Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Cullen Bunn is one of the most well-known horror writers in comic books today, and his stories are dramatic. They tend to be pretty serious and very rarely indulge in humor, which is what makes this issue of Black Hammer: Visions such a delight. Cthu-Lou is one of the more genuinely ridiculous creations from the Black Hammer-verse which also makes him one of the most joyful. He’s a blue-collar plumber with the head of a Cthulu monster. There was also Cthu-Louise who was equally as delightful.

James Tynion IV isn’t holding back. He continues to litter Wynd with more and more characters, and each and every one of those characters has their own individual motivations that then draw in more complicated factors. He isn’t just telling a story; he’s filling a keg with powder. It’s actually an accident that I used that metaphor, as one of the characters in the script specifically talks about lighting a fuse. This explosion is going to be pretty big.

One of my favorite things about Hellboy is that he has a talent for understatement in almost blue-collar kind of way. He doesn’t curse or swear, he’s just over it. He’s a working stiff who just happens to be a demon.

Where Home Sick Pilots started is nothing like where Home Sick Pilots is currently going. It all started with the question: “What if a punk rock high school band went to explore in an old haunted house?”, and then it became about the haunted house manipulating one of the members of the band. NOW, it’s about humans trying to control ghosts to make mechs work! Yes, this is a ghost-in-the-machine-style haunted house story with punk rockers, and it’s dope as hell.

Wow. Just wow. That was a ride with exactly the kind of cathartic ending I was hoping for. For the last four issues, I’ve been reading in a state of ever-increasing anxiety as this group of dogs, one by one, discovered that their owner was a serial killer. You knew generally how it was going to pan out, but the ride was simply beautiful.

I remember only just a few years ago when the name James Tynion IV popped up on a weekly Batman comic co-written by Scott Snyder. I was really big into Snyder’s Batman run, and this weekly series was pretty ambitious. I don’t remember having read much by Tynion before that, so this must have been a trial by fire! Now, the output he’s had since then has been astounding. Not just the number of comics, but the quality has been mindbogglingly genius. Something Is Killing the Children is a horror story. It’s an awful, horrible story of children being ripped apart, but there is more heart in this series than most straight-up dramas.

Black Hammer of late has been jumping far into the past, flinging itself into the future, meandering through other timelines, and asking what ifs? But finally, we’re placed relatively back into the normal timeline of our heroes, in this case Lucy Weber’s (the daughter of the original Black Hammer) who then became the new Black Hammer and helped save the heroes lost to the cabin. Speed forward 20 years, and Weber is married, a mother, and has hung up the mantle of being a hero. How well is family life going for Lucy? Well… not so poorly that she’s willing to don the mantle of Black Hammer again.

Upon reading Compass the first time through, one can feel that it’s steeped in history; the details about the places and people don’t feel made up (and, in many instances, they are not), but it’s also steeped in the love of Indiana Jones, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, and other adventures rooted in the joy of discovery. And in the notes following the story, the writers - Robert Mackenzie and David Walker - make specific reference to Mysterious Cities of Gold, also a show I grew up on!

I’m not even sure how to catch anyone up on what’s happening in Ultramega, and that’s honestly pretty wonderful. This is like nothing else out there right now. It’s a Kaiju story that isn’t concerned at all about pandering to tropes. It’s barely concerned about giving us a hero’s journey, and it’s pulling off avoiding that in the most spectacular way (in spades).

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