Some of the reasons I keep going to a local comic store on a regular basis versus online shopping, etc. is to scratch that itch to see the new books on the same day they are released, to scan the covers and take a quick peek inside (and often be surprised by the purchase that rewards my impulse), also for the camaraderie - - to hear the fan talk and shop talk and participate as well . . and one more thing - - to get the occasional ‘free at your local comics shop” previews that publishers frequently ship out, like . . . . . . .
DECEMBER 2010 SNEAK PEEKS #1 (Marvel One-Shot, February 2011 cover date) - - and I apologize for writing about this in January. featuring short previews of . . . .
HEROES FOR HIRE #1
Only the first three pages of Issue #1 are featured but it answers a lot of questions about this book. We quickly learn that Misty Knight has set herself up as a sort of “Oracle”, communicating with a number of heroes and setting up their assignments - - here it’s The Falcon and The Black Widow and they’re recruited in the middle of the night to stop a truckload of illegal drugs. Those three pages tell me everything I need to know to decide whether or not I want to check this out further - - it gets into the action right away, features some engaging and sometimes flirtatious dialogue and seems like a fun, light-hearted book. A definite maybe for me. Fans of Abnett and Lanning will want to check this out. Art by Walker.
WHAT IF? #200
The art style and coloring in this preview reminds me of the style/format of a lot of Radical books. Guggenheim and Wilkins pose the question “What If Norman Osborn Won the Siege Of Asgard?” Instead of initially agreeing to help Osborn siege Asgard, in this version Ares rejects his offer and is instantly killed by The Sentry. With the Sentry rested from fighting a god early rather than later he would have helped Osborn win the war. I have yet to read a Marvel What If? book that I can truly say was worth my time and investment. Some like the What If books and that’s fine with me. However, I say “So What?” to this.
Then again, when the story and/or art is intriguing and piques my curiosity, these preview books achieve the desired result: the reader decides to pick up the series. I did, and based on some favorable comments on this blog site I’m also getting the HAWKEYE AND MOCKINGBIRD trade paperback. It also helps that the story in these six pages by McCann and Lopez is very cool. Foreign dignitaries are being executed at various global sites and Hawkeye and Mockingbird investigate. There’s a lot of subtle experimentation with multi-panel size, shape and placement here and shading/color washes which really hooked me as it compliments the story just right.
CHAOS WAR; X-MEN #1
As you might suspect, like a lot of X-sagas this crosses over several books including DEAD X-MEN and CHAOS WAR X-MEN both by Louise Simonson, Chris Claremont and Doug Braithwaite. Both Thunderbird and Banshee, some older X-characters that i liked, are revived for purposes unknown (at least in these three pages). The art is good and the set-up is intriguing. I’m backing off simply because I know if I return to any X-books I’m going to get buried trying to trace the back-story. They are an entity in and of themselves. My wallet says beware.
AVENGERS ACADEMY #7
I haven’t checked out this book since issue #1, which I enjoyed. Seems like the light-hearted style by Gage and Raney is continuing. I like the way the team members discuss everything and bounce it off their mentors. The Absorbing Man is the threat here. I may have to re-visit this title.
INCREDIBLE HULKS #618
By Pak and Pelletier. Isn’t Pak’s run on the Hulk books catching up to Peter David’s for longevity? There are quite a few “Hulks” here and the art is good with several big panels in these four pages. But the sparseness and content of the dialogue could make a reader easily conclude that this is just a dumb book and pass on it. I know a lot of people who love the Hulk books so there has to be more to them than what appears here. Not enough detail here to convince me to investigate. Sometimes the short preview can be too short and perhaps leave the wrong impression.
NEW AVENGERS #7
After the splash page, there are just two pages of preview here. And it’s only about some dispute/confusion over a very costly repair bill to Avengers Mansion. Cute and amusing, but doesn’t tell me very much about this book. By Bendis and Immonen.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #650
Three pages of art without dialogue or captions follow the splash page but it still tells you a lot and gives you enough detail to decide if you want to pick this up. Hobgoblin, Kingpin, The Hand and oh yeah - - Spider-Man too (although he gets beat up real good). Slott’s name on the book gets my attention. And even though I’m not a fan of Ramos’ art his work here is quite good. Maybe his style is improving. I’m just not a fan of the way he draws all bodies out of proportion and distorted (lots of Popeye arms). I do like the way the art moves the story along here.
I’m not sure previewing 8 separate titles in a single book is the best way to attract attention to titles, unless the art pulls them in. But very few readers are buying books anymore on the basis of art alone. It’s all about the story these days, thankfully. And if the preview is too short you just can’t determine if the story is worth your time.