Man of Steel #1-6 – DC (82-83)

Let’s talk about Bendis.

Brian Michael Bendis wrote the best, longest-running book I have ever read – Ultimate Spider-Man. I’ve read the entire Peter Parker run twice now and I absolutely love it and would recommend it to anybody that loves sequential storytelling.

I also really liked his work on Scarlet, Ultimate Fantastic Four, and maybe some other stuff I’m not thinking of.

I disliked Bendis’ work on Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, House of M, and maybe some other stuff I’m not thinking of.

I’m intrigued by everything that I’ve read about Bendis’ plans for Superman. However I may feel about some of his work, there’s no denying the guy is great when things line up right. And it sounds to me like this might be one of those cases. While I don’t care for the possibility that Jon and Lois could be somehow gone or removed from Clark’s life, I’m going to reserve judgment until I’ve actually read the book. And I am going to read the book.

My giving this title a chance is based more on my current faith in DC than anything else.

Teen Titans and Titans Specials #1 – DC  (85)

I didn’t even read the solicitations because I was afraid there would be spoilers for Metal (which I haven’t finished reading yet), but from what I understand these titles are ending. I hope we’re not getting new #1s.

Aquaman/Jabberjaw Special #1 – DC (87)

While the depiction of Jabberjaw on this cover is what  grabbed me, the fact that Dan Abnett is writing is what got me to add this to my list. I loved the Jabberjaw cartoon when I was a kid and this description sounds awesome:

When the town of Amnesty Island is besieged by a series of shark attacks, authorities call Aquaman for help! What's unusual about this case is that the shark isn't trying to kill people-he just wants to talk to them. The very confused Jabberjaw needs to get back to Aqualand, the future undersea utopia where he came from. But that peaceful city where man and sentient sea life have been living in harmony has been turned into a dystopian nightmare created by a new Ocean Master. Now the King of Atlantis and his friendly shark ally have to team up to set things right. Also includes a Captain Caveman meets the wizard Shazam in a short story by Jeff Parker and Scott Kolins.

Did you catch that last part – Captain Caveman and Shazam by Jeff Parker and Scott Kolins? I’m in.

Super Sons/Dynomutt Special #1 – DC (90)

Blue Falcon and Dynomutt were my favorites when I was a kid. I’m still kicking myself for not buying the Toynami action figures. If DC were to launch a non-satirical superhero book about the pair with the right creative team, I’d buy it. Here we have the right creative team, so I’ll grab this one.

Batman: Prelude to the Wedding #1s – DC (94-95)

I love this kind of stuff.

If you had told me a couple of years ago that Batman and Catwoman would be getting married I would have said it was the dumbest idea I’d ever heard. Because sometimes I am hyperbolic. But I wouldn’t have been pleased with the thought.

Now, in 2018, Tom King has told the story in an entertaining and believable manner that has stayed so true to the characters. I am still surprised with each and every issue at how successful this event has been. And now we’ve got some fun and exciting one-shots from Tim Seeley to fill in some blanks prior to the event itself.

I’ve been a fan of Seeley’s work since his GI Joe days and I’m happy to see him doing so well in mainstream comics now.

Batwoman #16 – DC (98)

I almost dropped Batwoman a few months ago because the story seemed to slow way down and to me started to feel too different from the kind of stuff that made me love Kate Kane – the monster stuff.

Actually, I might have tried to drop it, but I think my Local Comic Shop just kept pulling it for me.

I’m glad they did. This title is right back to being one of my favorites and now more than ever feels like the culmination of the story that Greg Rucka and JH Williams III used to revive Kate years ago. If you’ve been passing on this one - especially if you’ve been enjoying what’s happening in Detective Comics – grab the trades. Kate is a very different kind of Bat and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this volatile, fiercely individualistic hero.

Absolute Flashpoint HC – DC (131)

A seventy-five dollar hardcover may not be the most reasonable way to read it for the first time, but if you skipped Flashpoint, I think you should give it a shot in some format. While I will always loathe the New 52 for the stories it tore asunder, I genuinely enjoyed this prelude that set the table for that regrettable period of DCU history.

It’s basically an epic tale of Elseworlds colliding, and I found it to be mostly fun with a healthy dose of drama and despair. That may sound weird, but isn’t that basically what the best comics are?

