If you don’t know, Previews is the catalog that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for. It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.
So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but typically about two months away. Or sometimes never. I’ve ordered lots of things that have just never come in. Without getting into the specific politics of Diamond, let me just say that they aren’t quite a monopoly and also aren’t quite the worst distributor anybody has ever dealt with in the history of the universe.
But I’m not here to discuss that. I’m here to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition.
Suicide Squad - DC (Front Cover, 86-87)
The Rebirth launch comic got me excited for DC Comics again.
But not every DC comic.
I can’t muster any enthusiasm for Suicide Squad, despite my unbridled excitement for the movie. Which just happens to come out two days after Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 (synergy!). I don’t care for over-armored, under-mustachioed Deadshot or for Killer Crocolli. The book might end up being incredible, and if it is I’ll check it out. But this one just screams “new creative team, new direction!” after six or eight issues.
Saga - Image (Back Cover, 200)
The single greatest comic book series of all time. A new story arc starts here, but just go back and buy all of the prior issues. They’re the best.
Lady Killer 2 – Dark Horse (Front Cover Gatefold, 38-39)
That image caught my eye. I am not familiar with the prior Lady Killer series, but it sounds sort of like the John Waters movie Serial Mom, which is no bad thing. I might have to check this one out.
Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special – BOOM! (1,299)
This 48-page special collects several stories featuring the characters from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. While I respect anything Henson does, I don’t love this movie as much as many folks do. I just wanted to highlight this one because it’s from a Green Section publisher and could get overlooked.
Mœbius Library: The World of Edena HC – Dark Horse(40)
Go ahead and yell at me. I still haven’t read any Mœbius since mentioning another publisher’s collections a few months ago. This one looks pretty sweet, with 344 pages of hardcover bound stories. You know Dark Horse gives premium treatment to everything they do, so this is porbably a must for any fans.
Battlepug Volume 5 HC – Dark Horse (56)
If you haven’t checked out the excellent Battlepug comic strip by the delightful Mike Norton, you should. The cover above tells you all you need to know. Buy prior volumes from the Needless Things Amazon store and help out the site!:
All-Star Batman #1 – DC (76)
I absolutely love John Romita, Jr.’s art. Scott Snyder has given us some of the best Batman stories. Despite those facts I’m hesitant to commit to this book. Scott Snyder has also written some stories that I thought were pointless and badly decompressed.
I know that this book will have clearly defined arcs with a rotating roster of artists, so the chance of burnout is much lower. But there are other Rebirth books that I want to check out more. I think I’m gonna have to wait for word of mouth on this one.
At least it’s not a continuation of Miller’s All-Star (sorry, Ryan).
Deathstroke: Rebirth #1/Deathstroke #1 – DC (80-81)
Christopher Priest is now in charge of Slade Wilson and I’m excited to see where he goes. This is one of the Rebirth books I’m anticipating the most.
Harley Quinn #1-2 – DC (82)
You guys know how much I love this book. I’m irritated by the renumbering, but the same creative team is delivering, so whatever. I’m just nervous about it being twice-monthly, as I am for all of the books that DC decided to put on that schedule. It seems like asking for trouble to me, but time will tell.
Anyway, this is a hilarious, action-packed book that I look forward to reading every month. If you like a fun Harley, you’ll like this book. If you need her to be more psychotic and dark… I don’t know what’s wrong with you. There’s plenty of that out there already.
The Hellblazer #1 – DC (83)
What’s with the superfluous “The”?
I didn’t care a thing about this book because DC hasn’t done anything right with John Constantine since the Vertigo series ended, but the panel from Rebirth #1 where he’s taking to Swamp Thing has me curious (which is, of course, its intended purpose).
Supergirl: Rebirth #1 – DC (85)
I have to admit that my interest in this one comes mostly from the CW (formerly CBS) TV show and the hope that DC recognizes what it is that has made that show successful. The little that we’ve seen in the way of previews makes it look like it’s going to embrace the fun of the show. I don’t know for sure, but my suspicion was that the unknown blonde from the future that says “Everything is going to be all right”:
Is Kara because that would be such a TV Kara thing to say. I can practically see Melissa Benoist delivering that line. Also they haven’t mentioned plans for the Legion of Superheroes yet, so I doubt it’s one of them, despite that ring. If memory serves, Supergirl has hung out with the Legion in the past (future).
Batman: Arkham: Poison Ivy TP – DC (123)
I’m glad to see a “Greatest Stories” volume dedicated to Pamela Isley, and I’m sure that hashtag Poison Ivy movement had something to do with DC deciding to
in on the character’s current popularity
give the fans a cool history of the character. I’ve read a few, but
hardly all of these stories and will be picking it up.
