Archive for Revival

A Dance with Death


Revival #36

The Cypress sisters are missing and on the run, and the military wants them back in their facility, in jail, or dead — and they’re also working on capturing the disembodied souls of the revivers, so they can destroy the threat of the revivers by letting them self-destruct when they contact their souls. Meanwhile, Lester Majak gets in trouble when he can’t see below his new girlfriend’s surface appearance, and General Cale pays a visit to — no joke — a secret Amish ninja.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s been a while since we’ve seen poor Lester, and it looks like he’s finally realizing what a lousy person he is. And Weaver Fannie, the sword-slinging Amish warrior, looks like an interesting addition to the cast.


Hellboy Winter Special

We don’t see these nearly often enough — a short anthology comic of Hellboy stories. We get a story skulls and shamans in the distant past (written by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie, with art by Tim Sale). We get Hellboy helping settle a bunch of Chinese ghosts trapped in the Midwest (written by Mignola and Chris Roberson with art by Michael Walsh). We get Hellboy and a young Liz Sherman meeting up with a bunch of bad snowmen (story by Chelsea Cain with art by Michael Avon Oeming). And we get Dean Rankine showing us what happens when Lobster Johnson wants takeout.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Stories ranging from goofy to deadly serious, with some late Christmas cheer mixed in with supernatural terror. We should see stuff like this all the time — you can’t tell me there aren’t hordes of comics creators who wouldn’t love to make some short, snappy Hellboy comics, right?

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You’ve Got Mail


The Vision #2

Last issue, the Grim Reaper attacked the Vision’s robotic family, severely injuring Viv before Virginia beat the villain to death. She’s decided to keep the Reaper’s death a secret from her husband. She tells the Vision a story about driving him away. Meanwhile, Viv is on mechanical life support, and her twin brother Vin is not adapting well to the near-death of his sister. He attacks a rude classmate and almost kills him — and when the Vision is called to the school to talk to the principal, he uses his status as a superhero to cow the principal into not punishing his son. But things are not all okay for the Vision family. Someone knows what Virginia did, and they’re going to make her pay.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This comic is so very creepy. It’s so creepy and inhuman, I want to take every issue, lock it in a metal box, lock that box in another metal box, bury it in the backyard, and set the backyard on fire. And then, because I really, really love creepy comics, I want to then dig up the backyard, take the comic out of the box… and lick it.


Howard the Duck #2

In our last issue, Howard was rescued by a couple of gender-switched clones of himself and Rocket Raccoon. In this issue, we get their backstory. After Howard and Rocket escaped from the Collector during the first series, the girls — Linda and Shocket — were cloned from their DNA, and one of the Collector’s minions, Dee, was assigned to be their foster parent. When it’s decided that the girls are going to be frozen — or maybe even killed — Dee flees with them, and they rent a time machine to send them 25 years into the past so the Collector’s henchmen won’t pursue them. But Dee is eventually killed, leaving the girls on their own — and the Collector back on their trail.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It looks like Linda and Shocket are about to be very important characters — hence the origin story. It’ll be interesting to see what Zdarsky and Fish have planned…


All-New All-Different Avengers #2

A Chitauri calling himself Warbringer has just effortlessly kicked Iron Man’s, Captain America’s, and Spider-Man’s butts, but the Vision shows up to assist. Meanwhile, Nova flies into town to confront Warbringer, only to find that Ms. Marvel is already on the scene. Nova and Ms. Marvel don’t really get along. Warbringer gets away from them, too, but they team up with Spidey, Iron Man, Cap, and Vision to confront Warbringer one more time. It looks like it’s all over for the alien after Thor makes an appearance — but Warbringer has an unseen ally on his side…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Got the whole team together in just two issues — that’s a record for new team comics these days! Good story, good art, excellent team conflicts getting set up — all around, a lot of fun.


Revival #35

Jesse Black Deer, the terribly burned reviver, has been ordered to kill Em Cypress — and in fact, he attacks her and tears out her heart. But that can’t kill a reviver, and her heart grows back. But by then, he’s got her trussed up and is about to cut her head off — he’s going to bury her head and body separately to keep her alive but helpless. But Em’s sister Dana lures Jesse’s soul to him, and Jesse burns down to ash. But one of the guards is in on the scheme, and he’s going to behead Em — at least until Dana shoots his jaw off. But now the sisters are forced to go on the run to flee the authorities.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Looks like the end of a storyarc, and it’s a pretty good one, too. Definitely upsets the old status quo — and it’ll be fun to see where the story goes from here.

