Archive for Ghosted

Dead to Rights


Ghosted #20

Well, Jackson Winters is finally dead as a doornail. And Markus Schrecken forces Nina Bloodcrow to read from her blasphemous Book of the Dead, which turns her into a demonic monster and summons Death itself, so Markus can finally take the secrets of death for himself. Is there anyone left who can save the world?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Oh, I know, another really short description, ’cause there’s a nice twist early on, and then lots of excellent stuff that I don’t want to spoil. But the series ends absolutely wonderfully. It’s been a very fun story — and we close with a nice note from series creator Josh Williamson.


Daredevil #15.1

We get a pair of stories from Daredevil’s past in this issue. First, we learn how Matt Murdock learned how to reconcile apprehending criminals as Daredevil with defending them in court as an attorney. Essentially, he got assigned to the case by his old law firm when he was just a junior attorney and ordered to knuckle down and act like a real lawyer — figure out how to defend him no matter how you felt about him. In the second story, we learn about a time when Daredevil took on the extremely low-rent villain Diablo — and learned he’d actually figured out a way to make himself a threat, thanks to a street drug that painfully boosted all of his senses.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Two nice stories, excellent writing and art — it’s just an all-around cool comic, and if you’re not reading this series yet, it’s alright as a jumping-on point.


Convergence: The New Teen Titans #2

It’s the classic Teen Titans vs. the Tangent Universe’s Doom Patrol, with Cyborg’s life on the line — not to mention the fate of at least one universe.

The backup story is the first glimpse we get of the new “Robin: Son of Batman” series.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Loved Nicola Scott’s artwork, but I just couldn’t get into the story.

Today’s Cool Links:

Comments off

Beyond Belief


Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #7

Monica Rambeau is heading after Jason Quantrell, CEO of Cortex and agent of the Beyond Corporation. Spider-Man, the Blue Marvel, and Dr. Positron are trying to work out a way to beat Quantrell on their own. And Captain America is on his own against a half-dozen monsterized superheroes and villains, including several of his teammates — and if he gets so much as a scratch from them, he’ll turn into a monster, too. Can Cap escape being shredded? Can Monica handle the hallucinations Quantrell throws at her? Can anything throw the Beyond Corporation back out beyond the beyond?

Verdict: Thumbs up — most especially for the “Kick ‘Splode” title of this issue. But I really, really do wish they’d figured out a way to get the rest of Nextwave into this issue.


Ghosted #19

Markus Schrecken is dragging Jackson Winters and Nina Bloodcrow into the Land of the Dead so he can take control of death itself. He’s left Oliver King and Edzia Rusnak as captives of the Maestro. Sschrecken’s plan is to lure Death in by murdering Winters and then have Bloodcrow read a spell to bind and control Death. Can Jackson survive long enough to stop Markus’s plans?

Verdict: Thumbs down. Even with the big shocker ending, I just didn’t think it was all that exciting or scary.

Today’s Cool Links:

Comments off

Crackerjack Cracks


Astro City #21

Crackerjack has been taken captive by a high tech criminal organization known as the Black Lab, run by a computerized villain called Gormenghast. Quarrel, along with the rest of Honor Guard, invades their undersea base, only to discover that the Black Lab has cloned Crackerjack to create a small army of soldiers. Once they’re dispatched, they find Crackerjack in the facility’s garbage dump, gravely injured. They’re able to save his life, but while he’s recovering, Quarrel goes off to meet with her father, the first Quarrel, a long retired supervillain. She also gets to try out her newly designed powered armor, designed to let her continue fighting crime as she gets older. So what does the future hold for Quarrel and Crackerjack?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This has been a great story. It’s been hard to see some of our old favorites getting older — Crackerjack has been an important supporting character in this comic almost from the very beginning — so the stoy has been a little bittersweet. But it’s interesting to hear that Samaritan thinks he can do something to keep his friends from getting older…


Spider-Gwen #2

Spider-Woman managed to escape certain death via high-altitude plummeting, thanks to some clever spider-improvisation — but now she’s hallucinating Peter Porker, the Amazing Spider-Ham. Meanwhile, her father, Captain George Stacy, is trying to wrangle Captain Frank Castle and Detective Jean DeWolff, who are responsible to tracking down and arresting Spider-Woman. Their interview with the imprisoned Wilson Fisk goes nowhere, and his pet lawyer Matt Murdock orders the Vulture to find Spider-Woman or die.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fun storytelling and art. It’s also great to see how all these supporting characters from the Spider-Man comics are re-imagined for this alternate universe. I also kinda like the Amazing Spider-Ham hanging out in Gwen’s subconscious. And there are some great details hidden in the background, too — did you know this world’s Felicia Hardy is leading a band called the Black Cats?


