DARK HORSE

BALTIMORE EMPTY GRAVES #1 (of 5)

Writers: MIKE MIGNOLA. CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN

Art: PETER BERGTING

Colors: DAVE STEWART

Cover: BEN STENBECK

FC, 32 pages, $3.99, Miniseries

With no bodies to bury, Baltimore lays to rest the memories of good friends, while the strange worshipers of the Red King make use of the corpses of his fallen allies.

The first issue of this mini picks up right after the last one, as the team digs a grave for a guy they had to leave behind (some sort of ritual). But as they do, they decide to tell each other why they've joined Baltimore. I'm guessing each issue will do the same, with a different member. As for this issue, the story was pretty creepy, but I was a bit disappointed in the art. Normally these books are done by the excellent Ben Stenbeck, but he only did the cover this time.

LOBSTER JOHNSON: THE FORGOTTEN MAN

Writers: MIKE MIGNOLA, JOHN ARCUDI

Art: PETER SNEJBJERG

Colors: DAVE STEWART

Cover: TONCI ZONJIC

FC, 32 pages, $3.50, One-shot

After a transient goes missing, Lobster Johnson is called in to investigate a priest who practices more than just religion. What he’s got cooking in his stew pot is nothing compared to what he has hiding in the sewers below ...

Action-packed one-shot—perfect for new readers!

I don't know why I love Lobster Johnson, the best pulp hero who never existed. But I do!

In this issue, people start to go missing in a Hooverville, and complain to a Lois Lane-style newspaper reporter (is she a regular?). She alerts The Lobster, who investigates, and what follows is a thrilling pulp-style adventure, complete with an intrepid team, sewer battles and even a mad scientist. There is absolutely no mention of how this ties into the larger Hellboy universe, although you know it will. So there are no lingering questions or un-pulled threads. Just a wonderful done in one.

None of which would matter if the art didn't hold up. But Snejbjerg delivers. His work isn't especially pulp-y, but it's beautiful, with a well-delineated world, strong figures and clear storytelling.

The Forgotten Man -- a terrific title, with at least two meanings -- is fun from start to finish, with all the pulp beats you expect in this kind of ride. Recommended.

SCOTLAND YARD (HC)

Writer: DOBBS

Art/Cover: STÉPHANE PERGER

FC, 104 pages, $17.99, HC, 7” x 10”

TRUE CRIME IN THE 19TH CENTURY!

When he botches a prisoner transfer, allowing the escape of two psychopathic criminals, Inspector Gregson is given the opportunity to redeem himself by leading the manhunt to recapture the felons. To do so, he may need to forge alliances on the other side of the law!

Printing both volumes of the Soleil edition in English for the first time!

As usual, the week ended before I had time to read everything I wanted to read. I got far enough into this book, though, to know that I wanted to savor it, and not rush through it for the sake of a quick review. Take that as a recommendation, especially if you are a fan of either Sherlock Holmes or Jack the Ripper stories.

The first two pages introduces us to what will surely become the central mystery, a kind-of mad scientist who decapitates young girls with some sort of constricting iron collar and possibly eats them. But we shift immediately to the good guys, where in the next few pages we get a stew of Victorian England's literary figures, including the appearance of inspectors Bradstreet, Gregory and Lestrade of the Holmes canon; Bram Stoker, the real-world author of Dracula; mentions of Jack the Ripper, Inspector Abberline and several of the Ripper's victims; and Faustine Clerval, who -- from what I can tell from untranslated French Wikipedia pages -- played a role in another of the author's works, Mister Hyde contre Frankenstein. (You know she's a made-up character, because nobody in Victorian England would name their daughter after a man who consorted with the devil.) That's just flat-out fun, and you immediately get the reassuring feel of being in the hands of a writer who knows his business and has done his homework.

Then there's the art! It's painted, probably watercolor and ink, and just beautiful. Sometimes watercolor artists tend toward the impressionistic, with backgrounds flowing off into nothingness or figures that are merely suggested by blobs of color. It's like ordering a steak dinner and getting a snack. But Perger is not of that ilk, instead going for a more photo-realistic approach that gives us a full meal that leaves the reader fully sated.

Again, recommended, with the caveat that I've only read the first 20 pages or so.

DC COMICS

BATGIRL #50

Written by BRENDEN FLETCHER and CAMERON STEWART

Art and cover by BABS TARR

Polybagged variant cover by KEVIN NOWLAN

48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

This issue will ship with a standard cover, as well as polybagged variant covers. Please see the order form for more details.

It’s the explosive conclusion of the epic that changed Barbara Gordon forever! The enemy lurking at the edges of Batgirl’s life has been revealed, as have the gang of heroes assembled to help her! From this point on, Batgirl doesn’t walk alone! It’s an extra-sized celebration of the greatest hero Burnside has ever known, from Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr!

This issue features open-to-order variant covers that will ship in opaque polybags.

DC provided covers to all the Super/Bat polybagged issues except this one. Don't know why.

But speaking of covers, this issue is an homage to the first issue, which was almost exactly the same, except Batgirl was alone.

BLACK LIGHTNING (TPB)

Written by TONY ISABELLA

Art by TREVOR VON EEDEN, FRANK SPRINGER and VINCE COLLETTA

Cover by RICH BUCKLER and FRANK SPRINGER

224 pg, FC, $19.99 US

With the power to generate electricity from within, Jefferson Pierce adopts the secret identity of Black Lightning! But it will take all of his abilities to protect his Metropolis neighborhood of Suicide Slum from those that seek to destroy it. With guest appearances from Superman and more, this new title collects issues #1-11 from the 1970s series, plus a story from CANCELLED COMICS CAVALCADE.

I don't believe I've ever read the Black Lightning story from Canceled Comics Cavalcade. OTOH, it's almost 40 years later, so do I really need to spend $20 to do so? Black Lightning, for all of its fame, really wasn't very good. For God's sake, it had art by Frank Springer and Vince Colletta! Plus, it was just as patronizing as Luke Cage, Hero for Hire, but not half as hilarious. It was strenuously earnest, but was about as reflective of black culture as The Jeffersons.

BLOODLINES #1

Written by J.T. KRUL

Art and cover by V. KEN MARION

1:25 variant cover by JILL THOMPSON

32 pg, FC, 1 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED T

“HOSTILE TAKEOVER”

This issue will ship with two covers.

When a meteor crashes to Earth, bringing with it an unspeakable alien presence that terrorizes a nearby small town, the lucky ones die first. As for the rest, they find themselves  locked in a hellish struggle for control of their bodies and their minds. This isn’t just an invasion. It’s an infestation. What would you do if the greatest threat to humanity was hidden away inside you?

Award-winning writer J.T. Krul (Teen Titans, Green Arrow, Jirni) and superstar-in-the-making V. Ken Marion (All New Soulfire, Jirni) bring you their dark and horrifying science-fiction epic about tortured souls who are cursed to a fate worse than death ... much worse.

First issue alert!

Not that I plan to read this one. It not only seems like something left in a filing cabinet during the awful "Bloodlines" event of 1993, it looks like it and has the same name! Maybe it is some sort of remake, because that guy on the cover is a dead ringer for "Loose Cannon," one of the characters created by the original Bloodlines. And, aside from association with a widely-derided event, it's written by J.T. Krul, whom some of you may remember as the guy who had a drug-addled Roy Harper fighting crime with a dead cat. And by "with" I mean he used it as a club.

Pass.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS: THE LOST ARMY (TPB)

Written by CULLEN BUNN

Art by JESUS SAIZ, CLIFF RICHARDS and JAVIER PINA

Cover by JESUS SAIZ

152 pg, FC, $16.99 US

John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kilowog and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps are lost in an unknown universe. The Corps will have to rely on a few questionable allies in order make their way home. The problem is, they have no idea where home is. … Collects the entire six-issue GREEN LANTERN: THE LOST ARMY miniseries!

DC offered a review copy of this book, which I wouldn't have read otherwise. And it's not bad.

And it's good, although not great. It's straight superhero stuff where the gang wakes up in a strange place and are under threat and have to figure out where they are and how to get home. We've seen that a few times before, and with groups more interesting than this. (DC had never really figured out how to get around the problem of everyone on this team having the same, exact super-power. As do most of their enemies, come to think of it.) Bunn spices this up by actually giving us a specific time/location that's sort of interesting, and includes some of the GLC's enemies from earlier in the timestream before they know they're going to be the GLC's enemies. Which is kinda interesting ... but only kinda. And since this book -- famously! -- only tells half the story (there's a six-issue mini with a different name that will tell the rest coming up), it's somewhat unsatisfying in the story department.