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Prez 1 for Awesome


Prez #5

Newly elected teen president Beth Ross embarks on an international “apology tour” — because, frankly, the U.S. has done a lot of unbelievably awful stuff to a lot of countries and has very few real allies. Unfortunately, Beth has just discontinued the abusive Sentry program, and she’ll have less protection from international enemies. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry is trying to leverage their treatments for the cat flu into big bucks, and the most advanced of the robotic Sentries is seeking to atone for his life by joining a church. Can Beth make friends around the world and still use a meat synthesizer to save her ambassador’s life?

Verdict: Thumbs up. More excellently clever political satire, combined with wonderful artwork and fantastic characterization, dialogue, cleverness — and even empathy.


Revival #34

Em Cypress has been revealed as a risen-from-the-dead reviver and imprisoned in a reviver prison for experimentation and eventual extermination. Her sister, Officer Dana Cypress helps comfort her father, Sheriff Wayne Cypress, who’s concerned because he’s shot a man who may be dying. And Dana reveals that she knows her father killed her mother while driving drunk — but she still expects him to help her learn who first murdered Em. A dying CIA agent leads Dana to some clues to the truth, but neither Dana nor Em realize that assassins have been ordered to eliminate them permanently.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This series often features people dancing around and barely missing the truth, uncovering new mysteries to add to the pile of old mysteries, and being helpless to stop death — hey, that’s the nature of noir stories. This issue is a bit unusual because more than one mystery is solved and several new plot points are revealed. It’s a nice way to start a new storyarc, and it’s not a bad place to start reading if you haven’t been checking it out before.

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Bullet to the Head


Revival #32

Well, the incredibly rotten wannabe-messiah Blaine Abel finally gets kacked — by an unknown person, by the way — but the bulk of this issue focuses on the highly disfunctional relationship between Em and Dana Cypress. Oh, you thought they got on pretty well? Officer Dana helping keep her reviver kid sister Em going? Em helping babysit her sister’s little kid? Well, no, it turns out Dana was one of those neglectful big sisters, and when Em tattled on her, she got rewarded with Dana beating the snot out of her. And here in the present, when Dana thinks Em has killed Blaine — she does the same thing again. And since revivers heal from wounds almost immediately, this helps out Em as a reviver to her dad. Ya know, Dana, maybe you should not be so punchy with your sister.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a nicely emotional story, with an ending that up-ends a lot of secrets. I do wish we’d had some more hints of Dana’s tendencies toward violence when stressed, however, as some of her reactions seem to come out of nowhere.


Rat Queens #11

The Rat Queens were on the way to Dunlas, Hannah’s old university town, when they got captured by a bunch of goblins who want to cook and eat them. They manage to escape, partly thanks to Betty’s poison candy, but when they finally get to Dunlas, they discover that there was a rebellion at the university, and half the town has been shut down ’til things settle back to normal. Plus Betty meets up with an old friend who is not actually a friend at all.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Always love reading this series. Our heroines’ escape from the goblins is pretty awesome. I do wish we could’ve seen what the Queens looked like in college, like the cover suggested we’d see…

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Hawkeye Sunset


Hawkeye #22

Finally, after months and months and months, we finally get the final issue of this great, innovative series. Yes, it’s the last issue, even though “All-New Hawkeye” has been running for the past few months. So it’s the final battle between Clint Barton, Kate Bishop, and all the tenants in his building vs. the Bros and the Clown. Do the heroes stand a chance? Who will survive, and what will be left of them?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Even for an issue that’s mostly people shooting each other with arrows and guns and blowing each other up and generally knocking the stuffings out of each other, it still does some great artistic and interesting things. I am disappointed that this title ended up so low on everyone’s priorities that it got repeatedly bobbled and delayed for so long, but it’s still an amazing achievement. Haven’t read it yet? Look for the trades, and collect them all.


