Farther Into the Future Than Usual

*The magic of Christmas.


Madman Atomic Comics #12

Plus, the start of a recurring movie 'review' feature, Netflix Instant Gratification Journal, which will continue for as long as Netflix remains viable/I feel like it.

*Note that the new books aren't due this week until Friday, Jan. 2, because Diamond is your friend, and friends don't let friends read comic books while swilling the devil's wine.


The Winter Men Special: You're goddamned right. It's been a while since we last saw this very troubled, very good Wildstorm (formerly Vertigo) series from writer Brett Lewis and artist John Paul Leon (who also did some scripting), tracking the lives and struggles of a disbanded Rocket Spetsnaz team in a fantasy Russia where miracles of science haven't stemmed the struggle of the post-Soviet everyday; now comes the long-delayed conclusion, 40 pages for $3.99. Prior issues have added up to a pretty dense work, so I'm not sure how friendly this finale might be to new readers, but do expect some finely-crafted dialogue and warm, rounded characterizations to go with your possible confusion. I'm gonna re-read the whole thing. Here's my review of the prior issue, from just under two and one quarter years ago. Preview here.

Why I Killed Peter: There's been some talk about this one, a winner of the runner-up Essentials prize at Angoulême 2007; it's an autobiographical account of writer Olivier Ka's sexual assault at the hands of a priest at the age of 12, and his subsequent confrontation of the man as an adult. The art is by 'Alfred' (Lionel Papagelli), whom I don't believe has been published in English before. From NBM, 112 pages for $18.95. Samples here; review by Bart Beaty here.

Baloney: This is artist Pascal Blanchet's and publisher Drawn and Quarterly's 80-page follow-up to 2007's White Rapids, an all-splash account of a village butcher's struggle against a local Duke and his infernal heating company, which doubles as a homage to Russian musical compositions of the 1930s and '40s. It's 80 two-color pages for $16.95.

The Hot Breath of War: A new collection of stories and drawings by (Trevor) Alixopulos, swirling around concepts of living and fighting through funny, distressing panels planted in a sea of white. From Sparkplug Comic Books, $13.00 for 128 b&w pages. Preview here, review by Tom Spurgeon here.

The Arrival: I don't know if this is a new edition of Shaun Tan's much-adored (Best Comic, Angoulême 2008), fantasy-bedecked, entirely wordless book on the experience of immigration, but it's definately showing up. I had some issues with the work myself. From Scholastic; $19.99.

Incognito #1 (of 5): A new creator-owned project from Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips & Val Staples, essentially filling in for Criminal on the Icon roster (with a similar $3.50 price point and accompanying outlay of backmatter). A supervillain is holed up in witness protection, but things are about to get over-the-top; call it the noir response to Sleeper's superhero-espionage blend. Preview here.

You'll All Be Sorry!: A new 160-page About Comics collection of the best of Gail Simone's career-launching internet humor column. Some new stuff too, including a guide to comics writing. Cover by Scott Shaw!, $11.99.

War Machine #1: I can't say 'superhero hits global hotspots to stop atrocities' is my favorite premise ever, but I like writer Greg Pak and artist Leonardo Manco ok, so here's a look at their new ongoing series about the version of Iron Man that shoots a lot more things than the other one.

Punisher War Journal #26: Being the final issue for this iteration of the Marvel U version of the character, and the last hurrah for writer Matt Fraction; expect some Secret Invasion wrap-up and maybe the filing away of a few specific characters, with guest art by Andy MacDonald of NYC Mech (Howard Chaykin checked out last issue). The series will relaunch soon as simply Punisher, with former co-writer Rick Remender taking on sole writing duties and Jerome Opeña stepping in as regular artist.

Punisher: War Zone #4 (of 6): What is this, 1993? Ennis & Dillon, though.

Kick-Ass #5 (of 8): JRJR.

30 Days of Night: 30 Days 'till Death #2: I just realized David Lapham is writing and drawing this, apparently at the same time he's writing and drawing the Vertigo monthly Young Liars (which I've heard is awesome, terrible, or even awesomely terrible). That's interesting; maybe one of them has been in production for a while?

Final Crisis: Secret Files: You know time-biding options are running low when it's "secret files" time, but be aware that some unknown amount of Frank Quitely art is lurking within this 40-page, $3.99 special, written by Grant Morrison & Peter J. Tomasi. Actually, Morrison can be pretty entertaining just sitting around and explaining things (see: the Final Crisis Sketchbook), so maybe it'll be fun? EDIT 12/30: Ok, well, as Douglas Wolk points out in the comments, neither Quitely nor Tomasi have billing on the final cover. Reader James adds that a preview has now been released, showcasing a story by Len Wein & Tony Shasteen, and thus suggesting that Morrison and J.G. Jones will do an additional story or illustrated feature of some sort; I like Quitely's cover art, though!