OTOH, I had forgotten how much I loved Jesus Saiz' art, which is really strong superhero work, with figures that look like they have weight and are always positioned in a dynamic way. It falls somewhere in the broad distance between John Buscema and Jim Lee, and is a joy.

HARLEY QUINN AND THE SUICIDE SQUAD: APRIL FOOL’S SPECIAL #1

Written by ROB WILLIAMS

Art by JIM LEE, SCOTT WILLIAMS and SEAN “CHEEKS” GALLOWAY

Cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS

Variant cover by SEAN “CHEEKS” GALLOWAY

Blank variant cover

1:50 B&W Sketch variant cover by JIM LEE

ONE-SHOT • 40 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T+

This issue will ship with four covers.

Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, M.D., welcomes you to Evil Anonymous, the support group for super villains in need; where no problem is too insane or homicidal, and where discretion is assured as only a clown princess of crime can—which is to say, not at all. But when Harley Quinn starts using her patients’ own evil schemes against them, it turns out that a much bigger, far more dangerous, and truly life-altering joke is being played on her.

Written by Rob Williams with art by Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Sean “Cheeks” Galloway, the one-shot featuring the Clown Princess of Crime and Task Force X arrives on April 6th, 2016.

Rumor has it that Harley is beginning to sell in the Batman-Justice League range. Which can only increase when Suicide Squad comes out. I sure didn't see that coming! But apparently a lot of comics fans like comics that are fun.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: DARKSEID WAR SPECIAL #1

Written by GEOFF JOHNS

Art by OSCAR JIMENEZ

Cover by JASON FABOK

Variant cover by NEAL ADAMS

Batman triptych variant cover by KIM JUNG GI

32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

This issue will ship with three covers.

The massive “Darkseid War” epic continues to set the stages for the future of the DC Universe as we reveal the secrets behind its newest major player: Darkseid’s daughter, Grail! And if the Justice League is not careful, the spoils of war will all end up with her! See the truth behind Grail's role in this war and the future of the DC Universe as she tears her way across it. Don’t miss this extra-sized special offered at the regular price of $3.99!

Plus, world-renowned visualist Kim Jung Gi puts his stamp on the DC Universe with a wall-to-wall-to-wall action triptych featuring the Big Three!

Is any of this going to matter after Rebirth? Well, it might be a pretty good story in the meantime -- I generally like stories where the League is genuinely challenged, and there are only a couple of foes who can do that, with Darkseid certainly #1 on the list.

SUPERMAN VOL. 1: BEFORE TRUTH (HC)

Written by GENE LUEN YANG

Art and cover by JOHN ROMITA JR. and KLAUS JANSON

192 pg, FC, $24.99 US

Collecting stories from SUPERMAN #40-46 and a story from DC COMICS DIVERGENCE #1! Superman’s biggest secret—his secret identity—has remained safe, until now. What will happen when the truth is revealed?

Here's another book that DC offered for review that I wasn't all that interested in reading. I like John Romita Jr.'s work all right, but I don't think he's really A-list. And who is Gene Luen Yang?

Not that it matters because I had read virtually every major story beat already in previews, on fan sites and so forth. There was little in this book that I didn't already know! And I'm guessing none of this will rally matter after Rebirth, especially the bit about everyone knowing Superman's secret ID.

That may not be your experience -- you might not troll (in the fishing sense) as many sites as I do -- but it's Superman at reduced power and distanced from his supporting cast. That's not for me, but it may be for you.

WONDER WOMAN EARTH ONE VOL. 1 (HC)

Written by GRANT MORRISON

Art and cover by YANICK PAQUETTE

144 pg, FC, $22.99 US

In this new installment of the New York Times best-selling Earth One original graphic novel line, Grant Morrison (THE MULTIVERSITY) joins with Yanick Paquette (SWAMP THING, BATMAN, INC.) to reimagine Wonder Woman for a new era. Encompassing the vision of her original creator, William Moulton Marston, Morrison presents a Diana who yearns to break free from her mother and the utopian society on Paradise Island to learn about the forbidden outside world. Her dreams may come true when Air Force pilot Steve Trevor crashes on their shores, and she must defy the laws of the Amazons to return him to Man’s World.

Is she ready for the culture shock that awaits her in America? And is the world ready for this Wonder Woman?

DC also offered this one for review, and I was really eager to do so, given the controversy already surrounding the book. (It's apparently got some heavy lesbian/BDSM stuff, as well as well as some gender politics that don't go down well with the fan base.) But when I was OK'd to read the book I couldn't get into it, and when I re-applied I never heard back. So phooey.

Heh. Given my description, you're going to read it now even without a review, aren't you?

IDW PUBLISHING

HAUNTED LOVE #3

Writers: VARIOUS

Art: HOWARD NOSTRAND, MIKE SEKOWSKY, SHELDON MOLDOFF AND MORE

Cover: ALEX TOTH

FC • 48 pages • $4.99

Gruesome guys ’n gals ensnared in shivery Pre-Code horror comics of love and romance gone horribly awry! "A Tomb for Two," "The Ghost Girl," "The Noose of Pearls" and more morbid, demented comics about rotting romance! 7 macabre matches most definitely NOT made in heaven! (WARNING: Haunted Love is not recommended for lovers of long walks on the beach, soft music or candlelight dinners.)

Haunted Horror and Weird Love present … Haunted Love!!

I didn't know Alex Toth was born early enough to draw anything pre-Code -- in my head he was a late '50s/early '60s phenomenon -- so when I saw this cover I looked him up. And as it turns out, he would have been 26 when the Code launched. So where is all the pre-Code, early 20s Toth work? Was he working in animation instead of comics or something?

IMAGE COMICS

DARKNESS HOPE (ONE-SHOT)

Writer: CHARLIE HARMON

Art: D.P. DWYER

Cover: LINDA SEJIC

32 PAGES / FC / T+ / $3.99

TALENT-HUNT WINNING CREATIVE TEAM!

In the future, Hope Estacado is a crusading science reporter and her father Jackie, the "World's Greatest Hero," has retired to the suburbs to live out his golden years in quiet contemplation. Hope's about to make a discovery that will shake her to her core -- a discovery that will have dark ramifications for the entire human race -- and Jackie might be the only one who can help.

Gee, what could that discovery be? I can't imagine. Could it be that her father was host to The Darkness and now so is she and that Daddy was once a really, really bad guy?!???

Actually, what I can't imagine is that they can string this concept out any longer! The Darkness has had some interesting bits, and sold well enough for a while, but I doubt there are enough fans left to launch a new series (which I assume this one-shot is testing the waters for).

Of course, I've been wrong before!

 

THE FIX #1

Writer: NICK SPENCER

Art/Cover: STEVE LIEBER

40 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99

The Eisner-award nominated team of bestselling writer Nick Spencer (MORNING GLORIES) and artist Steve Lieber (Detective Comics, Whiteout) are in cahoots again for an all-new, ongoing crime series, THE FIX, which will be launching from Image Comics this April.

"After working with Steve on Superior Foes of Spider-Man, and having so much fun there—it's an absolute thrill getting to work together again here at Image on a book that's creator-owned, and being able to push the envelope of our humor to new, um, lows,” said Spencer. “The Fix is us at our most demented, and it's a blast.”

THE FIX is a story of the crooked cops, scheming mobsters, and corrupt politicians that run Los Angeles—and the sex toy that can bring them all down. Oh, and the hero is a drug-sniffing beagle named Pretzels. Bad people do bad things to each other in this frenetic, outrageous, sometimes off-putting new caper that gives nod to classic crime comics like CRIMINAL and 100 Bullets.

Lieber added: "I'm happy to say that The Fix is a truly funny story about truly awful people. Nick Spencer, Ryan Hill, Nic Shaw and I are all working hard together to create an endlessly surprising tale full of shining moments of self-centered garbage humanity."

This book is by the same team that did the ultra-readable and enjoyable Superior Foes of Spider-Man, so sign me up!

GRIZZLY SHARK #1

Writer: RYAN OTTLEY

Art: RYAN OTTLEY & IVAN PLASCENCIA

Cover: RYAN OTTLEY & KELSEY SHANNON

32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.50

The sold out, cult hit black-and-white issue is back, now in full color! Followed by all-new issues that continue the bloody adventures of the world's most feared animal, the Grizzly Shark!The cult hit returns, now in full color

Fan-favorite creators Ryan Ottley (INVINCIBLE) and Ivan Plascencia (RASPUTIN) return to the cult hit GRIZZLY SHARK, out for fresh blood this April.

