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.
Old Man Logan has been one of the most satisfying titles of all the Secret Wars series. But this penultimate issue? Not so much. If you’re a fan of Andrea Sorrentino’s art like I am, then there’s plenty of imagery to spend your time studying. But even that suffers a bit from the fact that 80% of the book is just Wolvie hacking up zombies. Bendis wrote himself out of the opportunity to include witty dialogue or clever plot twists. There is one cool cameo. (Well, a little more than a cameo – that leaves us wondering if this version of her character is crossing over from another SW series or not.) Fortunately for Marvel, there’s only one more issue to go, so I’ll definitely come back to find out what happens. And this issue’s ending will probably ensure that you will, too. But I can’t imagine why anyone thought Logan slicing up zombie hordes constituted this much page time.
One more Secret Wars title then that’s it for this week, promise. I like the idea behind Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra. What happens behind the scenes to the nameless/faceless Hydra drones we’ve seen throw themselves into battle for the terrorist organization over & over again for almost as long as Marvel Comics has been around? Well, as you can probably guess from the title and cover art, they’re average working-class stiffs who live in suburbia. It’s not an entirely original concept. The Venture Brothers did it best with the Monarch’s Henchmen #21 and Henchmen #24. But unlike those two unique and endearing characters, Hank is a one-dimensional sitcom dad and there’s not much reason to like him. Additionally, beyond the book’s core idea, there isn’t much else to it – it’s a one-joke story. Some more gags within the joke, or some standout characterizations, rather than a parade of stereotypes, could have really benefitted this one-shot issue.
I tend to steer clear of TV shows or films turned into comics – all the reasons one enjoys the other 2 mediums just don’t translate well to the page. But perhaps because Drive was originally a book, which the comic is more closely tied to than the film, this debut issue was well done. I’m a big fan of Nicolas Winding Refn’s movie and relieved to see that IDW’s 4-issue series is not trying to be that. Nevertheless, all the elements are here – the stark dialogue, Driver’s code and morality, solid crime noir storytelling. The car chase element itself is a weakness, which seems like it’d be the downfall of a book called “Drive.” But like the movie, this book isn’t about cars. It’s about the characters. Whether you’ve seen the movie or not, fans of modern crime noir should check this out.
Oni’s produced a lot of comics that are praiseworthy and they’ve earned my faith, but there didn’t appear to be much about Stringers to interest me. I picked it up mostly so I could answer the question, “What’s it about.” The dialogue between the 2 lead characters pulled me in right away. Paul and Nick are freelance journalists who “string” for local tv news channels. They’re hoping the latest video they captured will catapult them to the networks. But they get entangled in the story itself and things go from exciting to dangerous. I like how the book gets into the actual mechanics of a stringer’s profession. But the real star of this book is Marc Guggenheim’s snappy repartee between the two friends – funny, smart, sometimes cutting, and genuine. Guggenheim is co-showrunner of the tv show Arrow, and I’d love to see him write some scripts himself that are more like this.
Marvel’s dedicated a fair amount of marketing to SHIELD #9. The issue marks the 50th anniversary of the spy organization’s introduction into the MU. A lot of mention has been given to the fact that it includes a never-before seen story by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Jim Steranko. I won’t give away too much, but it definitely features this described work, which the new title then builds upon in a very clever and inspired way. That’s the first of 3 short pieces you get in this oversized issue. The third story is a reprint of SHIELD’s first appearance in Strange Tales #135. But the middle story is what really made me love this read. It’s the introduction of the basis for one of Marvel’s “All New All Different” ongoing titles in October, Howling Commandos of SHIELD. Dum Dum Dugan stars, because what SHIELD book would be complete without ol’ Dum Dum? Stefano Caselli’s art is gorgeous and Al Ewing delivers a fast paced, almost pulpy script. Stories like this are what’s been setting Marvel apart from DC for a little while now – they’re just plain fun! It felt as though this issue was put together by people who really love the idea and history of SHIELD and it was made for fans who feel likewise.
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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