Revival #31

The religious survivalists called the Hunters of the Beast turn out to be a bit of a paper tiger — the police and military don’t have a lot of trouble capturing them, and Em Cypress takes out quite a few all by herself, even with a few gunshot wounds and a mysterious undead pregnancy. And when she finally catches up with the rotten Blaine Abel, there may be nothing that can stop her from getting revenge on him. Plus the military is trying to figure out the connection between the Revivers and the ghosts haunting the woods.

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, great art, great story, and plenty of weird creepiness going on, sometimes unnoticed by the main characters — is there anything in the county that’s able to die anymore? — sometimes right out there where everyone can see.

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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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The Terror from Beyond Space


Nameless #2

Nameless tries to get adjusted to visiting the moon and devising some mystic protection for a bunch of astronauts who don’t believe in magic. There’s a giant deadly asteroid on the way to destroy Earth in just one month — and if that task weren’t momentous enough, there are plenty more troubles going on. One of the personnel has been murdered — beheaded — by another astronaut who’s gone completely insane and is babbling in Enochian, the language of the angels, according to John Dee. What is the monstrous asteroid? Where — and when — did it come from? And why do the astronauts’ benefactors all mysteriously have the flu?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderfully creepy horror that combines near-future sci-fi and more Lovecraftian themes. Grand art by Christ Burnham — and it’s fun to watch Grant Morrison flex his esoteric horror muscles again.


Revival #28

Em, Tao, and Blaine have finally found Aaron Weimar, Em’s former college professor lover and the father of her possibly undead baby — unfortunately, he’s even more undead than Em is. He’s been floating upside down in a tank of contaminated water for a month or two. He doesn’t have a lot of mind left, but Em is able to use a reviver mind-meld technique to get an idea of how Aaron may have helped bring the revival to Wisconsin in the first place. Meanwhile, crazy teabagging terrorist-wannabe Edmond Holt has kidnapped Dana and is working on a scheme to cause some widespread murder and mayhem in town.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice to see our first hints about what might’ve caused the revival in the first place, even if they’re vague and a bit hallucinatory. And as always, wonderful storytelling by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton.

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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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Wonder of Wonders


Sensation Comics #4

Another three stories here — first, we get the continuation of Gilbert Hernandez’s story from last issue. I didn’t enjoy the first part much, but this one is basically Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Mary Marvel knocking each other around for a half-dozen pages, and it’s basically so over-the-top, it’s completely hilarious. Our second story features Diana grown to a several hundred feet tall to fight a giant monster. And in the third, Wonder Woman, Etta Candy, and Deadman team up to battle Ra’s Al-Ghul.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Again, Hernandez’s story has so many ridiculous punches, and it all ends up so funny. Yeah, Wondy’s arms are maybe a bit too massive, but I found myself a lot more accepting of that when the story was so funny. The other stories are pretty good, too, and they all star pre-Reboot versions of all the characters, which I always approve of.


Revival #25

The bulk of this issue focuses on the facility the feds are using to secretly imprison revivers. The weird reviver cult stages a public protest to publicize its existence, and that leads Sheriff Cypress and his deputies to learn about it, too. Dana learns that Ibrahaim knew about the facility, too, which puts a serious crimp in their developing relationship. Plus the burned assassin reviver attends his daughter’s funeral, and the cult members start nailing themselves to crosses.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not the greatest issue in the world, but not too shabby either. It’ll be interesting to see what happens now that the government’s plans for the revivers has become more public knowledge.


The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1

Welcome to Earth-4, where the heroes from the old Charlton Comics live, like the Question, Blue Beetle, the Peacemaker, Captain Atom, and Nightshade. But what’s got everyone so upset here is that President Harley has just been assassinated — by the Peacemaker. No one seems to know why, and he isn’t talking. Captain Atom is impossibly aloof and more than a little mad because he can see outside of time and space, and the rest of the heroes are useless in the crisis, spending most of their time in pointless squabbles. Why was the president killed? How much of the murder was President Harley’s own idea?

Verdict: Man, I don’t know. It’s a deeply opaque and moderately irritating story — but really, the whole point here is watching Grant Morrison create his own version of Alan Moore’s Watchmen, right down to the intricate panel/page designs, using the very characters that DC wouldn’t let Moore use for his epic. Is it great storytelling? Is it quasi-ironic postmodernism? Is it just one comics genius sniping at another? I wish I could tell you. But I will say that Frank Quitely’s art is, as always, dang fun to look at.

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