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 starts out strong with a fascinating new series from Image. Beauty is about a sexually transmitted disease of the same name that makes its “victims” more attractive. Some people seek out sexual contact because they want to contract the STD. In turn, some form groups in order to fight the disease and attack its carriers. The story begins with the investigation of a strange, public murder of a “beauty”, possibly by one of these terrorist cells. Jeremy Haun’s storytelling is solid & lean with no meandering. Jason A Hurley’s slick, clean art is crucial to communicating a pretty or handsome face versus someone who’s average. Only a few pages in, I reflexively bought in to the whole concept and began to wonder which characters were naturally good-looking and which ones were beauties. The murder mystery element compounded with the philosophical ramifications of a disease that makes people attractive gives this series some long legs to run on – and it’s well executed.
Harrow County has been slowly building readership through good word of mouth, and I haven’t given it its proper due on here. I was drawn to the nature of a small and quiet ghost story, almost like a storybook thanks to artist Tyler Crook. Emmy is a farm girl who the townspeople suspect may be the reincarnation of a witch they killed. Emmy’s no dummy and fairly resourceful. She sets about finding out the truth for herself before things get out of hand. In this week’s issue four, events take a very unexpected turn. It’s clear that even though fans already love the story, this series is about to get bigger & better. I’ve been calling it a “ghost story” rather than a “horror story”, but I may have to expand that definition. Writer Cullen Bunn has his fingers in a lot of pies these days, but this creator-owned project is clearly where his strength is.
Were people clamoring for a series based on characters that we only know from some variant covers, albeit successful ones? DC Comics Bombshells feels like it’s stretching as Marguerite Bennett works to write a story around WW II era versions of Batwoman, Wonder Woman, and Supergirl. The art by Marguerite Sauvage is pretty and has a lyrical style, well-suited to the tone. And Bennett does create enough of an interesting back story for everyone to make them dimensional and distinct. The idea to introduce a story for already-existing DC characters simply set in the 1940s can’t help but feel like a money-grab when there’s no driving plot point or idea, other than the old timey aspect. While this is just the first issue, it comes across as disjointed, the lead characters never meeting and seemingly unconnected. Oddly, it feels a lot like some of the less successful titles in Marvel’s Secret Wars event.
The only downside to being a Velvet fan is that the break between story arcs just feels too long, as Ed Brubaker & Steve Epting work to continue delivering a quality product. This week’s number eleven is the beginning of the book’s third arc, but it continues the mystery that Velvet Templeton has been working to unravel since the series began: who murdered the world’s greatest secret agent and framed her for it? Following the bread crumbs has lead Velvet from Europe to the US, her native soil. The series is often about who’s using who, what’s a lie and can the truth even be known? Right away, we see that Velvet’s angle is not what it appears to be, as she tries to stay ahead of the forces that conspire to destroy her. As good as Brubaker’s cold war era spy writing is, the art by Steve Epting almost outshines it, with lush, heavy shadows and heightened realism. This is always a solid read and thoroughly satisfying.
The newest issue of Jonathan Hickman’s very impressive Secret Wars may not appear to live up to its predecessors at first glance. But after a good night’s sleep and a quick reread, I really enjoyed all the juicy foreboding about what will come of the events in #4 regarding Sheriff Strange. Fans of Hickman’s Fantastic Four run will get a kick out of how the characters he established there step up and take the spotlight. At the same time, readers of his Avengers work may be bored by a couple of pages that revisit what we’ve already seen there, but it gets everybody caught up on past events involving the Molecule Man. The survivors in Reed Richard’s life raft who were scattered across Battleworld are a big fly in Doom’s ointment. It’s just a matter of what happens when they’re discovered. And what they’ll do in the meantime.
If you’ve spent any time at all online in the past few days, you’ve noticed that it’s become chic to bash Fox’s Fantastic Four. If you actually went to see the movie, rather than just getting angry because you weren’t told it was worth seeing, you know that it wasn’t a bad film. It wasn’t good either. But as with every interest in modern western culture, we can accept no in-between. Truly, the only thing perceived as more important than the quality of a product or action, is how extreme our reaction to it must be. If I were to say that I thought a film was just so-so, it’s most likely interpreted by haters as a softened vote for their side, and people who loved it would attack me for hating it. Similarly, I’m often asked why I hate a tv series when I say I have no interest in watching it, when in truth I’m merely indifferent. Temper your expectations when told that something was awful or wonderful – chances are that it was somewhere in the middle but we simply have no reference for that quality level in our modern day-to-day.
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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