The big news dominating the mainstream this week is the re-entry of Marvel Comics into publishing what is sure to be a heap of Star Wars material, led by the aptly-named, non-subtitled anchor book, Star Wars #1. It’s all subsequent to the Disney acquisition of LucasFilm, and their transitioning the property away from Dark Horse’s 20-year run to their in-house subsidiary, all while wiping clean the EU slate and barely acknowledging anything that came before.
I’m sure I’ll check out a few issues, though it’ll basically be done begrudgingly so for a few reasons. At a casual glance, all three of the new books seem to be rehashing the same ground that the single Brian Wood & Carlos D’Anda series recently did so well. I’m also a little nervous about artist John Cassaday’s ability to commit to a monthly schedule. I love his style, and he’s proven capable of longer runs on older works like Planetary and Astonishing X-Men, but his recent track record leaves something to be desired. I also feel nothing but utter disgust aimed at the now ~100 variant covers which have artificially inflated the print run to around 1,000,000 copies, a phenomenon last seen in the ’90s with the Jim Lee X-Men relaunch, an act some historians have cited as one of the primary markers of the publishing boom-glut-implosion cycle of the time.
It’s tough, I generally like the property, I like many of the creators involved, but it’s hard not to be worn down by the marketing juggernaut, and view the entire debacle as the very logical cash grab it represents to the business side of the equation, and yet I can only hope the combined artistic merit of the material is even half as good as all the hype. But hey, if anyone is listening, I’d kill to write a Sabine Wren mini-series, featuring the adventures of the Mandalorian Street Artist Rebel featured in the new Star Wars Rebels series. Call me, I’m waiting.
I also sincerely hope that the Star Wars launch doesn’t overshadow so many other great books hitting the shelves this week. Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson continue their insightful examination of the rich peripheral stories found in a shared superhero universe concept in Astro City #19, and Larime Taylor continues to his creator-owned crime thriller that blends elements of Dexter with Pump Up The Volume in A Voice In The Dark: Get Your Gun #2. I’ve read an advance copy of the issue and it remains a superb treatise on an American subculture and the journey of disaffected Millennials that most pop culture only superficially tries to understand or comically dismisses as a punch-line.
Image Comics has a host of their best titles available this week, including Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski’s Copperhead #5, the gender-bending Sci-Fi Western, Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood’s gender-bending, genre-blending, Sci-Fi Cop Drama (I like to call it CSI: Galactica) The Fuse #9, and arguably the best title the publisher is currently offering with Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s excellent Lazarus #14. Honestly, if you’re not reading Lazarus, you’re missing one of the best comics of the decade, one which radically extrapolates advancing biotechnology and current socioeconomic disparities to their terrifying conclusion.
There was once a book from Mark Millar and Frank Quitely that was quite good, so I’m excited to see its return with Jupiter’s Legacy #5. I generally try not to support such publishing delays unless there’s some extenuating set of circumstances, but Quitely is certainly one of those “worth the wait” artists regardless. Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay continue their psychological sci-fi affair in Supreme: Blue Rose #6,while over at Oni Press, Greg Rucka and Justin Greenwood wrap the first arc of volume three of this now ongoing series in Stumptown #5.
On the collected edition front, I’ll recommend Manifest Destiny Volume 2: Amphibia and Insecta, containing issues 7-12 of this gorgeous speculative historical fiction series, pitting Lewis & Clark and The Corps of Discovery against eerie supernatural forces and general monster mayhem as they make their journey to the Pacific Ocean. Yes, this is going to be a great week of comics.