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!
Abe Sapien: Dark & Terrible #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
My second favorite character from the Hellboy universe (behind only the pulp hero Lobster Johnson) finally has his own ongoing series, and it starts off with a great creepy vibe. If you haven’t read the recent BPRD comics, all that you need to know is that everyone’s favorite fish-man is on the lam. The Bureau wants to bring him back, but he’s got his own thing going on. More and more of the BPRD’s dark and twisted secrets have been happening in broad daylight, in front of civilians. When Abe overhears a colorful exchange with a bunch of train-hoppin’ hobos, it could just be the fevered rantings of paranoid minds, or it could be something much worse.
Age of Ultron #4 (Marvel Comics)
This issue is full-blown action movie awesomeness.
All New X-Men #10 (Marvel Comics)
It sure is hypocritical the way that the X-Men fetishize Jean “I’m too sexy for a codename” Grey, yet completely blame Cyclops for killing Professor Xavier while possessed by the Phoenix Force. I remember a popular Wolverine story called "Enemy of the State" where the X-Men’s favorite spree-killer had been turned into an assassin by the Hand (not that it took a lot of work), and he ran around killing children and X-Men alike, all over the campus. It’s great seeing Scott and his team show up at the Jean Grey School and tell it like it is. While we’re at it, how about the way that Wolverine not only named the school after Scott’s dead wife but used her MAIDEN NAME?! Anyway, the original teenaged X-Men are rightly pissed off to discover that they had not been told anywhere near the full truth about their future selves. No matter how infuriating the X-Men’s behavior may be, I’m loving this comic. Everyone has their version of the truth, their own way of seeing the world. Each worldview makes sense, and is consistent with the characters’ pasts. Sure they argue a lot, but then so does any extended family. We can all agree that Wolverine is a creepy jerk though, right?
Animal Man #19 (DC Comics)
Buddy Baker’s son, Cliff, is dead, and the magical forces of the Red that empower him aren’t taking his calls. No matter how much Ellen would like to pretend that their daughter Maxine is normal, the Red has chosen her as their next Avatar. I can’t shake the feeling that Maxine is going to use her powers to bring Cliff back, but I don’t expect that to end well.
Batwing #19 (DC Comics)
The cover is a little misleading, but yes, there IS a new Batwing. The new star of this series has closer ties to the established Bat-family and promises to be an interesting choice. I hope that David Zavimbe isn’t thrown away like Stephanie Brown and Wally West; he’s too interesting a character for limbo.
Deadpool #7 (Marvel Comics)
Continuity can be hard. Did the Fantastic Four still steal their experimental rocket so they could beat the Reds into space? How come Flash Thompson was a Vietnam War vet in the '80s, but now he fought in Afganistan? The important thing to remember about comics is that they have to come out every month, year after year. If you choose to have them take place in real time like Savage Dragon, then a villain from the '90s is now middle-aged with kids and no good reason to ever wear spandex again. That creates its own fun, but you can’t do it with most comics. Luckily, Deadpool is NOT most comics. This issue is set somewhere in the late '70s to early '80s and is allegedly an “inventory issue.” Back in the day, they would keep a backup issue in a drawer that could be published instead of the regular comic if the artist was late or the editor decided to change direction on a story and they needed to buy some time. That’s what they’re pretending to have unearthed here, and it’s really fun. There are tons of Easter eggs for longtime Marvel readers, but the story stays light and accessible for anyone. Deadpool teams up with drunk Tony Stark. It reads like an episode of Robot Chicken, and I can think of few higher compliments.
Earth 2 #11 (DC Comics)
Jay Garrick’s greatest power isn’t his super speed, but his ability to inspire people. He did it for Barry Allen in the Silver Age, the entire JSA in the post-Crisis DCU, and now he does it for Khalid. The power of Nabu is terrifying, and Khalid does not want to take it, but he must. He risks his sanity and sense of self to become Dr. Fate because of Jay Garrick, and the sacrifices that he makes in this issue. It’s great to know that no matter how much the DC Universe has been changed, some things remain the same.
Green Arrow #19 (DC Comics)
Artist Andrea Sorrentino can sure draw some visceral action sequences. I felt myself cringe a little with each landed punch, and shudder with ever arrow effortlessly piercing flesh. The entire issue is a fight between Green Arrow and the merciless archer Komodo, but it’s several different fights at once. There’s a physical battle between them, but also a mental fight as Oliver attempts to extract information from the hitman. While those fights each play out, Komodo seeks to taunt Oliver about various secrets that his father had kept from him. There are multiple games of chess happening at once, and the only move Ollie has left is to flip the table.
