Wednesday's New Things: Lightning Round

I was out of town to start the week, and so put together this week's WNT at rather short notice. Here are the covers of a few books of note this week.

Hulk #1 

Ultimate FF #1

Wednesday's New Things: The Avalanche Continues

1. Marvel's strategy of flooding the market with new #1 issues continues this week unabated. From my perspective, the most important of these releases is the return to solo comics of former hero for hire Danny Rand, the Iron Fist. Iron Fist is my second favorite superhero-- Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker and David Aja's book The Immortal Iron Fist is one of the great Marvel comic books of all time and, as Fraction once pointed out, the book is about a kung-fu billionaire; it sort of writes itself. After half a decade bouncing around from team book to team book, New Avengers to the Defenders and back again, he's back on his own, written and drawn by Kaare Andrews. The preview suggests that Andrews is mixing a little bit of Aja with a lot of early 80s Frank Miller, which I think is probably a recipe for success; although I expect this series will be short lived, it's going to be fun while it lasts. 

 2. These books are a little weirder; I almost wonder if they're a sign that Marvel is stretching itself just a little too thin with all of these new releases. The Doop miniseries is written by the character's co-creator Peter Milligan and drawn by David LaFuente; although I bet the target market for this series (fans of Milligan's X-Statix series with Michael Allred) will wish that both creators had come back for this, all they're going to have to do is open the book, and their disappointment will fall away. It's always hard to make small observations based on internet previews, but it looks like La Fuente drew and colored it in marker, which gives the art this kind of stunning, flexible quality, perfect for a wild character like Doop. The art is heavily stylized and cartoony, but not caricatured, which is a hard feat. It's too bad this book isn't an ongoing, I think it could be a big one. As for the Nightcrawler series from Chris Claremont and Todd Nuack, it seems like it's designed to appease to old school fans, just like most of these #1s are designed to attract new ones. Nuack's art is a little wonky, and this book feels less like a reinvention and more like a recapitulation of old tropes, a little disappointing since the publisher is doing so many new things at the moment. Still, there's a lot to be said for comfort, particularly right after the resurrection of one of your favorite characters. When I'm at the store this week, I may decide to take a shot on this one.

3. Finally, two worthwhile looking books featuring women characters and written or drawn or both by female creators are debuting this week. First is Shutter, from Joe Keatinge and Leila Lo Duca; frankly, I have no idea what its about, the solicitation is so broad as to be meaningless-- perhaps because the story concept suffers from the same problem. What photography has to do with anything is yet to be revealed. But it's got shades of Indiana Jones, Lo Duca's art is intriguing, and main character Kate Kristopher gets attacked by ghost ninjas on the fourth page, so at least it's sure to be fun. Also appearing this week is the camp adventure Lumberjanes, from Noelle Stevens, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Ellis. Published on Boom's "experimental" Boom Box imprint, Lumberjanes seems like another fun one, a camp adventure with a supernatural twist, it seems likely both to younger readers and older ones. The preview suggests that Ellis was influenced here as much by animation aesthetics as by comics aesthetics; it'll be hard to say no when it comes out in trade. 

Coming Soon to A Spinner Rack Near You: Eleanor Davis

From the Fantagraphics tumblr: It’s a great pleasure to reveal the final cover artwork for one of our most anticipated books of 2014. How to Be Happy collects short comics by Eleanor Davis and it will floor you with its beauty and depth. You’ve seen some of this work in Best American Comics, Mome, Nobrow, and Lucky Peach (if you’re tuned in to the hip print outlets) and on the web (if you’re tuned in to Tumblr), and now it’s collected in one gorgeous book, due out this Summer.

Wednesday's New Things: Pretty Happy

1. After an extended delay, the first arc of Pretty Deadly is coming to a close this week. Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios's work here is simply stunning; although the first few issues could be a little confusing, everything has started coming together quite nicely. At a time when there's a lot of, maybe even too much (?!) good stuff coming out every week, this book is among the best. Check out the comic's tumblr, where you can all kinds of good preview goodies, and some fan art, too. 

2. Inhumans was a book I was sort of looking forward to, but, by this point, it just seems like Marvel is trying to hard. Any solicitation that invites you to "get in on the ground floor" after the publisher fired the original writer is a solicitation for a series that's not going to get many floors up. I'm still not convinced that these are characters which will have a wide following, particularly with Black Bolt out of the picture. There are more problems than that, though: reading through the preview, you can see the Fraction in it. Charles Soule is a good writer, but he'd be better off trying to find his own voice, rather than trying to ape his predecessor's. 

3. It's a good time to be Simon Roy. His collection Jan's Atomic Heart was reissued last week, to very positive reviews, and now he's got this new thing, called The Field, out from Image, written by Ed Brisson. I love Roy's line, which has a softness that, for reasons I can't quite put my figure on, reads to me as European. It's like Frank Quitely's or Nick Pitarra's, but with a little less give. If you're not convinced, take a look at the preview and pay attention to the way he draws the wheat; the way it disappears into the horizon mimics the way that wheat fields actually appear at their edge, or in the middle, transforming the setting from mundane to extraordinary, even as he keeps it realistic. The story details are sketchy, but the solicitation is, well, more than intriguing: "A man wakes in a field wearing nothing but his underwear. He's got no idea who he is or how he got there. His only connection to the outside world a cell phone on which he receives mysterious texts warning him of impending danger. Danger like Christian, an ex-bible sales-man in the middle of crime spree fueled by Christian Rock, dirty sex, meth, murder and keeping this underwear clad, nameless and pastless man close by his side." My current policy on miniseries is to buy them in trade; this is a definite future purchase. 

4. Boom's last original crime series Hit, was excellent, mostly on the strength of artist Vanessa Del Ray. It's newest one, Dead Letters looks fun; like Hit it as a sort of hackneyed initial premise (in this case, a man wakes up in a motel but can't remember anything), but there the similarities sort of stop. Chris Sebela's plot appears, from the preview to the solicitations for issues #2 and #3, to transcend the initial premise in part by embracing how cliched it is, and replacing specifics with general types (the location of the comic is called "Here," it features a crime boss called "The Big Man.") Newcomer Chris Visions is on the art, and his work alone might be worth the price of admission. Although it's very complex, occasionally too much so, it's also deeply varied, and interesting. At one point, the main character effectively "drives" into his last memory. Potentially, this is one worth watching.