DARK HORSE

ABE SAPIEN #24

I know why Abe is leaving. All those smokers! They'd dry him up like a sardine.

Writers: MIKE MIGNOLA, SCOTT ALLIE

Art: SEBASTIÁN FIUMARA

Colors: DAVE STEWART

Cover: MAX FIUMARA

FC, 32 pages, $3.50

Ongoing

New arc begins here!

Haunted by memories of Hellboy, Abe crosses paths with a horrible monster in a sunken town, which reveals secrets of his own prehuman origins.

Features a flashback to the BPRD before Seed of Destruction!

BALTIMORE; OR, THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER AND THE VAMPIRE (TPB)

This is the introduction to Lord Baltimore and his world in prose, and I quite enjoyed it when I read the comics version. The premise is that the enormous bloodletting of World War I awakened Dark Things, who influence and take over various areas and the people in them. So from the early 20th century on, this world diverges from ours, as the supernatural is awakened and changes everything (no World War II, for example).

The reason everything changes, though, is not the usual invasion of netherworld demons you see in something like Marvel's "Inferno." Instead, a world losing ground to a "plague" of evil is a rather quiet one. Entire regions go silent and are quarantined/avoided; people who are "sick" stop speaking and wait quietly for orders. It's a silent world -- the silence of the grave.

Our protagonist is Lord Baltimore, an English officer who returns from the war quite changed -- not only has he lost a limb, but he seems a bit more than human, and a bit less. When his family is wiped out by a vampire, he resolves to hunt this creature down, and in his hunt runs across a lot of other terrible things that he must kill to continue his quest. It's deliciously macabre, with that Mignola flavor of weird sadness (or sad weirdness). Recommended, if you haven't tried it already.

Writers: CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN, MIKE MIGNOLA

Art: BEN STENBECK

Colors: DAVE STEWART

Cover: MIKE MIGNOLA

B&W, 320 pages, $12.99

TPB, 6″ x 9″

New York Times best-selling authors!

When Lord Baltimore awakens the wrath of a powerful vampire on the hellish battlefields of World War I, the world is forever changed. A deadly plague has been unleashed -- one that even death cannot end.

• The original prose novel featuring multiple illustrations by Hellboy artist Mike Mignola, plus the one-shot comic The Widow and the Tank.

• The origin story of Lord Baltimore.

CREEPY PRESENTS ALEX TOTH (HC)

I wasn't aware Toth did this much for Warren. I'm getting the entire Creepy/Eerie archives as DH publishes it, so I'll see these stories individually. But if you're a Toth fan (and not necessarily a Warren fan), this book is for you.

Writers: ALEX TOTH, ARCHIE GOODWIN, GERRY BOUDREAU, RICH MARGOPOULOS, ROGER MCKENZIE, DOUG MOENCH, NICOLA CUTI, BILL DUBAY, STEVE SKEATES

Art: ALEX TOTH, CARMINE INFANTINO, LEO DURANONA, LEO SUMMERS, ALEXIS ROMERO

Cover: ALEX TOTH

B&W, 168 pages, $19.99

HC, 8 1/2″ x 11″

A brilliant storyteller who wielded a dynamic, minimalist style, Alex Toth is considered a master in the fields of comic book storytelling, animation, and design. With Creepy Presents Alex Toth, all of his vibrant stories from Creepy and Eerie are collected in a deluxe hardcover for the first time ever!

The first complete collection of Alex Toth’s Warren horror stories!

HARROW COUNTY #3

As I probably mentioned last month, I'm enjoying this title. The plot is advancing a lot faster than I thought it would this issue, with our likable protagonist being pushed into a corner and forcing some central mysteries to unravel. That's great! I think we're all tired of the Wolverine Syndrome, where central mysteries are dragged out for years.

Writer: CULLEN BUNN

Art/COver: TYLER CROOK

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Ongoing

Terrified by what she’s learned of witches and monsters, Emmy takes shelter in an ancient graveyard, as she’s hunted down by her own family!

• Features two backup stories exclusive to the single issues!

• Features a pinup by Lady Killer creator Joëlle Jones!

GO HERE FOR 7-PAGE PREVIEW

HIGH CRIMES (HC)

Here's a GN that began life as a digital comic. I don't know much more. But it looks interesting. There's a preview below, if you're curious.

Writer: CHRISTOPHER SEBELA

Art/Cover: IBRAHIM MOUSTAFA

FC, 184 pages, $19.99

HC, 7″ x 10″

“High Crimes might be the best thriller in comics today.” -- Newsarama

Disgraced Olympic snowboarder Zan Jensen runs a sideline business as a high-altitude grave robber. When a body is found at the summit of Everest with a treasure of state secrets under its skin, Zan finds herself in the crosshairs of a government hit squad. As she races to the roof of the world, Zan will navigate bullets and avalanches to find salvation in the deadliest place on Earth.

Collecting the critically acclaimed Monkeybrain digital comic the A.V. Club calls “a high concept executed with precision, delivering real-world intrigue.”

“Instead of just yelling at people to read High Crimes, now I can throw it at them at the same time.” -- Matt Fraction (Sex Criminals)

GO HERE FOR A 9-PAGE PREVIEW

KABUKI LIBRARY EDITION VOLUME 1 (HC)

I read a Kabuki comic once, and couldn't figure out if I was reading something bad, something so deep I didn't understand it, or a vanity project. But it's lasted a while, so it's probably not bad. here's the beginning of an archives series.

Writer/Art/Cover: DAVID MACK

FC, 400 pages, $39.99

HC, 9″ x 12″

Celebrating twenty years of Kabuki, this is the first volume in a complete set of large oversize library editions collecting the entire critically acclaimed Kabuki series.

This edition collects the first two original Kabuki volumes: Circle of Blood and Dreams. With eleven issues and loads of extras, this is the book that fans of Kabuki have been waiting for and the perfect starting point for brand-new readers.

• Extra features include Kabuki drawings from Brian Michael Bendis, introductions by Bendis and Jim Steranko, and more!

• The first of four oversized library editions!

“Kabuki is rewarding. It’s a beautiful book, with a touching story based in a fascinating culture.” -- Comics Bulletin

GO HERE FOR A 5-PAGE PREVIEW

NEGATIVE SPACE #1 (OF 4)

I read the first issue, which sets up a lot of mysteries. Given that this is all set-up, I can't really form an opinion yet. The art has a Franco-Belgian influence and is pretty good, if inconsistent.

P.S. The creature on the cover doesn't appear. I don't know what it is.Writer: RYAN K LINDSAY

Art/Cover: OWEN GIENI

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Miniseries

One man’s suicide note leads to his suicide mission!

When one man’s writer’s block gets in the way of his suicide note, he goes for a walk to clear his head and soon uncovers a century-old conspiracy dedicated to creating and mining the worst lows of human desperation.

• An exciting new series from Ryan K Lindsay (Headspace, CMYK) and Owen Gieni (Manifest Destiny, Shutter)!

• For fans of Locke & Key and Green Wake.

“Ryan K Lindsay is an established authority in the comics world. He writes about comics, scripts them, and does prose too.”—Bloody Disgusting

GO HERE FOR A 6-PAGE PREVIEW

REBELS #4

I finally caught up on this series, and it's just what I expected -- and I expected it to be good! Wood did a bang-up job on another sort-of-historical book (Northlanders), so he knows how to blend fact and fiction in a way that doesn't irritate this history buff. Mutti's art is a bit grungy, which fits the milieu. Overall a satisfying read.Writer: BRIAN WOOD

Art: ANDREA MUTTI

Colors: JORDIE BELLAIRE

Cover: TULA LOTAY

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Ongoing

With Mercy pushed to the back of his mind, Seth is free to commit one hundred percent to the war for independence and to the special assignment General George Washington has in mind for him.

“Wood’s series explores the lives of soldiers, ordinary colonists, and the extraordinary men and women that lived and died during the Revolutionary War era.” -- Nerdist

Rebels is a great & beautiful book! Read issue 1 & can't wait for the next one!” -- Matt Kindt, MIND

GO HERE FOR 5-PAGE PREVIEW

THE TOMORROWS #1 (of 6)

In a dystopic future ruled by corporations (sighhhh) a small group of artsy-fartsy types fight for the pipples! And they can, because they're all kick-butt ninja fighter types, as all artists are! Oh wait, they're usually not. Well, they are here, including our POV character, who joins The Tomorrows after they rescue her from being arrested for drawing a picture (Art is illegal! Because art makes people think!), but with absolutely no training is soon driving motorcycles off roofs and into adjacent office windows with no injury whatsoever, and flying helicopters ("how hard can it be?"). Is this supposed to be a romp? An extended metaphor? Wish fulfillment? Maybe it was just late when I read it, but this seemed like weak tea. And didn't The Invisibles already cover a lot of this territory?Writer: CURT PIRES

Art: JASON COPLAND

Colors: PETE TOMS

Cover JASON COPLAND, DYLAN TODD

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Miniseries

Who owns your future?

They told you the counterculture was dead. They were wrong. Welcome to the new reality.

A bold new speculative-fiction comic from the mind of writer Curt Pires, with each issue illustrated by a different brilliant artist!

The future: Art is illegal. Everything everyone ever posted online has been weaponized against them. The reign of the Corporation is quickly becoming as absolute as it is brutal -- unless the Tomorrows can stop it.

“A critical dissection of the bloated culture machine that holds power through sedation, and is as structurally fragile as it is monolithic. This is everything you signed up for when you pick up a book from Curt Pires, and more.” -- Bloody Disgusting

GO HERE FOR A 7-PAGE PREVIEW

DC COMICS

ALL-STAR SECTION EIGHT #2

I would dearly love to try Laughing Lemming lager.

Written by GARTH ENNIS

Art by JOHN McCREA

Cover by AMANDA CONNER

On sale JULY 8 • 32 pg, FC, 2 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED T+

It’s Green Lantern’s turn in the barrel as Sixpack’s quest for the eighth Section Eighter continues. But what does GL himself think about all this? Why is Sixpack hearing voices? And can Bueno Excellente really have found love? Find out in part two of the miniseries the creative team themselves are calling an unprecedented masterpiece.

ARROW SEASON 2.5 #10

Another nice cover.

Written by MARC GUGGENHEIM

Art by JOE BENNETT and CRAIG YEUNG

Cover by JASON BADOWER

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST

Oliver returns to Lian Yu! Featuring special guest-star Slade Wilson – a.k.a. Deathstroke!

