This time on Heroes and Villains, we’ll be looking at a variety of comics out this week and last, from a variety of genres and companies. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Year Three #8, Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor Year Three #8, Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Year Three #6, Grimm Fairy Tales Volume 2 #8, Lady Killer #5, Rebels: These Free and Independent States #6, Planetoid Praxis #6, the Hero Squared Omnibus, and more… be warned, there may be spoilers…
This coming Saturday, September 2nd, is Doctor Who Comics Day, and Titan Publishing has two Who comics coming out today, but the three I’ll be looking at came out last week. Besides reviewing the Doctor Who television series here at Biff Bam Pop!, my time with Who goes back decades, back to the 1970s, when almost no one outside of genre watched the guy with the scarf on Saturday afternoon public TV. Now the phenomenon, which has been called the most watched show on the planet, is within almost everyone’s wheelhouse. The comics have been around almost as long too. Since the late 1970s in the States, published by Marvel Comics briefly, and even earlier over in the UK, Doctor Who is a comic phenom as well, currently published by Titan.
Titan currently has five different Who titles on the shelves, six if you count spin-off Torchwood, and I’ll be honest, they don’t make it easy to tell them apart. Their titling system is even difficult for a fan like me. Simply put, they have a title for The Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston), The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith), The Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi), and one limited where those four team-up. I imagine it would be easier if they could name the comics after the actors who play the roles, as the fans identify them, but I doubt that would be feasible. Either way, if one Doctor or a certain creative team is your favorite, please be careful which comic called Doctor Who you pick up, read the indicia!
The comics of the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor do exactly what all television-to-comic adaptations should, explore stories, situations, and characters that would be impossible to portray on the small screen. They both get their Doctors ‘right’ with their look, their semblance, and their personalities, and still have that great Who flare. The Twelfth Doctor comic plays it a little safer, feeding closer to the source material with Bill Potts as companion, and Ice Warriors as monsters. Fun stuff, all enjoyable reads, for fans and newbies alike.
Also notable to celebrate the occasion this Saturday will be a number of audio releases from Big Finish featuring Doctor Who, and even a couple with Torchwood. Have a great Doctor Who Comics Day, folks!
This week’s issue of Grimm Fairy Tales from Zenescope follows Skye, the new Guardian of the Nexus as she adjusts to her new powers. Like most tales of the Grimm universe the borders of the supernatural and the urban jungle and superheroics are blurred for a unique perspective. As Skye battles gargoyles, I have to give the creators props for their realistic Philadelphia flavor as the adventure happens there. Effectively a done-in-one, this issue is just good comics. Why can’t Marvel and DC get this right?
Written and drawn by Joelle Jones, Lady Killer is, like The Hard Place last week, another in a long line of brilliant and cinematic crime noir comics. These are wonderfully and horrifically pulp films on four-color pages, and I predict that any of these creators could make the leap to the movies with ease and produce celluloid brilliance. Recommended.
The American Revolution never did much for me, never jumped off the history page like other wars or eras. I tried but wasn’t able to get into Turn on AMC. And although I’m a huge Silver Age comics fan, I never liked stuff like Tomahawk, it just never called to me, and yet, this comic about the younger more reckless days of George Washington grabbed me. This is a tale of a hero who is both smart and foolish, naïve and courageous, political and revolutionary. This is a comic that is old school dialogue-heavy, but it’s a good thing, and it makes you think. I dug it a lot, well worth reading.
Like Lady Killer above, this one is a one-person show, Ken Garing brings us to a world we’ve been to before, but years later – after his first series Planetoid. This sequel series is self-contained, but please be aware that this issue is the sixth of six. This is an age old story of who owns the land, told in science fiction trappings, but told well by a storyteller who knows the medium and works it to his advantage. I would recommend this book, the series, and the one before it, good stuff.
Other than the art of Kevin Maguire, and his facial expressions specifically, I never liked the Bwahaha Justice League. The only moments that rang true to me were small things, like the Gray Man and when the original Doctor Fate was involved, but the rest of it was played for laughs, and that blame I lay solidly on the shoulders of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis. They made my favorite heroes a joke, and to some extent did similar jobs on the Legion and Defenders as well. These were not happy years for me. Now there’s a comic that Giffen and DeMatteis have created, and it’s all for laughs again, and this time by design, and not ruining other folks’ characters to do it.
Hero Squared is the story of slacker Milo, whose otherworldly counterpart is superheroic Captain Valor. Valor gets transported to Milo’s world, and moves in. The bad news is, Valor’s archenemy, Calignous follows him here with an army of mutated penguins. But that’s not all, her counterpart is Milo’s girlfriend in this world. Hilarity, as they say, ensues. Artist Joe Abraham provides the Maguire vibe, and I like it. Originally published in 2004, Boom! Studios presents the entire series in this massive 465-page volume. This is fun, and for those who like the JLI humor, but didn’t like that it was being done to the JLI, this book is for you.
Also new on the shelves this week are titles that I have reviewed before here on Heroes and Villains, and continue to be excellent and well worth reading. Among them are Victor LaValle’s Destroyer, Bankshot, Spirit Hunters, and Crosswind, all highly recommended, definitely pick up their latest issues, as well as the entire series of each, great stuff. And if you haven’t picked up the best book of last week yet – Hi-Fi Fight Club #1, hurry, because it’s awesome!