Humphrey Lee here. I like to think I’m a pretty reliable person overall, to an almost detrimental point in some regards. Like when you work the day job I do, and show up there about roughly 55 hours a week for two months straight. Which makes it pretty hard to be reliable in other regards, like finding the time to write about comic books for exceptionally bored people on the Internet who actually want to read what I have to type. And this becomes exacerbated when your top shelf reliability at the place that pays your bills makes it so you don’t even get your comics from your LCS for six weeks so you don’t really have the material to write about in the first place. So what’s a man to do when you want to deliver content but don’t really have the source material or the time? You overcompensate for it once you have a lot of both. So let’s talk about the sixty or so comic books I bought last week and read over the weekend in like three sentences a series (or, at least as many of these as I can come up with in, oh, I’ll give myself three hours or so).

Note: I order all my comics first to last in what I perceive to be “the worst” to “the best” comics I’m reading, with brand new series #1’s going to the front since you just never know. It’s like a review process all in its own mangled OCD of mine!!!

GLITTERBOMB: THE FAME GAME #1

Writer; Jim Zub
Art: Djibril Morissette-Phan, K. Michael Russell
Publisher: Image Comics

The Jim Zub celebrity gorefest returns and picks up right where it left off with the last mini, which is a comic that I find enjoyable but kind of easy to dismiss when it’s out of my hands. The whatever it is going on in the backdrop with the “black eyes” causing Kaydon, the babysitter to the first series’ “protagonist” Farrah, to start going all murdery is interesting, and there’s some fun Hollywood skewering going on alongside it all, but overall it’s just not enough. I really don’t have any draw to these character other than wondering what exactly all this is (probably Aliens!), though, so my investment in continuing past this series will weigh heavily on just exactly what is going on and if I start caring about any of the characters to which it is all happening.


ANGEL: SEASON 11 #9 – 10

Writer: Corinna Bechko
Art: Geraldo Borges
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics


I have been a diehard Buffyite (Buffyverser? Something that isn’t a “Scooby” because fuck that term) since the TV show was airing its second season, but man, I think all this material in recent years has been weighing on me. As this 11th season has been winding down, the main thought that has been running through my brain with each issue has been “thank the god I don’t think exists they made this only about a year long season, not the three or four they had been preceding this.” I still love the characters but the overall storytelling has been a bit of diminishing returns, especially in this ANGEL book where it’s been propping itself up on time travel and trying to pull some personality out of the Illyria character and Angel’s daddy issues before he became a scourge on mankind for a century. It’s just led to a bunch of bland comics somewhat treading the same ground the books and show have done before and that I keep coming back to for the characters, which also seem to be in a bit of a rut. Hate to say it, but this is probably the last season I’m coming back for as it hits. I’ll see how things go with the “Scooby Gang” (urgh) from the dollar bins next go.


BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON 11 #11 – 12

Writer: Christos Gage
Art: Rebekah Isaacs
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics


See everything I said about ANGEL up above but prop this up a little bit because at least it features a lot more of the gang and therefore my interest in what they are all up to. Also, the overall arc of the season, while also another retread of “The government is futzing with supernatural powers,” at least had the common decency to begin and end with A GIANT MOTHERFUCKING CHINESE DRAGON!! Also, I guess I still buy the happy couple of Buffy and Spike, but again, it seems like a lot of water treading overall, even on the character development side. Dollar bin hype!!


DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3

Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capllo
Publisher: DC Comics

Three issues into this Event – Events being something I usually never partake in but held my nose and took the dive on this time around because I liked the Snyder/Capullo Batman era that much – and I think I’m finally starting to like this book? Much as the overall flavor of the story is a bit trying to hard to channel a, like, showy, hardcore badassery I’ve watched Gwar accomplish for decades now, I think I’m almost on board for a big, dimension shattering event based off corrupted Batmen across the multiverse. The actual event going on, that of a demon having piggybacked off of Bruce Wayne as he made his way back to the DCU after the Crisis thing (I think that is what’s going on, fuck man, there’s a lot going on here) is kind of groany in a way DC Events almost always are, but Snyder and Capullo have been succeeding pretty well on making this a stylish book that does really feel like it’s got the best and brightest of the DCU on the ropes before the tide inevitably turns. Plus, goddammit, I keep hoping this has to be the jumping off point we need for a interesting and hopefully also badass Hawkman return/run given the emphasis on and retooling of his Nth metal and resurrection mythos.


