REVIEWS: On The Shelves 05/16/07

by Jeff

On The Shelves: 05/16/07, by Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

Reprinted courtesy of Comic Book Commentary.

Reading is fundamental. Read what you like; don’t waste your time reading bad comics out of habit!

My weekly look at select, non-gender-specific comic books being released Wednesday, 5/16/07. The full shipping list, as always, is available at ComicList.

[NOTE: Not all of these titles will actually arrive in all stores. If your LCBS offers a pre-ordering service, be sure to take advantage of it. If not, find another one; or try Khepri.com or MidtownComics.com]

PICK OF THE WEEK
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Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 (Archaia Studios Press)

ARCHAIA STUDIOS PRESS
Artesia Vol 3 Artesia Afire HC, $24.95
Mouse Guard Vol 1 Fall 1152 HC, $24.95

Archaia takes the Pick of the Week two weeks in a row, and does so with two excellent efforts, both of which are well worth your hard-earned $50 as their hardcover collections are absolutely beautiful. Mouse Guard and Artesia offer compelling fantasy worlds that defy initial expectations, taking basic genre tropes and putting a refreshing spin on them. The former is an especially good representative of “all ages doesn’t mean kiddified”, while the latter is strictly for mature readers only.

BIBLIO DISTRIBUTION
Up Up and Oy Vey SC, $19.95

Whereas the stellar Men of Tomorrow focused on the mostly Jewish creators who founded the American comics industry, Up Up and Oy Vey: How Jewish History, Culture, and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero apparently focuses on the characters they created and sounds like it’s worth a look.

DARK HORSE COMICS
Conan #40, $2.99
Fear Agent Re-Ignition Vol 1 TPB, $13.95

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Fear Agent TPB Vol. 1: Re-Ignition
13881 REVIEWS: On The Shelves 05/16/07
Conan #40

Is Conan a superhero, and if so, is his comic book not for girls? Inside Out has an interesting series of posts loosely related to the debate du jour that seems to have flown under the radar. Probably because no one’s flinging poop. *** Fear Agent makes its Dark Horse debut and makes its long-awaited return to my pull list as a result.

DC COMICS
All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #5 (resolicited), $2.99
Army @ Love #3, $2.99
Countdown #50, $2.99

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All Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder #5
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Army @ Love #3
nocover REVIEWS: On The Shelves 05/16/07
Countdown #50

Hey, look who it is! The Batman finally returns! *** Army @ Love’s first two issues have been…intriguing; enough so to keep reading along, but cautiously, as I’m still not sure where Veitch is going and it wouldn’t take much for it to jump the shark and veer off into offensive parody territory. *** Wow! Countdown #51 really sucked, didn’t it? Embarassingly so, especially considering their big MySpace promotion for it. If that’s what DC is banking on this year, they’re in serious trouble, and I suspect we’re going to see Marvel noticeably increase their market share by the end of the year.

DEVILS DUE PUBLISHING
GI Joe Storm Shadow Murphy Cvr A #1, $3.50
Nightwolf the Price #4 (of 5), $2.99

Devil’s Due is taking a bit of a gamble with their GI Joe franchise here, spinning off a new ongoing series after a couple of years of relatively well-received one-shots and mini-series. It’ll be interesting to see if it ends up cannibalizing the main title or not, especially as it’s on the verge of the year-long World War III story arc. *** It’s been a while since the last issue of Nightwolf, but I recall enjoying its take on a werewolf anti-hero and suspect it will end up being a very nice read once it’s collected. The artwork has been particularly notable.

MARVEL COMICS
Blade Undead Again TPB, $14.99
Moon Knight #10, $2.99
X-Factor #19, $2.99

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Moon Knight #10
nocover REVIEWS: On The Shelves 05/16/07
Blade Undead Again TPB
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X-Factor #19

Blade is a perfect example of why waiting-for-the-trade often ends up meaning “Eh, I’ll skip that one.” I’m curious, but not $15 worth of curious. *** The new Moon Knight artist, Mico Suayan, isn’t working for me at all, but he’s not so bad that I’d drop the series. Yet… *** X-Factor continues to be one of the best comics Marvel publishes right now. That is all.

WIZARDS OF THE COAST
Dungeons & Dragons Drow of the Underdark HC, $34.95
Forgotten Realms Best of the Realms Bk 3 MMPB, $7.99

It’s been a long time since my gaming group has gotten together for some D&D, but if we were still playing, I’d definitely be picking up this latest bit of fluff focusing on the dark elves of the Underdark. Hell, I might pick it up anyway just to read it. *** The first Best of the Realms anthology was a solid read, offering a nice range of short stories by a variety of authors, but this latest installment goes the single author route, focusing on Elaine Cunningham, whose work I’m not familiar with at all. It’s been a while since I’ve read any D&D fiction, though, so I might check it out.

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