Brain Games

iZombie #14

Gwen finds herself in an even stranger situation than normal — the most recent brain she’s eaten was from a skeeball nut who wants her team to win the league championship. Yes, apparently, there is a such thing as competitive skeeball. So Gwen is posing as a skeeball whiz from out of town who’s doing the team a favor for her “late friend” — and she suddenly discovers Amon the mummy hanging out watching everyone play. Turns out he really is a genuine over-the-moon near-demented skeeball fanatic. Horatio is having to deal with an unusually large number of zombies than Eugene, Oregon normally has to deal with. And where are Ellie the ghost and Spot the were-terrier? Well, Spot’s stuck underground where he’s been fighting off zombies for quite a while, and Ellie is trying to figure out how to get him free. Meanwhile, with the more-secret-than-normal covert ops group called the Dead Presidents, the team is planning their next moves against a mysterious zombie master — and they may be heading for Eugene soon.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The extremely rational and sophisticated Amon’s obsession with skeeball comes completely out of nowhere and is absolutely hilarious. Plus we’ve got tons and tons of intrigue and more fun stuff with the Dead Presidents.

How to improve this series: Definitely keep writer Chris Roberson on board this series. He’s announced he’ll stay on this comic as long as he can, even though DC just kicked him off the Superman comics after he saved them from J. Michael Stracyzski’s mishandling. Roberson is an incredible writer, and Vertigo needs to make sure they stay on his good side.

Hellboy: The Fury #1

Lots of backstory needed for this one: the sorceress Nimue has crowned herself the Goddess of War and plans to lead an army of monsters to destroy humanity. Hellboy has learned he’s descended on his mother’s side from King Arthur himself, making him the rightful king of England, but he’s decided he doesn’t want to lead the army of England’s noble dead, and he’s set out to battle Nimue’s forces alone — and he’s booked passage to Nimue’s castle through the Russian witch Baba Yaga, in exchange for one of his eyes.

As Hellboy gets to the castle, Nimue is having some serious trouble with unwelcome transformations and a growing realization that she’s merely a pawn of the Ogdru Jahad, who will destroy everything on Earth, including her. Alice Monaghan hands Excalibur over to an impossibly old man, who turns out to be Arthur himself, and Hellboy battles his way through Nimue’s army — and through Nimue, who turns out to be Hecate. Having come so far, is there anything Hellboy can do to stop mankind’s destruction?

Verdict: Thumbs up. So awesome to see Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo doing work this amazingly beautiful.

How to improve this series: Right now, there’s nothing that can be done to improve this. It’s pretty near perfect.

B.P.R.D.: The Dead Remembered #3

Young pyrokinetic Liz Sherman has traveled to a small town with Professor Bruttenholm of the B.P.R.D. to try to stop a haunting. But while the professor and the local priest try to exorcise the house, Liz and a local boy she’s befriended have realized that the house isn’t haunted — it’s the woods around the house. And their attempts to dispel the spirit aren’t turning out well — though Liz assumes the ghost was an innocent woman executed as a witch, it turns out she really was a witch, and not a very nice one. She’s using Liz’s powers to make herself stronger. How will they be able to get rid of the ghost before she kills someone?

Verdict: Thumbs up — but the ending was a lot weaker than I expected. Up ’til then, there was great mood, outstanding art, colossally awesome escalation of the action, especially jumping back and forth between the present and the past. The ending was weak, but it was still fun to read.

How to improve this series: Well, like I said, a stronger ending, with more stuff for Liz to do, would’ve been good. And the art by Karl Moline and Andy Owens was just grand, so I’d like to see more from them somewhere down the line.

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