Jeff Lemire is best known for his work in indie comics, exploring time-travel romances, how families form after genetic apocalypses, and how one ghost can haunt the fears and dreams of a whole family. So when it came out he was writing an arc of Image Comics’ Hit-Girl, starring the foul-mouthed, penis-stabbing title tween, starting with issue #5 on the stands today, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. But I didn’t expect what I got.
Hit-Girl and the constellation of Kick-Ass books are inherently ridiculous. That’s sort of the whole point; juxtaposing what it would actually take emotionally and physically to beat a man senseless, even a guy who deserves it, with how cool and effortless we’re supposed to think it is. Lemire and Eduardo Risso leans hard into that idea by turning Hit-Girl into an absurd parody of everything involved, up to and including Canada. The angry tween is in the Great White North to kill a drug dealer, but, of course, it’s going to be harder than just piling up a lot of hockey enforcers.
Risso, in particular, buys into the parody angle by styling his work just like Frank Miller’s, even as Lemire torques the concept so hard it nearly snaps. Risso and Lemire can do an action scene in their sleep, so they turn them into gory parody comedy. Lemire, meanwhile, also piles on the Canada jokes, since nobody can send up a place like somebody who was born there. Is Hit-Girl ridiculous and tasteless? Indeed. But in the right hands, that can be turned for sincerely funny purposes.
James Bond: The Body #6, Dynamite
This miniseries, written by Ales Kot, is ultimately all about James Bond’s internal life. Kot’s thoughtful, sometimes emotionally brutal, take on Bond has both humanized him and unsparingly presented the sheer brutality of Bond’s work. It’s sometimes an action-filled mini, but this finale is anything but explosive. Bond and his old friend Felix meet in a pub to share information and muse about their jobs. Luca Casalanguida is allowed to slow down, and let Bond and Felix just talk, and it stands out in his art, making this the perfect finale to this can’t-miss miniseries.
Tony Stark, Iron Man #1, Marvel
Dan Slott and Valerio Schiti bring Tony Stark back as the man in the suit, told from the perspective of a guy he shellacked as a kid with a team of dancing soccer robots. Slott, a longtime Marvel writer and rabid Marvel fan, is very much about the light SF comedy in this relaunch, complete with Tony fighting a giant monster using a giant robot, his Iron Man suit, and a teeny little nano-Iron-Man. It’s not the deepest comic you’ll read this week, but it is one of the most fun.
Ether: The Copper Golems #2, Dark Horse
Matt Kindt and Dave Rubin continue their off-kilter take on fantasy, mythology, and dashing adventures of heroism. In truth, this issue sticks to the thrilling stuff, instead of the book’s emotional core, namely that its hero Boone is a more competent Don Quixote. But it’s one of the most compelling fantasy books on the stands, in an area with a lot of competition, and Rubin’s detailed, witty, and often beautiful artwork would be gorgeous just to look at on a wall, let alone on a page.
The Wild Storm #14, DC Comics
Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt have been picking up the pace on their already fast-paced reinvention of the very ’90s WildStorm comics, but this issue in particular underscores just how slick they are, with a brilliant action scene, an emotional reunion between two broken people, and a creepy revelation all perfectly paced with just the right emotional heft.
Shanghai Red #1, Image Comics: Christopher Sebela and Joshua Hixson give the classic revenge story a new setting, 19th century Portland, OR, and a new type of vigilante.
Ninja-K #8, Valiant: Christos Gage and Juan Jose Ryp continue their team-up as Ninjak fights some immortals with the help fo some magicians.
Lost City Explorers #1, Aftershock Comics: Zack Kaplan and Alvaro Sarraseca offer a twist on the idea of Atlantis; what if it wasn’t underwater, but instead built on a city we all know?
Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #1, Marvel: An evil robot is on the loose and it’s going to stop that menace… J. Jonah Jameson! Chip Zdarksy and Laura and Michael Allred cleverly explore just how a guy like Jonah alienates people, and why it comes back to bite him.
Justice League #2, DC Comics: Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez lean into the full Silver Age, robot suits, purple dialogue, and all.
This Week’s Best Collections
Space Boy Vol.1, Dark Horse ($11, Softcover): Stephen McCranie’s webcomic, about a young girl being sent back to Earth from a mining colony and leaving her best friend behind to age thirty years while she’s in a cryotube, is that rare SF story focused more on thoughtfulness and the simple human costs of mistakes than blowing stuff up.
Son Of Hitler, Image Comics ($25, Hardcover): Anthony Del Col, Jeff McComsey and Geoff Moore rewrite the history of World War II so that, well, guess who shows up to go all Oedipus on his genocidal dad in a rather hilarious take on alternate history.
Bad Machinery: The Case Of The Fire Inside, Oni Press ($13, Softcover): John Allison’s delightful webcomic is back with a fifth volume.