Quite a mix for...


Death & Candy #4: Well gosh, it’s the new issue of Swedish cartoonist/animator Max Anderson’s ongoing series, which we haven’t seen nor heard from in three years. Apparently, this will conclude the English version of his “Bosnian Flat Dog” serial, created with Lars Sjunneson (a collected edition is apparently already available in French from L’Association, along with even earlier editions in German and Swedish) along with other fun and frolic. I’ve only even known Anderson through his occasional anthology work (he was all over “Zero Zero”); he’s one of those prominent 1990’s creators whom I don’t really know a lot about, though I always see their stuff hanging around in the catalogs and popping up on the occasional trip into the past, and maybe this is due to their irregular output. Anyway, here’s the big release of the week for fans.

Desolation Jones #1: I don’t even need the advance word; when even writer Warren Ellis himself admits (in his Bad Signal e-mail list, which you should sign up for) that the lead character and set-up aren’t horribly divergent from the typical Ellis model (“JONES, I know, is very much within my style,” he says), you ought to just buckle down right now for some chain-smoking, cynical-talking, bastard-with-a-heart-of-gold entertainment, in much the same way as oh so many of Ellis’ prior works have provided in the past. But not in exactly the same way; those prior works didn’t have the magical touch of J.H. Williams III, recently exposed to a much larger audience then ever through his work on “Seven Soldiers”, and here reunited with his most excellent “Promethea” cohort, colorist Jose Villarrubia (regular letterer Todd Klein is onboard as well). No doubt that this will be quite a looker of an extended series, although I wonder how long even its bi-monthly schedule will hold out with this brilliant-but-pokey team. Well, I’ll keep waiting in much the same way that I keep waiting for “Planetary”. It’s also not necessarily a bad thing that Mr. Jones here is Your Typical Ellis Hero, by the way; such stock characters will only become a quality debit when tire and repetition sets in, and like I said - I’m still reading “Planetary”. Cautious optimism on the writing, sky-high hopes for the visuals here.

The Man With the Screaming Brain #1 (of 4): So someone straighten me out: from Dark Horse’s solicitation, it looks like popular performer Bruce Campbell is being credited as co-writer largely because this miniseries is being adapted from his script (with co-writer David Goodman) to his upcoming feature film. Which would therefore put penciler Rick Remender and inker Hilary Barta (hey, I just said I wanted to see more of his the other day and here he is!) in the ‘sequential adaptation’ role (or would that just be Remender, who presumably does the breakdowns?). Oh well, ‘original script by’ won’t sell as well as ‘written by’, I know.

Conan and the Jewels of Gwahlur #2 (of 3): Sill haven’t read issue #1 of this, which I got on FCBD; it’s P. Craig Russell adapting Robert E. Howard’s story. Looks purty.

The Metabarons Vol. 3: Steelhead and Dona Vicenta: Collecting albums #5 and #6, if I’m not mistaken. That leaves two more albums (one more trade) to go and unfortunately the DC distribution deal has expired. Will Humanoids release the final book by themselves? Time will tell.

Adam Strange #8 (of 8): One falls,

Rann-Thanagar War #1 (of 6): another rises to take its place. “Adam Strange” started out strong as far as unpretentious space action books go, then allowed endless reintroductions of assorted DC space heroes to tap its energy, until a late boost last issue sort of revived it. Sort of. Anyhow, catch the ending (and hopefully it’ll actually be an ending) of the mini and then purchase the first issue of its follow-up, which has been grafted onto the swaggering “Infinite Crisis” anticipatory miniseries march, guaranteeing better sales and probably sinking any chance of a stand-alone story but hey, such is El Direct Market. New writer Dave Gibbons may have some tricks up his sleeve yet, though the preview looks like Adam and several Hawkpersons are having a Phoenix crossover (so that’s how that Greg Pak mini ended!). And presumably Green Lanterns will appear, I guess. Sound good?

The Punisher MAX #21: Speaking of multiple related series streeting on the same day, here’s a pop quiz: what makes me think that writer Garth Ennis has worked up a big backlog of completed “Punisher” scripts which are suddenly being finished by their staggered artists close together? If you guessed: “The fact that this book is suddenly bi-weekly,” you’re half right!

The Punisher: The Cell: And if you also guessed “The fact that there’s the equivalent of three issues of this title coming out in one week,” you’re totally right! This second book is a double-sized one-shot reuniting Ennis with penciler Lewis Larosa, who did the first MAX arc of the book. Does the world really need 88 pages of punishment in one week (plus the debut of the “Mother Russia” trade)? Certainly not, but fans like me would be unrepentant churls to whine about the very opposite of the visibly delay-prone Marvel U playing itself out before us.

Astonishing X-Men #10: On that note, here’s the new issue of this. It’s not absurdly late, but clearly lagging behind schedule. Not to mention the fact that this recent storyline hasn’t quite been doing the trick, now that the creative team is secure through #24 and we don’t really have to pay attention to the core plot for a while (which admittedly doesn’t look like much more than a warmed-up leftover from the X-Men Stock Plot Freezer itself, but at least the execution has been decent).

And finally -

Mark Beyer Stationary Set: Now I do like Mark Beyer, but do I want him on my stationary… hmmmm...