New comic book Wednesday has come and gone. The dust at your local comic shop has settled. An eerie silence descends as you finish reading your last superhero book of the week. Now it's time for something a little more sinister. Welcome to Bagged and Boarded: comic reviews of the sick, spooky, twisted and terrifying!
Itty Bitty Hellboy No. 1
Yes, you read that title correctly! Hellboy and the gang (Abe Sapien, Karl Kroenen, Johann, etc.) are all imagined as kids in this all-ages romp. In six short stories, the kids go swimming, fight over cardboard box forts, and fill Johann's suit up with chicken soup and crackers (because he has a cold and keeps sneezing himself out of his suit). These stories, told in a Peanuts style, loosely connect and follow each other, but it's really all about the fun and jokes.
Bag it or board it up? Yes. Yes to this comic all the way! What a joy to read. And, if you have kids, this is a new must on your budding horror fan's radar. It reads like a kid's comic, but the winks and nods to fans of the series are wonderful. This is classic childhood, playground stuff… just, you know, with a red half-demon from hell!
Fanboys Vs. Zombies No. 17
All hell broke loose at a giant Comic-Con style convention. The zombie apocalypse chose that day to scream into being. The series normally follows a group of lovable geeks as they adventure along, but this week we meet back up with Drake Masterson. The one-time action hero is now a ghost, and with the use of a human arm and the ability to possess zombies he's striking our on his own.
Bag it or board it up? I really didn't like Fanboys the last time I reviewed it. I found it disjointed, unfocused, and corny. Now, as this issue follows just one character, a lot of those problems have been solved. It's okay to do an ensemble piece, it's awesome to do one, actually, but you have to know how to pace a story. Past issues of this comic ping-pong'ed back and forth between characters so fast I couldn't keep up (or maybe I didn't have any reason to really want to). This is a fun, compact story about a ghost who just wants to fall in love and kill zombies. The characters are well thought out, the artwork looks much better… it looks like this series is finally growing up!
The Dresden Files: Ghoul Goblin No. 6
In this climatic final issue of the Ghoul Goblin storyline, magical detective Harry Dresden has set up a series of magical shields around the Talbot family estate. Turns out a Goblin, and a nasty one at that, is on his way to snuff out the last of this Talbot family line. But Harry and his non-magical friends are going to do everything they can to stop this and another, foul monster from ripping them all to shreds. He's lost a lot of people he cared about up to this point, but he hopes to stop the death and mourning here.
Bag it or board it up? This is a fairly exciting end to what was a fairly exciting mini-series. Fairly. If you're a fan of the books, you may be left with a feeling of "that's it?" And it's true, the action, stakes, and victories all seem small and understated in this comic. But the artwork is clean, the monsters look great, and everything wraps up quite nicely in this finale.
Station to Station
This one-shot is the collection of short, serialized pieces from a few issues of Dark Horse Presents. The story follows a strange explosion on an island outside of San Francisco. The lead scientist, Tim, wakes up to find himself amidst strange creatures and rubble. But something much larger and more devastating than a weird lobster creature or domesticated Pterodactyl (both of which he sees) awaits him as he comes to. Now he must try and stop the plans of a giant, woefully intelligent menace.
Bag it or board it up? Whoa! This little gem is awesome. If you like big, menacing, end-the-world stories you will love Station to Station. I keep re-reading it. It's awesome. This is one of the most exciting comics out this week. If you were lucky enough to catch it bit by bit in Presents then good on you. I missed it, and I'm glad I caught the collected story here! I hope this spawns interest and we get to see much more from this world.