“I am afraid of sharks so I figured the only way to overcome my fear is to make a miniseries about them,” said Ottley. “It didn't work at all. I'm never going camping again. I am really excited about this trilogy, so much fun to go in totally unfiltered and unleashed and do whatever I wanted. And all in color, so glad Ivan Plascencia could join me in this comic making adventure! The last time we saw Grizzly Shark was 2010 with a sold out one-shot, so glad fans got a kick out of that, and if you loved my issue back then, you'll love these new issues dripping with insanity.”

“My first time coloring Ryan Ottley's work and big fan of the first Grizzly Shark B/W one-shot 2010,” added Plascencia. “Two things that I admire a lot about Ryan's work are his dynamic storytelling and the way he manages to draw facial and corporal expressions. I laughed a lot on every page we worked together on this book! Definitely some of the best projects I've worked in all my career as colorist. So glad and lucky I got the chance to be part of this bloody series.”

The bloody adventures of GRIZZLY SHARK continue and invite new readers into the story of the world’s most feared animal, the Grizzly Shark.

I think these guys owe Saturday Night Live ("Land Shark") a royalty check.

THINK TANK: CREATIVE DESTRUCTION #1

STORY: MATT HAWKINS

ART / COVERS A, B, & C (incentive): RAHSAN EKEDAL

APRIL 6 / 32 PAGES / FC / T+ / $3.99

NOW AN ONGOING SERIES!

An unknown enemy destroys the technological infrastructure of the United States. Panic and conspiracy theories spread as David Loren and his misfit science team continue work on the TALOS project, trying to make "Iron Man" suits a reality in California.

First issue alert! I didn't read the previous iteration of Think Tank, so I can't recommend one way or the other. Sorry.

MARVEL COMICS

AVENGERS STAND-OFF TIE-INS

NEW AVENGERS #9

Writer: AL EWING

Art: MARCUS TO

Cover By LEINIL YU

32 PGS / Rated T+ / $3.99

A STANDOFF tie-in!

• Up from the depths! Thirty stories high! He salutes the flag and eats apple pie!

• Corporal Todd Ziller is the AMERICAN KAIJU – America’s ultimate weapon against renegade super-science!

• And he’s going to get the Whisperer back in custody – if he has to break Avengers Island in two!

Marvel provided a nice preview, so here ya go.

SPIDER-WOMEN: ALPHA #1

Story by JASON LATOUR, DENNIS HOPELESS & ROBBIE THOMPSON

Written by ROBBIE THOMPSON

Art by VANESA DEL REY

Cover by YASMINE PUTRI

Connecting Variant A by J. SCOTT CAMPBELL

Variant Cover by STACEY LEE

Action Figure Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER

40 PGS / One-Shot / Rated T+ / $4.99

The Spider-Event of 2016 is here! This April, Silk, Spider-Woman and Spider-Gwen unite for a story too big for any one of their titles to contain! Today, Marvel is pleased to present your first look at SPIDER-WOMEN ALPHA #1 – kicking off the epic 8-part universe hopping crossover! Blockbuster writers Jason Latour, Dennis Hopeless and Robbie Thompson are joined by a dazzling array of artists, including Vanesa Del Rey, Bengal, Javier Rodriguez, Tana Ford and more to bring you a story you won’t want to miss!

After the events of SPIDER-VERSE, Jessica Drew, Cindy Moon and Gwen Stacy have been developing a unique kind of friendship from across the multiverse. But when things go awry in Gwen’s universe, Silk and Spider-Woman of the Marvel Universe find themselves stranded in Gwen’s reality while their dangerous doppelgangers run rampant in THEIR New York!

Helmed by the three series writers -- Jason Latour (Spider-Gwen), Robbie Thompson (Silk), and Dennis Hopeless (Spider-Woman) – the arachnid ladies of the Spider-Verse are about to embark on a crossover event that will delve into a brand new adventure that will take Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman and Silk down a path that will forever change who they are and how they think of their corners of the Spider-Verse.

“There’s going to be adventure, intrigue, fisticuffs, and some big twists, but I’m most excited about the personal story for each of these characters as they go through this dimension-hopping event,” explains Silk writer Robbie Thompson with Newsarama. “They’re all going to be tested and changed by this crossover.”

Being part of the “Spider-mythos” has never been easy going for any hero of the Marvel Universe and these ladies are about to enter an interdimensional crucible that will challenge them, not only as individual heroes, but as a team and how they can work together as a cohesive kick-ass  unit. “I think what’s intriguing about the three of them is that they’re really just getting to know one another,” says Jason Latour. “But as far as the initial dynamic—Jessica is definitely the big sister who’s a little frustrated by how much these girls don’t know about being superheroes.”

Bear witness to the first crossover of its kind and get answers to questions you didn’t even know you had as Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman, and Silk jump dimensions and show what it takes to be called SPIDER-WOMEN in the first action-packed chapter SPIDER-WOMEN #1!

When you create a slew of similar characters in a short period of time, what do you do with them? Why, team them up, of course!

AMADEUS CHO: GENIUS AT WORK (TPB)

Writers: GREG PAK & FRED VAN LENTE

Art: TAKESHI MIYAZAWA, GARY FRANK & RODNEY BUCHEMI

Cover by GARY FRANK

104 PGS / One-Shot / Rated T+ / $7.99

• Get to know Cho! That’s teen genius Amadeus Cho, the seventh smartest person in the world — but who’s counting?

• When Cho is declared “Mastermind Excello” by an intelligence contest, his life suddenly spins out of control — and now he’ll need all his smarts just to stay alive!

• Luckily, Cho — and his adorable coyote pup, Kirby — quickly meet and befriend two of the Marvel Universe’s strongest powerhouses: Hercules and the Incredible Hulk!

• When Cho investigates his sister’s fate, a complex web begins to unravel. Who has been manipulating him? And why?

• Can the seventh smartest person on the planet solve the riddle of his own past and future?

• Collecting material from AMAZING FANTASY (2004) #15; INCREDIBLE HULK (2000) #100; and INCREDIBLE HERCULES #126, #133, #135 and #137.

This is almost worth getting just to have a chronology of Amadeus Cho before he became a star. Or for the homage cover (Incredible Hulk #1, 1962). Say, that's two reasons to get this!

BLACK PANTHER #1

Written by TA-NEHISI COATES

Art and Cover by BRIAN STELFREEZE

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On-Sale – 4/06/16

A new era dawns for Wakanda and its ruler, T’Challa! Marvel is proud to offer your new look at BLACK PANTHER #1 written by national correspondent for The Atlantic, MacArthur Genius, and National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me) and illustrated by living legend Brian Stelfreeze, BLACK PANTHER “A Nation Under Our Feet” is a story about dramatic upheaval in Wakanda and the Black Panther’s struggle to do right by his people as their ruler.

The indomitable will of Wakanda -- the famed African nation known for its vast wealth, advanced technology and warrior traditions -- has long been reflected in the will of its monarchs, the Black Panthers. But now, the current Black Panther, T’Challa, finds that will tested by a superhuman terrorist group called The People that have sparked a violent uprising among the citizens of Wakanda. T’Challa knows the country must change to survive -- the question is: will the Black Panther survive the change?

Exclusively revealing with The Atlantic, Coates proposes a simple question that fueled his script for BLACK PANTHER, “Can a good man be a king, and would an advanced society tolerate a monarch? Research is crucial in both cases. The Black Panther I offer pulls from the archives of Marvel and the character’s own long history. But it also pulls from the very real history of society—from the pre-colonial era of Africa, the peasant rebellions that wracked Europe toward the end of the Middle Ages, the American Civil War, the Arab Spring, and the rise of ISIS.”

“For centuries, Wakanda has been sending would-be conquerors home in body bags.  Now, it is about to face its biggest threat — and it comes from within,” says Marvel Comics Editor In Chief, Axel Alonso.  “Under Ta-Nehisi’s unflinching gaze, the Black Panther will grapple with a threat that can’t simply be beaten into submission, one that raises questions about life, liberty and honor that are especially relevant today.”

Is this a bold new age for one of Marvel’s most classic heroes or his untimely downfall? Find out April 6th as BLACK PANTHER #1 arrives digitally and in local comic retailers.

Dear Marvel: Please don't screw up this character. Please, please, please. He can be SO GOOD in the right hands, and SO BAD in the wrong ones.

CIVIL WAR (HC)

Written by MARK MILLAR

Penciled by STEVE MCNIVEN

Cover by STEVE MCNIVEN

Variant: MOVIE COVER

256 PGS / Rated T+ / $34.99

The landscape of the Marvel Universe is changing, and it’s time to choose: Whose side are you on? In the wake of a superhuman tragedy, Capitol Hill proposes the Superhuman Registration Act, requiring all costumed heroes to unmask themselves before the United States government. Divided, the nation’s greatest champions must each decide how to react — a decision that will alter the course of their lives forever! Captain America rejects the Act and goes underground, Iron Man steps up to spearhead the registration effort — and Marvel’s heroes split right down the middle! The shocking crossover that rewrites the rules, Civil War stars Spider-Man, the New Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and the entirety of the Marvel pantheon! Collecting CIVIL WAR (2006) #1-7, MARVEL SPOTLIGHT: MARK MILLAR/STEVE MCNIVEN.