LAZARUS: X+66 #3

Writer: Greg Rucka, Neal Bailey
Art: Justin Greenwood
Publisher: Image Comics

Alright, this is one of those books where I just have to admit that, man, I have no idea what the fuck is going on. I enjoy LAZARUS overall; I appreciate the social commentary mixed with some science fictioning up how we may progress on human genetics and manipulating the body. And that Michael Lark cover, woo baby. But between the main book being such a goddamn scattershot book for arriving on shelves and the depth of the overall world really not being something that seems to exist (we get it, a handful of rich people run the world and HUNGER GAMES each other with their champions) nothing about this mini-series has really drawn me in. But I keep buying it because I’m a weak-willed completionist that has been conditioned to be this way after twenty years of comic book reading. Comics are evil, people, don’t let your kids touch the things.


THE HELLBLAZER #14 – 15

Writer: Tim Seeley
Art: Jesus Marino
Publisher: DC Comics


Man, I’m as big a John Constantine fan as anyone out there, but this book just hasn’t been quite right since it’s inception. Simon Oliver, our first writer, had the tone of a John Constantine story right; it was full of political commentary and a plot involving parts of John’s past come back to haunt him. But the story itself was pretty boring and went on for too long and the book itself looked to “cartoonish” with its art choices that didn’t match the writing tone. And now we have Tim Seeley stopping by for a fill-in arc that also suffers from standard “house” art on a book that wants something a bit more jagged and dirty and goes through the motions of a John story the best it can since it’s lacking a “Mature” label to really go for the throat. A past relationship comes up that tugs at the nostalgia John tends to suffer from and a guilt he swears he never feels but that is really the core of the character. Some pretty gory shit does go with a suitably downer ending for a Constantine book, but overall this series is still just wearing his trademark yellow overcoat and not properly filling it.


BPRD: THE DEVIL YOU KNOW #3

Writer: Mike Mignola & Scott Allie

Art: Laurence Campbell
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

It’s been such a long, long, LOOOOONG goddamn time to get back to here, but it’s nice to be “home” with this book and characters, even if this is basically just a reuniting of Liz Sherman and Abe Sapien. I appreciate the lengths to which Mike Mignola has taken his universe, the dark corners of the world that fell to the elder being before being climatically fought off after literally years in the book and real life, but I also felt like at times the book was getting rudderless without some of these core characters like Abe and Liz that made the HELLBOY and original BPRD material connect emotionally. Not that there hasn’t been those character types still in these pages or being created in them, like a Johann and a Daimio, but they would rotate a lot (or just die) in all the chaos that has been the war for Earth the past 150 issues. I don’t know how long it will last (hopefully a good while as we find out just where Mignola can possibly take things from here) but seeing two old but now aged/dogged friends back together like this to meet that threat feels really good.


DEPT. H #18 – 19

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Jeff Lemire
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics


Another book that at its core I enjoy, because quite frankly, I just love how Matt Kindt puts together a comic book, but feel like I’ve lost the plot somewhere. I mean, overall I haven’t, there’s a murder mystery under the sea and it all has to do with some virus topside and the cure for it and it’s being intertwined with a familial tale of a daughter looking for her father’s killer. But with a lot of characters and a lot of motivations for them, month-to-month for almost two years now I feel like I’ve just lost the script on who is who, who the primary suspects are, am I supposed to believe any of these characters are who they are on their face or do we know by now who the conniving/scummy ones are behind a front of altruism. It’s still a gorgeous book with lots of creative storytelling through the visuals and design, but it’s going to take a nice reread and absorbing of the story in a relatively tight session for me to really appreciate what has been going on here.