BATMAN #42

Here's the first of this week's "Teen Titans Go!" variant covers.

Written by SCOTT SNYDER

Art and cover by GREG CAPULLO and DANNY MIKI

TEEN TITANS GO! Variant cover by DAN HIPP

32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

This issue will ship with two covers.

More surprises around every corner as the all-new Batman hits the streets of Gotham City!

BATMAN/SUPERMAN #22

Is the variant cover a reference to the new Robo-Batman, to Dark Knight Returns, or both?

Written by GREG PAK

Art and cover ARDIAN SYAF and VICENTE CIFUENTES

TEEN TITANS GO! Variant cover by DAN HIPP

32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

This issue will arrive in stores with two covers.

The Superman epic you never expected – “TRUTH” continues! Can Superman accept the truth about his new partner? Featuring the all-new Batman!

BATMAN: THE JIRO KUWATA BATMANGA VOL. 2 (TPB)

For some reason, I get a Joe Giella vibe from these covers.

Written by JIRO KUWATA

Art and cover by JIRO KUWATA

328 pg, FC, $12.99 US • RATED T

Get ready for five more stories direct from 1960s Japan, written and illustrated by Jiro Kuwata. See Batman and Robin take on a new, more deadly incarnation of their shape-changing foe in “The Revenge of Clayface.” Then, the Caped Crusader goes  toe-to-toe with a masked wrestler who has taken his bad-guy act out of the ring in “The Hangman of Terror.” And is it really curtains for Alfred, Batman’s loyal butler, in “The Mystery of the Outsider”? Two more epic tales are included, as well as a 2013 essay by Jiro Kuwata reflecting on his goals from fifty years ago when he was given the chance to bring America’s most popular costumed crimefighter to a Japanese audience.

CATWOMAN #42

Realllly don't care for this storyline.

Written by GENEVIEVE VALENTINE

Art by DAVID MESSINA

Cover by KEVIN WADA

TEEN TITANS GO! Variant cover by BEN CALDWELL

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+

This issue will arrive in stores with two covers.

Everything Selina Kyle accomplished as both crime boss and Catwoman is about to be ruined when Stephanie Brown makes a guest appearance!

CONSTANTINE: THE HELLBLAZER #2

Written by MING DOYLE and JAMES TYNION IV

Art and cover by RILEY ROSSMO

1:25 Variant cover by ERICA HENDERSON

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+

This issue will ship with two covers.

Somebody is killing the only friends John has: the ghosts that haunt him! How can you kill what’s already dead? John is going to find out and make this adversary pay!

You'd think he'd be happy to be rid of his ghosts!

GOTHAM ACADEMY #8

They're killing off the supporting cast already? That's supposed to be Year Two! :)

Written by BECKY CLOONAN and BRENDEN FLETCHER

Art by HELEN MINGJUECHEN

Cover by KARL KERSCHL

TEEN TITANS GO! Variant cover by SEAN “CHEEKS” GALLOWAY

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

This issue will arrive in stores with two covers.

Classes are suspended for a funeral. So, is it really true that grieving students get
all A’s?

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #2

So, how's this title different from Justice League? Is this one, like, not in continuity or something?

I would know if DC was still sending me any kind of review copies, but that stopped about a month ago (shakes fist in general direction of Burbank).

Written by BRYAN HITCH

Art by BRYAN HITCH and WADE VON GRAWBADGER

Cover by BRYAN HITCH

TEEN TITANS GO! Variant cover by CRAIG ROUSSEAU

1:25 Variant cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL

32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

This issue will ship with three covers.

The JLA learns more about the armada of religious zealots that has arrived on Earth – and their stunning ties to Krypton!

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #11

And is this one going to be a sort of ad hoc Justice League, like Justice League Task Force used to be?

Written by JEFF PARKER

Art by TRAVEL FOREMAN

Cover by ANDREW ROBINSON

On sale JULY 8 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

The Convergence is over! Now, Alanna Strange, Stargirl and Equinox must assemble brand-new and wildly untraditional teams of heroes and villains to work together and stop another cosmic catastrophe before it happens. In this issue: Mera, Poison Ivy, Swamp Thing and Etrigan!

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD – MAD MAX #1

Max gets a series. He probably got jealous when Furiosa got hers and demanded one of his own!

Written by GEORGE MILLER, NICO LATHOURIS and MARK SEXTON

Art by MARK SEXTON

Cover by TOMMY LEE EDWARDS

On sale JULY 8 • 40 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $4.99 US • MATURE READERS

Max. The warrior Max. Haunted by his past and fated to wander the brutal Wasteland in search of his better self. To do so, Max Rockatansky enters Gastown, the only source of guzzoline for thousands of miles.  Here he finds the final piece that he needs to rebuild his Interceptor – the powerful Boss 351 engine. But in order to acquire the fabled V8 in a world where car parts are worth more than a man’s life, Max must survive a gladiatorial battle in a place called…Thunderdome Plus!

From the mind of George Miller, the creator of the Mad Max trilogy, the prelude series to the upcoming film Mad Max: Fury Road continues in its penultimate issue!

NEW SUICIDE SQUAD #10

With a name like "Suicide Squad," they really ought to have a few casualties now and then.

Written by SEAN RYAN

Art by PHILIPPE BRIONES

Cover by JUAN FERRERYA

TEEN TITANS GO! Variant cover by CRAIG ROUSSEAU

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+

This issue will arrive in stores with two covers.

What do you get when you take on an unstable breakaway faction from the League of Assassins? Dead Squad members, that’s what!

STARFIRE #2

I don't care if this book is good or bad, so long as we keep getting Amanda Conner covers!

Written by AMANDA CONNER and JIMMY PALMIOTTI

Art by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO

Cover by AMANDA CONNER

1:25 Variant cover by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

This issue will ship with two covers.

Florida is so nice this time of year … the warm weather … the beach … and Starfire beating the crud out of the bad guys! You should really try to get down there and see for yourself.

WILL EISNER’S THE SPIRIT: A CELEBRATION OF 75 YEARS (HC)

This book is arriving a week after Dynamite's The Spirit #1, which is pretty clever marketing.

Written by WILL EISNER, NEIL GAIMAN, ALAN MOORE and JEPH LOEB

Art by WILL EISNER, DARWYN COOKE and others

Cover by WILL EISNER

480 pg, FC, $39.99 US

Will Eisner’s classic crimefighter stars in a new hardcover featuring the best of his stories from the 1940s to the modern era! This title includes The Spirit’s team-up with Batman, plus recent stories written by Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore.

IDW PUBLISHING

GODZILLA: THE HALF CENTURY WAR OVERSIZED HARDCOVER

I didn't read this mini when it came out, but it looks like fun.

Writer/Art/Cover: JAMES STOKOE

HC • FC • $34.99 • 152 pages • 8” x 12”

Collects James Stokoe's mini-series in an oversized hardcover with an expanded art gallery including new content! The year is 1954 and Lieutenant Ota Murakami is on hand when Godzilla makes first landfall in Japan, which begins an obsession with the King of the Monsters that lasts 50 years!

“Godzilla: The Half-Century War, as a whole, is a masterpiece.” -- IGN

POPEYE CLASSICS #36

Wow, Ouyang's variant cover is awesome!

Writer/Art/Cover: BUD SAGENDORF

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Popeye, Swee'pea, Wimpy, Olive Oyl, and King Blozo starring in "Popeye King of Popilania"! Not to mention two more Popeye comics, a O.G Whatasnozzle story, plus a "Canned Nuts" tale—so much hilarious fun!

Variant cover by Luna Ouyang!

STAR TREK/GREEN LANTERN #1 (OF 6)

This issue sets up the premise, which involves The Last Guardian fleeing a dimension (presumably ours) into the Star Trek parallel universe. That's a good start, since DC's future history and Star Trek's future history have nothing in common.

I can't address the elephant in the room, though, which is the problem X-Men/Star Trek had: No matter how well you write this, the super-powered people are going to outshine the Star Trek people. I mean, yeah, Spock's tough in a hand-to-hand fight, but if Wolverine's around he's definitely second fiddle.

In the Star Trek universe, it takes decades of planning and assembly, years of training and fantastic scientific breakthroughs to field a starship that can carry people into space and project force with phasers. All of which is hopelessly outclassed by a guy with a power ring who can get up one morning, put on the ring, fly out into space and do 10 times what the starship can do before having his morning coffee. And he can do what he likes to Klingons or Romulans or whatever -- nothing in the Star Trek universe, which is geared to a threat level a starship has a chance of beating, will make Green Lantern break a sweat. And if he does run into something he can't handle, the Enterprise isn't likely to be much help.

We don't see a live Green Lantern until (spoiler) the last page, so the problem will have to be dealt with in subsequent issues. My guess is that the power ring will be hobbled in some way, so that the Enterprise crew have something to do besides applaud.

Writer: MIKE JOHNSON

Art: ANGEL HERNANDEZ

Cover: GABRIEL RODRIGUEZ

Variant: FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA

Variant: ELSA CHARRETIER

Subscription Variant: GARRY BROWN

Blank Sketch Variant

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

• The blockbuster event of 2015!

• Covers from Ethan Van Sciver, Barry Kitson, and Elsa Charretier!

• 6 connecting variant covers from Garry Brown, one for every issue, forming one giant image!

• One of Five Featured First issues in July! One every week!

Two iconic franchises collide for the blockbuster crossover event of 2015! The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise meets the Green Lantern Corps for the first time in an all-new adventure that spans the cosmos! Don't miss the thrilling first chapter of THE SPECTRUM WAR, as Kirk and Spock make a most unusual discovery on a lost world ... igniting events that will change the fate of empires!

IDW Publishing, CBS Consumer Products and DC Entertainment will boldly go where no one has gone before … in brightest day, in blackest night. Two iconic franchises will meet this summer in a legendary crossover event with the release of a six-part comic book miniseries, STAR TREK/GREEN LANTERN: THE SPECTRUM WAR. Both Star Trek and Green Lantern are known for their strong cast of interstellar characters and when they come together for the first time this July, fans new and old are sure to experience a galaxy-sized thrill.

STAR TREK/GREEN LANTERN: THE SPECTRUM WAR is six-part monthly mini-series and will be written by veteran Star Trek comic writer Mike Johnson with interior art by Angel Hernandez (INFINITE CRISIS: FIGHT FOR THE MULTIVERSE, ARROW). STAR TREK/GREEN LANTERN: THE SPECTRUM WAR #1 will be available in stores and online in July, boasting covers from Gabriel Rodriguez, Francesco Francavilla, Elsa Charretier and Garry Brown. Following issues will feature covers from an amazing lineup that includes Declan Shalvey, Marc Laming and more!

