Archive for March, 2014

Pet Revengers


Beasts of Burden: Hunters and Gatherers

Yay, a one-shot of Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s outstanding “Beasts of Burden!” These don’t come out often, but they’re always great fun to read.

There’s bad news on the way for the monster-fighting pets of Burden Hill — the Wise Dogs who help back them up in times of crisis are going to have to give them even less help than normal — the whole area is faced with various supernatural crises, and they have too much work to do. And there are already some serious problems the Burden Hill pets have to face — like the giant invisible monster chasing down and eating pets and people in the area! They manage to vanquish that foe — barely — and we get an opportunity to see some of the other animals in town, some of which are appreciative, some of which are dismissive, and some of which — like the rats and the crows — are likely to become serious threats in the future.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Love this series so very much. The art and writing are both fantastic, the characters and dialogue are always fun, and the action, humor, and creeping sense of foreboding are beautifully done. You shouldn’t just get this issue — you should find every possible comic from this series.


Batman: Li’l Gotham #12

Our first story features Batman and Robin searching for Damian’s lost pet turkey, Damian — they’re not making a lot of progress because people keep making jokes about losing a turkey so close to Thanksgiving. In the end, they find Jerry in a fast food restaurant, held hostage by a new supervillain called the Condiment King! He specializes in squirting people with condiments, and he has a bunch of fast-food-themed henchmen. Will the Dynamic Duo be able to stop the villains and save Jerry? In the backup tale, Alfred tells Damian about the various members of the Bat-Family in the Wayne family album, and the heroes even help spread holiday cheer.

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, it’s cute, fun artwork, and funny, family-friendly storytelling. My lone quibble? This is the final issue of this series! Man, that is monumentally no fair.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • A great interview with Ed Piskor on hip hop and comic books.
  • If you’re going to freak out this hard about a haboob, I hope you’ll remember that our numerals and system of writing came from the Muslim world, too, so you’ll never write anything on the Internet again.
  • It’s always a good time to talk about compassion. Because our leaders and pundits are usually running on a severe compassion deficit.

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Return of the Living Dead


The Returning #1

A new horror series from Jason Starr and Andrea Mutti, set in a world where the dead are returning to life to commit acts of murder — but not the way you’d expect. Instead, people who’ve had near-death experiences reawaken as normal people — but at some point, they just flip out and start killing people. As a result, society is gripped with complete paranoia — after all, the potential killers look just like anyone else. They’re not rotting, they’re not shambling, they don’t have glowing eyes. Anyone could be a changer.

Anyway, our lead character is a high school girl named Beth Turner on her way to prom with her boyfriend. There’s a car accident — her date dies in the wreck, and Beth dies briefly. When she awakens after her coma, she’s strapped to a hospital bed while her nurses debate whether to sedate her or just shoot her. Her father’s attorneys get her released from the hospital, but she’s confronted with angry protestors, bullying students, and weird changer fetishists. And when someone kills her father and brother, she has to go on the run. Is there anyone she can turn to for help?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a nice concept — zombies without the zombies, and with extra paranoia. The art’s a tad funky, but it’ll probably be great for depicting horror. And I love the fact that all of our characters genuinely look distinct from each other — no cookie-cutter faces here, and that’s freakin’ awesome.


Coffin Hill #6

Eve Coffin has a monster to stop. A demonic spirit has taken over the body of her old friend Mel, and she now threatens the life of her kinda-sorta-boyfriend Nate. Eve has to call up the spirit of her long-dead friend Dani — and then has to ingest a potion that could end up being fatal. And even then, the monster might be way too powerful for her to stop without more help…

Verdict: Thumbs up. A great end to the first storyarc. Gross stuff, scary stuff, spooky stuff, sexy stuff, and Eve’s glorious evil black eyeball.


Manifest Destiny #5

The Lewis and Clark Expedition has to deal with worse than wild animals and hostile natives — try monstrous plant-zombies, for one. After they finally get back to their boat, they reveal that they’re not going to just flee — they need to wipe out the threat of the zombies once and for all. Luckily, they’ve got a miracle thought lost to history — Greek fire. They return to the forest and look for signs of zombie infection. And they find it, unfortunately — almost every animal in the woods has been taken over already.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Man, that’s a lot of awesome plant zombies in this comic. You need zombie squirrels and deer and bears in your life? Sure, you do.

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Things Get Prettier


Velvet #4

Velvet is on the trail of whoever framed her for murdering an agent, and her last semi-disastrous op has at least given her the lead she needs to get to the next piece of the puzzle — she needs to find a former KGB agent named Roman. And she knows where to find him — he’s never missed the grand masquerade ball called the Carnival of Fools, which is always popular with spies, just so they can dress up in masks and pretend to be anonymous. But Roman is being stalked by assassins — can Velvet rescue him and learn his secrets before it’s too late?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent espionage flavor and action. Fantastic art. Dark and funny at the same time. It’s just a vastly fun and exciting comic, and I hope you guys are picking it up.


