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!
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth: The Return Of The Master No. 1
Whew! That's a mouthful of a comic book title. But it delineates the comic nicely. First, it's a spin-off of Hellboy comics. (The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense is the association with which the "big red guy" most often worked.) Second, the Hell on Earth series is an ongoing storyline that's been going on for about a year. And third, The Return of the Master starts with this issue, and it's a great spot to jump in if you haven't been following along. A strange guy with a Latvian passport is turning animals into wild beasts in Scotland. Sounds like a job for the Bureau, right?
Bag it or board it up? Mike Mignola and John Arcudi once again bring the weird. This story picks up with only one of our beloved original paranormal team members still working with the Bureau, Johann Krauss. The ectoplasmic dude and his field operatives are beautifully rendered in quirky artwork by Tyler Crook. And the story seems to be leading to lots of pain and intrigue, which is, naturally, par for the course for the Bureau.
Ferals No. 8
In a small town in Minnesota a werewolf has been ripping people to shreds. From the writer of comics like Stray Bullets and all of the sequels to Crossed, David Lapham serves up lots of blood and small-town intrigue, as well as sex, nudity, and lots of swearing. This issue is right in the middle of the action, with our protagonists getting beat up and bullied (and near-molested) by the townsfolk.
Bag it or board it up? The comic is gleefully adult, relishing sprays of blood and the occasional nipple. It has a sense of abandon that sweeps the reader with it. You feel caught in this million-mile-an-hour story, even if you're not fully aware of all that's going on. It feels like the beginning of a mystery flick, where nothing makes sense but you have faith it soon will.
American Vampire: The Blacklist Part 3
A few weeks ago I included a different American Vampire storyline in the review round-up. Where the last one was straightforward (almost to a fault), this Blacklist comic is full of bloody action and intrigue. With her vampire husband dying in a hospital bed, our vampiress hero Pearl sets out on a straight-up vendetta quest to get back at those who hurt her beloved.
Bag it or board it up? This American Vampire tale could not be more different from the last one I reviewed. Full of pages and pages of action and enough emotional drama to propel the narrative, The Blacklist is a really fun ride. It's refreshing to see vampires with hot-blooded emotions, and it's nice to see our hero fight for her man.
Grim Leaper No. 4
Here's an odd premise for a story. A guy and a girl are both cursed to live and die again and again in different people's bodies. When they find each other they fall in love, and they must keep finding each other as they die over and over. Geez, Death is a real cock-block, huh? This issue finishes the first small series, and the love story of Lou and Ella comes to a delightfully bizarre conclusion.
Bag it or board it up? If you don't like horror romance stay away from this comic. It is cute to a fault and full of sweetness. But, if you're charmed by the like, there's a lot to enjoy in this book. I recommend going back to issue one if you're interested, because picking up right here at the end would A. spoil the fun and B. leave you woefully confused.