I think this is the final Civil War collection, which brings us to a total of 16. Whew!

Now, what do you think movie-goers will think when if they go to a comics shop after Captain America: Civil War and find 16 books with "Civil War" in the title that have nothing to do with what they just saw? Or see "Civil War II" happening in the monthly books, that features characters that weren't even in the movie?

I know, I know, movies don't ever translate into people jamming into comic shops. But there might be a few, and they're going to be disappointed.

COLOR YOUR OWN CIVIL WAR

Penciled by STEVE MCNIVEN

Cover by STEVE MCNIVEN

120 PGS / All Ages / $9.99

Whose side are you on? Colored pencils, crayons or felt-tip pens? Reach a decision across page after page of all-out costumed warfare featuring Steve McNiven’s exquisitely rendered artwork just waiting for you to add the color! Captain America and Iron Man are the feuding Avengers leading the two sides of heroes that battle it out over the rights and wrongs of superhuman registration. This war is far from civil as friendships and teams are torn apart, and one fact is certain: The issues are anything but black and white. Luckily, that’s where you come in! From Shellhead’s gleaming red and gold to the stars and stripes of the Sentinel of Liberty, these monochromatic Marvels are crying out to be brought to life in an eye-popping kaleidoscope of conflict. The battle lines have been drawn — now, can you stay inside them?

You’ve read the comics. You’ve experienced these iconic and groundbreaking stories. Now it’s time to experience the Marvel Universe like you never have before – as a coloring book! Marvel is pleased to announce a new line of adult coloring books featuring some of Marvel’s most iconic characters, stories and artwork to delight fans the world over! Yes, you heard right True Believer – the Marvel Universe has action, excitement and adventure. Now all it needs is YOU!

“Around the world there are several other coloring books for adults hitting the bestseller lists and with Marvel being the premier graphic storytelling medium, now is the perfect time for us to join this latest book market trend,” says David Gabriel, SVP Sales and Marketing, Marvel. “With Marvel’s Adult Coloring books, fans can add their own personal style to classic Marvel stories. This truly is a way for fans of all ages to be a part of the creative process and bring their personal artistic style to these epic Marvel events."

So dig out those crayons, markers and colored pencils and prepare to return the color to the Marvel Universe, True Believer. But don’t forget your imagination – you’re going to need it! Channel your creative energies, unwind after a hard day’s work, or just relive your childhood memories! Look for the AGE OF ULTRON COLORING book in October with the CIVIL WAR COLORING BOOK and LITTLE MARVEL BY SKOTTIE YOUNG COLORING BOOK to follow later in 2016.

Soooo tempted. But I'm a grown-up, dammit!

DAREDEVIL BY FRANK MILLER OMNIBUS COMPANION (HC)

Written by FRANK MILLER & BILL MANTLO

Penciled by FRANK MILLER, JOHN BUSCEMA,

DAVID MAZZUCCHELLI, JOHN ROMITA JR. & BILL SIENKIEWICZ

Cover by JOHN ROMITA JR.

608 PGS / Rated T+ / $99.99

The Man Without Fear is born and reborn in this second collection of Frank Miller’s finest, paired with the industry’s top artistic talent! When the drug-addled Karen Page trades away DD’s secret identity for a fix, Matt must find the strength to survive as the vengeful Kingpin takes him down as low a human can get! But will the Kingpin’s one weakness — his all-too-human heart — undo the criminal empire he has built for himself? Plus, look back on Matt Murdock’s formative years as a young boy grows into a Man Without Fear, and experience Miller’s very first work on two Marvel icons as Daredevil teams up with Spider-Man! Collecting PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #27-28, DAREDEVIL (1964) #219 and #226-233, DAREDEVIL: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR #1-5, and MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL: DAREDEVIL — LOVE AND WAR.

If you got last month's Daredevil by Frank Miller and Elektra by Frank Miller collections, you might as well get this one to complete the set.

EMPRESS #1 (of 7)

Written by MARK MILLAR

Art & Cover by STUART IMMONEN

Inks by WADE VON GRAWBADGER

Colors by IVE SVORCINA

Letters by PETER DOHERTY

Variant Covers by STUART IMMONEN, SEAN GORDON MURPHY and STEVE MCNIVEN

Millarworld Exclusive SKOTTIE YOUNG Variant Available

Sketch Variant by STUART IMMONEN

Blank Variant Also Available          

32 PGS / RATED T+ / $3.99

This April, two of the biggest names in comics join forces to bring you a brand-new sci-fi adventure unlike any other! Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service) teams with Stuart Immonen (Star Wars, All-New X-Men) to bring you EMPRESS #1 – a brand new series launching as part of Marvel’s creator-owned ICON imprint.

Imagine you’re married to the worst bad guy in the entire universe. An alien dictator feared by races across the cosmos. He will kill you if you leave, but you must escape for the sake of your three children. Now, Queen Emporia must flee the clutches of her ruthless husband with nothing but her wits, her trusty bodyguard, and three guns in tow. Will their attempt at freedom be short lived?

Created in 2004, Marvel’s ICON imprint is designed specifically for top-tier creators to tell their bold, creator-owned storied featuring their own characters and creations. Producing critically acclaimed titles such as Kick-Ass, Powers, The Secret Service, Men of Wrath and many more, Marvel’s ICON imprint has solidified itself as the place to be for exciting stories from A-list creators.

The star-hopping, intergalactic adventure begins this April when Mark Millar and Stuart Immonen bring you the highly anticipated EMPRESS #1 – available in print and digitally!

That's a pretty impressive writer/artist team, but it feels like it's trying hard to find the Saga audience. Which is not a net negative, mind you.

STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #1

Written by CHARLES SOULE

Art & Cover by PHIL NOTO

Variant Cover by JOHN CASSADAY

BB-8 Variant by JOE QUINONES

Design Variant by PHIL NOTO

Jaxxon Party Variant by DAVID NAKAYAMA

Action Figure Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER

Movie Variant and Blank Variant

Noto Sketch Variant and Cassaday Sketch Variant  Also Available

40 PGS / Rated T / $4.99

Strap in and lock s-foils in attack position because one of the breakout stars of the Star Wars™: The Force Awakens is getting his very own ongoing series! Marvel is pleased to present your first look inside the highly anticipated STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #1 – coming to comic shops and digital devices this April! Superstar creators Charles Soule (Lando, Obi-Wan and Anakin) and Phil Noto (Chewbacca) take you to a galaxy far, far away for the new adventures of Poe Dameron – former Republic flyer turned Resistance fighter and the best pilot in the galaxy!

“With Star Wars: The Force Awakens exceeding expectations the world over, it could not be a better time to be a Star Wars fan,” says Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel. “And with Poe Dameron being one of the breakout stars of the film, we’re thrilled we get to continue the story of this fan-favorite in the comics. Expect a series with the same high benchmark of quality as our recent Star Wars titles.”

Set before the events of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, be there for Poe’s daring adventures as they take him to the edges of the galaxy and back. Hand-picked for the Resistance by legendary General Leia Organa, follow Poe, BB-8 and a squadron of X-Wing pilots on a top-secret mission that could hold the key to saving the galaxy. But with the full might of the First Order on their tail, will the operation be short lived?

Plus – this oversized first issue features a special back-up story starring none other than BB-8! Writer/artist Chris Eliopoulos (Hawkeye) brings you an 8-page tale of everyone’s favorite spherical astromech droid as he embarks on a journey all his own!

The adventure begins this April as the Resistance’s high-flying aerial ace comes to comic shops and digital devices in STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #1!

So is he gay? The Internet seems to want him to be.

OPT IN FOR STAR WARS POE DAMERON LAUNCH CELEBRATION

Strap in and get ready because one of the breakout stars of the blockbuster Star Wars™: The Force Awakens is poised to star in one of the biggest comics of 2016! And your local comic shop is the place to be on April 6th to get your hands on the highly anticipated first issue of STAR WARS: POE DAMERON! In addition to being one of the first to read the can’t miss debut, fans who attend their comic shops’ POE DAMERON #1 CELEBRATION will also be able to receive special items exclusive to these launch parties.