ELEPHANTMEN #78

Writer: Richard Starkings
Art: Axel Medellin
Publisher: Image Comics

I’ve long been a man who tries to avoid overstaying his welcome he types while only a dozen books into a stupid segment that’s probably only a third of the size it’s going to end up when he decides he’s tired of writing it, but I think ELEPHANTMEN has officially gone on too long. I just, man, I love this book at its core. I love how slick it is, how cool the Noir background on top of a Dr. Moreau story has been all this time. But man, it feels like the same story arc is being told over and over again at this point. Out lead, Hipflask, keeps getting dragged into some weird leftover shenanigans from the Mappo Corp (the company responsible for the Elephantmen) and we get a flashback to some haunting wartime tale from the war with the “munts” and how he feels out of place in a world that hates him. But then something beautiful (usually his girlfriend) drags him back and makes him feel human again, but then another leftover Mappo thing happens and rinse repeat rinse repeat. It’s still a gorgeous book that feels so cool, but even that becomes just a novelty after so long of retreading over the same plot points time and again.


SAVAGE THINGS #8

Writer: Justin Jordan
Art: Ibrahim Moustafa
Publisher: DC Vertigo

Wrapping up what has become a rarity these days – a Vertigo series – SAVAGE THINGS turned out okay I think. I appreciate the pitch of the book of a horde of would be serial killers instead honed into special ops personnel and the clandestine shit going on around them as they let themselves loose on the populace in the current day. The action has been great and quite brutal and the plot had a nice energy and dark side to it despite the ending of this mini being pretty damn predictable. I’m always a fan of the genre blending plots that writer Justin Jordan comes up with on his books and how entertaining they end up turning out, even if they’re nothing mind-blowing. The man just knows how to tell you a tight but familiar tale with it’s own interesting hook and never lingers on it too long.


SUPER SONS #8 – 9

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Jorge Jimenez
Publisher: DC Comics


I am still somewhat amazed that as we come up on a year of a book featuring the bratty kids of the two most popular superheroes on the DCU and it still somehow endears me. Pete Tomasi and company just know how to keep telling entertaining tales that play to the very disparate personalities of the fledgling heroes, though admittedly I have been finding the plots to be getting a bit more chaotic and forgettable as the book goes on. I’m not sure we’ve had one yet actually that just didn’t involve the villain or backdrop being something involving another adolescent or a team of them and some sort of overbearing presence (not necessarily parental, but still). The Damien/Jon dynamic still carries the book overall, but I can see myself eventually turning cold on the book as it carries on just because you can only get so far on personality clashes alone.


HELLBOY & THE B.P.R.D. 1955: OCCULT INTELLIGENCE #2

Writer: Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson
Art: Brian Churilla
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Take everything I said about BPRD above and apply it to why I both like but find myself just casually plowing through these flashback Hellboy tales. I like this universe, I like these characters – Hellboy is fucking cool, yo – and I like these type of stories, but with the rotating cast of side characters (outside of Professor Bruttenholm) I don’t really have a ton of attachment to these books besides the story type and Hellboy himself. It’s more Hellboy good stuff, but it’s pretty fluffy and easy to consume and move one from.


THE REALM #2

Writer: Seth M. Peck
Art: Jeremy Haun
Publisher: Image Comics

The first piece of mine to adorn this new space of ours was praising this book in its debut and how cool and nonchalant it was introducing a world that is basically D&D crashing into our own reality and some dynamically badass characters to match the setting. And now the followup issue is… some kind of generic “more of the same” material. Our lead, Will Nolan, is still the same uber competent pathfinder he’s presented as in the premiere issue, and he has a partner named Rook that is really stylish and a tight-lipped ass kicker. They’re going to be leading a group through the chaos that is the world and that group, shock, has a secret agenda behind their travels that is yet to be revealed. Also there’s a really evil, Misfit’s in their prime looking sorcerer type doing a lot of machinations that involve eldritch masters. It’s all the same stuff the first issue established just with a cliffhanger “come with me if you want to live” ending because the journey has already gone in the shitter. It’s not enough to undo the good impressions the first issue of THE REALM gave me, but it’s a big step back on the potential I was hoping to see this book unleash after such a well-executed debut.


