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!
Catalyst Comics No. 1
This collection of off-kilter superhero stories all focus on the end of the world. Starting on or around December 21, 2012, the three stories presented in this comic kick off with the apocalypse… and then things get weird. All of these stories are based around the heroes of previous issues of Catalyst, but you don't have to have read them to get what's going on. The first story follows a superhero who has to go through a psychic/physical/freak-out experience to possibly save the day. The second story features a young woman who flies into space to save the world and comes back changed. The third story follows a new hero who may have to take up the mantle after things return to a sort of normalcy. All three center around one major apocalypse, but tell it from vastly different standpoints.
Bag it or board it up? This is the type of superhero comic I love. It's strange, it has very dark moments, and it's backdrop is a giant, world-killing, other-dimensional monster! Perfect! Add to that the fact that the author, Joe Casey, scouted out amazing indie illustrators who never get to work on superhero comics (those being Dan McDaid, Paul Maybury, and Ulises Farinas), and this is a must read.
The Superior Foes of Spider-Man No. 1
Okay, so it's been a while since we checked in with the web slinger, so here's a quick primer. Spider-Man is dead, Doctor Octopus has put his soul/consciousness/essence into Spider-Man's body, and Peter Parker's conscious now gnaws at Doc Oc/Spidey. But that's all ancillary to this comic, this comic focusses on a new batch of evil villains out to ruin the webbed hero. Boomerang, Shocker (my favorite), Speed Demon, Overdrive, and Beetle are all joining forces and doing terrible things to the innocent, hooray!
Bag it or board it up? I'll admit, I was hoping this comic would be a little more horror-y than it turned out to be. Many of these villains-centric stories tend to be dark, gruesome, and gritty. But this comic, while certainly darker than any standard hero story, is full of wit, humor, humility, and human interest. This may not feature villains terrorizing the innocent or monsters shredding flesh, but it is definitely worth a read!
Dexter No. 1
What? A Dexter comic written by the author of the Dexter novels Jeff Lindsay? Say it ain't so! This storyline may seem familiar to fans of the novels/series, as Dexter meets up with an old "friend" at his high school reunion. And just as the series about everyone's favorite sociopath runs its course on Showtime, we've now got a monthly by Marvel.
Bag it or board it up? Wait, Marvel!? Whoa, looks like the capes and cowls are getting traded in for syringes and dark passengers. And speaking of the dark passenger, we finally get to see a visual embodiment of the darker side of Dexter in the form of a large, hulking shadow. This issue is awesome, takes it's time, and is full of mystery and intrigue. Check it out!
Emily and the Strangers No. 3
Emily and her argumentative band are trying to get into ship shape before the annual battle of the bands. They sound great when they solo, but they still can't work together to truly rock. They own a crazy Cthulhu-looking guitar (scary), and they've all got awesome skills, but it's just not working. So they summon the spirit of the guitar whiz who once owned their Cthulhu-stratocaster, and he summons a new rocker to join the fray.
Bag it or board it up? The opening illustrations of this comic, which feature a tarot-breakdown of the whole band, accomplish so much in so little space. And the design is pitch-perfect in this comic. This is great, gothic, darkly humorous stuff that kids and grown ups can enjoy together. If you've got a little one who would prefer a poster of Elvira over a poster of Miley Cyrus, then this is the comic for you (also, congrats, you hit the little kid lottery).