“We’ve looked forward to bringing these two iconic universes together for a long time,” said Greg Goldstein, IDW President and COO. “Star Trek and Green Lantern both share so many of the same science-fiction adventure themes and ideals, that a galaxy-spanning crossover like this is simply … logical.”

“Green Lantern is one of the most popular, storied characters in the history of comic books and a modern DC Comics icon. An entire universe of Green Lanterns and other supporting characters have grown out from his original adventures in the 1940’s, and this series really showcases the intergalactic scope of the franchise,” said Bob Harras, Editor-in-Chief of DC Comics.

A pop culture mainstay for almost 50 years, Star Trek's fan base continues to grow exponentially with the new feature films in 2009 and 2013. Now all Star Trek fans can watch their favorite U.S.S. Enterprise crew members meet Hal Jordan and the entire Green Lantern Corps in an adventure that spans space, time and all the colors of the spectrum. Set in Star Trek’s 23rd Century, the balance of the universe will be tested when the Green Lantern Corps’ Power Rings come into the possession of certain Star Trek characters while a dark and powerful evil looms around every corner.  Only the combined power of the Green Lantern Corp and the Federation stand any chance of stopping those who worship evil’s might.

TM & © 2015 CBS Studios Inc. © 2015 Paramount Pictures Corp. STAR TREK and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

STAR TREK NEW VISIONS: 1971/4860.2

This one combines Gary Seven and the Guardian of Forever. Byrne knows his Trek!

Writer/Photo-Manipulation: JOHN BYRNE

FC • 48 pages • $7.99

Captain Kirk sets off alone on a mission that will carry him 200 years into his past ... but he won't be alone for long -- Gary Seven returns!

TMNT COLOR CLASSICS, VOL. 3 #7

This cover looks really familiar. Is it a riff on a Frank Miller Batman or Sin City cover? (The rendering suggests Miller, although it's better than Miller.) For some reason I'm thinking Marv. Or could it be an homage to a Spawn cover? I don't read that book, so I wouldn't know, but the scarves and such blowing in the wind suggest Spawn's cape.

Writers: KEVIN EASTMAN, PETER LAIRD, JIM LAWSON

Art: JIM LAWSON

Cover: A.C. FARLEY

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

In "City at War, Part Five," the TMNT and their allies must face their personal doubts, motivations, and mortality as the war for New York continues to explode out-of-control around them!

Originally printed as Mirage TMNT #54, Volume 1.

IMAGE COMICS

BLOODSTRIKE #1

Come on, 'fess up, Legionnaires -- is anyone really clamoring for the return of this book?

Long-time Legionnaires know that I have no love for Rob Liefeld's artwork. I didn't care for it when he was doing X-books, I didn't care for it when he was doing early Image books (like the first Bloodstrike) and my opinion hasn't changed (nor do I think he's improved in the last 25 years in any objective way).

With that said, I can't believe anyone else wants to see this book any more than I do. It was derivative hash when it debuted, and it's easier to start over with a new concept than make something interesting or original out of a swipe file. From a purely esthetic standpoint, Bloodstrike should quietly slink away into obscurity like all other copycat books over the decades.

But no, here it is again, shamelessly displaying its stolen goods.

Story/Art/Covers A & D: ROB LIEFELD

Cover B: DAN FRAGA

Cover C: KARL ALTSTAETTER

32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99

X-Force, Cable and Deadpool creator ROB LIEFELD returns to comics with a new ONGOING series, a lively romp that reveals a more mature side to LIEFELD than fans have previously experienced. A new recruit to the Bloodstrike program (his identity as a mystery man from the historical Extreme Universe soon to be revealed!) struggles on a covert mission and loses his life as well as his junk to the mysterious TRAGEDY ANN!

"After 28 years in the wonderful comic book business, the stories I'm interested in creating are stories that take you on a wild ride. Otherwise, why bother?" said Liefeld.  Bloodstrike is by far the wildest ride I've ever produced and continues concepts and characters I introduced at Image when this amazing company launched. It is a decidedly more contemporary take and is intended for mature readers and will be labeled as such. Very excited to get this out to the public for their consumption!"

EAST OF WEST, THE APOCALYPSE: YEAR ONE (HC)

I haven't gotten past the first trade of this book, due to a lack of time more than a lack of interest. But Legionnaires continue to compliment it, so here's a catch-up for those who missed the train when it first left the station.

BTW, why does Death wear an eyepatch? Is it an affectation?

Story: JONATHAN HICKMAN

Art/Cover: NICK DRAGOTTA

504 PAGES / FC / T+ / $49.99

Writer Jonathan Hickman (THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS, THE DYING AND THE DEAD) and artist Nick Dragotta (HOWTOONS) team up for a sweeping sci-fi western filled with world-building and an ensemble cast of characters in EAST OF WEST. The first fifteen issues of the New York Times bestselling and Eisner Award-nominated series will be collected into an oversized prestige hardcover. The First Year of The Apocalypse and will contain over 50 pages of bonus material, the full script for issue #1, and never-before-seen concept art. It will be in stores this July and is available to pre-order now.

This is the world. It is not the one we wanted, but it is the one we deserved. In EAST OF WEST, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse roam the Earth, signaling the End Times for humanity, and our best hope for life lies in Death!

More praise for EAST OF WEST:

“Jonathan Hickman is a master world builder.”  -- Bloody Disgusting

“Hickman starts another high-concept series, this one set in a futuristic Old West and starring none other than the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. … Happily, Dragotta’s bloody, gangly art is a great fit -- from the eerie white figure of Death and the impish manifestations of Conquest, War and Famine to the dustpunk marriage of frontier imagery and futuristic technology. Though it’s still in its early throes, this looks to be a seriously entertaining, darkly epic apocalypse in the making.” -- Booklist

“Hickman has fused together just about every major genre you can think of to create his most ambitious story to date, and given the skill of the craftsmanship, it will definitely be one to keep an eye on … frequent FF collaborator Nick Dragotta brings East of West to life in surreal fashion. ... The reborn ‘Three’ Horsemen of the Apocalypse are as vicious as they are deceiving.” -- IGN

Collects EAST OF WEST #1-15.

FOUR EYES: FORGED IN FLAMES REMASTERED (TPB)

I don't know what this is, but it has an interesting cover, and is set in one of my favorite eras. (Note 1930s-style art deco logo.)

Story: JOE KELLY

Art/Cover: MAX FIUMARA

96 PAGES / FC / T+ / $9.99

“Naturally, a book featuring dragons better have some damned good dragon art, and Max Fiumara certainly delivers in that regard.” -- IGN

In anticipation of Man of Action Entertainment's second FOUR EYES story arc due to launch this fall, Image Comics is pleased to announce a remastered reprint edition of the first volume of the Young Adult fantasy series FOUR EYES, written by Joe Kelly (I KILL GIANTS) and drawn by Max Fiumara (Abe Sapien). The first four issues of the beloved series, which made YALSA's "Great Graphic Novels for Teens" list upon publication, will be collected into a trade paperback this July.

In anticipation of the next FOUR EYES arc due in September: Reprinting act one of the epic saga of Enrico, a boy living in an alternate 1930s New York where dragon fighting is the city's number one underground sport and the cause of his father's untimely death. Enrico's literal trial by fire begins here!

Collects FOUR EYES #1-4.

IMAGE EXPO PREVIEW BOOK 2015

Believe it or not, Image is prepping a whole slew of MORE new books, and some of them look pretty good in the PR they've sent me. If you're interested, it's only a buck for a preview.

$1.00

Contains exclusive preview pages, concept art, and more from the exciting new series to be announced at IMAGE EXPO from some of the biggest names in comics. Offers a unique experience for fans and retailers to get a sneak peak at some of the best comics to come in 2016

IMAGE GIANT-SIZED ARTIST’S PROOF EDITION: BLACK SCIENCE #1

Rick Remender's writing isn't really my cup of tea, but several Legionnaires really like it. You might be one of those Legionnaires, at least potentially, so here's a chance to find out with an upscale package.

Story: RICK REMENDER

Art/Cover: MATTEO SCALERA

32 PAGES / BW / M / OVERSIZED / $19.99

The all-new IMAGE GIANT-SIZED ARTIST’S PROOF EDITION series will present special artistic achievements in their raw form in an oversized format. MATTEO SCALERA’s lush line art from BLACK SCIENCE #1 is presented in glorious black and white inks with gauche washes at 11x17.

REYN, VOL. 1: WARDEN OF FATE (TPB)

Here's another new Image book I haven't even had time to sample. But Image sent out a snappy press release, so here 'tis.

Story: KEL SYMONS

Art/Cover: NATHAN STOCKMAN

128 PAGES / FC / T+ / $9.99

SPECIAL LOW INTRODUCTORY PRICE OF $9.99!

Writer Kel Symons (THE MERCENARY SEA, I LOVE TROUBLE) and artist Nathan Stockman team up for a rich, world-building fantasy in REYN, VOL. 1: WARDEN OF FATE. The first five issues of the new fantasy series will be collected into a trade paperback and available this June.

In REYN, VOL. 1, freelance swordsman and monster-hunter Reyn is the last of the legendary “Wardens” whose ranks long ago faded from the land of Fate into myth. Not exactly a white knight, Reyn’s haunted by visions from his “guiding angel” Aurora, who sets him on a great quest against the mysterious Venn, teaming him with Seph, a woman with witch-like powers. Together they discover Fate holds an incredible secret.

More praise for REYN:

“The way to sum up Reyn for me is simple: buy this book!” -- Rhymes with Geek

“A solid start that's going to garner attention.” -- Unleash the Fanboy

“We're given insight into a big world as we're introduced to some major characters and even given some laughs. Oh, and that guy is totally going to regret messing with Reyn's ale.” -- All-Comic

Collects REYN #1-5.

THEY’RE NOT LIKE US, VOL. 1: BLACK HOLES FOR THE YOUNG (TPB)

Here's yet another Image book I haven't had time to sample. I apologize, Legionnaires! And here's another press release, too.

