*It's the past and the future this time! Since the holly jolly Christmas season has drugged and kidnapped my free time, I'm just going to combine two similarly-titled features into one!

*First, there's LAST WEEK'S REVIEWS:

Metal Hurlant #14, Ocean #3 (of 6)

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (the comics adaptation, with the movie itself thrown in for good measure)

JLA Classified #2, The Goon #10, Hunter-Killer #0

Stoker’s Dracula #2 (of 4) (with some Christmas tinsel thrown around)

And after that, you can look at:


Concrete: The Human Dilemma #1 (of 6): I’ve never read a “Concrete” story. I’ve held the early “Complete Concrete” collection in my hands and considered getting it, but not yet. Maybe I’ll pick up this new miniseries and try to get my bearings, and work backwards from there. It’s clearly a much-loved series, and it looks like something I’d get into. This arc involves the title character becoming a spokesperson for a population control program, and much hand-wringing and brooding is expected, properties for which this title is renowned.

Garth Ennis’ 303 #2 (of 6): Well, look what the cat dragged in! It’s the latest issue of Avatar’s ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Punisher’ as set in the Middle East. Which isn’t to say I didn’t like it; I actually can’t imagine why a “Punisher MAX” fan wouldn’t be into this book, as based on issue #1, which came out long ago so maybe everyone forgot. But now it’s here, and... and... oh! Oh! What’s that I see?!

Warren Ellis’ Quit City #1 (of 1): The second of Ellis’ one-shot Apparat books, the first of which was the above average “Frank Ironwine”. This one has art by Laurenn McCubbin of “Rent Girl” and “XXX LiveNudeGirls” fame. I shouldn’t be joking about these books; it’s probably a lot better that Avatar’s staggering their releases rather than plopping them all onto the market at once, although I’m unsure as to if this is an intentional business move or if stuff is just late. If it’s the latter, it looks like the non-Avatar regulars have won the deadline derby, eh?

Adam Strange #4 (of 8): I’m getting a wee bit nervous upon hearing news that this book is expected to provide some kind of set-up for DC’s upcoming Event thing. I like it enough now as a great-looking old-school cliffhanger-laden sci-fi throwback book, and I really hope it retains such flavor should it come into collision with the scowling, blue-bathed Jim Lee/Alex Ross Batman bearing somebody’s (Nightwing’s) corpse as heroes united look on in shock and dismay. Keep them fingers crossed!

Tom Strong #30: Ed Brubaker and Duncan Fegredo’s arc, reaching its conclusion this issue, is probably the strongest of the post-Moore stories on this book, a familiar but well-done plugging-in of Tom into a more ‘realistic’ world. Fegredo’s art has been a particular standout, shifting between glossy action and quiet simplicity with ease.

What If Aunt May had Died Instead of Uncle Ben?

What If Dr. Doom had Become The Thing?

What If General Ross had Eaten Corn Pops Instead of Cookie Crisp Last Friday?

What If The Avengers All Got Killed and Stuff and Other People Joined Them?

What If Karen Page was the Earliest Born Child in Her Family, Thus Making Her the ‘First Page’?

What If Magneto had Formed Styx With Professor X?

These six out of seven planned books ("What If the Humor Book that was Planned for This Week Was On Diamond’s Release List"?), momentarily reviving Marvel’s old “What If” property. Too bad about the humor book. I’d make a joke about Kevin Smith, one of the contributing writers, but that’s so old that the book itself is doing the same gag. It looks like it’s late, so I guess the joke is really on the readers, much like those miniseries that Smith ditched. Ha ha! The books that do arrive will probably be good fun for fans of the creative teams and/or story arcs involved, and easily ignorable for everyone else. Just like “What If” in general, only without the benefit of tracking Marvel’s particular interests in their characters across the years, like you can do by peering through a varied stack of real “What If” books.

Ultimate Nightmare #4 (of 5): In celebration of this oft-delayed issue of Warren Ellis’ Ultimate Universe miniseries (which is now the first of a series of miniseries), I will be reviewing the whole story up until now, but I’ll be doing it on Wednesday. And very slowly. I will write many panels about scenery and technology. Fun.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #14: Hell, I guess I’ll go over this too, since I recently managed to buy Ellis’ entire runs thus far on this book and “Ultimate Nightmare” for less than fifteen bucks total. Therefore, I am a fully accredited master of Warren Ellis’ current marvel works, like these two and...

Iron Man #2: Making it a Warren Ellis and “What If” team-up week, brought to you by the letter ‘W’ and the number ‘3', which is the number of dollars this book now costs, as Diamond wants us all to note. I can now confidently say that this is the best of Ellis’ trio of Marvel books, even only one issue in, although the art is not my cup of tea. But it’s a better-than-expected exploration of the title character’s psyche, and I hope it goes interesting places.

That was way too much Warren Ellis, all things considered.