The Young Hellboy adventure is exactly that: a four-part comic book series geared towards young adult readers. A youthful, but no less impactful, Hellboy crash-lands on a mysterious island with his caretaker, Professor Bruttenholm. At this age, Hellboy is excitable and looking for adventure, and he - as well as the reader - will get plenty of that with giant crabs, gorilla-like creators, and the appearance of an unexpected ally!
Have you ever been in a toxic relationship… with a house? That may not be the main takeaway from the series, Home Sick Pilots, but it’s what our hero Ami is having to contend with. This terribly haunted house is gaslighting her to get what it needs (for what seems like nefarious reasons), and in issue three, her band members become even more embroiled in the proceedings than they thought they could have been.
Yes, Patton Oswalt - the comedian - has written for Black Hammer: Visions, and it’s wonderful. This is a gem of a series following my favorite character from the Black Hammer Universe (and probably the most heartbreaking character for me, as well: Golden Gail - the fifty-year-old who when she says, “Zafram!” turns into a ten-year-old with superpowers, the inverse of Shazam! Only now, Gail is stuck as the ten-year-old with all the needs of a fifty-year-old woman. There’s humor mined in this issue, but also a great deal of pathos. The original Black Hammer series was so heartbreaking every time it focused on Gail; she was angry and sad, frustrated and lost. Oswalt taps into that from a very different perspective.
Matt Kindt and Tyler and Hillary Jenkins have worked on three series together: Grass Kings, Black Badge, and now Fear Case. Once I saw that the series was coming down the pipes, I got very excited. Each collaboration between the three has gotten better and better, and it wouldn’t be an understatement to say that we’re off to a smashing good start with Fear Case.
I was left at the end of Nailbiter Returns #8 with a big question mark. The creators made a decision that could have sent the story spiraling off the tracks and into a ravine, but I’m happy to say that they wisely used a McGuffin to dig further into the past and who the characters are. I am also happy to report that writers Williamson and Henderson pushed further into a realm that I was hoping they would have explored in the original Nailbiter series: the supernatural.
Jeff Lemire’s Colonel Weird: Cosmagog, an extension of the Black Hammer universe, was made all the more enjoyable by the inclusion of one of my favorite artists, Tyler Crook. His painterly skills create a lush universe for the larger-than-life characters like Anti-God which is a breathtaking monstrosity under his care. His earthy palette follows Weird through his life, bouncing around from one time period to another as he tries to find the missing piece to a comic puzzle that leaves him vulnerable to his own madness. How would you react to knowing how everything was supposed to work out, but knowing that you had to make sure it all happened, the good and the bad.
Why? That is the question that has been coming up for me in the last handful of issues of this series. As readers, we now know how the monsters that kill children and terrorize small towns appear, but why? I feel that there may be a deeper psychological answer that Tynion and Dell’edera will leave up to us to figure out. On the other hand, if they end up giving us a clear-cut answer, I won’t complain.
My first two reviews of Crossover were about the importance of this series, especially in this day and age. It is about how we treat people that are different than us, and it’s a spin on the social and allegorical leanings of the X-Men.
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.