The first issue of Home Sick Pilots gave us an interesting setup for a haunted house story. A punk band consisting of three high schoolers ends up in a house, looking for a badass place to have a concert that will completely destroy the popularity of a rival punk band. The rumors of it being a haunted house turn out to be true, and as both bands face off, it comes to life and terrible things happen. But, wait! There’s more.
In issue eight, we finally get a glimpse of the villain and the end game. Up until now, Nailbiter Returns has been a subversive, ultraviolent horror comedy laying a little to the left of the more serious tones of the original Nailbiter run. If the original was Se7en, then this is Se7en but directed by Sam Raimi. It’s been fun as hell. I will not lie; it has also been relatively contained among our handful of characters and the killers who are playing a serial killer game to the hilt which actually involves killing people.
The Order of St. George has closed in and are ready to contain the situation, and while they are freaking great at killing the monsters, they are also great at killing innocent civilians. This means that our hero of the story, Erica Slaughter (a.k.a. the baddest-ass character created this year), has to fight on two fronts. This is also bad for all of the townsfolk, because now their lives are being threatened on two fronts.
The world of Barbalien from the Black Hammer series is a treacherous one, and I’m not talking about the hostile planet of Mars where Barbalien’s warrior alien race is from. I’m talking about Earth, circa the 1980s when being gay was a death sentence to many.
I love punk music. I love the punk attitude, but I am in no way punk. A person would never in their right mind point at me and say, “That dude is punk.” I don’t even know if punks use the term, “dude.” I love stories about punk characters. In Home Sick Pilots, we meet a group of three high school friends who are a punk band. They are called HOME SICK PILOTS! Their nemesis is another punk band called the Nuclear Bastards, with a couple more band members. Yes, our heroes are outnumbered, and, yes, they go to one of Nuclear Bastard’s concerts at an empty bowling alley that’s packed.
It dawned on me after reading issue 2 of Crossover who Donny Cates was. In one of the ads on the very last page, they advertise his book, Buzz Kill, which I had read upon its release and thought it was incredible. If I had kept his name ingrained in my head, I would have picked up everything he had written as he went along. Thankfully, his name is now synonymous with two series that I love, the second being the one that I’m currently writing about.
While there’s a mystery on every page, there’s also a joke on every panel in Spy Island #4. If you’ve ever wanted to know what the Bermuda Triangle might look like, this could very well be it. Basically, everything is attainable creatively, and Cain, Miternique, and McCall are up for the task of doing just about anything. Somehow, it makes perfect sense in the end.
One week after being graced with a new Hellboy story, we are once again gifted with two new stories in one book. For anyone who goes back to read my reviews from the last couple of years, you’ll see that I adore the big red boy from hell. I have a little monument on my wall with his Funko Pop, his red fist as a coin holder, and the special edition Dark Horse select Hellboy, so any time I’m given the opportunity to indulge in a Hellboy story, I take it!
Unlike Barbalien #1 which is the other Black Hammer universe comic just released, Colonel Weird: Cosmagog may play better to people that have followed the main storyline. There are universal elements to the story, such as feeling lost and alone, but those elements aren’t the driving force behind the story of Colonel Weird. As we jump through his past as a bullied child, then as a space explorer in a sort of super fun, 1950s sci-fi way, and then as the scraggly bearded man who is losing his mind to all time and space, his main goal is to remember something he’s forgotten. My guess is that that something will connect back with the main storyline, as a big piece of this puzzle seems to be when Anti-God attacked the Earth, and before our heroes were sent to an old farm to live our their lives.
This newest issue of Nailbiter Returns is an enjoyable half step forward for the story. There are a couple of plot points sprinkled in and a couple minor cliffhangers, but the bulk of what’s happening in this issue could have taken place in a few pages, and ultimately that’s more than enough to keep me reading. There’s one plot point in this issue that I’m just going to have to accept as part of this reality; maybe it will be explained, maybe it won’t.