Comics Of Note, January 15th

Today is a pretty busy day in comics; a classic finally returns in reprints, and a whole host of great comics are hitting the stands. Here’s a look at some of the most notable books this week.

<!–pagetitle:Miracleman #1–>

Yes, it’s back. Miracleman, one of Alan Moore’s early books, has finally had the rights settled and reprints are now being issued. This first issue contains the full first issue, a reprint of the old, very Captain Marvel-esque original, interviews and a lot more. Amusingly, the book doesn’t mention Alan Moore by name: He’s called “The Original Writer.” Either way, though, it’s some interesting stuff and finally available: Highly recommended, especially for the curious.

<!–pagetitle:Night Of The Living Deadpool #1–>

Deadpool? In a zombie apocalypse? Where he’s not a zombie? Well, so much for what’s left of the human race.

Joking aside, Cullen Bunn and Ramon Rosanas actually deliver a smart twist on the zombie book not least because the zombies can still talk and they really don’t want to be eating people. Which is undenaibly pretty dark, but fortunately Deadpool’s natural levity keeps this book from being a brutal downer. Worth picking up for Deadpool fans.

<!–pagetitle:Disney Kingdoms: Seekers Of The Weird #1–>

Brandon Seifert of Witch Doctor fame gets cut loose on Disney’s theme park attractions, and the results are a bit, well, a bit like Witch Doctor, albeit a lot more lighthearted and teen oriented. Still, it’s a romp of a book and a lot of fun, and Karl Moline and Rick Maygar have a lot of fun working Disney gags into the book without making it blatant. Definitely worth a look, Disney fan or no.

<!–pagetitle:Revolutionary War: Dark Angel #1–>

Kieron Gillen’s reboot of Marvel UK’s heroes continues with a rather witty riff on the idea of debt. Dark Angel’s father put her in hock so he could live like a king… and she has to spend the rest of her life cleaning up after Mephisto. It’s a straightforward superhero book in some respects, but the wit and the strong characterization make it something special. Recommended.

<!–pagetitle:Superior Spider-Man: Inhumanity–>

I will highly recommend Christos Gage and Stephanie Hans’ one-shot based just on the opening, with Otto snarking the clear idiocy of putting a floating city over New York. But it ends with Otto getting a hard dose of humility that makes him more interesting, as a character. Highly recommended.

<!–pagetitle:Skyman #1–>

Spinning off of Captain Midnight, this superhero book is oddly conventional in terms of action and yet oddly pushing the envelope in other ways. Most books with a Black superhero wouldn’t put race front and center and they certainly wouldn’t discuss race as a method of public relations. And yet, that’s the entire theme of this opening issue, courtesy of Joshua Hale Fialkov. The inks are a bit much, but overall, an interesting book with a twist.

<!–pagetitle:Black Dynamite #1–>

The movie and the cartoon would seem to be a hard act to follow, but Brian Ash’s script delivers the hilarious goods while also riffing on ’70s comics and their blaxploitation tropes. That said, Ron Wimberley’s pencils are a little too cartoony to withstand the mighty inking of Sal Buscema, but that’s a minor flaw in a hilarious book. Here’s a preview to see just how it’s translated.

<!–pagetitle:Curse #1–>

Michael Moreci and Riley Rossmo ask what you’d do if you had a son dying of cancer… and may have just found the cure in the form of an extremely pissed off werewolf. This opening issue is more setup than anything else, but it’s energetic, fast-paced, and gory enough to hold your attention and to have a lot of promise. Highly recommended.

<!–pagetitle:Gateway #1–>

What happens when you die? It’s an eternal question, in comic books as everywhere else, but Gateway has a rather novel answer; you go to a surprisingly conventional city, to find it’s the same old crap. Joe Halpin’s script is interesting in how dedicated it is to making the afterlife mundane and yet not, but Juanfrancisco Moyano’s art is a bit rushed; one feels that he should either pencil or ink and let someone else handle the rest. Still, it’s an interesting book for fans of offbeat procedurals. Here’s a preview to get a sense of the book.

<!–pagetitle:EGOs #1–>

As you might guess from the title, EGOs, as a book, is a bit of a cross between a Legion Of Super Heroes type book and a musing on, well, ego. The snide commentary laced throughout the book is pretty amusing, albeit there are points where it can be a bit overwritten. Still, Stuart Moore and Gus Storms are onto something, here, and if you like stories of future superheroes, this is worth picking up.

<!–pagetitle:The X-Files: Conspiracy #1–>

IDW now has the X-Files license, and by God, there will be crossovers. This kicks it off with an actually fairly lighthearted take on horrible viral death, with the Lone Gunmen serving as our guides. It’s full of little nods to the other franchises it’ll cross over with, although you do wonder how a Transformers/X-Files crossover will work. It’s fun for fans especially, and we’ll be interested to see how it pays off.

