This Month in Four Colors - July 2002 -

Comic Book Monthly Preview Feature

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This Month in Four Colors - July 2002

Our new monthly round-up of comics debuts!

By Tony Whitt     July 13, 2002

YTHE LAST MAN penned by Brian K. Vaughan
© 2002 Vertigo
We're proud to kick off our new monthly column in the comics section, a no-holds-barred round-up covering all the titles you should be reading and perhaps a few that you shouldn't. It's all compiled by stalwart correspondent Tony Whitt, so take it away, Tony!

So far it's been a relatively quiet July in comics: no major crossovers to speak of (apart from the seemingly interminable "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" crossover in the BATMAN books); very few major events to speak of (unless you count the return of Alan Moore's LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN and Stan Lee's redux of DC's CRISIS, I guess); and after the glut of retro comics in the last few months, no new retro titles to speak of (not counting the new BATTLE OF THE PLANETS comics from Image, naturally). Oh, well, at least we're not being subjected to the typical multi-part summer epic from DC. Oops. I did say relatively quiet, didn't I? Here's a rundown of what you'll want to be looking out for (both in anticipation and in dread) for the remainder of this month.

The week of July 15:

Imagine if you will a superhero team that was wildly popular in the 1980s, a team that was once considered the Beatles of the superhero world. (Didn't the Beatles have their own comic once, though?) Imagine that same team twenty years later in a darker, less innocent world. Actually, you don't have to, as Joe Casey and Ashley Wood have already done so in AUTOMATIC KAFKA, the first title of Wildstorm's new "Eye of the Storm" mature-readers label. (Nice to know all the comic book companies finally think we're "mature," isn't it?) The first issue arrives July 17.


And speaking of mature-reader imprints, Vertigo is debuting Y-THE LAST MAN #1 on July 17th, a series following the adventures of the last male survivor of a catastrophe killing every other man on Earth - leaving him alone with all the surviving women. Can't imagine why this one needs to be published by a mature-readers imprint... The series is written by Brian K. Vaughan, who's also busy this month at that other company's mature-reader imprint, MAX, with his series THE HOOD, #3 of which also arrives July 17. Somehow, though, Y sounds like more fun, doesn't it?

Devin Grayson makes her debut writing Dick Grayson - one suspects nepotism here - onNIGHTWING #71, arriving July 17. The good news is, she won't have to write any more of the "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" madness in this book. The bad news is, she's just come off writing several issues' worth in GOTHAM KNIGHTS. Oh, well, can't win 'em all.

Giving us a lesson in how short a crossover should be, the SUPERMAN titles this month feature the storyline SUPERMAN: "Return to Krypton II" (Electric Boogaloo?). Kal-El visits his home planet (yet again) in SUPERMAN #184 (available now), ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #606 (available this week), SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL #128, and ACTION COMICS #793 (both available next week). Honestly, you'd think the place had never blown up considering how often that boy goes home to visit the kinfolk.

Cover art to the first issue of the four-part ELEKTRA: GLIMPSE AND ECHO mini-series

I've personally never seen the appeal of Elektra, but she's back in yet another miniseries this week, ELEKTRA: GLIMPSE & ECHO #1 of 4, written and drawn by Scott Morse. The artwork alone makes this one worth a peek. Meanwhile, Elektra's beloved DAREDEVIL teams up with Spidey in issue #35, written by Brian Michael Bendis and arriving July 17. Given what happened between these two the last time Bendis had them meet in ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN SUPER SPECIAL #1, this should be interesting. And speaking of Spidey, the only Spidey miniseries out there worth reading continues this week with SPIDER-MAN: BLUE #3, also arriving July 17th.

Double vision, you say? You just bought ALIAS last week and saw it reviewed here at CINESCAPE this week, and you swore you saw it again? You're not going crazy (yet): ALIAS #12 arrives July 17, close on the heels of #11 from last week. It's twice the Bendis, twice the fun!

Image from AGENT X

Even though Image has decided to call their latest retro series BATTLE OF THE PLANETS, arriving July 17, they'll always be SCIENCE TEAM GATCHAMAN to me. Despite taking its title from the most bastardized version of the old anime series, this comic book looks promising, especially with Alex Ross in charge of the covers and layouts. If nothing else, it's bound to look good.

Oh, yeah...the Stan Lee revamp of the DC Universe ends this week with JUST IMAGINE STAN LEE WITH JOHN CASSADAY CREATING CRISIS, a 48-page Prestige format book arriving July 17. If you've suffered the roller-coaster ride that has been JUST IMAGINE this long, you might as well come along for the final plunge.

The week of July 22:

The best news all summer! BATMAN #605, a 48-page extra-large issue arriving July 24, brings the seemingly interminable "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" storyline to a conclusion by revealing the murderer of Vesper Fairchild. If they really want to shock us, they should make the killer Bat-Mite. He's got to be useful for something.

Former dead Batman Family member Catwoman gets serious exposure in CATWOMAN: SELINA'S BIG SCORE, a 96-page hardcover arriving July 31 and featuring artwork by Mike Allred, Jaime Hernandez, Mike Mignola. The main story is written and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke. Woohoo!

Even more good news: THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN Volume II #1 debuts July 24. Alan Moore's Victorian superhero team takes on a certain group of extraterrestrial invaders in this long-awaited sequel. Will the League save our blessed globe? Will Mina and Quatermain tie the knot? Will this sequel be as big a hit as the first series? Oh, probably.


And even more good news: GREEN ARROW #15, arriving July 24, marks the last issue that self-proclaimed Comic King Kevin Smith will be scripting. No, really, that's good news. And even if you're upset by it, he's doing scripting chores for Marvel on SPIDER-MAN/BLACK CAT: THE EVIL THAT MEN DO #2, arriving July 31. Honestly, is there anyone who's not writing a Spider-Man miniseries this summer?

Also at Marvel, the tremendous series THE ULTIMATES continues with #7, arriving July 31. This issue sees the team taking on new members, such as Hawkeye, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, and the Black Widow. Remember: this is new for them. Let's hope this line-up does better in the Ultimates Universe than they did in ours, though...


Three of Marvel's X-Titles get revised this month, as Cable returns two years (and only one week) after the events of CABLE #107 in SOLDIER X #1, arriving July 24. Deadpool gets remade into AGENT X starting July 31, presumably based on the belief that if it has an "X" in the title, it's crap. And finally, the briefly-lamented X-Force makes a triumphant return as X-STATIX, with a 40-page first issue arriving July 31, written by Peter Milligan and drawn by Mike Allred. Who else?

MAX continues their output this week with BLADE#5 and CAGE #5, both appearing on July 31, but will they outsell the new APACHE SKIES #1, a series set in the Wild West and written by John Ostrander? My money's on the vampire hunter and the homeboy.

And finally, the bad news for this week: JLA #68, arriving July 31, is an "Obsidian Age" prologue, kicking off a six-part biweekly storyline. Sigh. I knew the quiet couldn't last...

Oh, yes...PARADISE X #4 is out July 31 from Marvel, if anyone still gives a rip.

This Month in Four Colors is our monthly Comics column.


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