Story: ERIC STEPHENSON

Art/Cover: SIMON GANE & JORDIE BELLAIRE

144 PAGES / FC / M / $9.99

SPECIAL LOW INTRODUCTORY PRICE

Eric Stephenson (NOWHERE MEN, LONG HOT SUMMER), Eisner Award-nominated writer and Publisher at Image Comics, and artist Simon Gane (The Vinyl Underground, Paris), come together for a suspenseful modern horror story in THEY’RE NOT LIKE US, VOL. 1: BLACK HOLES FOR THE YOUNG. Paired with colors by the Eisner Award-winning colorist Jordie Bellaire and lettering and design by Fonografiks, THEY’RE NOT LIKE US is a creeping suspense story about a young woman named Syd with telepathic abilities and the unlikely new allies—and enemies—she makes as she learns how to cope with her powers. The first six issues will be collected into a trade paperback and made available this July.

THEY’RE NOT LIKE US, VOL. 1 follows Syd after she’s saved by a group of adolescents with similarly special abilities, a group that is led by The Voice, a man with questionable motives, mysterious origins, and even more suspect morals. The more answers Syd seeks to glean from her new peers, the more secrets she uncovers—each one more unsettling than the last.

More praise for THEY’RE NOT LIKE US:

“Strong, energetic and provocative work that deserves to be read, offering a timely and slightly uncomfortable look at what might happen if an age of entitlement was fuelled by superpowers.”  -- Broken Frontier

“Eric Stephenson and artist Simon Gane have found a truly new thing to do with superpowered young people.” -- Comics Worth Reading

“The art by Simon Gane is very strong and is the perfect fit for the story, enhancing many parts of the narrative with some clever techniques which I wont spoil, but which were very dramatic and impactful. Even without the story, the art would look absolutely gorgeous, the environments in particular look varied and grand and are a treat to pour over and soak in the atmosphere. The colours from Jordie Bellaire really help sell the atmosphere of these locals and keep the book looking varied and fresh. To top it off, the books design from Fonografiks is an excellent example of his less is more approach to design, ensuring that this book looks top notch in every regard.” -- We the Nerdy

“A beautifully constructed introduction to a complex examination of youth in revolt.” -- ComicBook.com

“Outside of Syd, Stephenson's characters are well-versed in their abilities and confidently live their lives above the law, without seeming like outright criminals. The subtlety of their natures gives them a sinister edge… Definitely not like any other teenage mutant comic.” -- Comic Book Resources

“An extremely impressive debut from a visual stance… Stephenson manages to ask all the right questions to elevate this comic into one people should read and certainly be excited for more.” -- Newsarama

“I'm definitely intrigued with this series.” -- Comic Vine

“I can't recommend this book enough.” -- Coming Up Comics

Collects THEY’RE NOT LIKE US #1-6.

MARVEL COMICS

1872 #1

This is a new parallel world, isn't it? DC had Justice Riders in an Elseworlds, but I don't recall Marvel ever doing this.

Writer: GERRY DUGGAN 

Art: NIK VIRELLA

Cover by ALEX MALEEV

Variant Cover by EVAN “DOC” SHANER

Young Variant by SKOTTIE YOUNG

32 PGS / Rated T+ / $3.99

REAL HEROES DIE WITH THEIR BOOTS ON

• SHERIFF STEVE ROGERS faces corruption and fear in the boom town of TIMELY.

• The only thing ANTHONY STARK seems capable of is pulling a cork, so can he pull Rogers’ fat from the fire?

• But ... a stranger comes to town that will change Timely forever ... for anyone left standing, that is.

This July, the frontier gets a bit more marvelous!

Marvel is pleased to present your new look at 1872 #1 – the debut issue from critically acclaimed writer Gerry Duggan (Deadpool, Hulk, Nova) and rising star artist Nik Virella (Return of the Living Deadpool)! Prepare to see the Marvel Universe like you’ve never seen before as fistfuls of action, drama and suspense await you on Battleworld!

Welcome to the small frontier town of Timely. Among the grit and the gristle of everyday life, corruption runs rampant in this tiny settlement. Local Sheriff Steve Rogers is out to clean up his town – but casino owner Wilson Fisk has other ideas! But when a mysterious stranger comes to town from parts unknown, everything in Timely is about to change – for anyone left standing, that is! Who is this mysterious Red Wolf and what business does he have in Timely? Find out this July, as 1872 #1 explodes into comic shops and on to digital devices. Saddle up, True Believer, it’s going to be a wild ride!

“I’ve always loved superhero comics and I always loved western comics so seeing Marvel’s heroes as gunslingers is a dream mashup for me,” says series Editor Mark Paniccia. “I’ve never seen Gerry so enthused about a project and Evan Shaner has been turning in some truly inspiring artwork. Marvel fans are going to love this. The characters are all true to their core and some of the designs are going to be outlandish. Wait till you see what Doc Ock looks like.”

AGE OF APOCALYPSE #1

Was this a popular series when it came out? I vaguely remember reading it with one eye and waiting for the reset button. But I'm probably an anomaly.

Writer: FABIAN NICIEZA

Art/Cover: GERARDO SANDOVAL

Connecting Cover 1 of 5 by GERARDO SANDOVAL

Promo Variant by ANDY CLARKE

Gatefold Poster Variant by GERARDO SANDOVAL

Ant-Sized Variant by MIKE MAYHEW

Young Variant by SKOTTIE YOUNG

40 PGS / Rated T+ / $4.99

His war has been won. En Sabah Nur stands triumphant over the bones of his enemies. None will be left standing in the WARZONES! Today, Marvel is proud to present your new look at AGE OF APOCALYPSE #1 – as one of the most iconic X-Men stories of all time is reborn on Battleworld! Writer Fabian Nicieza returns to the post-apocalyptic wasteland he helped create, along with critically acclaimed artist Gerardo Sandoval (Guardians 3000)!

Apocalypse rules his domain on Battleworld with an iron fist. The few humans left alive have been enslaved. The mutant rebellion has been crushed – its survivors scattered. But the terrorist insurgents known as the X-Men will not go quietly into this grim abyss. They will fight. They will end Apocalypse’s reign of terror! Even if it means their very lives!

A special mutant named Cypher may hold the key to turning the tide. A weapon to be pointed directly at Apocalypse and fired. Now the hunt is on. Can Magneto and his X-Men rescue Cypher from Cyclops & Havok’s Elite Mutant Force, Dark Beast and his vile experiments and the new Horsemen of Apocalypse? Or is it far too late for salvation?

Find out this July in the pages of AGE OF APOCALYPSE #1!

*SECRET WARS SERIES

CIVIL WAR #1Written by CHARLES SOULE

Art & Cover by LEINIL YU

Promo Variant by ADI GRANOV

Variant Covers by STEVE MCNIVEN and SKOTTIE YOUNG

Ant-Sized Variant by PASQUAL FERRY

MAOS Variant by MARGUERITE SAUVAGE

Inhumans 50th Anniversary Variant by NICK BRADSHAW

40 PGS / Rated T+ / $4.99

The war never ended. And the deadly conflict escalates to new heights this July! Today, Marvel is pleased to present your new look at CIVIL WAR #1 – from chart-topping creators Charles Soule (Death of Wolverine, Inhuman) and Leinil Yu (Avengers)! Hero fights hero in the Warzone – and a nation stands divided. It has been six years since the fighting began. The forces of the Blue square off against the Iron, all at the command of their leaders – General Steve Rogers and President Tony Stark. When peace has failed, both sides will attempt to end the war once and for all! What is the top-secret Project Bellcurve and does it really hold the key to ending the war in one swift stroke? What damning data could undo President Stark’s administration from within? And worst of all, what unseen enemies seek to exploit the Superhuman Civil War for their own gains? Find out as one of the biggest stories in Marvel history is reborn on Battleworld in CIVIL WAR #1! Whose side are you on?

KING-SIZE KIRBY SLIPCASE (HC)

Didn't this come out already? Well, if not, it deserves to be in print, and here it is.

Written by JACK KIRBY, MARTIN BURNSTEIN, JOE SIMON & STAN LEE

Penciled by JACK KIRBY

Cover by JACK KIRBY

816 PGS / Rated T / $200.00

Oversized slipcase edition (11-1/2 x 15-1/2)

Hail to the King! Celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s incredible contribution to Marvel’s history in this decades-spanning, Adamantium-sized collection! Westerns, romance, war, horror, sci-fi, humor and super heroes — Jack Kirby was a master of it all! From Captain America socking Hitler to Devil Dinosaur and the Eternals’ far-out adventures, savor Kirby’s work on his legendary creations including the Hulk, Thor, Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Inhumans! Collecting material from RED RAVEN COMICS #1; MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #13; CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 and #7; TALES TO ASTONISH (1959) #5; RAWHIDE KID (1955) #17; AMAZING ADVENTURES (1961) #1, STRANGE TALES (1951) #89, #94 and #114; TEEN-AGE ROMANCE #84; FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #1, #48-51, #57-60 and ANNUAL #5; INCREDIBLE HULK (1962) #3; TWO-GUN KID #60; LOVE ROMANCES #103; AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #8; SGT. FURY #6 and #13; AVENGERS (1963) #4; TALES OF SUSPENSE #59; X-MEN (1963) #9; THOR (1966) #134-136 and #155-157; NOT BRAND ECHH #1; AMAZING ADVENTURES (1970) #1-2; MARVEL TREASURY SPECIAL: CAPTAIN AMERICA’S BICENTENNIAL BATTLES; CAPTAIN AMERICA (1968) #200; ETERNALS (1976) #7; DEVIL DINOSAUR #1; and WHAT IF? (1977) #11.

MARVEL UNIVERSE AVENGERS ASSEMBLE SEASON TWO #9

Wow, they'll work in Ant-Man anywhere!

Adapted by JOE CARAMAGNA

32 PGS / All Ages / $2.99

• Hawkeye travels to Monster Island to train the newest addition to the Avengers: Ant-Man!

• The island holds a secret more terrifying than giant monsters: A secret base of the Red Skull!

SECRET WARS 2099 #3 (OF 5)

There are a jillion covers with this construction, but I'm guessing there isn't a seminal cover that spawned many imitators. More likely, it's just the easiest way to portray two teams about to fight.

Writer: PETER DAVID

Art: WILLIAM SLINEY

Cover by DAVE RAPOZA

Variant Cover by TBA

32 PGS / Rated T / $3.99

• For the first time ever, see the DEFENDERS OF 2099 square off against The Avengers!

• When super heroes are controlled by corporations, what differences could have driven the Defenders to take a stand against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes?

