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.
There are several new indie titles starting this week, but I grabbed Injection because it’s a horror/sci-fi/mystery from Warren Ellis. Fans of his recent Moon Knight series may be a bit lost in it, though. This is the almost-Grant Morrison-level-crazy Ellis, full of menacing corporations and conspiracies, more like his work on Trees. The gist is that a multinational corporation has poisoned the planet in the not-to-distant future. Dr Maria Kilbride and her team, assembled by the same company, must attend to the results of that experiment. Most of the issue is spent focused on the team members and their dynamic rather than on what it is they’re tasked with combating. So we’re left feeling a little vague as to what the threat is. Ellis’s back and forth dialogue may grate on your nerves and makes one miss the minimal approach he used in Moon Knight. Surely there’s a place between the two? One last nitpick – the third person narration is written in a bright yellow, block font that sits floating, superimposed above the art. My criticisms usually don’t include cosmetic items because I’m more interested in the storytelling. But I wasn’t able to see past this design choice because of how distracting it was.
Darth Vader has been an odd book for me. I’ve really been enjoying Salvador Larroca’s crystal clear art. Kieron Gillen’s storytelling has been uncluttered, making it easier to retrofit the events into the original films. But only every other issue is satisfying. The other ones, like this one, hit a bump and feel out of character from what we know of Vader, the Emperor, and the entire Star Wars mythos. Several new characters are introduced in this week’s fifth issue. New characters aren’t a problem. I think that the two, homicidal droids have been great additions and they continue to steal every scene. These newbies, however, would feel more at home in a Dark Horse expanded universe book. It’s an awkward, hurried intro that asks us to accept a lot. Larroca’s rendering of them is strangely loose, without much form. He seems more at ease with angular, hard shapes than with organic aliens or natural faces. Hopefully next issue will prove out this pattern and things’ll get back on track.
If you’re not reading Image’s outer space western, Copperhead, you’re denying yourself a solid and consistent book. This week’s #7 is the second part of the second story arc, but still a good jumping on point. This arc retains some western elements, but writer Jay Faerber has shifted things a bit into a police drama. Copperhead stars newly assigned sheriff Clara Bronson, a single mom and a more than capable law officer. How many books can you think of that feature a lead female character but don’t hinge on that fact? Plot points certainly arise that would not if “Clara” were “Carl” instead. But the book is not about the sheriff being a woman. She’s just smartly written and likable. There’s a shootout in this issue that takes place in close quarters. Artist Scott Godlewski’s pacing is quite good, adding to the realism and tension of the action. Believe me, this book deserves more notice.
Don’t worry – no spoilers here. The next two books were hugely satisfying, and are linked in an interesting way. (I recommend reading Thor #8 before reading Secret Wars #2.) We all know by now that this week’s Thor reveals who’s been beneath the helmet. In fact, you may even know the answer thanks to online leaks. While reading it, I felt disappointed that it’d been given away. Jason Aaron’s steady build over the last few pages is quiet and grand at the same time – it’ll be very effective if you’ve avoided spoilers. Who she is isn’t even the most important twist – it’s what the role of Thor means to her on a personal level. And there’s plenty more that happens in this issue. We get some important moments with Odinson and his family. The army of ladies that aid Thor’s fight against the Destroyer have some very cool moments thanks to Aaron’s whip-smart dialogue and Russell Dauterman’s intricate line work. In fact, it’s so good it makes you wish Jason Aaron would write a new team book – maybe even a team made up of all the different Thors. Hmmm…
I have to be able to tell someone what a series is about in an elevator speech. Often times even that takes too long and an analogy using known stories is helpful. So with that in mind, I’m declaring Secret Wars to be “Game of Thrones meets the classic Star Trek Mirror Universe.” Don’t get it? You will. The second issue of Marvel’s mega event drops us in the middle of the new reality born out of the end of everything at the close of #1, a reality in which Dr Doom is the lord/god/king of everything. I won’t give away much more, but suffice it to say I loved it. If you were scared off of Hickman’s two Avengers titles because they required a PhD in physics and quantum mechanics, worry no more. He’s dialed the metaphysical science talk way back and replaced it with readable dialogue that quickly advances the story. This particular issue is super-sized, necessary to fit in all the Marvel characters that he manages to touch on in just one book. Best of all, this issue gives us the clearest picture yet of what this whole Secret Wars event involves and what we’ve got to look forward to. The scope is impressive, but at first glance it appears to be cohesive and doable.
If there’s not already a specific date that kicks of the comic con season then it should be today when New York Comic Con tickets go on sale. TAKE NO PRISONERS! Oops, in the space between the last sentence and this one, the 4-day passes all sold out. Only the blood of your first-born can save you now. Aaaand you blinked. Tickets are completely gone now. Oh, well. If you live in an area that’s anything like mine, there are only half a dozen local cons scheduled each month through the summer. So you shouldn’t have too much trouble consoling yourself with a few trips to those. Prime yourself for plenty of juicy standing-in-line time and LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR. Sorry, con season just brings it out in me.
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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