Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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I have read some pretty great comics over the past couple days. Here are some of the highlights.

DC Holiday Special 2017 #1: I won’t go through all the stories of this book, but amongst them were some real treats by some top-notch talent.

  • “Twas the Night Before Christmas” was a Batman Christmas horror story, and it was a solid little tale by Denny O’Neil and Steve Epting.
  • “Going Down Easy” was a Sgt. Rock WWII story by Tom King and Francesco Francavilla. It’s a great story for the way it was crafted as much as anything else.

Hellboy Krampusnacht: This was a great story written by Mike Mignola with art by Adam-freakin’-Hughes! It takes place in Austria in 1975, which is one of my favorite thing about Hellboy comics, the way they ping pong all around history. It’s a fairly standard Hellboy story, which is not a bad thing by any means. What really sets it over the top is the art.

Assassinistas #1: Tini Howard and Gilbert Hernandez give us a solid first issue of this book about three assassins who have to have been trying to leave the old life behind, but when one of them steps on the wrong side of the law (in direct, personal conflict with the other), they have to go back to their old ways. One of the assassins’ college-age son (and his same-sex partner) are pulled into the action as well. This is the best thing that I’ve seen come out of Black Crown, and I think I will actually continue reading this book.

Wormwood Gentleman Corpse Christmas Special: Ben Templesmith turns in a story about Wormwood having to take over Santa’s body to bring order back to the North Pole. Either you like Templesmith’s art or you don’t, but if you do like it, this is a fun little story for Christmas.

Dark Nights Metal #4: Ha! I love how crazy this book is. We see Daniel/Sandman being put to good use. Starro is being put to good use. Stir in some Black Adam and we have another fun riot of a story. The only thing is that once again, Dr. Fate was useless, just pointing his finger in the background with do-nothing energy coming out of his hand before he is defeated. Dr. Fate should be a powerhouse, but he is never treated as such. But enough of the hate, I loved 95% of this book because it’s not afraid to be ridiculous.

Judas #1: From Boom Studios comes this book of religion told from the point of view of Judas as the almost-victim in a story where he is the protagonist. He is a man who had no real choice but to carry out his destiny as one of the most well-known villains in history. It was written by Jeff Loveness and drawn by Jakub Rebelka.

Batman White Knight #3: Despite its wordiness, I love this book. It’s beautiful, and it’s an Elseworlds story that is just about a half-step out of sync with the proper DCU. I love how you’re not quite sure who to root for, the way you feel when you watch The Wire. I’m not comparing the two; I’m just saying that it’s a very similar brain-twist.

Archie #26: As much fun as it has been to read Mark Waid’s writing this book, I think I’m done with it. It’s just teenage soap-opera. I like the show Riverdale, but that soap-opera has some bigger, more dangerous stakes to it. I’m going to stick with the Archie horror books.

Samurai Jack #1: The third issue of this book came out a couple weeks ago, but I’m behind on reading it. This book was written by Fabian Rangel, Jr. and drawn by Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, which makes this a must read for me. I’ve never been a huge SJ reader, so I’m not sure how this book fits in with everything else, but it is samurai-slashing/cyborg/alien goodness. Very fun indeed.

The Gravediggers Union #2: Wes Craig and Toby Cypress give us another chapter in the noir-ish story about the horror-infused world of a group of former grave diggers. In this chapter, the crew visits a bayou-dwelling fortune teller to find information about a group called The Black Temple. I love how moody this book feels. It’s dark without being too dark, and light without being overly so.

Sleepless #1: This book was a big surprise for me. I loved it--a story of a girl who should rightfully take the throne that she knows she can’t, and her non-sleeping guardian. If you’re up for something different, give this one a shot. The art by Leila del Luca is really lush, and Sarah Vaughn’s writing flowed very smoothly. I’m going to stick with this one!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Spock relates the “Lee-Kurtzberg theory on the origins

of life”: “Two centuries ago they postulated an as yet undiscovered form of energy which makes it possible for planets to support life. The idea is largely discounted by serious planetary scientists.”