SPIDER-ISLAND #1 (of 5)

I can't say the concept of this one is anything I'm eager to read. And DeFalco and Frenz in the credits isn't a plus for me, either. I don't mean to insult their work, but they've been doing Lee/Kirby pastiche for years, and I don't much care for it.

Writers: CHRISTOS GAGE & TOM DEFALCO

Art: PACO DIAZ & RON FRENZ

Cover by HUMBERTO RAMOS

Variant by RON FRENZ

Inhumans 50th Anniversary Variant by TBA

40 PGS / Rated T / $4.99

• The Spider-Queen has turned Manhattan into an island of Spider-Madness and Peter Parker has lost, thanks to Spider-Scribe CHRISTOS GAGE (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN) & rising star artist PACO DIAZ (WOLVERINE, SCARLET SPIDERS).

• With Spider-Man defeated and captive, does Flash Thompson, A.K.A. VENOM stand a chance?

• All this, plus visit the MC2 patch of BATTLEWORLD! Mayday Parker and her Spider-Family are back courtesy of classic Spider-Girl team TOM DEFALCO, RON FRENZ & SAL BUSCEMA!

SQUADRON SINISTER #2

Well, this is just odd.

Writer: MARC GUGGENHEIM

Art/Cover: CARLOS PACHECO

Variant Cover by TBA

32 PGS / Rated T+ / $3.99

• It’s the Squadron Sinister vs. the Frightful Four for control over the “Combat” Domain of Battleworld.  Which group of villains will be the ones to take out the Howling Commandos, the Leatherneck Raiders, and the Deadly Dozen?  

• And what’s up with that Starbrand army?

*SECRET WARS SERIES

LANDO CALRISSIAN #1 (of 5)

Lando was probably my least favorite of the "main" Star Wars characters, with the possible exception of C-3PO. But I'm sure he has his fans.

Written by CHARLES SOULE

Art & Cover by ALEX MALEEV

Variant Cover by LEINIL YU

Variant by JOHN CASSADAY

Action Figure Variant Cover by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER

Variant by ALEX ROSS

Sketch Variant by ALEX ROSS

Classic Variant by MICHAEL KALUTA

Young Variant by SKOTTIE YOUNG

Movie Photo Variant

Blank Variant available

32 PGS. / Rated T / $3.99

You know him. You love him. Prepare to see a side of him you’ve never seen before as the galaxy’s smoothest gambler, entrepreneur, and smuggler gets his very own series! Today, Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfillm Ltd. are pleased to announce LANDO #1 – a brand new Star Wars limited series coming this July from Marvel Comics! Join Lando on his greatest caper ever as blockbuster creators Charles Soule (Death of Wolverine, Inhuman, She-Hulk) and Alex Maleev (Daredevil, Spider-Woman, Moon Knight) bring you a new tale of a scoundrel in his natural element – trouble!

"Is Lando Calrissian the coolest character in all of Star Wars? Depends on who you ask, probably. But if you ask me, the answer is yes, and I plan to prove it with this story," says series writer Charles Soule.

Before he joined the rebellion, before he oversaw mining operations on Bespin – he was just Lando. Making his way in the galaxy and getting by on good looks, charm, and an ace up his sleeve (sometimes literally). With his cyborg aide Lobot at his side, Lando has plans to steal one of the galaxy’s most valuable ships. Yet even with his swindles and unparalleled swagger – has he bitten off more than he can chew?

"Before Cloud City, before his glorious Death Star run,” continues Soule, “Lando Calrissian was just a man trying to make his way through an uncaring universe determined not to recognize that he was undeniably the coolest man in the galaxy. But Lando's got a plan to change all that... and it starts with the deal of a lifetime."

Created in close partnership with Lucasfilm, this new Marvel Comics limited series will exist as part of the canon for the Star Wars universe! Once again, Marvel brings the biggest creators in the industry to the biggest characters in a galaxy far, far away. Be there when the Star Wars line expands this July in LANDO #1!

Star Wars © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved. Used under authorization. Text and illustrations for Star Wars are © 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd.

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OTHER PUBLISHERS

13 COINS (HC)

Bisley is never subtle, is he?

Writers: MARTIN BRENNAN, MICHAEL B. JACKSON

Art: SIMON BISLEY

160 pages, HC, FC,  $22.99/ $25.95 CAN/ £16.99 UK

ULTIMATE COLLECTION OF THE APOCALYPTIC SERIES BY EISNER AWARD-WINNER SIMON BISLEY AND THE SCREENWRITERS OF HITMAN ABSOLUTION!

AN ACTION-PACKED TALE OF SCHEMING POLITICIANS, SECRET SOCIETIES AND HEAVENLY FACTIONS COLLIDING!

A NICE DAY FOR A RECKONING!

John Pozner always knew he was special; that his athletic abilities and fighting skills were far from human. But with a broken childhood, drug addictions and a criminal record on his plate, he’s already fought more than his share of battles for one lifetime.

Or so he hoped ...

Woken to his true angelic nature, John quickly finds himself at the center of an apocalyptic war - one that could spell the end of existence as we know it -- with no choice but to train in order to confront the holy destiny he never asked for.

From Eisner award winning artist, Simon Bisley (Hellblazer, Batman/Judge Dread: Judgment on Gotham, Lobo) and writers Martin Brennan & Michael B Jackson (Hitman: Absolution), comes an action-packed tale of Biblical proportions, where scheming politicians, secret societies and heavenly factions collide in a brutish struggle for worldwide domination.

Collects 13 Coins 1-6.

21ST CENTURY TANK GIRL #2

I genuinely think I'm too old for Tank Girl, but perhaps you are not. And since Titan sent me this nice preview, here ya go.

Story: ALAN MARTIN

Art: JAMIE HEWLETT, WARWICK JOHNSON-CADWELL, PHILIP BOND, JONATHAN EDWARDS, BRETT PARSON, JIM MAHFOOD, CRAIG KNOWLES

Cover Art:  BRETT PARSON

32pp / FC / $3.99

MAKE-WAY FOR THE TANK GIRL OF THE NEW MILLENIUM! 

After a break of 20 years, artist extraordinaire Jamie Hewlett (GORILLAZ) is leaping back on the Tank Girl wagon, re-teaming with series co-creator Alan Martin to bring you a whole new take on the foul-mouthed, gun toting, swill-swigging hellion!

Bulging with spanking new strips, pin-ups, poems and plenty of riotous 100% original content from Jamie Hewlett, Alan Martin and a whole host of Tank Girl contributors -- both old and new -- get your head down, eyes open, and loins sufficiently girded for issue #2 of this scatter-brained new series!

ARCHIE #1

Yep, that's 22 covers. Or is it 23? Anyway, it's a lot, so I had to run them smaller than usual. You can still embiggen 'em with a click, though.

And it's deserved. Archie is one of the longest-running characters in comics, and this is the first time the eponymous title has started its numbering over. They should make a big deal over it, with however many covers it takes to celebrate.

And here's what you're waiting for: I've read the first issue. And the answer is ...

Two thumbs up. Yep, Waid and Staples nailed it. The new Archie is modern, but not cynical or post-ironic. The scenario is the same, only amazingly, stunningly, appropriately, deleriously, awesomely a riff on Archie's first appearance. Comics fan/historian Mark Waid mirrors the very first Archie story in Pep Comics #22 -- where all the principals are there, all the relationships are there, all the character traits are there, except for Veronica Lodge, who is a thunderstorm on the horizon.

Oh, and the dialogue is terrific. Even Principal Weatherbee's!

If there were any moments of discomfort, it was Waid playing Kevin Keller (the gay one) as essentially one of the girls (who, if I were to put on my literary hat, act as a Greek chorus). It wasn't flaming or anything, but it might be interpreted as a diss by those inclined to be easily offended. I am not one of those, and I think it makes the character work better -- he has a comfortable niche in Riverdale, plus he's funnier. This is in contradistinction to the way he was played in his own book, which was as a Superman who was good at everything, heroic beyond his years, but someone who remained a clumsy addition because he had no obvious plug-in to the rest of the gang.  Plus, the book wanted us to admire Keller so much, it forgot to make him funny. Waid fixes all that, at the expense of some of Keller's dignity. As if anyone in this book should have any!

But enough of that. This book is too good to nitpick.

No, it's not your grandfather's Archie. But in the most important ways it is. Plus, somehow, it's your Archie, too.

Script: MARK WAID

Art: FIONA STAPLES

Archie #1 CVR A Reg: FIONA STAPLES

Archie #1 CVR B Variant: J. SCOTT CAMPBELL

Archie #1 CVR C Variant: COLLEEN COOVER

Archie #1 CVR D Variant: TANIA DEL RIO

Archie #1 CVR E Variant: JOE EISMA

Archie #1 CVR F Variant: FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA

Archie #1 CVR G Variant: GENEVIEVE F.T.

Archie #1 CVR H Variant: MICHAEL GAYDOS

Archie #1 CVR I Variant: SANFORD GREENE

Archie #1 CVR J Variant: ROBERT HACK, STEVE DOWNER

Archie #1 CVR K Variant: DEAN HASPIEL

Archie #1 CVR L Variant: DAVID MACK

Archie #1 CVR M Variant: MORITAT

Archie #1 CVR N Variant: MIKE NORTON

Archie #1 CVR O Variant: JERRY ORDWAY, JOSE VILLARUBIA

Archie #1 CVR P Variant: RAMON K. PEREZ

Archie #1 CVR Q Variant: RON SALAS

Archie #1 CVR R Variant: GREG SCOTT, STEVE DOWNER

Archie #1 CVR S Variant: T. REX, ANDRE SZYMANOWICZ

Archie #1 CVR T Variant: BRITTNEY WILLIAMS

Archie #1 CVR U Variant: CHIP ZDARSKY

Archie #1 CVR V Variant: Blank Sketch

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

COMIC SUPERSTARS MARK WAID AND FIONA STAPLES REIMAGINE AN ICON!

Change is coming to Riverdale in this can’t-miss kick-off to Archie's new ongoing series! Familiar faces return in new and unexpected ways in this must-have #1 issue! As the new school year approaches, you'd think Archie Andrews would be looking forward to classes and fun -- but nothing is as it seems in the little town of Riverdale. But is this a one-off or a sign of bigger changes awaiting for America's favorite teens -- and the entire town? Find out in this exciting and remarkable first issue!

