Comics Pull – February 10

This week I’m reading Hellboy, Invincible, Ozma of Oz, Sweet Tooth, and the best-titled book in comics, Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder.

Invincible #77 (Image, $2.99, pull): Invincible lately has been mostly punching, blood, and team-ups, which isn’t entirely unreasonable considering we’re in deep in The Viltrumite War event. We get kind of a breather here. After the Viltrumites vanished last issue, presumably to Earth, the team is headed after them with all manner of dark thoughts about what might have happened. This turns out to be license for more of the blood, entrails, and colorful forms of dismemberment that have been characteristic of Invincible for a while now (but with a twist! kind of!).

The book wraps with a jumping-off point for a whole new chapter to the narrative, and it’s an interesting wrinkle. Truth told, though, the overall turn Invincible has taken is starting to wear on me a bit. I know these are hyper-powerful beings, slugging it out for the fate of the universe, and there’s definitely still characterization going on here, but … well, sometimes it’s a little weird that a book called The Walking Dead is the more tasteful and restrained of Kirkman’s top two.

Ozma of Oz #4 (Marvel, $3.99, shelf): No real review necessary. The art continues to be impressive (although all the mouths tend to be a little shouty), but it’s still mostly for fans. One issue with the Oz books is that, while they have objectives, they’re a little narrative-lite; they’re more like strings of events, really, not with a resolution so much as an end of those events. But if you like the books, etc.

Sweet Tooth #18 (Vertigo, $2.99, shelf): What a great issue! Sweet Tooth has always been engaging and inventive, but the main story is an often grueling picture of unkindness with only brief moments to take a breath. This time, Jeff Lemire gives us an entire issue of near-solace before the next big push. It’s welcome.

In addition, the form of this issue is an interesting shift. The layout is turned sideways and is a hybrid of comic book and storybook style, complete with a narrator telling us the thoughts and actions of “The Boy” (Gus) and “The Big Man” (Jepperd). For a long time, this book has felt of a piece with Unwritten for reasons I couldn’t quite explain, and this issue definitely evoked Unwritten’s choose-your-own-adventure book from a few months back. It’s great to see creators  showing some faith in their audiences by taking these kinds of risks.

Hellboy: The Sleeping and the Dead #2 (Dark Horse, $3.50, pull): This issue is the wrap-up of another standalone story from Hellboy’s past. Last time left off with Hellboy facing the scary monster child; this issue sees him getting the crap kicked out of him by the kid. Standard fare. Good straightforward Hellboy story, with bonus points awarded for us getting to see a little bit more into the minds and actions of the BPRD agents sent to (unsuccessfully) back him up. Also, just so it’s clear that I’m not TOTALLY against decapitations, this story gets it right with a good one.

Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever #1 (Dark Horse, $2.99, shelf): That is the longest damn title I’ve ever written, but (more relevantly) the “Lost and Gone Forever” of this series is a nice reference to the content, which sees our Witchfinder sent to America. Way out West, Sir Edward is looking for a man in a town full of men (fellers?) who don’t take kindly to men who are looking for men. After some kerfuffle at the local tavern, Sir Edward and a stranger head out to seek some answers. The book has a great final page, and it’s drawn by 88-year-old comics art legend John Severin – judging from the detail in this issue, the man deserves his reputation.

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