Archive for Nightbreed

Crunch and Munchkin


Munchkin #2

More anthology comedy from the “world” of the Munchkin card game. Spyke and Flower go out seeking adventure and loot, and must contend with harpies, Bigfoot, a dragon, and more — all while mysterious skeletons plot their ultimate downfall. Our second story is a study on what exactly is the terrifying monster known as the Floating Nose.

Verdict: Thumbs up. No serious plotline, but no one plays Munchkin for a serious plotline. You’re in it for jokes, puns, and mayhem, and this has all of that in abundance. And hey, free Munchkin card inside!


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #10

While Lori grows more concerned about her new illness after being turned into a supernatural creature, the rest of the ‘Breed make preparations to travel to their new Midian. Rev. Ashberry adopts Dr. Decker’s mask as his own and sics his pet Berserkers on Boone. Can the rest of the Midianites save Boone? And can Lori hold her own against the Nightbreed’s greatest enemy?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice developments to the story, along with hidden and unexpected depths in Peloquin’s personality. The gore is maybe a bit un-subtle, but that’s a minor criticism for a horror comic.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Everybody say hi to the first winner of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity.
  • So in the comics stores, it’s all dudebro superhero books. In the bookstores, comics focused on women and children audiences dominate. (On the other hand, brick-and-mortar bookstores are dying — but comics stores aren’t all that healthy either…)
  • There’s nothing more thoroughly delightful than hardcore DEA agents getting freaked out about the possibility of stoned bunnies.

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Back to the Breed


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #9

Last issue wrapped up the prequel to the movie as we finished learning the backstories of a select group of the Nightbreed. I expected that the format would continue, and we’d learn more about some of the other characters we hadn’t run into yet, but instead, the creators have jumped to the end of the movie to tell us what happened to Midian’s survivors.

The story starts from the film’s alternate ending, in which Lori kills herself and is then brought back to life by Boone, making her one of the immortal Nightbreed. Now, she’s getting accustomed to her new abilities, but she’s also prone to strange visions and may be under the periodic control of Rev. Ashberry, now at least part Nightbreed himself, but still psychotically dedicated to wiping out all monsters. The rest of the ‘Breed aren’t entirely idle. Otis has written a novel about the Nightbreed, and it’s shot up the bestseller charts, making the survivors rich enough to purchase their new Midian.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not what I was expecting, but a very pleasant surprise. I love the idea of the ‘Breed getting to go out to enjoy Halloween — and I love the way they feel more like an extended family in this issue, even the violent, animalistic Peloquin. There are still plenty of characters I’d like to learn more about — and there’s a good chance we’ll still be able to collect more backstories along the way.


Gotham by Midnight #3

The detectives from Precinct Thirteen are alerted about a little girl in Gotham County Hospital who has a problem with her shadow — namely, her shadow is an infectious smallpox monster with tentacles and fangs that can kill people through their hazmat suits. Luckily, Dr. Tarr has managed to figure out enough of the demons’ language to talk to it. Will that be enough to let the Gotham cops destroy it?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderfully weird art and a surprisingly tense story — a supernatural smallpox outbreak that can infect anyone it can touch and kill them almost instantly makes for a lot of people trying not to be touched by any spooky shadows. Plus we get a little background on Detective Lisa Drake’s past as an undercover cop.


Revival #27

Anti-government wingnut Edmund Holt continues to have his usual terrible luck — as in terrible luck for everyone else, but good luck for him. Dana Cypress planned to confront and maybe kill him for victimizing her son, but he completely accidentally gets the drop on her, takes her into custody, and plans to make her watch — and probably die from — the explosive vengeance he plans against everyone else. Meanwhile, Em Cypress is accompanying Tao and Blaine as they try to find Em’s missing lover — who they don’t actually know has been killed. Blaine tries to swim across a pond around the old mill but gets attacked by a school of reviver piranha. And what new horror do they find inside the mill?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Holy cheese, a spectacularly creepy and suspenseful story, with a few absolute suprises along the way. I really can’t get enough of how well this comic both reinforces and subverts almost every expectation you have for the story.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Does it make a lick of sense for a cartoonist like Molly Crabapple to have an FBI file that’s 7,500 pages long?
  • The Simpsons, pixelated.
  • I like to imagine that all my friends from New England are at least this crazy.
  • I don’t know what’s more horrifying: that teachers in Kermit, Texas suspended a kid for bringing a pretend ring to school, that they suspended him for bringing a science book to school that mentioned pregnancy, or that they might just be weird resentful freaks trying to make a nine-year-old kid’s life hell.

