The Weekly Round-Up is back from a month-long hiatus, after my mostrecentattemptatquittingmydayjob, and I’m starting back up again with a good mix of funnies. A return of my favorite childhood series in comic book format, some stomping around the ol’ Mignolaverse, and even Richard Corben-adapted Poe, so let’s get to it while I catch up on a mountain of books!
The X-Files: Season 10 #1 (IDW) – The truth is out there, unfortunately it was put on hold for about 11 years, which was when the greatest paranormal television series off all time (besides Dark Shadows) was cut criminally short. Thankfully, Chris Carter has teamed up with IDW to produce a direct continuation of the series in comic book form as season 10 (think Buffy and Dark Horse). The four color run picks up as former agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are living a life of anonymity as a married couple, retired from their lives as special investigators for the FBI’s unsolvable cases. Of course, peace and quiet is a hard thing to come by, and trouble comes knocking on their door as Deputy Director Skinner comes to warn them of a data breach that may have targeted their old cases. After that it takes no time at all for the boogeymen to show up and start the creepiness. The book makes a mostly good introduction into the series’ new life, the only difficulty is seeing Mulder and Scully living as a happily married couple in a quiet suburbia. Mulder’s character seems a little more goofy with a more pronounced penchant for snark and one liners than what would be true to the original, but other than that the characters are familiar and recognizable. It’s too early to tell yet where Chris Carter and series writer Joe Harris are going to be taking the story, but for now I think it’s safe to say that if you were a fan of the original show you should be following this book, as it will most likely be the only meaningful continuation of substance that we will get any time soon.
Fall of the House of Usher #2 (Dark Horse) – A good handful of months back, I mentioned in one of these Round-Ups that Richard Corben should regularly adapt Poe stories, and I’ll be goddamned if he hasn’t been doing exactly that since. Granted, the legendary horror artist has technically been adapting Poe since the 80’s but it is definitely good to see that his relationship with Dark Horse has proven both fruitful and lasting, a collaboration which this week sees the conclusion to his take on The Fall of the House of Usher. To give the classic a bit more meat in the story and to flesh out a comic book reprisal Corben has combined the short story with another of Poe’s tales, The Oval Portrait. The two stories go well together, and are perfectly integrated in this two part series, making for a more intense and involving read. The art is of course a large part of a Richard Corben book, and he is in top form here. The Usher manor is illustrated almost as a dying, decrepit creature, slowly crippled under its own weight, but in this story it is the characters themselves that are the focus and it really does show. Corben’s technique of rendering characters in terms of their purpose and personality is well implemented in this book, with Allan, the main protagonist drawn as a mostly traditional manner, while Roderick Usher is illustrated as a dysmorphic and exaggerated caricature allows the reader to get a feel for the characters visually rather than through description. All in all, another great addition to Dark Horses’ line of Corben-adapted Poe books, so if you’re a fan of either than picking it up should be a no-brainer.
Baltimore: The Inquisitor #1 (Dark Horse) – It’s always a good day when we get the rare treat of a Baltimore book from Mike Mignola, it being only slightly more commonplace than a Lobster Johnson installment. This week we get The Inquisitor, another one-shot that explores some dark little corner of the plagued world of Sir Henry Baltimore, hunter of bloodsuckers. This story is in fact less about Lord Baltimore as it is a supposed holy man who is after the vampire slayer for his own zealous ends after the church has reinstated the Inquisition in response to the undead plague sweeping across the European continent. The actions and words of the Inquisitor, especially in his given backstory capture the pious arrogance and monstrous hypocrisy of the book’s namesake and inspiration. What the character embodies in this story is the unsettling reality of past history, depicting the darkness humans so easily embrace in times of bleak despondency. It is the real-world correlation that gives this book its unsettling substance and makes it that much more of a disturbing read for it. Mignola has often used the concept of men being the real monsters in his books, often as a prevailing linchpin, and he uses it to a perfect effect here. On art, the regular team of Ben Stenbeck and Dave Stewart is as effective as it is pitch perfect in fitting with the story. Stenbeck’s linework is sharp and lively, and along with Stewart’s dark and subdued color scheme the pages read just as well visually as they do from the written dialogue. Another great addition to the dark world of Baltimore, especially as it ties in a past character in the hunter’s history towards the end, so be sure to pick this one up if you’re a regular or even just occasional reader of the Mignola and Golden’s series.
Wild Blue Yonder #1 (IDW) – Out this week is a new creator-owned series from IDW by the team of Mike Raicht, Zach Howard, and Austin Harrison that takes place in a post apocalyptic world in which the sky is the main frontier. The premise is thrown at you in a rushed two page introduction, but its succinctness is justified given the fact that it is dystopian future story, the reader already has the main dish, they need the flavoring specific to the book being read. And that flavoring can be reduced to: earth is polluted and irradiated, people live on airships in the sky, a group of which have a solar powered one that never has to refuel, and and evil general wants it for himself. Basically it’s WaterAirworld, and there’s even a character that kind of looks like Kevin Costner, fortunately there’s no recycled pee drinking so far, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion…Anyway, a young hotshot pilot girl is searching for a new gunner/wingan and comes across a young man who’s studly but in an awkward and cute sort of way, the two of which will no doubt be romantically entangled within two issues tops. If the story for WaterAirworld doesn’t catch you on first impression, it at least offers some cool art, Zach Howard’s inks are suitably gritty and messy given the setting, and the mid-air action sequences are panelled out intelligently, with Nelson Daniel providing some great colorwork that really gives the pages a good texture and depth. For a high-flying action/adventure book, WaterAirworld-*ahem*-Wild Blue Yonder offers a satisfying read, as long as you don’t mind a few genre clichès, but an entertaining read nonetheless. It’s even got a dog that wears goggles.