‘Robert Bloch’s Pumpkin’ And Other Comics Of Note, October 30th

It’s the day before Halloween, and there’s plenty of horror on the stands. But IDW has a comic on the stands for just a buck that’ll get you in the holiday spirit. A full review, plus looks at books from DC, Marvel, Dynamite, Boom! and Dark Horse.

Steve Niles can be an acquired taste as a writer, but here, he’s pitch perfect adapting a Robert Bloch short story. Bloch, of course, is the writer of Psycho, but this is a straightforward story of supernatural nightmare. It’s helped considerably by Kevin Colden’s art, which evokes block prints and has a disturbing and unique style to it. And it’s a dollar, so you can throw it on your sub list and not feel the bite. A cool, quick Halloween treat… but what else is on the docket?

<!–pagetitle:The Sandman: Overture #1–>

Neil Gaiman’s classic Sandman returns in a prequel, er, sequel, er, interquel… well, it’s new Sandman, screwing around with time is pretty much par for the course. This is, very much, for fans of the original series, and if you feel Neil Gaiman has essentially been running in place, as I do, it’s not going to do much to change that perception. Although it has to be said that J.H. Williams III’s art is always welcome; this is probably the most beautiful book on the stands. Worth reading, if you’re a fan of the original book.

<!–pagetitle:Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. #1–>

Sterling Gates and far too many pencillers file the serial numbers off of S.H.I.E.L.D. While it may wear its influences on its sleeve, the military response to Forever Evil is an interesting topic, and Steve Trevor getting some more development is always welcome. It’s solid, but it’s not yet a stand-out.

<!–pagetitle:Damian: Son Of Batman #1–>

Andy Kubert runs with an alternate reality where Damian Wayne doesn’t buy the farm, but instead decides to investigate Batman’s murder. The first issue of this series is solidly entertaining stuff, not least because Damian, as a grown man, is still something of the snotty kid we know and somewhat miss from the comics. And of course, it’s Andy Kubert, so the art is practically worth the cover price. Worth picking up, especially for Batman fans.

<!–pagetitle:Ultimate Comics Catacylsm #0.1–>

Ugh, a zero issue AND a .1 issue? What’s next? Fractions and decimals?

Dumb numbering aside, this is actually a fairly solid issue that serves as a good refresher if you haven’t been reading the Ultimate line lately. Marvel, it turns out, may be pulling the plug on the Ultimate Universe; if nothing else, Galactus is going to make life unpleasant for everyone. Bendis does manage to make this story affecting, in the end, and Mark Bagley’s art gives it both the grit and the scale it needs.

<!–pagetitle:Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special #1–>

The Arms of The Octopus wraps up with a pretty clever final issue. Mike Costa has really shown his comic side with this story; each of the three issues has been funny as hell, and this one is no exception, although Banner’s observation about his pants makes this worth the cash all on its own. Michael Dialynas gets to show off superheroes following up on Amala’s Blade, and overall this is a book well worth reading.

<!–pagetitle:Thor: Crown Of Fools #1–>

The two stories in here aren’t the most crucial to the mythology of the God of Thunder, but they’re fun to read, and Walter Simonson doing anything tied to Thor just isn’t something to miss. Well worth getting for Thor fans.

<!–pagetitle:Astounding Villain House #1–>

Shannon Wheeler of Too Much Coffee Man fame takes on supervillains in this hilarious collection of one-shots. Seriously, if you like jokes about superheroes, this is the book to buy, but if you need to be sold, here’s Dark Horse’s preview.

<!–pagetitle:The Raven And The Red Death #1–>

It’s Richard Corben adapting Poe. Really, the cover alone should tell you whether or not you’re on board. If you’re not sure, have a preview!

<!–pagetitle:The Fox #1–>

Archie Comics’ entertaining revival of the Red Circle comics continues with The Fox. Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid give this book a nice goofy feeling without taking it too far over the top. The basic idea is that a journalist started dressing as a hero to draw out the nutballs so he could get photos… but, as the book puts it, “now they won’t stop finding him.” It’s a lighthearted book, and Haspiel’s art here has a nice Eisneresque vibe that suits the book perfectly. If you want something different with your superheroics, this is the book to pick up.

<!–pagetitle:Hellraiser Annual #1–>

The opening story of this annual is fun for those reading the book, but if you’re new to it, it’s the back-up story that really makes it. It essentially asks what would happen if somebody built a new puzzle box… like, a lot of them. If you’re thinking “bad things”, you’d be 100% right. It’s an entertaining story, although this is ultimately for fans of Hellraiser more than anyone else.

<!–pagetitle:Ash And The Army Of Darkness #1–>

Every time I read an Evil Dead book, I feel like it starts the same way; Ash is back in S-Mart, bragging about his exploits, cue Deadites. To be fair to Steve Niles, he’s a bit limited by the license, but this feels like a fairly generic and obvious way to write an Army Of Darkness story. Dennis Calero’s art is great, though, and if you love horror art, this will be worth the cash.

