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This Month's Issue // present The 2012 FCBD Preview Guide
Thursday, May 3, 2012

Valiant 2012

Publisher: Valiant
Reviewed by: Jonny Botsch

Synopsis: This is a collection of samples from upcoming Valiant relaunch: XO Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot, as well as interviews with four of the creators of these books.

Review: Valiant coming back is cool. To see their titles updated like this is even more cool, but the samples we're given are so short, it was almost pointless to read! I suppose the point was to whet your appetite for more and while it certainly does that, the creator interviews were far more interesting. The samples gave you an idea of the high caliber of the artwork. The interviews made you feel like these titles were in safe hands. Not much of a comic, more a neat promotional flyer worth checking out.

Mouse Guard, Labyrinth and Other Stories

Publisher: Archaia
Reviewed by: Joe Mossman

Synopsis: Archaia offers up a hardcover anthology of appetizers, short stories from the worlds of David Petersen’s Mouse Guard and Jim Henson’s classic Labyrinth universe, among others.

Review: A nice little collection of stories, the strongest of which has to be Royden Lepp’s Rust, followed closely by Cow Boy. Not too sure about Dapper Men, very surreal, almost too much so. Though its strangeness might be more a result of the short format. Some warm-fuzzy childhood memories came flooding back with the Labyrinth story. Great to see those characters again, particularly the Worm. Solid writing across the board, though the art tends to vary (wasn’t sold on Pirate Girl’s b&w, cluttered look).

Voltron Force
Publisher: Viz Media
Reviewed by: Jonny Botsch

Synopsis: The premise for the cartoon this ties into, is that Voltron has disappeared years ago and has now returned with a cast of kids who pilot the robotic lions. The FCBD book has them training in space against mock-ups of their past foes and teases us with the next big threat they'll be facing.

Review: This book is in digest format and is a full story. Unfortunately, it's a perfect companion to the current animated series, which is disappointing when compared to other new shows like Transformers Prime or Young Justice. This book reads like a Disney Adventures insert and is best left to kids.

Avengers: Age of Ultron #0.1

Publisher: Marvel Ent.
Reviewed by: Jonny Botsch

Synopsis: Sent on a mission for S.W.O.R.D. (it's like S.H.I.E.L.D. but for space), Spider-Woman goes missing, and now it's up to The Avengers to find her. Cap assembles Iron Man, Wolvie, Beast, Moon Knight and a bunch of others to track her down and when they do, they find Ultron!

Review: There wasn't much mystery to the book since Ultron's name was in the title, but it was still a lot of fun. You go to events like FCBD to pick up free Bendis comics! Free Bryan Hitch artwork! Great dialogue, good artwork, big fights and an accessible jumping on point for new readers, and a cool teaser for current readers looking ahead! Possibly a pitch perfect offering for FCBD!

The Transformers #80.5

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Reviewed by: Jordan C.

Synopsis: An issue that picks up after #80…which was released in 1991!

Review: Quintessential Transformers comics writer Simon Furman has been penning “more than meets the eye” stories for every publisher that manages to get their grubby little mits on the Transformers license (that includes Marvel, Dreamwave, and current home IDW) but G1 continuity is his baby. Want to know what happens after the repopulation of Cybertron? Want a briefing on what led to it being depopulated? Well, #80.5 doesn’t have a ton of new story but it is a good catch-up and set-up.

Green Lantern / Young Justice Super Sampler

Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewed by: Jonny Botsch

Synopsis: This book showcases comic spin-offs of DC's two current hit animated shows. The flip side of the book contains a Superman Family Adventures story.

Review: The best of these three is GL, simply for having a complete story and a really odd choice of retro villain. The Superman side is cute like an Archie comic, complete with lame jokes. Young Justice is the only incomplete "teaser" comic and it falls short on generating any real interest.

The New 52

Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewed by: Jonny Botsch

Synopsis: A sampler to peak readers’ curiosity as to where DC is going in 2012. Featuring snippets of G.I. Combat, Dial H, Earth 2, Batman Incorporated, World's Finest, Ravagers and a look at next year's big event, Trinity War.