Batman: Thrillkiller TP New Edition – DC 134)

This is one of the coolest, most stylish Elseworlds books I ever read. With a story by Howard Chaykin and art by the incomparable Dan Brereton, Thrillkiller presents a garish, noir look at how the Batman mythos might have been. If you’re a fan of Batman and gorgeous art, you have to have this collection.

Superman for All Seasons TP New Edition – DC (139)

The team of Loeb and Sale have produced some of my favorite comics, but I haven’t read this one because it came out during my stupid “I don’t read Superman books” phase. Is it good? Should I order it?

Titans: The Lazarus Contract TP – DC (140)

This crossover was so good that I kept Teen Titans on my pull list after it concluded. Obviously Deathstroke was already on it. I don’t know why I didn’t add Titans, too.

J. Scott Campbell’s Danger Girl Gallery Edition – IDW (185)

While I’d love some actual new Danger Girl comics, I’ll gladly pick up any collections of artwork that get released. There’s a standard prestige format and an oversized hardcover and I’m honestly not sure which one I’m going to get.

Bill Sienkiewicz’s Mutants and Moon Knights Artifact Edition – IDW (192)

Not many artists dazzle me with every single piece they produce, but Sienkiewicz consistently delivers some of the most compelling and interesting art in comics. This collection of odds and ends from throughout his Marvel career would be an awesome thing to add to the ol’ bookcase, but $125 for 144 pages just doesn’t seem practical to me. I’d love to own it, but it’s a bit too pricey for me.

Gear OGN (New Printing) – Image (214)

Earthworm Jim is one of the greatest video games of all time and this book is by his creator. I’ve never heard of it before today, but I recognized that art style immediately. I’m ordering this one. Even though I’m not a cat person.

Ghüs Plush – Image (246)


Plush Ghüs is here to make your life complete.

Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 - Marvel (Cover, M6-9)

Dan Slott seems to be a divisive figure, but all I know is that I loved his Silver Surfer (with Mike Allred) and have enjoyed what I’ve read of his Spider-Man, which is admittedly not much. I’m definitely a fan of Valerio Schiti’s work.

Between those two things, I think I’m gonna have to give this a shot. And as I mentioned in the opening with Thor, it’s looking like my pull list is going to have to change.

Immortal Hulk #1 – Marvel (M10-12)


You'd never notice the man. He doesn't like to be noticed. He's quiet. Calm. Never complains. If someone were to walk up and shoot him in the head... all he'd do is die.
Until night falls. And someone else gets up again.

The man's name is Banner.

The horror is THE IMMORTAL HULK.

That’s a heck of a pitch and if I had faith that this was truly going to be a horror story I’d probably check it out. I don’t really have any reason to believe that isn’t the case, except that I just can’t see Marvel doing something that interesting.

But these are new times at Marvel, and it’s entirely possible I’m wrong. If I am, I’ll check this book out and let you know.

Whatever the case I absolutely love that cover.

Deadpool #1 – Marvel (M13-15)

Deadpool is great in very specific doses. I went all-in a few years ago and was buying whatever the main book was and Deadpool Team-Up, which is still my favorite Deadpool comic by a wide margin.

Skottie Young is awesome and if you’ve read any of his creator-owned I Hate Fairyland comic, you know what he brings to the table. I think I’m going to have to add this one, too.

Dammit, Cebulski.

Multiple Man #1 (of 5) – Marvel (M18-19)

The idea of someone that isn’t Peter David writing Jamie Madrox doesn’t sit all that well with me, but Matthew Rosenberg is currently writing Punisher: War Machine and it’s great. 

Completely different from his predecessor, Becky Cloonan’s take, but still very Frank Castle.
So I guess I’m going to have to give Rosenberg a chance with one of my favorite mutants.

Deadpool: Assassin #1 (of 6)  – Marvel (M20-21)


First they’re giving me Skottie Young on Deadpool, now it’s a veritable dream team of Cullen Bunn and Mark Bagley? At least this one’s just a miniseries. It won’t drain the bank account too badly. Not for too long, anyway.

The Sentry #1 – Marvel (M23)

I was going to skip right past this because I don’t know jack about Sentry and most of my friends just make fun of him, but then I saw that Jeff Lemire is writing it, so it’s probably going to be amazing.

Champions #21 – Marvel (M37)

When did Jim Zub take over Champions? I might’ve started picking it up again if I’d known Mark Waid was gone (I have a complicated relationship with Mark Waid). If only there were someone that did monthly rundowns of Previews so I’d know these things…

Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella: The Heart is A Lonely Killer TPB – Dynamite (264)

I’ve been waiting for this one to be collected. I want pretty much any book with Cassie Hack in it, but knowing this was a miniseries made it easy to wait for the trade.

