With the premier of The Walking Dead on AMC tonight, it only makes sense that this installment of Bullet Reviews is filled with monsters of all sorts: B.P.R.D Hell on Earth: Russia #2, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #2, Hellraiser #6, Legion of Monsters #1 and Mystic #3 round out this weeks reviews!
B.P.R.D. HELL ON EARTH: RUSSIA #2 of 5 (Dark Horse):
This second issue further develops the relationship between Johann and the mysterious Russian commander, much to the discomfort of the B.P.R.D. agent. Finally he has met someone who accepts him as a peer, or at least appears to, but this new-found ally may just be exploiting his abilities. Mignola and Arcudi’s work is consistently impressive, with this latest adventure presenting Johann with a genuinely disturbing moral dilemma. Each of these B.P.R.D. miniseries continue to build momentum towards what I assume is a big finish waiting in the wings. Very curious to see where this is leading. -Emmet O’Cuana
FRANKENSTEIN: AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #2 (DC):
Jeff Lemire‘s two contributions to the ‘New 52’ have been blowing my socks off. What I am enjoying most about his more mainstream works – and anyone coming to the man’s writing for the first time needs to check out Sweet Tooth right now – is how he manages to balance the rapid succession of brain-blistering ideas with character interaction and plot development. Frankenstein is a particularly fine example of his technique, fully embracing the weird science hinting at by Morrison’s S.H.A.D.E. agency, but also embracing B-movie monsters and Hammer horror kitsch. This book really has it all and delivers on the promise of Lemire’s previous Flashpoint title with the character. The mystery introduced in the first issue surrounding a town being overwhelmed by monsters is quickly unraveled here and we learn more about the origins of S.H.A.D.E.’s monster squad. The last page also features the revamped Bride of Frankenstein, a major draw for me (“What if Elsa Lanchester was a pistol-packing goddess Kali?”). The gritty artwork neatly compliments the dense free association of ideas, grounding Lemire’s bluesky plotting. Easily one of my favourite books from the relaunch. -Emmet O’Cuana
HELLRAISER #6 (BOOM!):
Clive Barker’s epic return to Hellraiser continues and what a return it is! Kirsty has made a decision on the offer made by Pinhead last issue. She has decided to take his place in Hell! She has a plan to finally stop the Cenobites and thinks that by becoming a part of the machine she can destroy it. To further her goal, she calls on Tiffany (Hellbound: Hellraiser II) to destroy the box once she uses it to enter Hell. Tiffany isn’t happy about this but promises to follow through and once Kirsty enters Hell the box is, we think, destroyed. What happens next? And where is Pinhead? So many answers and I’m sure more secrets to be revealed as we continue this story. I have to say I was going to get this in trades but I absolutely love getting a new issue every month. Fans of the first two Hellraiser movies should check this out! -Skott Jimenez
LEGION OF MONSTERS #1 of 4 (Marvel):
It’s no secret that I love Nextwave. Despite not having any new stories in a few years (even though Marvel promised!), it’s still a book I remember and recommend as much as I can.
When I first heard about this book I was curious, the Modern Marvel Monsters are fun, though it seems like Marvel wants to use Morbius but really isn’t sure what to do with him when you consider he was working for a government group in a recent Marvel Zombies story and now lives in the sewers under New York with, as far as I know, no explanation as to what happened. But what really drew me to this was the redhead on the cover: Elsa Bloodstone: Monster Hunter. She was one of the many things I loved about Nextwave and when I heard her character in this was going to basically be the same as it was in Nextwave, well, there was no reason for me not to pick this book up!
So the story is simple: there is a monster on the loose killing girls left and right. Elsa, being a monster hunter, goes after the first one she sees and chases it to Monster Metropolis, under New York City, where she runs into Morbius and the others. After a slight misunderstanding concerning the death of the monster Elsa becomes part of a team that goes out to find out why monsters are suddenly acting like, well, monsters.
All I can say is if you liked Nextwave you need to give this book a shot, granted the $3.99 cover price (really, Marvel?) is a hindrance but the story and art are both very fun! -Skott Jimenez
MYSTIC #3 (Marvel):
For this issue Genevieve remains off-panel for the majority of the action. Instead G. Willow Wilson’s script focuses on Giselle and her difficulties fitting in with the aristocratic students at the university. While her illegal study of the properties of aether – the big McGuffin that underpins the entire workings of this society – gives her certain intellectual advantage over her fellow students, the harassment she receives from her spoiled contemporaries continues to isolate her. It’s not all grim, teenage melodrama though. The issue’s opening even includes a very funny piece of innuendo. Giselle’s reaction to the inevitable revelation that she is the subject of a prophecy – somewhat par for the course in a fantasy tale – is another highlight. She is furious that she may have escaped her former life not because of her own merits, but thanks to superstitious dogma. Unfortunately her reunion with Genevieve, when it finally comes, is not a happy one. This is hands down one of the most impressive new titles on the shelves. Amazing art, immersive plotting and even a chuckle or two. -Emmet O’Cuana