What do you get when you cross Neil Gaiman with H.P. Lovecraft? Probably nightmares, to be honest. But, more specifically, you get Only the End of the World Again, a short story about werewolves, old gods, and strange creatures of unfathomable horror.
This may be Superman’s strangest set of adventures yet. Keep in mind, I’ve read and reviewed three of these collections of Superman’s Sunday comic strips from the '40s and '50s already, so I know what I’m talking about. In the past, I’ve seen Superman transformed into an intelligent toddler. I’ve seen him put on his own one-man circus to save a down-on-his-luck ringmaster from ruin. I’ve seen him submit to a series of tests by the Metropolis Skeptics Society in order to prove his own existence. Still, none of that compares with some of the adventures in this volume.
Things get pretty intense in this issue. A lot has already happened in the two short installments we’ve already had. Our time-traveling outlaw hero, Teddy, found herself stranded in a town ironically named Prosperity. The citizens are poor, depressed, and addicted to virtual reality. Since their lives in the real world are difficult to bear, they retreat into fantasy instead of facing things head on. This, in turn, eats up all of their money and keeps them from facing or fixing their problems, so they remain poor and depressed forever. It’s an infinite loop, not unlike the one the series is named for.
The first volume of Black Hammer was great. This one is even better. The more I read, the more I want to read, and the more engrossed I become in the world that writer Jeff Lemire and artist Dean Ormston have created. It’s a mystery that unfolds page by page, issue by issue, full of incredible characters and brilliant twists. I can’t recommend this comic enough.
There’s a lot of fun to be had in this comic. Set in the early '20s in France, the art style is reflective of that era and setting, which helps to add to the immersive quality of the world in which the story takes place. The story itself is a tribute to murder mystery/adventure stories of that era and features a number of colorful characters to that effect.
A little over a year ago (Wow, has it really been that long?), I reviewed the first issue in a new Star Trek comic called Star Trek: Waypoint. Released for Trek’s 50th anniversary, it was a collection of new, standalone short stories and adventures from each of the series: TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise. (No Discovery, sorry.) I loved that first issue and had nothing but great things to say about it. So, when the full collection of Waypoint comics came up for review, naturally, I jumped on it.
In general, I find that the adventures in The Rook are better when they feature more of stalwart protagonist Restin Dane and less of his grandfather, Bishop Dane. While this volume starts out with a very heavy dose of Bishop, mercifully, he becomes, for the most part, less important and less prominent as things progress.
Adamant, the world’s most indestructible superhero, has been displaced in time and now finds himself in a dark, dystopian future he can barely understand, full of deadly machines and talking frogs. When we last left our hero, he was having trouble wrapping his mind around the fact that his former arch-nemesis, Dr. Alpha, is now the leader of the underground resistance trying to keep people safe from the evil new regime. And as if that wasn’t enough, it turns out that the person responsible for this evil regime is none other than a future version of Adamant himself.
The social commentary in The Infinite Loop has never been subtle. The first story arc was a metaphor for gay rights, as Teddy and Ano had to choose whether to remain safe by keeping their forbidden love hidden away, or to risk everything by fighting openly for others to enjoy those same rights. Now, “Nothing but the Truth” takes on various aspects of the current political climate, and how the wealthy and powerful use the media to control the masses and distract people from what’s really going on.
A couple of years ago, I reviewed the first issue of a time travel comic called The Infinite Loop. Then, unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to review the rest of the story arc. But I liked the first issue enough that, even though I wasn’t reviewing it, I still kept up with the comic on my own. It was a beautiful blend of existential philosophy, social commentary, pop culture references, and, of course, crazy sci-fi shenanigans.