Super Summertime, Part 2 (Mania.com)

By:Arnold T. Blumberg
Date: Saturday, May 25, 2002

Last time, we kicked off our list of some summer comics to keep an eye out for as the hot months roll on. Now here's the rest of the best:

ROUTE 666 issue one

5) SAVAGE DRAGON #100 - While Marvel and DC continue to grab most of the superhero spotlight, Erik Larsen's Image creation has been consistently providing quality entertainment for a hundred issues. The series is the only remaining original core title by an Image founder, but Larsen resists letting us in on any juicy tidbits.

"One of things that seems to appeal to folks about SAVAGE DRAGON is that it continues to surprise them," says Larsen. "That being the case, letting people in on what's coming up has always been difficult for me. SAVAGE DRAGON [#100] is a milestone, to be sure, but every issue is pretty special to me. Every month that I can bring readers my own creation is a good month as far as I'm concerned."

The '80s icons return in a spectacular new TRANSFORMERS comic book series.

6) CAPTAIN AMERICA - In the aftermath of September 11th, and with a new series launching, this star-spangled Avenger and patriotic hero may be a hot ticket in 2002.

"The nation changed after September 11. It's only natural, then, that her premiere patriot has also. You want an American hero who hits back?," says Rosemann. "Who lets his actions speak for his beliefs? Who refuses to go quietly into that good night?" John Ney Reiber of BOOKS OF MAGIC and artist John Cassaday lead Cap into battle.

You can't keep a real American hero down. Cover to the new CAPTAIN AMERICA #1.

7) ROUTE 666 - After establishing itself in the realm of fantasy adventure, CrossGen Comics is branching into horror with its latest offering. CrossGen VP Tony Panaccio gave us the scoop:

"An escaped mental patient targets seemingly random victims as she drifts across the country. She claims they are monsters, disguised as humans, covertly dwelling among us, and only she can detect them. She claims they steal souls to use for some unknown, unspeakable purpose. She must be a dangerous lunatic, right? But what if she's not?" The series debuts in June.

8) THE FILTH - Grant Morrison, who wowed fans with DOOM PATROL and THE INVISIBLES, returns with a 13-issue maxiseries, aided and abetted by penciler Chris Weston and inker Gary Erskine. This time around Morrison expects to push the boundaries yet again with a story that sends readers to some very strange locations and introduces some of the most bizarre characters in comics.

"There are those prosthetically outfitted dolphins in scuba gear, the hard-smoking chimpanzee who dresses like a guard at the Kremlin and the cryptic pronouncements that something sneaky is going on right under our very noses," says DC. Morrison claims THE FILTH "is everything I can't do in a mainstream comic like X-MEN." I guess we'll all learn what its really about when the mature-themed series debuts June 5. Just look for the series with covers by Carlos Segura, who stretches "the boundaries of what has been previously seen" according to DC.

Comic scribe Grant Morrison

9) TRANSFORMERS - They're More Than Meets the Eye and they're back courtesy of a wave of '80s nostalgia and Dreamwave, who promise a slightly more mature group of shape-shifting robots.

"TRANSFORMERS was the perfect project for us, more of a holiday than a job," says Dreamwave's Adam Fortier. "These are characters from our past, and to be able to bring them into the present is such a treat, there's nothing that can really compare. You now get to see Megatron like you always imagined - pissed off and homicidal!"

"We're thrilled with the performance of Dreamwave's TRANSFORMERS," says Diamond Vice President of Purchasing Bill Schanes, referring to the release of the first issue. "This marks the first time in five years that a non-Premier title has landed on the Top 10 list...and the first time ever that such a title has claimed the #1 position. Dreamwave has shown that with hard work, the right talent, and the right property, anyone can hit a grand slam in this industry. Comic books have always been about overcoming odds and heroic achievement, and the sales on TRANSFORMERS embody those principles. The year 2002 looks to be a very bright year for new comic book sales, as our growth within this product category is 20.22% in the first 2 months of this year compared to 2001. We wish Dreamwave the best of luck and all possible future success."

10) 100% - This new 5-issue mini from Paul Pope and DC's Vertigo imprint focuses on six characters who meet in a totalitarian New York, circa 2038.

"Three separate but interconnected stories unfold in 100%, like a six-piece jigsaw puzzle set on a unique sci-fi gameboard," according to DC Comics. Go-go dancer Daisy, former heavyweight champion Haitous, bar babe Kim, and tea kettle player Eloy are just a few of the weird folks that populate Pope's new world. The black and white series, which promises sex, sharp storytelling and more than a little suspense, debuts June 12.