If you really don’t know about THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN then I haven’t been doing my job properly. It’s genius. Click on each book for a review, including the new BLACK DOSSIER finally available in the UK.
- Stephen on League of Extraordinay Gentlemen vol 3 #3.
Comics & Graphic Novels for June 2012
Fatale vol 1: Death Chases Me (£10-99, Image) by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips.
Undoubtedly the finest new series in comics this year, with – I’m delighted to report – the biggest selling single issue beating AVENGERS VS X-MEN by a very wide margin. Big, big love to Sean Phillips for all his support. Those signed copies of #1? They were Sean’s, given to us as a present when we missed out on the fourth printing. So, here’s what I made of the first issue:
The Losing Side Of Eternity: an unpublished novel by Dominic H. Raines, 1957.
“So here’s how my entire life went off the tracks in one day.
“It started at Dominic Raines’ funeral… and of course the weather was as bad as most of the old man’s novels…”
“I didn’t see her among the small crowd, which, looking back, is odd. But I was distracted by the engravings on the headstone. Raines wasn’t just an atheist… he hated all religions. So what the hell was this about?”
What the hell indeed. Nicolas Lash has inherited the estate of his father’s best friend, one Dominic H. Raines who published a string of bestselling detective novels beginning in 1960 before dying alone and bitter and broken. As Nicolas swiftly discovers, however, he’s also inherited a great many questions and a whole world of trouble in the form of an unpublished manuscript whose title speaks volumes and a woman he meets by the grave. She calls herself Jo and claims to be the granddaughter of a woman the novelist once loved. The symbol, she says, is a private piece of the past Raines and her grandmother simply couldn’t let go of.
“Later, I’d wonder why my head felt glued to the ground as she walked away. How with just a few words, she’d made me feel like some high school kid again. Dumbstruck. I didn’t know that could still happen.”
It’s been happening for years. Flashback toSan Franciscoduring the mid-1950s and Dominic ‘Hank’ Raines is a happily married man with a wife and a kid on the way. A reporter determined to expose police corruption and in particular one Walt Booker, he lures Walt’s woman Josephine to a bar one night, and she warns him – she does try to warn him – but from that moment on he just can’t get her out of his head…
Ah, la femme fatale: beautiful, seductive, and disastrous for all who stray near. But Brubaker and Phillips have carved something far more interesting which, the more I think about it grows increasingly complex. For a start, I’ve deliberately said little about Walt himself – both his public and private investigations into a death cult – nor what happens to Nicolas back in the present, because although this is everything you love about the same team’s CRIMINAL, it’s also a horror comic: the less you know, the better. Indeed Brubaker’s hinted at so many unanswered questions in this first of twelve issues, I can’t get it out of my head, either.
It’s another perfect fusion of genres, but the big change and key to its complexity lies in the multiple perspectives: of each of the men who find themselves stricken by the raven-haired beauty who appears to weather the ravages of time infinitely better than those who fixate… and also Josephine’s. Each for their own reason appears to have no option but to forge forward in their different directions; each believes they are running out of time. All of them seem linked by and trapped in a web woven wider and wider across time, spanning, it seems, an entire century.
I love the way Sean Phillips draws gunshots – jagged flashes of fire – and there’s plenty of action and more gore to come, but it’s his quietest scenes set in beds, bars or out on the street at night that I relish even more. The opening pages in the bucolic graveyard are particularly sublime and as evidence I present you with this five-page preview of FATALE #1 courtesy ofWarren Ellis including a cover which I predict (as early as the second week in January!) will be almost impossible to beat this year.
The Red Dairy / The Re[a]d Diary flipbook h/c (£22-50, Image) by Teddy Kristiansen, Steven T. Seagle & Teddy Kristiansen.
I love Teddy Kristiansen and this looks absolutely fascinating. IT’S A BIRD comes very highly recommended indeed.
“Teddy Kristiansen’s European album is newly translated to English by Teddy Kristiansen and Steven T. Seagle. But in a unique flip-novel format, the book is also ‘re-mixed’ with a completely different script devised by Seagle before he collaborated on the translation. Both versions – THE RED DIARY – a tale of art forgery and World War and THE RE[A]D DIARY – a tale of identity theft and lost love – comprise this unique graphic novel from Seagle and Kristiansen – the Eisner nominated/winning team behind the acclaimed Vertigo graphic novel IT’S A BIRD.”
The Massive #1 (£2-75, Dark Horse) by Brian Wood & Kristian Donaldson.
“In a post-war, post-crash, post-disaster, post-everything world, the environmental-action trawler Kapital scours the earth’s oceans for its mysteriously missing sister ship, The Massive. Captain CallumIsrael, a man who has dedicated his life to the ocean, now must ask himself-as our planet dies-what it means to be an environmentalist after the world’s ended. Callum and his crew will come up against pirates, rebels, murderers, and thieves as they struggle to remain noble toward their cause. Can you save a planet that’s already doomed?”
