New 52 Future’s End
Every DC reader will be looking to pick up a copy of the prequel to this summer’s big event. In Batman Beyond’s future the world is over run Borg-style by OMAC drones who are assimilating everyone. So Bruce sends Terry back into the past to assassinate the one man who starts it all. Of course he won’t be able to share his plans with Batman or Superman when he gets there since neither will support an execution. The book has scads of cameos and nice art.
Whether you love the original comics or the animated series or if you forced yourself to watch the entire live action TV series (bless your heart), you’ll get a kick out of New England Comics Press’ fourth FCBD Tick comic. It’s everything you love about the big boy in blue and it’s a real treat being a self contained, one hundred percent original story for comic’s best day of the year. Spoon!
Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck
Fantagraphics has been reprinting the Disney comics for a while now and this Don Rosa reprint of two Disney Classics is a wonderful starter for your children or just a fun read for yourself. There are two comics herein, the first being a real treat where Magica De Spell hexes Scrooge and Donald by changing their personal gravity so that she can steal Scrooge’s lucky Dime. This is a super creative story and sheer pleasure to read as frame orientation twists and turns page after page from normal perspective (with our ducks stuck to the wall) and then from their perspective in a sideways world. There’s a second story that is also fun but for a real treat, Disney/Rosa fans can read the behind the scenes text written by Rosa himself about how he came up with both stories.
Paper Cutz prints two separate issues for this year’s FCBD. The first being the first introductory issue to their new Power Rangers series. Everything about this self contained story is what you’d expect if you’re a fan of the TV show. The book starts with character profiles of each of our favorite nineties team to give new comers and young readers an idea of who the White Ranger is and his history before getting into a classic Lord Zedd story.
Action Lab makes the best use out of their FCBD book by showcasing three different series and promoting their back catalog all at once. Zombie Tramp is pure cheesecake and a violent little story about a zombie with massive breasts who can make herself look pretty for short periods of time using magic. Ehmm Theory is the kind of non-sensical, genre bending, third wall breaking, midget zombie clown villain book that is targeting Tweens who love their Dr. Who and the final few pages preview Dryspell; the most serious of the three offerings which appears to be a supernatural noir story.
Fubar Press offer two seemingly original an complete stories in this black and white anthology format book. Both read like Black Hawk Down meets Dawn of the Dead with little more information in the book as to whether this is a sample of more to come, a reprint of past material or a one shot to promote an anthology of zombie war stories. the first story the Ace of Spades is written by comic veteran Chuck Dixon and the back up story the Zero Dead Thirty is written by Chad Lambert.
Another IDW title, V-Wars is a horror book about the conflict between humanity and vampires once a viral outbreak starts to turn us into bloodsuckers. The first half of the book is a comic, the second half is a series of top secret dossiers and on the final page is an ad for the prose novel which looks like a World War Z style journalistic account of the world wide crisis also written by Jonathan Mayberry, author of the comic as well. This FCBD book also features a cover by TMNT creator Kevin Eastman.
Ted Naifeh’s book could have been put in the “for kids” section an the temptation to put it there was great. There aren’t enough comics that could appeal to children that don’t talk down to them these days. The problem is that Courtney Crumrin appeals to adults as well. It’s a story about a little girl whose family moves into her Uncle’s old creepy house and she starts to learn about the world of monsters and magic all around her while she goes to school and tries to make new friends. This book is actually just a reprint of the first issue now long out of print, but it’s a perfect trial run for a new reader. I you enjoy it, there are four or five beautiful hardcover volumes currently in print and priced quite reasonably. So if your kids like the Harry Potter books or if you like Hellboy and Mike Mignola and wish you could share something with your kids a little more family friendly than the Seed of Destruction and set them on the right path, try Crumrin. The price is right.
If you’re sick of the new 52 or tired of trying to jump into 50 years of Marvel continuity or simply don’t care much for the standard superhero fare that most mainstream comics provide, but you’d still like to dip your toes into a cohesive universe of books? Look no further! Since Valiant’s relaunch a couple years ago they have been delivering top talent books with interesting concepts and this sampler of their upcoming stories is a great place to test the waters. There’s a sample of their upcoming Armor Hunters crossover event as well as a quick look at one of their flagship titles XO-Manowar and a sneak peek at their upcoming Rai series with art by Clayton Crain. They also include an interview with XO writer and Green Lantern scribe Robert Venditti and a couple cool pinups. Valiant is so dedicated to FCBD they even released two books this May for the event, the second being a full on sourcebook for fans of the series new and old to give you a run down of the who’s who in the VU. These books are hidden gems because although every Valiant reader is a happy reader, there aren’t as many as there should be.