The Flash By Mark Waid Book One TP – DC (127)
I’m a huge fan of Mark Waid’s work, but I’m currently making my way through the Geoff Johns Flash volumes that DC is releasing. I want the Waid stories, but I’m going to have to hold off on these. I am glad to see DC reprinting these big, important runs, though.
JSA: The Golden Age Deluxe Edition HC – DC (128)
James Robinson and Tony Harris’ Starman is another epic run that I’m working through at the moment. I’m loving the way that they’re working the Justice Society heroes in to the narrative and I’m stoked that DC is releasing a JSA story by Robinson. Paul Smith on art is something to get excited about as well, so consider this on my order form.
Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death TP – DC (131)
Recommended. I haven’t read the final issue yet, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this miniseries. It runs a bit parallel to the way the Harley Quinn series is going, but with a completely different tone more suitable to Ms. Isley. The art is inconsistent, as per DC’s norm lately, but it’s never bad. Sometimes it’s just… noticeable. If I had to pick out on thing that bothers me the most about DC comics, it would be the changes in art throughout story arcs. To me, that is unacceptable. Otherwise this is a great series and worth your time.
Lucifer #9 – DC/Vertigo (141)
I’m not reading this because I’m just not very interested in anyone other than Gaiman writing Lucifer, but this cover is the best of all possible covers for a comic book about Lucifer. Props to Dave Johnson for an amazing image.
Batman: The Animated Series Christmas With the Joker Action Figure – DC Collectibles (147)
I love Christmas and I love the Joker, but with the price increases on these figures I’m not sure I can justify this one. Heck, at this point I’m questioning collecting the line, let alone different versions of characters I already have! That hand puppet is pretty amazing, though.
Batman: Arkham Knight Batgirl and Oracle Action Figure 2-Pack - DC Collectibles (148)
This is a must-have for me. I’ve been collecting DCC’s mostly-excellent Arkham action figures and Batgirl is one of my favorite superheroes. I’m also one of those fans that is still smarting over the loss of Oracle when the New 52 happened. I get the arguments against Barbara Gordon being paralyzed, but there’s a lot of stuff with no internal logic in comics. I don’t see how the line can be drawn there.
Duck Avenger #0 - IDW (177)
Duck Avenger is a European comic that is being translated and published in the USA for the first time. I’m not entirely clear on the story or even the tone, but I’m assured that it’s excellent. Donal Duck sneaks into Scrooge McDuck’s newly acquired high-rise and somehow becomes the Duck Avenger. I’m too curious to not check it out.
Image+ - Image (Separate Publication)
I’m not going to cover this as thoroughly as I did last month’s issue because now that I know what it is it isn’t quite as interesting. Also because the elitist pomposity of the last one turned me off a bit from a company I have traditionally had the utmost respect for.
There’s an interview with Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie that justifies opening the magazine. Their work blows me away and it was great reading about how they hooked up.
There’s another interview with Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Elizabeth Breitweiser about Kill or Be Killed, which I am very interested in and will discuss below.
The middle features new series that Image announced at their Expo, as well as a fairly expansive first look at a comic called Prince of Cats by Ronald Wimberly. The art is beautiful, but it looks like a mish-mash of Shakespearian concepts, including the language.
Cool, but not my thing.
Finally, Negan’s story continues in the final pages.
Props to Image for publishing a pretty neat publication that folks who are already picking up Previews can get for free. I can’t say it’s worth the two bucks you’d pay to get it solo, but I can’t imagine anyone is doing that, anyway.
Kill or Be Killed #1 - Image (192-193)
This is a comic about a guy who is forced into vigilantism somehow. I know Brubaker has written a lot of popular stuff, but I don’t honestly think I’ve read anything more than his work on Batman. I am a big fan of Sean Phillips’ work and the concept sounds good to me, so I’ll probably give this one a shot.
The Pro TP - Image (234)
If you need me to tell you that a comic book from Garth Ennis, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Amanda Conner is both hilarious and terribly offensive to pretty much everyone, I’m glad you’re here. It’s hard talking to people that k now more than I do about comics all the time.
This is a great book. Order yourself a copy from your Local Comic Shop. Unless you’re a minor. This isn’t for you. And if you’re a minor and you do buy it, I don’t want to know about it.
Civil War II - Marvel (Cover, M1-37)
With all of the Marvel Universe solidly entrenched in this newest civil war, I’m safe from being tempted to try new books. I have no interest in any of this. That’s not to say it isn’t good, I don’t know, but I’m not getting sucked in.
I’m way more interested in Marvel Tsum Tsum:
LOOK AT THAT. They’re on little weblines!!!!
Fortunately for me I’m not reading any of the books that are involved in this thing. I dropped Spider-Woman thanks to the “Spider-Women” crossover. I didn’t want to, but I’m treating forced crossoverosity with EXTREME PREJUDICE. It’s now an excuse to drop a book.
