Welcome to 2014 and welcome to Bullet Reviews #140! Seems fitting that the first review of the year is the first issue of Dead Boy Detectives, then we have Fables #136, Ghost #1, Grimm #8, Superior Foes Of Spider-Man #7, and Uncanny Avengers #15, with a spoiler here or there for each.
DEAD BOY DETECTIVES #1 (Vertigo)
Fans of The Sandman take note: The Dead Boy Detectives have graduated to their own ongoing series! Join Edwin Paine (died 1916) and Charles Rowland (died 1990), two boys with a lot in common. They are both dead and both love detective stories. Yeah, makes sense all things considered.
The series follows them as they begin to fashion themselves as superstar detectives as well as continuing to investigate the causes of their own deaths. This is most interesting because, I assume, as ghosts not many people can see them so they would seemingly get no credit for the work they do for others. I also wonder what’s going to happen to them if they ever figure out how they died, though I can only assume that they were the victims of horrible bullying from what I know of the school they attended.
They are soon to be joined by Crystal, a girl with criminal artist parents and, after nearly being blown up, a connection to the world of the dead as well as a knack for all things tech. It’s the near death experience that brings her to the boys’ attention, and her to the school they died in. They follow her there in hopes of protecting her.
It has that traditional Vertigo feel that we all know and love, as well as a familiar look thanks to Fables artist Mark Buckingham.
The first issue serves as the perfect introduction to these boys as well as the world they exist in. New readers will have everything they need to jump in and enjoy while people familiar with the boys from The Sandman series will not be hindered with a lot of retread. -Skott Jimenez
FABLES #136 (Vertigo)
Okay, once you are finally able to get past this gorgeous cover, one of the best covers this series has had, we find more pieces falling into place in Rose Red’s new Camelot. Problem is, there are certain traditions that apparently have to apply to Camelot, one of which is a new King Arthur, which obviously is Rose. The other is the mystery of who will bring it all down, the new Morgan Le Fey. It’s things like this that make this series, and this story, so very interesting.
We also finally learn who stole the missing piece of Bigby, preventing him from coming back. She’s a nasty one and I’m really hoping she meets her final fate soon. And I hope it’s a nasty one.
19 issues to go and Fables is showing that it’s going to go out with the same high level of art and storytelling that has become the hallmark of this celebrated series. “Camelot” is just the newest chapter in the legacy and it’s building up to be one of the best stories this franchise has had! I’ll still be sad to see it end though. -Skott Jimenez
GHOST #1 (Dark Horse)
This was a great book back when it started, but I sort of lost track of it. Then I was going through the new comic list, and there was another #1, Ghost. From the great team of Kelly Sue Deconnick, Chris Sebela and Ryan Sook, Ghost is the story of Elisa, a girl who was once a normal person until a demon killed her and she returned to the world of the living as a being that was trapped between two worlds, able to become intangible. She has made it her job to destroy demons every chance she gets, hoping to make some sense of the jumble of memories and gaping holes in her mind to find out who she really is. In this issue, Elisa and her two paranormal investigator friends explore Chicago trying to get some leads on what happened to The Mayor, a person who used to be inhabited by a demon, and the evil Doctor October, the current host for that demon. Lots of cool fights and demon smashing and a possible lead on who she is from the last demon she fights. She makes a deal with this demon to find him a suitable body so he can get out of town in exchange for help hunting down The Mayor, Doctor October, and the truth to why she is the way she is and unraveling her past. This is a great book and I look forward to it continuing, plus this month had an awesome cover from two of my favorites, Terry and Rachel Dodson. -Aaron Clutter
GRIMM #8 (Dynamite)
One of my favorite TV shows for the last couple of seasons has been Grimm, the story of a man who learns that he is part of a secret world within our own that is populated by the monsters of fairy tales and children’s stories. As a part of this world, he is a Grimm, a human with enhanced strength and reflexes that has been burdened with keeping the peace in the Wesen world, the world of monsters who look like humans but are more underneath. Nick, the Grimm, was introduced to this world through his Aunt Marie, who was dying of cancer. He finds out that she too was a Grimm and she leaves him all of her “equipment,” weapons right out of a middle ages torture chamber in some cases, and others that look like they were thought up by some maniacal evil genius. Grimm #8 takes us back to the time before Aunt Marie passed on the mantle of being a Grimm to Nick. She is battling cancer, but also battling Wesen. After killing an especially nasty spider-beast-woman, a Spinnetod, she meets a man who attempts to woo her into romance. Turns out he is just a scumbag Wesen trying to steal from her and kill her. There are some great fight scenes and a solid story giving us a greater understanding of Aunt Marie, a character who was really jut a means to an end in the TV series. Rod Rodolfo has some great art and you just can’t beat Marc Gaffen’s writing on this book. Enter a world that is not your own, but it really is. -Aaron Clutter
SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #7 (Marvel)
One of the best new series of 2013 seems intent of being one of the best ongoing series of 2014. This issue, aside from an amazing cover, takes a side street away from the current story and focuses on one character: the new Beetle. At the end of issue 6 we learned that she isn’t just some random chick in a costume, no… she’s the daughter of Tombstone. This issue focuses on her and we get one of the most entertaining origin stories ever. We learn how she was raised by the mob enforcer and what kind of father he was. He wanted nothing but the best for her and tried to raise her ‘right.’
Yeah, essentially we get a life story that covers a father’s love for his child and a child’s love for her father. She wanted to be just like her daddy but he wanted something more for her. His plan would have made her a villain far worse than anything he could have been. It works to an extent but she had hopes and dreams of her own.
This is probably the best issue of the series so far and the great thing about it is it doesn’t derail the main narrative of what the Sinister “Six” is doing. Yeah, this issue set a new standard for this series. I know I’ve been doing this a lot lately but I highly recommend this issue if for nothing else but to see that even a ‘sitcom’ series can have some great character development as well as seeing what kind of father a man like Tombstone can be! -Skott Jimenez
UNCANNY AVENGERS #15 (Marvel)
Cap and Havoc are pretty fun here. The hearing loss jokes play better as it’s wearing off than they did at first, but there isn’t too much time to enjoy that because the mutant rapture spell kicks in transporting Alex and all other mutants to the Apocalypse Twins’ arc. Of course they knew Wanda was going to double cross them, and the “mutant army” is immediately encased in separate pods for the voyage. More than half of the Unity squad has been taken out of commission by now, so a good portion of the book focuses on Wasp. I love her “save the day get the guy” speech. They get some wicked art out of Horsemen Sentry tearing off his face, but I hate that lunatic more than ever and it was very rewarding to see Wasp take him out with a sandworm. Still, she couldn’t stop the ship in time, and Captain America couldn’t take out the Apocalypse twins, nor will the Watcher interfere, so our cliffhanger leaves us with Exitar the Executioner about to be the agent of Earth’s destruction. This thing could easily collapse under its own weight, but I’d say the action is pretty up there in quality, and I actually read some of the fight sequences more than once. There was a good group of characters to focus on here, it made for a nice change of pace. I generally prefer more X-Men, but I really enjoyed seeing Wasp kind of fail but then pick herself right back up. -Scorpio Moon