The best pilot in the galaxy is ready to take comics by storm, and Marvel is making sure comic book stores worldwide are stocked up with enough materials to make STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #1 one of the biggest launches of the year. Each retailer opting into the POE DAMERON #1 CELEBRATION (FEB160756) will receive a party kit from Marvel, containing exclusive promotional materials including party exclusive variant covers, promotional buttons, cake toppers and more. Retailers, check your Marvel Mailer for additional information on how to opt-in by 03/07 and ensure your store is prepared.

All qualifying retailers will receive the following as part of the POE DAMERON #1 CELEBRATION:

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1 Invitational Postcards

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1 Promotional Pins

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1 BB-8 Lithographs by Joe Quinones

Star Wars: Poe Dameron  #1 Nakayama Jaxxon Sketch Party Variant

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1 Premiere Variant

Set before the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, be there for Poe’s daring adventures as they take him to the edge of the galaxy and back. Hand-picked for the Resistance by legendary General Leia Organa, follow Poe, BB-8 and a squadron of X-Wing pilots on a top-secret mission that could hold the key to saving the galaxy. But with the First Order on their tail, will the operation be short lived?

This April, learn more about the Resistance’s aerial ace when STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #1 soars into comic shops! For more information, visit Marvel.com.

UNCANNY X-MEN #6

Written by CULLEN BUNN

Art by KEN LASHLEY

Cover by GREG LAND

Connecting Variant B by KEN LASHLEY

Classic Variant by WHILCE PORTACIO

Story Thus Far Variant by GREG LAND

40 PGS / Rated T+ / $4.99

This April, the secrets of Archangel will be revealed as Magneto and his team prepare for war. Today, Marvel is pleased to present  UNCANNY X-MEN #6 -- the start of the Uncanny X-Men’s foray into Apocalypse Wars! Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Ken Lashley take you on a mission to save the life of one of the founding X-Men!

Years ago when Archangel first met Apocalypse, he was transformed into the homicidal Horseman of Death. Now, years later, it appears he may be again returning to that form. Psylocke has discovered a vacant, drone-like Archangel in the guise of Death once more. Fearing the worst, that her once lover is under the control of Apocalypse – she and the rest of the Uncanny X-Men embark on a mission to save Archangel’s life. But what they are about to uncover is far more horrifying than they could have imagined…

The quest for Archangel begins this April as Apocalypse Wars comes to UNCANNY X-MEN #6.

Marvel sent a press release and a preview, but I'd have posted it anyway because it appears that the main cover is going to be trade dress of a sort for this story. (Which I'm guessing will last at least until the movie comes out.) I'm thinking that cover (and the similar one last week) is an homage to The X-Men #55 (1969), which is similar. But there's something nagging at the back of my head, a more direct homage. Anyone know what book is lurking in the back of my subconscious?

OTHER PUBLISHERS

5,000 KM PER SECOND (HC)

Publisher: FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS

Writer/Art/Cover: MANUELE FIOR

$22.99, Hardcover, 144 pages, Full color, 6 1⁄2” x 9 1⁄4”

Winner of the prestigious Grand Prize at both the 2010 Angoulême Comics Festival in France and the 2010 Lucca Comics Festival in Italy, 5,000 Kilometers Per Second tells—or almost tells—the love story between Piero and Lucia, which begins with a casual glance exchanged by teenagers across the street through a window and ends with a last, desperate hook-up between two older, sadder one-time lovers. Executed in stunning watercolors and broken down into five chapters (set in Italy, Norway, Egypt, and Italy again), 5,000 Kilometers Per Second manages to refer to Piero and Lucia’s actual love story only obliquely, focusing instead on its first stirrings and then episodes in their life during which they are separated—a narrative twist that makes it even more poignant and heart-wrenching. 5,000 Kilometers Per Second is one of the most delicate graphic-novel masterpieces of the past decade, and certain to delight American readers.

Sounds good, but I haven't seen it. I may order it, but I haven't made up my mind. I went TO THE FANTAGRAPHICS SITE, but it didn't tell me anything I didn't post above.

ARCHIE #7

Publisher: ARCHIE COMICS

Script: MARK WAID

Art: VERONICA FISH

Archie #7 CVR A Reg Cover: VERONICA FISH

Archie #7 CVR B Variant: DJIBRIL MORISSETTE-PHAN

Archie #7 CVR C Variant: MARGUERITE SAUVAGE

32-page, full color comic, $3.99 U.S.

Hiram Lodge finally learns who his daughter, Veronica, is dating. And when he realizes that it’s the boy who destroyed their mansion-to-be, his resulting rage will upend the entire town of Riverdale in this next installment of the best-selling all-new ARCHIE series!

I thought Waid was only on this book for six issues, but it looks like he's going to be around through at least issue #9 (per Archie solicitations). Meanwhile, Veronica Fish has been on the book since issue #5, an artist about which I know very little. HERE'S AN ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY ARTICLE about her taking over the Archie art chores.

ASSASSIN'S CREED #7

Publisher: TITAN COMICS

Writers: ANTHONY DEL COL & CONOR MCCREERY

Artist: NEIL EDWARDS

Colorist: IVAN NUNES

Letterer: Comicraft

Cover A: CHRIS THORNLEY

Cover B: CHRIS WILDGOOSE

Cover C: VERITY GLASS

32 pages / $3.99

Charlotte, Galina and Kody are on a mission; to locate the enigmatic hacker collective, Erudito. Charlotte must delve into the memories of her Inca ancestor to figure out the key to finding the elusive group, but while the Assassins hunt for the clue they need, they themselves become the hunted ...

Did you know there's going to be an Assassin's Creed movie, starring Michael Fassbender? It's due for release in December, so I guess I'm going to have to start reading these books!

BELLADONNA: ANGELS OF DEATH #0

Publisher: BOUNDLESS COMICS

Writer: MIKE COSTA

Art: IGNACIO CALERO

Cover: JOSÉ LUIS

Mature / $.599

Never before offered, the fiery warrior Belladonna reveals her powerful Angels of Death here!

I said some rude things about the first issue when it came out, and I haven't ever read an issue to see whether I was right about my historical perspective, so I feel obliged to do a "firster issue alert" here out of fairness.

BLACK SUMMER COMPLETE SIGNED BOX SET

Publisher: AVATAR PRESS INC

Writer: WARREN ELLIS

Art: JUAN JOSE RYP

Mature / $139.99

Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp's powerful story about twisted hero, John Horus, who assassinates the President of the United States. Black Summer was a huge hit in 2007 and now for the first time fans can get reach into the past with this amazing box set featuring every cover from every issue, original first printings!  It includes the Alpha Edition with a Poster Signed by Warren Ellis!  Also included are Alpha Regular and Wraparound, #0 Regular, Wrap, and Design Sketch, #1,2,3,4,5,6,7 Regular, Wrap, Auxiliary and Design Sketch covers of each and the limited #7 Zombies and End of an Era covers.  Limited to just 100 sets.

This is the first part of a trilogy by Ellis on a superhero theme that I never saw, as it was from Avatar, which didn't send me review copies in 2007 when it came out. (The other two series are No Hero and Supergod). According to Ellis, the first series about posthumans who are too human, No God is about posthumans who aren't human enough (I'm thinking Dr. Manhattan), and Supergod is about posthumans who are completely disconnected from the human race and have become something else (Galactus? Watchers?). This seems like pretty well-trod ground, but anything by Ellis always worth a look.

BRUCE LEE DRAGON RISES #1

Publisher: DARBY POP

Writers: JEFF KLINE, SHANNON LEE

Art: BRANDON MCKINNEY

Cover: BERNARD CHANG

$3.99

Bruce Lee never died. And he hasn't aged. But, Bruce has no idea who he is or why so many "thugs" want a piece of him. Co-written by Bruce's daughter, Shannon Lee, and Jackie Chan Adventures EP Jeff Kline. With alternate Frank Cho cover. Double-sized first issue!

First issue alert!

Bruce Lee will never really die, will he?

CHAINMAIL BIKINI ANTHOLOGY OF WOMEN GAMERS

Publisher: ALTERNATIVE COMICS

Writers: HAZEL REED NEWLEVANT, M. K. REED

Art: JANE MAI & Various

Cover: HELLEN JO

Mature / $20.00

An anthology of comics by and about female gamers. Forty artists contributed comics about the games they're passionate about, from video games to table-top role-playing to collectible card games. Explore the real-life impact of entering a fantasy world, how games can connect us with each other and teach us about ourselves.

It's reassuring to me that there are enough female gamers to make this a thing. You go girls, and so forth.