She-Hulk #2

Jennifer Walters has just started her own legal practice and met up with the owner of her building — a former mutant who rents office space to superhumans because they have trouble getting office space in most other buildings. And she’s just hired her first paralegal, Angie Huang, an overweight, taciturn woman who brings her pet monkey everywhere with her. And she’s also just learned that the rest of the NYC legal community is blackballing her because of how she quit her last firm. Later, she goes out for a night on the town with Patsy “Hellcat” Walker — and when Patsy gets drunk, she gets in a mood to go fight crime. She leads Jen out to a deserted Bronx warehouse which she insists is a secret A.I.M. hideout. And as it turns out… she’s right.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic art and storytelling, wonderful humor, and great action. It may not be the traditional fists-and-angst-and-dimwittedness superheroics we get in a lot of comics, but this series is one of the perfect examples of why the new Marvel Now comics are mopping the floor with DC’s Nu52.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Things Get Ugly


Revival #18

All kinds of stuff going on in this issue — Dana Cypress is trying to hide the fact that she took a shotgun blast in the back during her secret investigation. Her son Cooper is being stalked by a ghost. Dana’s dad, the sheriff, is heading toward a major confrontation with the local anti-government nut. Her sister Em, a reviver, is starting to have serious trouble keeping her blood inside her body. Lester Majak loses his dog. And we learn a bit more about the mysterious disfigured assassin of the last few issues.

Verdict: Thumbs up. An outstanding story, fantastic artwork, some really excellent stretches of dialogue, and a constant increase in the tension. This is such a glorious series — I hope y’all sre enjoying it as much as I am.


Day Men #3

David Reid is a day man — a mortal tasked with serving the needs of the Virgos, a family of vampires, during the day when they can’t leave their coffins. The Virgos have found themselves at war with a rival clan of vamps called the Ramses, and David was tasked to protect Calista, one of the Virgos in charge of a facility in Vermont. But things don’t go well — a squad of vampires assault the house, led by the Ramses’ day man, Jacob the Burner, and David is narrowly pulled to safety by a girl named Lera, one of Calista’s off-the-books staff — who’s been assisting her boss in a particularly unsavory activity called the Fang Trade, which appears to involve pulling the fangs from large numbers of other vampires.

Word gets out that the Virgos are involved in the Fang Trade, and the rest of vampire society cuts them off. David helps Lera escape the vampires’ wrath before he goes to warn the Virgos about what’s going on. They’re not real happy to see him — and they’d be even less happy if they knew they had enemies working against them they don’t even suspect…

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a good action-packed story with lots of great art. But I do wish they’d define some of their terms. What exactly is the Fang Trade? What’s an unregistered I.T.K.? I don’t think these have been defined previously — and even if they had, this series only comes out every few months, and I can’t necessarily remember all the little minutiae of issues that came out six months ago or more…

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Friday Night Fights: King Cobra!

Well, it’s time for another prize fight round of Friday Night Fights — whichever battle gets the most votes wins a prize. And as he always does for prize fights, Spacebooger insists on a theme. This time, the theme is that the loser of each battle gives up before being beaten too badly.

So the fight I picked (and I wouldn’t be too surprised if all the other competitors picked the same fight, because it’s quite good) is from November 2007’s Immortal Iron Fist #9 by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Scott Koblish, in which Daniel Rand takes on the boisterous Fat Cobra in combat.




Now hopefully, y’all are all gonna go vote for me, so maybe I’ll get a chance at some of Fat Cobra’s Victory Wenches…

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When the Going Gets Weird, the Weird Turn Pro


Moon Knight #1

A new start for the Moon Knight, with Warren Ellis at the helm. After a few fairly lengthy recountings of his origin — mercenary Marc Spector killed in Egypt, resurrected by the god Khonshu, and driven insane by Dissociative Identity Disorder — we get into the meat of the story. The Moon Knight is back in New York City, riding in a fancy robot limousine and wearing a custom white suit. He works now as a consultant for the police, who call him “Mr. Knight” — because if they refer to him as Moon Knight, they acknowledge that he’s a crazed vigilante and would have to take him to jail.

The cops are investigating a number of slasher murders in which someone hunts down particularly fit individuals, ambushes them, stabs them to death, and steals parts of their bodies. Spector lists off his deductions about the killer, then travels into the sewers alone to bring him to justice. But what chance does a lone nutbag have against the powerful slasher? And just how crazy is Moon Knight anyway? The answer may surprise you…

Verdict: Thumbs up. The dialogue is, for the most part, wonderful. Characterization is very interesting. Not a lot of action, but what we get is wonderfully effective. The reimagining of Moon Knight’s background and mental state is excellent. I’ve never been able to get into Moon Knight much — his insanity seemed to be something that everyone took for granted, with little real storytelling impact. What we get in the end is much stranger than we were probably expecting, and a great deal more interesting than any run-of-the-mill insanity. And it’s particularly interesting that this is one of the few Warren Ellis books I’ve read where the unstoppably badass protagonist is not a craggy, cranky Brit — that alone makes it more interesting to me…


Veil #1

And here’s another debut — a new comic written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by Toni Fejzula. Our lead character is a woman who suddenly awakens, nude, in the subway, attended by rats and with little real memory of her past. In fact, she seems to be working hard on relearning language and tends to speak in rhyme. Her appearance out of the subway causes a considerable stir — a bunch of hoodlums decide they want to do some typically unspeakable things to the naked crazy girl. She encounters a protector, Dante, who takes her to his apartment to get her some clothes. But the hoodlums don’t give up that easy and come looking for payback. Unfortunately for them, Veil has some very unexpected abilities.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A weird, wonderful read, with trippy, sing-song dialogue and remarkable stylized painted illustrations. This one was the talk of the local comic shop — the owners loved the stuffings out of it, sold out much faster than expected, and had already ordered more copies. Expect this one to fly, people.


