Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Trades I'm looking forward to getting!

A new issue of the Frank Miller/Jim Lee All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder is out tomorrow! And about time too...there was a fairly long wait between issues #4 and #5, so hopefully this title will be back on its bi-monthly schedule again. I wonder whether the lateness of this book has got anything to do with Frank Miller's burgeoning Hollywood commitments, or Jim Lee's slowness in pencilling, or a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B?

There are a couple of trades I'm looking to get in the next couple of months or so, pending my budget. The only real hobby I have nowadays is comics, but my weekly expenditure has to be budgeted between food, transport and other miscellaneous stuff, so I can't really splurge like I have in the past. Plus, part of my salary goes to the rent, another part goes to my parents and a third part goes to our savings account, so I don't have a lot of room to move, money-wise!

But here's some of the stuff I'd be looking to get:

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures Vol. 1
Writer: Stacie Ritchie and Jess Ruffner-Booth
Artist: Brett Booth
Price: US$19.99

This one's based on the Anita Blake series written by Laurell K. Hamilton. I've never read the novels before but it seems like an extremely interesting concept that I can certainly get to like and enjoy.

Here's the review from Wizard Universe:

If Buffy approached middle age and moved to St. Louis, she’d be pretty close to the title character of this series, an adaptation of the Laurell K. Hamilton novel of the same name by writers Stacie Ritchie and Jess Ruffner-Booth and artist Brett Booth. Anita gets roped into hunting down a vigilante vampire killer; mixed emotions and romantic entanglements ensue. With vampires, blood, scars and a stripper bar all at the center of this arc, one might expect something along the lines of “From Dusk Till Dawn” instead of the comic equivalent of lush violin music punctuated by occasional stab wounds that’s on offer here. Don’t plan on seeing any voluptuous vamps at the stripper bar, either: It’s all male performers built like Michael Turner characters. In fact, there’s not a lot of overtly risqué visual content here at all. The juicy stuff’s in the subtext and dialogue between Anita and the many men she runs across in her travels. The repetitive rhythm of the series—sequences consisting of threat, confrontation, weird quasi-romantic tension, and peace-making deal that leads into the next scene—gets established fairly quickly; this even applies to an exceptionally wince-inducing encounter between Anita and a giant wererat. For pulp romance lovers and Hamilton readers, this sort of book is not without its fanbase, particularly due to Booth’s mastery of slender male physiques and an original Anita story written by Hamilton for the collection. But if action scenes, meaty plots and well-rounded characters are what you need, hunt elsewhere.

Another one I'm looking to get
sometime down the line:

Hulk: Planet Hulk HC (only available in HC now, but I'm guessing they'll release the softcover version sometime down the line)

Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Price: US$39.99

One of the best storylines to come out from the Hulk series in years, this one is the prequel to the company-wide World War Hulk event at Marvel Comics. I'm not really interested in World War Hulk as of yet, even though Marvel keeps saying that the ramifications from that event would be pretty earth-shattering...and why wouldn't it be since it involves an angry, pissed-off Hulk taking on Earth's superhero population!

So yeah, I'd be looking to get this first and THEN get the World War Hulk trades when it gets released in a couple of months down the line. Here's the Wizard Universe review for Hulk: Planet Hulk:

THE BASICS The Illuminati thought they were banishing the Hulk to a peaceful planet where he could live out his days without harming anyone. They thought wrong. Instead, a wormhole opens up and drops the Hulk on a world ruled by the despicable Red King, who forces Hulk and other familiar faces to do battle in his gladiatorial arena. Not one to bear abuse for long, Hulk and his warbound allies free themselves to take the fight to the king. On a world full of monsters, has the Hulk finally found himself a home? Collecting the entire “Planet Hulk” storyline (Hulk #92-#105, Giant Size Hulk #1 and part of Amazing Fantasy [vol. 2] #15), this hardcover is one-stop shopping for the best Hulk story to come along in years.

THE EXTRAS Aside from the main “Planet Hulk” saga, Marvel’s including the Amazing Fantasy story which tells the origin of super-smart teenager Mastermind Excello, who shows up again in Giant Size Hulk when he goes toe to toe with Reed Richards over the Hukl’s fate. Expect Mastermind to be a big help to Hulk when he returns to Earth during World War Hulk.

THE HIGHLIGHTS In this epic space opera, writer Greg Pak takes a character who’s been put through every wringer imaginable and finds a new one to crank him through. By getting the Green Goliath away from Earth and putting him in a less-civilized—though intelligently detailed and thoroughly thought-out—setting, Pak allows Hulk’s savage essence to flourish. Indeed, Bruce Banner only shows up twice in the whole series. This is the Hulk’s show, baby: He smashes, bashes and slashes his way through an entire planet, reveling in his natural state and taking the fans along for the ride. But this time, rather than a menace, he’s a hero with equally outcast friends and even a love interest. From slave to rebel to king, the Hulk climbs the ladder of fame and honor and finally finds happiness, alongside the strongest supporting cast he’s had since the Peter David days—until the book’s brutal conclusion, which launches the Jade Giant back toward his homeworld.

THE LOWLIGHTS For Hulk fans, there are very few. The biggest drawback would no doubt be the sci-fi setting; though Pak has created a believable and complex society for his saga, the simple fact that the book doesn’t take place on our world may keep readers who like their Hulk stories down-to-Earth away.

THE BOTTOM LINE From great art by Aaron Lopresti, Carlo Pagulayan and Juan Santacruz to bone-crushing battles to even a little romance, Planet Hulk is a smash. By taking a chance and doing something completely outside the box, Pak has produced a Hulk story to which all others will be compared for years. And the best part? It continues right into World War Hulk, the Pak-penned mega-event to which Planet Hulk is an engrossing prologue.

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