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Breed and Circuses


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #8

Lylesberg’s attempt to learn Boone’s story gets him a lot more detail than he was expecting — Boone’s lived an entirely rotten life, with the death of his mother getting him moved into a succession of terrible homes, some run by his own family members, some utterly horrible foster homes. He finally meets up with his true love, Lori, but realizing he has a lot of emotional issues built up through his rough childhood (and his then-unknown kinship with the Nightbreed), she recommends he visit a therapist — though Dr. Decker probably doesn’t mean to do good things for him. Meanwhile, Otis and Clay, literary twins sharing the same body, grant an interview to a reporter who’s managed to find out some of their secrets.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m still fairly astounded that this series has been so much fun, and I’m incredibly glad I picked it up in the first place. If you were ever a fan of this awesome movie, you should be keeping an eye out for the TPB so you can get the backstory on all these characters you always wished you could know more about…


Gotham by Midnight #2

The threat that Precinct 13 is facing — the villain kidnapping and warping the brains of children — is apparently some sort of supernatural, demonic nun. While Jim Corrigan tries to hold her attention and dispel her, Rook, the Internal Affairs cop assigned to shut them down, has to try to get the kids to safety. We also learn some of Sister Justine’s backstory, complete with demonic priests. Hey, you don’t think there’s some sort of connection between the various demonic Catholic clergy, do you?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m still getting used to some elements of the series — Ben Templesmith’s art is not the kind of thing you usually see in the rebooted DC — but so far, I’m enjoying what I see.

Today’s Cool Links: 

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Closed for Business


Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #2

While the Mighty Avengers stomp on a gang of high-tech roller-bladers called the Fast Five, the newly villainous Captain America is plotting with the equally villainous Tony Stark to wipe out all the heroes. And the newly villainous businessman Luke Cage announces he’s just sold the Mighty Avengers, which gets him in trouble with the rest of the team and his wife. Luckily, the ever-savvy She-Hulk, the team’s lawyer, has a surprise for Luke — but he and Captain America have an even bigger surprise waiting in the wings…

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m not entirely sold on the Axis morality-switching, but the story seems just fine. I’ve got some doubts about the art, particularly in the way that the Blue Marvel is looking whiter and whiter in almost every panel.


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #7


Trees #7


Colder: The Bad Seed #2

Okay, it looks like I just don’t have the patience to dig through the convolutions of the plots in these three comics. It’s not that I disliked them at all — they were all pretty good — but there’s lots of twisty-plot things and side-stories and such-and-all going on, and I’m too lazy to mess with ’em right now.

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Cold Fingers


Colder: The Bad Seed #1

Y’all may recall Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra’s wonderful horror series from last year, starring Declan, who can draw away people’s insanity, at the cost of his own constantly-dropping body temperature. They’re all back with a new series — Declan is back, dating his former caregiver Reece, and working as a mental health specialist, which gives him the cover to cure the insane in his special way. Everything seems peachy-keen — except for a new player on the scene, a tall, grim man named Swivel who has a thing for farming metaphors and fingers — mainly, he likes to cut people’s fingers off, and when we see his true form, he looks — well, take a gander of the cover. What does Swivel intend to harvest? And where do Declan and Reece fit into his plans?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice, creepy beginning to the new series. Very much looking forward to learning more about Swivel and his various disturbing gimmicks.


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #6

Lude and Annastasjia continue their stories. Lude tells about his misspent and incredibly horny youth, his stern but concerned guardian, and his quest to find his mother. Anna recounts how she killed off the men who wronged and deformed her, then fell in with the same traveling freak show that sheltered other members of the Nightbreed, until they were hunted down and chased away by frightened humans. But there’s one other important story to tell — the star of the movie, Boone.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This has come to be one of my favorite comics, because so many other licensed books like this take the easy way out and rely on an expectation that they can coast on their cult popularity — and this one is still working hard to tell fun, exciting stories about the characters, even if they were only minor characters in the movie…


Revival #24

Spring is coming, the snow is finally thawing, and things are going entirely nuts. More people are sneaking into town, hoping to somehow gain magical or divine healing from the waters in Wausau. Zombie wildlife have started to rise and attack people. Arlene Dittman, from clear back in the first issue, has finally completely revived, still spitting out excess teeth. We finally learn a little bit about the heavily-scarred Reviver who keeps roaming around murdering people. And Em Cypress has discovered that she may be pregnant.

Verdict: Thumbs up. So much weird, wild stuff going on in this issue. It had seemed like some of the mysteries had begun to get cleared up in recent issues, but this one makes it clear that there’s still a lot of scary stuff running around and a lot of secrets waiting to be discovered.

