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.
Gobble-gobble, you lucky readers, you! There’s a very diverse group of books out this week that you can dive into while hiding from the in-laws tomorrow. And what better title to start with than one about a pagan/wiccan/we’re-still-not-quite-sure-what police detective. Black Magick is quickly becoming my favorite new title of the year. Loved the debut, and this second installment clinches it. We get a little more info about Rowan Black’s situation and her mysterious attacker. If you’re liking Jessica Jones on Netflix, this is a good book to segue into. Artist Nicola Scott really impresses me with her ability to render unique faces that are clearly the same person from one panel to the next, no matter what expression they’re making. Fans of magic or fantasy and fans of police procedurals should be reading this.
Flipping through Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur at first glance, the art had me thinking this would be another attempt by Marvel to capture the teenybopper crowd, like Silk or Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. But it’s more quirky than that. And it’s a bit sweet. I quickly felt for the young student, Lunella (“Moon Girl” – get it?) – so brainy that her peers and adults don’t understand her. And what does this modern-day girl have to do with the old Jack Kirby title, Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur? Their relation is actually the gist of the main plot. It’s nice that they managed to tie the two together rather than just hijacking the title with a reboot. The book is rated “T”, but I’d be happy recommending this to some younger readers – a fun and unusual read with a positive view of science and girl-power.
There are two kinds of comic book readers: those who love Saga and those who haven’t tried it yet. So I’ve never discussed it before because I figure it doesn’t need my help getting known as a fantastic read. But I thought I’d mention it this week because #31 is the beginning of a new story-arc. And in some ways, it feel like an entirely new book. Many of your favorite characters don’t even appear in this issue. We meet several new characters as BKV jumps ahead several years. We see an adolescent Hazel walking, talking, and attending preschool. There’s always such a sense of wonderment about Saga, the way that Vaughan and Staples fill it with fairy-tale ideas and imagination. This issue really captures that again. One critical scene with Hazel almost moved me to tears as she tries to connect with her teacher. In a time when a title rarely reaches thirty issues, it’s impressive that Saga maintains its quality and even finds ways to evolve.
Venom Space Knight (sorry, nothing to do with ROM) surprised me. It’s a lot of fun and kind of cool. Part Punisher, part Star Wars. I never got the whole Venom thing, never understood the fan following. And I haven’t been keeping up with his recent exploits. So believe me when I tell you that you can enjoy this book without having any history with the character. He’s very much a “knight”, in the classic sense of the word, galavanting about the galaxy and saving those in need. The personality needs to be a cemented a bit more – is he going to be Peter Parker-esque, always cracking wise? Or is he going to be grim and determined, like Frank Castle. I trust writer Robbie Thompson will find that voice after a few more issues. Ariel Olivetti’s art is a big reason to pick this up, if only for the first issue. A really unique look, reminiscent of some work in Heavy Metal, and not like anything else being published right now – quite stunning.
So, the elephant in the room. Yeah, that book. Dark Knight III. I doubt it’s what anyone is expecting. Look, you’re just not going to capture lightning in a bottle like that again and it’s unfair for anyone to think so. It’s pretty evident that it’s Frank Miller’s plot/idea with Brian Azzarello’s script. That’s a mashing of worlds that nearly cancels itself out and gives us something a little middle of the road. Don’t worry, it’s worlds better than DK2. And Andy Kubert’s art is much easier on the eyes than what Miller’s art has devolved into. But even Kubert appears to ape the first volume’s style, as if DC’s edict was to not make anything that wouldn’t remind us of that seminal story. The twist at the end of this first issue is most likely what will determine whether or not you come back for the second. But more strange than any of these other factors, is the decision to insert a half-size comic in the middle of the book. Is there any precedent for this? The story didn’t warrant a special design. (Tip: Read the mini comic after you finish the main story.) The way it’s attached inside resulted in the book not being shipped quite flat, so graders ought to love that. The decorated cardstock that awkwardly holds it in there? It’s just weird. Anyhooo, I should probably give it a second read now that I’m over the format and have seen the twist ending. Everyone’s going to pick this up, and they should, if for no other reason than to satisfy your curiosity.
While we’re all here, I just want to make sure you’re watching Jessica Jones. I’m guessing that some of you have already finished it, and others are gonna binge over the holiday weekend – the new national pastime. While I’ve heard opinions to the contrary, I believe Daredevil was a better show. Then again, I haven’t finished all of Jessica Jones yet *gasp!* That’s always the conundrum, right? If you’re enjoying something and it’s quality viewing, do you savor it and make it last, or do you devour it because it’s so good and you can’t help yourself. I think I want JJ to last me a little while, and the subject matter is a bit limited, so I find that too many episodes in one sitting becomes repetitive. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Marvel movies/tv can do no wrong. We need more of this. LOTS more of it, and I’m really glad that they appear to have a full slate lined up with plenty of both.
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!