Ms. Marvel #13

Kamala’s family are having some visitors — some old friends who moved away years ago. Her parents would sorta like to set her up with their son, Kamran, who Kamala remembers as a nose-picking little twerp. But he’s grown into an extremly good-looking overachiever — who also shares most of Kamala’s geeky interests. Kamala quickly suggests they go shopping for Bollywood DVDs, with her big brother Aamir tagging along as a chaperone. And of course, once they’re out, a supervillain shows up — an electro-blasting anarchist who calls herself Kaboom. Will Kamala be able to defeat her? Will she learn anymore valuable lessons about superheroing? And what unexpected secrets are lurking around the corner?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic story — it’s always fun to see more about Kamala’s family life. Really, the Khans are just fantastically fun people to read about. Kamran is looking like a very interesting character, too. Gotta give props to guest artist Takeshi Miyazawa, whose style is a bit more cartoony than we’re used to on this book, but still really cool.


Ghosted #18

Jackson Winters, Oliver King, and Nina Bloodcrow have been betrayed by the ghostly Anderson, giving Markus Schrecken and the Maestro (along with the kidnapped Edzia Rusnak) enough control over the lot of them to dictate their future plans for the heist. Markus wants to enter the spirit plane and steal Death itself. But to do so, they all have to get through the ghost town Markus created — eyes shut so the ghosts won’t attack them, all while being assaulted by their worst fears. Can they run the gauntlet without losing any members of their team?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Spooky and fun, with some nicely tense moments and well-done characterization.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Is there just something about actors who play superheroes in movies that makes them all incredibly awesome people?
  • This “Microscope” RPG — which lets players create thousands of years of history for any fictional reality — sounds very, very cool.
  • It’s a very long read, but I think you’ll be very, very interested in this true story about a luxury liner, its suspiciously dead captain, its suspicious inferno, and the secret madman who might’ve been behind it all.

Comments off

Behind the Mask


Shutter #9

Kate Kristopher has met way too many siblings lately, and her newest one, Kalliyan, wants her to activate a mystic gate to a strange alternate world called Prospero. Only Kate — or her younger brother, Chris — can open the gate, and Kalliyan plans to take an armed expedition across to get what she wants from them. Kate has some other ideas, though, which Kalliyan may not like very much.

Verdict: Thumbs up, but I got a lot more enjoyment out of the prequel with the Prospero Society in 1889 Paris. It had all the weirdness and menace that the current storyline is presently lacking.


Ghosted #17

Jackson Winters and his team of ghost hunters use a “white room” to travel to the scene of the German wedding massacre from last issue. But they find Markus Schrecken and the Maestro waiting for them, along with a captive Edzia Rusnak and a bunch of angry ghosts. He wants to force Jackson to steal death itself for him — and some more betrayals from his own team puts Jackson in deep trouble on this one.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Also not as good as some previous issues have been, but you gotta give this one some points for the backstabbing and scheming going on here — it’s just a perfect synthesis of heist-caper shenanigans.


Southern Bastards #7

We continue with the backstory of Euless Boss, current crime boss and coach of the Runnin’ Rebs, back when he was just a lowly high school student desperate to play for the team. Last issue, a lowlife shot Euless in the foot, keeping him from finally getting to play for the Rebs. He slowly recovers, throws his thuggish father out of his life, and makes it back onto the field, where he’s a superstar player, getting all the big hits and never quitting, even when his leg’s broken on the field. But he’s still not getting any offers from any college teams — his only way out of the hell of Craw County, Alabama. Is Euless going to be stuck here forever?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I can barely believe it, but this storyarc is actually making me root for the loathsome Coach Boss. He just can’t seem to catch a break — and I think I’m looking forward to seeing how he’s going to get back at everyone who’s been holding him down.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Here’s a decent sale on a bunch of digital D&D books, from the boxed set all the way to the new fifth edition. Y’all go get your gaming on.
  • Y’all need some keen patriotic slogans? North Korea has got you covered.
  • Really interesting story about some small African villages that are using their mosquito nets for fishing, which puts a crimp on the fight against malaria and may also be harming fishing.

