The Best Comics in May: How Many Thors Can Dance on the Handle of Mjolnir?

Every month the staff at 8th Dimension comics helps us select the best single issues in comics.

Night Nurse
I LOVE the Night Nurse as a character. The idea that there would need to be specialized, available and discreet care for superheroes in New York is a fascinating concept, especially in regards to more underpowered heroes like Daredevil. I love Linda Carter so much I was seriously rooting for her to be revealed as the new Thor, but they went with that lame Jane Foster reveal instead. Oh well…

Marvel released a one-shot that has the original four issues of the Night Nurse comic, which followed three nurses including Carter in various medical adventures. It’s really neat to look back on how far portrayals of women have come since 1972, and the pulp stories by Jean Thomas still hold up well to a modern audience.

The one-shot ends in modern day with Daredevil being brought to the Night Nurse’s clinic by Elektra to save his life. Honestly, it’s not terribly great work as the competent and dedicated Carter basically gets manhandled out of the way by ninjas so Matt Murdoch can be healed with magic, but up until that point, she just absolutely rules. Here’s hoping we see more of her.

Secret Wars #2
I’m not a fan of the giant world explosions that comics seem to need to do every generation, but Secret Wars is definitely a cut above the rest. As the series continues, we get a look at Battleworld, the patched-together Marvel Universe that survived the collision of the main universe and the Ultimate Universe.

It’s amazing. Truly. Doctor Doom unites the realms into fiefdoms overseen by him as God-King. His will is carried out by the Thors, all of whom wield Mjolnirs and encompass the many different versions that have existed over the years like Beta Ray Bill and Storm. Mr. Sinister rules a land, as does Captain Britain, Apocalypse and other powerful figures.

Basically, it’s Game of Thrones set in the Marvel Universe and that makes it exceptional. There’s even a Wall where traitors are sent to fight the worst creatures that survived like the zombies and the symbiotes and the Ultron AIs. It’s a well-crafted amalgam by Jonathan Hickman that celebrates the long history of the multiverse and still creates new adventures. You are not going to want to miss it.

Convergence: Wonder Woman #2
Convergence is not really being handled as well as Secret Wars is, but it’s still got its cool quirks.

For instance, this month we got to watch Wonder Woman fight a vampiric Joker and Poison Ivy backed up by a Were Catwoman, and that’s always going to be worth the cover price. Diana and the Joker are not really good fits as enemies. Wonder Woman is usually humorless, but not in a good straight-man way that the Joker needs. There’s also the fact that even as a vampire, he’s clearly outclassed in every way, making the fight really a foregone conclusion with little of the brilliance of the Ace of Knaves to build energy. A pointless sacrifice tops the whole thing off as slightly forgettable, but it is something you’re going to want to say you read at least once.

I was more excited for the preview of Gail Simone’s Secret Six in the back of the book. Black Alice, Catman and more return as a hit squad carrying out orders from a mysterious source they don’t understand. It looks like a really great group book.

Sabrina #3
Yep, Sabrina the Teenage Witch is back, but this time it’s a lot closer to Scott Snyder territory than lighthearted Archie comics. The new series reimagines Sabrina as an actual disciple of Satan, complete with a black mass in the woods and animal sacrifice.

The original themes are all there, with Sabrina torn on living as a witch or as a human with her high school boyfriend. I can’t remember the last time I saw old-school Satanic imagery so unabashed in a comic book. It reads like something out of the panic in the ‘80s or maybe an old Tales From the Crypt. I did cringe a bit at Sabrina having to be a virgin to sign Satan’s book, but there’s at least some historical precedence for that in the medium even if it really is the sort of thing we should not be putting in stories anymore.

It’s dark and compelling and really daring in its way. There is still some silliness, but overall it’s a solid new look on a beloved character that manages to charm and scare at the same time.

Where Monsters Dwell #1
A side-shoot of Secret Wars brings back the Phantom Eagle, a World War I ace who also fought as a costumed adventurer. Garth Ennis revived the character a few years back, and now he’s once again flying the unfriendly skies.

Karl Kaufman is perfect for Ennis. He’s a womanizing bastard who never looks back at the carnage he leaves in his wake and flies headfirst into danger at the first opportunity. He agrees to transport a beautiful but ditzy woman mostly as an excuse to get a repair bill paid and to flee a local warlord he was responsible for the accidental castration of.

Then they end up machine-gunning dinosaurs. It’s not as good as Half Past Danger (almost nothing is), but it’s a great adventure all the same and an amusing divergence from the Secret Wars saga.
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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner