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 Crosswind #5, No. 1 With A Bullet #1, Nickelodeon Avatar: The Last Airbender – North and South Library Edition, Neverland: Return of Hook one-shot, The Gravediggers Union #1, Elsewhere #4, Giant Days #32, Grandville Force Majeure, and more… be warned, there may be spoilers…
This brilliant comic by Cat Staggs and Gail Simone was originally hyped as Freaky Friday meets Goodfellas, and while that’s clever and it works to get folks to buy the book, it may actually be more true than the powers that be want it to be. This mind switch between the mousy housewife and the sociopath hit man has actually enriched each of their lives, and made them better people on both ends, like the Disney movie, but then again, it also mercilessly violent, like the gangster flick, best and worst of both worlds. Through it all, Simone’s words and Staggs’ images are powerfully and emotionally real. This might very well be the best work by either of them, all in a comic that at first glance seems just a slick gimmick. Crosswind is phenomenal.
Take a dash of day-after-tomorrow science fiction and a couple quarts of social media paranoia and you’ve got No. 1 With A Bullet, a stalker thriller with sex tapes and reality TV and the up-to-the-minute world of the internet all stuffed into a big kitchen sink. There’s a good dark story here, one worth reading, but it’s also tarnished by the creators leaning too far into it and infecting it with their beliefs. It’s more than evident they are anti-internet, anti-social media, and it negatively affects the story rather than enhancing it. Good read, but I will pass on the next issue.
The Bride and I are huge Legend of Korra fans, and before that of course, Avatar: The Last Airbender. I love the adventures of Aang, the last Airbender as he tries to unite a strange world he has awoken to, and his heir in power, Korra. It is not just one of the greatest animation epics of the last two decades, it is also a wonderful set of comics as well. This is the fifth hardcover library edition in the series from Dark Horse Comics, a beautiful package with a story that takes place between the two animated series. I love this, and you will too, highly recommended. And if you really dig Avatar and Korra as well, you should check out The Avatar Returns Podcast, part of the Biff Bam Pop! Podcast Network.
What we have here with The Gravediggers Union #1 is a comic that appears to be one week late, better suited for Halloween, and my review for Biff Bam Pop’s 31 Days of Horror. The end of the world is at hand, and zombies, vampires, and ghosts, among other nasties are attacking, and who can save us? You got it, the Gravediggers Union. First appearing in a collection called Blackhand, they proved popular enough to get their own series, a rough and tumble, harder edged, with more language, color, and violence than the typical ghostbuster crew, they are likable and I’d like to see more of them. And just so you know, we got more in this first installment, a double-sized first issue, for only four bucks, what a deal!
There is no introduction or what has gone before here in Elsewhere #4, a constant bugaboo for me in reading (and especially reviewing) new comics. However, this comic, where we are dropped in media res in the middle of the action, it works, the storytellers do enough due diligence to let us know what we need to know to get it. Displaced human heroes are on an alien world in the midst of a war between two races, boom, and we’re off. I have to say that the cold open makes for an extra shock for new readers when they learn the female protagonist is actually Amelia Earhart, and from there, I was sold. This is one very cool comic. I loved this comic and read it at least three times, and will be looking for issues #1-3, definitely recommended.
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed John Allison’s Giant Days, I laughed out loud at a few places, and enjoyed the art of Max Sarin. That said, I had zero idea what was going on, or even what the comic was about. These are college kids, in a supernatural world? An introduction, even if just a paragraph, would have been helpful. I get that you’re already on issue #32, but are you saying you don’t want any new readers? I would gladly give this one a shot, it is that good, but I’d really like to know what it’s about without consulting Google or Wikipedia. Giant Days is the anti-Elsewhere. Somewhat problematic, but still very much recommended.
Grandville Force Majeure comes to us from the award-winning Bryan Talbot, and is a scientific thriller (shades of The Flash‘s Harry Wells of Earth-13) about Detective Inspector LeBrock, a badger framed by dastardly villains for murder and on the run. Very Victorian, very steampunk, and taking place in a world of anthropomorphic animals, this is a great read, and worth getting. Nearly one hundred and eighty pages and I breezed through it like the wind. Recommended.
Zenescope wouldn’t be Zenescope without its new spins and twists on traditional fairy tales, and with this one-shot we get a look at a Neverland with a sordid past. The roles have been switched, Pan is a vampiric monster, and his pixie associate equally a monster, only Wendy and a man with a hook for a hand can stop him. While its ending is inconclusive (bad idea for a one-shot), this comic had me from start to finish, a non-stop adventure, that despite the intriguing role reversals, was wild and fun, and had me rooting for Hook. I dug this, recommended.
Some very cool news came out this week from Chapterhouse Comics, the folks who bring us great comics like Captain Canuck, Freelance, and the Pitiful Human Lizard, announced this week that their trade collections will now be $9.99 or less, and their monthly comics will sell for $1.99, yep, less than two dollars. The pricing begins in January, making the choice of what to get at the comic shop a little easier, especially with great storytelling, and soon an unbeatable price.