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.
If you’d told me that Archie vs Predator would be the best comic of the year, I’d probably have said, hey, let’s instead talk about an interesting book from Top Cow, The Tithe. After two issues of his other recent series, Postal, and now this, Matt Hawkins is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. The Tithe is a deceptively simple book about a hacker/heist team that targets tv evangelists and mega churches. The mystery lies behind who they are and what their ultimate goal may be. Meantime, a resourceful, albeit mis-matched pair of federal agents is on their trail. Hawkins doesn’t go in for a lot of flair or the usual comic book tropes. Instead, his writing takes its time with the details, both in the plot and the dialogue. I enjoyed the attention given to the two feds, Campbell & Miller, as they mull over the evidence of the latest heist. Eventually, their talk turns to the pros & cons of faith and it’s clear that they’re each on opposite sides of the debate. There are a lot of directions for this book to go in and I’ll definitely come back to see where Hawkins takes it.
It’s too bad that DC & Marvel can’t give us more books like Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman. Stories that are unhindered by continuity with PG/PG13 material might not have what it takes to attract readers who flock to their LCS every Wednesday, but everyone else might be more inclined to pick up a comic like that. You like Wonder Woman? Great, here’s a comic with TWO stories you can enjoy that require knowing anything outside of who she is. Both the stories in Sensation #9 feature some fantastic art that reminded me of the power of straightforward illustration. Mike Maihack and Chris Sprouse are not wishy-washy in their line work – their styles are different but both of them robust. I did bristle at writer Cecil Castellucci’s inclusion of a smart phone that essentially saves the day, a plot device that’s becoming omnipresent in many comics. Nitpicking aside, as a retailer I would love an entire line of books like this with flagship characters from each of the big two that I could offer to young readers and newcomers.
If you’re still reading Thor just to find out who she is, you’ll have to wait one more issue. Altho’ this week’s #7 drops a great big, juicy tease. Who do you think that’s she is? At the same time, Jason Aaron cleverly rules out a whole lot of characters on the final page. That plot point continues to be window dressing for me, tho’ – knowing who she is might cure our curiosity, but it’d still be the same story. She’d still be fighting bad guys in really exciting battles. Odin would still be a total douche nozzle. Jason Aaron would still have found a new way to add a human element to a story about gods. And Russell Dauterman‘s art would still be electric. His effects are so nuanced. While many artists work well with 3 or 4 line weights, he seems to have an infinite number of them, able to perfectly describe the sheen on a helmet or the toxicity of acid with barely any effort. More than Thor herself, the dialogue has been the real star of this book. This week’s issue shows that off as we quickly jump from one plot thread to the next, each with their own flavor but also easy to follow and so satisfying that I always enjoy whatever Aaron chooses to show us.
Let’s look at Convergence #2 along with one of this week’s tie-ins to the event, Justice League International. With great power comes great responsibility and Jeff King has plenty of both as the writer on Convergence. Even tho I’m an old school DC fan, I have to say that he just isn’t living up to the responsibility. Including issue 0, we are three books into the main title and our heroes have progressed very little. More time is spent on exposition, about who the villain Telos is and what his abilities are. Eventually, the plot gets us to Gotham City and we have a meeting of two Batmans. I won’t give it away here, but the writing just isn’t up to the level that this confrontation should have/could have been. One challenge of this entire event is that it’s walking the line between books like Sensation Comics that don’t rely on continuity and books that depend on it. The pleasure of this series should have been all the call backs and references to the universes that these characters come from. But it also wants to be an adventure that stands on its own merits with events that are self-contained. So far, it stands in place and shuffles around.
Justice League International #1 suffers from the same ailment with added identity crisis (excuse the pun.) If you pick up JLI this week, no doubt it’s because you want that Keith Giffen-BWAHAHA flavor of the series by the same name. I sure did. Writer Ron Marz himself has said that style isn’t his forte. Instead, we get a Blue Beetle minus Booster Gold and a team whose style is practically unrecognizable. They could be any superhero group. The story’s payoff that could have worked comes too late in the issue. However, these disappointments won’t stop me from finishing the main series or reading the other tie-ins. I have to know where Convergence ends up and what the final goal is. Each tie-in has a different creative team and there are plenty of characters whose stories have yet to be told, so I’ll read those, as well. I’m curious to see in the comments below what your reactions have been to the event so far?
So how’s that Daredevil binge watching going for ya? Oh, man – I’d probably be thru it already myself if the show wasn’t so dense and heavy, like a super thick slick of veggie loaf. Gotta give it to Marvel, they know what they’re doing. The small screen format was just what the character needed. Every DD fan I talk to seems pleased as punch that ol’ hornhead finally got his proper due. Each time a new comic book based show is announced there’s a chance it could be the one to burst this bubble and put an end to the golden age of nerdom we’re living in, but this thing just keeps chugging along with hit after hit. I LOVE IT!
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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