Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Click here for Part 1.
American Vampire: Second Cycle #1: If there's any genre harder to make a mark in these days than zombie fiction it's vampires. Trust Scott Snyder to accomplish it. His first run with American Vampire was a refreshing bit of new blood in the genre, and now he's back.
We're still dueling between the vampires Skinner (Unrepentant and murderous) and Pearl (Still trying to live the daywalker dream). If you missed the first go-round then there's a handy primer at the back of the first issue, but really the story draws you right in. Pearl runs a sort of Underground Railroad for refugee vampires, and opens her home to a young vampire girl who heralds the coming of an impossibly powerful supernatural force that will require Pearl to seek out Skinner for help.
The fractured timeline nature of the narrative is still a bit hard to follow, but the overall it's still one of the best comic vampire stories ever told.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #1: Initially I was the biggest cheerleader of the comic continuation of Buffy anyone could have wanted. After about a year and a half, though, the whole thing went very south very fast. I hate to be the one to say it, but Joss Whedon really messed up his own baby pretty bad.
Still, I enjoyed the last several issues of Angel and Faith, and I was willing to give Buffy another shot in honor of a change of direction. Gone is a lot of the global madness they were peddling when things went bad the first time, and now Buffy and her gang are back in California ridding small towns of zombie-vampires just like in the old days.
There are enough changes to keep it fresh, and more than a touch of Walking Dead to the setting (Honestly the best thing for it really), but the bare bones manner of rebranding cuts a lot of the baggage built up from when the series had gone too off the rails.
Oh, and Giles is now Harry Potter. It's way more awesome than it sounds.
Rating: 8 of 10
This story continues on the next page.
Anne Bonnie #1: Tim Yates is bringing us a magical new pirate adventure that while not the best comic I read this month was perhaps the one that made me smile the most. It has delicious touches of Princeless that make it the perfect, light-hearted fare for the casual young reader.
A mysterious orphan named Arianna is being kept prisoner by an evil lord, only to escape on an enchanted ghost ship once owned by the Pirate Queen Anne Bonnie. With her freedom before her, Arianna learns pretty quickly why it's a bad idea to shoot a phoenix, and also that pirating might not be quite the romantic path she imagined it to be.
I haven't seen a sea-and-sorcery title this good since The Pirates of Dark Water, and here's hoping that we'll actually get to finish this story off instead of being left hanging like that worthy cartoon. In a month where I didn't find much in the way of all-ages material to present, Arianna's pirate tale stands well away from the usual.
Rating: 7 of 10
Loki: Agent of Asgard #2:I'm going to meander a little bit here, but stick with me. When I heard that Neil Gaiman was returning to Sandman I was initially really excited because I was looking forward to seeing what life would be life with the new king of dreams. Instead we got a prequel, and even though it's as brilliant as I could hope I do still feel like it's just an act of going back to the well. The whole point of the story was that change is inevitable, and now we're back looking at what the world is like before the inevitability comes to pass.
I feel that the new Loki is closer to a true sequel to Sandman than almost anything else you could hope for. The ideas are definitely derived from Gaiman's work. As a god and a being of magic, Loki is more or less bound by the stories about him. So as his mischief in legend descends to outright evil, so was he drawn powerless toward evil in real life.
His response was to kill himself and start over. Now he works as a covert agent of the All-Mother of Asgard, performing missions on her behalf in return for a chance to erase one tale of his past deeds and enabling him to start over as a newer, less cartoonishly bad god.
This Loki could never have existed without the trail blazed by DC Vertigo heroes like John Constantine, Morpheus, and Lucifer. Al Ewing has been handed a character that has never been more popular and guided him into the role that we didn't even know we wanted him to play. Outstanding work.
Rating: 9 of 10
Captain Marvel #1 I'm not going to lie... I don't get Carol Danvers. I've never found her particularly interesting or her storylines terribly compelling. She sort of exists among the vast seas of not-Wonder Woman for me, and much as I like Kelly Sue Deconnick's writing this new look at her still just isn't grabbing me and making me want to get to know her any better.
That said, the first issue ends with what I truly believe is one of the greatest quotes ever uttered in the history of comics, and I am seriously thinking about painting it in glow paint on my daughter's ceiling.
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"Have you ever seen a little girl run so fast she falls down? There is an instant, a fraction of a second before the world catches hold of her again... a moment when she's outrun every doubt and fear she's ever had about herself and she flies. In that one moment every little girl flies."
I'll read a thousand more comics and I doubt I will ever see anything better than that.
Rating: 6 of 10