COMPLETE ALICE IN WONDERLAND (TPB)

Publisher: DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

Writer: LEWIS CARROLL, LEAH MOORE, JOHN REPPION

Art: ERICA AWANO

Cover: JOHN CASSADAY, ERICA AWANO

All Ages / $19.99 / 184 pages

Available for the first time in softcover! Join Alice on her whimsical journey down the rabbit hole. For the first time ever, Lewis Carroll's beloved masterpiece is faithfully adapted and illustrated in its entirety, including the long-lost chapter, "The Wasp in a Wig!" From her initial meeting with the White Rabbit in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, to her final dinner party with the entire (and outrageous) Through the Looking Glass cast, every moment of Alice's adventures in that astonishing landscape is captured in gorgeous detail. With old favorites like the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter joined now by a long-forgotten Carroll creation, The Wasp, in one of the book's latter chapters, children and adults alike can rediscover the complete Alice tale and fall in love with Wonderland all over again!

* "By adapting Carroll's work so faithfully, writers Leah Moore and John Reppion remind everyone that there is a reason the title of his novel was not just 'Wonderland.' In their hands, readers can't help but realize that Alice is a remarkable creation." -- Philadelphia Daily News

* "This is a wonderful re-imagining of a classic tale." -- Comic Book Resources

* "Carroll's wildly imaginative story rightfully explodes onto the page of a comic. Of course, it helps that artist Erica Awano and colorist PC Siqueira are easily up to the task; the work is a glorious mash-up of westernized manga and pastels, giving this book the unique visual look it demands." -- Comic Book Waiting Room

* "They have instilled in me a desire to understand the original as well as continue to read this version. As far as adaptations are concerned, I can think of few higher compliments." -- Broken Frontier

You know, I was thinking the other day that I don't remember ever reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There in prose. It may be that my familiarity with the material is entirely derived from comics. It's a pretty popular theme!

DEUS EX #2

Publisher: TITAN COMICS

Writer: ALEX IRVINE

Art: JOHN AGGS

Cover A by YOHANN SCHEPACZ

Cover B - Concept Cover

Cover C by MARCO TURINI

32 pages / FC / $3.99

Following last issue's explosive revelation, Adam Jensen and TF29's investigation leads them into the heart of the Glasshütte; Dresden's heaving transhuman ghetto, where the augmented struggle daily for basic survival. But with its residents, the media, and even the local police vying against them, it's going to be far from a clean-cut operation.

There are rumblings of a Deus Ex movie, too. I might have to start reading this series, too!

THE TWELFTH DOCTOR YEAR TWO #4

Publisher: TITAN COMICS

Writer: ROBBIE MORRISON

Art:  RACHAEL STOTT

Cover C: SIMON MYERS (inspired by Blondie's "Parallel Lines")

32 pages / FC / $3.99

The shadowy puppetmasters behind the darkness at Ravenscaur are revealed, as the bodycount climbs and the shocking revelations add up! Can the Doctor and Clara, armed with a hundred years of secret history, triumph over the conspiracy and drive out an ancient evil?  

For more information visit:

http://titancomics.tumblr.com/post/133805788647/sneak-peek-doctor-w...

Pretty cool cover, which is reason enough to post this.

GEORGE R.R. MARTIN'S FEVRE DREAM

Publisher: AVATAR PRESS INC

Mature / $129.99

Game of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin's amazing vampire period piece is now available in this special set with every cover from every issue!  It includes the ultra-rare Preview Gold foil, signed by George R.R. Martin himself!  Also the Preview regular, #1 Regular, Wraparound, Nightmare, C2E2, and Auxiliary, #2 Regular, Wraparound, Nightmare, San Diego, and Auxiliary,  #3 Regular, Wraparound, Nightmare, and Auxiliary and #4-10 Regular, Wraparound and Nightmare covers of each.  Limited to just 100 sets.

Given how much fun my wife and I have watching Game of Thrones, it stands to reason we might want to investigate other George R.R. Martin material as well. Are any Legionnaires fans enough of Martin to give the rest of us some guidance?

FOUR NORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE (GN)

Publisher: DEVILS DUE / 1FIRST COMICS, LLC

Writer: MATTHEW STURGES

Art: JOHN LUCAS

Cover: ESAO ANDREWS

$19.99

When ace fighter pilot Bendix "Falcon" Falk dies in Afghanistan, he finds himself transported to Valhalla. Which seems cool until he learns that there are no girls and you die every day. Breaking out with the help of three other dead Norsemen, Falk soon runs afoul of gods, demons and Bendix' own dead father. Can four dead guys save the Universe? Probably not, but it's fun to watch them try. Narrated by God (really!).

This sounds like a hoot, especially since the descriptions of most afterlife heavens -- from the Christian one to Valhalla to Elysian Fields -- sound pretty awful. (Do you really want to spend eternity surrounded by your family, singing God's praises? That sounds like a choir practice in Hell that never ends.)

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GOLD KEY: ALLIANCE #1 (OF 5)

Publisher: DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

Writer: PHIL HESTER

Art: BRENT PEEPLES

Cover A: FELIPE MASSAFERA

Cover B: PHIL HESTER

32 pages / Teen + / $3.99

Turok, Dinosaur Hunter. Magnus, Robot Fighter. Solar, Man of the Atom. The Mighty Samson. The legendary heroes whose adventures have thrilled comic book readers for over half a century are back, only this time they all share the same time and the same world - ours! In this breakneck first issue, each warrior wrestles with the perils of the twenty-first century, but a greater evil is approaching, one that will unify the legendary champions in a struggle that will change each forever. Join Eisner-nominated writer Phil Hester (Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, The Bionic Man) and rising star artist Brent Peeples (Last of the Greats, Legenderry: Green Hornet) for the latest and greatest chapter in the Gold Key saga.

PHIL HESTER TALKS ABOUT FORMING GOLD KEY ALLIANCE AT DYNAMITE.COM

Honestly, does this surprise anyone? I wondered as far back as the 1960s how long it would take to figure out a way to team up these characters. The original Valiant came close, and now here we are.

HELLINA #1

Publisher: BOUNDLESS COMICS

Writer: JAI NITZ

Art/Cover: GABRIEL ANDRADE

Mature / $5.99

Giant-size 64 pages to celebrate Hellina is back! We kick off the 21st anniversary of the boldest of bad girls with an all-new series! Experience a whole new beginning for Hell's enforcer, given a fresh take by seasoned pro Jai Nitz and stunning sensual artwork by Gabriel Andrade (Crossed +100, Uber). But she is no less of a sexy slayer than before, in fact now she is Hell's Adjudicator, sent in to clean house when creatures-of-the-night get out of control. Heaven and Hell waged war for millennia, spanning worlds and dimensions, with a clear good vs. evil story to be told in scripture and in holy houses. Until Hell won. That was five hundred years ago, and Hell has been running things ever since. Not only are the forces of darkness needing to be kept in check, but now a few of Heaven's angelic horde have started appearing. This time, they are fighting as dirty as they need to get back into power. For those who love a whip-cracking, ball-busting, smoking-hot, demonic executioner, this series is for you!   Making it even better, we add in an enormous classic covers gallery and the first chapter of the legendary Hellina vs. Pandora series, in color for the first time!

Don't miss the amazing array of sexy covers with this issue including a Regular Cover by Gabriel Andrade, Wraparound Cover by Renato Camilo, Sacrilege Cover by Raulo Caceres, Enforcer Cover by Ron Adrian, and Stunning Cover by Matt Martin. Plus an array of super limited covers for the collector including a Black Leather Cover as well as Century POV (limited to 100) and Costume Change Set (limited to 250) both by Christian Zanier. For the erotic art collectors, there is a Wraparound Nude Cover also by Camilo, a Sacrilege Nude Cover by Caceres, an Enforcer Nude Cover by Adrian, and a Stunning Nude Cover by Martin! There is also the scorching hot Adult Set of two covers by the one and only Christian Zanier. To see the uncensored adult covers, please visit www.boundlesscomics.com.

Kids today are so lazy! Back in my day, we had to use our imagination to see comic-book women with their clothes off! We had to work at it! And we loved it!

But kids today have it handed to them on a silver platter! Do they have to work at it? Nooooo -- they just sit on the couch picking blackheads while everyone else does the work for them!

And get off my lawn!

HEROES: GODSEND #2

Publisher: TITAN COMICS

Writer: JOEY FALCO

Artist: ROY ALLAN MARTINEZ

Cover A: ROY ALLAN MARTINEZ

Cover B: Photo

Publisher: TITAN COMICS

Page Count : 32 PP

Price: £3.99

Farah’s work at Primatech brings her into a clash with HRG and the Haitian. Plus she has to undergo a secret mission into a prison to break-out an old face from the Heroes TV show! Plus, just what is Angela Petrelli up to … ?

They sent me some covers, so here ya go.

MIGHTY ZODIAC #1

Publisher: ONI PRESS INC.

