Greetings, Nerd Bastards readers, Jake here from The Hall of Comics – where heroes shop. I’m a bag and boarded professional. My passion (and business) is to read, write about and sell comics. In an alliance forged in the stars, The Hall of Comics will be dropping by Nerd Bastards weekly, to bring you the latest word and the weeks best pulls in comics. So sit back, grab a snack, and check out what latest comic titles you should be reading.
What’s worse? When a bunch of new titles fail to meet expectations so you’re left with nothing to read, or when a lot of number one issues are worth reading so you exceed your weekly comics budget. If you think it’s the latter, you should prepare yourself for this week’s visit to the LCS. Case in point, Invisible Republic. It’s been described by Image as “Breaking Bad meets Blade Runner.” I might be able to guess how the story will get to that analogy eventually, but this first issue is much more nuanced than any mash-up like that could describe. It’s told in flashback as a journalist reads a diary recounting the early days of Arthur McBride, a revolutionary-turned-tyrant. The diary was written by his cousin, Maia. In the present time, the regime he built has fallen. This book is dripping with fate and destiny – so good! Writer Gabriel Hardman takes the time to deal with the nitty gritty of some wonderful details, tiny details that already feel as tho’ they’re leading to a huge and terrifying vision. Corinna Bechko’s art is beautiful. It feels very European to me. (Not having read a lot of European comics, I’m not sure what that means, but it does.) Jordan Boyd‘s colors do a lot of the heavy lifting, as well. They have to communicate the idea that we’re in an alien landscape when it’s so barren that there are hardly any specifics other than the sky to convey that fact.
I’ve read lots of Mike Mignola‘s Hellboy and Hellboy-related material, but not in a while. So diving into Frankenstein Underground was like putting on a cushy, warm coat that fits surprisingly well. Readers who love the legend of Frankenstein (I know, it’s actually “Frankenstein’s monster”, but we all know what we’re talking about), and readers who couldn’t care less about the creature will both find plenty to enjoy. Mignola works his typical magic and stirs up a stew of myths and folktales from a variety of lands and eras. The villains are immediately compelling and just as cool as the monster himself. There’s even a bit of successful heart string pulling before the first issue is over. Ben Stenbeck‘s heavy lines and shadows mimic Mignola’s to the point that you’d think it was his art. The trick is well done and looks terrific. This is a really fun read and anyone who likes Hellboy and monsters in general should not pass it up.
Chrononauts might be my pick of the week. Mark Millar takes the same approach that he’s used on superheroes (The Ultimates, Kick-Ass) and applies it to time travelers. What would it really be like in our 24-hour news cycle, social media dominated society if a guy created time travel? And then what would happen if he made the first trip with his main bro’? In some scenes, I could almost picture Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, or Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in these roles. Millar makes every part of the story interesting. For my money, he’s become better at the people-standing-around talking thing than Brian Michael Bendis. Sean Gordon Murhpy‘s art just gets more & more impressive. I thought his work on The Wake was mesmerizing and he’s definitely upped his game in the short time since then. There’s a Civil War battlefield scene that holds your eye for longer than I think most of us are used to in comics. I can’t wait to see where this book goes.
Red One is a strange book and it gets a lot of points for just being interesting. You certainly won’t find a better looking title this week, I assure you. The short description is that a Russian spy is given the mission of passing herself off as an American superhero. But after reading it, I realized the key part here is that she has to do it in 1970s Southern California. There’re a lot of elements to remind one of movies by the Cohen Brothers or of Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye – a tapestry of quirky characters that secret agent Vera Yelnikov must navigate in a very Barbarella fashion. One criticism, at times the dialogue and the visuals don’t jive – hopefully Xavier Dorison and Terry Dodson will refine their process because this series could grow into something fantastic. I’ve always loved Terry Dodson‘s lush line work and his wife’s, Rachel’s, ink are a wonderful anchor that give the book a hint of a the real world. (BTW, watch for the odd use of Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man behind the closed doors at the Kremlin.)
I’ve been feeling sheepish about how dismissive I was regarding the recent slew of female superheroes from Marvel. (Don’t worry, it hasn’t kept me up at nights.) So I wanted to give Silk another look in this week’s second issue. One on hand, I’m gonna stick to my guns – that this book is best served in the hands of a younger person, a tweener even. But it should get its due, as well. The story is well-crafted, as Robbie Thompson begins to weave in some of Cindy Moon’s history without breaking the pace of the present time adventure. I don’t know if it was artist Stacey Lee getting more comfortable with the medium, or me getting more comfortable with her thick lines, but I appreciated the look of this issue more, particularly the action sequences. As long as Silk continues along this path, and Thompson succeeds in making Cindy her own person, rather than just a female Peter Parker, its fan base should have no trouble growing.
At the risk of getting all political on ya, I’d be remiss as a comic book fan if I didn’t make some mention about the ongoing Batgirl Joker cover controversy. When judging the validity of the arguments for publishing the cover versus pulling the cover, consider this: would the debate have reached this fever pitch a short 25 years ago when a person would have had to writer a letter or worse, pick up the phone and speak to another person, in order to express their disdain? Technology and social media have enabled us to the point that outrage can be voiced without leaving the couch or making any kind of personal sacrifice or paying any price, however small. Some battles are fought online because they’re just and some are fought because it’s so easy to use the pound sign button on your key pad. While we’re having heated debates like this, tho’, it might be helpful to stop and ask if they’d even be happening if it wasn’t for that electronic device in your hand.
Alright kiddies, that’s it for me this week. Tune in next week for another addition of “Meanwhile at The Hall of Comics”. Wanna know what else is out this week? Check out the full list of releases at The Hall of Comics NEW RELEASE page HERE.
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