Archive for Lazarus

Daredevil in the Details


Daredevil #18

Last issue, the Kingpin had Ikari attack Daredevil, but warned Matt that if he beat Ikari, he’d kill either Foggy Nelson or Kirsten McDuffie. And then the Shroud went and screwed everything up by killing Ikari. Now Matt has to masquerade as Ikari and hope Fisk doesn’t figure out the switch too quickly. Will Matt be able to beat the Kingpin? The Shroud? The Owl? Will he manage to get his autobiography published after all this time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent story and art — and the one downside is that this is the final issue of this book for writer Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, who’ve enjoyed one of the greatest runs that this character has ever enjoyed.


Silver Surfer #14

The almost-certainly-sinister Glorian and Zee offer Norrin Radd and Dawn Greenwood the opportunity to remake the universe — Dawn will be in charge of re-creating the Earth from scratch, while the Surfer is going to handle the rest of the universe. But they run into some challenges — Dawn hasn’t seen enough of the world to be able to remake it, and the Surfer is reluctant to remake the galaxy’s greatest threats, like Galactus. Can they find a way to succeed, or are they merely the pawns of more devious powers?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a fun story, and I’m really eager to see how this is all going to play out. I’m assuming we’re heading for the cancellation/relaunch all the other Marvel books are doing, but it’s hard to tell at this point.


Lazarus #19

Last issue, Forever Carlyle, the Lazarus of the Family Carlyle, able to regenerate from any wound, got shot in the head by one of Hock’s soldiers — and she’s not recovering from this injury. Her family is in a panic, the soldiers accompanying her are in a panic. This could give Hock a decisive victory over the Carlyles, and her squad is very likely to get killed by Hock’s soldiers. Is this really the end of Eve Carlyle? Oh, you can expect it actually isn’t…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nicely suspenseful sci-fi. Sure, we’re all pretty sure Eve isn’t done for, but it sure takes her a frighteningly long time to get back on her feet. And the family’s schemes and machinations behind the scenes are also pretty wonderfully done.

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Better Red than Dead


Daredevil #17

The Kingpin has double-crossed Matt Murdock pretty hard. He’s had Ikari, the assassin with all of Daredevil’s fighting skills and enhanced senses — plus the ability to see — to kidnap Foggy Nelson and Kirsten McDuffie. He wants Matt to fight Ikari — and if Matt wins, he’s going to kill either Foggy or Kirsten. Can Matt devise a plan to save both his friends? And can that plan survive when the always-meddling Shroud decides he wants to help?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great art, great story and cliffhanger. Great to see Ikari and the Kingpin here up to their old rotten tricks.


Red Sonja #17

Sonja is hired by a group of nuns to protect their citadel, a gigantic library that the local empress wants destroyed, mostly for the sake of evil. But there’s a problem — Sonja never learned to read, doesn’t value books, and is unwilling to risk her neck just for a bunch of paper. But she later has a change of heart and returns in time to run off the soldiers of the empire — but not before they inflict a possibly fatal wound on the nuns’ leader and attracts the wrath of the corrupt empress herself.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’d been worried that Gail Simone was off this comic, but yay, she’s still writing it! Characterization and humor are still strong points of this series, along with the ridiculous depravity of the villains.


Lazarus #18

Forever Carlyle, the genetically engineered Lazarus of the Family Carlyle, is leading a small strikeforce into the disputed territory between the Families Carlyle and Hock in Duluth. Meanwhile, plenty of inter-family politicking and squabbling is going on back home as the siblings try to get their father healed — or decide who will lead the family next. And the campaign in Duluth is going fairly well — except for one fairly severe security slip-up…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Quite a cliffhanger at the end there!

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Stuck in the Lockup


Revival #30

Things have gone nuts Wausau, Wisconsin. Edmund Holt, a wingnut terrorist wannabe, got the reviver wife of the town mayor to sew a bomb inside her and set it off during a press conference, killing several people, including the mayor. Now a military governor, General Louise Cale, has been assigned to the town. Meanwhile, Blaine Abel, nutbag exorcist wannabe, killed reporter May Tao because he thought she was allied with the Devil — Blaine has now joined up with a bunch of religious hipster survivalists called the Hunters of the Beast as they hide in the woods and plan various attacks. Most of the revivers are being held prisoner in a military facility. The Cypress family is trying to recover from the various traumas, while the government prepares a raid on the Hunters of the Beast.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice story, and a nice summary of the new status quo in Wausau. As always, things will get worse before they get better (if they ever get better — this is a “rural noir,” after all, and things don’t often improve in noir), and it’s very unlikely they’ll introduce the Hunters and then squash them in the next issue…


