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.
Blood Thirsty #1 is one of the year’s strongest debuts and I was immediately engrossed by it. The story is about Virgil Lafleur, a Coast Guard veteran who worked to rescue his fellow New Orleans citizens during hurricane Katrina. Ten years after, hurricane Rose is on the horizon and now Virgil begins to suspect that evil forces took advantage of the Katrina disaster and are preparing to do so again. That’s a very cursory overview of a well written thriller that blends several genres into an interesting sensibility for a comic book. I was reminded of The Strain and the recent Burning Fields. With a subject like the Katrina disaster, it’s not surprising that screenwriter Mark Landry includes some social commentary, but it’s entirely relevant to the plot. The underlying elements of horror are almost seductive, daring us to find out more. I could write a lot about what makes this book worth picking up, but I’ll leave it at, “read it!”
If you haven’t been keeping up with the most recent Batman issues, this week’s annual will really confuse you. But if you’re familiar with Bruce Wayne’s current condition, it’s an interesting study by a superhero book of why we are who we are and what that means. There’s no sign of Batman in this story – it’s Bruce vs 3 of Batman’s rogues gallery. They each have good reason to blame Bruce for what’s befallen them and they intend to remind him that he’s responsible for their predicaments. The issue is heavy on psychology without a lot of action – almost like a stage play. Writer James Tynion is able to write hand-in-hand with Scott Snyder’s ideas, so he was a good choice to give us this deeper look into what’s going on with Bruce in light of all the recent changes and who he is now. The best part of the book for me is that it addresses the issue of whether or not Bruce is moving back into Wayne Manor.
Every week that Postal comes out, I tell myself that I’m going to give it a rest and talk about another book instead. But then I read it, and I can’t help but share it in here because dammit if this isn’t consistently the best book being published right now. There’s an overarching story going on throughout the series, but Bryan Hill & Matt Hawkins do a terrific job of telling a self-contained story in many of the issues. In this one, we find that gladiator-style boxing matches are occasionally put on for the criminal citizens of Eden to dispel everyone’s blood lust. Curtis is a boxer who lost one of his hands to the mob and now has a chance to make a lot of money in the next match. He seeks out our protagonist, Mark, because of his Asperger’s, in the hopes that he’ll be able to detect an important weakness in Curtis’s opponent. It’s such a fascinating premise with many characters’ motivations in play. The book’s ongoing will they/won’t they love story is woven in nicely and the tension throughout is subtle. At the risk of repeating myself, everyone should be reading this really unique title.
Geoff Johns further cements his place in Justice League history this week with another installment of the Darkseid War. We get to spend a little more time with the newly enhanced Batman, which is getting interesting as the smartest member of the League now has laser-guided insight into his teammates. Two other members of the team go through big transformations, something that Johns just loves to do and is strangely satisfying for fans even tho’ we know from past books like Blackest Night that it’s a temporary change and will be reversed by the end of the story arc. And the ending is a good reason to read this one before anyone ruins it for you – do not flip to the last page, folks!
I’ll admit something that’s a little dorky, even for me – I wait to read Providence last and take it to bed with me just to maximize the story’s creep factor. Alan Moore’s exploration into H.P. Lovecraft and his myths continues chugging along in #5 this week. There’s something about the steady pace, absent of any real peaks or valleys, that makes the mood of this series especially eerie. You’re waiting for something to happen, something to jump out of the shadows. But it never does. Yet the story continues along as if that’ll happen eventually, so the mysterious horror that we all know must be waiting for us somewhere just becomes more ominous. And how many of you take time to read Mr. Black’s journal entries at the end? Moore uses them to give us Black’s more personal, detailed thoughts on the events that we just read about in the first part of the book. It’s an exercise in patience for the modern reader, but an interesting experiment on Moore’s part in how to use the comic book medium to tell a story – certainly something we’ve seen before, as in his own Watchmen. Maybe it’s the calm conversations of the characters, or maybe it’s Jacen Burrows’ no-nonsense art, but unlike lots of comics this series is strangely calming to read, despite the potential horrors.
So how ’bout that Batman Day?! Last Saturday was designated by DC Comics as the official day to celebrate all things Batman. At the risk of being self serving, I have to say that we at The Hall of Comics saw quite the turnout by fans of the Caped Crusader. Long time readers and new fans alike responded to the chance to hang with Batfamily cosplayers, as well as pick up a copy of DC’s free Batman Day comic, featuring a #0 style story for the upcoming Batman & Robin Eternal weekly series. Events like this are clearly one of the many reasons to take advantage of the community that a local comic shop offers, rather than simply buying your comics online or *shudder* reading them digitally. Hey, if you do both, more power to you. But if don’t support your local store, you’re missing out on a big part of the reason that I think a lot of people read comics in the first place – to share a common interest with like-minded individuals and use that connection to discover even more great reads and fandoms that you didn’t even know about!
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.
The Hall of Comics is located at 3 Turnpike Road in Southborough, MA!