Once a month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics selects the best of the monthly books to review. Be sure to check out the first round from yesterday.
Here Comes Daredevil #30: I'm a big fan of the Silver Surfer, even though he rarely pays off in a solo book. As a guest star, he's amazing, and this time he's come to New York seeking an alien life form that's essentially a living lie.
The alien first contacts Matt Murdoch asking that Murdoch plead his case for asylum based on a speech Murdoch gave years ago about a bill possibly ensuring the rights of visiting and immigrant extraterrestrials. Five minutes later the Surfer bursts in and it turns into a short fight because that's how things work in Marvel team-ups.
For my part, I was sort of sad there wasn't more detective work on the issue, though watching Daredevil use the Surfer's board while the Surfer stood bored to tears by his shenanigans was a hoot. It was a fairly straightforward issue, but the chance to see the cosmically powerful Surfer in the more mundane world of Daredevil was refreshing.
Rating: 6 of 10
American Vampire Anthology: I seriously don't know when Scott Snyder sleeps. He's got like four monthly books including Batman going right now plus a day job teaching at Sarah Lawrence. He starts us off an long journey of American vampire tales that range from the earliest settlers to New Orleans to Hollywood. He's joined for stories by other bigwigs in the comic world right now like Jeff Lemire and Jason Aaaron.
It's a rambling, bloody connection, all tied together in a vague progression of American history but also as widely different as regional folk tales. That's the main idea behind the approach, that a story becomes more than the life of its source, and yet that source for being forgotten gets stranger and more powerful still as hearsay becomes common knowledge.
The one-shot anthology is like a Nick Cave album come to life. As Halloween gets ready to finally return and give us some reprieve from the heat, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better way to start the spooky season.
Rating: 8 of 10
Halo: Initiation: Despite being the staff gaming expert I have literally never played a game of Halo in my life. I was never much of a first person shooter guy, and I never bought an X-Box. Still, I've followed the series on peripheral and on Let's Plays on YouTube channels because it's one of the most important franchises in modern gaming history.
This new comic is leading into Halo: Spartan Assault and it follows a Lance Corporal Sarah Palmer as she fights her way through a tough and deadly mission and earns a chance to join the legendary Spartans as a super soldier. Palmer is a fun character that is very easy to like right off the bat. Sure, she comes across like a slightly annoying hardcore online gamer herself at times, but there's a warmth and a power to her that marks her as a hero.
Props to her rank, by the way. Lance Corporal was the rank of Flynn Taggart, the Doomguy as he was portrayed in the spin-off novels. Maybe it's a coincidence, but it brought back one of my favorite books as a teenager.
Rating: 7 of 10
Superior Spider-Man #16: I'll keep saying it until I'm blue in the face... Doctor Octopus in Peter Parker's body is the best thing that's happened to Spider-Man that I can remember in a long time. I know that one day Parker will return. The stories always return to their original forms, but I hope it isn't soon.
Part of the joy is seeing Spider-Man divorced of the Peter Parker persona. I don't think I've seen him out of costume in any recent issues. This is what that hero would be without the nerdy kid behind him. People always said that it was the humanity of Peter Parker that made Spider-Man great. I'm starting to think they were wrong. It was Spider-Man that made Parker great.
Typical to his approach to things these days, Spider-Man hijacks every broadcast in the city to out Phil Urich as the Hobgoblin, and asks the city to call or text him Urich's location. It a blatant supervillain move that pays off laughably immediately. Spider-Man has never been more badass!
Rating: 8 of 10
Itty Bitty Hellboy #1: Another strong entry into Art Baltazar's kidified versions of adult comics, this time we get Hellboy. Why they didn't call it Heckboy I'll never know, but we'll forgive them because OMG LITTLE ADORABLE NAZIS!
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It's not quite as fun as his Teen Titan stuff, honestly, but the tendency of Johann Kraus to sneeze himself out of his ectoplasmic containment suit is a riot... especially after they stick him in a bug jar with a caterpillar while they stuff his suit with soup to cure his cold.
The Hellboy characters don't quite works as well as Baltazar's previous outings, but it's a welcome change of pace and still a good title, especially if you'd like to ease your kids into the animated Hellboy movies.
Rating: 6 of 10