Review: Sadly, what this book does not do is satisfy curiosity. There's a lot of talent in the book as listed on the cover: Jim Lee, Gene Ha, Kenneth Rocafort, Ivan Reis, Geoff Johns, and more, but with only a page or two for most of the titles, there's hardly enough material to form any kind of opinion.

Star Wars / Serenity

Publisher: Dark Horse
Reviewed by: Jordan C.

Synopsis: A split Star Wars and Serenity comic with a two-page Alabaster chunk of story in the middle.

Review: I hate to say it, but it feels like Dark Horse would have loved for Joss Whedon to write a Serenity story to capitalise off The Avengers buzz, but buzz also means being busy, so they got the next best thing, his brother Zack. Not only does Zack write the Serenity story here (which he has done on more than one occasion), but he also writes the Star Wars tale. The best part of both is that they focus on their oddly similar “rough around the edges” captains and their attachment to their respective ships. He even has Han and Mal utter a couple of the same lines of dialogue to make the point. The better of the two is the Serenity half simply because it is drawn by Fabio Moon. Not that Davide Fabbri doesn't do a good job on the Star Wars portion (he does), but Moon is the straight goods.

Bongo Comics Free For All

Publisher: Bongo Comics
Reviewed by: Jonny Botsch

Synopsis: This is a Simpsons flipbook with Spongebob on the other side, and a Sergio Argones quickie thrown in between.

Review: Fans of Sergio Argones will likely consider this book a must-have based solely on his contribution, but strangely enough the Spongebob Squarepants story was the most entertaining. The Simpsons comic was about as funny as a recent episode and the best part of this entire comic has to be The Simpsons cover that features the Comic Guy dressed in over twenty classic cosplay outfits. At least one of them will make you smile!


Publisher: Archie Comics
Reviewed by: Jonny Botsch

Synopsis: The basic origin story of Megaman, pretty self-contained.

Review: This is a kiddy book for sure, but the artwork is pretty tight and clean for an Archie Comics title. Expectations should be kept low, but it's surprising how entertaining this book is.

Buffy / The Guild

Publisher: Dark Horse
Reviewed by: Jonny Botsch

Synopsis: One side is a Buffy story and the other is The Guild.

Review: I had to look very hard to see the positive in this book. The Buffy comic was just straight bizarre; she’s in space and fighting an Alien. I capitalized the "a" because, yes, I meant that very specific alien from that franchise that has nothing in common with Buffy. I don't know whether it was supposed to be funny or if you really need to be reading Buffy currently to understand what was going on, but I was lost. Now, The Guild may appeal to RPG fans and WOW players, but for everyone else, it isn't going to fly. So, where is the gold, you ask? In the very centre of the book is a one-page write-up by DMZ writer Brian Wood giving us a written description of his new series The Massive, which sounds very cool.

Witchblade: Unbalanced Pieces

Publisher: Top Cow
Reviewed by: Jordan C.

Synopsis: The Top Cow Universe is being rebooted (a la The New 52) under the umbrella Top Cow Rebirth and this is your jumping on point.

Review: Top Cow is built on popular characters The Darkness and Witchblade, but their luster has dulled considerably in the last half decade. So, a refreshing of this continuity that had become quite convoluted (13 Artifacts anyone?) and redundant seems like a good idea. Problem is, if this FCBD offering is any indication, they don’t have a new look for the characters or much change in the way of the overall storyline.

Asylum Press Sampler

Publisher: Asylum Press
Reviewed by: Jordan C.

Synopsis: Indie publisher gives us a taste of four of their horror titles: Trench Coats, Cigarettes & Shotguns, Farmhouse, Chopper, and Black Powder.

Review: I’m not hugely into horror comics. Basically, my interest and knowledge starts and ends with Robert Kirkman, Steve Niles, Bernie Wrightson, and Ben Templesmith. But we wanted to include a horror comic here to balance out the kiddy fare. Out of the selections we’re given, Farmhouse and Chopper seem to hold the most promise. Farmhouse is about a mental asylum with an old farmhouse repurposed as an art studio. Sounds innocent enough but you can tell within a couple pages that shit is going to hit the fan. In Chopper we follow a couple young girls to a biker bar for a metal concert and we are introduced to a new drug called Stairway To Heaven. However, we don’t get to see what the drug does or how it will bring the horror on. Fans of the macabre should definitely take note of Asylum Press.

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