Bullet Reviews #35: There Is More To Read Than Just The New 52!

This week’s Bullet Reviews are a mix of new and old! Abe Sapien #2, Fables #110, Incredible Hulk #1, Kult #3, Usagi Yojimbo #141, Wolverine #17 and Wolverine and the X-Men #1 all get covered right here!

ABE SAPIEN: THE DEVIL DOES NOT JEST #2 (Dark Horse)Abe Sapien
With Abe still stuck in a vat in the present-day due to serious injuries, this adventure from his past gives us some much-needed Merman action. That came out wrong. Anyway…Abe was in dire straits at the end of the previous issue, with a routine visit to a backwoods demonologist quickly going horribly wrong. Coming to in the impossibly large basement of a remote house – touches of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves here – Abe becomes acquainted with the arcane history of the doomed family that lived there. John Arcudi and Mike Mignola introduce a running joke about Hellboy and a fellow agent rushing to rescue their colleague, only for the cigar-chomping demon to remain nonchalant throughout. After all, he trained Abe, the guy knows what to do. This two issue storyline delivers shocks, horrific imagery and even the odd chuckle. The perfect Hellboy package. -Emmet O’Cuana

Vertigo ComicsFABLES #110 (Vertigo)
Returning to Bullet Reviews! Fables continues the story of the kids of Snow White and Bigby Wolf as they continue their tests to see which one will become the new North Wind. Things are complicated when the other three winds show up and decide they should be the ones to make such decisions, taking the kids to train as they see fit before choosing for themselves who should be the new North Wind. Bigby disagrees and uses his relationship to North Wind, his father, to keep control of the situation, though tensions between all involved continue to grow as the other Winds conspire to just kill everyone and take full control themselves! Where will this all end up? I’m not sure, but it’s going to be interesting! Also: Bufkin’s attempt to create a revolution in the Land Of Oz continues to grow as two giant tigers and Yoop explain they aren’t there to kill him, they want to join him! Finally, one of the kids finds a very interesting box… is this the same box that contains North Wind and Mister Dark!? Bill Willingham is doing a fantastic job with the two to three different stories that are running in this series now. While the main focus is on the North Wind story, the second tier stories involving Bufkin’s Oz revolution and the former Mrs. Spratt’s continued training and preparation for the Fables’ return to Fabletown, each story gets just the right amount of attention, I love it! This issue came out two weeks ago and should still be available at your local comic shop. It’s a series I continue to recommend to anyone! Keep an eye out for the Fables’ Storytime review column to return very soon! -Skott Jimenez

INCREDIBLE HULK #1 (Marvel)Incredible Hulk
Now, if you read the prologue to this book in Fear Itself #7, you were probably just as excited as I was. This book has been at the top of my list to read for a few months now. With the characterization that Aaron puts into Wolverine and Frank Castle in his PunisherMAX series, I knew that Banner and Hulk would get ripped apart and thrown together in a mind-bending, thought-provoking story. Now, Mark Silvestri’s art on this book is undeniably good—incredible, I’d say. And the story was good too. It just left me wanting more. But maybe that’s a good thing. It was definitely a set-up issue for the first arc as well as the entire series, but perhaps I was supposed to feel like I needed more to this book than the fact that Hulk, despite wanting to be alone, is cooped up with a bunch of subterranean mole dwellers who get attacked only to get his attention. Maybe I’m supposed to want to know the reasoning behind why Banner is desperately seeking to recreate the Hulk out of jungle creatures. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to get a beginning, middle, and end to this particular story. But actually, looking back on it, the pacing of this seemed very similar to the past few Wolverine arcs. Yeah, I think I can live with that. I’m on for another few months to see what sort of life this book takes on. Will it be the Hulk’s rage or will it be Banner’s desperation? Or will we see that the preconceived notions of each fragment of the character will become intertwined and therefore indistinguishable? Either way, I’m in! -Andy Kirby