Archie Comics Publisher/CEO Jon Goldwater spoke about the unprecedented relaunch of the fan-favorite series, “This is history in the making. For the first time in 75 years, we will have a new ARCHIE #1, by a chart-topping creative team in Mark Waid and Fiona Staples. An event of this epic nature deserves the red carpet treatment. With that in mind, we’ve reached out to some of the top names in comics to help usher in this new era of Archie."

"From Fiona to our top gun Francesco Francavilla to Robert Hack and Chip Zdarsky -- the launch issue of the new ARCHIE series will be the best-looking book on the racks and a must-buy. Let your retailers know now that you want a copy, because I can guarantee you they’ll be gone before the release day is over.”

BACCHUS OMNIBUS ED (GN)

A lot of important people say some very nice things about this book. (See below.) Has anyone read it? I have to say I sampled it years ago -- decades ago? -- and was turned off by the art. If that makes me shallow, so be it.

Publisher: IDW - TOP SHELF

Writer/Art/Cover: EDDIE CAMPBELL

Mature/$39.99

Eddie Campbell's BACCHUS is a true epic, spanning a decade of work, over a thousand pages, and several millennia of alcohol consumption. In BACCHUS, the visionary behind FROM HELL (with Alan Moore) and ALEC: THE YEARS HAVE PANTS presents his version of "an American-style comic book," filtered through his own brilliant, whimsical and wide-ranging sensibility. With a fine blend of action, comedy, suspense and an ear for a great story, BACCHUS brings the gods and myths of ancient Greece to modern life, as if they had never left. Nearly 600 pages, this deluxe volume collects the first half of the BACCHUS saga (including Immortality Isn't Forever, The Gods of Business, Doing the Islands with Bacchus, The Eyeball Kid: One Man Show, and Earth, Water, Air & Fire) with new notes and commentary by the author.

"Bacchus mixes air hijacks and ancient gods, gangland drama and legends, police procedural and mythic fantasy, swimming pool cleaners and classics. It shouldn't work, of course, and it works like a charm. ... Eddie Campbell is the unsung King of comic books. ... The man's a genius, and that's an end to it." -- Neil Gaiman

"A story of surprising richness and gravity. … Bacchus stands as one of Eddie Campbell’s crowning achievements as writer, artist and executive creator." -- The Comics Journal

“Campbell is one of the premier cartoonists of his generation.” -- Publishers Weekly

"No one else in the medium combines emotional truth, literary intelligence and formal daring with such adroitness and elegance."— Booklist

Eddie Campbell’s Bacchus is a true epic, spanning a decade of work, over a thousand pages, and several millennia of alcohol consumption.

BLOODSHOT REBORN #4

Here's this week's shot of lovely Valiant art.

Written by JEFF LEMIRE

Art by MICO SUAYAN with JEFF LEMIRE

Cover A by MICO SUAYAN

Cover B by DAVE JOHNSON

Variant Cover by ROBERT GILL

Variant Cover by RYAN LEE

$3.99 | 32 pages | T+

 New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire (THE VALIANT, Descender) and rising superstar Mico Suayan (Moon Knight) bring the synapse-shattering first act of Bloodshot’s return to a knockout conclusion!

With each nanite-infected killer Bloodshot confronts, he loses more of his humanity, but with killers wreaking havoc across Colorado, does he have a choice? Meanwhile, the mysterious figure called Magic makes a move to restore Ray Garrison’s soul -- but can he let go of the demons of his past? Does he even want to?

DEATH SENTENCE: LONDON #2

As I said with Death Sentence: London #1, I enjoyed the previous volume and this one much more than I thought I would. UK comics tend to be aimed squarely at disaffected, nihilist, adolescent males (yes, even moreso than American superhero comics), which tend to make them wish fulfillment for a kind of person I am not now nor ever have been. But Death Sentence, for all its random explosions and teenage cynicism, actually has something to say, even the ultra-violence.

I'd have something specific to say about this book, but Titan -- like Archie, Image and a couple of other publishers -- offers review copies on Tuesdays before New Comics Day. What is up with that? Grr! Maybe I should do the Guide on Wednesdays.

Publisher: TITAN COMICS

Writer: MONTYNERO

Art: MARTIN SIMMONDS

Covers: MONTYNERO, MARTIN SIMMONDS

PAGECOUNT:  32 pages / FC / $3.99

• Martial law declared in London as the G+ Virus runs rampant!

• SEX IS BANNED???!

• Weasel's free gig takes over Brixton – and it'll take a platoon of tanks to shift him!

• New powers – and new players – surface all over the capital!

• And in the USA, agent Jeb Mulgrew gets a do-or-die mission!

• Where is Verity? Where is ... ARTGIRL?!

As timely and resonant as ever, and packed with all the creative swearing, outrageous use of powers and satirical social commentary you've come to love –  Death Sentence  is back to lay claim to your hindbrain and devastate your pull list!

Death Sentence: London #2 comes with 2 covers to collect!

http://titan-comics.com/c/131-death-sentence-2/

DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR #14

And here's this week's Whomania.

Publisher: TITAN COMICS

Writer:  AL EWING

Art: SIMON FRASER

Cover: BOO COOK

Subscription Variant: Photo

32 pages / FC / $3.99

Part 1 of the 2-part season finale! Series co-writers Al Ewing and Rob Williams team up for an unmissable mini-epic, as a year's worth of stories come to a head! Can the Doctor save his new friends from their time-twisting fates? Will Alice find peace -- or be marooned far from Earth? Will ARC finally discover the truth about itself -- or be reduced to atoms? Will Jones fulfill his cosmic rock god destiny -- or die among the stars? And who will be left to join the Doctor as we head into Year Two?

ETERNAL SOULFIRE #1

Don't know much about this one, but it has a preview!

Publisher: ASPEN MLT INC

Writer: J. T. KRUL

Art/Cover: ALEX KONAT

$3.99

Michael Turner's classic action-adventure series re-emerges with a brand new era of mystery and magic!

The world of magic and technology have finally collided! And, with it, a new cast of characters will rise. Cassidy, a young high school student with a very big secret, will discover that magic is not only real-but will change her life forever in ways she never could've imagined. Meanwhile, Miya, the ancient warrior from the earliest days of the Soulfire Universe, has returned with a vengeance-and both of their paths will be inextricably united!

The first all new Soulfire series to make its debut since Michael Turner introduced you to his incredible magical adventure over 10 years ago, is ready to take you on the ride of your life and explore the world of Soulfire as you've never seen it before!

FAMOUS MONSTERS PRESENTS:  BORNHOME #1

Another #1, with a preview and a bonus: It's published by Famous Monsters of Filmland!

Publisher: AMERICAN GOTHIC PRESS

Writer: PAUL TOBIN

Art/Cover: JEFF JOHNSON

$3.99

When TerraCore -- a substance able to terraform planets -- is discovered, it changes the landscape of the universe ... until it becomes a limited resource, giving rise to piracy and leaving planets dead in its wake. In the midst of a battle, Captain Langer crash-lands on one of those dead worlds and discovers that its straggling inhabitants are quite different from what he expected -- in more ways than one.

THE FOX #4

Here's the latest Dark Circle issue. I'm really enjoying these books.

Plot: DEAN HASPIEL

Art: DEAN HASPIEL, JOHN WORKMAN AND ALLEN PASSALAQUA

Script: MARK WAID

The Fox #4 CVR A Reg: DEAN HASPIEL

The Fox #4 CVR B Variant: IRVIN RODRIGUEZ

The Fox #4 CVR C Variant: DIRK SHEARER

The Fox #4 CVR D Variant: JAY SHAW

On Sale Date: 7/8

32-page, full color comic

$3.99 U.S.

NEW ONGOING SERIES FROM DARK CIRCLE! “Fox Hunt, Part 4”: The FOX has been punched, thrown, stabbed, crushed, shot at and smothered by a virtual army of super villains—but nothing is stopping Paul Patton, Jr. from finding his son! But that was just for starters—get ready for intense action and psychedelic paranoia as The Fox straddles the line between reality and a world of NIGHTMARE! Who is behind all of this madness? Will Fox's son, the Ghost Fox, make it out of the city alive? Find out as the hunt continues! Featuring cover art from Dean Haspiel, Irvin Rodriguez, Dirk Shearer and Jay Shaw!

HIRSCHFELD CENTURY PORTRAIT OF ARTIST & HIS AGE (HC)

Working in newspapers, I've seen so many Hirschfeld caricatures that the dazzle has worn off. But he set the standard for many years.

Publisher: KNOPF PUBLISHING

Writer: DAVID LEOPOLD

Art/Cover: AL HIRSHFELD

$40.00

Al Hirschfeld, the legendary artist who redefined caricature and exemplified Broadway, Hollywood and anywhere the performing arts are presented, enchanting generations with his singular mastery of line, is now revealed in more than 370 of his iconic black-and-white and color drawings, illustrations, and photographs. With a rich biographical text by David Leopold, Hirschfeld authority, who's spent more than twenty years documenting the artist's work and life and who has brought all of his knowledge to this new, sumptuous, and ambitious portrait of the artist and his age. Here, through Hirschfeld's pen, are: Ethel Merman, Benny Goodman, Zero Mostel, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Katharine Hepburn, the Marx Brothers, Barbra Streisand, Wynton Marsalis, Mick Jagger, Katharine Cornell, Spencer Tracy and many more.

IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME: SWANN'S WAY (GN)

I read a few of the adaptations by this company of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. It was no great shakes, but its very existence was astounding.

Publisher: LIVERIGHT

Writer: MARCEL PROUST & VARIOUS

Art/Cover: STEPHANE HEUET

$26.95

Whether you are looking to brush up or sample for the first time, this graphic adaptation of In Search of Lost Time is the perfect introduction to Marcel Proust's masterpiece. Proust's oceanic novel In Search of Lost Time looms over twentieth-century literature as one of the greatest, yet most endlessly challenging literary experiences. Now, the French illustrator Stéphane Heuet re-presents Proust in graphic form for anyone who has always dreamed of reading him but was put off by the sheer magnitude of the undertaking. This graphic adaptation reveals the fundamental architecture of Proust's work while displaying a remarkable fidelity to his language as well as the novel's themes of time, art, and the elusiveness of memory.

INVADER ZIM #1

Oni has been sending me new covers for this title every week, and seem really excited about it. I guess they think it's a money-maker franchise. It doesn't look like my bag, but it might be yours.