Comments off

Funeral Cake


Ghosted #16

Wealthy old supernatural bastard Markus Schrecken has taken over-her-head medium Edzia Rusnak to a wedding in Italy — two families that have been feuding for generations are finally going to be united by the marriage of two of their children. Unfortunately, Schrecken has arranged for his own choice as minister to take care of the ceremony — the mad cult leader in Mexico who ran the Brotherhood of the Closed Book. And they’ve decided to create their own ghost town — a village where every single resident is ghost they can manipulate.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not a lot for the heroes to do, and lots of opportunity for Schrecken to show off what a scumbag he is, plus a decent twist on the Romeo and Juliet theme, too.


A Voice in the Dark: Get Your Gun #2

Zoey continues building her friendship with Rio, a fellow serial killer, while also effortlessly making it through a police interview as they try to find out who killed noxious sorority girl Mandy Jenkins and her thuggish boyfriend Brock. And Mandy’s father, obsessed with finding the killer himself, might be even worse than anyone else in the cast.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Beautiful art by Larime Taylor, and great writing as well. There are lots of scenes of people sitting around and talking, which is just fine with me, because Taylor does dialogue and characterization very well.


Daredevil #12

The new Stunt-Master has faked the death of the old Stunt-Master, George Smith — and Smith has been forced to dress as the new guy, so he and Daredevil can have a motorcycle race up the cables of the Golden Gate Bridge. When Daredevil rescues George, the new guy tries to run — and Matt pursues him driving a car in city traffic while shifting gears with his feet, punching the gas with his cane, and steering with the hook of his baton! But who’s the secret villain pulling the new Stunt-Master’s strings?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Absolutely fantastic action — maybe one of the best car chases I’ve seen in comics — to go along with Mark Waid’s wonderful writing and Chris Samnee’s outstanding art.

Today’s Cool Links:

Comments off

Which Wytch?


Wytches #2

Sailor Rooks has apparently been attacked in the night by… something. She thinks it was Annie, the bully who vanished while tormenting Sailor, and the bite mark she sustained has now turned into some sort of lump that’s keeping the doctors mystified. The lump leads to a weird emotional trauma during a swim test, and Sailor bugs out of school. She’s seen and followed by her uncle, who’s concerned about her — but there are things in the woods waiting for both of them. Meanwhile, Sailor’s father is attacked by a man in their home, and Sailor’s mother remembers just what caused the car accident that paralyzed her.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Most of the issue is mundane, maybe a little bit creepy. But ye gods, the last five or six pages are one hammer blow of horror after another, most of it rendered mostly obscured so you can’t be entirely sure if what you’re seeing is real or just in the characters’ imaginations. And we’re just into the second issue!


Ghosted #15

Danny Trick, the son of one of Jackson Winters’ oldest friends, is a disturbed necromancer, using his magical ghost candles to control the spirits of the undead. If Jackson won’t agree to commit suicide so Danny can get control of his ghost, he’s going to let his spectral goon squad tear Jackson and Nina apart — unless Jackson’s own spectral guardian, Anderson, can manage to hold them all off. Luckily, Nina has a few hidden talents to help them out — but even if they survive, many of Jackson’s old enemies are uniting to take him on together.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a good story with a nice denoument and a decent cliffhanger. Danny was a pretty good villain, and I’m sorry to see him go — but the way this series goes, death isn’t a guarantee he won’t make a return.


Coffin Hill #13

Doyle, the cop heading up the task force looking for the Ice Fisher serial killer, is himself the Ice Fisher, and he’s captured Eve Coffin, with the intent of either killing her or convincing her to join the serial killer business with him. Can Eve stop him? Can he ever be revealed as the murderer?

Verdict: Thumbs down. This one has just gotten too convoluted, especially with the current storyarc’s flips from the past to the present. I’ve had trouble keeping all the characters defined for the past several issues — and the character who shows up at the cliffhanger is even someone I can’t remember ever being discussed before. So I think I’ll be bidding this series farewell, even though I’m already missing Eve’s creepy-awesome scarred-black eye…

Today’s Cool Links:

Comments off

Season of the Wytch


Wytches #1

Scott Snyder is the best horror writer working in comics right now, and Jock is one of the best at non-traditional, moody, gorgeous artwork. Putting them together on a new horror title this close to Halloween is something I would never have been able to resist.

