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.
Mix Tape is a little coming-of-age tale from freshman publisher, Space Goat Publishing. We’ve seen this story done before on film, but there’s a lot to like here. A group of friends are about to begin their senior year of high school in 1990, and we get to know each of them at the last big party of summer as they reunite after being apart during break. Brad Abraham does a nice job dialoguing high-schooler speak of the day. And I appreciated that artists Gervasio & Jok made it easy to distinguish between so many characters upon just meeting them, something that can cause trouble for artists in stories with an ensemble cast. This era’s only a couple of years younger than me, so I recognize the tone and the references. I’m not sure what other age groups would make of it – if it’d be entertaining for reasons other than just identifying with the music. The idea of music as a theme is a little thin, but I believe we’ll see that explored more fully in later issues. For now, I think this is Archie with angst for Gen X-ers that could grow into something with a big following.
I wanted more from the Agent Carter: SHIELD 50th Anniversary one-shot. Fans of the character might enjoy it, since there isn’t a platform for her right now. But I thought she deserved more than what came off feeling akin to a kid’s Saturday morning cartoon adventure. The story doesn’t attempt to delve very deeply into the character – unlike the Mockingbird one-shot which at least offered a thoughtful murder mystery. Rather than tell us more about Peggy, it uses the opportunity to make SHIELD look like jerks through her eyes. I’m guessing that writer Kathryn Immonen thought would add to the character’s sense of independence and uniqueness as she’s alienated from the organization. I missed the sense of era that I think a lot of people like about Peggy Carter, a little bit of nostalgia. But nearly the entire story takes place on a SHIELD helicarrier, so it could be whenever! Certainly a missed opportunity.
Beauty #2 confirms my suspicions that #1 was no fluke – this series is excellent. There’s a lot to process in this murder mystery/police procedural surrounding an STD called Beauty that makes its “victims” really, really good-looking. But Jeremy Haun never lets the narrative get convoluted. In this week’s issue, things get even trickier for the struggling detectives as the male partner contracts the disease from his wife. Meanwhile, both partners are dealing with a cover-up attempt by their department to conceal whether or not recent deaths of Beauty victims are murders or fatalities of the disease. As I was reading, I couldn’t help thinking what a great movie or cable tv series it’d be. The pacing is excellent – the story never stalls. Yet another element is introduced at the end of this issue that heightens the drama. Everybody should be reading this – it’s a fantastic example of just how entertaining comic books can be when the medium is at its most innovative.
Back in 2008, Captain America White #0 was released. It was a short story about Cap’s first meeting in WWII with his sidekick, Bucky, and how they came to work together. There was never any follow-up to that preview, until now. This series continues to follow Bucky & Cap in their early adventures in the war, including their first meeting with Nick Fury and Dum Dum Dugan. The narrative is Steve Rogers’ inner monologue regarding his conflicts over bringing a young boy into battle. One can’t help think that we’ve seen this territory visited before – the retelling of Cap’s WWII adventures with Bucky and how they were such great pals. But Jeph Loeb hasn’t been giving all the writing responsibilities he has over the years – Lost, Smallville, Heroes – because he’s a hack. He knows characters and he knows how to fill them with heart. Anyone who cares at all about Cap & Bucky will enjoy seeing them thru Loeb’s eyes. On the other hand… I know that Tim Sale’s art is a hit with some people, but I find it awkward and heavy-handed to the point of being… well, let’s just say I can think of lots of other artists who would’ve made this story a thing of beauty. I get it – this is part of Loeb & Sale’s color series. Too bad the story couldn’t exist on its own and been told by Loeb and ______ .
Anyone who’s ever been afraid that all our mobile, electronic devices will lead to something bad will find their fear realized to the Nth degree in the impressive first issue of Tokyo Ghost. It’s 2089 and in the Isles of Los Angeles, almost everyone is addicted to technology. Debbie Decay is a law enforcer who’s remained tech-free, but her lover/partner, Led Dent, is a barely functioning screen-head. Together, they take down criminals in a world that’s part Judge Dredd, part Blade Runner, part Mad Max. But more than that, it’s also a love story between Debbie & Led, as she struggles to reach him thru his digital haze. Rick Remender has written a lot of entertaining titles – Deadly Class, Black Science, Low, my favorite run on Punisher – and this may be his most well executed concept. It doesn’t hurt that Sean Murphy is perfectly suited to depict this cyberpunk-influenced future that’s littered with tons of his imaginative designs. (Akira’s bike has nothing on “Zeus’ Dick.”) They pack a lot into this first issue and I’m excited to see where the fast-moving story goes.
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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