In this post, from Aspen Comics: Dead Man’s Run #3, DC Comics: Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #3, Image Comics: Walking Dead #102, and from Vertigo: Fables #121. I’m sensing a numbers theme here.
Dead Man’s Run #3 by Greg Pak, illustrated by Tony Parker, cover by Tony Parker
Genre: Fiction, Hell, action, serial-killers
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
When last we left our Hell-bound heroes the plan to escape the literal prison of Hell was going well. The incarcerated Captain Romero had successfully arranged for the death of prison cartographer Sam Tinker in an attempt to escape, the dangerously attractive warden was being mysteriously vague, and a prison break was well underway. This issue keeps up the action and violence (not to mention buckets of blood and nefarious figures). It’s like the best episode of “Prison Break”, but set in the underworld. So it features more demons and angel blood, AKA gold. I still wouldn’t cut Castiel open, even if his insides are made of precious minerals.
Sam and company are occupied on the 4th level of Hell- the glutton level- where they join up with serial-killer Helen and Musa the engineer who has some impressive and magical lock-picking skills. Murderers and thieves are awfully helpful when escaping Hell, but can you trust them not to stab you in the back? I have a feeling this will be a more prominent theme as the series progresses. Particularly because Sam is desperately trying to save his innocent sister who was dragged down with him. It would also be interesting to see why they named the entrance to Hell the Andrew Jackson Maximum Security Federal Corrections Facility. Do you think he’s cool with that?
Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #3 by J. Michael Straczynski, Len Wein, illustrated by Andy Kubert, John Higgins, cover by Andy Kubert, Chris Samnee
Genre: Fiction, superheroes, action, prequel
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
In this prostitute laden issue, Nite Owl II is sowing (spreading?) his wild oats (seeds?) as double entendres and innuendo abound in the appropriately titled “Thanks for Coming”. Oh my. Through his newly budding partnership with the head of an escort service, the writers explore the role of women and their often unfortunate positions in the world. Metaphorically. This is nicely juxtaposed between Dan’s new orgasm friend (she of the gravity defying hair) and thoughts of his own mother, who we learned from prior issues was abused by Dan’s father. Hence his desire to help battered women. No one ever said the prequels would be happy.
Despite being named Nite Owl, the comic also features side stories with his partner Rorschach. Even though he currently has his own comic. If you thought this was a sad tale you have not yet read about the poor ginger Walter and his struggle to numb out the cries of the world. Despite being double billed in this series, his story makes the plot slightly more interesting and moves past depressing themes about women and into much more exciting action/adventure territory. It also helps to lay the groundwork for the depravity of the world and set the tone for the Ozymandias planned finale in Watchmen. So it does serve some purpose. Thank goodness for small favors.
The Walking Dead #102 by Robert Kirkman, illustrated by Charlie Adlard, cover by Charlie Adlard
Genre: Fiction, post-apocalyptic, zombies, horror
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
My love/hate relationship continues with The Walking Dead as things once again move away from action and adventure and toward talking and soul searching. Blech! This series should be referred to as Too Much Talking Dead! Daryl Dixon not appearing aside (silly marketing ploys) I am quite tired of the plot of Rick not knowing what to do and having to deal with the guilt of failure. Yes, this series is all about human relationships and human nature and all that but how often can the same plot be rehashed in a different setting before the audience ceases to care? That may or not be a rhetorical question. I think I may just get tired of series when they continue on and on with no perceived ending. See Fables review below. See also any franchise that makes it to a fourth movie.
The end of the “Something to Fear” arc is all about the emotional regret and fallout from the prior issues as well as decisions on how to deal with Negan (the Governor 2.0) and his crew. This of course causes schisms WHICH HAPPEN IN EVERY SINGLE DAMN ISSUE. Thankfully, Comic Book!Carl continues to prove to be far superior to Television!Carl when he tells Rick to kill their hostage so, “Negan [knows] we’re not to be fucked with!” You go
Glen Coco Carl! It’s not just your missing eye that makes you a complete bad ass. And of course despite my turmoil about this series, Kirkman ends the issue with a nice little twist that makes me want to keep reading. KIRKMAN!
Fables #121 by Bill Willingham, illustrated by Mark Buckingham, cover by Joao Ruas
Genre: Fiction, fractured fairy-tale, fantasy, drama
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Quite honestly, I was done liking Fables several arcs ago, which is why it was so nice and refreshing to have Willingham give his readers this fun new inclusion in the series. Who knew a story about infanticide could be so damn good? While the stories aren’t as great as they were when Fabletown was positioned in the mundy world and its residents were facing the Adversary, the plots are looking up for Fables. I.e. I don’t read through them with a bored expression on my face shouting, “WHY!?!” to the heavens- this arc in particular. I’m completely ignoring the existence of Volume 17. Some of those stories were a hot mess.
“Cubs in Toyland” ends very differently from how it began. Darien, AKA the Fisher King has sacrificed himself for Therese, AKA the Queen of Toyland and there is much growth and redemption involved. Therese shifts from the selfish child she was and grows into a somber young women, teaching the toys to make amends for the lives they stole in order to gain restoration. There’s some great uplifting montages toward the end here with cheerful art from Buckingham. It feels like a wonderful fairytale, and leaves the story open to go in a billion different directions. Dare I say welcome back Fables? I shouldn’t, wouldn’t want to jinx it.