Best Comics in September Part 1: The Punisher on Trial and Sex Magic

Once a month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics selects ten of the best books for us to review. Tune in tomorrow for part 2.

Captain Midnight #3: I honestly picked up the title because I though it was a Dr. Mid-Nite reboot, and I always though he was interesting. Instead I got the latest classic-pulp hero-in-the-modern-world-adventures of the classic Captain Midnight.

It's not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, though I have no real emotional investment in the character of Jim Albright. He ceased his radio adventures not only before I was born, but before my father was. In a world that's seen The Twelve and Half Past Dead in the last several years it's nothing particularly special.

That said, there's always a place in my heart for the Mystery Men-era of heroes, and though the nostalgia gets more and more forced as the years remove us from the originals it's the essentially human nature of these heroes that still allows them to survive.

Rating: 5 of 10

See also: Best Comics in August Part 1: Hollywood Murders and Herobear

Tomorrowland #3: I've heard of rock stars doing comics, but festivals? That's what's going on here. The Tomorrowland festival of electronic music that tales place in Belgium is secretly the latest in a series of creative festivals that hearkens back to the dawn of time. By harnessing these creative forces the world of darkness is held back.

Yeah... It sounds pretty stupid and it is. It's more or less an incredible egotistical journey of self-love utterly lacking in any real nuance or feeling of story. The dialogue is pretty atrocious, but at least the art of Alti Firmansyah is remarkably impressive. It's not enough to overcome the emptiness of the product, though.

Rating: 2 of 10

The Trial of the Punisher #1: I honestly blocked the Punisher from mind after I saw they'd turned him into a Frankenstein monster. Still, the idea of Frank Castle being put on actual trial? The most bloodthirsty anti-hero in comic history? You can't pass that up.

And it is fantastic! Absolutely riveting in a way few comics can aspire to. During a routine mob murder Castle accidentally kills an assistant district attorney in the crossfire. So he loads up the corpse and dumps it at a local precinct in order to confess to the crime.

What game Castle is playing in the long run I don't know, but watching him work his brutal magic under the pen of Marc Guggenheim and in the art of Leinel Francis Yu is something that you simply must own if you can handle that. Without any guns or weapons of any kind, Frank Castle still stands alone as one of the most amazing, if murderous characters ever devised. Don't miss this book.

Rating: 10 of 10.

Round-up continues on next page.

Sex Criminals #1: Image has been putting out some very out there books lately, but Sex Criminals is a whole new level. For starters, it's pretty much a comic about playing with yourself, and is dedicated to "the brave men and women who love 2 fuck."

I know how that sounds, and believe me, it felt weird to read the book with my daughter watching cartoons across the room, but there is definitely more to Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky's tale.

A young woman named Suzie details how she began masturbating after the death of her father as her mother descended into a drunken isolation. Her orgasms would stop time. Literally, each time she came she transcended reality as we understood it, and eventually she finds a lover capable of the same.

It sounds really dirty, and it is, but it's leading to action, murder, and something special. In the meantime, the first entry is a convoluted look at what it's like growing up in a country that's decided to make learning about your body as hard as freakin' possible. Great stuff.

Rating: 8 of 10

See also: Best Comics in August Part 2: Shouldn't It Be Heckboy?

Powerpuff Girls #1: In today's children's selection I bowed to the doe-eyes of my four-year-old and tried out the new Powerpuff Girls. The show is on a constant loop in my house lately, and as sick as I am of watching Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup I was willing to at least have a new adventure for a change.

Troy Little does a wonderful job of bringing the feel of the show to the printed page, and if you're like me and read comics with your kids you'll find yourself easily falling into the speech patterns of Mojo Jojo and the Narrator.

The book follows Mojo as he receives yet another butt-kicking, something that leads him to a deep existential angst about his role as a superior-minded villain. Little nails it perfectly, though the whole weird Swamp Monster Who is Really a Famous Scottish Golfer That Disappeared in 1963 storyline in the middle was... random to say the least. Apparently Blossom is an avid fan of the Golf Channel. Didn't see that coming.

Rating: 7 of 10

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

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