The third iteration of Joe Golem: Occult Detective takes on the name of its location: The Drowning City, because it’s a place that we should know. Lower Manhattan has been changed drastically; water has flooded every street, and we have no idea what could come from around the next corner. One recognizable element Joe Golem does keep is the hard-boiled film noir element that is so often tied to New York City. Like much of the rest of the Mignolaverse, dark arts are being practiced in all of the shadows. In this instance, the shadows are underwater, a submarine to be specific.
Before I begin my review, I feel the need to lay out some ground rules as the use of pronouns in Doctor Who have become much more complex. For the sake of simplicity, I plan on using the current Doctor’s gender when referring to the character in general, but when discussing a specific iteration of the Doctor, I will use that regeneration’s gender.
Even though the Quantum Age happens in the future of the Black Hammer universe, it wavers back and forth between being written like a Golden Age science fiction tale and something that might be written now. It begins with a character named Archive talking to a disembodied voice only called Mother. Archive is part of a collective race, like the Borg minus the conquering other species aspect. Archive wants to go into the world to see what it’s like to be human and to come back and report the data he finds. He’s thrilled about this, and shortly after entering school, he becomes a member of the Quantum League, with races and species all around the galaxy, fighting for justice and protecting the innocent, but as with every story in the Black Hammer universe, nothing is ever that simple.
On the very last page of issue #4 of She Could Fly, I read the word “End” and almost lost my mind. I frantically scrolled back through the issue, looking for clues that would make sense as to how this could possibly be the end of the story. There were too many unanswered questions that would weigh on me. I found my answer in creator Christopher Cantwell’s afterword…more issues in the Spring, he wrote. I calmed myself.
All hail the con men and women that make the plot to Dragon Age: Deception both comedic and compelling.
I think the best audience for this comic is the diehard Disneyland fan who still has a sick and twisted side. I have several friends who fit this description, and, believe me, I’m going to be telling all of them that they need to read The Happiest Place.
“And what you said about stories. I really get that now. You’d said they weren’t about filling time, entertainment. Not that that’s wrong, a story can be both meaningful and entertaining, you’d said, should be both for it to resonate. You told me that stories connected us, made us understand ourselves and each tear a little better. That stories made the world a better place because they are empathy engines.
I like that. Empathy engine. Vroom vroom.
It's a noble cause, storytelling, you’d said. Noble work.
So, here I go being noble.”
For all of its captivating elements, it is the setting of Jook Joint that is its most scrumptious. Taking place in the backwoods swampland of what is likely the Louisiana Bayou, we get to spend time with characters criminally underrepresented in fiction. Jook Joint is referring to a whore-house that doubles as a feeding ground for man-eating monsters. I say “man-eating” both literally and metaphorically. Jook Joint is also a brand new book by Image Comics that is about women taking gory revenge on their systematic abuse and oppression by terrible men. It is horror at its most poignant.
Dead Rabbit is a love letter to the rough justice pioneered by the likes of Frank Miller in the late '80s and early '90s. It’s dark and wickedly violent. Like most of those heroes of yesteryear, we get to see bad guys putting down bad guys. It feels wrong. It feels cathartic. In a time when the world is just as scary as it’s ever been, one man taking the visceral weight of crime on his own shoulders certainly revs MY engine. Anyone likely unsatisfied with our current socio-economic climate will likely find a bloody home in Dead Rabbit.