Meet the Rooks family, new to town after moving when their daughter Sailor was involved in a mysterious disappearance. Dad is a cartoonist, Mom is in a wheelchair, Sailor is a misfit, even without the questions about why a psychotic bully “vanished” right in front of her. And weird things are going on around the family — a deer gets into the house and then dies bloodily in front of them. Something calls to Sailor from the treetops. And there’s a history of horrifying deaths in the area, spanning decades. Something awful is coming for the Rooks…

Verdict: It’s a gloriously creepy first issue, especially with that near-perfect cover. It promises scares bloody, jagged, and over-the-top, as well as quiet, shadowed, and subtle. I’ll be honest — I’d love for this one to go weekly ’til Halloween. It looks like it’s going to give me exactly the kind of horror I enjoy the most.


Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1

Archie Comics is really embracing their new horror comics more enthusiastically than I would’ve ever expected. Their new title focuses on the origin of Sabrina Spellman, the Teenage Witch, born the daughter of a warlock and a mortal woman and now living with her witch aunts Hilda and Zelda, along with her talking cat Salem. In the old Archie comics, this was all an occasion for fun, comedy, and romance. It ain’t like that in the new one.

In this issue, mostly set in the late 1950s and 1960s, the Witches Council lobotomizes Sabrina’s mother when she tries to escape with her infant daughter and later turns her father into a tree. Sabrina is placed with her almost entirely evil aunts, and when Sabrina’s classmates express prejudice against half-breed witches, they move to a little town called Greendale. She meets her cousin Ambrose, a spell-casting bad boy with a couple cobras as familiars, and he helps her land a boyfriend, handsome Harvey Kinkle. But there’s trouble outside of town — a pair of foolish witches from Riverdale have called up something they can’t put down again…

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a spooky and funny debut, with all the familiar beats of the old Sabrina comics twisted into black comedy and/or straight horror. The scariest moments come at the very beginning, with Sabrina’s mother and her desperate and doomed flight through the forest, while the funniest comes toward the end, with Betty and Veronica trying to summon a succubus to help them decide who gets Archie…


Ghosted #14

An occult motorcycle gang is gunning for Danny Trick because he’s been using their sacred virgin-blood candles for purposes they don’t approve of. Anderson’s ghost is tearing the bikers apart and freaking out Oliver King. Jackson Winters and Nina Bloodcrow are keeping their wits about them, and it’s not long before the bikers have all been wiped out. Danny takes them to his hideout — and almost immediately betrays them. He’s a secret black magician, and he wants to figure out what Jackson’s connection is to the spirit world. Too bad Jackson has to die to reveal that…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Plenty of action, plenty of style, a juicy betrayal — the series is still running the supernatural heist game hard and very well.


Coffin Hill #12

Another one of Vertigo’s comics where they start the story on the cover. Seems like a decent gimmick, but this one isn’t nearly as eye-catching as the “Astro City” cover was.

Eve Coffin suspects one of her fellow police officers of being the Ice Fisher serial killer, so she prepares a potion called Liar’s Drops, designed to reveal untruths. The two detectives leading the investigation both pass the test — unless one of them is a warlock and able to suppress his reaction to the potion. Meanwhile, in the present, Eve’s boyfriend and his rotten brother are trying to break her out of jail while magical monsters try to kill her.

Verdict: Ehhh. I must say, the identity of the Ice Fisher was the most badly telegraphed reveal I’ve seen in ages. The killer has been all but wearing a sign that reads “I’m the Ice Fisher!” for the last several issues.

Comments off

Pick a Card, Any Card


Ghosted #13

Jackson Winters meets up with the latest member of his team — an old lady with a bunch of voodoo dolls. A little investigating in an unnervingly ghost-filled mental ward leads them on a search for a magic-user’s black market called the Death Card, where they meet up with Danny Trick, the late Trick’s son — and it turns out that Danny is in a heap of trouble of his own.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good, creepy stuff mixed with black humor and crime hijinks. I do wish we had a list of our characters — they’re getting more and more numerous, and it’s harder to keep track of all of them.


