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!
The Massive #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
Callum Israel was an eco-terrorist, but that was before the world broke. Now, post-crash, he continues to lead his crew aboard the 9th Wave as they search for their sister ship, the Massive. I have a deep love for speculative fiction, and Brian Wood is knocking this one out of the park. I’m fascinated to see how all the world broke, and how people (attempt to) adapt to the hellish new status quo. Much of this issue tells the story of what used to be Hong Kong. The island city/nation has been submerged under 100 feet of water, leaving a good 500 feet of skyline peeking out above. The rich fled, leaving their former home to whoever was unable to get to safety. The remaining people created a new city, repurposing a million tons of floating garbage. It’s a new world, and there are new rules to it. Israel and his crew had better be careful.
Avenging Spider-Man #9 (Marvel Comics)
Carol Danvers has been promoted. The editors at Marvel Comics finally realized that she was a captain in the US Air Force, and now Ms. Marvel is the new Captain Marvel. Now in typical Marvel-ness, the book where Carol actually becomes the new Captain Marvel and gets her awesome new costume (Captain Marvel #1) won’t be out until NEXT week, but this story still takes place after it. Need for a flux capacitor notwithstanding, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and art team Terry and Rachel Dodson provide a really fun comic full of both eye-twinkling smirkiness and over-the-top action sequences. Now, I am terrified of heights, and even if I was a superhero would never fight crime higher than about three stories up. Carol though, she’s a flier. She was a flier before she got her super powers, and stayed a flier in the half dozen times that she has been depowered over the last 30 years. Much like DC’s Hal Jordan, Carol is a jet jockey. It’s easy to imagine DeConnick and the Dodsons basing their portrayal of Katee Sackhoff’s Kara “Starbuck” Thrace on Battlestar Galactica. The air-to-air combat scenes in this issue both help to define Carol’s personality and give me a little case of air-sickness. I can’t wait to see what these creators do with Carol’s ongoing comic.
Punk Rock Jesus #1 (DC Vertigo Comics)
I know that this comic is a button-pusher. It’s a concept that is going to offend some people. That’s their prerogative, and I’m not looking to either ruffle feathers or start any arguments. That said, taken on its own merits, this comic was really, really good. Creator Sean Murphy first came onto my radar when he drew the Scarecrow: Year One mini-series for Bruce Jones. About two years ago, he teamed with Grant Morrison on the mini-series Joe the Barbarian. Now, he’s both writing and drawing his own book, and it’s cuckoo for cocoa-puffs. A company called OPHIS has successfully cloned Jesus from the Shroud of Turin. This man-made Second Coming will be the star of his own reality show, J-2. Needless to say, opinion is divided on all this. Thomas McKael was a terrorist for the Irish Republican Army before OPHIS hired him to work security for the cast and crew of J-2. Like everyone else involved in this project, there is more to him than there appears. Just when the reader thinks that they have this story figured out, the last five pages veer off into a totally unexpected direction. This comic is suggested for mature readers, but if you read it with an open mind you will find something pretty unique.
The Walking Dead #100 (Image Comics)
It’s an unbelievable milestone to reach 100 issues of a monthly comic these days. Between the industry’s obsession with new #1s and the frequent inability to support comics featuring new characters or concepts, the idea that a black-and-white indie book about a bunch of jerks and idiots getting eaten by zombies lasting this long is laughable. But Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard did it. The Walking Dead usually manages to be in my top ten of the month every month. Issue 100 could have been a happy and joyous celebration, but the world of the Walking Dead is never happy or joyous. That’s why we like it. In this double-sized issue we finally meet Negan, the warlord who has been extorting the people of Hilltop. Rick Grimes and his people had gotten cocky. They though that they would be able to take Negan out, and buy their way into the Hilltop with his death. They were wrong. Negan and 50 of his men surround Rick, and proceed to show him that they are nowhere near the top of the food chain. What makes Negan terrifying is his stone cold confidence. He is very matter-of-fact about the brutality that he dishes out. Negan is not the raving nut-bag that the Governor was. The horror of the scene stems almost entirely from the fact that he is so in control of the situation. This is not an issue that ends well for Rick and his people, but are any of them?
