I have already resigned myself to a significant fall-off in hits today, after yesterday’s 59-view extravaganza (okay, so I’m not Daily Kos). That’s fine. As if to make up for last week’s spare offering of one, this week was a bumper crop of titles.
I’ll be a little briefer on some (hopefully), and others I’m going to go into greater depth on in future Start Reading This installments. Comics nerds, let’s talk.
Blackest Night – REBELS #10 ($3.99) – Wait, I paid $3.99 for that? Christ. I forgot the Big Two had started printing on original pages of the Bhagavad-Gita. This isn’t a book that I read, and it’s not one that I’m going to read again – it’s here because it’s got the Blackest Night stamp at the top and I’m following my own rules. Not that it’s a bad book. DC recognizes that many readers are going to be stopping in for the same reason, and they do a good job bringing you up to speed. The little callouts describing each character as they show up, Pop-Up Video style, are a nice touch. Is this something the book always does?
Braniac’s son Vril Dox (Braniac 2) is set in a skirmish against Starro (DC, you continue to kill me with names that are either goofy or sound like they were invented in eighth grade detention) while in search of his son, Lyrl, also a 12th-level intelligence, whom he has effectively lobotomized until he can handle his own big brain maturely. Starro finds Lyrl, and Vril’s dead, Lanternized girlfriend Stealth finds him, along with another Black Lantern hunting a bunch of Yellows. Somewhere in that sentence is a clue to the twist that comes at the end of the issue, which could (!) factor into the larger continuity. I had forgotten how exhausting crossovers can get.
BPRD – 1947 #5 of 5 ($2.99) – Two big finishes this week from the Hellboy universe. 1947 wraps up mostly in a single room, the scene of a mostly effective exorcism. What’s nice about the story for me, though, is the young Hellboy bits in the margins. While this first proto-BPRD case is being closed, Dr. Bruttenholm is given some friendly advice about the wisdom of adopting the Beast of the Apocalypse as your son. Some nice further characterization for a key figure who’s been dead since Hellboy’s very first issues. Plus, I’m a sucker for Hellboy Junior and his dog.
Hellboy – The Wild Hunt #8 of 8 ($2.99) – Hellboy was left last time deciding whether to pull Excalibur (see, it turns out he’s King Arthur‘s son). This issue he decides. And in the MIDDLE OF THE ISSUE, leaving the rest to really get the next story wound up. This is the last installment of this one, but it’s not a finish so much as a setup for what’s to come – editor Scott Allie calls it the end of “the second arc of Duncan and Mike’s Hellboy saga” (Fegredo gets top billing?). The pieces are literally getting put into place for a new kind of war, and not one on frogs, either.
The Incredible Hulk #603 ($3.99) – I picked this up because I thought it was recommended in Gary’s emailer this week. Turns out they were recommending Assault on New Olympus, and this was mentioned in passing. Regardless, I’ve always read Hulk on and off, and although this is part of a larger story, it works well as a standalone. Bruce Banner can’t become Hulk anymore; Hulk’s son Skaar is here to kill Banner; Banner convinces him to train first so he’s ready to kill him; Skaar starts beating on Wolverine. In this issue, Banner sends Skaar after Wolverine’s own hostile spawn, Daken. The two drink, beat on each other, and talk about their feelings a bit, then go their separate ways with dads in tow. The Leader may or may not be involved.
Sweet Tooth #3 ($2.99) – Haven’t started it yet, but I’ll get to it. Short story: It’s been pretty cool so far.
Transformers Continuum – The Definitive Chronology ($3.99) – This book is pretty much all text, serving only to review EVERYTHING that’s happened so far (hence the name). Only buy it if you are a colossal nerd who wants to hear more about your precious 1980s robot toys. Like me.
The Unwritten #7 ($2.99) – Man, I’m loving this book. Tom’s still in jail, Lizzie Hexam gets sent to women’s prison, and Tom’s somehow making literary creatures appear (the Frankenstein cameo from last ish? kinda anticlimactic.). Things end with a flying cat and the promise of bloodshed. I’ll have more depth in a piece to come.
(Also, there’s a nice preview for Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon’s Daytripper. I like these guys.)
The Walking Dead #67 ($2.99) – This starts off feeling like a beat, one of the Talkers that drive a certain class of Walking Dead fans batty. I kinda like those – they’re why I read this book and not other zombie titles. Carl and Rick turn back from their forage after encountering a zombie town, and Carl comes clean about killing Ben. On returning to camp, Rick gets the idea to try the radio again since they’re getting close to their destination, DC. Eugene, who until now has been in sole control of the radio (I had not realized this), is not happy with the plan. Then, as they so often do, things go bad – not because of the bloodthirsty undead, but because of the still-living and the choices they’ve made. Kirkman drops another Deus Ex on us at the end (I KNOW I’ve seen this last page at least once before), but it’s the drama from beforehand that makes me want to read more.
Wow, THREE $3.99 books, one of them not even from the Big Two. I knew it would happen eventually, but am I really getting more from the Hulk than I am from Unwritten and the Walking Dead? Yet another reminder why I walked away in the 1990s, only to be brought back by Image and Dark Horse ten years later. You better be worth it, Blackest Night.