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!
The Walking Dead No. 122
This issue finds everyone hunkering down, preparing for the "All Out War" that the cover of this comic promises. The vile Negan and his "saviors" are equipping themselves with a new kind of weapon, biological in nature, that could spell death and destruction for Rick Grimes and all his people. Even their best plans seems to pale in comparison to the ferocity of Negan, but only time will tell.
Bag it or board it up? Robert Kirkman clearly thinks in terms of the big picture. That's no surprise to anyone who's followed this post-zombie-apocalypse epic from the start. Characters have come and gone (err… died), plans have been hatched and abandoned, and all along the shambling dead have gnawed their way into the story. So when we run into an issue that some would complain is "spinning its wheels" like issue 122, I think it's worth stepping back and looking at the big picture. Something big is coming (sure, they've been promising that for three months now), and we may finally be at the cusp of it.
Wraith No. 4
Two policemen and three convicts have been kidnapped by a man named Charlie Manx. He promises to drive them, in his classic Wraith, to Christmasland. There the criminals will be safe and the police will get what's coming to them, according to Manx. But now they're in Christmasland, and a horde of children with razor sharp teeth and a sadistic sense of fun are closing in on the group. How can they escape? Who in Christmasland will help them?
Bag it or board it up? This comic is based on a novel by Joe Hill, and the comic itself is written by the horror impresario. It's easy to tell, too, because every page of this comic drips with backstory, nuance, terror, and surprise. I highly recommend this series if you're looking for a good new scare. Check it out, it's near-perfect.
Pariah No. 1
A group of "vitros" are stranded in a space station. The action opens with everyone essentially going "what the hell!?" and from there we're thrust straight into the plot. These "vitros," who we think must be super-smart, possibly genetically modified people, have been shipped off into space from "a hostile earth." We don't yet know what that means, but it seems pretty grim. Now, the ship's trying to kill them and they have to think fast and act faster.
Bag it or board it up? This is my kind of sci-fi: grim, tense, filled with dread and disaster. The stakes are high, there are lots of unanswered questions, and the writer is really taking his time with the plot. If you like your sci-fi with ample doses of adrenaline, you'll like 'Pariah.'
The Remains No. 1 of 4
Abigail and Birdie are two young girls living on a farm. They live a rural life full of chores and stern parents, and everything seems fine and dandy. Then Cole Jensen, a traveling man with a freaky disposition, comes and gets a job from their father. And after only a moment of him being hired something very strange, and gruesome, happens in the shed. Dead rats, killed by a terrier, begin to rattle, shake, hiss and "dance."
Bag it or board it up? Talk about a big surprise! I chose this comic, I will admit, just because of the cover. Creepy and foreboding, I thought it deserved a look. And I'm so glad I read it. This is, easily, the pick of the week. Not Walking Dead, not Wraith, but this comic from Monkeybrain comics. The story is so plain-faced and earnest, the language is so honest and true to form, and the artwork shines with bloody intensity. I'm hooked, and now I want to know why the dead rats danced.