The Manara Library vol 3 h/c (£45-00, Dark Horse) by Milo Manara, Federico Fellini, Silverio Pisu & Milo Manara.
“Milo Manara’s collaborations with legendary filmmaker Federico Fellini take centre stage in this latest volume of The Milo Manara Library! Together, these two masters produced the beautiful, surreal stories ‘Trip to Tulum’ and ‘The Voyage of G. Mastorna,’ the latter of which is presented in English for the first time! Completing this volume is Manara’s collaboration with Silverio Pisu on the satirical update of a Chinese fable, ‘The Ape,’ as well as a large selection of short stories displaying the maestro’s illustrative versatility!”
Fatima: The Blood Spinners #1 (£2-99, Dark Horse) by Gilbert Hernandez.
From LOVE & ROCKETS’ Gilbert Hernandez, this is being marketing as an ongoing series.
“Comics luminary Gilbert Hernandez envisions his strangest, most thrilling future yet! A drug called ‘spin’ offers the wildest trip imaginable, followed by its users’ inevitable, rapid deterioration into undead flesh eaters. Despite the side effect, the drug is so popular that the human population is dying out! With no cure to be found, the beautiful, lovesickFatimamay be the only thing standing between the survivors and the apocalypse. Get ready for four issues of zombies, drug lords, and gorgeous women!”
Dungeon Quest book three (£14-99, Fantagraphics) by Joe Daly.
“Expanded to more than twice the length of the previous volumes, Dungeon Quest Book Three continues the adventures of Millennium Boy, Steve, Lash and Nerdgirl as they traverse mysterious underground realms. This latest instalment of the stoner D&D epic brings a whole new level of bizarre comedy, rousing adventure and ass-kicking action – all staged in front of fantastic backdrops replete with strange vegetation, ancient ruins and steam-punk imagery.”
Iron: Or, The War After h/c (£18-99, Archaia) by Shane-Michael Vidaurri.
Well here’s something a little different stylistically on the anthropomorphic front and thankfully Archaia provide a preview.
“It is the aftermath of a long war, in a world of constant winter. An intelligence spy from the Resistance – the rabbit, Hardin – steals secret information from a military base of the Regime. His actions set off a chain of events that reverberates through the ranks of both sides, touching everyone from Pavel the crow to Giles the goat, from the highest-ranking officials to the smallest orphaned child. When the snow finally settles, who will be the true patriot and who the true traitor? A spellbinding, beautifully illustrated anthropomorphic tale.”
Courtney Crumrin vol 2: The Coven Of Mystics colour h/c (£18-99, Oni Press) by Ted Naifeh.
Absolutely adore this series and finally the production values match the quality of the contents. I recently wrote a completely new review for COURTNEY CRUMRIN vol 1, and I love what they’re doing with the covers now colour-wise. Going to make a lovely looking set.
“Fan-favourite and critical darling Courtney Crumrin is back in a series of newly remastered, full colour hardcover editions! When the night things of Courtney’s community start causing trouble, it’s up to her to find out why. The town’s powerful coven of mystics thinks it knows who to blame, but Uncle Aloysius doesn’t believe their simple explanation. His misgivings start Courtney down a twisted path that leads to the true mastermind behind all the horror! But does Courtney stand a chance against a being that powerful and manipulative?”
The Clock Strikes #1 (£3-50, Kult) by John A. Short & Vincent Danks.
Are you reading HARKER? You should be. Great British crime comic with a mischievous twist. HARKER VOL1 and HARKER VOL 2. Anyway, its artist is the same Vince Danks and take a look at this, the cover to THE CLOCK STRIKES #1 worthy of Dave Gibbons or Brian Bolland. And that’s all the info we really have for you right there anyway.
UK item so not on our website. Phone 0115 9508045 or make with the clicky on firstname.lastname@example.org
Due: when the clock strikes, obv.
Right State h/c (£18-99, Vertigo/DC) by Mat Johnson & Andrea Mutti.
“Just in time for the fall presidential election, Mat Johnson, acclaimed writer of INCOGNEGRO [and DARK RAIN – ed.], delivers a race-against-time political thriller about a militia group that’s plotting to assassinate the second African- American President of theU.S. In the week leading up to a major campaign speech, the Secret Service discovers that an extremist militia group is plotting to assassinateAmerica’s second African American President. The best chance to avert this crisis is to infiltrate the group using an ex-Special Forces war hero turned conservative media pundit named Ted Akers. While Akers’s politics make him a hero to the right-wing fringe and no friend to the current Administration, he takes the assignment and what follows is an adrenaline-fuelled race against time to stop a President from dying and a country from being ripped apart.” Original graphic novel.