All Star Section Eight #1

Many moons ago, in the storied pages of “Hitman,” Garth Ennis and John McCrea created Section Eight, a superteam of crazy people — Sixpack, the Defenestrator, Jean de Baton, Flemgem, Bueno Excellente, Friendly Fire, Shakes, and Dogwelder. But most of them died years ago, leaving Sixpack and Bueno Excellente as the lone survivors. Sixpack has built a career as a successful art critic, but when he finally falls off the wagon, he finds himself back in Noonan’s Bar, convinced there’s a new threat on the horizon and trying to put the old team back together. He recruits a new batch of no-hopers — Powertool, the Grapplah!, Guts, a new Dogwelder, and demonic bartender Baytor. But that’s just seven — who can he get for the eighth member? Well, hey, they’re in Gotham — why not see if Batman will join up?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is pretty glorious superhero parody. Sixpack and Section Eight are plenty fun, and I’m really glad that we’ll get to see more of Baytor, who is one of my favorite gag characters ever. McCrea’s Batman-through-the-Ages poses are outstanding, and Ennis’s skewering of the Dark Knight is great, too.


Lazarus #17

The new war between the Families Carlyle and Hock isn’t going well for the Carlyles. It doesn’t help that Malcolm Carlyle has been poisoned, and his son Stephen is not entirely up to the job yet. So Forever is going to have to lead a small squad of soldiers into enemy territory to help take some of their territory back from Hock.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice combination of action and intrigue — for once, someone other than Forever getting into the action.

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Bullet Points


Lazarus #16

This issue follows Sister Bernard, a nun and doctor — and spy for the Carlyle family. And she’s being sent into territory governed by the noxious dictator Jakob Hock, on an errand to find and retrieve one person, Victoria Aguillar, who has important information. When she finally meets up with her, Aguillar reveals that Dr. Hock has re-engineered a catastrophic plague to make it even more deadly — and he’s infected Aguillar with it. But when Hock’s troops show up, will Sister Bernard be able to get her charge to safety — or is there anywhere safe for either of them?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent story, with a ton of unusual graphics — lots of digital, computer-based imagery, to illustrate the espionage work that Sister Bernard is doing. The cliffhanger is excellent, too.


Revival #29

Rotten teabagging terrorist-wannabe Edmund Holt finally quits being a wannabe, and his scheme involves the mayor, the mayor’s wife, and a bomb. And demon-obsessed Blaine finally loses his mind and goes after May Tao.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots and lots of stuff going on in this story, and I can’t tell it all, ’cause it’s all go good. Y’all been reading this series, right? ‘Cause it’s too good for you to miss out on.

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Masters and Puppets


Multiversity: Mastermen #1

Welcome to Earth-10. After the Nazis discover a crashed alien ship with a tiny superstrong baby inside, they raise him to be a good National Socialist, and he helps Germany conquer the world in 1956. Sixty years later, the Kryptonian called Overman is still alive, but his cousin Overgirl is dead, he’s having nightmares about a mad haunted house stalking him, his wife hates him, and he’s having terrible regrets about the extremes Hitler’s madness took him to. And his fellow members of the New Reichsmen, including Leatherwing, Brunnhilde, Lightning, and Underwaterman, don’t care about the bodies their empire was built on. But a group of super-powered terrorists, brought together from groups persecuted by the Nazis, are calling themselves the Freedom Fighters, and they intend to bring the Nazi utopia crashing back to Earth.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The corrupted versions of the Justice League are appropriately dislikable, with the exception of Overman — while Superman has normally been the moral center of the Justice League, I’m not sure that a Superman raised from infancy as a Nazi would have much of a moral center left. Still, it all seems to work. I also love the revised version of the Freedom Fighters — these are people who you could make a very enjoyable comic about. And while I’ve mostly gotten tired of the rigid, scowling formalism of Jim Lee and Scott Williams’ artwork, it does seem an appropriate style for a story about Nazi supermen.


Bitch Planet #3

I wasn’t sure about this going in — a full-issue focus on Penny Rolle didn’t interest me a lot because she seemed like such a complete stereotype — the fat, angry, black woman. But this was a lot better than I’d anticipated. We get a short history of Penny, from her childhood. She was taken from her loving grandmother’s home at a young age, mostly because her mother was considered unstable. She was abused in school by her whiter, more fashionable, more authority-worshipping teachers and fellow students. And later, running a muffin shop, when the irritations of Fox News bimbos, racist douchebags, dieting anorexics, and an autocratic society finally push her over the edge.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Again, loved this a lot more than I was expecting. Best thing about it is how just plain decent Penny is. Yes, she’s angry and violent, but she’s angry about the right things, and she’s violent with the right people. She’s not abusive, she’s kind to those who need it, and she’s proud of who she is. I want a whole comic series just about Penny now.


