Star Wars has a second, action-packed issue, and it’s everything a fan could want. We’ve got a full review, plus a look at this week’s other notable comic books.
Grant Morrison blatantly recycles a Hellblazer pitch here, not that you’ll care very much because it’s still a fast-paced hoot, ably supported with Chris Burnham’s art. Essentially, Nameless, our hero, is an occult scumbag who learns that the forces of the occult have stopped dicking around and are just going to fling an asteroid at Earth to wipe out humanity. Burnham in particular does a superb job melding lucid dreaming with drab reality, and has an absurd amount of fun creating unnerving, dynamic layouts. Yes, it’s Deep Impact Starring Not-Constantine, and honestly, I can’t wait to see what Morrison does next with this idea. Highly recommended.
On one level, this is a pretty well done book. The first issue sets up the concept smartly and carefully, with Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins carefully laying out the nature of Eden, Wyoming… namely that it’s a hidden town where hardened criminals move for their only chance at a normal life. It lays out how Eden runs, who runs it, and why, and introduces us to the three seemingly decent human beings in the town. Isaac Goodheart’s work is clear and well-rendered, albeit the coloring by Betsy Gonia is a bit drab.
On another level… it’s a book about a town full of criminals with an autistic mailman solving a murder. Just in terms of concepts, this book is absurdly overstuffed and I’m not sure how it’s all going to work together; for example, there’s no particular reason the mailman needs to be autistic. The level of forced quirkiness screams “Turn me into a TV series!,” which is always annoying. Still, it’s an interesting noir book in a market with a ton of them, and it’s well worth reading based on how those concepts were executed. Just a bit of judicious trimming may be in order.
The Goon: Once Upon A Hard Time #1
Hey, Eric Powell’s back for more Goon! Although, uh, it’s not precisely upbeat, as the Goon is losing his city, his grip on his mob, and his mind. So it’s not an upbeat book, precisely, but Powell’s absolutely gorgeous art and tight scripting make it a must-read.
Rat God #1
Richard Corben writes… well, it’s Richard Corben. If you’re remotely familiar with his work, like his Poe adaptations or his stuff with Alan Moore, then you know what you’re in for. That said, this book’s going to get Dark Horse a few letters; the opening feels just a wee bit dated in how it depicts Native Americans and women. On the other hand, it does have Lovecraft getting beaten up by a Native American in the woods, so, that might make up for it a bit, I dunno.
Ed Brisson and Damien Couceiro deliver a smart SF war book with a tight concept. Essentially, a group of convicts packed off to be grunts find themselves outside the walls and on a timer: They’ve got to get back to base within 24 hours, or their guts will be quite literally melted, slowly and painfully. Couceiro really stands out here; he makes a disgusting alien fit in well, and gives this book the lived-in, used-future sense it needs to work. It’s a great pitch, and a zippy book well worth picking up.
Joshua Dysart and Doug Braithwaite ask what would happen if supervillains decided to make a better world… by any means necessary. It’s a fascinating idea, and it’s a well-executed one because, well, nobody in Toyo Harada’s orbit thinks they’re the bad guys. They’re working for an ideal future, a dream of human peace and balance. They’re optimists. Just… very scary and potentially dangerous ones. Highly recommended.
Star Wars #2
While nothing will quite replace Dark Horse’s superb recent series in my heart, I will say Jason Aaron and John Cassaday are making quite a go at trying. This second issue is pretty much all action; Han’s riding around in an AT-AT, Luke is on a speeder bike, and Vader is… well, he’s Vader. If you love Star Wars, you’re going to love this.
Lady Killer #2
The first issue had great art but a tired story… aaaaand issue two doubles down on both. It’s pretty clear this book begins and ends at the gimmick; Joelle Jones can draw an action sequence to say the least, and her sinuous, fluid art can make anything surprisingly fresh. Still, the script has so many cliches you can turn it into a drinking game. If you read comics for the art, pick this up, but if you read them for the story… well, can’t recommend it on that basis.
Wolf Moon #3
Cullen Bunn and Jeremy Haun continue their sharp, smart werewolf story, and the somewhat slow burn of previous issues is quickly replaced with a lot of tense action in the back half of the book. It’s a pretty fascinating take on werewolves, and well worth a look for horror fans.
Hellboy And The B.P.R.D. #3
John Arcudi works a liiiiiitle bit of pulp into the folktale-style setting of Hellboy, following the hero’s early days in the BPRD, and Alex Maleev is loving drawing every minute of it. A great little horror/action comic, and highly recommended.
If you like crime comics, noir comics, or just Shaft, David Walker and Bilquis Everly are quietly putting together one of the best stories in all three categories. Sort of a Shaft Begins story, but far more interesting than that napkin summary sounds; it’s a good standalone story that would work even without the Shaft franchise. Highly recommended.
This horror book takes what is, by its standards, a breather as we learn more about the central concept of the Wytches, and also a bit more about our nominal hero and what a nightmare he used to be. That doesn’t mean, though, that it’s any less tense or any less engaging, and it ends on a nasty twist. Highly recommended.
The leader of the first superhero labor union has struck a terrible deal to bring back costumed supervillains. And, needless to say, it’s only a matter of time before it blows up in his face. Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel and Rod Reis do a superb job with this book every month, and as the overall plot unfolds, it’s becoming a better and better read. Highly recommended.
