The newly formed publishing imprint Double Take, led by former Marvel exec Bill Jemas, launched this week with ten ongoing series set vaguely in the world of 1968’s Night of the Living Dead. All ten books take place in Evans County, PA and are loosely connected by locations and news broadcasts. It’s certainly an ambitious project, though it seems like they might have bitten off more brains than they can chew. Almost everything about this project is a good idea/bad idea situation. The art is spotty at best, barely finished at worst. Almost all of the books have little to no zombie action at all, which is only forgivable in the few where they actually succeeded in getting you to care about the characters at their center (Soul, Slab, Z-Men, and Remote if you’re interested though, beware the aforementioned spotty art). Overall, these books are like a clever but trouble-making child- full of potential that’s mostly being squandered.
D4VE 2 drops this week and doubles down on everything that made the first series so much fun. Set one year after D4VE saved the earth from aliens, his new station as General of Defense has him investigating a mysterious pod that emerged from a black hole. Of course there’s a healthy dose of the supporting cast (including the ever-quotable 5COTTY). If you like your sci-fi silly and raunchy, you should definitely be reading this book.
Heavy Metal is seemingly on the precipice of having a bit of a resurgence, with super-star writer Grant Morrison set to take the reigns as Editor in Chief next year. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the new era, but for now this month’s issue is most definitely a buy. The cover story is a feature on the CIA’s use of a fake film version of the sci-fi novel Lords of Light to sneak hostages out of Iran (which the younger among us know as the film Argo). The materials the agency used to legitimize themselves included concept art done by the King himself, Jack Kirby, mostly unseen before now. I’ve gotta say, they really are eye popping. It’s Kirby at his most psychedelic and to be honest, it’s worth the cover price just to get a look at them.
I was lucky enough to get an advance preview of Dark Horse’s new series The Paybacks and I’m glad that it’s finally out because that means I can start counting down to the next issue. In the grand tradition of Damage Control, The Paybacks applies just the tiniest bit of logic to comic books in order to ask the question “How can these people afford all of this super-stuff?” The answer of course, is that they borrow money, which is where our heroes come in. This comic had me sitting at my desk, literally laughing out loud (LLOL?) at just about every page. Like the best superhero satire, there’s a clear reverence for the material that they’re taking on, which just makes the jokes all that much funnier to those of us immersed in these tropes.
I’m usually one to follow writers before artists, but anything Sean Murphy works on is something I’ll be picking up. Throw in writer Rick Remender, who just kind of bleeds awesome with his creator owned works, and Tokyo Ghost is a complete no-brainer of a buy. Set in a now familiar dystopian future where people are addicted to being directly plugged into the internet, the story follows Led Dent and Debbie Decay (awesome, right?) two ‘constables’ who are looking for a way out. Led is a cybernetic war machine, though his addiction to the net means Debbie does all of the thinking (in addition to lots of acrobatic killing). The influences on this book are pretty apparent- mostly 2000 AD/Dredd (without as much silliness) and anime/manga (without the, ahem, unique cultural touchstones of the genre) but they combine to make this one a must-read.
Captain America: White #1 arrived this week, and it’s only like 7 years late. Still, once I opened it up and started falling into Tim Sale’s artwork, I didn’t even care. Loeb and Sale’s color series has been pretty untouchable for me, with Spider-Man: Blue being so good it gets me misty-eyed every time I read it. Each of the series focuses on a particular relationship (Pete/Gwen, Hulk/Betty, Matt/Karen) and CA:W is no different, examining the bond between Steve and Bucky during the war. All of the series have been period pieces, which adds so much as Loeb/Sale take the characters back to their roots to remind us what’s so special about them in the first place.
And now, super-short Secret Wars Roundup!
Secret Wars Journal has the best Millie the Model story in recent history and two new-wave horror directors making Night Nurse even more awesome.
House of M, like Civil War, has done a great job of furthering the concept behind it’s inspiration. With Magneto deposed and depowered, it looks like the human resistance are the only friends he’s got.
Spider-Verse came to an open-end, and I’ll be glad to see more of this team, especially Spider-Ham now that his true power has been revealed.
Spider Island makes great use of Stegron, which is a feat in and of itself, as the heroes make their final assault on the Spider Queen.
Guardians of Knowhere had a pretty great fight scene from Mike Deodato that will make you feel a little better about buying the book as a whole.
Infinity Gauntlet remains one of the best SW books, especially now that the climactic battle is underway. To be honest, this books is doing Guardians better than the book with ‘Guardians’ in the title.
Armor Wars ends with a giant robot fight (natch) but also some revelations about what kind of guy this Tony Stark is (Superior).
Age of Apocalypse, though its schtick is wearing thin, still provides a fair amount of fun art.