Writer: J. TORRES

Art/Cover: CORIN HOWELL

$3.99

When the Blue Dragon dies, six stars fall out of the night sky! Ailing Master Long, leader of the Mighty Zodiac, orders his warriors to gather the stars, lest they fall into the hands of the malevolent Moon Rabbit Army. With the stars, the Mighty Zodiac may yet revive their master, rescue their world, and restore the light. Without the stars, the darkness threatens to divide the tribes and destroy Gaya...

This looks more cartoony than I like, but they sent a pretty nice preview. Take a look, and decide for yourself!

MISS FURY VOL 2 #1

Publisher: DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

Writer: CORINNA BECHKO

Art: JONATHAN LAU

Cover A: TULA LOTAY

Cover B: JONATHAN LAU

32 pages / Teen + / $3.99

The Golden Age heroine returns! New York during the second World War is a place of mystery and intrigue, but with all our boys fighting in Europe, who will stand up to the forces of darkness at home? Miss Fury is ready to step into the breach, but even she doesn't understand the shadow she carries within herself. Is it a force of good or of evil? And can she learn to control it in time to stop the deadly attack that threatens to destroy the Big Apple?

First issue alert!

I didn't much care for the taste I got of this character in Swords of Sorrow, so I haven't checked out the previous series. But she evidently sold well enough to get another shot.

NINJAK #14

Publisher: VALIANT COMICS

Written by MATT KINDT

Art by DIEGO BERNARD

Cover A by JELENA KEVIC-DJURDJEVIC

Cover B by MIKE CHOI

Cover C JEFFREY VEREGGE

Valiant x CGC Replica Variant by CLAYTON HENRY

Variant Cover by ANDRES GUINALDO

Variant Cover by MATT KINDT

$3.99 | 40 pgs. | T+

ALL-NEW ARC! “THE SIEGE OF KING’S CASTLE” – PART 1

This spring … MI-6's most dangerous master assassin is outgunned and on the run...as the lethal Roku re-emerges to destroy Colin King's life from the inside out!

Valiant is proud to present NINJAK #14 – the FIRST ISSUE of “THE SIEGE OF KING’S CASTLE” from New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (4001 A.D.) and explosive artist Diego Bernard (X-O MANOWAR)! On April 16th, the adventures of Valiant's elite super-spy leap into action here with an ALL-NEW JUMPING-ON POINT pitting Ninjak against a gauntlet of cruelty and deception orchestrated by the one and only Roku – the cunning criminal mastermind with a mysterious tie to his own classified training and origin! As the secrets of their shared past threaten to come roaring back into the light of day, Roku will lead a merciless campaign to destroy every aspect of her sworn enemy's existence, beginning with the man behind the mask – international financier Colin King! Stripped of the wealth, technology, and resources that he once relied upon, will anything – or anyone – Ninjak ever cared for survive Roku's soul-shattering onslaught of revenge and retribution?

“Colin is really going to lose everything. Which is part of the fun of this arc. We’re stripping Ninjak down to the basics – to see what makes him tick now. We saw his origins and how he got to where he is now. 'THE SIEGE OF KING'S CASTLE' is a kind of reversal of that,” writer Matt Kindt told Newsarama. “Stripping all of his modern trappings away to see how he’s changed since he became Ninjak. The nature of his work in espionage and hero work has the potential to really skew a personality – and I think Colin has really lost himself. He’s lost who he was and who he aspired to be. This is the arc where he’ll (hopefully) realize this. Plus fighting. Lots of ninja fighting.”

Colin King, the feared MI-6 intelligence operative code-named Ninjak, has confronted his past. He’s survived the gauntlet of the Shadow Seven. He’s walked into the Deadside and returned a changed man. Now his greatest trial yet will come to pass as the ruthless assassin called Roku returns to lay siege to Ninjak’s present and future by destroying his identity, his fortune, and his family – and only the death of Colin King will stop her.

“Not only is ‘THE SIEGE OF KING’S CASTLE’ going to be a decisive turning point in Ninjak’s history, it’s also probably one of the single most gut-wrenching Valiant stories that we’ve told to date,” said Editor Tom Brennan. “This is Ninjak’s ‘Skyfall’ or ‘Born Again’ moment –stripped-down, high-stakes storytelling that is going to shatter notions of who and what we thought Ninjak truly was…and leave plenty of wreckage along the way. Roku is about to put Colin King through the meat grinder and when we see him on the other side, Ninjak’s status in the Valiant Universe is going to change forever.”

In the aftermath of “OPERATION: DEADSIDE”, the next great Valiant epic of 2016 starts here as Matt Kindt and Diego Bernard unleash a game-changing gauntlet of deadly surprises for “THE SIEGE OF KING’S CASTLE” – beginning in NINJAK #14! Featuring covers by Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic (Thor), Mike Choi (X-Force), Jeffrey Veregge (Red Wolf), Clayton Henry (HARBINGER WARS), Andres Guinaldo (Justice League Dark), and Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT), the darkest days of Colin King’s short and bloodied life are about to begin when “THE SIEGE OF KING’S CASTLE” takes hold...only in NINJAK #14! 

Plus: Before Ninjak’s world is torn apart brick by brick, follow his latest international assignment in “THE KILL LIST” – a cloak-and-dagger action epic continuing on March 23rd in X-O MANOWAR #45! Dispatched by MI-6 to dismantle a Vine terror cell before its next devastating attack, Ninjak is re-teaming with Earth's alien-armored guardian – the unstoppable X-O Manowar – to locate their next target…and terminate with extreme prejudice! New York Times best-selling writer Robert Venditti (WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR) and rising star Robert Gill (BOOK OF DEATH) pit Ninjak and X-O Manowar against the insidious agents of the alien conspiracy that first brought them together for the next can't-miss chapter of "THE KILL LIST" in X-O MANOWAR #45!

If you haven't checked out Ninjak before, he's sort of a cross between Batman and James Bond. Here's a new story arc, and I recommend sampling it.

ODYSSEY OF SGT JACK BRENNAN (GN)

Publisher: PANTHEON BOOKS

Writer: BRYAN DOERRIES

Art: JOËLLE JONES & Various

$19.95

Jack Brennan is a Marine Corps sergeant whose infantry squad has been cleared to return home from a grueling deployment to Afghanistan. A few years prior, Sergeant Brennan lost one of his closest friends -- a young combat veteran -- to suicide and has vowed to do everything in his power to keep his Marines from a similar fate. On their last night in-country, Brennan shares his version of The Odyssey to help prepare his squad for the transition back to the home front. By retelling Homer's epic about Odysseus' difficult journey home after the Trojan War, and weaving in the stories of contemporary Marines, The Odyssey of Sergeant Jack Brennan powerfully conveys the profound challenges today's veterans face upon returning from combat even as it tells "the oldest war story of all time."

The problem of suicide among returning veterans is so big and so real and so awful, that I'll support anything that tries to mitigate it any way. If this book does so, it's got my full support.

THE PHANTOM: THE COMPLETE SUNDAYS VOL 3 1945-1949 (HC)

Publisher: HERMES PRESS

Writer: LEE FALK

Art: RAY MOORE, WILSON MCCOY

Cover: WILSON MCCOY

$65.00

The long anticipated third volume of the reprint of the entire run of Lee Falk's full color Phantom Sundays, with art by Ray Moore and Wilson McCoy, continues! As with Hermes Press' complete reprint of The Phantom dailies, this book contains every strip digitally reconstructed to perfection.  Presented in Volume Three are seven storylines which encompass, "Queen Pera the Perfect" (December 9, 1945-March 7, 1946) to "The Haunted Castle" (September 12, 1948-February 13, 1949). In addition to the strips this volume contains documentary materials and a detailed essay.

This is a reminder to me to order this book. Lee Falk's adventure stories are so upbeat, breezy and fun that it's no wonder the masked adventurer genre took hold in America. No, I'm not going to write an angry essay about today's grim-n-gritty stories, as they didn't create the audience. They sell, because that's who we are now. But it is really refreshing to read adventure stories like this from the 1930s and 1940s, when heroes always did the right thing and had a good time doing it.

ROUGH RIDERS #1

Publisher: AFTERSHOCK COMICS

Writer: ADAM GLASS

Art: PAT OLIFFE

Cover: PAT OLLIFFE

$1.99

Led by a young Theodore Roosevelt, a motley crew of soon-to-be American legends must work together to solve a mystery that threatens all of existence. Harry Houdini -- street magician and master of misdirection. Annie Oakley -- a washed-up entertainer, eager for a chance to prove herself in a real war. Jack Johnson -- an undefeated brawler and the son of ex-slaves, determined to get his shot at the heavyweight championship. When a terrifying alien technology destroys the USS Maine, these unlikely allies set sail for bloody Cuba, into the heart of a brewing conflict, to wage a shadow war against the greatest threat mankind has ever known. Before they were famous, they were ... ROUGH RIDERS.