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You Are Likely to Be Beaten by a Groo


Groo vs. Conan #3

Poor Sergio Aragones is still over-medicated and completely out of his mind, running amuck in a Renaissance faire. He’s arrested and taken to jail — but then there’s a jailbreak, and the prisoners drag him away with them. Meanwhile, in our mix-and-match fantasy world, Conan has realized that Groo is not a gigantic monster — just a complete idiot. But he’s still a dangerous combatant. Is he too much for Conan to handle?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great cartooning, humor, and action. It’s still fun to see these two wildly-different characters interacting together, partly humorously, partly seriously.


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #5

Our origin stories in this issue focus on devil-faced Lude and two-faced Annastasjia. Lude’s story starts back in Germany in the 1600s, when his mother is attacked by a demonic satyr and later gives birth to an adorable, obsidian-skinned, fanged, horned baby. Annastasjia’s is more recent — the 1920s — when she was a vain, shallow movie star, scarred in a bar fight. Her efforts to regain her beauty lead her into methods very far from medical science.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s still kinda hard for me to believe I’m enjoying this as much as I am. The stories are still fun — and monstery and gross and often funny — and there are a lot more of the Nightbreed the creators can mine for stories…


Evil Empire #5

We get a break from the main storyline as we meet up with Ace, a serial killer, and Talia, his chosen victim. Ace’s gimmick is that he prefers to tie his victim up and make her watch him torture and murder people for days before finally killing her. He’s moderately well-adjusted, socially and mentally — he just likes to kill people and mentally torture women who remind him of his mother. But as the country starts to go to hell during the presidential campaign, Ace starts discovering that life is a lot more dangerous — people are murdering each other left and right, and no one’s getting in trouble for it. And when everything is permitted, Ace really doesn’t get the same charge he used to get from serial murder. Is there hope for his redemption?

Verdict: Thumbs down. I liked parts of this — the humor is really quite well done. Ace complaining about his new doubts about serial killing comes while he’s eating a body, for example, and his murderous impulses are largely played for laughs. The thing is, I’m buying the premise of the story less and less, and I especially couldn’t believe that a serial killer would give it all up just because everyone else is a serial killer, too.

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Southern Inhospitality


Southern Bastards #4

Earl Tubb has returned to Craw County, Alabama only to see one of his few allies, a little kid who was really more interested in watching Earl’s TV, brutally beaten and maimed by the thuggish minions of Coach Boss. He heads out for a final confrontation with the stooges, expecting most of the law-abiding citizens of Craw County to be on his side — but he quickly learns it just ain’t so. And things get a great deal worse for Earl when he finally meets up with Coach Boss.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s still a fantastic Southern noir — sweltering in summer heat that never seems to cool down and basted in grime and sweat and barbecue sauce — but it’s also something a great deal older. This is a Southern tragedy, and Earl Tubb’s fatal flaw, from the beginning, has been his stubbornness. Earl doesn’t get a happy ending, but he gets the right ending, the only one this story could really offer. The series is going to continue — perhaps the new protagonist will fare better.


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #4

We follow Chocolat, demonic in appearance, though far more maternal in nature, as she is forced to leave her children behind centuries ago in Europe. In time, she comes to America, always hiding, always on the run from humans who hate her because of her monstrous looks, until she finally finds a place to belong. We also follow Rev. Ashberry, dedicated to eradicating sin, preferably by blade and garrotte. We get to follow him all the way up to where he makes his first appearance in the classic 1990 horror fantasy film. All that, plus we get an appearance by Vasty Moses!

Verdict: Thumbs up. I was actually kinda expecting that my enjoyment of this series was about to start dying down, but the good news is that the stories here are still appealing, still resonant, still fun to read. I’m hopeful it’ll stay that way for a while.

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She-Devil with a Sword


Red Sonja #0

Red Sonja is dead! And left behind is her beloved… husband? Red Malak is a tubby loser who insists Sonja was a delicate princess who loved pretty dresses and flowers. Of course, Sonja soon turns up, very much alive, very much not a delicate princess, and has to deal with the lovesick conman who’s slandered her — and the townspeople who think she’ll pay for his debts.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nicely light-hearted story that still has all the action, mayhem, and general crudity you love in Gail Simone’s Red Sonja stories.


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #3

In this latest issue of the anthology series, the seemingly demonic Chocolat must protect her hatchlings in 15th century Italy, while during the Summer of Love in San Francisco, a very young Rev. Ashberry learns of the dangers of temptation.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Pretty well-done storytelling — and nicely themed, too, as we get twin studies on the natures of good hiding within apparent evil, and evil hiding out within the appearance of good.

