Favorite Book: Cryptonomicon
Favorite Movie: Young Frankenstein
Favorite Absolutely Everything: Monty Python
Hipsters, juggalettes, a Suicide Girl, and a drunk lesbian dressed as Dracula. Bucko has it all. I think that the best way to describe this book would be as a comedy-mystery-buddy-romance that is probably set in Portland, or at least a city that bears a strong resemblance. I actually forgot about the Pixies cover band whose lead singer performs on a single-gear bike. Yep, they are called the Fixies. There are several reasons why I loved this book, but the first sentence of this review is probably the biggest one.
After giving it some thought, I don’t think that the recent string of Lobster Johnson one-shots are my favorite comics, but they come pretty close. The stories are similar to the action serials of the '30s and are set in the world of Hellboy and the BPRD. What I love about these stories is that they manage to fit good action, light detective bits, supernatural awesomeness, and humor in the same 22 pages.
After reading the second issue of Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories, I am still along for the ride. Now that the style has been roughly introduced (gritty and cynical), the book has to started to build the world. In this issue, we are introduced to most of the rest of The Victories, as well as some of the non-super criminals. There is definitely some plot advancement here, but the book is clearly focused on setting the scene.
What’s a good P.I. to do when he’s dead? Not since Grim Fandango has this important question been answered quite so effectively. In The Iron Spirit, Cal McDonald is drawn into a mystery that defies reason. Yes, that seems like the vaguest description of a noir story ever, but that’s sort of the point. At this point, roughly 75 years after the genre showed up, the things that are the most interesting are the unique spins that are put on the style. The spin here is definitely unique.
I can say that, with the possible exception of Jimmy Brass, 2nd Grade Detective, this is my favorite all-ages comic. Like any good kids' programming, the material has to be entertaining for adults. This one is. The humor here is bizarre enough that kids will just love it, and grownups can appreciate the sheer absurdity.
Rex Mundi is a fascinating book. The setting is nearly as interesting as the plot, which is shocking in a conspiracy story. Set in 1930s Paris, this comic slowly peels back layers of a vast and unusual mystery. The story follows the dark alleys of heresy in the Catholic Church in France and the moral ambiguities that power plays in a religious face. The easy comparison would be to The Da Vinci Code, so I will make that one. Personally, I liked this book much better than Dan Brown’s derivative opus. For one, the characters are interesting. Also, the mystery is more entertaining. I don’t want to get into details, but let’s just say this book is willing to take its time revealing the secrets. Speaking of which, don’t pick this one up expecting all the answers. This is just volume one.
For those of you not versed in cryptozoology, the creature on the cover of AC:PotW2 fighting Junior Cobbb might seem strange. This is a Chee-Rex, which is a cross between a cheetah and a T-Rex. This is one of the first in a series of bad guys that Axe Cop, Goo Cop, and Junior Cobbb need to fight in this book. I will leave the surprises intact, but there are a ton of them and they are all awesome.
The second highest praise I have for Shadow Ops: Control Point is that it doesn’t quite know what kind of book it wants to be. The story follows Oscar Britton, military man, as he copes with his newfound and illegal magical powers. It has been compared to Black Hawk Down and The X-Men, but I think that a more apt description is Tom Clancy’s Full Metal Jacket combined with Harry Potter (Ed. You know that Tom Clancy didn’t have a thing to do with Full Metal Jacket, right?). Of course, we all know that Tom Clancy didn’t have a thing to do with Full Metal Jacket. What I love about this book is how much it embraces the two contradictory attitudes it takes toward fiction. This book is at once a tight, realistic military thriller, and a field trip through a fantasy world where magic has returned.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Lobster Johnson, you are missing out. First introduced about a decade ago in the pages of Hellboy, Lobster Johnson is the coolest, silliest thing Mike Mignola ever created. One or two of you might argue that the The Amazing Screw-on Head is sillier and cooler. The rest of you should check that one out, too. Lobster Johnson is a pulp hero from the '30s, who does the same kind of work that Hellboy does. He shoots and punches monsters without worrying too much about the origins or motivations they might have.
Michael Avon Oeming’s Victories is not the comic book I expected. This is the first issue in a new world, so I don’t know what it is exactly, but I do know that I am intrigued. There is some Batman in this book’s DNA, but it is focused through a darker lens. The city is a den of crime and corruption. Vigilantes have risen to take back the city, including our protagonist, Faustus. He attempts, poorly, to crack jokes while delivering the hurt, but there is a deeper conflict which I, personally, can’t wait to investigate further. One thing about this book that impressed me was the villain, The Jackal. He is convinced that he is on the only moral path, even when he is murdering people. This makes the best kind of bad guy, and he is not wasted here. The relationship between The Jackal and Faustus is clearly well-established and interesting, despite the relative lack of details so far.