Lazarus #15

The thoroughly rotten Jakob Hock has chosen another family’s Lazarus, Sonja Bittner, as his champion — because he knows she and Forever Carlyle are friends, and he wants to twist the knife. And for the sake of added cruelty, he demands that if Sonja wins, he gets Forever for his own, dead or alive. The battle is bloody and frantic — and Hock has even more plans for evil, whether he wins or loses.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Most of it is a long fight scene, but it’s an excellent fight, and at the end, the Carlyle family is in pretty deep trouble. Gonna be interesting to see what happens next…

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Everyone Needs a Friend


Shutter #8

Kate Kristopher and her recently-discovered half-brother Chris have been captured by one of her other previously-unknown siblings, the vengeful Kalliyan, who takes them both to her home in Cambodia. Chris is making new friends, and he’s being treated a great deal better than Kate, who Kalliyan appears to blame for a lot of her misfortunes over the years. Meanwhile, Alarm Cat recently lost his head. He’s still functional, but he’s settling into a bout of serious depression. Can Chris help him recover?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It was all fine, but I found myself a lot more interested in the backstory of Alarm Cat (told through a bunch of excellently created comic strip knockoffs) and his struggles with the loss of his head.


Rat Queens Special: Braga #1

We get a story fully focused on the one-eyed orc princess Braga and her history — she started out as Broog, the son of an orc chieftan, and the mightiest orc warrior around. But he was less interested in battle and more in pushing orc society higher — and that meant education, less slavery, and a lot less war. But his father wasn’t happy with that, and his younger brother saw a way to advance his own cause. What finally pushed Broog out of his tribe and deprived him of the people he loved?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A very cool story and great art, along with an unexpected story about a character we never knew was transgender ’til now. There’s action and intrigue and humor and smart dialogue and characterization and even a little sex. Worth picking up if you love the Rat Queens characters.


Lazarus #14

Forever Carlyle has been sent to kidnap her traitorous brother Jonah from the diabolical Jakob Hock — and then to kill him, while making it look like Hock did the deed himself. But Forever isn’t so keen on blindly following every order her father gives her anymore. So she helps Jonah escape — in a desperately risky way that makes it look like he’s dead. But they’ve gotten away with it — everyone thinks Hock had Jonah killed. But Hock has his allies among the families, and he’s going to order one of their Lazarii to fight Forever to the death.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic story and artwork, with lots of action, claustrophobic intrigue, devilish double-dealing. Jakob Hock is a desperately awful villain, and I hope he gets what’s coming to him.


Silver Surfer #8

Norrin gives Dawn Greenwood a chance to drive his board, and her entirely unpredictable surfing style accidentally leads them to a world the Surfer has never seen before — Newhaven, where the entire population is composed of the sole survivors of lost alien races — in fact, they’re all from worlds devoured by Galactus! And when they learn that Norrin is really the Silver Surfer, Herald of Galactus, they reveal to Dawn his history helping to slaughter entire worlds. Is this the end of their budding relationship? And is it the beginning of a new rampage by the Devourer of Worlds?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent story and art — though I do wonder how Dawn never managed to hear about who Galactus was…

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Midnight Madness


Gotham by Midnight #1

Here’s a new series from the Bat side of things, focusing more on the supernatural horror side of Gotham City. Our main characters are the staff at Precinct Thirteen, the Midnight Shift, operating out of a junked-out office building somewhere in Gotham. Some of them are cops, some of them are civilian consultants, including a forensics specialist and a nun — and one of them is Jim Corrigan, who is better known as the Spectre. New on the scene is Sergeant Rook, from Internal Affairs, who plans to get the precinct shut down as an obvious waste of money.

The team gets a case, the aftermath of a recent kidnapping. The Attwood girls were supposedly runaways who returned home a week ago — but the girls are now speaking in an unknown language, and they don’t seem to recognize their parents anymore. But Corrigan determines there may be a connection to the notorious Slaughter Swamp, and he takes Rook with him to check it out. And of course, what they find is definitely not good news.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nicely weird, claustrophobic story by Ray Fawkes, and wonderfully offbeat art by Ben Templesmith. It’s got a great creepy vibe, and I hope they keep that part of it running full blast.


Lazarus #13

As the Conclave between all the Families continues, it becomes more clear that the Lazarii are by far the most interesting people on board, as well as, for the most part, the most decent. It’s also clear, unfortunately, that if the Families order them to fight, they’ll all try to kill each other — and that at some point, they’re all definitely going to try to kill each other.

At any rate, Forever attends a poker game between all the Lazarii, and we get to meet a lot of really interesting people having a lot of fun, and a couple who are too cranky to have any fun at all. Forever gets to make some time for romance with Joacquim, but the fun times stop pretty quickly when the Families determine that Hock’s drugs are at least partly based on the Carlyles work. So Forever’s father has an assignment for her, and it involves her kidnapped brother.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is worth it entirely for the interactions between Forever and the other Lazarii. I know Rucka is setting us up to see a lot of them get killed, but there’s no question that it’s wonderful fun to watch them play cards together.


