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.
I recently read an interview with the colorist on The Beauty in which he said, “Don’t put so much thought into style or technique and understand that your job is to tell a story.” That certainly describes, in the most positive way, how Greg Rucka writes. Fans of his Lazarus know what I mean. Coincidentally, Black Magick also stars a mysterious and highly capable female lead. Rowan Black is a police detective and secretly a witch. Rucka shows us this about Rowan in a straightforward but very entertaining way, partly using Rowan’s no-nonsense, direct way of communicating. Artist Nicola Scott, along with colorist Chiara Arena, make an impression with a style that won’t remind you of any other comic you’ve read and give a singular look to this world. I’m afraid I’ll have to make room for Black Magick as another regular monthly read, right next to Rucka’s always-reliable Lazarus.
Hey, it looks like there might actually be a theme to this week’s reviews: understated writing styles. After Captain America Sam Wilson #1, I thought I had the book figured out. Nick Spencer made it so dense with ideas and plot points that certainly there couldn’t be room for it to grow, right? This week’s issue not only introduces a few more challenges to Sam Wilson, it also confirms that Spencer has a lock on where he’s taking this series and the exciting type of story he wants to tell. I figured the format of Sam relating recent events in flashback from an airplane cabin would be abandoned and we’d move forward, but Spencer keeps it up and I loved it. The tension between he and Steve Rogers depicted on the cover is a bit of a bait-and-switch, which was a relief because that’s a song we’ve heard before and revisiting it serves nothing. Their new dynamic is just right. I’m so glad that Marvel appears to have committed to this iteration of the character and put such a talented creative team at the helm – it’s turning out to be one of their strongest new books.
We all recognize that Wes Craven was a giant in the world of film horror. And the idea of a teenage vampire, werewolf, and zombie helping each other as their abilities emerge probably sounded great as a concept. But Coming of Rage fell flat for me. The dialogue, probably contributed by co-writer Steve (30 Days of Night) Niles, was simplistic and just not very interesting. Given the tone of modern comics, the level this was written at would have been more at home in an all ages book. The art had little structure and the figures appeared to flail about like stick figures. The three lead characters each have a background story that’s hinted at but not in way that makes us curious or intrigued, but more just annoyed by what tidbits we’re given. Sad, because I’d wanted to be thrilled by this collaboration.
I thought Howling Commandos of SHIELD was a lot of fun. Fans of Hellboy or stories like Johnny Quest ought to get a kick out of it. Frank J Barbiere’s writing isn’t innovative or groundbreaking, but it is what you hope for in an adventure like this – it moves quickly and has a few laughs along the way. I think the book’s team could be smaller so that each member got a little more attention. And one appearance gets spoiled by the cover – a surprise at that particular moment would have been more fun. Dum Dum Dugan makes a great team leader and must be a lot of fun to write. He’s no superhero, so his ability to die and be reborn into a new artificial body whenever necessary is a great gag. I’d be okay if that happens in every issue. This first one was a one-off adventure – kudos for Barbiere for that wise move in the debut. But if the title grows into something with a bigger picture and over-arcing story, I’d be excited to see what that would be.
Judging by this week’s first of the Justice League Darkseid War one-shots, anyone reading that story arc (and you should be!) will want to pick these up. Batman gets the spotlight first, addressing just what happens when the Dark Knight begins patrolling Gotham in his new Mobius Chair. It’s a story that would have fit squarely in Justice League – they just needed some extra pages. However it doesn’t stand on its own very well. Fans of Batman who don’t care much about the JL title, will probably find this issue abrupt because it is meant to compliment and answer what’s happened during the Darkseid War. The ending does set-up a confrontation that we’ll all be talking more about very soon. And an unexpected side effect of Batman’s humanity being robbed by the Mobius Chair? It provides us with some humorous solutions that he has for ridding Gotham of all crime.
Don’t forget that your local comic shop will almost certainly be participating in Halloween Comicfest. This event was created by the same people behind the annual Free Comic Day that happens every June. Similarly, there’ll be free comic books released on Saturday the 31st, and some shops will also have bundles of mini comics that you can give away to trick-or-treaters. No doubt a lot of shops will be having costume contests and other themed activities. The fact that Halloween this year is on a Saturday means you don’t have any excuse not to grab a mask and a cape and get in on the seasonal fun, courtesy of your local comic shop!
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!