Each week, 8th Dimension’s Jeremy Bulloch reads every new comic that comes out and recommends some of the best titles for you to check out. Here are this week’s picks!
Justice League Dark #12 (DC Comics)
When Jeff Lemire took over this series, he basically turned it into Raiders of the Lost Ark starring John Constantine. I’m cool with that. JLD has become one of my favorite series over the last couple of months, and this issue has a little of every reason why. Colonel Steve Trevor’s resident magical expert, Dr. Mist, has betrayed Constantine and his team for the favor of the fiendish Felix Faust. Dr. Mist has been a sleeper agent of Faust’s for years, secretly working to resurrect his dead wife Mosa. To him, allying with the forces of darkness is just a means to an end. Besides, there is literally no way that a black magic deal with a guy named Faust could possibly go wrong. While Dr. Mist is working for Felix Faust, Faust is in turn working for a shadowy mystery man. The mystery man has some past connection with both Zatanna and Constantine; we just don’t know what that connection is yet. Some online speculation has it that this could be a reinvention of Eclipso, but it’s too early to say. What we do know is that he is powerful, evil, and always seems to be one step ahead of our heroes. Virtually everything even remotely connected to magic and the arcane in the DC Universe is making an appearance in Justice League Dark. Last issue reintroduced Tim Hunter, the plagiarized “inspiration” for Harry Potter. This issue continues the trend, giving us updated versions of characters as diverse as Dr. Occult and Blackbriar Thorn. It’s very convenient for DC to give all their magical peeps a home here.
Archie #636 (Archie Comics)
Soooooo, there sure seems to be an awful lot of black magic happening in Riverdale these days. First Sabrina the Teenage Witch accidently summoned the members of KISS from a demonic hell dimension where nobody has any fun (Issues #627-630). Now she (or to be fair, her cat Salem) abuses her supernatural powers to gender-swap everyone in town. Archie is now “Archina,” and his prank-happy nemesis Reggie is “Regina.” Ron and Billy are the two dudes trying to win Archina’s heart. Instead of Josie and the Pussycats, we have Joey and the Junkyard Dogs. You get the picture? I…I’m not sure I really have words to describe this. Like any Archie comic, it’s innocent and totally wholesome. It’s also weird. The nearest comparison that I can make is a Silver Age Superman comic, where a bizarre event changes everybody in a major way, and is then never mentioned again.
Venom #23 (Marvel Comics)
Writer Rick Remender has left the series, and this is the first issue of the new creative team. Newcomer Cullen Bunn (The 6th Gun) is the new writer, and he provides a good jumping-on point for a new reader. Corporal Eugene “Flash” Thompson lost his legs in Afghanistan, then volunteered for a government super soldier program to harness the Venom symbiote for a military hero. He made a ton of mistakes along the way, but now he’s running with the Avengers. That’s where this book starts. Flash is doing his best to not screw things up. If he does what he does best (the wrong thing) then the Avengers will strip him of the Venom symbiote, and he’ll wind up back in the wheelchair for good. What starts off as a simple fight with some devil-worshiping death cultists goes pear-shaped when Damien Hellstorm, the self-proclaimed “Son of Satan” makes an appearance.
Spike #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Spinning out of the most recent arc on the Buffy Season 9 comic, Spike has broken off his complicated relationship with the Slayer. He couldn’t spend eternity just waiting around for Buffy as her in-case-of-emergency hook-up; it wasn’t fair to either of them. In a depressed funk, Spike has the inter-dimensional cockroaches who serve him take his space ship to the dark side of the moon. Yeah, if you haven’t been reading the Buffy comics, there’s been some crazy changes.
Flash #12 (DC Comics)
Francis Manapul has reinvented a lot of characters in his run, but one of the biggest overhauls has been the Golden Glider. Lisa Snart, the sister of Captain Cold, was always a pointless joke of a character. Were we ever supposed to be intimidated by a villainous Ice Skater? If Tonya Harding couldn’t scare us, then it wasn’t gonna happen. The Flash is not entirely sure what the Glider is – a ghost, a mirage? There’s a simple answer to his question. She’s the new leader of the Rogues. Her agenda is as mysterious as her origin, but so far she seems to be getting exactly what she wants.
Amazing Spider-Man #692 (Marvel Comics)
Spidey is 50 years old now. Hard to believe, but it’s true. As part of his Golden Anniversary, Dan Slott has asked an odd question: “What if Spider-Man had a kid sidekick?” Andy Maguire is a ghost of a kid, drifting though life without making much of an impression on anybody. Then he has a field trip to Horizon Labs. In classic comic book style, a well-timed lab accident breaks out and irradiates the kid with the newly discovered “Parker Particles.” Rather than exploding or turning into a pile of goo, Andy gets super powers. A LOT of super powers. A Superman amount of super powers. If the Hulk or the Phoenix attacks, then the superheroes call it an Omega-Level threat. Andy Maguire is the first Alpha-Level threat. His powers are tied to the universe itself, and it’s only a matter of time until things go bad. Since it was the “Parker Particles” that give him his powers, keeping an eye on him is Peter’s responsibility. The heroes talk Andy’s parents into accepting a sponsorship deal instead of going for a big lawsuit. They stand to make a lot more money over time than through any settlement, and Andy gets to be a superhero. That would be fine, if he was trying to actually be a hero. Instead, he gets to do what Peter always WANTED to do: abuse his abilities to get the public to think he’s cool. So it’s up to Peter to teach Alpha that with great power, something, something.
Uncanny X-Men #17 (Marvel Comics)
The Ultimates #14 (Marvel Comics)
Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #8 (IDW Comics)
Teen Titans #12 (DC Comics)
Super Dinosaur #13 (Image Comics)
All Star Western #12 (DC Comics)
Secret Avengers #30 (Marvel Comics)
Green Lantern: The New Guardians #12 (DC Comics)
Before Watchmen: Doctor Manhattan #1 (DC Comics)