God Country #1 introduces itself with a Cormac McCarthy quote over a background of stars and galaxies on what might be the most fitting first page I’ve ever seen. Set in an appropriately bleak small West Texas town, the story concerns the Quinlan family as Roy (along with his wife and daughter) tries to care for his father Emmett, who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s. As the situation comes to a head, a tornado rolls into town, leveling the house but leaving Emmett holding a giant glowing sword that seems to cure his Alzheimer’s while he holds it. About a month ago, writer Don Cates sent us PDFs of the first three issues of the book and I’ve been itching for it to be released so I could talk about how danged good it is. Maybe part of it is that us Texans love larger than life stories about Texas but this book and its The Last Picture Show meets Asgard vibe has made it an instant favorite for me. Cates’ script is solid with the human drama mixing with the mythical epicness beautifully. Geoff Shaw’s art is equally versatile with a Sean Murphy meets Kirby feel that perfectly captures every aspect of the story. This is definitely one to hop on to as soon as you possibly can as things only get bigger and better from here.
Hal Jordan and the Corps #12 caps off what’s been my favorite GL story since Blackest Night with an action-packed issue that finally reunites Hal, John, Guy, and Kyle as they and the rest of Lanterns take on Larfleeze and Brainiac. Ethan Van Sciver has become one of the all-time defining GL artists and this issue solidifies that with tons of gorgeous splashes and detailed sci-fi fun. Robert Vendetti’s solid plotting and pacing for this story culminates in a truly epic-feeling issue that rivals Superman in truly feeling like a Rebirth for the characters.
So I’ve mentioned how great Justice League vs. Suicide Squad has been, but aside from the quality of the book, the most impressive thing has been that it’s been completely on time every week. When was the last time a Marvel event did that? Anyway, this week’s #4 gives us another big showdown as the first Suicide Squad assaults Belle Reve and gives us everything we could ask for from such an event. The fight scenes are all around awesome with Batman, Waller, and Deadshot vs. Lobo being the highlight (though Flash and Captain Boomerang teaming up is pretty danged adorable). Suicide Squad #9 continues the event’s record of solid tie-ins that actually add to the main story with this issue covering the first Squad’s first mission that ends in disaster. Riley Rossmo’s art is killer and absolutely nails the tone of a Suicide Squad book even though the cast is completely different.
I read a lot of books every week, so it’s not often that I have time for Heavy Metal, but this month’s #284 makes a good argument for making the time. I picked this issue up for Grant Morrison’s “The Savage Sword of Jesus Christ” which ended being nowhere near as much fun as it sounded. Luckily, the ish was packed full of stories that ended up being great. Alex DeCampi and Tony Parker, the team behind the EXCELLENT Mayday, drop in with “Taarna”, an eye-popping sci-fi story that reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode produced by the team behind Gears of War. Don Cates (who we’ve already established is awesome) teams up with Duncan Trussell and Andy Belanger for ‘The Simulationists’, a short but sweet take on the future of door to door proselytizing. Finally, Tim Hall and Dean Haspiel bring ‘The Last Mortician’ which continues the issue’s Twilight Zone feel from the story (about a mortician in a world that’s moved past death) to the art which is mostly black and white. Of course there’s a lot more that I don’t have room to mention, but it safe to say that under Morrison’s reign, Heavy Metal is a must-read.
Rocket Raccoon #2 is the rare second issue that’s better than the first. From solidifying Rocket’s new catchphrase (“This planet sucks.”) as a Hawkeye style issue-opener to establishing a pace that’s laid-back AND direct, this book is so much better than I ever could have hoped. The villain reveal at the end is a little obvious, even though it’s a match-up we haven’t necessarily seen before and should keep the train rolling on this delight of a comic.