Pre-Halloween Spooks and Scares

I know it’s still pretty early, but we’ve already got a few special Halloween comics to review for ya — let’s see what’s on the list…

House of Mystery Halloween Annual #2

It’s the second installment of the special Halloween issues of Vertigo’s “House of Mystery.” Like last year, we get a grab-bag of stories about various Vertigo stars — this year, the element that binds all the stories together is a bunch of cursed trick-or-treaters. Doomed to wander endlessly from one Halloween to another, begging for candy and making mischief, all while wearing bodies both elderly and kid-sized, they turn up at the House of Mystery, get invited in, and offered a way out from under their curse, which they choose not to accept. In other eras and other worlds, they run across Madame Xanadu, who offers them visions of happier childhoods; they prompt John Constantine to reminisce about childhood holidays and first loves; they play pranks on Gwen Dylan from “iZombie” back in the days when she was still alive; and they end up running around Lucifer’s Hell.

Verdict: Thumbs up. First, I love any comic that literally begins their story on the front cover. Aside from that, the stories are first-rate, fun, and spooky — and they serve as excellent advertisements for several Vertigo comics. So it’s a winner — go pick it up.

Marvel Super Hero Squad #10

It’s Halloween, and the Super Hero Squad is dressing up for the holiday — Iron Man is Dracula, the Silver Surver is Frankenstein’s Monster, Reptil is Werewolf by Night, Falcon is Brother Voodoo, Thor and Hulk both want to be the Living Mummy, and Wolverine doesn’t dress in costumes. Dr. Doom’s lackeys, meanwhile, don’t get to dress up — they’ve just been ordered to go find a new fractal. Once the Super Hero Squad gets in on the chase, they quickly find the fractal being guarded by the Man-Thing! All who know fear burn at the touch of the Man-Thing — and the Man-Thing is plenty darn scary! Can the heroes get the fractal away from the muck-monster? In the followup stories, all the superheroes show up for a costume party at the Fantastic Four’s Baxter Building — but there’s an imposter hiding among the disguised heroes! And finally, Dr. Doom amuses himself by terrifying trick-or-treaters.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good, funny stuff, and it’s a lot of fun to see all the Halloween costumes devised for the characters.

B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – New World #3

The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense is distracted by the bizarre destruction of Houston, Texas — by a full-sized volcano! Is this going to give Panya the opportunity to take over the whole agency? Meanwhile, Abe Sapien and Ben Daimio are in British Columbia trying to solve the mystery of what caused everyone in a small town to disappear. They meet a woman with an unusually ominous baby — and are quickly attacked by a monster! Can they stop the monster’s rampage and make their escape?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Outstanding action in this one. And it’s great to see Ben Daimio pulling off the giant-monster whupass again.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • I would like to write about this a heck of a lot more, but I’m not sure I can be really coherent or non-sweary about it right now. Suffice it to say, I think “The 99,” the incredibly cool series by Naif Al-Mutawa, is a wonderful thing, and it frustrates the heck out of me that the usual gang of small-minded bigots are latching onto this as the latest ZOMG FEAR item.
  • Venom + props = awesome sketchbooks.
  • Any of you serious bibliophiles are gonna love this article.
  • Privilege is inescapable, but things would be a lot better if we had more people willing to embrace a little empathy.

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