A momentous day! Because in America at just after half past noon, it will be 12.34 and 56 second on the 7/8 2009. Or, 123456789.
Today is also the day in America that DC ship the first of their new weekly oversized title Wednesday Comics. Could well be one of the greatest superhero titles this year. Possibly underordered, receiving mainstream press attention, you might want to try and get your copy before half noon. But what else looks good this week?
The new series of this Hellboy-infused paranormal investigation team goes back to the immediate post-war period, Hellboy barely seen as a young thing in pyjamas.
With his penline, the world seems less sure of itself, less stark, more open to possibility, to potential, to change. Less harsh, more human, but still with the weight of object and character and the balance of light and dark familiar to Mignola readers. Here we see a story of Nazi officers murdered by vampire, the ex-military grunts called on to look into it further, and the story of a party and the resultant opera. Aspects of this story that seems reminiscent of The Rite Of Spring, and the violent reaction it received in Paris, recently retold in Moore and Gebbie's Lost Girls. This is a haunting book, that seems more like a dream. And looking very much like a nightmare to come.
A new series from Wildstorm about a smalltown place in a flyover state called Conover Country that was transformed from hicksville to apocalypseville as monsters and nightmare creatures populate the place, as humans have been transformed into freaks and weirdos… even more so than before. And all seem to have paid a price in some form or other.
What kind of Sheriff could keep order? What kind of Sheriff would want to? Odds are he'll become your favourite character fast…
Pride And Prejudice #4, $3.99 from Marvel Comics by Jane Austen, Nancy Bulter and Hugo Petrus.
Okay, I have to admit, it's was the Glamourpuss-reminiscent covers that initially drew me to this Marvel comics adaptation of this classic satirical romance novel of Jane Austen. But it's a competent, well told adaptation at that, if slimmed down, which zings along and does keep the tone both or celebration and contempt of this lifestyle from the original, which often gets lost in film and television versions.
Hero Squared: Love And Death TPB $12.99 from Boom! by Keith Giffen, J DeMatteis and Watson
This was the first title from Boom! way back when and this trade paperback is where it all ends. This superhero-injected-with-American-slacker-sitcom is pitch perfect for me. As someone who thinks the Giffen/DeMatteis League books were the pinnacle of DC superhero comics, so Hero Squared is my new package of nostalgia. The beautiful trick this book pulls by having a couple, each visited by their parellel world superhero version, is presenting us with traditional superhero/supervillains and their sceret identity as a superhero would portray one, together. Superman and the Clark Kent persona Superman puts on at the Daily Planet, together. And then puts everyone into couples therapy. It's funny, it's incitful and with this book… it's final.
Or is it?
Yes, yes it's final.
Wasteland #25, $5.99 from Oni Press by Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten.
I like Walking Dead. I like Walking Dead a lot. But Wasteland is better. I know, they're very different comics, but they are both longform serialised stories about surviving in a new, post-civilisation world, about friendships and hatreds, hope and despair and creating a very real Wild West/Rome/Middle East backdrop. This double sized issue is full colour, painted and $5.99 which, considering the size, is a bargain. This issue tells the story of who two colleagues, once friends, became the worst of enemies and as usual it's down to a woman. And the reunion between a long lost daughter and her family that gives he what she wants, and the price she has to pay for that. And how the stories dovetail together. The beautifully placed coloured ink lines, really give a sense of location, of dust, of pressure, as politics, commerce and relationships mix their own palette. And faces crack like stones in the heat. The blues and the browns, deliniating a changing time during a sunrise are worth the entry fee on their own, as does the slow change of line towards the emotional climax. This is a stand alone issue and a perfect taster for the series as a whole. I urge you to try it.
No Hero #6, $3.99 from Avatar by Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp.
As I mentioned in Avatar Plug of The Week, this is a nasty, viceral comic as superheroes fight and rip each other apart. Literally. And leaving you the most grotesque and possibly long-lasting and psychologically damaging image you'll see in any comic book this week. If you have the spine for it. I'd spoil it now, I really would, but you'll have to see it for yourself. No cheating, it works so much better with the buildup, from a very slow start to… well. That's what I call getting a boner. Bleeding cool.
Other books of note include the Chuck Dixon western The Good, the Bad And The Ugly#1, Jungle Girl Season 2 #5 pitting our lady-of-few-words-and-even-fewer-clothes against, well, Cthulhu and the final 100 Bullets TPB, Wilt.
Wednesday Morning Comics is a new BleedingCool weekly column. If you would like to see your comics featured, do get in touch.