The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen III: Century #3: 2009 (£7-50, Knockabout/Top Shelf) by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill.
The conclusion, and I’m really worried for Mina. If you really don’t know about THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN then I haven’t been doing my job properly. It’s genius. Click on each book for a review, including the new BLACK DOSSIER finally available in the UK.
“The narrative reaches its cataclysmic conclusion in London 2009. The magical child whose ominous coming has been foretold for the past century has now been born and has grown up to claim his dreadful heritage. His promised age of unending terror can commence, the world can now be ended, and there is no League, extraordinary or otherwise, to stand in his way. The bitter, intractable war in Q’umar crawls bloodily to its fifth year, away inKashmira Sikh terrorist wages a holy war against Islam that must push the world into a nuclear holocaust, and in aLondonasylum there’s a patient who insists she has all the answers.”
The Invisibles Omnibus h/c (£110-00, DC) by Grant Morrison & Steve Yeowell, Chris Weston, Duncan Fegredo and so many more.
Oh, go on! Go on, go on, go on, go on! 1,536 pages of anarchic mentalism. For INVISIBLES: APOCALIPSTICK I wrote the following series overview, and – egotist that I am – it just made me laugh once again!
“Although this is the fifth book to be released, it’s actually book two; it matters not since the story will only begin to make sense once you’ve bought the lot, snipped out the panels, rearranged them into something vaguely resembling chronological order, then performed a brief, drug-enhanced ritual involving a Tibetan mountain and no less than 39 missing letters of the alphabet. Even then, like the average pension scheme, we offer only the flimsiest of guarantees.
For those of you new to this provocative, mind-bending story (pilfered, it’s claimed, for The Matrix film), the Invisibles is a secret cell of anarchists talented in various aspects of what could loosely be described as the occult, determined to see that our lives are freed from the threat of a transtemporal, interdimensional straightjacket. Reality, sexuality, order, chaos, language and control, it’s all here for the decryption. Learn which events made Lord Fanny, the tranny shammy with even more lip than gloss, the man she is today.”
For more, please click on the seven individual INVISIBLES softcovers.
Superman: Action Comics vol 1 – Superman And The Men Of Steel h/c (£18-99, DC) by Grant Morrison & Rags Morales, more.
Reprints the first eight issues. About the first I typed…
“You know the deal, Metropolis. Treat people right or expect a visit from me.”
Those who’ve read Grant Morrison’s SUPERGODS will recognise Morrison’s approach here, a very different take from his All-Star Superman with its clue in the title: ACTION COMICS #1.
Of the original version Morrison commented on Superman’s socialist role as champion of the people, of the underdog as opposed to the rich and powerful. Also, a man so unafraid to throw his weight about that the public run screaming in a panic on its cover. So it is here, tying in with last week’s JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 as a much younger, brasher and flashier Superman defies the corrupt authorities who’ve decided to distrust him and – egged on by Lex Luthor, of course – perfectly prepared to endanger the public in order to catch their man. This Superman takes a barely disguised glee in flexing his muscles and his targets are both white-collar criminals protected by the law and neo-Nazis he’s reported to have dumped down the sewers and a wife-beater he threw out of a window and left with broken bones.
Crucially it’s far better structured and scripted than JUSTICE LEAGUE, giving you a satisfyingly full first chapter, and readers of IDENTITY CRISIS will love the return of Rags Morales to a title befitting his stature. Speaking of stature, the pragmatic workman-like builders’ boots and knee-patched jeans look one hell of a lot better than scarlet overoos of yore.
Key ingredients: faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and almost stronger than a locomotive. Almost. Locomotive 1, Superman 0.
Absolute Batman And Robin: Batman Reborn slipcased oversized h/c (£75-00, DC) by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely, David Finch, Philip Tan, more.
Reprints BATMAN & ROBIN #16 (i.e. the entire Grant Morrison run) and BATMAN: THE RETURN in a bone-crunchingly heavy hardcover the size of the average computer screen. A handy comparison for most of you right now.
Incognito Classified Edition h/c (£33-99, Icon/Marvel) by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips.
From the creators of FATALE, the deluxe treatment for INCOGNITO and INCOGNITO: BAD INFLUENCES (ooh, interior art there!) which, like the CRIMINAL DELUXE h/c (ooh, interior art there too!) will have lots of extra Sean Phillips goodness. Yes, please!
The Twelve vol 2 h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by J. Michael Straczynski & Chris Weston.
Yuss! The conclusion I never thought I’d see to one of Marvel’s finest series of all time set well away from the regular Marvel Universe. Read the substantial review of THE TWELVE VOL 1 by clicking on that book’s title there.
Defenders vol 1 s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Matt Fraction & Terry Dodson, Michael Lark, more.
