A handful of Predators, Judge Dredd himself and some nasty aliens all find themselves in hostile rural territory. We already know that the gung-ho Judge Dredd plans on trekking into the rugged terrain to investigate. But inside those secluded wooded areas something sinister brews. Evil scientists, man-hunting animals, and a new threat altogether is going to give Dredd all he can handle.
I can’t praise Jeff Lemire enough for what is nothing shy of an immediately captivating tale of sacrifice and heart ache, isolation and frustration. It’s about life in exchange for death. It’s about fallen heroes, all but forgotten by a world that once loved them. It’s about The Black Hammer, the one who gave his life so that Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Barbalien, Colonial Weird, Talky Walky, and Madame Dragonfly could continue to live… continue to breathe.
This is a tale about a young woman, once proud to be the daughter of the Hero of the Streets, and her mission to find those heroes long forgotten. For she knows, in her heart, that they’re out there… somewhere.
Dramatic enough for you?
Honestly, Black Hammer is an amazing book that instantly pulls the reader into a world occupied by polarizing and infectious personalities. Their conflicts are unique but united as a group. Their opinions on their state of existence differ, but there’s a familial beauty to this group that leaves us comic geeks falling in love. It’s an amazing piece of work.
Dean Ormston’s artwork is also perfect. A throwback to a simpler age, Ormston’s got variety in his hand, but he’s decorated this story the way it should be, the way a 50s science fiction film might look on page. And in some ways, that’s kind of what the story is: a science fiction experience lived by a handful of heroes of no use today, trapped in a one horse town with little to do… other than survive.
Lemire, coupled with Ormston deliver what has to be recognized as one of the most inspired Dark Horse titles to ever see release. Ever. That’s a powerful statement, but you don’t find the perfect book very often.
Look into issue #1 of Black Hammer right here.
Army of Darkness: Furious Road is an awkward but gripping piece that brings Ash toe to toe with Universal Monsters who travel as only a Road Warrior could. It’s strange, make no mistake, but it’s one of the strongest story arcs we’ve gotten from an Army of Darkness run in quite some time.
The story pretty much unravels as most Army of Darkness titles do, with Ash tangling with Deadites over the Necronomicon. As we’ve seen over the years Ash isn’t opposed to teaming up with folks if it means clearing the Deadite mess up once and for all. This time around we happen to get modernized takes on Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, The Daughter of Dracula and of course, a spunky Wolf Man. It’s a fine batch to work with, and it earns big points from me, as I’ve always been an extreme Universal Monster enthusiast.
Two issues in and the pace is just right. We’ve had a few bad ass action sequences, a glimpse of the Delta, Ash’s evil twin is in town. It’s all here, as you’d hope. But the monsters – the heroic lot, not the undead – add an interesting dynamic to the story. At this point it’s an exciting and engaging story.
Nancy A. Collins does fine work paying homage to Mad Max as well as the older icons featured in the tale, but Collins isn’t alone in success. Kewber Baal’s artwork is mean. It’s sharp and it mirrors the mood of the narrative. More points from me.
This is one of the finer Army of Darkness books. It’s worth the cover price, so if you’ve been curious but haven’t been too certain of where or when to jump in, now is an excellent time.
You can pick up both issues right here.
It’s time to rewind the clocks and jump into one of my favorite Spidey comics, Spectacular Spiderman.
The inaugural issue absolutely rocks and today holds a nostalgic charm you don’t get from every book out there. It also pits Spiderman in a rematch with the nimble and extremely able Tarantula. Who takes this round? And who does the Tarantula have targeted? He isn’t back for Spidey alone, no. He’s also got his peepers on the Vice Chancelor of Petey’s school. He’s destined to run into both, but what will be the final outcome?
I love this book. Probably – I’ll find out soon enough – every single issue. And while I think Marvel could have kicked this one off with focus on a villain that holds a bit more of a marquee appeal, Tarantula is a fine starting point, as it leaves the book – already very solid – with nowhere to go but up.
