Issue #2 of Black Hammer: Age of Doom filled me with unadulterated joy. Part of that reason is that I’m starting to feel like I’m a part of this dysfunctional family of ex-superheroes trapped on this strange farm. Over the last 14 issues, Jeff Lemire has done such a solid job of bringing each and every one of them to life that I know them, I understand them, I’m with them. That’s really difficult to do with an ensemble cast. He does it by not focusing on how the characters fight during action scenes, but by studying with a scalpel each of the character's intents and reactions to this place, where they may end up dying…having no idea why - like the first half hour of Oldboy.
The title, Bubba Ho-Tep, probably conjurers images of Bruce Campbell as Elvis who switches places with an Elvis-impersonator named Sebastian Haff and hits the road impersonating Sebastian impersonating himself. He falls and ends up in a rundown retirement home, where he meets Jack (Ossie Davis), a man of color who says he is President John F. Kennedy. The pair encounter an Egyptian mummy in western wear (complete with a shiny belt buckle!) who is sucking the souls of residents via their anuses. If you are not familiar with the cult film from 2002 directed by Don Coscarelli (and based on a 1994 novella of the same name written by renown horror writer Joe R. Lansdale), then definitely check out the film (and my Fanbase Press essay as part of the "Thankful For" series last November). The new IDW Publishing comic book, Bubba Ho-Tep and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers, is a prequel story to the film and novella.
This may be the second volume in a larger story, but it’s important to note that Infinite Loop: Nothing But the Truth is mostly standalone. If you haven’t read the first volume, you won’t be lost trying to keep up. Most of the important information is explained quickly and clearly in the first few pages. Though, of course, the first volume is very good, too, and I highly recommend you check it out, as well.
To say that this comic is a modern retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone doesn’t really do it justice. That’s what it is at its core, but the story ends up being so much more than that. With this comic, writer Loïc Locatelli Kournwsky has created an entire world, rooted in Greek myths, but also very much its own entity—and fascinating to read.
Paranoia is the main dish in Jeff Lemire (writer) and Andrea Sorrentino’s (artist) Gideon Falls, a story that weaves in and out of themes of madness, faith, and the supernatural. A sort of Twin Peaks meets…I’ve been digging around for a second example, because there is something in the way this book is approached and constructed that doesn’t quite feel like this or that. I could say Jacob’s Ladder or Hellraiser by way of Andrei Tarkovsky. There’s a gritty, dreamlike quality to this book, an effective, surreal, nightmarish atmosphere that Sorrentino creates with Dave Stewart (colors).
This book is hard to describe. While the general premise (Gods return for 2 year, then die, only to be reborn again.) isn't so tough to explain, when issues like this one come along, where reading it becomes a tale of two halves, it complicates things a bit, especially as the true narrative of the book begins to unravel, with the Great Darkness approaching and everything flying full steam into the endgame.
You don’t read I Am a Hero, the zombie epic by Kengo Hanazawa, you full on experience it. From the first book, I knew it would be special. I knew I had to read every volume as it came out, but I would have never been able to tell you that this is where we would be after reading the final pages of Omnibus 6. This series continuously undercuts expectations and presents to you a reality unexpected. It’s a constant mind-f***, an emotional battering ram, an exhilarating lightning rod of a read in which you experience this absurd, outrageous, and terrifying world along with this oddball assortment of survivors. It’s exactly how you would expect a zombie apocalypse to break the rules of everything you knew to be true. Here, the zombies (known as ZQNs) are transfixed with repeating their day-to-day life. Why? How? Omnibus 6 toys with some answers while presenting a sort of hierarchy of ZQNs that could spell the demise of the remaining survivors.
Wednesday is back! And, no surprise, he’s been concocting some battle plans. It’s refreshing to have his magic and superior knowledge of things back, as well. I love the sequence when he explains to Shadow all of the charms that he knows. These panels show the extent of his power—which seems to be rather far-reaching. Wednesday has powers that affect both humans and other magical beings, and many of his powers can protect people, which does not seem in line with his character. I had always viewed Wednesday as being more self-serving, but his true agenda continues to be a mystery. Perhaps there is a more philanthropic motivation—either that or he just has the ability to help people but may not often choose to exercise these powers.