Bagged and Boarded Comic Reviews: Hellblazer, 30 Days of Night, 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!

Hellblazer No. 295

John Constantine is still on the hunt for his bad apple nephew (and by "bad apple", I of course mean "serial killer"). But this issue is really all about his wife, Epiphany. She wanders away from John in search of "The Hungry Grass." As she steps on the grass she's suddenly gripped with starvation, and we see a little snippet of her past before she makes a deal with ghosts for protection. Then she and John get to the big case at hand, and it's time for Uncle to meet his nephew.

Bag it or board it up? After 295 issues of Hellblazer, one gets comfortable with the story, the pace, and the tone. This is nothing vibrantly new for John Constantine, but who the hell cares? He's still the hard living, trench-coat wearing, monster/killer/wizard smashing master of the otherworldly that we've grown to love. Don't ever change on us, John. Stay sour and salty and totally badass.

30 Days of Night No. 10

Two different forces are at work in this comic. A horde of vampires are desperately trying to increase their numbers before they meet with "Europeans" at a small airfield. So the vamps go munching. At the same time, a human squad of rogue FBI agents are out for hell-fire revenge against the vampires for causing major terroristic damage in L.A.

Bag it or board it up? Steve Niles writing 30 Days of Night is so hard not to like. He makes it all so effortless. The artwork is exactly what you'd expect (and some would argue that it's what fans of the comic demand) and this issue is definitely just a ramp up to a big confrontation. Even so, this is fun to read because of Niles.

Ghost No. 0

A reality TV ghost hunter and a cynical, cantankerous ex-reporter accidentally stumble upon a device that calls forth a ghostly woman in white. If at first it seems like run-of-the-mill paranormal storytelling, you'd better hold on tight. As soon as the lady in white settles onto our plane we're engulfed in an atmosphere of confusion, excitement and danger. After this ghostly woman helps the two guys out of a jam, it's up to them to find her name and how she died.

Bag it or board it up? I should be bored by a comic like this. I've seen this premise too many times. But the comic, the attitude, and the artwork are all so fresh that I couldn't put it down. I couldn't get dismayed by it. I found it downright charming and badass. Check this issue 0 out, and let's see where this comic goes.

Fatima: The Blood Spinner No. 4

It's the finale to this weird, wonderful, alternative comic about the end of the world and the effed-up people who live in it. The story closes out with a cure for the zombie Spin in control of those who should not have control of it (or should they? It's all morally opaque). We see our heroine (or is she?) Fatima survive a shocking blast, and the rest is head-kicking, face-shooting, pulse-pounding avant-garde brilliance.

Bag it or board it up? Gilbert Hernandez, creator of one of the most crucial independent comics of all time (Love and Rockets), brought this little story to insane life. His instantly recognizable style harkens back to a time when you were the only person in your town who read indie comics. His storytelling is obscure, disarming, violent and giddy in its psychosis. Please pick up all the comics in this series. There are only four. And believe me, this is a bloody, beautiful, out-of-the-ordinary and wild ride.