Some blossoms are as beautiful as they are deadly.

Takeo and the monk travel with Wind of the Sands to infiltrate a Lord’s castle for treasure enough to free Akio from the Yakuza who have kept him hostage for his considerable gambling debt.  Little do they know what truly awaits them in the chambers of the lord.  Intrigue, action, and sultry double crosses make this issue a great addition to the series, all the while laying out the promise of much more to come.  The monk gets to tag along for the action this time, and it goes pretty much as you would expect it, while we’re left with a cliffhanger that, though an old type of trick, serves its purpose effectively, because I certainly can’t wait to see what happens next.

The longstanding story of Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D enters beautifully into the comic book world. The anime-like illustrations by Michael Broussard make the reader feel like you’re watching an animated television series, which happens to be currently in development. The first of “over 30 novels based on the titular character” began its popular run in 1983 and has since “sold more than 17 million copies and has been translated into more than a dozen languages.”

Black Hammer #5 has the wandering poeticism of Alan Moore’s early work on Swamp Thing. The great thing about Jeff Lemire’s creation is that with multiple characters, each issue can skew in style and tone to match their perspectives, and by shifting perspectives with each issue, the depth to which we are beginning to understand these characters in only five issues is wondrous and heartbreaking.

I love Matt Kindt. I read his newest comic, Ether #1, with a huge smile on my face. I entered the first page having no idea what the story was about or what I was getting myself into and enjoyed it all the more for approaching it in such a way. I’m incredibly wary of giving away too much so that anyone who wants to read this book will have the same joy in experiencing it as I had. So instead, I will write about my reactions to the book and how it compares to Kindt’s more recent work.

In Issue #3 of Lady Killer 2, Joëlle Jones nails the idea that evil comes with a smile on its face.

Maeve wakes, dresses, and walks the street.  Behind her two men bump, turn, and shoot - one falls. She does not even turn.  She is fixed and focused.  She enters the Mariposa Saloon and Hotel where she is the madame and relieves Clementine of a newcomer who looks like he plays rough.  She insults his manhood, taunts him as he prepares to have sex with her, and then encourages erotic asphyxiation by further insulting him while he assaults her.  She dies and wakes on the table looking at Felix.

As I’ve read and reviewed the Lumberjanes / Gotham Academy crossover event, I’ve extolled many aspects of this collision of two worlds that have seemed so wonderfully destined to collide.  Delightfully funny and savvy characters coming together and interacting, whether they get along with each other or end up providing the story with entertaining friction - seeing both groups of kids trying to work in environments well out of their comfort zones, discovering what new skills and knowledge each group brings to the situation, and how they share those skills between themselves.

The alien invasion picture has been a staple of the movie business since the space race of the 1950s opened people’s minds to imagine what may be out there in vastness beyond our solar system.  These films can often be filled with a sense of awe and spectacle, along with the contemplation of our place in the universe.  Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind is probably still the high water mark for spaceship awe, with its slack-jawed vision of alien grandeur (The Devil’s Tower finale still holds up beautifully.), most recently imitated by Stranger Things.  But sometimes an alien invasion movie can be simply ludicrous.  With their B-movie origins, the alien invasion picture is more often than not pretty ridiculous.  In the '50s, the threat of an invasion was played up Cold War generated hysteria, like in the classics The Day the Earth Stood Still or Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  But lately, as this summer’s recent Independence Day sequel demonstrated, they can also be largely stupid and void of any real subtext. 

What do they say about women? You don’t talk down to them, you don’t disrespect them, you don’t hit them, and you absolutely do not ever attempt to swindle them. And when a woman says, “I want my water…and my bourbon,” you do not hesitate.

Tales from the Darkside is the more obscure Tales from the Crypt for those that don’t remember the mid to late 1980s. The horror anthology was created by George Romero in 1983 and ran until 1990, spawning Crypt and other impersonators and a feature film. A few years ago, a potential revival was pitched, and Joe Hill was brought in to work on the first five episodes. Hill’s work and family attachment to the project (His father contributed several stories to the show and to the film.) made him the obvious choice. While the project never got off the ground, IDW decided to partner with Hill again and bring those scripts to the still-passionate Locke & Key fans. Despite the best “graphic novel” treatment, it’s difficult for the story to not feel like you’re reading a half-baked film treatment.

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