Loki: Agent of Asgard #2

Argh, I totally missed out on the first issue — it disappeared fast, and no new copies came in over the last month, so I’m picking up the backstory from the title page blurb. Loki wants his Asgardian crimes expunged from his record, so he’s undertaking missions from the All-Mother — for every mission he completes, she erases some of his misdoings.

Loki’s new mission is to find the goddess Lorelei. We learn how he was assigned this quest — the All-Mother appeared to him in a bowl of punch — and we follow him as he tracks Lorelei while she robs a casino. So where is Lorelei hiding, and who is the mysterious redhead Loki’s spending time with at a speed-dating session in New York?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a very funny, very clever comic — just like we’d expect for the God of Trickery — with lots of wonderful dialogue and a very smart heist scene starring Lorelei and her cohorts.

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Code Monkey Like You, You Like Code Monkey


Code Monkey Save World

So there’s these two dudes, Greg Pak and Jonathan Coulton. Pak is a comic book writer, and he’s written awesome stuff like Planet Hulk, World War Hulk, Hercules, and lots of other stuff. Coulton is basically the Internet’s Favorite Musician, and he written lots of cool, geeky, tuneful songs, like “Re: Your Brains,” “Skullcrusher Mountain,” “Code Monkey,” “Still Alive,” and tons more. And a while back, Pak mentioned to Coulton on Twitter that he could probably write a comic book filled with the characters from Coulton’s songs. Coulton said go for it, and Kickstarter said yes, please, here’s some money, and here we are now.

So basically, we’ve got Charles, the lovestruck Code Monkey. We’ve got the robot invasion forces of Chiron Beta Prime, who kidnap Charles’ love interest Matilde. We’ve got sad-sack supervillain Skullcrusher, driven by jealousy and unrequited love. We’ve got Jorgensen, a champion curler who works for the government. We’ve got Villainy Affiliated, LLC — Zombie Bob, Creepy Doll, and Architeuthis, the giant squid. Can Charles save Matilde? Will Earth fall to Chiron Beta Prime? Can anyone stop the zombie apocalypse?

Verdict: Thumbs up. For a story based around a bunch of fairly goofy sci-fi songs, the plot holds together very well. It’s basically about a couple of guys in love with women who are hopelessly out of their league — and it’s about a couple women learning they’re good enough to take on the world and win.

The characters are insanely fun, at least partly because they’re so wonderfully created. The personalities and characterization are really strong and in many cases, actually end up being pretty consistent with Coulton’s songs, too. Not in all cases — Skullcrusher is less competent, and his love Laura is the exact opposite of a damsel in distress — but the story is a lot more fun this way.

And big ups to the third major creator in this musical comic cake (It’s so delicious and moist), Takeshi Miyazawa, whose artwork is the perfect blend of funny cartoons, action adventure, and emotional heart-tugging.

This is available digitally or you can try to find the print collection — which may mostly be available for Kickstarter backers, but ya never know. Maybe it’ll be available in stores in the future soon.

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The Lady or the Tiger?


Mighty Avengers #7

So a while back, Gideon Mace, one of Luke Cage’s old villains, killed Ava Ayala’s parents. Since becoming the White Tiger, Ava has at least been happy that Mace was in prison — but she’s just learned that he’s out of jail and sponsoring terrorist arsonists. She doesn’t react well to that — in fact, she gives the tiger god that grants her powers permission to run wild in her body and hunt Mace down. The problem for the Avengers now is not just how to keep Mace alive, but how to keep a White Tiger with godlike abilities and utterly savage efficiency from killing all of them.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Once again, no Greg Land art to screw this all up! Valerio Schiti’s art is kinetic and fun and action-packed and personable — everything that Land could never be. Al Ewing’s writing is great, too. It’s kinda fun to see Ava mop the floor with her teammates, and the ending boosts the stakes for the whole team going forward.


The Manhattan Projects #18

Much of this issue focuses on the battle between the blue alien hippie monster and the maniacal General Westmoreland. And Dr. Oppenheimer offers his prisoners a chance at salvation — all they have to do is betray their colleagues and work for him. Will any of them side with him? Heck, knowing this bunch, will all of them side with him? And who’s going to end up running the Manhattan Projects?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Action-packed and bizarre and hilarious. And game-changing on several different levels. Is Westmoreland the hero now? Is Einstein the villain? And what’s gonna happen to Oppenheimer now?

Today’s Cool Links:

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