Mockingbird #6 - Marvel (M30)
DAMMIT. Apparently Mockingbird got sucked in somehow, which doesn’t even make sense because it’s supposed to be its own weird, unique miniseries thing (and it has been up to this point). Reading the description it doesn’t sound like a Civil War II tie-in at all. Which makes me happy. If it is, I’ll drop this one, too. I’m not playing your little games, Marvel.
Guardians of the Galaxy #11 - Marvel (M31)
I still feel obligated to browse through the Civil War II section even though I know I’m not jumping on any of these. While doing so I’m seeing pages just littered with gorgeous art. And then I come across this cover that just blows my mind. Each character is so distinct and interesting while still working with the rest to form a great image. And Carol’s face here is just awesome. Who the heck did this?!?
Oh, of course – Art Adams. Who else?
Spidey #9 - Marvel (M53)
I just want to recommend this one again. It’s continuity-free and family-friendly (though not a “kids” comic) and all kinds of fun. Me and Phantom Jr. are both digging it.
Gwenpool #5 - Marvel (M67)
Speaking of fun, this book is. I don’t know how to convince you that not only isn’t it stupid, it’s actually very good. Because by all means it should be stupid and it certainly looks stupid. But it’s not derivative of either Deadpool or Spider-Gwen. This is its own thing. It’s about a girl – Gwen Poole – from our universe that has ended up in the Marvel Universe. It’s ridiculous, but it works. She started in the pages of one of Marvel’s best comics, Howard the Duck, if that helps. And look – there’s Miles Morales! Everyone loves him, right? I read on io9 that the simple fact that he’s the star of that new animated MCU movie that automatically makes it a better movie with no regard to voice casting or the script or the type of animation or anything. Wow! That means this comic must be better too, right?
The Punisher #4 - Marvel (M68)
It’s wonderful to see Steve Dillon back on a Punisher book and Becky Cloonan might be just as nuts as Garth Ennis. I don’t typically like making comparisons between creators, but there’s no denying the impact Ennis and Dillon had on the Punisher mythos. Cloonan is going to be up there, too. I’ve only read the first issue, but just thinking about the book has me excited for more.
The Official Making of Big Trouble in Little China – BOOM! (298)
BOOM! Studios is releasing a book about the making of my favorite movie of all time. It was the first thing I put on my order form.
Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz TP – BOOM! (303)
If, for some reason, you didn’t listen to me and order the hardcover back when it came out, you now have an opportunity to order the paperback version. This is a wonderful book that will make you happy and sad as Peanuts should. The most talented artists in the business all have something in here.
Chavo Guerrero’s Warriors Creed #3 – Lion Forge (378)
This is a comic book about professional wrestler Chavo Guerrrero getting superpowers. It is written by Fabian Nicieza, who is very good and one of my favorite writers from the old-school X-books. This has managed to slip under my radar for two months now, but I assume that’s because it’s being published by the same folks who did the new Madballs comic and my attention was drawn by that. I’m going to have to see if I can get the first two issues. I have to read this.
Doctor Who The Third Doctor #1 - Titan (406)
What do you gain from not numbering your pages, Titan?!?
Does Diamond charge extra for that or something?
Paul Cornell is a writer who has yet to do wrong in my eyes. He has worked on Doctor Who in various forms before and I have all the faith in the world in him. Jon Pertwee’s Doctor is one of my favorites and I’ve been dying for more of his adventures ever since I went back and caught up on all of his stories. He’s admittedly a tough one since he was stuck on Earth for most of his existence and the limits of his regeneration were fairly clearly defined by the show. But I have no doubt that Cornell and company have great things planned. This will be the first of Titan’s Doctor Who titles to be added to my pull. Mostly because I couldn’t figure out the page numbers before.
PICK OF THE MONTH
(that he doesn’t know about)
Cthulu: The Ancient One Tribute Box (478)
If you’re foolish enough to want a tiny, made-for-retail altar to the Elder Gods in your home, then Diamond has got your hookup. This set comes complete with a Cthulu figurine and an altarpiece stand. All the tools needed to summon the madness in one convenient package!
Banzai Institute Gray T-Shirt – Previews Exclusive Apparel (490)
Finally, Buckaroo Banzai himself has approved Banzai Institute apparel for sale to the general public. Wear what the Cavaliers wear in their everyday lives while fighting the forces of evil or just generally making things better for the rest of us.
Batman Classic TV Series Shakespeare Bust Vinyl Bank – Diamond Select Toys (512)
DST has produced a lot of amazing stuff in their range of vinyl banks, but this one has to be the big winner. It looks fantastic and actually opens to reveal a dial and button. This is awesome. If you don’t own one of their bust banks, trust me when I say this will look fantastic on your shelf. They’ve all been the highest quality.