Lazarus #11

While Eve Carlyle is about to get some of her more advanced abilities surgically installed, she also begins to question whether she’s actually a Carlyle at all. Meanwhile, Sonja Bittner, the sword-slinging Lazarus for the Family Bittner, comes calling on Carlyle territory — Jakob Hock has Jonah Carlyle and wants to call a Conclave of all the Families to determine whether he’ll be returned.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a wonderfully political issue, with lots of behind-the-scenes negotiation and analysis and scheming. Sonja Bittner is an interesting character — so buttoned-down and controlled that she seems to be more of a robot than a human, at least mentally — an interesting change from Eve, who is also controlled and careful, but also completely human in her thinking.


Coffin Hill #11

This one’s been going on a while, and it’s maybe getting a liiiiittle bit confusing. But basically, in the four-years-ago timeline, Eve Coffin is starting to suspect that the serial killer in Boston may be a police officer, and in the current timeline, Nate’s brother Patrick seems to be a murderous witch-hater — despite using some magic himself.

Verdict: There are some interesting bits here and there — enjoyed the analysis on why the killer might be a cop, liked Patrick’s scary eyeless mentor — but it’s getting to be more and more of a muddle as things go along. This extended timeline split should maybe have been limited to only a few issues instead of a long storyarc.

Today’s Cool Links: 

Comments off

Paint the Town Red


Red Sonja #11

Sonja and her compatriots — some of the greatest artisans and warriors in the world — make short work of a bunch of cutthroats and then move on to the next person they’re supposed to recruit — Plaitius, the world’s greatest soothsayer. But he’s being held captive by a tyrannical and prudish theocrat, and he’s decided to have Plaitius executed. If he recants his prophetic powers, even untruthfully, he’ll be released. But he refuses to do so, convinced that it’s better to die than to renounce his gifts. Is there any way Sonja can rescue him from his well-defended prison?

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, an excellent story and excellent art, and plenty of excellent action.


Ghosted #12

Jackson Winters has been sprung from jail by the feds, and he’s being put on a new team, including former friend and former skeptic Oliver King, Nina Bloodcrow, and a hardass called Agent Creed. They want him to figure out why there’s been an increase in paranormal activity worldwide. They also want him to track down a street magician named Damian Charon, who’s been seen in the vicinity of several hauntings. Jackson recognizes him — he’s actually his late friend Trick’s estranged son, Danny. And it turns he’s running a profitable business creating his own hauntings.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice establishment of the setup for this new storyarc. It’s clear we’ll have lots of conflict on this one — Jackson hates Oliver, Creed hates Jackson, and Danny Trick clearly hates everyone. More ghosty fun incoming.

Comments off

Rocket to Heaven


Rocket Girl #5

The cops are closing in on Dayoung Johansson, but the citizens of 1986 New York help hide her by disguising her with contemporary fashions. Meanwhile, one of the ’86 cops meets up with one of the 2013 Quintum Mechanics security goons — and they’re exactly the same person. But why can’t the future version remember ever meeting himself in the past? Meanwhile, in the futuristic 2013, Quintum Mechanics is making its bid to take over everything by dispanding the Teen Police and ordering a city-wide curfew. Is there going to be a way to disrupt the power play from the past? And what will it mean for the future?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Beautiful art by Amy Reeder and a cool ending (or maybe a sorta-maybe ending) from Brandon Montclare. I absolutely love Reeder’s facial expressions and body language, and I really hope this series will continue.


American Vampire: Second Cycle #3

Pearl’s new refugee recruit, May, is a vampire who’s been vampirized by the Gray Trader, and it’s turned her into a gigantic monster with vampiric mouths opening up all over her body. Pearl and the kids are rescued, barely, by Skinner Sweet, who’s had his own harrowing close encounter with the Trader. And Pearl also encounters her late beloved Henry — but of course, it’s not really Henry — it’s the Trader himself. What does he want? Can anything stop him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Deeply nerve-wracking horror coupled with Rafael Albuquerque’s always-amazing art. Anything that scares the crap out of Skinner Sweet has got to be uncommonly bad news.


Ghosted #10

Nina Blood Crow has been taken over by a monstrous bird spirit and is gonna kill the heck out of everyone except Jackson and Trick, who are going to sneak out — until Trick shames Jackson into trying to make things right. He releases the other possessed women from their prisons and throws the mad cult leader into the fire — but can he stop Nina from killing him? What kind of sacrifice will be made to see everything made right? And what new band of villains has Jackson in their sights now?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice ending to this storyarc — maybe not as much spooky stuff, but plenty of action and betrayals and revelations. And the cliffhanger promises some more wonderful ghosty stuff to come.

Today’s Cool Links:

Comments off