Oni Press, Portland’s premier independent comic book publisher, announced it is collaborating with Jhonen Vasquez and Nickelodeon in producing an ongoing comic book series based on the beloved animated show Invader Zim. The series will explore a new chapter in Zim’s Earth invasion and the adventures of GIR, Dib and Gaz. The first comic will release on July 1st, 2015.

"All of us at Oni Press are elated to be bringing the first new Invader Zim stories in years to a rabid fanbase," explained Oni Press Editor in Chief, James Lucas Jones. "Getting to tell those tales with folks from the show like Jhonen, Aaron Alexovich, Eric Trueheart, and Rikki Simons just makes it all the more sweet."

Zim, the diminutive, naïve Irken soldier, is assigned to invade Earth to keep him from disrupting his leaders’ plans to expand their empire. Arriving on the unsuspecting planet, he tries to blend in by disguising himself and his malfunctioning robot sidekick GIR as a human boy and his dog. Zim is constantly hounded by his nemesis Dib, who recognizes his alien nature, and Dib’s younger sister Gaz.

“I’m always confused when people say how much they miss Invader Zim because the show never stopped running in my head, and then I remember everyone else isn’t in my head," said show creator Jhonen Vasquez. "I try to imagine the world for all those people who don’t know what Zim’s been up to since the show went off the air and it makes me shudder. How can people live that way? Hopefully this comic helps make the world a better place.”

In 2001 animation fans were introduced to Zim, his oft-foiled plots to enslave the Earth and Jhonen Vasquez’s dark, funny universe on Nickelodeon. The show and Vasquez’s iconic characters went on to become cult classics with a following to this day. Fans have been waiting for the return of Zim and GIR; now they’ll get it in the first all-Zim comic book, part of Nickelodeon’s commitment to bring its beloved classic characters to new audiences.

Invader Zim #1 will arrive in stores July 8, just in time to make San Diego Comic-Con a major event for Invader Zim fans.

JUNIOR BRAVES OF THE APOCALYPSE VOL 1 (HC)

This book collects a graphic novel that has heretofore only appeared online, so I know nothing about it. But it's a #1, so ...

Publisher: ONI PRESS INC.

Writer: GREG SMITH, MICHAEL TANNER

Art/Cover: ZACH LEHNER

$19.99

The Junior Brves of Tribe 65 return from a camping trip to find swarms of bloodthirsty mutants have overrun their town, bringing death and destruction everywhere they go! With their families missing and their homes destroyed, these plucky kids must use all their scouting talents, combined smarts, and teamwork to survive the end of the world!

PRINCELESS: RAVEN, THE PIRATE PRINCESS #1

Another girl-centric Action Lab action/adventure title. And I am delighted to see them.

Writer: JEREMY WHITLEY

Art/Cover: ROSY HIGGINS, TED BRANDT

Orderable Variant Cover by: KATIE COOK

Additional covers by: MIKE HAWTHORNE, RICHARD CASE

 32 pgs./ All Ages/ FC / $3.99 / $4.99 Variant

Spinning right out of the pages of Princeless, it’s the ongoing adventures of Raven Xingtao, The Pirate Princess.  Raven if ready to set off on a quest for revenge against her brothers who have stolen her inheritance.  The monthly ongoing series picks up right where Princeless Volume 3 left off and has the same creative team with Variant covers by Katie Cook, Mike Hawthorne and Richard Case, limited to 2,000 copies each!

PROVIDENCE #2

Alan Moore. 'Nuff said!

Publisher: AVATAR PRESS INC

Writer: ALAN MOORE

Art/Cover: JACEN BURROWS

Mature/$4.99

In this giant-size, ad-free, second issue, Alan Moore's breathtaking epic PROVIDENCE continues to weave a complex tapestry of modern horror.  With his artistic partner Jacen Burrows, they lead the main character Robert Black on the first leg of his exploration of the seedy underbelly of America.  Moore has designed every cover, every single page, and every nuance of this work to create his most fully-realized vision to date.  There are no ads, with all 40 pages written by Moore.  Painstakingly researched, meticulously produced, this is a sequential masterpiece that will serve as important a call to the next generation of comic book writers as Watchmen did 30 years ago:  this is a definitive demonstration of just how good a comic book can be. Available with Regular, Pantheon, Portrait, Dreamscape Wraparound, Women of HPL, and a special Ancient Tome Incentive cover, all by collaborator Jacen Burrows.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #274

Here are some more "Worlds Collide" variant covers. Enjoy!

Script: IAN FLYNN

Art: EDWIN HUANG, GARY MARTIN, JOHN WORKMAN AND GABRIEL CASSATA

Cover: PATRICK "SPAZ" SPAZIANTE 

CG-SLUGFEST Variant Cover: RAFA KNIGHT

Epic Poster Variant (pt7 of 12): BEN BATES

On Sale Date: 7/8

32-page, full color comic

$3.99 U.S.

The heroes of the SONIC/MEGA MAN crossover event: AT WAR?! "Worlds Unite" Part Seven: The unified army is not so unified anymore!  What has driven Mega Man, X and their robot companions to attack Sonic and the Freedom Fighters?  Drs. Eggman and Wily may have the answer!  Or a weapon.  Could a weapon be the answer?  Or is it more trademark treachery?  Meanwhile, Sigma grows in power, preparing for the next phase of his master plan! And speaking of masters, this issue features cover art from master-artist Patrick "SPAZ" Spaziante, a CG-SLUGFEST Variant cover from Rafa Knight and part 7 of the epic 12-part connecting variant cover series by artist Ben Bates!

STRANGE FRUIT #1

This title makes me a little jittery. If you live in the South, you know that the phrase "Strange Fruit" hits some pretty raw nerves.

Publisher: BOOM! STUDIOS

Writer: MARK WAID, J. G. JONES

Art/Cover: J. G. JONES

$3.99

What's to Love: Two of the industry's most respected and prolific creators come together for the first time in a deeply personal passion project. J.G. Jones (52, Wanted, Y: The Last Man) and Mark Waid (Irredeemable, Superman: Birthright, Kingdom Come) take on a powerful, beautifully painted story set during the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. Strange Fruit is a challenging, provocative examination of the heroic myth confronting the themes of racism, cultural legacy, and human nature  through a literary lens, John Steinbeck's classic novel, Of Mice and Men.

What It Is: It's 1927 in the town of Chatterlee, Mississippi, drowned by heavy rains. The Mississippi River is rising, threatening to break open not only the levees, but also the racial and social divisions of this former plantation town. A fiery messenger from the skies heralds the appearance of a being, one that will rip open the tensions in Chatterlee. Savior, or threat? It depends on where you stand. All the while, the waters are still rapidly rising ...

SWORDS OF SORROW #3 (of 6)

Once again, the main book is the best one of the month in this pseudo-crossover.

Writer: GAIL SIMONE

Art: SERGIO DAVILA

Cover A Main: TULA LOTAY

Cover B Variant: EMANUELA LUPACCHINO

32 pages  / Teen+ / $3.99

The genre-busting, time-hopping epic heroine crossover continues! In the midst of WWII, reluctant allies Miss Fury and the Black Sparrow are joined by an epic host of heroines from different worlds and eras to fight an invasion taking place right on Broadway! Featuring Red Sonja, Eva (the daughter of Dracula), Lady Zorro, and more! Don't miss the funnest, bawdiest, sword-slingingest crossover event ever!

Dynamite is also announcing that a special cover variant of Swords of Sorrow #3 has been created to celebrate the cosplay phenomenon, featuring four cosplayers in a reenactment of J. Scott Campbell's cover from issue #1.

The photograph featured as the Cosplay Edition of Swords of Sorrow #3 was the brainchild of cosplayer Tabitha Lyons, who approached photographer Andrew Dobell of Creative Edge Studios with the idea to reenact the cover to Swords of Sorrow #1, as illustrated by industry superstar J. Scott Campbell. The original cover depicts four stars of the series: Red Sonja and Vampirella (two characters with long traditions of comic book adventuring), as well as literary heroine Dejah Thoris (from the Warlord of Mars novels and comics) and Jana from Frank Cho's Jungle Girl. The photo reenactment features four lovely cosplayers: Tabitha Lyons as Red Sonja, Tasha Mackenzie as Dejah Thoris, Chiquitita Cosplay as Jungle Girl, and Mojo Jones as Vampirella. Fans and cosplay enthusiasts everywhere can look for this cover edition to hit stores on July 8th.

Gail Simone was especially excited by the creation of this photo edition, and the dedication of Creative Edge and the cosplayers themselves. "This is kind of a dream come true for me," says Simone. "So many times, at conventions, I've seen magnificent cosplayers beautifully photographed in these incredible poses, and I've often thought, 'Wow, that should be a cover.' But it never seems to happen! Then I saw this shot, just as a thumbnail, on social media, and it was so perfectly realized, with cosplayers so spot-on and just so all-around gorgeous, at first I was convinced it was a painting of the cover of our first issue. It took a moment to realize the depth of their remarkable re-creation. I love it, and I'm thrilled to have this be our first cosplay cover. I hope it's the first of many. Incredible work to everyone involved, the cosplayers, photographer and costume maker all are astounding!"

UNITY #20

Ah, I title I know something about, with a preview. It's pretty good, too.

Written by MATT KINDT

Art by JOSÉ LUIS

Cover by KANO

Variant Cover by CLAYTON HENRY

$3.99 | 32 pages | T+ | On sale JULY 8

Out of the darkest recesses of the 20th century…the War-Monger returns to rage against the combined might of Valiant’s most elite superteam!

 For thousands of years, the Eternal Warrior has waged battle; and for thousands of years, one spirit has vexed him…the spirit of warfare itself. Today, Gilad Anni-Padda and his teammates in Unity must reckon with a long-thought-forgotten enemy–unseen since Unit-Y faced it in World War II–now returned to bring destruction and death to the heroes once and for all. Unity may not survive the coming of War-Monger!

VALIANT: ZEROES & ORIGINS VOL. 1 (TPB)

If you need to catch up on the Valiant Universe, here ya go.

Written by JAMES ASMUS, JOSHUA DYSART, TOM FOWLER, JUSTIN JORDAN, MATT KINDT, PETER MILLIGAN, FRED VAN LENTE, and ROBERT VENDITTI

Art by CHRISCROSS, TOM FOWLER, CLAYTON HENRY, ROBERT GILL, J.G. JONES, LEWIS LAROSA, CLAY MANN, CARY NORD, PERE PEREZ, BART SEARS, and MICO SUAYAN

Cover by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO

$19.99 | 144 pages | T+

At last – the essential origins and early adventures of Valiant’s most powerful heroes and allies, collected between two covers for the first time anywhere!

