Archive for Buzzard

Buzzard’s Blues

Buzzard #3

The Buzzard is on a quest to find something that is mutating humans into deadly monsters. He’s leading a boy, who was assigned to be his guide because the village he lived in thought he was worthless, and a dancing girl, who the Buzzard rescued from a cult. Buzzard tells the kid why he never smiles — he’s an immortal, he’s seen just about everything, and he never feels awe for anything he sees anymore. The woman flees or is dragged away one night, but Buzzard and the boy eventually find their way to the temple where the giant monster who’s responsible for all of this lives. After telling the boy to hide himself, Buzzard goes into the temple to challenge the beast. But the monster is also immortal and, like Buzzard, tired of living. Will either of them make it out alive, or will both find the death they’ve been looking for?

In the backup story about Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities, Billy and his freak-show cohorts rescue Jeffrey, but are pursued by the witch and her monstrous baby. They make their escape and learn the tragic history behind both of the monsters.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Buzzard’s story is unexpectedly sad and sweet. Strong characterization and dialogue, plus Eric Powell’s always-cool artwork. The backup story was fun, too — and even better, it’s going to be getting its own series soon.

Zatanna #4

While running some shows out of Las Vegas, Zatanna takes out the local version of the Royal Flush Gang — this batch isn’t themed on playing cards but on the Rat Pack. Later, she meets up with a mysterious casino owner, runs into her cousin, Zachary Zatara, who has invited a bunch of people up to her room to party and trash the place, and has a less-than-successful outing against some fire demons.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The rest of the story is fine, but I really enjoyed the Rat Pack-impersonating Royal Flush Gang who take up the first few pages of the story. They’re a surprisingly fun twist, and a natural for Sin City.

The Unwritten #16

Tom Taylor has finally met up with his supposedly-dead father, fantasy novelist Wilson Taylor, while super-assassin Pullman and the great literary conspiracy tries to hunt them all down. Lizzie Hexam, meanwhile, exploring the old Victorian novel where she was apparently born, discovers that you really can’t go home again. Wilson explains a few mysteries to Tom and gives Savoy a story for his paper, but it’s not long before Pullman tracks them down. Will any of them escape alive? And what’s to become of Wilson Taylor’s literary legacy when the awful (and fake) new Tommy Taylor novel is released?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good action, good dialogue and characterization, some mysteries revealed and a few more kicked up in their place. It’s a nice way to end this storyarc — looking forward to seeing what comes next.

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Honest Abe

Abe Sapien: The Abyssal Plain #2

Abe and another B.P.R.D. operative are aboard a small salvage ship that has just recovered a magical helmet called Melchiorre’s Burgonet from a long sunken Soviet submarine. And they soon get an unexpected visitor — the walking corpse of a decades-drowned Russian sailor. Abe soon recognizes him as the sailor he’d found in the submarine chamber holding the helmet — but after decades deep undersea, surface gravity is making him sag and fall apart a lot. And Abe realizes that the zombie isn’t attacking anyone, despite getting shot — he’s only there to guard the helmet. Wrapped around the main story are a couple of smaller stories — a modern-day Soviet sailor who plans to man the underwater salvage suit to recover the helmet for Mother Russia, and in the past, how the Russian sailor aboard the sub was originally assigned to guard the helmet.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Just an excellent story from beginning to end. Amazing (and sometimes very, very gory) artwork by Peter Snejbjerg and great storytelling by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi. Loved the characterization on everyone, particularly the Russian soldiers, who have great motivations and personalities. And we get to see Varvara, the extremely cute/creepy little girl who runs the USSR’s paranormal research and acquisition division. Can we have a whole series focusing on Varvara? She’s awesome.

Buzzard #2

The Buzzard, a friend of the Goon’s who is immortal and subsists on eating dead people, is traveling the rough and scary country in the company of a small boy who has a case of hero worship. He asks Buzzard to teach him how to be an assassin, and Buzzard reacts by forcing the kid to shoot him in the face — it won’t hurt him, and he hopes to dissuade the kid from violence. But it’s a rough, terrifying land, so he agrees to show him how to work a gun. Eventually, they run into a cult preparing to sacrifice a girl, and after they run off the cultists, they’ve got a new traveling companion. In the backup story, “Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and the Pit of Horrors,” Billy and his friends are attacked by a monster-witch who splits in two — the top half can fly, and the bottom half has a mouth where her stomach ought to be. She kidnaps the little boy who was traveling with them, and now Billy is going to have to travel into the witch’s lair to get him out.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Buzzard story is full of moody, eerie fantasy/horror with some nice character work for both the Buzzard and his young friend, and the Billy the Kid story reads like the world’s most insane Western-horror shoot-em-up ever. In both cases, I approve, and I want more.

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Bats and Buzzards

Batman #700

It’s a big anniversary issue of Batman, and Grant Morrison takes over to spin an epic mystery that takes three different Batmen to tell. We start out with Bruce Wayne as Batman and Dick Grayson as a teenaged Robin. They’ve been captured by the Joker, the Riddler, the Scarecrow, Catwoman (wearing her old Silver Age costume), and the Mad Hatter (looking more like the guy played by David Wayne in the old ’60s Batman TV show). The villains have forced a mad-but-not-evil scientist named Professor Carter Nichols to use his time travel technology to send Batman and Robin back and forth through time psychically. And while Joker rants about his special Joker’s Jokebook, plans to send Batman back to the time his parents died, and slash Robin’s face open, Bats finally escapes his bonds and lays the smackdown on everyone.

After that, we jump to today, with Dick Grayson as Batman and Damian Wayne as Robin. They’re investigating the death of Professor Carter Nichols, much older than he should be, and killed with a technologically-advanced laser blast. After laying the traditional black wreath in Crime Alley, knocking some gang members around, making a deal with some of the shady elements of Crime Alley, and eating some pizza, Batman and Robin pay a visit to an underworld auction for one special item.

And then we jump into the future, where Damian Wayne is the Batman. He’s got 20 minutes to keep a toxic rain of Joker Venom from driving everyone in Gotham City insane, rescue a kidnapped child, stop 2-Face-2, and find the Joker’s Jokebook before it falls into the wrong hands.

Verdict: Thumbs way, way, way up. Great writing by Morrison, great art by Tony Daniel, Frank Quitely, Scott Kolins, Andy Kubert, and David Finch, and a ton of really outstanding stuff. Lots of cool moments, too — the Joker smoking the Scarecrow’s fear gas like marijuana, Dick Grayson smiling as he deals with the Crime Alley residents, the creepy future Two-Face, the secret identity of the kidnapped child, and much, much more. If you enjoy Batman stories at all, you’re gonna love this one.

Buzzard #1

The Buzzard is a friend of the Goon — and where the zombies in Lonely Street like to eat people, Buzzard is an immortal who has to eat dead people to survive. After the Zombie Priest was unable to lift the curse on him, Buzzard goes to wandering, crossing somehow from one world to another. He gets himself a zombie horse and saves a town from monsters. And there’s a backup story, too, titled “Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and the Pit of Horrors.” Billy the Kid is one of the main characters, along with a motley band of cowpokes, witches, and monsters. They come across a gypsy camp where all but one man have been slaughtered. They can’t understand anything he says, so he’s unable to tell them about the monster in the forest stalking them all.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Buzzard story is pitch dark, but still good fun. The Billy the Kid story is pretty wild — part Western, part horror story, part just plain weird. Why is Billy the Kid hanging out with a giant monster? Let’s hope we find out…

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