This last week was another HUGE week for comic releases: the last issue of Kick-Ass 2, the second BPRD “Hell on Earth: The Long Death,” John Constantine is still in Hell in Hellblazer #289… And this is just a small sampling of the titles I have time to get to here! Also out this week was the AMAZING Monocyte #3, Richard Corben’s Ragemoor, Dark Horse Presents, the third installment of the new Image Comics Prophet series (reviewed here), Mark Millar’s new series Super Crooks debut, and many more. If you missed some of these releases last week, look for them in your LCS this week. So many great comics have dropped in the last two weeks, that I find myself scrambling to stay caught up with my reviews. Since I am absolutely swamped preparing for the Emerald City Comicon this next weekend, in addition to my regular ComicBooked.com duties, I thought I would run quickly through a few of these comics and give a few short reviews.
Kick-Ass 2 #7 Publisher- ICON Comics
This issue is the last installment of Kick-Ass 2– the second book of the series ends right here. In the last issue the stage was set for an epic showdown between Kick-Ass and the MotherF@#%er, and their respective followings of heroes and villains. Thanks to the MotherF@#%er’s plan, the police have been cracking down on all costumed heroes (even the good ones), and now the cops have been misdirected so that they are in no position to prevent this final battle. There are some big twists and turns in this issue that I won’t spoil for you. As the remaining pages continued to dwindle, I started to sense that Kick-Ass 2 wasn’t going to wrap up in a nice little package, and then I read this narration in the comic and became certain:
“We all just need a little color in our lives and the certainty of a happy ending… because real life doesn’t always work out like that.”
Indeed, all does not end on an encouraging note. I have really enjoyed this series all the way through. The writing has been of a mature nature, and much edgier than what I went in expecting. John Romita Jr.’s art has worked well for the series. This ending, however, left me wanting a little. I don’t always expect a happy ending, in fact, I usually applaud stories that choose not to go the cliche happy route. I just know that it is going to be a loooooong wait to find out what happens next. In the meantime, a new Hit-Girl series (starting in June) will fill in what happened to her character between parts 1 & 2 of Kick-Ass. Also, at the end of this $4.99 issue were five pages of Millarworld teaser ads, and a nine-page preview of Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons’ The Secret Service #1 (in which Mark Hamill is a kidnap victim).
BPRD “Hell on Earth: The Long Death” Part 2/3 Publisher- Dark Horse Comics
In the last issue, Agent Johann Kraus went out on his own to search for a beast that has has been ravaging the woods of the Pacific NW. While he left the BPRD team behind, their camp was attacked by the beast, and Agent Gioarocco suffered severe injuries. This issue opens with Kraus visiting her in the hospital and admitting that he knows what the beast is: a former BPRD agent named Captain Damio. In fact, Kraus took this mission to seek his revenge against Damio. Gioarocco is furious that Kraus abandoned them when he knew the danger that was involved. Dreams and rash, irresponsible decisions? Something strange is happening with Agent Kraus. This issue further explores just what past events transpired between Kraus and Damio, the man Kraus blames for losing his original physical host body in BPRD “Killing Ground.” From here, the rest of this issue continues with Kraus and his team tracking the beast through the wilderness. Will they find that which they seek, or will it find them?
BPRD is always excellent (as are all of the Mignolaverse titles). This arc is no different, and is (in my opinion), especially good. Mike Mignola and John Arcudi expertly weave this tale, making sure that both lifelong fans and new readers will completely enjoy this “Hell on Earth: The Long Death” story. James Harren’s artwork is top notch, with great detail and thought put into each panel, whether illustrating a scene in hospital room or out in the snowy woods stalking the supernatural. The creature art is the star of the show here. Big things are happening in the Mignolaverse, and it would be an act of sheer folly to miss out on what is leading up to one of the biggest comic events of the year.
John Constantine Hellblazer #289 “Another Season in Hell” Part 3/4 Publisher- Vertigo Comics
In the last issue, despite The First of the Fallen’s warning, scheming old Constantine still decided to play fast and loose with the terms of the “devil’s wager” that he entered into during a visit to Hell to save the soul of his sister. Now The First of the Fallen has decided to play dirty too, by sending John back above, but buried alive in a grave! The devil has his sites set on the soul of Epiphany’s (Constantine’s wife) gangster father, and he is going to use John’s bending of the rules as an excuse to get it. It seems the old gangster is a key component to a “Great Plan” that The First of the Fallen has set into motion. Will Epiphany trade her father’s life in time to find Constantine and save him from certain doom? Does John have any tricks left up his sleeve? An unexpected twist may just await us near the end of this issue.
I have enjoyed “Another Season in Hell” quite a bit so far, but admit that I liked the parts that actually took place in Hell the best. Writer Peter Milligan has an amazing knowledge of everything that has happened throughout the entire Hellblazer series, and uses that to his advantage to reward longtime fans. Guiseppe Camuncoli and Stephano Landini handle the art layouts and finishes respectively, and there are some nice looking pages (especially near the beginning of the issue) to be found in Hellblazer #289. They may have drawn the one of the most homoerotic looking devils in comics here, but it has made for a few funny wisecracks in the writing. I haven’t regretted picking up “Another Season in Hell” at all, and look forward to next month’s conclusion.
Well, duty calls, so I will wrap it up here for this week. If you missed any of these fine issues and wish to read them right freaking now, be sure to hit up our digital store and get in on the action. I will not have time for reviews this week, but be sure to check in here at ComicBooked.com for more reviews and all kinds of upcoming Emerald City Comicon news. Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@RobbOrr) for some possible live tweets directly from the convention itself!