The Manhattan Projects #25

In what may be the last issue of the series, LBJ is sworn in as president, and he, Groves, and Westmoreland make their plans to take over the world; Feynman, Einstein, and Einstein continue their explorations of other dimensions; the Soviets work on their bizarre alien schemes; Von Braun is captured by aliens; and Gagarin may finally be reuinited with the transmogrified Laika.

Verdict: Thumbs up, I think. I don’t like the idea of this series going away, but they say it’ll be back somehow — and for now, what we have is a good way to leave the characters, all scheming, all discovering…

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Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door


The Wicked + the Divine #5

Lucifer has strolled out of jail and is casually blowing away any cops who come after her. Laura is desperate to help her before she gets into even worse trouble, but the rest of the gods aren’t very patient — Baal comes in swinging his fists and lightning bolts, and Sakhmet isn’t far behind. Laura runs for the Underground and summons the Morrigan, and they’re able to get Luci to safety. She agrees to go into hiding with the Morrigan — but the gods are wrathful and cruel, and they refuse to be denied.

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, it’s beautifully illustrated and pretty damn beautifully written, too. And while it’s really nice to see the godheads cut loose with their powers, the whole issue is also a serious gut-punch. It’ll be very interesting to see what we’ll see happen next.


Lazarus #12

A Conclave has been called, and all the Families are gathering at a platform in the North Sea owned by the Armitage family. The Carlyles don’t have much to look forward to on this trip but serious politicking — Jakob Hock has their traitorous brother Jonah and has been torturing him. He hates the Carlyles to an insane degree, and the family is concerned that if he’s discovered something called the Longevity Code in their DNA, he could use his knowledge to get all the other Families on his side. Forever gets to meet up and spar with the other Families’ Lazari, and then it’s time for the Grand Ball, and Forever and Joacquim Morray put on a wonderful demonstration on the dance floor. And then Jakob Hock shows up with a surprise for everyone.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice to meet some of the other Families, and especially their Lazari, who always seem to be the most interesting members of the entourages. All the talk of politics might normally seem a little dry, but Rucka makes it all entirely fascinating.

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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.

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The Knight Triumphant


Moon Knight #6

I’m basically counting this as the last issue of this series. Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey were only on board for these six issues, and there ain’t no way I’m going to read anything by Brian Wood. So this is it, as far as I’m concerned.

We start out with a short flashback to the very first issue. The NYPD is letting “Mister Knight” take care of a serial killer for them, and after Moon Knight leaves the scene, one of the cops complains about him getting special favors. One of the detectives on the scene tells the street cop to shaddap because he’s a nonentity who’ll never amount to anything. And it turns out this cop, Ryan Trent, has heard this same thing his entire life — and this time, he reacts by getting obsessed with Moon Knight and deciding he’ll become the new Black Spectre, one of Marc Spector’s old villains, so he can kill Moon Knight and take his place. He impersonates a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, practices his dart-throwing skills, kills his girlfriend, and starts rigging up IEDs so he can lure Moon Knight to his death. Can he succeed where everyone else has failed?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This has been such a great series. It’s weird to have so much emphasis on the wannabe supervillain in the final issue, but most of it is designed to emphasize Marc Spector’s strengths by playing them against Ryan Trent’s mental and emotional weaknesses. And whenever Moon Knight finally makes it to the scene, he’s dominant, both physically and graphically. What starts out as a study of Ryan Trent’s darkness ends up playing up the Moon Knight’s strengths through fire and blaringly white cloth. It’s beautiful, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the series as much as I have.


Lazarus #10

Jonah Carlyle thought he could betray his family and win, and when it turned out he couldn’t win, he decided he’d be able to defect to one of the Carlyle’s enemies and win anyway. So he heads for the territory of Jakob Hock, east of the Mississippi into New York City. He expects to be greeted as aristocracy. But Hock territory makes the Carlyle family holdings look like a utopia. In Manhattan, everyone is dirt-poor, propaganda, lies, and drugs are fed to the populace to keep them docile, the police are brutal and murderous, and Jonah Carlyle’s only purpose is to be tortured to harm the rest of his family.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Jonah Carlyle has been a completely unsympathetic douche, and the Carlyle family in general are autocrats. But Hock is running a North Korea-style dictatorship, and what he does to Jonah will make you feel sorry for him, even as you think that the spoiled brat is getting just what he deserves.


Black Widow #9

Natasha invades a ship which she suspects contains information she needs, but she gets on the bad side of Crossbones — at least until the Punisher shows up to save her. He’s planted bombs all over the ship to sink it, so she has only three minutes to search it, avoid hit squads, and find some sort of information she can use.

Verdict: Thumbs down. It just wasn’t particularly interesting, sorry. Great artwork, but an almost entirely forgettable story.

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