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. Here's this week's list, slightly delayed by late shipping due to the Memorial Day holiday:
The Walking Dead #98 (Image Comics)
The sprint to Issue #100 continues here. We’re barely on the second page before a shocking character death happens, and the book just goes crazy from there. Negan’s men have followed Rick and his friends back to their compound, and demand to be let in. They hold Eugene hostage at machine gun point, but he has some other ideas. Crazy things are going to be happening very fast for the next couple of issues. After several comparatively calm issues, the violence and carnage of this story come across as both shocking and horrifying. Death is always seconds away in The Walking Dead, and #98 serves as a very good reminder of that.
Ultimate Comics Ultimates #11 (Marvel Comics)
The new director of SHIELD is a man called Flum, and he’s an idiot. The world faces a threat that has already turned Washington, DC, into a smoking crater, but he’s more interested in arresting agents that had been loyal to Nick Fury. Under his watch, the New Republic of Texas has seceded from the Union and taken countless government and military assets with them. Tony Stark and Thor have a plan that is crazy enough to possibly work, but the newly sworn-in president doesn’t seem interested in further antagonizing the evil and insane Reed Richards. I recommend this comic for any action fans who like seeing their heroes stand up against clearly impossible odds. The camaraderie between Thor and Iron Man is one of the strongest parts of this comic. Writer Jonathan Hickman knows how these characters think, and how they interact with each other.
The New Deadwardians #3 (Vertigo Comics)
Chief Inspector George Suttle of Scotland Yard is following a lead in his Vampire murder case, entering the East End of London for the first time since he took the Cure 50 years ago. He finds himself in a bawdy house, interviewing a lady companion named Sapphire. Most of the “Young,” as the Vampires call themselves, are dead below the waist. Taking the cure has rid them of their libido and passions. There are some Young, however, who find themselves consumed by animal-like hunger and compulsions. The murdered Young man was one of those, and a frequent client of this house. When his tendencies grew too violent, they were forced to ban him. Rumor has it that he fell in with an artist in Whitechapel. Anyone familiar with the case of Jack the Ripper knows the name of that infamous London neighborhood. Chief Inspector Suttle’s investigation is probably about to lead him into some unpleasantness.
Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who – Assimilation #1 (IDW Publishing)
This crossover is a natural fit, though I have to admit I wish TNG was crossing over with their contemporary, Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy, instead of the current eleventh incarnation played by Matt Smith. The Borg and the Cybermen are laying waste to the future in Stardate 45635.2. Why and how they have teamed up isn’t clear yet, but I’m confident that an explanation is coming. After a brief jaunt to ancient Egypt, the Doctor, Rory, and Amy Pond make their way to what they think is 1940s San Francisco. Anyone who has seen how the crew of the Enterprise uses the Holodeck knows where this is going. Artist J.K. Woodward does an excellent job capturing the likenesses of the well-known cast, and his painted artwork makes the book stand out from the others on the shelf.
Superman Family Adventures #1 (DC Comics)
Awwww yeah, Superman! Art Baltazar and Franco, the creative lunatics behind the always-fun Tiny Titans, have a new series. This comic is goofy, fun, silly, and great for younger readers. Though it stars Superman, we see Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Superboy, Supergirl, and even Krypto throughout the comic. With a cast this big, there’s bound to be a favorite character for any reader. The story is simple and easy to follow. Lex Luthor builds a bunch of giant robots and attacks Superman. It’s a classic for a reason. Just like with Tiny Titans, the best part of the book is the back, where young readers send in their homemade drawings of the characters. Read this comic, then bust out some crayons.
Incredible Hulk #8 (Marvel Comics)
The only constant in the Hulk has always been change. The Hulk-Banner dynamic is a constantly shifting power struggle between the two personalities. It used to be that the Hulk lurked in Banner’s mind, and could be released in times of stress or rage. Now Bruce Banner’s body has been destroyed. His mind lives on inside the Hulk though. When the Hulk calms down, the now-criminally insane Bruce Banner takes control. The Hulk has to stay angry all the time now, or he will change back into puny Banner. Through a series of events that even the Hulk is unsure of, he finds himself in Juarez, Mexico, teamed-up with the Punisher, hunting a mutated animal drug lord named Pitbull. This comic reads like if the characters from Crank and The Island of Dr. Moreau co-starred in a spinoff of Breaking Bad. Yeah, it’s THAT awesome.
Batman Annual #1 (Night of the Owls tie-in) (DC Comics)
When this comic starts, it seems like a pretty good retelling of the classic episode of Batman: The Animated Series, “Heart of Ice.” Before he was the villainous Mr. Freeze, Dr. Victor Freiss loved his wife Nora. When the medical technology of the time failed her, she was cryogenically frozen. The heartless Bruce Wayne interfered in Victor’s plans to revive her, and the ensuing accident turned the man into a monster. If it had just been a rehash of that story, I’m sure it would have been fine. Scott Snyder is a gifted enough writer that he could have found some way to put his own spin on it and make it his own. What actually happens is something much better than that. Two huge plot twists take the reader and slap them in the face.
Peter Panzerfaust #4 (Image Comics)
Transformers: Robots in Disguise #5 (IDW Comics)
America’s Got Powers #2 (Image Comics)
Animal Man Annual #1 (DC Comics)