Noir Pigs

Fatale #3

We start with a flash-forward back to the modern day where Nicolas Lash has had a leg amputated after a car accident where a mysterious woman named Josephine helped him escape from some murderous thugs. He learns that the home of Hank Raines, his late godfather, has been ransacked, and his godfather’s secret novel is bizarre almost to the point of incoherence. His research into Raines’ life soon leads Lash to horrifying news…

And at that point, we jump back to the 1950s, where crooked cop Walt Booker is getting bawled out by his supervisor because he’s been busted taking bribes under the table. Booker discovers that his former lover, Jo, who he’s just sold out to supernatural hitmen in exchange for a cure for his cancer, has skipped out on him, and if he can’t find her soon, something worse than cancer is going to kill him. And Raines is hanging out with Jo, and she takes him for a walk to an old boarded-up house where she claims she once died — and where they’re accosted by a cultist who wants to kill them both. How will they survive, and what horrible things are on the horizon?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Outstanding art and great retro-noir storytelling. And the supernatural/horror elements are starting to creep up there in significance, too. It’ll be interesting to see how this noir-horror stuff works out…

Justice League International #7

The UN has been bombed in an attack designed to strike at the JLI. Much of the team is injured — Fire is in a coma, Ice’s legs have been shattered, Vixen may never walk again. Booster, Batman, Guy Gardner, August General, and Godiva try to rescue as many people as they can, but things are pretty bad, and there’s an enemy out there waiting to ambush them.

Verdict: Ehh, I dunno. The writing is overall pretty good, even though the dialogue is, as always, a bit clunky. I’ve got issues with the idea that so many female characters are in the hospital with serious injuries — looks a lot like they’re getting fridged, at least temporarily, to give Booster and Guy something to angst about. There’s too dang much angst in the New 52 already — why can’t there be a team comic dedicated to good old fashioned superheroics?

The Defenders #4

This issue focuses almost entirely on Dr. Strange and Molly, his one-night-stand from the first issue. She’s a grad student working on her thesis, and she needs a book from Strange’s library to complete her research. Strange loans it to her, and an unscrupulous magician finds out about it and manages to slip his lucky magic coin into the book, allowing him to astrally project himself into any house containing the coin. He tries to blackmail Strange into letting him have access to anything in his house that he wants — but smart people don’t try to blackmail Dr. Strange. Meanwhile, Strange has been studying the magical machine that the team took from Wundagore Mountain last issue and inadvertently wishes an old girlfriend named Martha back to life.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The last issue was not very good, but this one is a lot better focusing on just a few people and their weird semi-magical relationship issues. I’m a bit bummed that apparently neither Molly nor Martha had last names. That’s really the sort of thing that should be mentioned — if they’ve been mentioned before, you can’t expect the readers to just remember that sort of trivia, and if they’ve never had last names… well, you should give ’em last names, ya know? It’s just good character work.

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