One of the more interesting characters in the expanded Hellboy universe is Sir Edward Grey, the occult adventurer who solves supernatural mysteries in Victorian England as Witchfinder, and buddies up with present-day Hellboy as a spooky ghost. City of the Dead #1 is the first issue in the fourth Witchfinder series (issue number 16 for the continuity purists) and, as with the prior stories, it focuses on Grey’s encounters with the paranormal and otherworldly in 19th century England. Chris Roberson joins mastermind Mike Mignola on the writing duties, while Ben Stenbeck, a veteran of B.P.R.D. and the first Witchfinder arc, returns to provide the art.
While it’s true that we probably don’t need another zombie story, not even a zombie story set amidst bygone European catacombs, cellars, and cemeteries, City of the Dead is doing everything right to keep me interested. The first zombie appearance in any rotting undead tale should be closely followed by an exploration of how to dispose of said creep, and I’m onboard with Grey’s proficiency with both the oddball utility belt and straightforward weaponry. Throw in the sinister machinations of the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra, and we’ve got ourselves a satisfying scare, just in time for Halloween.
All New All Different Marvel: Week 48
Fresh off their recent Eisner win, the creative firm of Slott, Allred, & Allred keep the cosmic magic flowing with Silver Surfer #6 (or issue 200 if you’re into continuity across decades of various volumes of Surfer). This has been one of our Top 10 Marvel books over the last two years, in part because of the charming way Slott & Allred allow Norrin Radd to explore his adopted human culture, all while his relationship with Dawn Greenwood continues to develop. This issue closes the book on that part of the Dawn & Surfer saga, but heralds another trip to the stars and a return to the “everywhere and anywhere” that first made this team’s work on the title so damn exciting.
DC Rebirth: Week 15
It was basically a bye week for DC’s Rebirth initiative, with no new issues of continuing series on the shelves. The one book carrying the Rebirth banner was the one-shot Suicide Squad Special: War Crimes written by none other than Squad progenitor himself, John Ostrander. But… we would have been better off with a complete bye week. Normally we reserve spots in these little weekly updates to plug stuff we enjoy and recommend, but once in a while something is so unbelievably bad that we have to make a fuss. The plot is dull, the dialogue atrocious, and the artwork rushed and amateurish. It’s one thing to capitalize on the hype surrounding a current property (see: fourteen Deadpool spinoffs and countless guest appearances); it’s another thing to phone in an oversized book for the sole purpose of chalking up a few more sales on brand and name recognition alone. It’s official: everything Suicide Squad-related in 2016 sucks. Someone get me that phone app. If no one else is going to do it, I’ll blow off all their heads right now.