Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

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.

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.

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