<!–pagetitle:Green Lantern Annual #2–>

Lights Out ends on a surprisingly un-epic note. Consider that this book features Oa blown to hell, Guy Gardner permanently a Red Lantern, and it’s just been revealed that the Green Lanterns have been essentially destroying the universe by using their rings willy-nilly. The net result is that this should be a blow-out and is, yet, not. It’s not a bad book at all, just a bit less epic than it needs to be.

<!–pagetitle:Action Comics Annual #2–>

Essentially, the plot setup for Krypton Returns, this book is really at its best with Superboy and Supergirl snarking each other. It’s not bad, but if you’re not following all the Superbooks, this won’t be essential reading. You can check out our exclusive preview to decide for yourself.

<!–pagetitle:The Punisher: The Trial Of the Punisher #2–>

Marc Guggenheim’s second issue of this two-parter… tanks, honestly. The idea of Castle in jail and on trial is a compelling one the first issue used well, but the second issue feels rushed and Frank’s ultimate goal is disappointingly pedestrian, for the Punisher. If this had been a one-shot, it would have been a better story. Still fun, in its own way, but it could have been more.

<!–pagetitle:Criminal Macabre: The Eyes Of Frankenstein #2–>

This book remains amusing, but it never really takes off the way it should, albeit this issue is a lot more comedic than the last and Frankenstein is kind of adorable. Worth it for Cal McDonald fans, and here’s a preview to try.

<!–pagetitle:Blood Brothers #3–>

This bid for a movie deal wraps up with a fun, if a bit by-the-numbers, third issue. It’s entertaining but if you’re waiting for the trade, no great loss. If you’re unsure, the usual Dark Horse preview should help.

<!–pagetitle:Captain Midnight #4–>

Joshua Williamson goes all Captain America on us with this issue, starting a new arc and an artist well-suited to the book, Eduardo Francisco, to… mixed results. The book is still an entertaining slice of pulp, but it feels like it’s missing something to be great. Here’s a preview to judge for yourself.

<!–pagetitle:Infinity #5–>

Jonathan Hickman’s massive Avengers crossover continues to be some absolutely spectacular epic comics. A nice touch is how he lays the threads for massive problems, down the line; the Avengers being declared the symbol of hope for the entire universe is not something that will end well. If you like big, sprawling, superhero stories, this is classic Marvel and not to be missed.

<!–pagetitle:The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys #5–>

This book has gotten a bit out of control; there are so many plots and new elements introduced here it’s kind of absurd. It’s fun, but those waiting for the trade will probably have a better time of it. Here’s a preview, if you need one.

<!–pagetitle:King Conan: Hour Of The Dragon #6–>

This tribute to the 70s Conan comics ends on… a cliffhanger. But it’s still beautifully drawn by Tomás Giorello and a fun read; Dark Horse has the usual preview here.

Action Comics Annual #2, $4.99 
Aquaman Annual #1, $4.99 
Batgirl Volume 2 Knightfall Descends TP, $16.99 
Batman Volume 3 Death Of The Family HC, $24.99 
Damian Son Of Batman #1 (Of 4)(Andy Kubert Black & White Variant Cover), AR
Damian Son Of Batman #1 (Of 4)(Andy Kubert Regular Cover), $3.99 
Damian Son Of Batman #1 (Of 4)(Tony S. Daniel Variant Cover), AR
DC Comics One Million Omnibus HC, $99.99 
Deadshot Beginnings TP, $14.99 
Forever Evil A.R.G.U.S. #1 (Of 6)(Brett Booth & Mark Irwin Black & White Variant Cover), AR
Forever Evil A.R.G.U.S. #1 (Of 6)(Brett Booth & Mark Irwin Regular Cover), $2.99 
Green Lantern Annual #2, $4.99 
Injustice Catwoman Vs Doomsday Action Figure 2-Pack, $29.95 
JSA The Liberty Files The Whistling Skull TP, $14.99 
Nightwing Annual #1, $4.99 
Orange Lantern 1:1 Scale Power Battery And Ring Prop Replica, $199.95 
Sandman Overture #1 (Of 6)(Combo Pack Cover), $5.99 
Sandman Overture #1 (Of 6)(Cover A J.H. Williams III), $4.99 
Sandman Overture #1 (Of 6)(Cover B Dave McKean), $4.99 
Sandman Overture #1 (Of 6)(Dave McKean Black & White Variant Cover), AR
Sandman Overture #1 (Of 6)(J.H. Williams III Black & White Variant Cover), AR
Sandman Overture #1 (Of 6)(Jim Lee CBLDF Variant Cover), AR
Smallville Season 11 Special #3, $4.99 
Superman Adventures The Man Of Steel TP, $9.99 
Superman The Man Of Steel Believe TP, $9.99 
Swamp Thing Annual #2, $4.99 
Teen Titans Annual #2, $4.99 
Vertigo Essentials V For Vendetta #1, $1.00 
Vertigo Resurrected The Extremist #1 (New Printing), $7.99