The Defenders should always be played for laughs, and not just in the pages of Twisted Toyfare Theatre. The Kieth Giffen era, in fact, when they used to run one-line adverts for other titles at the bottom of each page was the only one worth paying attention to until now. The original core members consisted of Dr. Strange trying to pacify the Hulk and Namor while the Silver Surfer buried his head in his hands and bemoaned man’s inhumanity to man. Actually, he did most of that in his own title.
From the writer of CASANOVA, INVINCIBLE IRON MAN and the recent rejuvenation of IRON FIST comes a cry for help from a more-than-usually-responsible Hulk answered by Dr. Stephen ‘still-sleeping-with-his-students’ Strange who promptly reforms the Defenders by making house calls on Namor (imperiously wrecking a posse of killer whale cullers), the chrome-domed wielder of the Power Cosmic who answers the flurry as a blizzard of snow (he’s… experimenting), the Red She-Hulk (oh, I know, totally lame, but well written here) and, of course, Iron Fist who himself is having a one-night stand he probably shouldn’t and buries himself in some comics instead (approved!). Each receives their own colour-coded perspective in the monologue boxes and is considerable enhanced by being drawn by Terry sexy Dodson.* Also, guess what’s back? The seventies’ one-line adverts at the bottom of each page! Funny.
*Please note: I have no idea if Terry is sexy; presumably his wife thinks so. But as artists they both deliver in some of the most sensuous lines in superhero comics.
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man III vol 2 h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Sara Pichelli, more.
Still loving the new Miles Morales Spider-Man. Review of VOLUME 1 by clicking on “volume 1.” The first “volume 1” not the second “volume 1” or indeed the third or fourth or, imminently, fifth “volume 1”s. Basically, not the ones in quotation marks. I better lie down.
Pre-order Ultimate Comics Spider-Man vol 2 h/c by phoning 0115 9508045 or emailing email@example.com
Spider-Men #1 of 5 (£2-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Sara Pichelli.
The regular Marvel Universe Spider-Man and the Ultimate Universe Spider-Man. I’d recognise that body language anywhere.
Planetoid #1 (£2-25, Image) by Ken Garing.
Never heard of him but it looks pretty monumental. Literally. See what I mean at the illustrated interview for PLANETOID here.
“Silas, an ex-soldier turned space pirate, finds himself stranded on a mysterious planet in alien territory. As he explores the long-abandoned industrial ruins of the planet’s surface he will have to fend off rogue mechanical creatures, roving cyborg militias, and a hostile alien military with a bounty on his head. Silas will have to rely on resourcefulness and bare-bones survival tactics in order to stay alive and ultimately unlock the secrets of a planet where survival is a luxury and escape an impossibility.”
Morning Glories vol 3: P.E. (£10-99, Image) by Nick Spencer & Joe Eisma.
Now there’s an ominous title! Of book two I wrote:
Oh me of little faith!
I had certain doubts about volume one, but each of these six chapters were riddled with revelations and reversals that had me slack-jawed at the implicit scope of what’s been crafted behind the curtain and yet to be unveiled. This is a completely new game, and I’m only just beginning to guess at the rules.
To recap: six new students have been selected to attend a prestigious boarding academy which will not let them go. There literally is no escape and whilst a semblance of regular routine is maintained in the corridors and curriculum, the overt threats from teachers and fellow classmates alike are almost as sinister as what’s not being said. There is a lot that’s not being said.
Here six interlocking short stories focussing on the past, present and potential future of each new Glory reveals them to have far more in common than their birth dates: they’re all so psychologically screwed up it’s just not true. Please don’t think that I know all the answers but… Why can’t Hunter tell the correct time? Where does Jade go each time she dies and why doesn’t she seem to mind? Did Ike really kill his Dad then hire an open-topped bus full of bimbos to jeer at the funeral? And if so, how did he get away with it? Did Jade’s parents die? Why does Jun seem to blow so hot and cold? What is Zoe’s earliest memory, how much is she capable off, and who the hell is David? Who is this Abraham that seems to have intervened in their early lives during crucial hours and what specific, completely unexpected connection does he have to one of them in particular? What do all these teachers actually want? Trust me when I tell you that those are some of the more pedestrian questions you’ll be asking yourself once this book has finished freaking you out.
“Faith isn’t about understanding. It’s about -”
“Putting your hand in someone else’s… and learning to take the good with the bad.”
Very much coming round to the art too: clean lines and a misty colouring.
For some reason this isn’t up on our website. Time to email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0115 9508045.
The Walking Dead vol 16 (£10-99, Image) by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard.
All you want to know is the release date, right?
Loads More Dc Graphic Novels Here
Loads More Marvel Graphic Novels Here
In fact, there are loads more comics and graphic novels for June onwards in our full on-line version of Diamond’s PREVIEWS here!
These previews are brought to you by the letter S, L and H with one emphatic, glaring omission. Not exception, omission. Order the project if you want, but I’m not giving it any publicity.