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.
Sandman: Overture #4
Well, it took four issues and J.H. Williams III practically sweating blood onto the pages delivering some of his most elaborate work, but this comic finally comes into something resembling focus and starts feeling like a story in its own right, not just some rehash for people wistful for the ’90s. If you haven’t slogged through the last three issues, you might as well start here; you haven’t missed much. But it is worth reading, finally.
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches #4
This mini wraps up with a rather bleak take on the Russian fairytale that inspired Cinderella, written for the original series and adapted by Jeff Stokely. It’s an odd, but engaging, read, as all of these have been, and definitely worth picking up, even if it’s the most conventional of the lot.
The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage #4
So, if you had the choice between saving the world and saving the one you love… which would you choose? It’s what Valiant’s miniseries, a smart look at grief when you can speak to the dead, asks in this issue, and it’s to the book’s credit that you’re genuinely unsure. Highly recommended.
Dark Horse Presents #5
Dark Horse’s anthology book is always at least solid, but between the cover story, of Odin back to kick ass, and the continuation of great strips like superhero noir The Mighty and urban fantasy Semiautomagic, this is a particularly great entry. Highly recommended.
Bob’s Burgers #5
Probably the weakest of the five issues, by which I mean it’s like a good episode of the show instead of a great one. As usual, highly recommended.
Eerie Quarterly #6
Dark Horse’s horror anthology gets into the spirit of the season with… uh… gingerbread men flaying people alive, among other things. The new stories are easily the best here, but as always, this is worth the money.
Ms. Marvel #10
Underneath the superheroics, G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona have a lot to say about how society treats teenagers and how that affects them. It’s surprisingly insightful, and a welcome step up for one of Marvel’s best books. Highly recommended.
Supergirl goes to space Hogwarts and honestly, it’s a great idea that the book is paying off beautifully, and rebooting second-stringers like Maxima and Captain Comet into more interesting characters into the bargain. Definitely worth a read, especially if you like superheroes and space opera.
Wonder Woman #37
After a genuinely terrible first issue, Meredith Finch and David Finch instead deliver an issue that’s just bland. The theme here is that Diana is trying to be too many things to too many people, which isn’t a terrible idea to explore, but it’s clumsy and not much about the book is clear, especially who the main antagonist is supposed to be. And as for the final splash panel… let’s just say that the reaction will be interesting.
The Full Retail List
I.C.E. Critical Mass #2 (Of 4)(Jason Pearson Black & White Variant Cover)(not verified by Diamond), AR
I.C.E. Critical Mass #2 (Of 4)(Jason Pearson Regular Cover)(not verified by Diamond), $3.99
Sherwood TX #5 (Of 5), $3.99
Femforce #169 (Cover A Will Meuginiot), $9.95
Femforce #169 (Cover B Paolo Bodini), $9.95
Steam Wars TP, $24.99
Zombie Fairy Tales Undead The Sea #1, $3.99
ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
Afterlife With Archie Magazine #3, $4.99
Archie Rockin’ The World TP, $9.99
Jughead And Archie Comics Digest #8, $4.99
Mega Man #44 (Ben Bates Capcom Variant Cover), $3.99
Mega Man #44 (Patrick Spaziante Regular Cover), $3.99
Sonic Super Digest #10, $4.99
World Of Archie Jumbo Comics Digest #46, $6.99
Another Suburban Romance TP (Color Edition), $9.99
BERGEN STREET PRESS
COPRA Volume 1 Round One TP (not verified by Diamond), $19.95
Doctor Who The Early Adventures The Doctor’s Tale Audio CD, $24.99
Doctor Who The Widow’s Assassin Audio CD, $24.99
Simpsons Comics #216, $2.99
Adventure Time Banana Guard Academy #6 (Of 6)(Cover A Aimee Fleck), $3.99
Adventure Time Banana Guard Academy #6 (Of 6)(Cover B Christina Chang), $3.99
Adventure Time Banana Guard Academy #6 (Of 6)(Cover C Fellipe Martins), AR
Clive Barker’s Hellraiser Bestiary #5 (Of 6)(Cover A Conor Nolan), $3.99
Clive Barker’s Hellraiser Bestiary #5 (Of 6)(Cover B Paolo Villanelli), AR
Deep State #1 (Matt Taylor 2nd Printing Variant Cover), $3.99
Empty Man #1 (Of 6)(Cullen Bunn Signed Edition)(Dynamic Forces), AR
Garfield Volume 5 TP, $13.99
Imagine Agents Volume 1 TP, $14.99
Jim Henson Novelization Slipcase Box Set, $59.99
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller Witches #4 (Of 4)(Cover A Jeff Stokely), $3.99
Lumberjanes #9 (Cover A Chynna Clugston Flores), $3.99
Lumberjanes #9 (Cover B Ming Doyle), AR
Peanuts #24 (Cover A Charles M. Schulz), $3.99
Rocket Salvage #1 (Of 6)(Cover A Bachan), $3.99
Rocket Salvage #1 (Of 6)(Cover B Yehudi Mercado), AR
Sons Of Anarchy #16 (Cover A Toni Infante), $3.99
Steven Universe #5 (Cover A Amber Rogers), $3.99
Steven Universe #5 (Cover B Grace Kraft), $3.99
Steven Universe #5 (Cover C Helen Yoon), AR
Next Town Over Volume 1 Maybe Next Time TP, $15.99
COMIC SHOP NEWS
Comic Shop News #1435, AR
Comic Shop News Winter 2015 Preview, AR
Beardo Volume 2 Brew Harder TP, $19.95
Sketchbook Fane SC, $30.00
Sketchbook Malfin SC, $30.00
And Then Emily Was Gone #5 (Of 5)(Cover A Iain Laurie), $3.50
And Then Emily Was Gone #5 (Of 5)(Cover B Cody Schibi), $3.50
CREATIVE MIND ENERGY
Gifted Volume 1 GN, $19.95
Crimson Society #3, $3.99
Scum Of The Earth TP, $11.99
DARK HORSE COMICS
Angel And Faith Season 10 Volume 1 Where The River Meets The Sea TP, $18.99
Athena Voltaire Compendium HC, $19.99
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #126, $3.50
Brain Boy #1 (#1 For $1 Edition), $1.00
Brain Boy Volume 2 The Men From G.E.S.T.A.L.T. TP, $14.99
Criminal Macabre The Third Child #4 (Of 4), $3.99
Dark Horse Presents #5, $4.99
Dream Logic HC, $34.99
Eerie Comics #6, $3.99
Lobster Johnson Volume 4 Get The Lobster TP, $19.99
Predator Fire And Stone #3 (Of 4), $3.50
Trilogy USA HC, $19.99