Grant Morrison gives Shazam! his due in his very own one-shot. A review, plus a look at the rest of this week’s notable comics.
Multiversity: Thunderworld #1
It really shouldn’t be possible that Grant Morrison can write a Captain Marvel story that plays the series and its ideas completely straight yet simultaneously satirizes them and updates them. And, yet, that’s pretty much exactly what he does here. This book is as bright and shiny and upright as even the most squeaky clean books of the Golden Age, but there’s not a speck of cheese or corn to be found. It’s an all-ages book in the best possible sense; a comic book absolutely anybody can enjoy. Highly recommended.
John Arcudi is a writer who is a guaranteed sale for me. He can pull off everything from noir with an edge of genuine sadness, like his superb The Creep, or go straight up goofy. Rumble is an urban fantasy/dark comedy that sounds ridiculous on paper; a scarecrow warrior god attacks some old guy in a dive bar, and that’s not the worst thing to happen to the bartender who turns out to be our protagonist. What makes it work, beyond James Harren’s detailed art that’s just cartoony enough to keep the tone light, is Arcudi’s refusal to get pretentious. Even warped demon creatures are just ultimately guys doing their jobs, not evil for the sake of evil. It’s a hoot, and highly recommended.
Rocket Salvage #1
Primo was a rocket racer and then… then things didn’t go quite according to plan. Now he’s got two kids and a whole heap of trouble in Yehudi Mercado and Bachan’s lighthearted SF comedy. Honestly, it feels a bit like a split personality; it’s by an large a kiddie book but with a single dad scoring a quickie while packing off the kids. If it can smooth out the tone, it might be something special, but for now, it’s a solid and fun book.
Harbinger: Faith #0
Faith, the exuberant, wonderful flyer of the Harbinger team, gets her own one-shot, about heroism, independence and… well… faith, in yourself, in others, in a higher purpose. It’s a sharply observed book on the part of Joshua Dysart, and highly recommended.
The Kitchen #2
Vertigo’s crime book remains… well, fairly predictable, actually. The book’s ’70s New York setting feels largely arbitrary, and the main hook, of gangster’s wives taking over the business, more or less plays out, so far, the way you’d expect. It’s not a bad book but it’s yet to really take off.
Axis: Hobgoblin #3
Kevin Shinick and Javier Rodriguez wrap up their miniseries with a most unexpected twist we won’t ruin here. But suffice to say, the Hobgoblin might wind up staying a good guy after all, for a most unexpected reason. But in the meantime, watch him make fun of Wesley Snipes movies and outwit everyone around him: It’s well worth it.
Scott Snyder and Jock’s tale of witches, markings, and eldritch New England continues with this issue. It’s a great horror book not least because it’s about the characters and their relationships more than the freaky parts… and there are still plenty of freaky parts. Highly recommended.
Predator: Fire And Stone #3
It turns out that being chained to a Predator obsessed with taking down an Engineer is even less fun than you might think. This book is a very strange one on paper: The Defiant Ones but with a Predator. Still, Chris Mooneyham’s art compliments Joshua Williamson’s script very well, and it’s a fun read that manages to give a character we can even understand some texture. Definitely worth reading, even if you’re not following the whole Fire and Stone crossover.
Q2: The Return Of Quantum And Woody #3
This series is getting surprisingly grim for a lighthearted continuation of a beloved cult comedy from the ’90s. It’s still a fun read, but wow, Priest and Bright are getting a bit heavy.