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Midian is Where the Monsters Live


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #2

We continue telling the stories of Peloquin, as he must fight his way through a bunch of slaveowners and their slaves, all convinced that he’s the Devil, and of Shuna Sassi, whose human lover attacks her in a fit of jealousy. Not a good thing to do to a human porcupine.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a good story and nice art — but it’s not the best dang thing in the world, either. I’d like to see this one up its game and prove it’s as awesome as the movie it was inspired by.


The Goon: One for the Road

The Goon and Franky run across a sailor on leave who’s lost his buddy — and if he can’t find him and get him back to the boat, they’ll both be AWOL. The three set off on an epic bar crawl to find the guy, and in addition to drinking way too many beers, they also run across a bunch of witches and a bad little boy, a squad of shellshocked Marines, infuriated cowboys, a bar full of movie stars, and a giant man-eating gorilla. But are they ever going to find the missing sailor?

Verdict: Thumbs up. If you love mayhem and violence and silliness and lunacy delivered the way Eric Powell does it best, you’ll want to get this one. Goon comics have been rare as hen’s teeth lately, so enjoy this bit of madness while it’s here.


Revival #21

Officer Dana Cypress has left Wisconsin for New York to investigate the possibility that a Reviver has broken the quarantine to head for the Big Apple. What she finds is that the rest of the world is obsessed with the mystery of what happened in Wassau — along with a dismembered murder victim with a gory secret. Meanwhile, her sister Em is hanging out with a fellow Reviver named Rhodey who’s decided that the way to fix her slow deterioration is to get her to embrace her undead immortality. And teabagging wannabe-terrorist Edmond Holt is trying to get his hands on Cooper, Dana’s son and the sheriff’s grandson, for nefarious purposes.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of smaller storylines running through this, and they’re all being advanced suitably and interestingly. That doesn’t sound like much, but moving multiple storylines forward in only a few short pages seems to be a dying art form in some corners of the comics world.

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Judas Tree


Trees #1

A new science fiction series from Warren Ellis is always worth checking out. Our premise here is that a decade ago, the aliens showed up on Earth. They drove thousands of implausibly gigantic metal towers into the planet, reaching who knows how deep or how high — and they’ve never bothered to say a word to us. They’ve completely ignored every attempt to communicate. So now, humanity has to live with the gigantic Trees that have scarred entire cities. In Rio de Janeiro, they release some sort of waste product that kills thousands of people; in New York, the city has been wrecked and divided between haves and have-nots; in China, a whole city has sprung up around one of the Trees; and in the Arctic, the Trees have started producing their own life. What does it all mean?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Most of this issue is about establishing our premise and our setting — and they’re very, very interesting. The art by Jason Howard does a lot for establishing how grand and how brain-breaking the Trees are and for creating this world that’s impossibly strange and perfectly familiar. Let’s all enjoy this one, folks.


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #1

Do you know how much I loved “Nightbreed” when I saw it — gee whiz, all the way back in 1990? I loved that movie so blasted much. Yeah, it was flawed in some really important ways, but I still loved it, loved the monsters, loved the setting, loved the characters, loved the bits I read about in Fangoria that never made it into the actual film, loved the Clive Barker story it was based on. Oh, they’re making a new comic about it? Yes, I’ll be down with that.

Our first issue follows the Nightbreed through the past. We watch a couple escaped slaves trying to flee through the Louisiana swamps — until one of them is bitten by the tentacle-haired Peloquin and turned into a new Nightbreed. And in Boston in 1945, a clean-living senator pays a secret visit to a house of ill repute — and the beautiful but prickly Shuna Sassi.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a nice start to the series — and Nightbreed-in-History format looks like it’ll be a nice way to avoid trying to make a not-a-sequel sequel. It might be a little disappointing not to get to roam around Midian itself, this approach seems like it’ll be promising, too.


Southern Bastards #2

Earl Tubb is really looking forward to getting out of Craw County, Alabama. He wasn’t able to chop down the tree growing out of his daddy’s grave, but he’s got the old homestead packed up and ready to leave in the morning. All he needs to do is find something to keep him occupied on one Friday night. So he goes to the local high school football game. He’d played for the Rebs years ago, but things are different now. Coach Boss runs the team, Coach Boss runs the town, Coach Boss runs everything. And when Earl’s old friend Dusty winds up on the field beat to death by Coach Boss’s goons, and the local law won’t do anything because they don’t want to make Coach Boss mad, Earl is still planning on letting it go and getting the hell out of town — until a storm and a bolt of lightning help change his mind.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Such grimy, rotten, chicken-fried noir — it’s pert-near perfect. It feels hot and humid and bloody and chaw-stained, like it’s all baked right into the pages. Southern noir doesn’t get done often enough for my tastes, and it’s nice to see it done so wonderfully here.

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