Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Click here for Part 1.
Marvel Now What?!: Look, I love the new Marvel Now! I really do... but there is always something painfully awkward about moving forward and Marvel is really taking that to a new level sometimes. That's why little interludes like these are so important. They take the piss out of taking yourself too seriously.
Marvel Now What?! is a collection of short vignettes that parody and mock the current state of Marvel, including one written by The Daily Show's Wyatt Cenec! We get to see Doctor Octopus, who was apparently driven mad when his career as Doctor Octopuppet got him laughed out of a studio. The High Evolutionary gives a helpful lecture on how much NOWER things are... now, but the real treat is having Sue Storm, She-Hulk, and Wasp lamenting over being female supeheroes in rather male-centric world at a diner that turns ugly when Doctor Doom comes for brunch.
Also, there's lots of making fun of Stilt-Man, and that will never not be funny.
Rating; 8 out of 10
S.H.O.O.T. First #1: Religion has been tackled in comics plenty of times before, but never in a way as Justin Aclin does in this book. In this world, the things we know of as gods and demons and angels and other supernormal creatures are in reality pan-dimensional beings that feed on human belief in order to fuel their own plans.
A lapsed Muslim man who subsequently goes by the name Infidel witnesses these beings first hand when they set fire to a mosque he has gone to, only to watch S.H.O.O.T. (Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce) storm in and wage holy war. They bear weapons designed to counteract belief. They literally shoot the beings with atheism.
It's a brilliant concept that brings a whole new level to the subject. It was only a matter of time before man waged war on the gods in comics.
Rating: 8 of 10
Velvet #1: Listen to me, and listen to me well... run, don't walk and buy Velvet #1 This is the spy story that will change all spy stories in the future.
Remember Miss Moneypenny from the Bond books and films? OK, now imagine if she was secretly the most badass agent in the world herself, and her life behind the desk was merely the current best use of her talents. That is Velvet Templeton.
She finds that agents in their super-secret spy syndicate are now being picked off in a strange, twisted plot, and unable to let it go takes on the case herself and possibly her entire department with it. She's an absolute tour-de-force, and maybe one of Ed Bribaker's best creations ever. The book is powerful stuff that stands as true modern noir tale you should absolutely be reading.
Rating: 9 of 10
Round-up continues on next page.
Sex Criminals #2: It's still just the weirdest book in print right now. I insisted on grabbing the second issue after tackling the first last month because somewhere in and among Matt Fraction's weird sex magic thing there is a front story that is actually going somewhere.
That moves slowly, though, and we look back into the masturbatory history of our hero Joe. Sex Criminals is staying true to itself in exploring the ways in which reaching physical maturity makes us feel somehow abhorrent or different, and in that vein is a tremendous look at what it means to come of age in a fucked up country that worships virgins and desires whores of either sex.
Understanding Sex Criminals is probably beyond me because even a decade of Rocky Horror doesn't leave you open enough to face certain sexual ideas head on, but if you've got the stomach for it you really should check it out. Regardless, Matt Fraction is easily the second-best comic writer working today.
Rating: 8 of 10
Beware the Batman #1: In our second kid's entry this week, we see a more cartoonish Batman than the one we see in Scott Snyder's regular series... though almost anything is more G-Rated than Scott Snyder these days.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Instead of Robin, Bruce Wayne has a sword-wielding sidekick named Katana, and Alfred looks more like Yul Brynner in a very bad mood. They take on Anarky, who while silly was always a very underrated villain in my opinion, as he tried to harness the power of an Occupy Wall Street-esque movement to cause havoc in Gotham.
It's not that it's a bad book, but I don't really see you dragging in young reader with a movement that is already pretty much forgotten despite enlisting a nutbag in a white outfit to serve as their figurehead. It's all pretty much out-of-touch, though Katana is a joy of a character that may honestly be the best sidekick that Batman has ever had.
Rating: 6 of 10