Every week we take a look at a selection of recent releases that, we hope, are still available at your local comic shop! This week: Dark Shadows #5, Fairest #3, Grimm Fairy Tales: Myths & Legends #15, Journey Into Mystery #637, Marvel Zombies Destroy! #1, Supercrooks #2, Supurbia #3, and The Walking Dead #97!
DARK SHADOWS #5 (Dynamite Entertainment)
*Click on the cover to get a special look at Dark Shadows #5 from Dynamite Entertainment!* Well, it’s been well established how much I’m enjoying this series, even with it being on the 5th issue, but this one is, by far, the issue I’ve been waiting for! You always hear about Barnabas Collins being the ‘reluctant vampire’ but rarely is there any emphasis on it. This issue is mainly about Barnabas’ guilt as he’s forced to face the people he’s killed over the years, along with a few that Angelique has done in, and how he tries to deal with it without putting more guild on his shoulders. It’s one of the few times to actually see how this curse has weighted on his very soul. While being chased through Collinsport by the spirits of his victims he comes face to face with his more vicious side, the side he tries to control so that more people don’t fall victim to his thirst. But we soon learn that the spirits, among which the love of his life, Josette is numbered among, don’t wish to haunt or even harm him, no, they have something far more important in mind. Important and simple. By far my favorite issue so far, this one goes a long way to firmly establishing the direction and feel of this series! I’m certainly on for the long haul now! (Check out J.R. Snyder’s review of the Dark Shadows movie!-Skott Jimenez
FAIREST #3 (Vertigo)
The Fables sister title is getting better with every issue! First, let me once again compliment Phil Jimenez on yet another issue full of stellar art! This book takes me a while to read because I get lost in so many of his panels. I’m going to be sad to see him leave after this story wraps up but I’m hoping his return to this series is very soon!
This issue continues the origin of Briar Rose: Sleeping Beauty. It’s a tale we are mostly familiar with while writer Bill Willingham puts his own Fables spin on things to keep it interesting and feeling more fresh than rehash. In this story things are much bigger and there are more Godmothers, each giving her a gift, which we are familiar with. What makes it interesting is Briar’s comments during this part of the story. Especially the ‘sings like a nightingale’ part.
Beyond Beauty’s origin there seems to be some betrayal heading our way. A certain Bottle Imp seems to be planning to switch sides, offering his story telling services to the Snow Queen who, apparently, loves stories, a lot.
Overall, this series, while still just getting started, has been fully embraced by this fan of Fables. This series really represents the level of excellence in story telling and artwork that’s been the hallmark of the Fables universe since it’s inception. Jack Of Fables lasted for 50 issues, I can see this series lasting far longer than that if this is how it’s starting!
I also need to mention the cover. Yet another bar setting cover by Adam Hughes. Seriously, just take a moment and look at this cover… it’s gorgeous! I cannot wait until the next issue! -Skott Jimenez
GRIMM FAIRY TALES: MYTHS & LEGENDS #15 (Zenescope)
The themes of anger and revenge are powerful in the genre of fiction, and ever-present in comic book stories. Take the Hulk for example. Sometimes these themes go hand in hand, as in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, while there are examples of these being separate, like the Hulk’s immense rage but desire to be left alone. There are a number of ways that anger and revenge can be tackled when telling stories and Grimm Fairy Tales Myths and Legends writer Raven Gregory handles them both extremely well in the newest issue.
Jenna Washington comes home to find her parents lifeless on the floor, a razor-toothed beast standing over them. She shoots the beast but he continues to advance on her, taunting her, telling her that her family is dead because of her inaction. She realizes that this man is the brother of her dead lover, Drew, who recently killed himself rather than facing life without Jenna. But Gregory includes a twist at the end, one that draws Jenna to seek revenge, also revealing that she has rather impressive powers and may actually succeed in her lust for blood.
Deivis Goetten and Fabio Jansen share art duties on the issue and really drive it home. The issue takes place at night so the majority of the action is cast in shadows, and Goetten and Jansen take advantage of this, using it to create many creepy and haunting panels. It also allows the colorist Steve Downer to do wonders with a few lighting effects, such as muzzle-flare from gunshots and the revolving blues and reds of police lights.