Green Lantern #19 (DC Comics)
Sinestro has escaped the Black Ring and returned to life. His only concern is the people of his homeworld Korrugar, but if he has any hope of saving them, he must defeat the First Lantern. Meanwhile Hal Jordan is still trapped in the dead world, unable to help. He has a plan though. His plan is to commit suicide by throwing himself off a cliff. He never said it was a GOOD plan.
Indestructible Hulk #6 (Marvel Comics)
Walter Simonson drew Thor for what seemed like a billion issues in the 1980s, and they were all great. Even all these years later, his is still the definitive run on the character. So when Bruce Banner leads his lab assistants through a portal to Asgard, there’s not a better person alive to illustrate the story.
Locke & Key: Omega #4 (IDW)
After months of successfully hiding in the stolen body of Bode Locke, Dodge breaks character. For most of his victims though, it’s going to be too late to matter. If you’re not reading this series, buy the trade paperbacks today. This is without a doubt the best horror comic ever made.
Polarity #1 (Boom Studios)
Max Bemis is the front man of the band Say Anything and a diagnosed sufferer of an extreme bipolar disorder. He’s taken many of his own experiences and used them to fuel this comic. Frankly, the subject matter seems much more raw and unsettling than the usual sanitized or cartoonish depictions of mental illness that you see in comics. In Polarity, our main character is an artist who goes off his meds and becomes a danger to himself and others. He also might actually be a superhero who is constantly being watched by dark forces, so there’s that. If you’re a fan of Say Anything’s music, or trippy comics like Grant Morrison’s Invisibles, I would strongly recommend that you check this series out.
Snapshot #3 (Image Comics)
We knew that Callie’s dad was no good. His criminal actions led to multiple murders and the framing of comic shop clerk Jake Dobson. It turns out that her mom sucked as a human being too.
Superior Spider-Man #7 (Marvel Comics)
This issue brings back the old Eric Larsen character Cardiac, a super-powered doctor who breaks a whole mess of laws to help patients that the system has left for dead. It also has the Avengers finally realize that something is wrong with their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Of course in my humble opinion, Otto is doing a great job. The Avengers shouldn’t let a psychotic spree-killer with claws for hands make their moral arguments.
Swamp Thing #19 (DC Comics)
Swamp Thing has embraced his role as the protector of the Green, and that means frequently having to side against mankind. I like when a hero’s choices aren’t easy to make, and they have to struggle with their choices. Alec feels his humanity slipping away, so he seeks out Superman. Who better to relate to him and advise him? The cover claims that Swamp Thing “battles” the Scarecrow, but that’s like when Godzilla “fought” Bambi. What makes this issue good isn’t the violence, but the introspection.
Thanos Rising #1 (Marvel Comics)
Remember that big purple dude that popped up at the end of the Avengers movie? That was Thanos, the mad god who wants to get into Death’s pants. This miniseries will pull back the curtain and tell his whole story, adding a lot of depth and detail. It’s a must for any fan of Marvel’s cosmic books, but it really stands on its own feet too. Simone Bianchi’s artwork is always awesome, but I was not expecting him and writer Jason Aaron to humanize Marvel’s greatest villain so much. We shouldn’t relate to Thanos any more than we should find ourselves rooting for the Red Skull, but they give the reader a complex and nuanced character study that’s just great. In his early years, long before Thanos fell in love with Death, it stalked him. While I’m sure that eventually Aaron and Bianchi will have the mad Titan willingly turn down the road to damnation, when issue #1 starts, he’s an innocent child. Destiny will not allow Thanos to stay that way for long.
Also Cool This Week
Action Comics #19 (DC Comics)
Detective Comics #19 (DC Comics)
GI Joe: Special Missions #2 (IDW)
Harbinger Wars #1 (Valiant)
The Last of Us #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Mind the Gap #9 (Image Comics)
Phantom Stranger #7 (DC Comics)
Super Dinosaur #18 (Image Comics)
Uber #0 (Avatar Press)
Ultimate Comics X-Men #25 (Marvel Comics)
Winter Soldier #17 (Marvel Comics)
Worlds’ Finest #11 (DC Comics)