Best Comics in July Part 2: Fear of a Black Sherlock
Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics selects the best titles for us to review. It was a good month, so check out Part 1 from yesterday!
Watson and Holmes #1: OK, now I know this is going to sound really stupid and corny, but believe me when I tell you that a Straight Up G version of Sherlock Holmes is one of the best comics I have ever read. Karl Bollers and Rick Leonardi pull it off with absolute perfection in a way I would have bet good money was not possible.
The story follows Jon Watson, a medical intern who fails to save the life of an abandoned newborn, then gets caught up in a gang war supplemented by military hardware. Suddenly, he's teamed with Holmes, a strange erudite man who has taken it upon himself to solve street crime. The two quickly form a partnership in order to track down a kidnapped girl.
There's no team like it in comics right now except Witch Doctor, and Bollers and Leonardi keep it deathly real and personal. The world is awash in modern Sherlock re-imaginings, but this may honestly be the one that defines the character to a modern audience. You will regret it if you miss it.
Rating: 10 of 10
Here Comes Daredevil #28: Daredevil's modern book remains one of the best things in comics today for the way it humanizes Matt Murdoch and superheroes in general. It's one of the few books that so perfectly manages both the worth of a secret identity's life and work with the super heroics.
The bully that chased Matt Murdoch into the street and into the accident that blinded him as a child has come looking for legal help. Initially, Matt has nothing but bile for Nate Hackett, but as so often happens Hackett reveals things about Matt's remembered childhood that in retrospect he has forgotten. Hackett's trouble is that he fell in with the Sons of the Serpent, a group that quickly turned into a political and race-based terrorist organization.
Hackett had left long before then, but a false arrest brought out his past and cost him his livelihood. Matt reluctantly agrees to help him, only for a surprise tragedy to bring it all crashing down around him. Marvel is great these days at showing regular or barely-powered folks trying to live day to day in a world with gods walking the streets. While books like Hawkeye expose the dysfunctional nature of some of them, Matt Murdoch reminds us constantly that being a hero is work. He's the best.
Rating: 8 of 10
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #1: I've said it before and I'll say it again. Doctor Octopus taking over Peter Parker's body was an awesome idea. If you hate it... well, you know how old stories go. Just wait around awhile and Parker will be back to normal eventually.
This time around Spider-Man is going all over New York attacking super heroes, and no one knows why. It runs out that Octavius is tracking the Carrion virus, which is looking for the best possible host to start infecting the world from. Spider-Man in this incarnation is an arrogant and aggressive jerk, but there's no doubt that he's also 100 percent capable.
Even the best of the Avengers are no real match for him, and while it's easy to miss the quips of Peter Parker the darker edge to the character is a real experience. Next issue promises us a crossover with Parker's failed clone Kaine, based here in Houston as the Scarlet Spider. Two such Spider-Man butting heads should make for unforgettable reading.
Rating: 7 of 10
Half Past Danger #3: This is just pure pleasure for me. Half Past Danger remains not only the only real modern pulp book being published, bit one of the most amazing adventures you can read now. Nazis, ninjas, dinosaurs, what more can you ask out of a story.
Our hero Flynn and his group of commandos are still hell-bent of stopping the Third Reich from training an army of dinosaurs to try and turn the tide of World War II. It's not the stupidest idea the Nazis ever came up with, I'll give you that.
Stephen Mooney continues to deliver episodes that just ooze fun. Every page is right out of a time when we didn't need a lot of ambiance to create something riveting. Sometimes you just need to turn it all loose and watch as the jungle burns. I never get tired of Half Past Danger.
Rating: 8 of 10
Boys of Steel: The tale of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman, is a sad one. The boys grew up in the depression, and kept to themselves writing and drawing. Eventually they would create the first true super hero, and in doing so launched a man that has inspired people for 75 years.
Then they got screwed. The friends sold their rights to the character for less than $200, and came and went by the good offices of DC Comics. That company never felt any real obligation to forward any royalties to the two men who had created their flagship hero -- just their salaries and firings whenever they would try and claim some of their rightful pie.
Marc Tyler Nobleman and Ross MacDonald bring that tale to life the way Siegel and Shuster would have wanted, with a storybook that any child can understand. It's a cautionary tale about watching out for yourself, true, but more than that it's the story of two boys that wished to escape poverty and war thanks to a hero who would always be there, who could never be stopped, and who would never fail humanity. If you have a kid with even a slight bit of artistic temperament, buy this book immediately.
Rating: 8 of 10
Get the Theater and Arts Newsletter
Exclusive discounts and announcements to Houston theater shows and art events