<!–pagetitle:Darth Vader And The Cry of Shadows #2–>

Tim Siedell and Gabriel Guzmann deliver a tight, fascinating look at a clone trooper who decides to go his own way, and winds up being the right hand man of one Darth Vader. Despite Vader’s name being in the title, our protagonist is Hock, and this story is better for it. Well worth picking up for Star Wars fans.

<!–pagetitle:Red Rover Charlie #2–>

From this second issue of dogs stuck in the rage-virus apocalypse, we’ve learned two things: One, Garth Ennis and Michael Dipascale can make a compelling, disturbing story out of a seemingly cutesy idea, and two, they hate cats. Not an easy read, but a well-done one and highly recommended.

<!–pagetitle:Velvet #3–>

Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting continue to deliver a truly great espionage comic. It works not least because Brubaker really thinks out what would be involved in someone like Velvet actually going off the map, and it makes for some compelling reading. Highly recommended.

<!–pagetitle:Clown Fatale #3–>

I had a whole review of this, and then I realized that in this case, you really can judge a book by its cover. Take that as you will.

<!–pagetitle:Unity #3–>

Yeah, putting a whole bunch of angry people under the ocean in a fight to the death, that always ends well. Matt Kindt is bringing this a bit closer to his wheelhouse, with high-end espionage anchored by a strong character presence in the form of Livewire, and Doug Braithwaite does a superb job with the action here. Valiant has sent along a preview to see for yourself, but this comes recommended.

<!–pagetitle:S.H.O.O.T. First #4–>

Justin Aclin and Nicolás Daniel Selma wrap up their entertaining riff on superteams and secularism with a demon and an angel going into a full-on assault against our rationalist heroes. It’s a clever bit of world building and it builds to an entertaining payoff: Hopefully this isn’t the last we’ve heard of S.H.O.O.T., especially with the seeds laid for a sequel in the last few pages.

<!–pagetitle:Kiss Me, Satan #5–>

This somewhat conventional book comes to an entertainingly messy conclusion, largely thanks to Juan Ferreyra’s gleeful depictions of demon-on-werewolf violence. While the final pages are a bit unsatisfying, overall this mini ends on a high note.

<!–pagetitle:The Strain: The Fall #7–>

David Lapham feels a bit constrained by playing in someone else’s sandbox, and similarly, this book feels a bit drawn out. Still, it’ll be curious to see how this crosses over with the upcoming TV series. Worth it for the curious.

<!–pagetitle:Astro City #8–>

Winged Victory’s first arc continues, and it’s a pretty fascinating and relevant work that lingers on both feminism in a world of superheroics, and what it means to be a champion. A superb entry in a great series, and it’s also got a funny riff on superhero fights, as our preview hinted at. Highly recommended.

<!–pagetitle:X #9–>

What if there was a criminal who wanted X to bump him off? Would X do it? And if not… why not? That’s the plot of this new arc in Duane Swierczynski and Eric Nguyen’s gory nineties throwback. It’s an interesting idea that doesn’t quite work, partially because Deathwish, our protagonist, is pretty much defined entirely by his name. But it’s a little more thoughtful than this book started out as, and that’s always welcome.

<!–pagetitle:Archer And Armstrong #17–>

It’s impossible not to love a comic that essentially centers around an immortal beating up stoners, midgets, and Blue Man Group refugees in the bottom of an ancient Egyptian pyramid. Also, there are mullets. If you’re not convinced, have a preview!

<!–pagetitle:Harbinger #20–>

Harbinger kicks off a new arc with… a snotty teenage hacker. But it’s better than it sounds, especially since the arc also starts with Toyo Harada deciding he’s the ruler of the world, screw all y’all. Harbinger is easily one of the best books Valiant publishes, and this is a perfect time to get on board; here’s a preview to know what to expect.

There’s no better place to be than good old Gotham City. Especially if you’re Barbara Gordon, and your brother is a nice guy, your mom and dad are still together, and… waitaminute. Yes, something is very, very wrong in Gotham, and Gail Simone’s riff on Gothtopia is deeply, deeply clever about how Batgirl handles her mind being messed with. Robert Gill’s art is also a particularly good riff on the theme; it manages to be cloyingly sweet and deeply disturbing at the same time. Highly recommended.

<!–pagetitle:B.P.R.D. #115–>

This book launches a new arc, exploring what, in the rise of demonkind out of the Earth, has been going on in the city of New York. Nobody’s come out. Nobody’s signaled. So what happened there?