I’ve read a few issues of Grimm Fairy Tales in the past but it was never a title that struck a chord in me. However, Myths and Legends seems to deviate slightly from the formula of the main title, allowing for enough fresh writing to really make a difference. It manages to maintain the fairy tale legends that made the original series popular but grounds it closer to reality. It’s an angle that I really enjoyed, and will likely be checking out more often in the future. -Michael Wirth
JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #637 (Marvel)
Exiled, Part 2: The fearsome Disir have escaped Mephisto’s Hell after recognizing something called ‘The Final Portion’ and head to the mortal city of San Francisco where they come face-to-face with first the New Mutants then the Asgardians. This leads up to the revelation that the Mutant’s new neighbor is actually the legendary Asgardian Sigurd! A brief confrontation is ended when Sigurd reads from a scroll and everything changes! And what changes they are: this is now a world where our Asgardian heroes live normal lives: Thor is now a mechanic, Volstagg is a baker, Loki, now called Luke, is brother to Leigh whose name isn’t really that different. The Mutants try to fix things, first by restoring Loki’s memories in hopes that he can fix this and they better work fast: the Disir have lost their curse! This is, so far, a highly entertaining crossover and that’s saying a lot considering how little I actually like Marvel’s Merry Mutants! I’m actually looking forward to checking out next week’s New Mutants installment because this little crossover is big on fun! -Skott Jimenez
MARVEL ZOMBIES DESTROY! #1 of 5 (Marvel)
I love the Marvel Zombies franchise. So far, of the 40 or so issues put out across numerous miniseries and one-shots, the only ones that I didn’t like were the Marvel Apes crossover and the Supreme story. This line has evolved from zombie superheros in one universe to the zombie plague infecting different universes in different ways. This was established in Marvel Zombies 5 when Howard The Duck, Machine Man and others went from reality to reality to try to learn more about the different manifestations of the zombie plague in an attempt to stop it all. Marvel Zombies Destroy! continues this thread as Howard puts together a squad he calls the Ducky Dozen to put an end to a particularly nasty group of zombies. In this world the Nazis won WWII because they turned themselves into zombies. After taking over their world they are turning their sights on other realities, the 616 included! It’s Howard The Duck and his second in command Dum Dum Dugan from S.H.I.E.L.D. (who better to have at your side when fighting any type of Nazi?) against a whole world full of undead flesh eaters! What makes this one particularly interesting is Howard’s mention of sister realities joining the fight. Of course, I’m still not used to Howard being a pro-active hero and not smoking cigars anymore. Sometimes Marvel’s ‘anti-smoking’ policy really sucks. But, overall, this book looks like it may be highly entertaining! -Skott Jimenez
SUPERCROOKS #2 (Marvel/Icon)
Millar has to be the best in the game. This is only a 4 issue series and I can’t seem to find a reason why it should ever end. Issue two starts off right where issue one ends, just the way it should be. We are introduced to our team of underground scum who will be joining Johnny in Spain to “Take the House”. Yu adds so much to this series it is hard to put into words. The artwork is absolutely mesmerizing. During this whirl of introductions we are also introduced to what powers each character has and what they have been up to since “getting out of the game”. Pretty amazing how charming Johnny is that he gets all these retired criminals to come back to the fold and do one more big heist. No big heist ever works out the way its supposed to so it will be interesting to see how these plays out. But Johnny has an ace up his sleeve. I won’t ruin it for ya, but lets just say some very crude pictures just put a superhero on their team. *Supercrooks is the best comic you can buy right now. Period.* -Nick Furious
SUPURBIA #3 (BOOM! Studios)
The first two issues of Grace Randolph’s Supurbia showed how super heroes act while in the comfort of their own homes. The interaction with their spouses and children, shining a light on the way they have similar problems as regular people, though maybe on a very different scale. However, the third issue illustrates how the families of super heroes react when their loved ones go off to battle. Imagine having to sit in front of the television as your loved one battles a giant, unyielding robot, their very lives on the line at every second?
Randolph continues to provide plenty of depth to her characters. While some of the heroes are able to keep their head in the game, Night Fox and estranged wife Alexis Fritsche allow their feelings to come to the surface as Night Fox faces off against a rampaging robot. Though the issues of having a torrid affair are tough to push to the side, when one’s life hangs in the balance, it tends to put things in perspective.
This issue also introduces Hector Hunt, the evil super villain who is supposedly responsible for the current attack. Readers get the chance to see just what kind of person he is and a short sample of his powers. He also sheds some insight into the relationship between the Meta Legion’s resident alien, Sovereign, and his new wife, Helen.
I’ve been enjoying the series so far and issue 3 doesn’t disappoint. The fears of the heroes’ spouses are very real and it’s the kind of things that normal super hero stories don’t delve in to, but is an important part of being a hero. Saving the planet is vitally important, but what does it cost the person you love the most?
This series was meant to only last 4 issues but luckily it was announced to be an ongoing, which is wonderful news considering all of the story lines that Randolph has placed throughout the issues. She set up a number of plots that haven’t seen fruition yet, and given there’s only one issue left, may seem forced once they do see the light. Was this Randolph’s intentions from the beginning or did she slowly evolve into this when she learned she’d have more time to tell her story. I guess we’ll see in a few weeks when issue 4 hits stores. -Michael Wirth
THE WALKING DEAD #97 (Skybound/Image)
Something To Fear, Part 1: We are now a skull’s throw away from the historic 100th issue of The Walking Dead and things are heating up! On their way back to their own community after making plans with the Hilltop to protect them from someone called Negan, Rick, Glenn, Carl, Michonne and Andrea are confronted by some of Negan’s men demanding half of their supplies for protection. Rick responds in the only way he can and the walkers in the area have a feast. Not all of them are zombie food though, he sends one back to Negan to tell him Rick and company are taking over. This may not have been a good idea.
Later, after returning home, Rick explains the situation and Glenn gets some very good news from Maggie while Abraham and Eugene head out to gather supplies to start making bullets and such… but they aren’t alone!
Something To Fear is supposed to lead to the darkest moment in Rick’s life. If this is how this is starting I think we’re about to see a whole new level of emotional horror in this series, something we’ve never seen before. We are now on the road to The Walking Dead #100, all we can do is hang on and hope we survive! -Skott Jimenez