Gerry Conway’s story has a hint of a throwback charm and a reasonable dose of contemporary style to it, simultaneously. That mixture prevents the book from feeling too dated, but also summons a strange idea of innocence. It’s an unorthodox but engaging mix.
And, of course, I can’t possibly move on without issuing huge praise to one of history’s greatest Spidey artists, Sal Buscema. Buscema did it all. He drew for every major book from the 70s up well beyond the old Y2K mark. His style is very clean with plenty of animated faces and smooth lines. We’re talking about a legend of the pencil who’s got the respect of everyone in the industry.
We leave the first issue with questions on our minds. There are some things to be resolved, and by the end of this story arc we’ll likely see Spidey and Tarantula tangle on a few more occasions. It’ll be close folks, but we’re picking Spidey by TKO!
In Sweet Tooth we meet a frightened boy with a strange deformity. He’s got a nice pair of antlers growing right out of his melon (think Joe Hill’s Horns, and then think… nothing like that… really) and that’s quite obviously a problem with regard to fitting into society comfortably. His father is old and ill and he too is petrified by the thought of his son being forced to face a dangerous world.
It’s a melancholy setup. And then it heads straight for chilling, disconcerting territory. The boy’s father dies. He’s left to fend for himself, but he almost has that chance taken away one day when he wanders into the woods, smack dab into a pair of savage hunters who aim to slaughter the boy.
Moments before this sweet little lad meets his end, one of the hunters’ head explodes in a mist of blood, brain and bone. A stranger stands at the ready, prepared to make his next move. But what will that be, and will that gun of his see more immediate action?
While I’ve given you plenty of details, they’re really not spoilerish in nature. The details I’ve given you all really serve as a primer of sorts. This story clearly doesn’t begin barreling forward until issue two, so don’t sweat the info you’ve now read about the book.
Jeff Lemire’s far-out tale is magnetic, to say the very least. He’s gifted the masses a book that stands alone in an occupied field of creativity. It just doesn’t get much stranger than this. It doesn’t get much more addictive, either. The man has done what few ever manage, and that’s create an atypical, daring and unpredictable story that sucks in you from the first word. It’s genius.
I’ve already gone out of my way to beef my digital collection up with the first 20 issues, and you can bet it won’t take long to blow through those twice over. This is a book to chase down and clutch with all of your might.
Order it right here.
Old Man Logan offers readers a look at a Wolverine that we’re not all too familiar with. See, Logan wakes to one day realize the world seems to be nothing as he knows it. He’s a stranger in a strange land, until the memories come flooding in and he’s forced to accept a future he would have once balked at.
The villains of the world finally got their act together, formed a massive alliance and not only obliterated superheroes, but just about anything in their path. What remains of those who were once gifted, fighting the good fight, is slim to say the least.
But the reality of it all is burrowing deep in Logan’s mind, and that’s never a good thing Logan dwells. He always has. And this time, he’ll dwell with a chance to change the future, as he’s somehow seen the clock rewound to a time just before the menaces of the world would take place as the alphas of the world. And only one remains: Can Logan change a dreadful future before it becomes a nightmarish present?
Jeff Lamire fires big, right out of the gate. And he does a stellar job of making Logan, a man once feared by anyone on the wrong side of his own stance, the law or the well-being of decent mutants, all but helpless. Domesticated and fragile, Logan will have his hands full if he hopes to get to the bottom of things and right a ship already losing course.
Artist Andrea Sorrentino does a great job of giving us something of a guerilla-style visual. Image details often masked by shadows, villains blending into one another, wide and expansive backgrounds, the perfect setup for focus on our heroes and villains. And Sorrentino doesn’t accomplish the look alone, colorist Marcelo Maiolo adds a great deal of depth to the book.
As a longtime fan of Wolverine, I’m always on the hunt for a new spin. A place Logan hasn’t yet ventured. A villain Logan has yet to collide with. Old Man Logan offers up a lot of the very things I search for.
Grade-A work, right here!
Order issue #1 right here.