Welcome to this week’s Four-Color Bullet, the comic book review column that proves that getting picked on in high school because you read comic books was totally worth it. Let’s get to it, fellow geeks.
Over at the Marvel bullpen this week, thanks to Original Sin, the secrets of the Marvel Universe are out, and Bruce Banner has learned that Tony Stark had a hand in the accident that created the Hulk. Hulk? Not happy. Iron Man? In big trouble, in Hulk vs. Iron Man #1; Robbie Reyes has some trouble keeping the Spirit of Vengeance in check as the streets of East L.A. run red with Dr. Zabo’s drug-fueled gang violence as the adventures of the new Ghost Rider continues, in All-New Ghost Rider #4; and Star-Lord fights alone against a mysterious new foe, in Guardians of the Galaxy #16.
DC Comics introduces Joltin’ John Romita Jr. to the DC Universe for the first time in his career, as he and Geoff Johns begin their destined-to-be-a-classic run on Superman with #32; A New TV Series! Based On Batman! The Dynamic Duo … Not Happy! in Batman ’66 #37; and in Justice League #31, meet the new Power Ring. But what’s her agenda?
From IDW this week, Samurai Jack’s arch-nemesis Aku has assembled a League of Extraordinary Villains from the worst evil-doers of different universes, threatening the worlds of the Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10, Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory, and even Ed, Edd, and Eddy. Now these unlikely heroes must join forces to stop Aku’s goal of interdimensional domination, in Super Secret Crisis War #1; in The X-Files: Season 10 #13, the alien “black oil” is back, and along with it, one Alex Krycek; and a paranormal event on nearby Hart Island causes two teams of Ghostbusters to investigate, only to come face-to-face with an escaped-and-stronger-than-ever Vigo the Carpathian, as the Mass Hysteria story and the series counts down to its finale, in Ghostbusters #17
And from Dark Horse Comics this week, to save the lives of her friends, Lara must return to Yamatai in order to put things right, in Tomb Raider #5.
In this humble reviewer and comic book geek’s opinion, horror comics are hard to pull off. I’ve read plenty and they haven’t always been satisfying. Notable ones are DC’s old (practically ancient) horror anthologies House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Unexpected, and still more from that period. Tomb of Dracula from Marvel in the 1970s was another good one. So when Robert Kirkman’s new horror comic Outcast came out on New Comic Day, I was really afraid to pick it up. Because you don’t just want to read it in your local comic shop. All that does is make your hard-working retailer angry, and you don’t want that. But I bought it, because it’s from Robert Kirkman, which usually promises to be good, (check out Marvel Zombies and Invincible if you don’t believe me) and it’s his first horror series.
Yes, I said his first, because The Walking Dead is not horror. It’s a story about survival. Ask Kirkman if you don’t believe me. He’ll tell you the same thing. But his new creation, a horror comic called Outcast, deals with a troubled man named Kyle and his being inextricably linked to fighting demonic possession, a belief that Kirkman holds a lot of stock in, according to a brief author’s note at the end of the book. And Kirkman found Paul Azaceta to do the penciling, and I’m tellin’ ya, here’s a guy that can draw some horror. Dark, shadowy, and the way he draws the possessed kid in those contortions … And then he got Elizabeth Breitweiser to do the colors, and she makes the blood RED! And there’s a blood. Oh, yes. There is blood.
And Robert Kirkman and his crew want you to buy this book so much, they’re giving you 44 pages of bloody, demonic-possession-filled horror with NO ADS. No interruption of story. Now, that said. as much as I enjoyed it, it was a little confusing in places, so I had to read it twice. But I don’t really regret that. All that made me do was find stuff I’d missed from flinching at Azaceta’s depiction of stuff like — nope. I’m not saying. I’ve said too much already. Outcast was my surprise read, and I suggest you pick it up if you haven’t already.
The continuing new adventures of the newly-resurrected Peter Parker hits its third issue, with a peek at the upcoming Spider-verse event, and Black Cat returning to her villainous roots. Dan Slott continues to bring the funny, pretty much cementing himself as one of Amazing Spider-Man‘s more popular writers. It was kind of nice to see Felicia Hardy return to Spidey’s life as an antagonist, because she is crazy scary when she’s mad, and boy, is she pissed. So much so that she teams up with — well, I won’t give it away. But it’s plain to see that things are developing in that Dan Slott way, and when he releases the flood of things he’s building, I’ll feel sorry for the web-slinger. And Humberto Ramos is one of the best pencilers in the industry and his work on ASM is never anything short of nice. Eye candy, indeed. Really, another solid issue.
And this concludes another Four-Color Bullet. As always, thanks for reading. Email me or comment below if you want to talk comics. If you read Outcast, let me know what you think.
It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See you next week!
Michael Brown is a comics nerd and a father who lives in small town Tennessee. When he’s not making his players mad in his “Shadowrun” RPG or experimenting with new and inventive uses of duct tape on his children, you can find him checking out the latest comics and movies for SCIFI.radio!