Before Watchmen: The Minutemen #2 (DC Comics)
Darwyn Cooke continues to tell the story of the Golden Age of superheroes, only here we begin to see that it was only gilded with a thin layer of gold plating. Our POV character continues to be Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl. He became a Mystery Man for the same reason he became a policeman, because he wanted to help people. In the modern (1962) portion of the story, he feels haunted by failures. Mason thinks that the reason that the Minutemen failed was that they got dragged down by greed and the need to seek attention. What he was too idealistic to know back in the day, was that most of the team was only motivated by greed and the need to seek attention. What’s great about this issue is that we see a team within the team form. Nite Owl, Silhouette, and Mothman have no interest in hanging out at their clubhouse and knocking back a few cold ones. Silhouette has a lead on a missing child case, so they follow up on it. There are no dilettante heroes, cameras, or sleazy press agents around for what they encounter. That’s probably for the best.
Scarlet Spider #7 (Marvel Comics)
Fantastic new penciler Khoi Pham joins friend of the store Chris Yost on the beginning of a new arc on Houston’s favorite webslinger. While I will miss Ryan Stegman, Pham’s work is seriously awesome! He manages to keep both the kinetic action and the great characterizations that Stegman started, while at the same time totally claiming the look of the book as his own. When Pham comes to Houston next month as a guest at the inaugural Space City Con (www.spacecitycon.com) make sure to get him to sign your copy of this issue. (Pssst…if you’re buying tickets to the con on that website, use the code “8DCOMIX” to get a discount!) The Roxxon Corporation is a long-standing baddy in the Marvel Universe. Basically think of if Enron had a fully operational moon-base and once stole the cursed Serpent Crown from ancient Atlantis to demonically possess super heroines for use as breeding stock. Well, they’re the largest company in the world, and based out of Houston. Sure they’re evil, but at least they’re number one in evil. I guess it’s the same way that New Yorkers can support the Yankees. Anyway, Roxxon has covered up a mysterious explosion on one of their oil rigs in the Gulf. Kaine is gonna get dragged into this mess as soon as he gets the answer to one question. “What’s a Galveston?”
Spider-Men #3 (Marvel Comics)
Sara Pichelli’s artwork is awesome. The sense of motion and force that she can put into any fight scene might be untouched in current comics. What gets me the most though is her skill at showing character emotion. She’s able to convey a lot of nuance with her figures’ body language, but where she really excels is her facial expressions. The last several pages of this week’s issue of Spider-Men are heart-breaking, and it’s all because of the artwork. Even if you’re not usually a fan of the Ultimate Universe, I would recommend reading this book.
Batman #11 (DC Comics)
This is it – the finale to the Court of Owls story. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have told my favorite Batman story ever. Bruce and Lincoln March, the man who claims to be his long lost brother, Thomas Wayne, Jr., battle through the city that they both claim as theirs. They fight in the slums, the skyscrapers, and even alongside a flying 747. Noah and I geeked out over how hardcore THAT page was for several minutes. Each man is looking to define Gotham City in their own image, and the arguments between the two men are crazy intense. As fantastic as their battle is, the book doesn’t end with a bang and is much stronger for it. There is a quiet scene between Bruce and Dick Grayson that manages to get to the emotional core of the entire story. I can honestly say that this is the best comic of the week.
Locke & Key: Clockworks Hardcover
Hoax Hunters #1 (Image Comics)
Batgirl #11 (DC Comics)
The Shade #10 (DC Comics)
The Crow #1 (IDW Comics)
AvX Versus #4 (Marvel Comics)
New Avengers #28 (Marvel Comics)
Defenders #8 (Marvel Comics)