Tatters of the King

The Tattered Man

Interesting little horror/superhero story here by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, with artwork by Norberto Fernandez. We start with a trio of junkies on a Halloween home invasion. They’ve picked out an old man’s house because they assume he’s got something valuable stashed somewhere, but he doesn’t — all he has is a box marked with a swastika and filled full of rags. He tells the junkies about the box — he was a Jewish boy during World War II imprisoned in a brutal death camp, and at the end of the war, the Nazis decided to kill all the prisoners. He was the only survivor, and all those deaths summoned a monstrous spirit, clothed in the rags of the prisoners, that killed all the Nazis. Of course, the junkies don’t believe him, shots are fired, and a rag-draped spirit of vengeance is released on the modern world.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good writing and excellent art. Palmiotti and Gray say they’d like to write more stories about the Tattered Man — hopefully, they’ll have the chance to make some more. Goodness knows, we need more worthwhile horror in comics.

How to improve this series: First, I’m not all that thrilled with the Tattered Man’s origin — the rags and Jewish background ended up reminding me of DC’s Ragman character a couple times, despite the very obvious differences. So yeah, the Nazi concentration camps were some of the most evil and death-shrouded locations in history, but there have been plenty of other places around the world where injustice and genocide were blots on history — why not use Rwanda, Bosnia, or Darfur? All would make for an interesting twist. In addition, I’m not real thrilled with the idea of the character as a vigilante superhero — it tames the concept too much, for something that should be wild and uncontrollable. Still, it was good fun, and I’m looking forward to more.

American Vampire #15

The squad of military vampire hunters sent to Taipan have gotten ambushed by hordes of the native vampires — blind creatures far more savage and less human than any they’ve ever encountered. The squad member who has fallen has already been fully converted to vampirism — a process that normally takes hours. And even Skinner Sweet is in over his head. They’re barely able to escape into the hidden basements under the village. Their only chance is to make it to a Japanese base on the island where the vampires seem to be coming from. Meanwhile, Pearl, concerned over her husband Henry, has convinced the Vassals of the Morning Star to send her to Taipan to try to help out.

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, Scott Snyder’s writing and Rafael Albuquerque’s art are killer. The Taipan vampires are pretty creepy — nice to see that there’s still something out there that can put the hurt on a super-badass like Skinner Sweet.

How to improve this series: Can’t think of much — this is still one of my favorite comics out there. Maybe more vampy goodness with Skinner and Pearl, but that’s really just nitpicking at near-perfection.

Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #3

While Anguirus tears stuff up in Texas, Godzilla makes his way into the Korean DMZ, and a Lady Gaga clone called Girly Yaya advocates for Monster Rights, most of the action takes place in France, where a couple of creepy telepathic twins nurture a giant monster egg of their own, eventually helping it hatch into Battra, one of Mothra’s siblings. Does humanity have secret allies in the Mothra priestesses?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m entirely in favor of giant monsters, and the heavy doses of political and pop culture humor that Eric Powell is plugging into this series is keeping the atmosphere fun to read. Love the creepy twins — hope they stick around for a while instead of just getting crushed under some monster’s oversized foot…

How to improve this series: There are still some weird writing quirks going on here. The way the UN representative just picked all the monsters’ names out of the air kinda yanked me out of the story. And I’m having trouble believing that so many completely normal people would think they have a shot at taking down a giant monster all by themselves.

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