Every Wednesday, 8th Dimension’s Jeremy Bulloch reads every comic that comes out, and recommends some of the best titles for you to check out:
The New Deadwardians #1 (Vertigo)
In addition to the massive relaunch of the mainstream DC Universe, another renaissance is taking place at their mature readers imprint, Vertigo. The New Deadwardians joins fellow new series like Dominque Laveau: Voodoo Child, Fairest, and Saucer Country in revitalizing the Vertigo line. Of all the new books that have dropped from Vertigo this month, this one is easily my favorite. The story opens in October of 1910. Chief Inspector George Suttle is the only remaining homicide detective at Scotland Yard and he is filled with a quiet melancholy. As the broad strokes of this alternate history are established, it’s easy to see why. A war took place, and now the lower classes are overrun with a zombie plague. To protect themselves, the upper crust of society took “The Cure,” becoming vampires. The members of the ever-dwindling working class are the only still-living citizens in London. Set against this backdrop, (un)life goes on as it always has, until the Chief Inspector is called in to investigate the murder of someone who already was dead.
FF #16 (Marvel Comics)
This issue is from the perspective of Valeria, the youngest child of Reed and Sue Richards. After the awesome ridiculousness of the last issue of FF, where Franklin Richards from the future shows up and re-animates the dead Galactus as HIS Herald to chase off the army of Celestials that sought to destroy earth, this one is a quiet issue by comparison. We watch the heroes catch their breath and rebuild New York City for the billionth time, but it all has a playful sense of fun. Then you get to the last couple of pages. I try stay away from spoilers here, but this was just too crazy to not give a tease. Remember how there was a confederation of Reed Richardses from alternate universes who banded together to run the multiverse? Remember how they all enslaved and lobotomized the Dr. Dooms from their realities, but OUR Dr. Doom got away? Well, the next story arc is titled “Parliament of Doom.”
Avengers 24.1 (Marvel Comics)
“This is the best, truest advice I can give you…there’s nothing back there for you now. People like us—everything is THAT way—forward. You need to look forward.” These words are from Captain America to one of his oldest friends, the recently rebuilt Synthezoid known as the Vision. Brian Michael Bendis and Brandon Peterson have created a fantastic single-issue Avengers story about the Vision as he tries to understand exactly what happened years ago in Avengers Disassembled. She-Hulk may have been the one who ripped him in half, but it was his own wife Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch, who caused it. The Vision first visits his assailant She-Hulk, giving her much needed closure. From there, he heads to Utopia for a confrontation with Wanda’s estranged father, Magneto. Both of those scenes were very powerful and emotionally intense, but it’s not until the end of the issue when he is consoled by Captain America that the issue truly peaks. Cap knows what it’s like to wake up in a world that you no longer recognize, torn from those that you love, and with no easy answers. Just like the Avengers were there for him, they will be there for the Vision.
The Walking Dead #95 (Image )
Rick and his away team (plus Carl) follow Jesus to his home, “The Hill Top.” No sooner do they make it to the apparently safe community filled with nice people, then the situation turns violent. They seriously were not there for more than five minutes before a hostage situation turned into assassination and a knife-fight. Or as Rick calls it, “Wednesday.”
Aquaman #7 (DC Comics)
The book that shocked many people by not being just good, but really freakin’ cool, continues to change readers’ perceptions. Nobody who actually checks out an issue of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’ update on Aquaman thinks of him as just a “fish-talker.” This issue gives us our first glimpse at Black Manta as the aquatic villain hunts down a heroine named Kahina the Seer. In a story that parallels the initial arc from Judd Winnick’s Batwing, the slain hero once belonged to a super-team. Even though conceptually the story is identical – a villain is killing members of a defunct group of heroes for a mysterious reason, the presentation is different enough that it remains engaging. Obviously, there is some history here that the reader gradually will be introduced to, but I look forward to seeing the group that Aquaman ran with before joining the Justice League.