I'm getting ST: New Visions in collected form. Shouldn't that be the "Lieber-Kurtzberg theory?"

Morning Glories Vol.10 : Expulsion

Nick Spencer, words; Joe Eisma, art; Rodin Esquejo, covers

Image Comics, 2016

My hat is off to anyone who can follow this series without annotations: between the time travel and the non-linear storytelling, it's almost impossible to keep track of everything. That said, I actually found this Season 2 ending arc reasonably easy to follow--if only because I've given up on completely following the threads. I'm not sure why the collection is titled "Expulsion," since its central event is the Student Council election,  and most of the individual issues were apparently given "Election" titles. Anyway, Casey challenges longtime incumbent Isabel for the Student Council presidency--and wins, probably through Ian's intervention. Guillaume challenges the Headmaster by arranging for the Blue team to win the Towerball finals; and Vanessa and Ian face off in the science fair. When Casey is taken to meet the Headmaster (only the Student Council president is allowed to meet him) she is shocked to discover that she doesn't recognize him! He is a character previously known as the Scientist, and it's not clear if he is someone we have seen before, or someone with a relationship to one (e.g. Abraham's son). There are also several character deaths, but given the flexible nature of life and death in this series, it's hard to know how much they mean. There are a couple of sequences that make the historical cycle of events explicit, showing characters in the past presumably involved in the same struggles as the current cast of characters (some adult dialog reinforces this). At the end the Headmaster sends Casey to the tropical beach that has recurred in the series, for a "summer vacation." The series is on hiatus, and "Summer Vacation" has been mentioned as a possible title for Season 3 of the series. It seems clear that there won't be the fifty more issues originally projected. If it does return, I'd be happy to have a faster pace and more answers.

"Shouldn't that be the 'Lieber-Kurtzberg theory?'"

Oh, you're right... it was. Chalk that up to my error.

PHOENIX – THE RETURN OF JEAN GREY #1: This is a good example of a modern super-hero comic. By that I mean that it’s very entertaining, but it reads just like a [good] TV show. Comics is a different medium; I hate when it’s derivative like that. I tried the first couple issues of those X-Men relaunches a couple of months ago, but they were soured by that artist who interjected his politics into them. Maybe this’ll be a good jumping on point for me, because the last X-Men I read regularly was the [most recent] death of Phoenix. The art is good… serviceable… but it’s not my idea of what good superhero art should be. Like most modern comics, it’s paced to provide only a hint of a story (but I don’t feel as if I should criticize a modern comic for being a modern comic). There’s a nice afterword which provides insight. I always like that.

ACTION COMICS #994: When it’s all said and done, I’ll probably end up filing this with my Booster Gold comics rather than my Superman comics.

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #2: Good stuff.

KAMANDI CHALLENGE #12: Actually, I haven’t read this one yet. Flipped through it, though. Looking forward to reading it.

VARK KNIGHT RETURNS #1: Contains the nastiest set of wedding vows I have ever heard.

BLACK PANTHER PANTHERS QUEST TP: I led a discussion of this 25-part serial on the old board. I rather liked that one and wish I could read it again. The story is tied to a particular time and place: South Africa, 1986. It concerns T’Challa’s search for his mother in the Apartheid era. If the cover looks familiar, it’s adapted from a Bill Reinhold pin-up originally published in Marvel Fanfare.

I read the first four parts of The Beautiful Death from Titan Comics. I originally only had the second issue (thinking it was the first when I nabbed it), and then just earlier this week got hold parts 1, 3, and 4. This is a post-apocalpytic story (yes, another one of those) that transcends the genre by being beautifully and intricately drawn, and with a very strange, last people on Earth/ghost story. It's very difficult to describe this story, but it's really good. It's translated from French.