DAREDEVIL #27 – 28

Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Ron Garney
Publisher: Marvel Comics


What do you get when you take a sidekick character that was somewhat crammed into existence and a villain with a pretty vague mystical background and the only discernable feature about them being that they have ten fingers on each hand and then realize you have to justify why they were the center of the first two arcs on your run on a book? You get this latest DAREDEVIL arc, obviously. Look, I really, really like Charles Soule and his writing, especially when it comes to taking his real life lawyering skills and imbuing them on characters like Matt Murdock here or Jennifer Walters aka She-Hulk, but it seems that basically the existence of the Blindspot and Tenfingers characters, which both felt pretty shoe-horned into DD’s life, was to get to this bit here and give Matt another aspect of his life to feel really guilty about but then come to accept and forgive himself a little for in Blindspot’s journey of getting blinded himself, selling his soul (literally) to get that back, and then paying the ultimate price for giving in so easily, though understandably. Every time this book and creative run has had a really interesting arc it has cancelled that out by telling something that is obviously just made to be what is expected in a DAREDEVIL book, except this time with characters that I at least never really found endearing in their relatively brief exposure time in these pages. These are still solid enough DD tales for me to keep hanging around but it’s a shame the book isn’t overall living up to the hopes I had for it given the creative talented involved.


IRON FIST #73

Writer: Ed Brisson
Art: Mike Perkins
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Meanwhile, in another Marvel book that is pretty much pandering to what is expected from a book and character, we have an IRON FIST book that pretty much is the Websters definition of the ‘p’ word, and it’s a joy. So far we’ve had a big ass Kung Fu tournament, a “hero v hero” matchup in a Kung Fu showdown between Fist and Shang Chi, and now we have a Marvel Legacy revisiting of a defining IRON FIST moment in a barroom brawl with the one and only Sabretooth. It’s just all a blast that executes itself with the proper amount of tongue-in-cheek as it hits the checklist of everything an IRON FIST tale should be. The mysticism, the action, the awkward “I have a dragon living with me” humor, it’s all there and handled with all the right attitude despite how ridiculous it tends to get. Did I mention Danny Rand is bunking up with a giant, scornful dragon? Because he is and it’s fucking awesome.


THE WILD STORM #7 – 8

Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: Jon Davis-Hunt
Publisher: DC Wildstorm


Here’s the “no shit” downside to this book, made apparent to me getting two of these issues at the same time, is that when you have a book like this that is just rewriting/retelling a pocket universe with modern affectations, but you take a slow burn approach to the story development, the issues themselves can come off as pretty bland, even if you like the source material. Now, Warren Ellis and his talent for making something as simple as a mole being made entertaining as fuck through his dialogue and wordplay helps out, but these two issues were a lot of “hey, this is what Daemonites are and what a Stormwatch and IO is and here’s what this updated version of this character you’ve known for 20 years is like even though they’re about 90% the same” and they were a bit of a drag. Mind you, there is some really good streamlining of twenty year’s worth of material, a lot dished up by Ellis himself in his early days, and it is covering all the bases of what made the Wildstorm Universe once it landed at DC one of the most interesting places to be in comics at the time, but as this version of it plays out, for now, it’s a little too “been there, done that” but with amazing Jon Davis-Hunt art this time around.

Aaaaand I’m calling time. Hey, not bad! Just about half the stack and most of that seemed coherent. Maybe I’ll do the other half next week since that reliability will e kicking in and I get to miss the wonderful nerd camaraderie at my LCS again this week (cue audible groan from our Commander-in-Chief here). Hope this was entertaining/insightful/made you hate your lives that much more running down that many books at once! Cheers!