Blood for the Blood God

I’m at least two weeks behind on all my comics reviewin’, so let’s try to get as many done as we can over the next few days.

American Vampire #10

Everyone remember Hattie Hargrove? Pearl Jones former friend who sold her out for a shot at vampirism and stardom only to get killed by Pearl? Turns out she’s not dead — she’s being held prisoner by another vampire so he can try to figure out how to kill her and the other American vampires. Meanwhile, Pearl and her beau Henry are living in Arrowhead, California, where Pearl is worried that she’s going to vastly outlive her lover. There’s also a chance for them to get out and enjoy themselves at a new jazz club where Henry gets to sit in and play guitar in a set. But of course, those happy times can’t last forever, can they?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of things to like here — the return of Hattie, the intense weirdness of the relationship between Pearl and Henry, from Pearl’s immortality to her tendency to feed on him during lovemaking, the great sequences in the jazz club, all the way up to that awesome last page. For once, Skinner Sweet doesn’t appear at all, and we don’t even miss him much.

Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine #4

We finally get a proper introduction to a couple of our villains here — the Czar and Big Murder, a couple of hoods with a diamond-studded time-travel bat. Meanwhile, Spidey and Wolvie have been dropped into different parts of each other’s origins — Wolverine has to masquerade as a wrestler hanging out with teenaged great-power-and-no-responsibility Peter Parker, and Spider-Man is stuck covered in meat and throwing down against a young James Howlett, mostly feral and mostly not knowing how to stop killing people. Both of ’em get ambushed and knocked around by Czar and Big Murder, and they end up getting burned at the stake in medieval times. So who’s the ultimate mastermind in this whole thing?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really nice character work getting done in this one, particularly in the Wolverine-meets-selfish-Petey-Parker section. But the entire thing is great fun.

Batman Inc. #2

After Batman saves Catwoman and Jiro Osamu’s girlfriend from the giant octopus in the downstairs apartment, Jiro’s girlfriend dumps him because he was working for the late Mr. Unknown and thus putting her in danger. Jiro reveals to Batman and Catwoman that Mr. unknown was 56 years old and had spent the last few years as the detective behind the scenes while Jiro did all the physical work. He wants to help Batman go after Lord Death Man, but Bats is angry ’cause Jiro used a gun to attack the villain. Meanwhile, Lord Death Man resurrects in the hospital and goes after Shiny Happy Aquazon of Tokyo’s Super Young Team. Can Batman and Jiro save Aquazon and defeat Lord Death Man?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good story, wonderful art, and a nice beginning for this series.

Detective Comics #872

Dick Grayson is on the trail of William Rhodes, a former Gotham businessman who’s now wanted by the police for his involvement with “Mirror House,” an organization that auctions off illegal memorabilia from Gotham City supervillains. But when Rhodes gets killed in an accident, Dick decides to disguise himself and investigate the Mirror House in person. He finds a building full of wealthy, gas-masked, evil-worshiping psychos. Is there a way for Dick to get out alive, especially when the auctioneer realizes he’s got an uninvited guest?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nicely devious plot with a really nasty twist. The dialogue between Dick and Babs Gordon is also excellent.

Green Lantern #61

Atrocitus is on the trail of the Butcher, the rage entity looking for a new host on Earth. It finds one in the person of James Kim, a father who wants revenge for his murdered daughter, but the Spectre intervenes because he thinks he should hold the monopoly on enraged vengeance. Atrocitus is able to capture the Butcher, but not before it possesses James Kim and executes the criminal. Now the Spectre wants James Kim dead, too. Can one rage-fueled monster talk another rage-fueled monster into not passing judgment?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice spotlight issue for Atrocitus, and it’s also nice to see anyone, even a villain like the Red Lantern, confront the Spectre about the moral bankruptcy of his “holy” quest.

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