Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Waiting for Wednesday, Issue 21

Happy Wednesday, everybody, and welcome to another exciting edition of Waiting for! Lots and lots of lots and lots this week from the publishers, as another round of event-y type comics comes our way. This edition is going to be a bit scatter-brained, as there's just SO much new product coming out today.

So let's get right to it.

First up, DC's Blackest Night finally (finally!) gets going--like, officially--with issue number one. That's right, after over a year of hype, this time there are no more prologues and previews, no more lead-ins and teasers...this is just book one of the actual story.

I'll be checking it out, for sure, and keeping my fingers crossed that I don't have to read any of the tie-ins (not even the Green Lantern Corps title) to follow what is happening. DC is promoting this as *ahem* the "most anticipated comics story of the year," which would be truer if you added "...because we've been hyping it since last April."

Oooh, a little early morning snark.

Blackest Night artAnyway, Geoff Johns is DC's Golden Boy, and he somehow manages to make characters that I really don't care about (like Green Lantern, for instance) jump off the page and make me come back for more. I'm looking forward to this book, but I have to say I've been pretty put off by the stupid amount of time that's led up to the title's finally launching.

DC has really, really raised the bar on this series in terms of expectations, and the pressure is going to be on the creative team to deliver. Will it be good? Yes, absolutely. Will it be the Best Thing in Comics? No, these things just never are. But Johns will deliver with a solid, tight script and an interesting and dark story. Ivan Reis' art will be amazing, and those things combined will make for a great book.

Let's hope it manages to stay on schedule and that it isn't plagued by a multitude of cross-overs and needlessly complicated sub-stories throughout the DCU.

Across the street, Marvel ships Captain America, issue 601, as well as a second printing of issue 600, in case you missed it. Issue 601 is special for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, legendary Marvel artist Gene Colan has done the pencils for the book, marking his return to Cap after many years.

Marvel's doing something cool with this issue--there are several variants (boo!) but one of them actually makes some sense. Because Colan's line work is legendary, the publisher will be releasing a black and white variant, with the pencilled work. So, here's the regular cover:

Captain America #601 regular coverAnd here's the black and white cover, with only the pencils:

Captain America #601 black-and-white coverThe interior of the black and white variant will feature Colan's pencils, as well. At this point, you're probably asking what the issue is actually about. Well, I'm not 100% sure, but Marvel's site says that it's a flashback story of Bucky and Cap in World War II. I dunno how/if the issue will tie-in to the current "Return" storyline,'s Gene Colan! Go! Buy!

And, finally, the book I'm most looking forward to. Written by Neil Gaiman and with art by Andy Kubert, the hardcover collection of Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? is one of those books that will always occupy a spot on my shelf.

Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? coverFirst, the Kubert art is nothing short of spectacular throughout this two-parter, and the book drives home how great Andy is at what he does. And Gaiman's story, though some online have complained that it takes a little while to get moving, is really quite touching. I'm not sure I understand the knock against this book--I mean, sure, comics should have action and explosions and kicking and things.

But, not every comic needs that.

And certainly not a comic with Batman's funeral as its setting. Gaiman delivers a thought-provoking look at the life of the Dark Knight, with flashbacks to events that are familiar, and some that are most definitely not.

The beautiful thing about this book is the fact that, all you need to know about Batman is that he is (was) a crime fighter dressed as a bat. And that's pretty much it. If you read the issues as they came out and found yourself scratching your head every now and then, asking things like, "wait, I don't remember that," don't worry because that's the whole point of the story. Some of the flashbacks are "real," others aren't, but they all add to the mystique of the character and the weird impact he had on so many others in the DCU.

So, in short, I absolutely recommend checking this book out.

Now, before I let you all go forth and raid your comic shops, there are a few other titles of note that ship today. If you read this blog weekly, then you know I am a strong advocate of Vertigo's Madame Xanadu series. Well, if you've been meaning to pick it up, today's a perfect day for that, as the first trade collection hits stands this afternoon.

Madame Xanadu coverAnother book that I've followed since the beginning is Peter David's Fallen Angel. The series started at DC, then moved over to IDW, where it's been for the past couple of years. As with all of Peter David's books, Fallen is of the highest quality, tightly-plotted, fun, and it ships on time, month in and month out.

Fallen Angel coverAfter taking a brief hiatus to retool, the series gets a relaunch today, in a book entitled Fallen Angel: Reborn, and I suggest anyone who's thought about jumping on the title in the past do so now. As a bonus, the Joss Whedon-created character Illyria will be a guest star. I'm not exactly sure who this character is, but for Whedon die-hards, I figured I'd mention it.

Also shipping today are RASL, issue 5 from Jeff Smith, issue 3 of Dynamite's excellent Sherlock Holmes, Ed Brubaker's Incognito, issue 5, and a new book from BOOM! called, simply, Poe.

Whew! That's alotta books...

Oh! And the second issue of DC's Wednesday Comics ships today. As mentioned in my review, I liked the first issue quite a bit. However, as I mentioned in last week's Waiting for, my hope was (is) that DC won't screw this up.


I didn't realize the book was a weekly title. At $3.99, no matter how awesome the format of the thing is, it might be worth waiting on the trade (which I've learned will definitely be coming when the series wraps). However, if you missed last week's issue one, I highly recommend picking up at least one of the actual issues, if for nothing else than to check out (and enjoy) the format.

OK...that's it for real this time.

Like I said at the top, lots of good stuff this week. So, what are you still doing here?! Get to the store already!

Oh, but first...what are you Waiting for?

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