Yes, the best espionage book on the stands is back, and it actually substantially ups its game this go-round. It turns out that there’s far more to Velvet getting framed than pretty much anybody realizes, and things are about to get… messy. Highly recommended.
Ms. Marvel #11
Kamala Khan finishes her second arc in perfect style. It’s rare to see a comic tackle intergenerational scorn so smartly, let alone using superheroics as an analogy for it, but it’s a smart way to go and it makes for a great book. Plus, there’s Lockjaw! Highly recommended.
Matt Fraction and David Aja begin the two-part finale of one of the best superhero books in recent memory. The Russian mob is assaulting Clint’s apartment building, and he, Barney, and the tenants take a stand to keep them out. It’s a speedy, thrilling issue, not least helped by Aja’s careful layout work. How this book ebbs and flows as you read it is as much of a joy as the plot itself. Needless to say, highly recommended.
X-O Manowar #33
Aric of Dacia has a problem in his past… but what it is, and why, is mysterious for now. Still, this book is always a fun two-fisted action romp, and this issue is no exception, even if it’s not Aric doing the fighting.
This book is a bit oddly paced; the climax comes smack in the middle of the issue and the rest of it is essentially batting cleanup for the overarching plot. Still, it has a few interesting moments, and it sets up a new and pretty cool villain in the end, so, if you’re a Supes fan, it’s worth reading.
The Full Retail List
Enormous #6 (Cover A Mehdi Cheggour), $3.99
Enormous #6 (Cover B Colin Lorimer), $3.99
ACTION LAB ENTERTAINMENT
F1rst Hero The Monster TP, $14.99
Hero Cats Of Stellar City Volume 1 TP, $11.99
Jack Hammer Political Science TP, $19.99
Planet Gigantic #4 (Of 4), $3.99
Sherlock Holmes Steam Detective #1, $3.99
Victorian Secret Steampunk Angels 2014 #2, $3.99
ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
Afterlife With Archie Magazine #4, $4.99
Archie Comics Favorites From The Vault TP, $9.99
Mega Man #45 (Patrick Spaziante Regular Cover), $3.99
Mega Man #45 (Rafa Knight Box Art Variant Cover), $3.99
Sonic Universe #72 (Jennifer Hernandez Matchmaker Variant Cover), $3.99
Sonic Universe #72 (Tracy Yardley Regular Cover), $3.99
New Zodiax #1 (Of 4)(Cover A Joe St. Pierre), $3.50
New Zodiax #1 (Of 4)(Cover B Joe St. Pierre), AR
Crossed Badlands #71 (Christian Zanier Torture Cover), $3.99
Crossed Badlands #71 (Fernando Heinz Red Crossed Incentive Cover), AR
Crossed Badlands #71 (Fernando Heinz Regular Cover), $3.99
Crossed Badlands #71 (Fernando Heinz Wraparound Cover), $3.99
Crossed Badlands #71 (Michael DiPascale Fatal Fantasy Cover), $3.99
God Is Dead #28 (Facundo Percio Enchanting Cover), $3.99
God Is Dead #28 (German Nobile Carnage Wraparound Cover), $3.99
God Is Dead #28 (Jacen Burrows End Of Days Cover), $3.99
God Is Dead #28 (Jacen Burrows Gilded Incentive Cover), AR
God Is Dead #28 (Jacen Burrows Iconic Cover), $3.99
God Is Dead #28 (Jacen Burrows Regular Cover), $3.99
BABY TATTOO BOOKS
Traveling With Your Octopus HC, $29.95
Walking With Your Octopus HC, $29.95
Lady Mechanika Collected Edition #1 (Issues 0 & 1)(Cover A Joe Benitez), $3.99
Lady Mechanika Collected Edition #1 (Issues 0 & 1)(Cover B Joe Benitez), AR
Warhammer Archaon Everchosen SC, $14.00
Simpsons Illustrated #15, $3.99
Cluster #1 (Cover A James Stokoe), $3.99
Cluster #1 (Cover B Simon Roy), $3.99
Cluster #1 (Cover C Trevor Hairsine), AR
Cluster #1 (Cover D Declan Shalvey), AR
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes #3 (Of 6)(Cover A Christopher Mitten), $3.99
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes #3 (Of 6)(Cover B Hazard Graffiti), AR
Escape From New York #3 (Cover A Declan Shalvey), $3.99
Escape From New York #3 (Cover B Riley Rossmo), $3.99
Escape From New York #3 (Cover C Chris Visions), AR
Fall Of Cthulhu Omnibus TP, $39.99
Feathers #2 (Of 6)(Cover A Jorge Corona), $3.99
Fiction Squad #5 (Of 6)(Cover A Ramon Backs), $3.99
Garfield #34 (Cover A Andy Hirsch), $3.99
Garfield #34 (Cover B Roger Langridge), AR
Robocop #8 (Cover A Goni Montes), $3.99
Steven Universe #7 (Cover A Amber Rogers), $3.99
Steven Universe #7 (Cover B Becky Dreistadt), $3.99
Steven Universe #7 (Cover C Helen Yoon), AR
Woods #10 (Cover A Michael Dialynas), $3.99