Then I read the first two parts of Street Tiger from Amigo Comics. This touts itself as a "weird revenge story". It reminds me a lot of Helena Crash in its tone (which I realize probably means nothing to most of you, or anyone for that matter). It's about a helmeted guy who runs around town taking revenge on all of these mob bosses and people who have wronged him. It's kind of quirky, but not in the cutesy sense. The art looks like that of someone who might do a guest-spot in an Adventure Time comic. I have the other two parts, so I will read those soon.

I also read Mister Miracle #5 today. I find myself being in a constant state of fear while I read this series. I know that's the idea, to feel constantly uncomfortable and on-edge, but I have to say that, unlike with Tom King's other books, I am really glad that I have other things to read in between, all of which are more upbeat than this series.

It's a fantastic read, but man, it's such a downer.

Grendel Tales: Devil Worship: This one came out way back in 1990 as a part of a series of other writers and artists taking on the world of Grendel. This story takes place on a college campus in the near-future (now the past, presumably) where a group of students are ardent Grendel worshipers. It is written by Steven T. Seagle and drawn by Ho Che Anderson. It was a great, violent take on the character's influence on the world around him. I bought the Grendel Tales Omnibus Vol. 1 (this summer?) for the Paul Grist and the Edvin Biukovic/Darko Macan stories, but this first story was a great one with some gorgeous artwork. Matt Wagner can draw top-notch talent to work with his material, and I can't wait to dig further into this volume.

Lazaretto #4: Man, this book is so weird and horrific. I always say this, but it reminds me a lot of a Alex de Campi story. But it's not; it was written by Clay McLeod Chapman with art by Jey Levang. It's the continuing story of the Lord of the Flies story taking place in a co-ed dorm during the very first weekend of college. Because of the odd timing of the setting, the characters haven't even had a chance to get to know each other yet, so it's just like a cluster of strangers. Add to that the fact that they are all in quarantine because of a degenerative/zombie/flesh-eating virus. It's almost like this book is trying to do too much without the proper gear, but I will stick around for the last issue in a month.

Redlands #5: Man, the previous issue/s of this story read so fast, but this one was horrifyingly (not in a bad way) slower. It's the story of a group of witches who live in the South. In this one, a truck driver picks up a girl who turns out not to be what he expected, and a back story of pimp who strong-arms his way when he can--nearly always. As good (and scary) as the main story was, the most harrowing part was the diary entries in the end, which tell the story of a girl who is sold into sex slavery at a young age. You want so badly for this girl to just catch a break, and in the end, you get a glimpse of hope. But still, her life is forever changed.

Man, between the books I've read over the last couple days, I need a picker-upper!

Finally read digitally - JSA The Golden Age

Well written, well drawn interesting spin on an Elseworlds Justice Society.

Recommended

I never really understood what it was that made this mini-series an Elseworlds, especially at the time. Still, it was my introduction to James Robinson, and man did he ever deliver.

Richard Mantle said:

Finally read digitally - JSA The Golden Age

Well written, well drawn interesting spin on an Elseworlds Justice Society.

Recommended

Read Issue #2 yesterday. The two young cooks--actually one is a chef, and don't you forget it --run into some difficulty in their way to the Capital. Ends in a tense cliffhanger.

Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) said:

Umami
Ongoing series by Ken Niimura

Recently read the first issue of the latest Panel Syndicate series. I remember Niimura's cartooning from the Image series I Kill Giants he did with writer Joe Kelly. He has a very loose style, reminiscent of manga. The series is in black and white, and is the only Panel Syndicate series so far that uses conventional portrait oriented pages, like a standard comic book (the rest use a horizontal landscape format). Umami is about the adventures of two cooks in a sort of medieval kingdom. Which makes it a cartoon cooking fantasy story, I guess! The first installment is a satisfying 46-page chunk of story. And it's "name your price," so you can try it out for free if you want.

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