One:12 Collective The Flash Action Figure - Mezco (529)
You guys know that I am in love with this line of action figures. I am not being hyperbolic when I say that they will go down in toy history as the greatest action figure line of all time. I want them all. I’m not buying them all, but I will buy Flash. My shelves need a properly attired and articulated Scarlet Speedster.
Slimer Life-Size Foam Replica – NECA(?) (538)
When this thing first got announced online I posted that I felt sure some weirdo was going to buy it and have sex with it. I still feel that way.
Also, I’m not positive NECA is making it, but they are doing a bunch of life-size foam replicas, so it seems likely.
House of 1,000 Corpses Captain Spaulding 8-Inch Action Figure – NECA (541)
I love (most of) Rob Zombie’s movies and Captain Spaulding, despite only being featured in two films, is a horror icon. Who doesn’t want a tiny, terrifying little Sid Haig in clown makeup on their shelf? Just for your own personal knowledge, this is part of NECA’s excellent retro cloth line of Mego-style figures.
Living Dead Dolls: Trick R’ Treat Sam – Mezco (542)
If you haven’t seen Trick R’ Treat, it’s an incredible Halloween anthology film by the guy that did the equally awesome Krampus. Watch it ASAP and then order yourself this adorable little monster, who is sort of the mascot of the movie.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Leatherface 8-Inch Action Figure - NECA (542)
Another fine maniac from the folks at NECA! You’ll need this one to go with the Chop Top figure that’s coming out soon!
One:12 Collective Commander Rogers Action Figure – Mezco (543)
It’s not often that I’m surprised by toys anymore, but I had no idea this was coming out. This is literally the first I’ve seen of it. This is a variant version of Mezco’s previously offered Captain America figure, similar to my Previews Exclusive Judge Dredd. I love that they’re doing these variants, but that they aren’t impossible to get. There’s supposed to be a classic version coming as well, but I like the standard the best. I expect to see Professor Zoom or Reverse Flash or whatever offered next month.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure 8-Inch Action Fgiure 2-Pack - NECA – (543)
Holy crap, this is a heavy toy month. NECA’s really putting those holiday screws to us early. No toy collector my age is going to be able to pass these up. NECA’s excellent craftsmanship and likenesses combined with these two most non-heinous individuals makes for a pop culture no-brainer.
Weird Al Yankovic 8-Inch Action Figure – NECA (544)
DUDES. You are killing me. Another must-have. And I want you gentle readers to understand that my definition of “must-have” has narrowed big time over the last five years. The last year, especially, has changed what I consider to be worthy of spending my money on. But Weird Al is a personal hero to me and there’s no way I can resist this one.
La Muerta 1/6 Scale Action Figure – Phicen (546)
I’m not buying this, but it’s an awesome looking figure. If I had silly amounts of disposable income laying around, skeleton girl would definitely be on my list.
One:12 Collective Frankenstein’s Monster Action Figure - Mezco (548)
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, restraint is the name of my game. I’m not ordering this one. I’ve got TONS of figures of Frankenstein’s monster and while this one is sure to be the best, I am going to “just say no”.
Because I’d rather have the inevitable color variant.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Donatello 1/4 Scale Action Figure - NECA (548)
I’ve been waiting since 1990 for good action figures of the movie Turtles. I want this so bad, but there are all kinds of reasons to not buy this: I don’t have the space for four sixteen inch Turtles, they cost a lot, I wasn’t ultimately happy with the Michael Keaton Batman I got in this scale, and NECA may well release smaller scale versions.
I think I’ve convinced myself. Maybe.
Edward Scissorhands Horror Bishoujo Series Statue - Kotobukiya (559)
This one is cool! I made fun of the gender bent Freddy and Jason figures because, quite frankly, they’re stupid. But this one works. It’s a great design and the character works just fine, visually and conceptually.
I loved DC Universe: Rebirth #1. Check out my review here.
The Preacher premiere was awesome. I’ve watched it three times and I cannot wait for the second episode. Whether you’ve read the comic or not, watch it. I loved it.
The Outcast premiere was not awesome. It plodded along, trying to be mysterious and succeeding only in being baffling and annoying. If you don’t know, it’s a Cinemax show based on a new comic by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta. I haven’t read the comic and, quite frankly, after that episode I have no desire to. The central premise might not be bad, but I’m honestly not sure what it is. It has to do with demonic possession.
I liked X-Men: Apocalypse, much to my surprise. My full review is on my Patreon page, so go and check it out.
Flash and Arrow both had pretty lame season finales. Pretty lame seasons overall, for that matter. I am now convinced that shows need to either be thirteen episodes or less or they need to have two complete arcs on either side of the mid-season break. A single story arc simply can’t be maintained for twenty-two episodes and for whatever reason modern shows all have to have that season-long story. The days of self-contained episodes seem to be over.
That’s all I’ve got for this month. Start putting your pennies in your Diamond Select figural bank and remember to drop your order form off at your Local Comic Book Shop!