Bagged and Boarded Comic Reviews: The Dark Tower, Locke and Key, and more



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!

Locke and Key: Omega No. 4

Joe Hill's ongoing comic about a creepy ancestral home full of mysterious doors is nearing it's grand finale. At this point, a demon has possessed the body of the youngest of our family of heroes. While he uses his guile and machinations to try and kill lots of high school students in a cave, our remaining protagonists struggle against the encroaching doom. Shadows take on a life of their own, hunting down everyone they can, vulnerable only to light.

Bag it or board it up? This series is coming to a close, but it is in no way "winding down." This issue is brimming with plot twists, exciting character development, and high action. There's also a very handy recap at the beginning of this issue which gives broad outlines of the entire series and a more detailed explanation of what's going on right now in the comic. This type of review takes only a page of space, and I can't tell you how many other comics would benefit from it! Good job, Locke and Key, you're keeping everyone up to speed.

Abe Sapien No. 1

In this all new series from Mike Mignola, everyone's favorite semi-aquatic hero takes center stage. Abe Sapien, one-time foil to the gruff and impulsive Hellboy, is on the run from his own bureau. After being unconscious for four months Abe hijacks a truck and goes on the lam. But why? What, during his period of unconsciousness, did he learn about himself? And why does it make him want to run from the B.P.R.D.?

Bag it or board it up? File this series under "dedicated fan." I liked it a lot, but I can't in good conscience recommend this to a newcomer to the series. Read Hellboy in Hell or B.P.R.D., and then come back to this later. It's full of references to old issues and story lines, and much of the enjoyment of this issue comes from having read lots of other issues of the various Hellboy series. If you're a long-time reader, then you've probably already read this by now. If you're new, start somewhere else.

BlackAcre No. 5

In the new dark ages of the 22nd century the United States is in shambles. Well, most of it is anyway. In Blackacre, a retired master soldier is sent out from a walled-in city that still exists 100 years after the fall of modern civilization. Out in the wilderness, he finds warlords, barbarians, strange cults, and all types of rugged chaos. This issue is the final issue of the first story arc, and all of the loose ends of the story come to shocking conclusions (as they often do in finales).

Bag it or board it up? This is the first time I've read anything from this series, so naturally I'm a little lost. That being said, I was drawn to this comic by the evocative cover, and the tension and drama on the inside were enough to keep me reading, flummoxed though I was. I'm going to go back and read issues 1-4, and I suggest you do the same. This is a gritty, interesting world that they've created, and I want to explore more of it.

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Evil Ground No. 1

Stephen King's The Dark Tower series follows the Gunslinger on his quest to hunt down The Man In Black. It's a classic story archetype with a sprawling narrative, and the Marvel comics have covered all facets of it. This issue and storyline deal with a bit of backstory to the Gunslinger, as he dreams while sleeping in devil grass. He dreams back to younger days when he was surrounded by friends and they made an attack on barbarians.

Bag it or board it up? There's so much story to tell in the Dark Tower series that it's surprising to see original material cropping up. But this is a fun little adventure comic, and the series benefits from the graphic treatment just like you'd expect. How can a trip through a blasted landscape be so grim… and fun?