The Avenging Spider-Man #5 (Marvel Comics)
Growing up on an Army base, my first favorite superhero was Captain America. One of my favorite weird little touches about Cap was that before he became a super soldier, he was an aspiring artist. It is still a part of official Marvel canon that they actually publish Marvel Comics in the Marvel Universe. They are officially licensed projects where the adventures of public heroes like the Fantastic Four or the Avengers are adapted or sometimes totally fabricated. In the 1980s issues of Captain America, Steve Rogers still maintained a secret identity and kept a day job as the penciler of the Captain America comic. He also lived out of a van, traveling around the United States to answer calls for help on Captain America’s official 1-800 hotline, but that’s another story. This issue of Avenging Spider-Man made me laugh out loud several times. Spider-man discovers Cap’s artistic past when his Avengers teammates have a chuckle over a Golden Age propaganda comic that he drew back in the 1940s, Liberty Bonds. Spidey finally feels that he has something in common with Captain America: they were both nerds! The team-up that follows is a lot of fun and shows a neglected side of both heroes.
The Twelve #11 (Marvel Comics)
After last issue’s revelations on the true origins of Dynamic Man, the surviving members of the Twelve have their work cut out for them. Chris Weston’s artwork is spectacular for both the big action scenes and the quiet, character-driven moments. I hate that the publishing delays killed this comic’s momentum. I truly think it’s among the best things that JMS has ever written. I know when the entire story is available in trade paperback, I will push it relentlessly.
The Flash #7 (DC Comics)
The Flash is probably the best solo superhero comic on the stands today. Francis Manapul’s outstanding layouts constantly show us new and interesting visuals, while never making the story screech to a halt so we can look at a glorified poster. Not only does this issue find a way to redeem the overtly silly concept of the Cosmic Treadmill, but it shows us a Gorilla City that is more Andy Serkis than guy in a gorilla suit.
Daredevil #10 (Marvel Comics)
The only comic that can challenge The Flash for best solo superhero comic is Daredevil. Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera have jettisoned the angst that has defined Matt Murdock since Frank Miller and made the book fun. Now horrible things still happen constantly, but Matt rises above them and triumphs with a confident smirk. In the previous issue, the Mole Man grave-robbed an entire cemetery and had his minions drag the remains miles beneath the surface of the earth. Daredevil became personally involved in this case since one of those caskets belonged to his dead father, “Battlin’” Jack Murdoch. In this issue, we find out WHY the Mole Man did it.
Moon Knight #11 (Marvel Comics)
Bendis and Maleev are one issue away from the climax of their run on Moon Knight. There are a few mysteries left, including what Count Nefaria wants with an Ultron Head, but with the breakneck pace of this series I’m sure it will all be wrapped up. When these creators team up, it’s more HOW the story is told then WHAT story they tell. The HOW is pretty great this week. Maleev stages his art with very cinematic camera angles, showing us a fight scene that doesn’t look like other comic book fight scenes. Moon Knight also is crazy. Not in a funny Deadpool way, but in a sad, PTSD kinda way. The death of Echo is driving him to continue to take out Count Nefaria. She now joins Spider-Man, Captain America, and Wolverine in Marc’s head. Instead of advising him, she mostly just yells at him for being a screw-up.
Avengers vs. X-Men #0 (Marvel Comics)
This is easily the biggest comic of the week. For the last month, the backs of all Marvel titles have run a preview of next week’s Issue #1. Now we get to read how the whole thing starts. The Phoenix force is back, and making a beeline towards Earth. Everyone knows that it intends to use Hope Summers as its latest host. Cyclops believes (or WANTS to believe) that this might be a blessing in disguise. Sure the Phoenix kills on a planetary scale, but there is new creation in those ashes. Maybe this will undo the crimes committed on the Mutant race by the Scarlet Witch and bring them back from extinction. Captain America and the Avengers have a different point of view. They see the Phoenix as the clear threat that it absolutely is, and they feel it needs to be destroyed before it even makes it to Earth, and Hope needs to be taken into protective custody. While all this is happening, the Scarlet Witch returns. Wanda wants nothing more than to go back to her old life, but a trip to the Avengers Mansion shows that there is no way that is happening. My assumption is that Wanda will be another potential host for the Phoenix. That would be fair, using that power to fix the damage that she did on M-Day. Only problem with that is how poorly Wanda seems to do with unlimited power.