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.
Why do we need another Justice League (of America) title? I’m not sure, but if it’s as good as this then bring it on. The existing Justice League by Geoff Johns is two issues into the Darkseid War, an ambitious event that’s been fantastic and steeped in some of DC’s better history. One of the things this new JLA book has going for it is that it’s free from any continuity. It’s a perfect book for brand new comic readers who might be intimidated by even the relatively new New 52 continuity – the kind of book the industry sorely needs. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a dumbed-down or overly simplified title that will turn-off hardcore fans, either. I’m a fan of Bryan Hitch’s art, but I was surprised at how well he executed both the plot and the dialogue. He’s not trying to reinvent the wheel – there’s no gimmick or switch up to change the team or make them hip. There’s a cosmic mystery and plenty of action on a Michael Bay-production scale. An oversize first issue with no ads means you get a lot of bang for your buck, too.
I just happened to read Squadron Sinister right after JLA, which is ironic since Marvel goes out of their way on the first page to make it clear this incarnation of the team is a parallel version of DC’s premiere team. The Secret Wars series have continued to impress me, so I had high hopes for this book. It did not disappoint. Think of SS as the Crime Syndicate or Injustice League of the Marvel Universe. Writer Marc Guggenheim makes use of the “Parental Advisory” label and gives us some deliciously evil baddies. Carlos Pacheco is a reliable go-to artist for team books and helps to give this an Avengers-level feel. You’d probably enjoy the book if you didn’t know a thing about the Secret Wars event, but it’ll help if you do seeing as this story dips into the details a little bit more than some have. There’s the added kick of some random Marvel characters from odd 80s series showing up, as well.
Image Comics new series this week is Empty Zone. It has a lot of the same elements that seem to populate new indie titles these days – a mysterious but capable female lead, bursts of violence, a blend of sci-fi and horror, and a plot that isn’t immediately clear. What I’m saying is that this book would’ve been the bee’s knees it it’d be released 20 years ago when creator Jason Shawn Alexander says he first thought of it. In fact, I kept thinking as I read it that it looked as tho’ it’s set in the same world as The Fifth Element. There’s some cyberpunk vibe going on with plenty of creepy, horror traits as Corinne White, a bounty hunter of sorts, must track down her next assignment while dealing with disturbing nightmares which have a frightening hint of being real. Alexander’s real strength is his art. If JH Williams, Michael Lark, and Alex Maleev were one person, he’d make art as engrossing as this.
Robin: Son of Batman is a hard book to critique. It’s not so much Robin’s book as it is Patrick Gleason’s. Gleason has made this character his own in a way that not many other creators have done with a character. So much so, that he’s graduated to writing, as well as the art chores. It’s also not a Batman-esque book. Being of Al Ghul heritage and then re-being of Apokolips technology, Damian Wayne has always had roots in the supernatural and sci-fi side of the Bat-world. But this books looks as tho’ it’ll push that even further. I enjoyed this first issue, and I imagine that readers who’ve followed Damian Wayne’s twisting path and multiple series these past few years will too. Other readers, readers who just want a good “Robin” book, will be hard pressed to recognize references and obscure side characters. But story aside, Patrick Gleason is at the top of his game art wise. He walks a fascinating line between a stylized flatness and incredible detail. His occasional fine lines exist in the same space with big areas of flat black that make even still scenes seem kinetic. I’d love to see him do something other than Robin soon because he has one of the most singular styles in comics today.
Thors. How was this book not going to be incredible? We have Jason Aaron expanding on his epic contribution to the Thor mythology, combined with Jonathan Hickman’s refreshing take on a what a Marvel Mega Event can be. Well, here’s one surprise that I almost hesitate to share because of how cool it was to discover. Thors is told in the style of a police procedural. It certainly makes sense since that’s what this “Thors Corps” is – Emperor Doom’s police force. But Aaron really pushes the theme, writing both the plot and the dialogue with a Law & Order feel or that of Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct. Don’t worry – there’s plenty of Thorness to it, as well. It’s a thrill seeing the different iterations of the character interact, both smoothly and not so smoothly. And if you were a fan of Aaron’s previous Thor title with Lady Thor, don’t worry. He works her into the tale in what I thought was a most clever way. The fact that we have a murder mystery/detective story to be solved by a police force made up entirely of Thors – this is the kind of satisfying and creative magic that one can find only in comics. This is what we as fans love about the medium and why it’s so unique among all other forms of entertainment.
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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