Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Buy This! - Feb 8th 2012 (and a quick rant about DC collected edition hardcovers)

Every Monday Seth picks out three items that are due to ship on Wednesday and directs you toward your best bets for a quality purchase. Some times it's a single issue of a comic, other times a massive omnibus edition of a beloved series, and occasionally a figure or shiny bauble that caught his eye. Read on to find the three items you shouldn't leave your comic shop without this week.
Sorry for the lateness of this week's column. My only excuse is that I've been stricken with a virus seeking my destruction since Sunday and other than a few hours at my place of employment today, I haven't done much other than sit on my couch watching Community and old episodes of the Office on Hulu. I also managed to read a Fables trade and work my way through one the Wolverine VS the X-Men story arc from Jason Aaron's Wolverine run.

Anyway, I wasn't sure if I'd work up the energy to plop this column down or not but I finally managed to psyche myself up on enough tea to get me going so here I am. Bed worn and slightly unaware of what I'm typing exactly. Due to the fact that I can, at a later date, claim I didn't realize I was ranting I'd just like to take a moment yet again to proclaim that DC really is taking things in the right direction with their collected editions while simultaneously continuing to frustrate me every time I crack a cover.

This week's offense? The Identity Crisis Absolute Edition. On the surface this is yet another beautiful, oversized hardcover from the company who puts out the premier book in that format. However, upon opening the box that Amazon had packaged and sent it to me in I was struck by the realization that this is a remarkably small Absolute. It's comparable to GL: Rebirth in terms of size, rather than some of the chunkier books in the line such as Crisis on Infinite Earths or New Frontier. True, it's printed on the glossy paper and that reduces the size but I could instantly tell there was something lacking here. Man was I right. I was saddened to discover that this is merely a reprinting of the hardcover or trade collections already in print, only blown up and with new art by Rags Morales for the slip case. I remember a time when absolute editions weren't only about the stories contained in them but the supplemental material as well.

Thankfully, I love the story and I'm more than willing to shell out the money I paid (which was well under the listed price thanks to buying it off an Amazon seller) for having this book in the oversized format. I just wish DC would go out of their way to really add something to these Absolutes that isn't offered in the standard editions.

On the other hand, I recently picked up the Hawkman by Geoff Johns omnibus and while I haven't had time to really dig into it yet I was pleased to discover that the book is at least double the size of the Flash by Geoff Johns omnibus. Also, unlike those wretched Starman "omnibus'" the dimensions of this one are about the same as the Flash, placing it at about the same dimensional scale as a DC deluxe edition hardcover. It's a really beautiful package and about the only thing I've found to complain about without reading it cover to cover is that, again, DC hasn't found a way to make the giant collected editions lay flat when you open them. Even quickly perusing through the book I could find a few instances where panels are going to run down into the spine. Other than that though, this is a must-buy for Johns' fans, such as myself, and a definite step in the right direction for the DC omnibus line.

Okay on to this week's purchases...

TMNT vol 1 tpb

We've been pretty vocal in our support of Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz and Dan Duncan's TMNT series from IDW since issue one. Paul's even given it a pick of the week before. While I only read the first issue, my decision to trade wait was based more on my adherence to the wait-for-trade-from-indie-labels mantra that I implemented for myself than any sort of lack of quality the book might have. It's a great book, that manages to appeal to my sense of nostalgia while moving forward with the characters in new and interesting directions. The art by Dan Duncan is lively and energetic, really calling to mind those early Eastman and Laird Turtles comics that set the whole franchise rolling. This trade collects the first five issues of the series and it's probably the biggest must-buy hitting the shelves this week.

Conan the Barbarian #1

If you're a Conan fan then you'll already be looking forward to this one. If you're NOT a Conan fan then you should be checking it out. Written by indie-darling Brian Wood and drawn by indie-darling Becky Cloonan, this looks to be a unique take on the character that still should appeal to fans of the blood and guts action that characterizes him. Wood has always shown an eye for small, character work (New York Four, Local, Demo) but he's got the chops when it comes to sword play as well, as evidenced by his Northlanders series at Vertigo. Cloonan has a wonderful, sketchy style to her art that should play nicely within this universe. I'm surprisingly excited to pick this book up.

Thief of Thieves #1

Horrible title aside, and been-there-done-that story aside this could very well be Image Comic's first big number 1 of 2012. While I don't find the solicit especially intriguing (it sounds like every con/heist/robbery story ever written... ever) the fact that it's being penned by Robert Kirkman and Nick Spencer has me interested enough to pick up the first issue at least. Kirkman (after the hilarity that was The Infinite) needs a win to maintain my interest in him as a writer, and aside from THUNDER Agents and Morning Glory I just haven't been that impressed with Spencer recently. This, to me, is the perfect opportunity for these two guys to step up their game and really remind us of why they captured so much attention in the first place. I guess we'll find out tomorrow...

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