Friday, September 16, 2011

OK, this week's comics:

Funny, then creepy.
While I love Mike Mignola's books like Hellboy and B.P.R.D. (I don't think they use 'Mignolaverse' yet...) sometimes they read better collected, or all at once; than they do issue by issue. Even if an issue ends with something dramatic, when you know it's part three of five...that said, I really enjoyed Baltimore: the Curse Bells #2 by itself. While the hero is sticking to his quest for vengeance, he knows there's going to be "side quests," because there's so much horribleness going on that he can't let slide. Baltimore is also being followed by a writer, who's in over his head; and an inquisitor, who seems more concerned about Baltimore being "tainted" by evil than by evil itself. (The inquisitor is chasing the vampire hunter, not the vampires, which seems willfully stupid...but believably so, like he needs someone to blame more than he needs to deal with the problem.)
There's a pretty brutal kill early on, but no swears.  That seems fair...

From the DC relaunch, we have the first issues of Demon Knights and Grifter. Grifter? Wasn't I mocking him earlier? Well, the Comic Book Shop has Jason Gorder in for a signing, so I gave it a try! And...there may be potential, there. This first issue is mostly set up, as we see Grifter do a little grifting (which I don't know if we ever saw him do in the Wildstorm books, anyone?) before being abducted and experimented on by the invisible Daemonites. The experiment is apparently interrupted, and he escapes, but now Grifter can mentally hear the hidden monsters in our midst, which leads to a brutal fight on a plane, and a daring escape that I'm virtually positive wouldn't work, at all.

CBR's Hannibal Tabu sometimes uses the faintly damning expression "TV good" to describe a book that "would have been fine to flip through late at night on some of the high channels of your dial, but to spend specific money on it? That doesn't seem right." That's kind of where Grifter is now, but that's OK, this was the set-up issue, and there's room for improvement. Moreover, it's pretty easy to see this as a TV show with a relatively moderate effects budget. (The escape I mentioned might need reworking, but that might help it.) Of course, Tabu hated this ish; so, mileage will vary.

In the Banner/Hulk tradition, I think Jason and the Demon are both hugely resentful no matter where they appear...

Demon Knights #1 is likewise set up; starting with Merlin and the Demon at the fall of Camelot, then skipping to 400 years later. For some reason, not knowing the year really bugged me; but it's the middle of the Dark Ages, and historical records would be spotty at best, which would explain why a colossal moving fortress is new to me...

So far, there are three immortals here: the Demon, who I like, but is frankly different with every writer. Some like him full-on, eat-a-baby Evil, others as Cranky Good; it's not sure where Cornell will put him yet. Then there's Madame Xanadu; whom I know nothing about. But, there is an interesting moment that if not her origin, is certainly a turning point for her; and her...relationship with Jason and/or the Demon will raise eyebrows. And then there's Vandal Savage, who is not yet the immortal villain we've seen in Flash and Justice League comics; here he's an immortal, immoral lout. We get a laugh or two from him, but we also know he goes on (and on, if he survives in the reboot to the present) to be a total dick. I wonder if it undermines anything to know those three are going to make it; but I'm onboard for at least the first storyline here.
I wish Peter would deal with his angst the way Herc is about to...
After three Fear Itself issues, and this being the first of a two-part Spider Island tie-in, most of Herc has been more devoted to crossovers than his own storylines. Which is or isn't a bad thing, depending on if you've been enjoying the depowered Hercules stint in Brooklyn. This month, which opens with a brief skirmish with the X-Men that will conclude next month, Herc gets bit by a bedbug and gets spider-powers. Including spider-angst. While entertaining, it doesn't look like Herc is ever going to be hitting on all cylinders, since #10 will be the last issue, pending another go-around. Here's hoping.

Scans from Baltimore: the Curse Bells #2, written by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, art by Ben Stenbeck; Grifter #1, written by Nathan Edmondson, pencils by Cafu, and inks by Jason Gorder; Demon Knights #1, written by Paul Cornell, pencils by Diogenes Neves, inks by Oclain Albert; and Herc #7, written by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, pencils by June Brigman, and inks by Roy Richardson.


Dale Bagwell said...

I'm a maybe casual reader of Mignola's stuff, although I did enjoy the 1st Lobster Johnson story and the Hellboy/Batman/Starman cross-over issues, but I'm really digging that last line by that guy who says "The lord never answered. Something else did, and it swore to protect us if we could worship it."

Chilling and one of the best lines I've ever come across in comics.

Simply awesome Goo.

Do you have the rest of the story, or is more to come?

googum said...

Nah, just a sample there, but I really liked that issue. Baltimore, the one-legged vampire hunter, is trying to find the vampire that killed his family, but there's so much evil crap he keeps getting sidetracked! Cult of witch-vampire-nun things, giant Latin-speaking snake in that church, I think there were more vampires and giant spiders the previous issue! Reminds me of Castlevania, now.

There's a proper novel for Baltimore, which I'm still looking for. I don't know if the two comic series so far have just been side quests, or if they are part of the main plot.

I need to buy a bigger, proper longbox for my Mignola stuff; like ten years and change of Hellboy, B.P.R.D., Lobster Johnson and Abe Sapien and Witchfinder. I'm a fan, but it's consistently solid work.

Dale Bagwell said...

I don't doubt that at all.
When should we expect more Doom Idol?

Have a good weekend goo?

SallyP said...

I have to say that I more or less picked up the Demon book by chance, and gosharootie, it was good!