The Comics You Should Be Reading This Week: ‘Batman’ #15 and ‘To Hell You Ride’ #1

12.13.12 5 years ago 12 Comments

Let’s start with Batman #15. To discuss it in detail is to spoil it, but essentially, Scott Snyder continues to write some of the best comics on the stands. His run has been unimpeachably great, and as we learn more about his take on the Joker, the more and more disturbing it gets. Buy it.

And while you’re at the FLCS, pick up To Hell You Ride.

Honestly, you hear Lance Henriksen, the respected character actor, is co-writing a comic book and you think “publicity stunt.”

It’s not. Henriksen and his co-writer Joseph Maddrey, largely a documentarian, have crafted a good old fashioned horror story about a small, depressed former mining town with a profoundly ugly past when it comes to mistreating the Native American population. Unfortunately, that means that an ancient tradition has been interrupted, and things are about to go really, horribly wrong.

First and foremost, it’s centered around character: The first issue has gore aplenty, but we spend a lot of time with Seven George, known to the locals as Two-Dogs, who has a huge chip on his shoulder and for excellent reason. He’s a surly alcoholic angry at the world, and an engagingly written character: sympathetic without being a punching bag.

This is helped immensely by the presence of Tom Mandrake. Mandrake has worked at DC for years, but his talents are best suited to horror. As a result, it sometimes feels like DC never has a book that lets him shine, with the possible exception of a sixty-issue run on The Spectre back in the ’90s that’s never seen a proper re-release.

Here, his distinct style adds layers of mood and atmosphere. Not to mention black comedy, like this exploding chicken:

Nobody does dissolving bodies quite like Mandrake, either; he’s often bloodless, yet really gross, and it’s perfect for the tone this book is trying to strike.

In short, To Hell You Ride is so far everything you want in a horror book: character-based writing that’s not afraid to be funny and dark in equal measure, great art, and exploding avians. Pick it up: It starts strong and we suspect it’ll only be better from here.

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