Best Comics in July: Hooch Monkeys and Battle Beasts
Once a month the amazing staff at 8th Dimension Comics selects a pile of the best new releases for us to peruse and judge.
I'm convinced that Axe Cop is not so much a comic as a New Testament. Maybe that's because that's what happens when an 8-year-old ends up with a publishing deal from Dark Horse. Starring the eponymous Axe Cop, who has recently been declared President of the World, it's a bizarre collection of strange non sequiturs and heroic battles that makes little sense but entertains like nothing else in comics. Time travel, goo people, gorillas that can shoot volcanoes out of their tails, and a loving God to boot. It's no wonder Fox is turning it into a late-night animated series.
Rating: 8 of 10
A comic version of Hank Williams Jr. sings us a tale of the Goon and his moonshine-hauling dragster in the Prohibition Era. I'm not going to review this issue. I'm just going to quote my three favorite lines.
"Yep, just goes to show how much trouble one drunk, goat-lovin' pervert can cause the rest of us who enjoy goats in a discreet, civilized way."
"Didst thou not expect that I, the Fallen One, would be summoned forth when thou dost dance the forbidden Charleston, the most erotic of dances?!"
"And lo, did the folks from the hills of Tennessee all the way to them commie California homosexuals who don't believe in Jesus and think Obama is American hear the cry of the wild Hooch Monkey."
Rating: 9 of 10
Depending on how awesome your childhood was, you're either saying, "Huh?" or "OMG! BATTLE BEASTS!" The series of miniature action figures was one of the greatest toy lines ever released in the '80s, and now IDW is bringing them into a comic series. So far it involves a brave trio dedicated to trying to end the eternal war between the Beasts when they are suddenly teleported to Earth. It's frankly not the most gripping or original story, but it still manages a fair amount of action, and the nostalgia factor is off the chart.
Rating: 6 of 10
I don't really know why I don't keep up with Mark Waid's run of Daredevil. It's consistently awesome. In this issue, Matt Murdoch ends up as a prisoner in Latveria at the hands of Doctor Doom. His hypersenses have been eradicated at the cellular level, leaving him in total sensory deprivation while vivisectionists try and figure out the secret to his unique abilities.
The issue draws uncomfortable parallels to Johnny Got His Gun, with Daredevil painfully seeking even minute sensory stimulation I order to escape in a way I would've given long odds no comic book could've. There are whole pages of nothing but black with text boxes. Definitely one of the most innovative stories ever.
Rating: 9 of 10
I tired of The Walking Dead comics pretty early on. By the third trade, I was convinced that the TV show was actually better. This landmark issue reaffirms that view. It's pretty much page after page of Negan saying "fuck" before killing my favorite character Glen with a barbed wire baseball bat. I'd skip this one.
Rating: 3 of 10
Think Mythbusters vs. The X-Files and you've got the basic idea. The Hoax Hunting team is a government agency that masquerades as a cryptozoology-debunking reality show. Their real job is to hide the existence of legendary beasts from the public eye. In the first issue, they head into the Louisiana swamps to investigate the apparent death of all native wildlife.
Along the way readers get a glimpse of one of the enclaves of Bigfoot-like races that the team protects. The tone is similar to Sour Lake, which puts it in the best company possible.
Rating: 7 of 10
Joe Hill is the man. No other word serves. While I still have not developed as much fondness for his comic work as his short stories, he's still way near the top of the heap. The Cape 1969 is a follow-up to the comic book adaptation of Hill's previously adapted story The Cape, in which a psychopathic brother uses a childhood cape to fly and commit murder. This new comic follows the boy's father, whose patch from Vietnam gives the cape its power. Shot down in hostile territory, the boy's father has to deal with torture and the murder of his friends while a bizarre holy man tracks him.
Rating: 6 of 10
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