Black Hammer, Clue, Crypt-Keeper, DC Comics, Erica Henderson, IDW, Marvel, Mister Miracle, Mitch Gerads, Nelson Daniel, Paul Allor, Ryan North, Silver Surfer, The Sheriff of Babylon, the unbeatable Squirrel Girl, The Vision, Tom King
Here are my 3 must-read comics for this Wednesday:
Mister Miracle #1 (DC): Tom King and Mitch Gerads crafted the best comic book of last year with The Sheriff of Babylon, a shattering, close-up deconstruction of the everyday tragedies created by the fog of war. King also created last year’s best superhero comic in The Vision. In that book, he used the creative latitude afforded in penning a B-lister to orchestrate a tale about a family of androids, living in suburbia, that incorporated bits of Mary Shelley, Philip K. Dick and Leave It To Beaver. The resultant tale explored, amongst other trivialities, death, prejudice, and what it means to be human. Throughout, King established a pitch-perfect tone that was absurd, poetic and tragic, frequently all at once. One hopes that in working with another character not-well known outside of comic circles, King and Gerads will produce something similarly profound.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #23 (Marvel): If you already aren’t reading this comic book about a computer-science grad student with the powers of a squirrel (who is soon to be featured in a gosh-darn TV show), you’re missing out on the best superhero book that isn’t Black Hammer or Silver Surfer. Ryan North continues to delight with buoyant, laugh-out-loud writing that manages to feel upbeat and empowering without a trace of didactic, self-congratulatory posturing (hear that Saga?). If you still need an excuse to jump on this book, the current story allows the inimitable Mr. North to return to his first love: Dinosaurs! The child-like exuberance North obviously feels for the subject is matched by Erica Henderson’s energetic, Ditko-inflected art. The joy in this book is infectious.
Clue #3 (IDW): Yes, I can feel your eye-roll: a book that’s an obvious corporate tie-in to a friggin’ board game? Has Battleship taught me nothing?! But my childhood affection for said game, as well as the cult-favorite movie it inspired (itself a corporate tie-in) impelled me to give it a shot (Or a candlestick. Whatever.). Happily, like the movie, Paul Allor’s story benefits from a wacky cast, clever pacing and an off kilter sense of humor. Nelson Daniel’s art contributes some fittingly comedic touches, especially in terms of staging and page layout. And Clue features that hallowed comic book trope, the mordant, omniscient narrator/host (think the Crypt-Keeper except with impeccable manners and in a butler’s suit). Except it seems he’s not so omniscient after all. Hmm….