Good Comics Out January 25

It’s a week of old favorites, as we get a new storyline beginning in Angel & Faith #6 (Dark Horse, $2.99). I found this issue, by Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs, a must-read for Whedonverse fans. There’s a substantial flashback to Rupert Giles’ first field mission as a watcher in training, and the story, while serving as a fine starting point for new readers, is dense with mythology, demons, and character history.

Usagi Yojimbo #143 cover

Also from Dark Horse this week is Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo #143 ($3.50). If you ever wanted to learn how soy sauce is made, or at least was made once upon a time, check out this issue, part one of a two-part story. Usagi stops arsonists from burning down a soy sauce maker’s warehouse, and the maker gives Usagi a tour of his process while explaining his conflicts with a business rival. (I was reminded of Moyasimon.) I learned that shoyu (soy sauce) ferments for at least two years! Unless you’re the shady guy next door taking whatever shortcuts you can and not respecting the old, proven ways of doing things, giving the story a more substantial theme than just stopping the bad guys.

The book of the week is the first collection of Mark Waid’s Daredevil, available in a Premiere Edition hardcover (Marvel, $19.99). It reprints the first six issues of the series I’ve called the best superhero comic currently running. Art is by Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin, talented both. Here’s my review of issue #4 for more information.

Also out from Marvel is a collection of the first 13 issues of Strikeforce: Morituri ($34.99). This series, about a group of cadets given superpowers to fight invading aliens while knowing the abilities will kill them in a year, was one of the first times I noticed how much difference the writer makes. Creator Peter B. Gillis wrote the first 20 issues, and I enjoyed following along with the (sometimes hysterically exaggerated) drama. Then he left, and new writer James Hudnall fell on the book like a cement anvil. So I still don’t know what happened, or if everything wrapped up satisfactorily. I suspect not, but if you can live with that eventual disappointment, these first issues are gripping and suspenseful. The certain death tradeoff is a lovely metaphor for war and what it does to soldiers.

I was looking forward to the first collection of Brenda Starr, Reporter from Hermes Press, reprinting the full run from 1940-1946, but A) it’s $60 for fewer than 300 pages and B) I read this review, that suggests that even though the strip stars a woman, its attitudes are very much of the time. However, given the historical material included:

In addition to the comic strips presented in the book, world-renowned feminist comics historian Trina Robbins has written an extensive essay placing the Brenda Starr strip in historical context. The book also features remembrances by Brenda Starr creator Dale Messick’s daughter Starr, as well as her granddaughter Laura Rohrman [and] presents historical and documentary materials as well as numerous examples of Dale Messick’s original artwork accompanied by commentary by one of Messick’s assistants, Richard Pietrzyk.

I may have to check it out just for that.

In other news, Stan Lee’s “crowning achievement“, the graphic novel Romeo and the Juliet: The War announced last August, comes out this week from 1821 Comics. The standard edition is $20, with a collector’s edition for $10 more. I neither know nor care what sets them apart.

I’m surprised by the fact that, out of the 10 comics Dynamite Entertainment is releasing this week, one actually comes in only one cover flavor. (That’s Green Hornet Annual #2 (Phil Hester Regular Cover).) Everything else has from two to six editions, including Black and White Variants and Virgin Variants. (I’m presuming that’s without any logos.) I know other publishers do it too — but not to this extent — and that there’s a market for this kind of thing, or it wouldn’t continue happening so predictably, but when I look at a list of 33 products and realize that it’s only 10 different issues, it worries me. It’s ouroboric.

Speaking of a company who loves variant covers, I think it’s kind of genius that IDW’s two current Transformers series are called “More Than Meets the Eye” (started two weeks ago) and “Robots in Disguise” (launching this week). EVERYone knows those phrases in relation to the property.


One Response to “Good Comics Out January 25”

  1. Usagi Yojimbo #144 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] the two-part story about feuding soy sauce makers, this issue provides a simple look at [...]

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