‘Numbercruncher’ #1: The Comic You Should Be Reading This Week

Si Spurrier, best known around here for his work on X-Men Legacy and Extermination, has a new miniseries. And it posits possibly the most disturbing question ever written: What if Satan was an accountant? A full review, as well as reviews of this week’s number ones and notable other books, under the jump.

The protagonist, the titular Numbercruncher, is a man who sold his soul to the Devil, and we all know how that works out. Now he’s working in the afterlife for a jerkwad, but he finally has a way out: Your deal with this guy only lasts until you find someone to take your place. And a mathematician has just volunteered… well, provided he doesn’t live a life without sin.

Part of the reason Numbercruncher works is that Spurrier has some fairly complex and detailed thoughts about this version of the afterlife, not to mention a sad story about lost love and reincarnation… all explained by a backstreet brawler who curses every third word and is, reasonably, spectacularly grouchy about where afterlife has taken him. Spurrier’s gift tends to be hiding some pretty serious concerns deep within a seemingly typical story, like the last few issues of X-Men Legacy, and it’s on full display here.

P.J. Holden and Jordie Bellaire finish out the other half of the equation; this is a book that mixes a lot of art, going between MAD Magazine-style black-and-white magazine illustration and the “real” world. Bellaire in particular shows her usual flair for palette choices, helping the book to hop between times and spaces while Holden handles the art particularly well across the board.

In short, it’s well-drawn, well-written, and very, very funny. Pick it up this week, or you’re doing yourself a disservice.

So, what about the other number ones? Well, let’s take a look…

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Gail Simone reboots everybody’s favorite chainmail bikini babe into, well, a fairly standard book, after a snappy, disturbing opening. It’s not that this is bad; it’s funny at points, although the tomboy jokes are a bit stale, and it’s got a lot of action to it. It’s well-paced, as well, and has a good cliffhanger.