The Best Comics in November Part 2: Stalin Gets a Superwoman...That's Not Good News
Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Yesterday we gave you Part 1
Uber #8: Kieron Gillen is proving to be a fairly amazing storyteller, both helming the new Wolverine Origins series and this interesting historical take on the second World War. It's brutal and bloody, but that's war for you,
In the waning days of the war Hitler's scientists developed a process that turned men into supermen. Like real ones, not just good-looking blond people. Unfortunately (For Hitler, yay for us), it comes too late to do more than prolong the struggle because only one out of every 5,000 people is eligible for the process. Everyone else dies a very bad death.
The secret of the process is smuggled out of Germany and sold to various other world powers. Now here's a fun question; of all the world leaders besides Adolf Hitler you would most not want to give a secret weapon to, who would it be? Joseph Stalin, of course. One out of every 5,000? Stalin likes those numbers just fine and begins forcibly applying the formula to prisoners and conscripts. He's perfectly willing to kill more than 400,000 of his own people to claim 84 new unstoppable soldiers. It's a terrifying vision of one of history's most dangerous and murderous men retold through a superhero lens with uncomfortable genius.
Rating; 9 out of 10
Wraith #2: Joe Hill, along with Scott Snyder, is a writer who I don't know when he ever sleeps. In addition to his regular novels he's also an extremely prolific comic writer, not to mention a brilliant one on top of that.
I still haven't gotten around to reading his last novel, NOS4A2, but its comic tie-in makes me definitely want to check it out. The story follows a trio of prisoners being transported. One is a low-key teacher, another a pedophilic Hollywood producer, and the last is a murderous carnival geek. Through a clever bit of misdirection and sheer debauched lunacy, the geek manages to win his freedom in a startling display of self-destruction and sadism only for the whole thing to turn into a bloodbath when the police van goes off the road.
This requires the Hollywood producer to call in a favor, and that favor comes in the demonic hands of Charlie Manx who abducts children in his Rolls-Royce and turns them into monsters. For fans of the book, it probably rocks beyond all compare, but even to the uninitiated it's gripping stuff in its own right. Hill is unarguably one of the finest masters of the pen working today in either medium.
Rating: 8 of 10
Alpha Locke & Key #2: Speaking of Joe Hill, his long-running and excellent series set in Lovecraft finally comes to a close. It's a series I've followed off and on since it started in 2008, and it's always managed to be a really incredible book full of mystery.
It's weird to see it come to a close, but all the mysteries do finally settle up nice and tight. It resembles Sandman: The Wake in many regards, as it serves not only as the end of the story but also as a way to say good bye to the long road that got us here.
This is certainly not a place where a new fan would want to jump on, of course, but if you're like me and you've let Locke & Key lapse in your comic consciousness let this awesome epilogue remind you that it was something truly special and you should revisit it.
Rating: 8 of 10
Dead Body Road #1: You wouldn't know it from this column, but there are some really great crime books coming and going over the last couple of years. Strictly heist stuff isn't really my bag, but anyone get get behind a good revenge tale. That's what Justin Jordan gives us in Dead Body Road.
A bank job looking to secure billions in personal identities goes badly wrong, and a poor outside hacker realizes that there is zero chance of his surviving the aftermath of the bloodbath. He goes on the run, but his former employers are on the chase followed closely by a brutally lethal man named Orson gunning for vengeance over a girl killed in the shootout.
All this sounds pretty pedestrian, I realize, but so does The Crow until you see it in all its glory. Jordan really offers action-movie pacing in his story. That's not easy to do on the comic page all that often. Matteo Scalera backs him up beautifully with art that would feel right at home in a Robert Rodriguez film. I can't wait to see where it goes.
Rating: 8 of 10
Avengers Assemble: #3 In our second look at some of the tie-in books for the new Marvel properties from Disney XD, we finally get to see Falcon look awesome for a change. I've never been a fan of Sam Wilson's. He always just seemed like another second banana Avenger, but here he really gets a chance to shine.
In this outing, the rest of the team get sucked into a limbo dimension and replaced with duplicates who are trying to open the portal between worlds even further. Only Falcon, the newest member of the team, is left to try and sort things out.
I like the book especially for the message it sends to kids. Namely, that you should never write off the new guy because he might be just what you need, and also that you can carve a place in a group even if you don't seem to fit in. It's one of the better written of the tie-ins, and you feel more for the Avengers as people than even in some of the regular mainstream issues.
Rating: 7 of 10
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