Dark Horse ComicsKULT #3 (DarkHorse)
I picked Kult, this Dark Horse mini with this The third issue of this miniseries from Dark Horse is written by Jeremy Barlow with art by Iwan Nazif and a cover from Jake Murray. Let me tell you, I would’ve picked up this book for the cover alone. It’s creepy and beautiful. The interior art is just as good, and takes the storyline to the next level. Lots of good action and pacing. Barlow and Nazif give us a sense that, although you’re in the real world, you’re on the verge of seeing something terrible happen. And it does. The back story is about a man named Tomas Zenk, who only wanted a new life for his daughters. He was then shown the truth of life, which basically shows us that reality as we know it is a dark, bitter illusion meant to enslave mankind. Tomas becomes stranded in this underworld, where he finds another “awakended” human, Cassie Boyer. Together they find a way out, only to find his daughters in a decrepit hospital for the mentally deranged, which brings us to issue #3. Issue #3 begins in that sick, twisted psych ward where patients are treated in ways that went out of style over a century ago. I’m talking torture. Don’t get me started on the children’s ward, there are some things I just can’t un-see. Things are not what they seem. One of the people helping Tomas turns out to be Astaroth the demon – which leads into a battle between good and evil. But we’ll have to wait for issue #4 for that! Overall a good read and interesting enough for me to go back and read the entire series, I recommend you do too. -Jeremy Boreske

USAGI YOJIMBO #141 (DarkHorse):Dark Horse Comics
Years ago my comic book guy in Dublin pitched this book to me as follows – “It’s Zatoichi meets The Wind in the Willows”. Sold. Seriously, someone should convince Beat Takeishi to do a ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ animated film of Usagi. It’d be amazing. Anyway our leporid hero wanders into a seemingly deserted village only to discover it has been taken over by a ruthless gang. With the villagers taken hostage, Miyamoto Usagi is forced to surrender his swords and is helpless to defend himself. The art style is deceptively cute at times – in death characters emit a death’s head speech bubble in lieu of a gush of blood – but the action and humour are well balanced. It’s always a good time to discover Usagi Yojimbo. -Emmet O’Cuana

X-Men RegenesisWOLVERINE #17 (Marvel):
The big question here is: WHAT HAPPENED? I mean, I may have overstated in the past the amazing, stupendous, wondifatude of Jason Aaron’s Wolverine by saying that it is a feat of strength and will to write 16 good issues in a row, but do I really have to eat my words? Issue number 17 may make me do it. I mean, again, WHAT HAPPENED here? I will give Aaron this, Wolverine does have to take care of his Little China issues before he ships off to school on the East Coast, so that makes sense. But I don’t know if it’s the art, the corny one-liners or the fact that Gorilla Man had to make an appearance—but it sucks. I suppose it does make sense that Woo’s Atlas team could conceivably make an appearance. With the Chinese connection that is obvious… but then why did Aaron use the dumbest, most gimmicky character of the group (and only him) to bridge that gap? In short, the dialog was about on par for Aaron (which is not outstanding to begin with), the art was too light-hearted for the title, yet overall the big disappointment was the plotting. Now before you jump all over me for being a “flip-flopper” let me explain a little. Aaron’s strength is his understanding of motivation through all sorts of unique situations. That knowledge paired with the uncanny ability to come up with some off-the-wall crazy scenarios gives the character depth and the reader a desire to continue to read. But these things are a far cry from good scripting. They are not synonymous. Unfortunately, this issue lacked all of the above. And sadly, I don’t even care about next issue. -Andy Kirby

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #1 (Marvel):X-Men regenesis
In the Twitterverse, this book has been getting a lot of praise, and frankly I don’t see it. It’s good. But is it good enough to say that Jason Aaron has now arrived as a great among the X-Men writers? And these are other creators saying this nonsense. First let’s take a quick tour of the book. Wolverine and Kitty are taking a tour of the new school with some inspectors from the local board of education. Things go from bad to worse, as there are many issues that reveal themselves. However, it is an interesting way for the reader to be introduced to the cast. Either way, the scripting was better than normal for Aaron (way better than Schism); however, it’s difficult to find the direction and tone of the book itself. I will say this though: the book really started to pick up when the new Black King of the Hellfire Club showed up. The book instantly fell back into the grit and dark place that Aaron’s Wolverine hails from. And for those few pages, the book took off and really seemed to have a distinct purpose. But then it went away and we found ourselves with a more whimsical display of Logan and the woes of being the headmaster of a zoo. (Check out a special sneak peek at Wolverine And The X-Men #2!) -Andy Kirby

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Comments (2)

I love that Abe Sapien cover!

It's pretty sweet eh? Reminds me of Seth Fisher's first Green Lantern: Willworld trade cover.

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