Celebrate 25 years of the largest independent superhero universe in comics with these all-star explorations of Valiant’s indelible comics book icons, including X-O MANOWAR, HARBINGER, BLOODSHOT, ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, SHADOWMAN, and many more! Who they are, how they came to be, and what they fear the most… This is your essential one-stop guide to the biggest heroes, villains, and super-teams that the Valiant Universe has to offer, just in time for Valiant’s 25th anniversary celebration!

Collecting ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #0, BLOODSHOT #0, HARBINGER #0, PUNK MAMBO #0, QUANTUM AND WOODY: THE GOAT #0, SHADOWMAN #0, UNITY #0, X-O MANOWAR #0, and material from ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #25, BLOODSHOT #25, HARBINGER #25, X-O MANOWAR #25, and FCBD 2014: VALIANT UNIVERSE HANDBOOK #1.

VAMPIRELLA / ARMY OF DARKNESS #1

I read a review copy of this, but was kinda dreading it -- I really don't know anything about Army of Darkness, and I was afraid the writer would assume I did and not explain anything to me. And I was right.

Who is this guy with the metal hand? Why is he such a d*ck? Why is he in the 14th century? What's a Deadite?

Vampirella shows up at the end, but she's mind-controlled, so I don't even receive the balm of a familiar character. The art is good, so I'm sure I'd enjoy this if I had the slightest idea what was going on.

Writer: MARK RAHNER

Art: JETHRO MORALES

Cover: TIM SEELEY, JAE LEE

FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+

FANS, ASK YOUR RETAILER FOR THE: Tim Seeley B/W Art retailer incentive cover!

During his time trapped in the England of 1300 A.D., Ash listened to the terrified primitive screwheads tell of a horrific flying Deadite similar to the one he blasted out of the air when he arrived – but much deadlier. At the same time, a raven-haired temptress wants to give him some sugar – as his last meal! The horror mash-up you’ve been waiting for, from Mark Rahner (Twilight Zone, Army of Darkness/Reanimator) and Jethro Morales (Hack/Slash) … full of bloody chainsaws, fanged vixens, demon possessions and boomsticks aplenty!

Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce the July release of  Vampirella/Army of Darkness #1, the first issue in a four-issue miniseries that sets Ash Williams, the hard-luck hero of the Army of Darkness franchise, against the classic horror hostess-turned-heroine Vampirella, for the first time in comic history. Written by Mark Rahner and featuring artwork by Jethro Morales, the first issue will be offered with multiple collectible covers by industry heavyweights Tim Seeley and Jae Lee, plus a "Cute" variant by Tony Fleecs exclusively available to subscription customers.

The events of Vampirella/Army of Darkness take place during Ash Williams' time trapped in the England of 1300 A.D. When the terrified, primitive screwheads approach the Chosen One with tales of a horrific flying Deadite -- one similar to the one he blasted out of the air when first arrived, but much deadlier -- Ash sets out with his boomstick and chainsaw to protect his adopted people. At the same time, a raven-haired temptress wants to give him some sugar... as his last meal!

Writer Mark Rahner says, "I loved writing Ash in Vampirella/Army of Darkness. He's the rare combination of completely oblivious buffoon who's also somehow incredibly cool when he has to be. The Vampi stories I've done have been sick satires of other pop culture horror -- Buffy, True Blood and Kolchak in the 100th issue special. I'm excited to write her in more of a straight-ahead (well, mostly) horror-adventure. This Vampirella is less superhero and more occult temptress and monster... and she definitely doesn't belong in 1300 A.D."

"Mark's writing gets better with each series, and we can't wait for fans to see this tale, the two icons meeting and the mayhem that will ensue. This series is full of bloody chainsaws, fanged vixens, demon possessions and boomsticks aplenty," says Dynamite CEO/Publisher Nick Barrucci.

Army of Darkness is a 1992 fantasy/comedy film with strong horror elements starring Bruce Campbell (Burn Notice), the third installment in a trilogy featuring reluctant hero Ash Williams.  Directed by Sam Raimi (Spider-Man), the film saw its tough-as-nails, wise-cracking protagonist transported from the modern era to the Dark Ages in his continuing war against demonic evil.  Army of Darkness generated a dedicated fan following for its premise and lead actor. Dynamite Entertainment has been the proud home to Army of Darkness comic books for over ten years.

Vampirella is a beautiful heroine who remains, even after 45 years of publication, one of the comic industry's leading ladies, due in no small part to Dynamite Entertainment's stewardship of the character. Since Vampirella's very healthy resurgence in 2010, Dynamite has published two volumes of a monthly series, several miniseries and one-shot specials, and crossovers with multimedia brands and comic book peers. The  Vampirella franchise is a haven for writers and artists with a penchant for the macabre.

Army of Darkness was the sequel to The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2, which I've not seen. Bruce Campbell played Ash in all three. (Spoilers warning.) In The Evil Dead Ash and his compatriots, staying at a cabin in the woods, accidentally release a lot of demons. Evil Dead 2 was a sequel/remake. In that one he loses his hand, replaces it with a chainsaw, and gets sucked into the past. In Army of Darkness he fumbles his attempt to get home, raising an army of the dead, but ends up helping the locals defeat them. He's not all that nice a guy in the film, but one roots for him anyway since Campbell is playing him. He ends the film back in the present, where he works in a supermarket; hence the first cover.

Regarding the Kirby slipcase, there were two previous “Visionary” HC editions. Each of them individually covered his entire Timely/Marvel career in chronological order; in other words, one volume did not continue into the next. Comparing the contents of the previous volumes to the new slipcase edition (as I did when the slipcase was first solicited),I discovered that the contents are identical. Whether or not the slipcase arranges the material in strict chronological order so that one volume leads into the next, I do not know. It’s a decent set, but more than a little pricey, even for Kirby. The two previous volumes were priced @ $40, but one should be able to find them at a discount without too much effort.

Today's Purchases:

Archie #1

Spider Island #1
Spider-Verse #3
Squadron Sinister #2
Starfire #2
Star Trek/Green Lantern #1

Thanks for the info, Jeff!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Regarding the Kirby slipcase, there were two previous “Visionary” HC editions. Each of them individually covered his entire Timely/Marvel career in chronological order; in other words, one volume did not continue into the next. Comparing the contents of the previous volumes to the new slipcase edition (as I did when the slipcase was first solicited),I discovered that the contents are identical. Whether or not the slipcase arranges the material in strict chronological order so that one volume leads into the next, I do not know. It’s a decent set, but more than a little pricey, even for Kirby. The two previous volumes were priced @ $40, but one should be able to find them at a discount without too much effort.

Cap said:

I wasn't aware Toth did this much for Warren. I'm getting the entire Creepy/Eerie archives as DH publishes it, so I'll see these stories individually. But if you're a Toth fan (and not necessarily a Warren fan), this book is for you.

Then this book is for me.  My interest in all of the Warren reprints is pretty minimal, but I love me some Toth.

RE: Kabuki. I've never really gotten into it either, after sampling it. It was okay, but man David Mack is one of the nicest people I've met  in the industry. We ever meet, and I have a story or two to tell over a drink.

RE: Bloddstrike. Wow Dan Fraga is still getting work as a Liefeld clone? Even if it is just a cover?  I swear that last cover is from a Deathstroke cover Liefeld did before, or it is just a generic Liefeld cover style.

Cap said:

BTW, why does Death wear an eyepatch? Is it an affectation?

From what i recall it is just an affectation

Cap said:

I can't say the concept of this one is anything I'm eager to read. And DeFalco and Frenz in the credits isn't a plus for me, either. I don't mean to insult their work, but they've been doing Lee/Kirby pastiche for years, and I don't much care for it.

Man, I loved their Spider-Girl series...both of them. Some of the most underrated comics in years as far as I'm concerned.  For a while it was the only Spider book I was reading. Good characters, characterization, villains, etc.

RE: Squadron Sinister. I love cover with the heads on the covers. I already called dibs at my LCS on the poster of the first issue.

Archie...sorry I just I just don't give a rip about him. Never have, now if it was Jughead comic I would be all over it.

I do like the covers for The Fox.

Cap said:

Alan Moore. 'Nuff said!

Not for me...

I'm front the South and raw fruit doesn't ring any of my bells (although I can imagine were that term is going). Maybe it is, no offense,  time specific?

It's not "raw fruit", it's "strange fruit". It's a reference to a song  most famously rendered by Bilie Holliday.  I would've thought it was one of those things that everyone knew about - I'm a life-long Northerner and I've heard of it - but maybe not.

I'm a big Kabuki fan (or was, since the series seems to be over). It started as a B&W story about Japanese secret operatives--Strangers in Paradise would not be a bad comparison, although they don't look alike. Once it turned to color Mack started doing gorgeous painted art like the kind everyone has seen in his covers. For awhile he struck a remarkable balance between fine art and sequential storytelling--no matter how abstract the art became, it was still telling a story. By the final series it had become so "meta" that there was barely a story there, although it was still gorgeous to look at. 

I don't have any David Mack stories, but I have met him and he does seem like a really nice guy.

As Cap suggested, there's a lot of controversy about the book, and I doubt it's going to blow away soon (especially since there are three more issues scheduled for release). This piece by J.A. Micheline -- "The White Privilege, White Audacity, and White Priorities of STRAN... -- seems to be at the center of the criticism, and it's well worth reading. 

I don't agree with all of her points -- the part about the book being announced on Dwayne McDuffie's birthday seems like a pretty cheap shot to me -- but I think her review of the work itself makes excellent points about the troubling nature of what we're shown in this first issue. Read it for yourself -- especially if you've read the actual comic -- and see. 



Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

As Cap suggested, there's a lot of controversy about the book, and I doubt it's going to blow away soon (especially since there are three more issues scheduled for release). This piece by J.A. Micheline -- "The White Privilege, White Audacity, and White Priorities of STRAN... -- seems to be at the center of the criticism, and it's well worth reading. 

I don't agree with all of her points -- the part about the book being announced on Dwayne McDuffie's birthday seems like a pretty cheap shot to me -- but I think her review of the work itself makes excellent points about the troubling nature of what we're shown in this first issue. Read it for yourself -- especially if you've read the actual comic -- and see. 

Interesting stuff.

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