I’m on a personal quest to discover which comics are still relevant to me today. I’ve loved the form my entire life–particularly the super-hero genre. Over the years, I’ve fallen away from the super-heroes; barbarian phase, independent phase, Vertigo phase, adult phase, and back around to super-heroes again. DC’s New 52 pulled me strongly back into the colorful tights, but every month, I tend to drop a couple more–replacing them with something a bit different.

So, gentle readers, today I’m going to chat with you about a little bit of this and a little bit of that. A little bit of this was The New Deadwardians, a book I really hoped to like–Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have provided me with some fine entertainment with Marvel’s cosmic books, and this one was written by the former. As an alternate universe period piece (along the lines of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies), this is a successful read. However, it’s not for me. As much as I enjoy a good undead yarn, this one reads a little dry for my tastes. For a book that borrows from multiple sources, it’s an original take–I just prefer my monsters a little less cultured.

Now for a little bit of that. I’ve always had a fondness for the Teen Titans–some of the earliest comics I ever read were Nick Cardy reprints in Brave And The Bold. The Marv Wolfman/George Perez ’80s update was one of my favorite books for years (mullets and disco Nightwing notwithstanding). I’ve even enjoyed some of the darker takes on the sidekick genre. For example, Rick Veitch’s Bratpack was an incredible bit of deconstructionist writing. Well, Image comics just published a great new take on the sidekick super-team called Danger Club. It feels kind of like a dark DC universe, where all the adult supers are gone, and Robin and Superboy are duking it out in the mother of all slugfests. You thought Batman laid the royal beat-down on Superman in Miller’s Dark Knight Returns? Man, this Kid Vigilante (Robin) tops him in sheer brutality… Big fun, but I wouldn’t hand this teen sidekick book to your kids!

Danger Club #1 just came out  from Image last week, and I have to say that even though the book was recommended to me, I purchased it with a little trepidation. Here was yet another sort of reality take on the super hero world AND it was all about children being super heroes to boot. Now, where have I heard of that Kick Ass idea before? Hmm… But then I read the story, and looked at the artwork. And, I have to say, the book is pretty good on both counts. I’m not going to spoil anything, but the setup is that all of the world’s adult super heroes have left the planet to fight some galactic threat. The book opens up with the statement that none of the heroes ever returned. And so, the only people left to fight the baddies are the sidekicks.

Now, since this is Image, and not DC for instance, there is no character named Robin per se, but there sure is a character who looks like Robin and who acts a lot like a miniature version of Batman. More so than Robin does, if truth be told. And then there’s young Yoshimi, a girl who pilots a flying robot. Any Flaming Lips fans out there? If there are, you will understand why I thought this kinda straddled the line between being funny and just being annoying. Now, I have to give a warning to any parents who read this blog (yeah, right), that the book is bloody. It’s just as bloody as Kick Ass even, although in this story the kids are real super-powered heroes (most of them, at least), versus just being vigilante kidsters dressing up in poorly made costumes.

All in all, a solid read with a kinda “Hmm, that’s a good point” ending. I recommend picking this title up and seeing where it goes. I know I will.

Peace,

M

Conan The Barbarian #1

Wood and Cloonan do it again.  Wood seemed a natural fit for this book after his work on Northlanders  but I was unsure about Cloonan on art.  She proved me wrong from page one.  I’m looking forward to the rest of their run.

Thief of Thieves #1

A great start to a new ongoing from 3 impressive talents:  Kirkman, Spencer and Martinbrough.  I look forward to see what this “writer’s room” concept will bring us.

Adventure Time #1

 If you love the cartoon you’ll love this comic.

FF #14

Fantastic Four #602

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hickman continues his epic run with the Fantastic Four family. Threats, not just from this universe, converge on the Earth.  Let’s hope the World’s Greatest Heroes can save the day.

Aquaman #5

Best cold open in a comic in recent memory.  This is a  great follow up to first story arc and there seems to be no signs that Johns and Reis are slowing down.

The Bulettproof Coffin Disinterred #1

 This is a sequel to last year’s Bulletproof Coffin. The new series continues to take the reader on a bizarre  ride that will leave you wondering what really makes up reality.

I’m probably the only person in the world that didn’t like American Vampire.  It had all of the right elements–historical setting, dark fantasy, Stephen King as co-writer–but I’m just not interested in vampires.  So, I dropped the book.  I did, however, take note of Scott Snyder as a writer.  I loved his run on Detective Comics, and I’ve also enjoyed his first few issues on the new Batman title.  So, when I saw that he had another horror book, Severed, I decided to give it a try.

Boy, am I glad that I did.

Severed is brilliant!  Set during the Depression, Severed is the story of Jack Garron, a 12-year old boy in search of his wayward father.  Jack runs away from home and hops a train.  He makes friends with another kid, Sam, a girl dressed as a boy, and together they go in search of Jack’s father.  In Issue #3, Jack and Sam were invited to the home of a cannibalistic pyscho, and in Issue #4, Jack has fallen almost completely under this evil man’s spell.

I love coming of age stories.  Stand By Me is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I even like the female version, Now & Then.  Severed has all of the right elements to tell a wonderful coming of age tale, and it also has just enough darkness to keep me on the edge of my seat.  The book isn’t full of blood and guts, but rather psychological horror that sticks with you long after you’ve moved on to the next book in your stack.

Severed #4, Cover by Attila Futaki

The artwork is perfect for this story.  It is reminiscent of Norman Rockwell, but with a dark, dark twist.  Norman Rockwell meets Norman Bates… that about sums it up.

I know that I’m jumping on the bandwagon here, but to me, Severed has to be one of the 3 or 4 best titles going right now.  Are you reading Severed?  If not, now is the time to start.  The backissues are out there–most are probably still on the shelf–and you can grab them all for a few dollars.  I’m sure that you won’t be sorry.