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.
This week is certainly an eclectic mix of books you may not enjoy and books you don’t yet know you’ll enjoy. There’s little to show from the indie publishers but Marvel & DC are each debuting titles that go far enough off the reservation that they’ll feel like indie comics. Or comics from the 70s – case in point, Mrs Deadpool and the Howling Commandos. Those titular characters are Deadpool’s widow and queen of all monsters, Shiklah, along with Marvel’s version of the monster squad: Werewolf by Night, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Living Mummy, Man-Thing, and Marcus the Centaur. Now that may sound like a mess, but stay with me because it turns out to be the recipe for some pretty funny stuff. Dracula’s in there too, as the bad guy. Deadpool plays a small role as narrator, but not enough to overshadow things. Hopefully his role will fall away all together because this cast does fine on their own. Marvel really took a real chance on this one – I guess they thought it’d please the Deadpool fans, but I think there’re a lot of old-school Marvel zombies who’ll enjoy it more. It’s one more example of why Secret Wars is a small bit of genius. Marvel made an over-arching event that’s a creative excuse for them to freshen up the shelves with a pile of titles that they’d otherwise have no platform for. Titles like…
Weirdworld might as well be “Conan.” But with a bunch of Marvel’s own characters. It stars Arkon, a cross between Conan & Thor who we first met way back in Avengers #75. It’s a sword & sorcery book but with one big difference: it’s written by Jason Aaron. Aaron doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, however, the way he did with his recent stint on Thor. It’s high adventure in a strange land. But Aaron’s script is whip-smart as ever so don’t expect to be bored. Mike del Mundo’s soft, watercolor-like art really lends itself to the fantasy element, depicting Arkon as rock hard and the landscape as lush, full of ogres & dragons. I’m not really a sword & sorcery guy, but I enjoyed Arkon’s introspective, first person narration and I’m curious to see what other characters Aaron uses – besides the reveal at the end of this issue.
In case you didn’t think that the big two imitate and reflect each other’s ideas all the time, this week is further proof. The one thing that came out of DC’s Convergence event is that all past story lines are up for grabs, much in the same way that Secret Wars is allowing for a bunch of experimental titles. And whether or not that excuse holds water, DC is going with it. We got titles as varied as Bat-Mite, Midnighter, and Batman Beyond last week. Section Eight is one of this week’s throwback titles. (To be exact, it’s All Star Section Eight, but everyone’s just been calling it Section Eight.) This misfit team of superheroes was created by Garth Ennis in his late 90s series, Hitman. Lead by a character named Six Pack, the idea and the art feel like something that was rejected from Mad magazine. The writing is truly below Ennis, full of toilet jokes and weirdness for the sake of being weird. Six Pack suffers from hallucinations, so there’s no reason for anything in the story to even have basis. I love me some good Garth Ennis, but fans of his won’t even recognize this. It’d probably be more at home during the rise of underground comics in the early 70s.
Alright, let’s look at a DC team of misfits that does work. The New (ugh – do we need to go on using these prefixes?) Suicide Squad #9 introduces a new story arc and it’s a good jumping on point if you haven’t been keeping up. There’re still some team members that have become fixtures – Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Black Manta, Captain Boomerang, Reverse Flash, and a new addition, the Parasite. So there’s no sign of the re-jiggered line-up that was promised in recent promos for the series. Perhaps that’ll evolve in this story arc. Those same promos mentioned they’d be going up against ISIS. Turns out it’s actually an ISIS-like rogue group from the League of Assassins. Whatever editorial changes were made aside, this is still one of DC’s edgiest books and it delivers the goods for those of us who enjoy the whole Dirty Dozen concept. This issue’s ending features a particularly creepy initiation the team must pass in order to infiltrate this terrorist organization.
That’s right, I saved Batman #41 for last so you’d have to read all that other stuff first. Whatever preconceptions & feelings you’ve already decided to have about this book, they’re wrong so buy it anyway. I’m still grappling with the entire re-working Scott Snyder gave this title. It’s not just the Bat-Bunny armor. It’s not just “Batman’s” new identity. He’s shifted the book in a much deeper way. I respect that. It’s more than a superficial change. He’s taking the book in different direction. But my argument then, as in any drastic re-working of an existing property – much like the tv show Gotham – is why don’t you just make a new book? When you even have to change Jim Gordon in order to make him fit your new paradigm, maybe that’s a sign that the idea warranted an entirely new series. But Snyder & Capullo are cooking up something here that could grow to be an integral part of the character’s history. We’ve trusted this team before, so let’s see it through. Yes, the big changes are immediately apparent and not really appealing. But read this issue. I’m more excited by the little changes that aren’t glaring but so expertly done.
This past week’s comic book related brouhaha was over Marvel’s announcement of their re-launch following the end of Secret Wars. Who is this news to?! If you’re new to comics, you should be excited that you’ll have a jumping on point. If you’re not new to comics, how are you not numb to this yet? Marvel introduces #1 issues as often as I introduce a clean pair of boxers (sad but true.) An ongoing Marvel series these days is elderly at twelve issues. Alright, so maybe people are taking umbrage with the changes to the characters, like a reportedly gender-bending Hulk. None of this will stick for long. And if the changes do remain, new writers will come along and find a way for your father’s version to return. Everyone needs to remember that Green Lantern wasn’t alway Hal Jordan. Ch-ch-ch-changes happen. Otherwise we’d still be reading the majority of books being written in the Silver Age. Or the Bronze Age, or god help us, the Copper Age. (And trust me, I LOVE my back issues but a lot of that stuff is unreadable now. When was the last time you read an issue from cover to cover of something that hasn’t been collected into a trade paperback?) Change happens for a reason so let’s wait to actually read the books before passing judgement.
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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