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Summer Trade Paperback Recommendations

Summer always seems to be a hot bed for the comics industry releasing trade paperbacks and this year is certainly no exception. I did my best to compile a list to the ones I feel are worth noting. Please realize though that all issue content and artwork are subject to change and shouldn’t be deemed as official. The dates also reflect online retailer likes Amazon (brick and mortar comic shops tend to get their hands on these a few weeks ahead of time). So think of this as more of a guideline.

Sledgehammer 44 Vol. 1 

Release Date: June 10

Collects Sledgehammer 44 #1-2 and Lightning War #1-3

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I’m not as well versed in the Mignolaverse as I’d like to be, but I try not to miss anything that takes place further back in its history. Mainly Lobster Johnson and any of the B.P.R.D. secret origin stories that occur in the 1940’s. This trade collects two miniseries, Sledgehammer 44 by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi and art by Jason Latour and Lightning War by the same writing team with Laurence Campbell art.

What about the story you say? I don’t know the finer details but I can tell you it involves a man in iron suit dropped into the front lines of WWII to decimate Nazis. Do you really need to know anymore? It seems like Mignola’s twist on Iron Man and I’m more than ok with that.

Black Science Vol. 1 : How To Fall Forever

Release Date: June 10

Collects Issues #1-6

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The cover of the very first issue of Black Science drew me to it. The story though, was even better. Grant McKay has invented something he calls the Pillar which allows him to travel into different dimensions. When his company and his kids unleash it and are hurled into a dangerous dimension they find out that the Pillar has been sabotaged. They can’t pick the location they travel to or control its timer which results in them constantly shifting into dangerous dimensions and poking holes through the fabric of time and space. Its old school sci-fi pulp at its finest with beautiful visuals from Matteo Scalera and an excellent story by Rick Remender.

Mega Man Vol. 7 – Blackout: The Curse of Ra Moon

Release Date: June 24

Collects Issues #29-32

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Mega Man is finally back! Volume 5 gave us the first two issues and origin of fan favorite Proto Man followed by three issues of standalone filler as the series readied itself for the large scale crossover with Sonic The Hedgehog. Another volume followed 6 months later with more filler issues. Volume 7 gets the main story back on track and picks up where we left off with Dr. Wily’s recent discovery of the ancient Ra Moon super computer which was an adaption from the Super Adventure Rockman interactive movie game from 1998. I was not familiar with this at all which makes it all the more interesting. This also means that the storyline will be rolling into Mega Man 3 territory real soon and who doesn’t want that?

Hopefully after a year sabbatical they’ll still be lots to love about this series.

Velvet Vol. 1 – Before The Living End

Release Date: July 1

Collects Issues #1-5

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In my opinion Ed Brubaker is best read in trades. He knows how to construct tightly woven detective yarns in distinct arcs. I read the first three issues of this series and was sold. It’s a 70’s espionage thriller about a personal assistant to the director of a government spy agency named Velvet Templeton. Velvet is a former field agent and gets sucked back into the life after a standard job goes horribly wrong. One of their own is killed and it looks like she is the key. Now she has to rely on the training she was taught by the agency in order to outwit her teachers. Add some beautiful art by Steve Epting and you’ve got yourself something special.

Rocket Raccoon & Groot: Steal The Galaxy!

Release Date: July 15

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This is a bit of cheat since it’s not a trade paperback, but an actual hardcover novel. Written by modern day Guardian’s architect Dan Abnett this book will feature the two title characters on an insane interstellar adventure. No doubt channeling a strong Han Solo and Chewbacca vibe. You can read an interview with Abnett about the book here. Timed for the movie release of course, I feel like this has a lot of potential. I don’t know a ton about the Guardians, but I do know that I want more of them. (Marvel has succeeded in brainwashing me). I’ll definitely be giving this book a shot.

Five Ghosts Vol. 2 – Lost Coastlines

Release Date: July 15

Collects Issues #6-12

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In this second arc of Five Ghosts, Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham uped the adventure quota another notch. Starting with issue #6 which is a standalone story bringing our hero to Japan to deal with some unresolved samurai issues from his past. This one is penciled by guest artist Garry Brown which is a pleasant change that fits the style of the book well. The issue after launches into the Lost Coastlines storyline which gives Fabian some adventures on the high seas and pirates! As well as expanding on his back story and giving us some more insight into the mystical elements he possess. This is not to be missed for fans of old school pulp and adventure.

Lazarus Vol. 2: Lift

Release Date: August 5

Collects Issues #5-9

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This is one of those series that was generating quite a buzz before I decided to pick up the first trade. Being a fan of both writer Greg Rucka’s work as well as Mike Lark’s art (especially on their Gotham Central collaboration) this was a no brainer. The premise is intriguing. In a future dystopian society the government has long since crumbled and only a few wealthy families rule all of America and everyone else is considered the working class. Each of these families are allowed to have one member act as a protector and enforcer, dubbed a Lazarus. In the Carlyle’s case this is their genetically engineered daughter, Forever. Rough and tumble and virtually unbeatable she’s been starting to question many a things about her family and her upbringing. Not to mention the political turmoil within her family and opposing families.

The biggest fault of the first volume is it was just too damn short, clocking in at just under 100 pages it really only whetted your appetite. I have no doubt that volume 2 will pick up on all those threads and run full steam ahead with it.

Hawkeye Vol. 3 – L.A. Woman

Release Date: August 26

Collects Issues #14, 16, 18, 20 and Annual #1

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So what exactly is going on here? In a way I regret only reading this series by trades. Volume 2 ended with issue #11, shortly after that the series mostly alternated issue by issue between Hawkeye protégé, Kate Bishop’s adventures out in L.A. and Clint’s in NYC. The Clint stories feature series regular artist Dave Aja while the Kate centric ones use artist Annie Wu to give those issues their own feel. All in all this is a pretty cool idea and the 3rd volume has decided to only collect the Kate issues. Fair enough, but delays in the series as whole pushed back the production of this trade and to collect the 6 issues (granted they are not sequential) it took about 13 months since volume 2 was released. Surely that means the issues needed to collect Clint’s story for Volume 4 will already be set and ready to go? While that is true I’m sure we won’t see the next trade for another 6 months after this but let’s pray it won’t be a year.

While my enthusiasm has certainly tapered off some for having to wait so long. The previous issues had me hooked pretty solidly and it’s been such a fun series overall. Not to mention one that’s great to look at with its unique color palette. I wonder though if the series is going to fold under the weight of its acclaim? It certainly can’t last forever nor do I think it was designed too. We’ll have to wait and see when Mr. Fraction inevitably calls it quits on Hawkeye.

All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners. Please click on the “About Us” tab for our takedown policy.

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About Biff Tannen

Film Noir, Pulp, Comic Books and Hitchcock.

Posted on May 29, 2014, in COMICS!, Recommendations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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