Archive for Returning

The Spooky Stuff

It’s Friday the 13th, and that seems like a great time to review some horror comics.


Morella and The Murders in the Rue Morgue

Another of superstar horror illustrator Richard Corben’s adaptations of the works of Edgar Allan Poe — this time, we get the mystical reincarnation shocker “Morella” and the groundbreaking mystery “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.”

Verdict: Thumbs up. Y’all know I love Corben, right? It’s always a good thing to read the work of a true master of horror art.


Coffin Hill #8

The bulk of this issue is a flashback to Eve Coffin’s career as a cop — as a rookie, she was assigned to a police task force to track down the notorious Ice Fisher serial killer. She deduces fairly quickly that the killer is a secret witch who is murdering women as sacrifices. The two detectives on the task force aren’t entirely sure what to think of her — the one doesn’t believe in the supernatural; the other thinks her help could get him into the FBI. And Internal Affairs suspects something about her from the very start.

Verdict: Ehh, I dunno. It’s a very nice police procedural — in fact, it’s so good, there’s just no reason to go shoehorning a bunch of supernatural stuff into the story.


Manifest Destiny #7

The Lewis and Clark expedition seems to be going well. The crew are getting adjusted well to their mission, the townspeople rescued from the fort are getting acquainted with the crew, and Sacagawea is capturing giant beetles for dissection. But rough times are just below the surface — one of the new recruits from the fort has figured out the expedition has a secret agenda, and Clark would prefer to respond to her discovery by having her murdered. And when the ship runs aground on a gigantic underwater arch, just like the one near the fort, it means much worse troubles are coming soon.

Verdict: Thumbs up. More exploration, more bizarre discoveries, more of the worst of human nature, all wrapped up in the cockeyed optimism of long-past history.


The Returning #4

Hordes of changers are after Beth Turner. They go after her rescuer, they go after her last friend and his family, and they plan to kill her and turn the whole world over to the demons inhabiting their bodies. Can Beth survive?

Verdict: Thumbs down. It just never turned out to be particularly interesting — and definitely not very scary. Too bad.

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Eyes Wide Shutter


Shutter #2

Kate Kristopher, once the world’s greatest explorer, has been kidnapped by a robot and a bunch of ghost ninjas, while little mouse people imprison her in a crystal gem prison. And then a bunch of lion gangsters driving a flying car attack, all while the NYPD’s saucer police try to contain the mayhem. Kate makes a narrow escape, but winds up in the hospital, while the lions and ninjas go to jail. But powerful sorcerous interests want Kate — and they may be closer to her than she suspects.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Such a wonderfully weird, bizarre book. But I do hope Kate starts acting a bit more proactively — she doesn’t do much in this issue.


Hellboy in Hell #6

Hellboy is still trapped in Hell, and it seems that his punishment is to hang around listening to 19th-century fops rattle on. But then he gets attacked by a vampire, and there’s a great big brawl all over Hell. Does this great battle mean anything to the future of Hell — or is it all a dispute over an old card game?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s ultimately a light, fun story — and there’s still some interesting hints about Hell’s future being talked about at the very end. Ahh, yes, plus we also get to enjoy Mike Mignola’s artwork — that’s always a big plus.


The Returning #3

Beth Turner has been cornered by a horde of changers — people who’ve had a near-death experience and are now dangerous homicidal maniacs — and they really want her dead. But somehow, Beth discovers that she’s able to fight them all off and even kill a couple of them, even though she’s just taken a bullet to the shoulder and has never been a fighter. She makes her escape and goes to a local diner, hoping to get cleaned up and get on her way. But the local folks recognize her, and one of them shoots her in the stomach. After she fights them off, too, she runs into Marcus Harmon, her mysterious benefactor. He tells her that changers are actually possessed by demons, he and she are both possessed by angels instead, and it’s their job to destroy the changers based on the names that appear on their bodies wherever they’ve been wounded. So why has Marcus’ name appeared on Beth now?

Verdict: Still not really sure about this one. Usually by this point in a short horror series, the explanations are all out of the way, but in this case, there are just more and more mysteries piling up. Don’t know how they’re going to wrap it all up next issue…

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Knuckle Bones


Moon Knight #3

Moon Knight encounters a criminal menace he can’t beat down — a gang of ghosts running around New York beating people up. Marc can’t manage to lay a glove on them, but they have no difficulty kicking his ass all over the street. But the Khonshu side of him reveals that he does have a way he can strike back at the ghosts — entirely without his own knowledge, Moon Knight had been collecting magical armor designed to let him touch the spectral world. The rematch goes much differently.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Outstanding art and storytelling. I absolutely love the design of the skeletal Khonshu and the similar design of Marc’s ghost armor. The action is, of course, grand, but the resolution of the whole thing is even better. Come on, folks, it’s early in this one’s run — better jump on the bandwagon now.


Loki: Agent of Asgard #4

After a thrilling (and snarky) duel of trickery (and swords), the great Asgardian hero Sigurd has managed to steal his ancient sword Gram away from Loki. He takes it to Kaluu, a meditating magician in Tibet, so he can exchange it for the opportunity to escape from the Valkyries, who intend to torture him all through the afterlife because he’s slighted them somehow. Unfortunately, it turns out that Kaluu isn’t really Kaluu — and he intends to torment Sigurd even more terribly. Can Sigurd get out of this? Or will the seemingly dead Loki have to save his bacon?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nicely done action and (naturally) trickery — and not just on Loki’s part. Sigurd spends most of his time lying, and Kaluu is all about the untruths. And I must say I’m also enjoying Sigurd a lot — I wouldn’t mind seeing him with his own series — he’s a wonderfully devious character, especially for someone who’s supposed to be a great hero.


The Returning #2

I missed this one for a while, but finally managed to pick it up last week. Beth Turner is on the run — her family has been murdered and everyone in town thinks she’s a changer — someone who died briefly and then becomes a homicidal maniac later. She turns to her sole remaining friend for help — but then gets attacked by the gas station attendant she’d thought had been killed. And after that, she’s rescued by the man who she thought was a changer out to kill her. But is he really on her side? Should she believe him, or is the convenient FBI agent she meets going to help her escape to a place of safety?

Verdict: Ehh, dunno. It’s kinda all over the place — and the paranoia is high enough at this point that I don’t know who we should be trusting — or if we should be trusting anyone at all. That may be by design, but for now, it feels a bit directionless.

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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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