Pipeline: Pipeline Previews for March 2005

Fri, December 31st, 2004 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

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MARCH IS ALMOST HERE, ROUGHLY SPEAKING

This is a short version of Pipeline Previews this month. It's a holiday week, and I don't want to be working. And, judging from historical hit data, you don't want to be reading, either. I'd pretend that doesn't hurt, but I can't lie to you. You're far too nice.

Instead, I'll be presenting fourteen interesting trades and hardcovers for March 2005.

As always, though, I encourage you to form your own opinions by picking up the latest PREVIEWS catalog, and sharing your finds with the rest of the Pipeline Message Board people. They're good people, and they don't bite.

These are presented in no particular order.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, Volume 2 (Marvel, $29.99) collects issues #12-22 of the current series, along with issue #0 and the 1999 Annual. You get both the three-parter done by Jerry Ordway and plenty more of the Busiek/Perez greatness that guided the era. As a bonus, those extra issues included have art from Stuart Immonen and Leonardo Manco.

FANTASTIC FOUR VISIONARIES Volume 4 (Marvel, $24.99) collects issues #258-267, plus ALPHA FLIGHT #4 and THING #10. Byrne was doing a bit of everything in those days. I'm amazed that this series has made it this far. After the initial reluctance to publish the second volume, though, Marvel's done a great job in carrying through.

MADROX: MULTIPLE CHOICES (Marvel, $13.99) is a book that, sadly, people want to dismiss as "another X-Men title." I've made the argument in the past that the problem with the mutant universe is that there aren't enough titles. With the hundreds of characters they have available to them, Marvel could publish its entire line from this corner of its fictional universe and have a very diverse set of superhero titles. That's exactly what Peter David and Pablo Raimondi contribute to in this volume. It's Mutant Noir. It works as a story on its own, and not just a mutant comic book.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE DELUXE EDITION HC (DC, $19.99) brings Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli's classic four parter into the spotlight again, just in time for the next Batman movie. It's not due out until April 6, so this is a bit of an advanced solicitation. Lots of extra goodies are promised for the book.

STARMAN: SONS OF THE FATHER (DC, $14.99) finally finishes collecting James Robinson's legendary 1990s series. Now, if only I had finished reading it. Someday, I need to go back to that long box and read through it all again, so I can finish up the last year or two. STARMAN was a highlight of writing at a time when comics were still more interested in art. Tony Harris' work early in the series stands up as the series' best stuff.

FLIGHT, Volume 2 (Image, $24.95) is the next wave of creators taking their shot at creating short stories accessible to all. The first volume is one of the prettiest books of the past year, loved by critics and readers alike. (I'm falling into Press Release writer mode here again, aren't I?) I can't wait to see what they pull off this year. The creator lineup includes Becky Cloonan, Doug TenNapel, Michel Gagne, and Jeff Smith.

NEGATIVE BURN, Winter 2005 (Image, $9.95) is the return of Caliber's praise worthy anthology series of the 1990s. Now quarterly through Image, this first issue includes work from Erik Larsen, Evan Dorkin, B. Clay Moore, Steve Lieber, Kurt Busiek, and Ron Marz, amongst many many others. It's 96 black and white pages.

WANTED (Image/Top Cow, $29.99) has all six issues collected into one fat hardcover for March. These 192 pages also include the DOSSIER book that filled in one of the monthly gaps in the series' production from Millar and Jones. Keep your fingers crossed that the printing doesn't come out too dark on this one.

PROCESS RECESS (Adhouse Books, $25) is a hardcover art book collecting the works of DC cover artist James Jean. Jean is one of the best cover artists working in comics today, so this book is worth a hard look. The book compiles a lot beyond just his cover work, too.

FILLER (AiT/PlanetLar, $12.95) is the new graphic novel from the TEENAGERS FROM MARS boys, Rick Spears and Rob G. This time, they're doing a crime book of some sort. I think. The solicitation text is a little murky on this one. But I'll give them a shot. It's 96 pages with partial color. The ad for the book indicates some spotted reds. I'm sure that'll help cover the blood.

SEAMONSTERS & SUPERHEROES (Slave Labor Graphics, $14.95) collects the eight issues of Scott Mill's crazy series in one nice package. I'm not sure I could describe this series if I wanted to. It started out as a strangely cute anthology series starring the oddest of all combinations (see the title for that combo) and became so much more by the end.

THE X-FILES, Volume 1 (Checker Book, $19.95) gets the "Straight Out Of Left Field" award for the month. The X-Ffiles TV show has been off the air for a couple of years now, and the bad taste left in most people's mouths from the final seasons are finally starting to fade away. Maybe that is why this timing doesn't stink? In any case, Checker is continuing the compilations where Topps left off. Stefan Petrucha is still writing, Charles Adlard is still drawing. The 200 pages are in full color.

SHADES OF BLUE (Devil's Due, $10.95) is a natural fit for Devil's Due's new line of all ages titles in the manga printing format. Every month, they're adding a new title that works perfectly for them. BLUE is a fun series that's been lost for far too long now. The first five issues are reprinted here, along with a new eight page origin story.

QUEEN & COUNTRY, Volume 7 (Oni, $30 HC, $15 TPB) is one book I can't just skip over. It's 144 pages, and art credits are to both Steve Rolsten and Mike Norton, so it looks like my previous prediction that it would include issues #25-28 are coming true. That leads you right up to the novel, or so I'm told.

Various and Sundry returns on Tuesday with reviews of something as yet undetermined. Exciting, isn't it?

The VandS DVD Podcast started up this week. Just add this URL to your podcasting program to subscribe, or click through here for the show notes, a direct link to the MP3, and more.

Over at Various and Sundry this week: A Super Jeopardy! Tournament brings KenJen back to us in 2005. Guinness and Poker is the most thorough (and exhausting) poker blog I've ever seen. The phone booth returns, as does Maniac Mansion. If you're looking for new drums for Donkey Konga, I'd stick with the Nintendo drums, and not the Pelican ones. And, new WHOSE LINE episodes are coming in January.

VandS Politics is, as one might expect, the political blog spin-off from the politics-free Various and Sundry blog. Visit at your own risk.

You can e-mail me your comments on this column, or post them for all the world to see and respond to over on the Pipeline Message Board.

More than 500 columns are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically. The first 100 columns or so are also still available at the Original Pipeline page.

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