Greetings, Nerd Bastards readers. Jake here, from The Hall of Comics – where heroes shop. I’m a bagged 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 week’s best pulls in comics. So sit back, grab a snack, and check out the latest comic book titles you should be reading.
There’re almost as many new comics based on video games as there are movies based on comics. And it’s getting tricky to tell which ones those are because the mediums tend to reflect one another. Mirror’s Edge from Dark Horse is a prequel to the game that was nominated for the “Most Wanted” Golden Joystick Award and it was scripted by the writer of the game. The concept is an interesting one – in a somewhat Orwellian, but pristine future ruled by a ruthless conglomerate, the citizens aren’t much more than slaves, kept in line partly by their own consumerism. “Runners” have freed themselves from “employ” and use their athletic skills to move about the metropolis’ rooftops as independent couriers and corporate spies. The story follows a runner named Faith, one of the best, who’s a rebel even among the rebellious. The art reflects the story’s clinical and spotless reality – fluid and sharp. Writer Christofer Emgård gives us a lot to chew over in just the first issue of this six issue series. If you’re like me and not into gaming, don’t pass this over just because of its roots – it’s a solid read with some promising directions to go in.
Batman #44 is one of the best single issue stories of the character we’ve gotten in a while and there are several reasons why. It’s being touted as the origin of his latest villain, Mr. Bloom, who was introduced last issue. While that’s true, that aspect is a very small part of the story. To solve a teenager’s murder, the dark knight must learn who the boy was and track the last days leading up to his demise. Scott Snyder takes this opportunity to draw on a lot of what he’s built within the Batman mythos since the New 52 began. And yet, someone who’s never read a Batman comic before could pick this up and be enthralled with its mystery and the drama. It reminded me much of the bronze age Batman detective stories – character driven. The Batman is both a mysterious urban legend and a sad witness to the city around him. He’s more the vehicle for the story, rather than the story itself. A nit-pick: Jock’s new technique of weaving text into the story becomes exhausted by the end, overused. But his art is refreshingly nuanced and not overly impressionistic. For the most part it benefits this sure-to-be classic Batman tale.
We’ve all heard the lesson that you should be grateful for what you have, or even just to be alive. “Hey, things could always be worse.” But how often have you a read a comic book that takes the time to make that point? In issue six of Savior, a walk-on character spends several panels eloquently and poetically explaining that simply drawing breath is a gift. Todd McFarlane puts it in a context such that you don’t feel like you’re being preached to. I appreciated the fact that as many comics as I read every week, the medium can still inspire and surprise me. It’s just another reason you should be reading Savior – it’s created a context in which to examine faith, hate, what motivates us, why we follow. But without coming across as judgy or above it – just showing.
Ah yes, here we have the big boy of the week, the new Star Wars title that’s supposed to bridge “Return of the Jedi” with “The Force Awakens.” Does it deliver? Look, I could tell you that Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Shattered Empire is a piece of poop wrapped in tin foil and this thing would still fly off the shelves. Here’s the deal – people who eat, sleep, and breathe Star Wars will love it. For casual fans like me, the story’s a little skinny – there just isn’t much that happens in this first issue. (The series is only four issues long – hurry it up!) Sure, we get a detailed look at part of the fighter pilot action leading up to the destruction of the second Death Star. But I equate that to the action of a car chase in a movie – dull. There’s not much of the classic characters in the story. Instead, it follows a female pilot as she looks to reunite with her boyfriend who may or may not be a character in The Force Awakens. He’s certainly not drawn like the actor who portrays the named character – the father, perhaps? Writer Greg Rucka is tops in my book and produces top-notch storytelling every month in Lazarus. But this didn’t offer enough insight into anything like I was hoping for – perhaps that’s still to come in future issues.
Tet is an engrossing murder mystery set right before the Tet offensive of the Vietnam War. It follows Lieutenant Eugene Smith who’s partnered with a local inspector in Huế City to solve a double murder that could’ve been political. Smith is not a bad-ass super soldier, or a world-class hand-to-hand combatant. He’s a real person who’s looking to get through the war and eventually find some peace in his life. But the story flashes forward to 1984 and it appears that Smith did not come away completely unscathed. Paul Allor’s writing is mellow and deliberate, like a novel. He lets the setting and events create the drama rather than contriving it with splashy narration or fanciful descriptions. The story feels all the more real for it. Unfortunately, Paul Tucker’s art is clumsy and can’t live up to the material. It suffers from few backgrounds and blocky, unformed heads that have little-to-no emotion. I’ll see it through to the end of the four issues, though, for the intriguing mystery and the characters.
So how ’bout it, Star Wars fans? Has this been an epic several days for you? Between Force Friday and a brand new comic, you must be head over heels! Me and the other ol’ bastards around the comic shop like to talk about the times when a movie would be announced and there was no flashy trailer or leaks online, ’cause there was no “online.” There was barely any advance anything. Now, we get to bask in the glow of an upcoming for months before its release. I’m cool with that as long as too much of the movie isn’t given away (I’m looking at you, Avengers 2). I mean, why should it be over and done with in just the watching of the movie. We love this stuff, this nerdom, this geektasticness – why not prolong the pleasure and enjoy it?! Lord knows there’s enough doom & gloom going on, let’s take advantage of our harmless vices when we can.
Enough pontificating, now pass me my tube of BB-8 scented hair gel.
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.
*The Hall of Comics is the comic book fan’s ideal store. We strive to earn the respect of every collector who walks through our doors, from long time fanatics to speculators to brand new fans. This always-passionate, always-original community is what we thrive on. We’re excited to inspire our fellow fans and share with them our love of reading as well as collecting.
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