‘Gamma’: The Comic You Should Be Reading This Week

Are you a fan of Pokemon? Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas would like to burn your childhood to the ground, if you don’t mind. A review of this one shot collecting the strips from Dark Horse Presents, plus books from DC, Dark Horse, Titan, IDW, Valiant, and the notorious Bluewater Comics.

But first, Gamma. Oh, man, Gamma. It’s hard to know where to even start with this book, it’s that hilarious.

This insane send-up of a certain monster-fighting franchise takes a few pages to get started, but once it does… wow. Our hero is a former monster-fighting celebrity who loses it all, to the point where he collects fifty bucks a throw to let people punch him in the face. A life of whoremongering, drugs, cowardice and failure has pretty much left him a wreck while simultaneously guaranteeing you’ll never see Ash in the same way again.

It takes guts to hit the absurd heights this book does, from a Snorlax blockade to a page that deliberately evokes the fall of Saigon. Farinas’ art helps quite a bit, not least because it rides the edge between cartoony and real that makes the book simultaneously lighthearted and somewhat bleak, and Farinas really, really knows his way around a patently silly-looking giant monster. The book never loses a sense of emotion, even when it gets pretty ridiculous, and that poker-faced refusal to wink at the audience, either in writing or in art, just makes everything that much funnier.

Love it or hate it, you’re going to have an opinion, and there’s not a book quite like it on the stands this week. But what else is new this week, and is it just as good?

<!–pagetitle:Hawkeye Annual #1–>

Javier Pulido takes over the art as Matt Fraction writes a story filling in exactly what happens when Kate Bishop bails on Clint, and takes Pizza Dog with her. Pulido largely tells the story in silhouettes as Fraction rapidly shows us that even with her ego cut down to size, Kate’s an incredibly formidable opponent. It’s got all the snap and verve of the main series; if you love Hawkeye, you’ll love this.

<!–pagetitle:The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction #1–>

A crossover that’s far, far overdue finally happens, and it’s great. Mark Waid, having written both characters, captures what makes them great perfectly, and Paul Smith’s art strikes a balance between the sensibilities of Will Eisner and Dave Stevens that’s a joy to read. This is a must-buy, especially if you like both characters.

<!–pagetitle:Army Of Darkness Vs. Hack/Slash #1–>

Tim Seeley can write horror comedy, and this book is no exception. That said, this feels a bit familiar at first, and Ash feels a bit forced into the proceedings for now. Still, it’s hard to complain; if you enjoy either franchise, it’s worth getting.

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

This is really an Avengers book with Spider-Man in it, built around the premise of Spidey being… well, a huge dick to his fellow superheroes. There’s a good explanation for it, of course, and Christopher Yost actually makes it pretty funny… before veering the book into a sharp turn to the dark side. Otto is getting more and more crazy, and the final page gives us a little hint as to how things are going to get worse.

<!–pagetitle:Hunger #1–>

So, yeah, Ultimate Galactus and 616 Galactus have merged into a new entity, thanks to the fallout from Age of Ultron. Let’s just say that nothing remotely good will come of this, especially since Rick Jones is our only hope.