The releases.

*Funny how a bunch of


still aren't going to be all that applicable to certain Direct Market folk. Did Scary Book show up on some release list somewhere and I simply missed it (not with Diamond in the last four weeks)? Are Golgo 13 and Naoki Urasawa's Monster ever going to show? The saga continues!

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #200 (no fireworks in this Eddie Campbell/Bart Sears teaming - just some all right, straightforward Batman stuff)

Apocalypse Zero Vol. 1 (the very definition of adolescent, derivative fight-obsessed manga, pumped up with insane gore and garish visuals 'till it's almost one-of-a-kind)

Scary Book Vol. 1: Reflections (finally, another book of stuff by horror master Kazuo Umezu - bu perhaps such miscellany only does a disservice)

Naoki Urasawa’s Monster Vol. 1 (of 18) (an introduction)

And a film review of Terrence Malick's The New World, which is hopefully still playing somewhere.

*Fare thee well, manga weekend! Actually, there's still some related stuff lurking


Atlas #2: Oh, it’s been a while. The first issue of this Drawn and Quarterly-published series from Dylan Horrocks came out in 2001, so you can imagine the anticipation brewing around this new installment. It's a low-key mystery surrounding the life and journey of fictional Golden Age cartoonist Emil Kopen, connected to Horrocks' graphic novel Hicksville. I'll need to refresh myself as to the exact contents of issue #1 (which I've kept with me, having picked it up shortly after returning to regular comics purchasing in 2002), and see how this addition shapes up.

Batman: Year One Hundred #1 (of 4): Ah, the long-awaited Paul Pope project, set in a liberty-deprived future where someone dressed as a certain Caped Crusader of years past fights to solve a murder - the mask forms a symbol for privacy and individualism, and the man inside strives to do justice. Oh yes, there will be politics (if filtered through the superhero action gaze), and some thorough design work, envisioning Batman as something of a silent film creeper, and an acrobatic thinker. It’s a somewhat pricey book ($5.99 for 48 color pages), but it’s also a Paul Pope book, so you can rest assured that each installment will hum and titter as its own gorgeous little design object (once again, Pope teams with design goup RINZEN for the packaging). Lots of great info at this interview, including thoughts on the book’s Libertarian subtext, discussion of research and design sources, and the interesting mention that Frank Miller aided in brainstorming the story - Miller, of course, is drawing close to the completion of his self-described Batman “propaganda” tome, Holy Terror, Batman!, written and drawn by him, as he continues work on that great unifier, All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder. Pope is already a much-loved creator in several circles, one whom I think improves with every project (100% being the best of his longform work thus far), but I think we all know that this project is going to bring his stuff to a new audience. Preview here, and dig those Jose Villarrubia colors and chunky sound effects!

Supermarket #1 (of 4): Debut of the new Brian Wood/Kristian Donaldson miniseries from IDW, about a teenage wiseass caught up in a futuristic war of bullets and economics. The synopsis strikes me as similar in tone to Wood’s work on The Couriers, and Donaldson did some decent work in IDW’s Doomed horror magazine (returning soon) - here’s five pages, see what you think.

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2 (of 5): The latest installment of this entertaining series, hopefully digging even deeper into the arcana of Marvel events left untouchable, though we’re definitely getting Ant-Man and the Phantom Rider. Probably going to be neat.

I (heart) Marvel: Ai: That’s Japanese for ‘love,’ which is your signal to settle in for some shoujo-style superheroics - there’s no area of international comics art that can’t be improved without the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, after all! Marvel is so thrilled about this great new courting of manga fans, that they haven’t bothered to load the solicitation data onto their site; obviously our enthusiasm will be information enough! Anyway, upon checking other sources, it seems that Tomoko Taniguchi, Kei Kobayashi, and ‘toga’ will be handling the art, with C.B. Cebulski writing everything. Here’s about half the book in preview form; I’m only familiar with Taniguchi’s work, and I like her super-cute renditions of the Avengers cast. Cebulski also writes issue two of Marvel’s New Mangaverse miniseries this week (art by Tommy Ohtsuka, of various Slayers projects), and if your ‘Japanese artists working on US superheroes’ desires are not yet fulfilled, there’s always Spawn Manga Vol. 2 (of 3) by Juzo Tokoro, which is even in handy b&w digest form at a $9.99 price point.

Kid Eternity: No Seven Soldiers this week, though DC has seen fit to fill in the Grant Morrison-shaped gap in the schedule with this first-ever collected edition of the three-issue 1991 miniseries Morrison did with Duncan Fegredo. I reviewed the material way back in June of last year, in one of my periodic back-catalog sweeps, and I found it to be a flawed but interesting superhero revival project, quite naked in its desire to emulate the smash success of Arkham Asylum, only with a vastly less popular hero as its anchor and a sprawling cosmic sweep. It’s actually a good deal better than Arkham Asylum (and the even more similar The Mystery Play), and while the plot isn’t exactly a Swiss watch of smooth operation, and the whole thing rather easily falls into the common then-contemporary genre traps of rampant ‘darkening’ and busting out all sorts of massive cosmic explanations for seemingly the entire universe (not to be confused with, say, Sandman’s massive cosmic explanations for seemingly the entire universe), it does provide a fairly cohesive worldview (universeview?) after you’ve brushed away the obfuscating bits, and there’s some genuinely entertaining characterizations and situations. Not among the settlers of the Morrison A-list, but maybe worth a look anyway.