Doctor Who – The Seventh Doctor: Operation Volcano – Titan (445)

Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor is one of my favorites. There have been times when I’ve said he is my favorite.

I’ve only read one of Titan’s Who projects since they got the license to publish comics, and it was Paul Cornell’s excellent Third Doctor miniseries. I’ve heard good things about the rest of their output, but I’m not ready to be fully immersed in Who-dom again yet.

Aside from Christopher Jones’ always great art, the most interesting thing about this three issue series is the input of Andrew Cartmel, who was the script editor on Doctor Who for the final years of the classic series.

House of 1000 Corpses Captain Spaulding Retro Action Figure – NECA (32M)

I’m addicted to these retro action figures. NECA has been killing it with character selection and quality (except for Leatherface’s shitty tie). I can only hope we get Otis and Baby, and new versions from 3 from Hell sooner than later.

NECA – I will buy ALL of the Rob Zombie movie merchandise.

One:12 Collective Black Panther Action Figure – Mezco (33M)

Thanks to the way Mezco has been designing its One:12 figures, I can grab this Panther and he’ll fit right in with all of my more comic-based figures. This is one of the instances where I’d much rather have the movie version than any comic version they might come up with. I might prefer the Civil War suit over the newer one, but this figure still looks amazing.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Furnace Diorama – NECA (34M)

From Previews:

For the first time ever you can own a replica of the furnace seen in the original Nightmare Before Christmas films! The furnace is an item requested by fans for years, and NECA's replica looks exactly like its on-screen counterpart. In scale to the existing Freddy Krueger action figures, it features a hinged door and internal LED lights.

C’mon, you guys. Proofreading. We all know there’s only one Nightmare Before Christmas film.

Anyway, I’m not sure I can justify forty bucks for a toy furnace (I couldn’t whenever this was originally offered, and yet I have sort of kicked myself for not getting it). I’m sure it’s a fantastic toy furnace. But I could use that forty bucks and that shelf space for actual monster toys.

Gremlins 2 Spider Gremlin Action Figure – NECA (34M)

This is one of the best monster action figures I have ever owned. It gets my highest recommendation. Every toy collector that skipped this one the first time around should be ecstatic that NECA is bringing it back.

Ninja Batman S.H. Figuarts Action Figures – Bandai (51M)

Sixty bucks apiece really isn’t bad for these considering the level of detail and just how much each one has going on. I’ve become a fan of Bandai’s Figuarts products and while I’m not necessarily collecting them, I do feel pretty good about recommending them.

Unaffiliated Thoughts

*Fantastic Four Returns – I’m sure this will be in next month’s Previews, but I had to mention it here. Personally I’m excited to see Dan Slott’s take on Marvel’s First Family. I loved his Silver Surfer. I’m also a big fan of artist Sara Pichelli, so this will get added to my list as soon as it’s offered.

*The Gifted – I finished the first season and I loved it. I was a little nervous that FOX might try to use the same weird tone as Legion (which I also love, but only need exactly as much weird as that show provides), but The Gifted is a completely different kind of show.

More than anything it reminds me of Dark Angel, but with more modern sensibilities and obviously a much larger cast. Who, by the way, are all fantastic and immediately memorable. I’ve written before about how it typically takes me until well into the second season to remember who everyone is on a show, but I knew all of these characters within a couple of episodes.

If you didn’t watch The Gifted, check it out. It may well be the most satisfying adaptation of Marvel’s mutants to date.

*Donald Glover’s Deadpool Script – This was just bad. As I was reading it, I found myself hoping that Glover was out there somewhere realizing his mistake and wishing he hadn’t published this thing.

I haven’t experienced much of Glover’s work as of yet, but by all accounts he’s smart and hilarious. This script doesn’t show that at all. It looks like something a high school kid would write. Now, in all fairness he apparently wrote it in less than a day, but the fact that he shared it with the world is enough to show poor judgment.

*Jabba’s Sail Barge – Not really comic related, but WE DID IT!!!! The Khetanna – one of the most recognizable vehicles from the Star Wars saga – is going to be produced! Read more here and lament that you didn’t sign up.

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!

Be sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all of the latest toy news and live reports from the stores that carry them!

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