OK, this isn't really history. But maybe it should have been!

THREE STOOGES #1

Publisher: AMERICAN MYTHOLOGY PRODUCTIONS

Writers: S.A. CHECK, J. C. VAUGHN

Art: BRENDON FRAIM & Various

Cover A: CHRIS SCALF

Cover B: Classic short

Blank cover available

America's favorite funnymen are back in all new original stories featuring the classic likenesses and personalities of The Three Stooges! 70 years after the last film featuring Moe, Larry and Curly we are proud to present hilarious new shorts with all the eye-poking, face-slapping and nose-pinching goodness of yesteryear.  The Stooges influenced generations of comic book creators and now lifelong fans have a chance to contribute to their legacy with these new slapstick adventures.  We cram so much Stooge into this new issue that you'll be nyuk, nyuk, nyuk-ing it up at the comic shop for weeks to come! Timeless comedy returns to comic books with new and classic stories to tickle your funny bone!

The new adventures of Larry, Moe and Curly will be produced by an array of creators including S.L. Gallant (G.I. Joe), Bill Galvan (Archie), Greg Larocque (The Flash), Mark Wheatley (Breathtaker), Brendon & Brian Fraim (Vampire PA), Andrew Pepoy (Archie), S.A. Check (Maxx Fragg), J.C. Vaughn (Stargate Atlantis), and Mark L. Haynes (Stargate Atlantis), among others. Each creator participating in the program is a huge fan of The Three Stooges and is excited to be telling stories that honor their legacy.

The Three Stooges have a long history in comic book format. "How can you get more iconic than The Three Stooges? Literally generations of children have grown in adulthood with profoundly fond memories of Larry, Moe, Curly, Shemp, and The Boys. The staying power of their humor is exactly why we wanted them at American Mythology. We are determined to create new, original stories in the true spirit of these entertainment legends,” said Michael Bornstein, American Mythology’s Publisher. “We’re very honored to bring The Boys back to comics!”

“Comic books are the vanguard of creativity, and The Three Stooges have a long history in comics. We’re very pleased to have them associated with American Mythology Productions,” said Ani Khachoian, Executive Vice-President of Licensing, Merchandising and Distribution for C3. “Their passion for The Boys is equal to their passion for great comics, and we think it’s an excellent match.”

I was never much of a Stooges fan, but I sure know a lot of them. I'm glad this exists even if I'm not going to read it.

VAMPIRELLA VOL. 3 #2

Publisher: DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

Writer: KATE LETH

Art: EMAN CASALLOS

Cover A: CHRISSIE ZULLO

Cover B: SERGIO DAVILA

32 pages / Teen + / $3.99

Vampirella makes her stage debut as an icon, but the spotlight can be deadly. Everyone in Hollywood seems to have their secrets, from the mysterious Slade to Vampi's new agent, Juliette Court. As her star rises, so do ... (wait for it) ... the STAKES!

Am I the only who thinks that new outfit is hideous? No, not hideous -- tacky. It's just a mishmash of gimmicks; fads; and parts from other, better costumes that doesn't hang together at all. Of course, maybe it's just me.

WHISPER CAMPAIGN (TPB)

Publisher: COMICMIX

Writers: STEVEN GRANT & VARIOUS

Art: NORM BREYFOGLE & Various

Cover: TED NAIFEH

$50.00

Comics legend Norm Breyfogle suffered a stroke in December, and needs help to recover his life and hopefully draw again. You can help by purchasing The Whisper Campaign, a 280-page trade paperback containing Whisper #3-11 (Norm's first series assignment), published by First Comics in 1986. This series has never been reprinted before now and includes contributions by the biggest names in the business-including an all-new GrimJack story by John Ostrander and Timothy Truman! Available in Softcover and Limited Edition Hardcover (with a David Finch cover).

I would love to believe that money for this book actually makes it to Breyfogle. THIS INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN looks legit, but I can't attest from my own knowledge that it is.

Uncanny X-Men #6

Cover one is possibly after the splash of X-Men #16, but I can't exclude there having been a close cover-model. (I was reminded of Infinity Inc. #2 and Justice League of America #231, but they're less-close matches.) Cover two is in the tradition of The Avengers #145 and The New Mutants #87.

Black Lightning

Trevor von Eeden pencilled all the issues of the original series. In my digest copy the von Eeden/Springer art of the first issue looks pretty good. It's in a realistic style. Colletta didn't fill out his pencils as well. (He inked him a lot in the period.) It was only later that von Eeden's art became very stylised.

Tony Isabella wrote the series up to #10. I've read two of the issues. #8 was forgettable. (I think my copy may have been missing pages.) #1, with the origin, is good, and a tough story for its period. It aims for realism rather than a Blacksploitation vibe.

Denny O'Neil wrote #11, the CCC story, and several of Lightning's later appearances, including his feature's brief continuation in World's Finest Comics.(1) The CCC story appeared in World's Finest Comics #260.

The elements of the series that might be objected to are Lightning's afro wig (which Christopher Priest has slammed), his use of 'street' argot in his Lightning identity, and the portrayal of that argot. I think O'Neil laid the argot on too thick. I haven't seen enough of Isabella's stories to say how well his dialogue works.

Superman and Jimmy Olsen guested in #4-#5. Back then Lightning was based in Metropolis. Peter Gambi, who designed his costume and belt, was supposed to be the brother of Paul Gambi from The Flash.

In his other identity Lightning was a former Olympian who had chosen to become a teacher in the inner city. Isabella may have been influenced there by Welcome Back, Kotter.

(1) After World's Finest Comics there were instalments in Detective Comics during its giant period by Martin Pasko and J.M. DeMatteis. I haven't seen these.

So where is all the pre-Code, early 20s Toth work? Was he working in animation instead of comics or something?

He started out in comics in the later 40s and was soon working at DC, although the GCD tells me he also did a fair number of stories for Eastern Color. His early DC stuff is a lot like Joe Kubert's, Carmine Infantino's or Irwin Hasen's from the same period, so you may have seen more of it than you realise. Among other things he did Green Lantern stories and the Atom and Dr Mid-Nite chapters in the Injustice Gang of the World story in All-Star Comics #37. He was the original artist on the Western Johnny Thunder series. He did the opening Johnny Peril stories when Sensation Comics was converted into a horror title. But this was early 50s DC; I doubt the horror content got too strong. After he left DC in 1952 he did horror stories for Standard. "Murder Manson" from Adventures into Darkness #5 is creepy.

Luke Blanchard said:

Uncanny X-Men #6

Another one to compare is Justice League of America #184. The figures aren't placed the same way, but the central head is angry.

NEW MUTANTS #87 aka the first appearance of Cable!

(Not a happy milestone IMHO!)
 
Luke Blanchard said:

Uncanny X-Men #6

Cover one is possibly after the splash of X-Men #16, but I can't exclude there having been a close cover-model. (I was reminded of Infinity Inc. #2 and Justice League of America #231, but they're less-close matches.) Cover two is in the tradition of The Avengers #145 and The New Mutants #87.

This might be the cover I'm thinking of:

OTOH, this being by Ron Frenz, it might be a swipe homage to an even earlier cover.

Possibly that one was modelled after the X-Men #16 splash. The poses are similar.

Regarding the Ellis Avatar books:

I really enjoyed Black Summer and No Hero. These are Ellis at his darkest and most cynical. The art is highly detailed, if a bit graphic and often pretty gory.  Similar to Geoff Darrow in style.

I had a little more trouble getting into Supergod. It's a bit more esoteric and less direct. But still pretty decent.

I think you've nailed it, Luke. Frenz swiped from Kirby most -- although he favored a couple of J. Buscema poses as well -- and that's such an odd construction and the figures in such memorably bad poses, that it's undoubtedly what was tickling the back of my mind. That it wasn't a cover is probably why I couldn't put my finger on it.

Great detective work!

Luke Blanchard said:

Possibly that one was modelled after the X-Men #16 splash. The poses are similar.

Good to know. I was vaguely aware of them when they were published, but never stumbled upon an issue. I had to look them up!

Detective 445 said:

Regarding the Ellis Avatar books:

I really enjoyed Black Summer and No Hero. These are Ellis at his darkest and most cynical. The art is highly detailed, if a bit graphic and often pretty gory.  Similar to Geoff Darrow in style.

I had a little more trouble getting into Supergod. It's a bit more esoteric and less direct. But still pretty decent.

I picked up a few of the modern Miss Fury titles and I was disappointed.  I have the collected originals and aside from the names they were nothing alike.

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