It’s nearly Wednesday, and you know what that means: a fresh load of comics and graphic novels! With so many publications hitting your local comics store or digital storefront, the BF staff is here to lead you through the woods with our weekly staff picks. Satisfaction guaranteed!
Comic of the Week
Hook Jaw #1
In a world before 2000 AD hit the 1970s newsagents shelves, its weekly forerunner Action was no stranger to courting controversy. An uncompromising and violent anthology aimed at the market for boys it was nonetheless a landmark and highly influential publication. One of its standout strips, Hook Jaw, was the story of a vengeful shark – riding on the 1970s popularity of Jaws – with more than a hint of environmental social commentary amongst all the gore (as one would expect from a Pat Mills creation).
With the recent upsurge in interest in classic UK comics characters it’s hardly a surprise that this memorable comics force of nature would be selected for a revival. Titan have chosen the very able team of writer Si Spurrier, artist Conor Boyle and colourist Giulia Brusco to bring the selachian stalker back to the comics page. Expect five issues of primal terror as the ultimate predator makes his return to all-new adventures for the first time in four decades!
Si Spurrier (W), Conor Boyle (A) and Giulia Brusco (C) Titan Comics, $3.99
– Andy Oliver
Klaus and the Witch of Winter #1
Just in time for the holidays, Grant Morrison and Dan Mora offer fans a hefty one-shot tale of their Yuletime warrior, Klaus the bringer of gifts. First appearing last year in a rousing seven-issue limited series, Klaus explores the rich mythology surrounding Santa Claus, drawing on a variety of folkloric sources ranging from Siberian shamanism to Viking legends.
This year’s one-shot adventure follows Klaus on a quest to save two young children from the clutches of the Witch of Winter, who wishes to extend her icy dominion in an effort to stave off global warming. Touching upon a number of relevant environmental and social issues, Morrison and Mora’s delightful Yuletide yarn reminds us what’s really important during the holiday season isn’t what you get from Santa but what you give to others.
Grant Morrison (W), Dan Mora (A) • BOOM! Studios, $7.99
– Jason Wilkins
Black Hammer #6
Throughout its first five issues, the long-delayed Black Hammer has proven why it’s worth the wait. Unlike most modern event titles leading up to a new “world-changing” event, Lemire and Ormston’s fascinating series picks up after the cataclysm as a team of displaced heroes struggles to find new meaning in a world they never made.
The result is an incisive exploration of heroism (both super and otherwise) that plays to both creators’ strengths. The combination of Lemire’s subtle script and Ormston’s stylized pencils makes an emotionally fraught dinner as compelling as a cosmic odyssey. This issue concludes the series’ first arc with a spotlight on Madame Dragonfly, a supernatural titan with echoes of House of Mystery and early Vertigo, as a new arrival threatens to upend the team’s small-town existence.
Jeff Lemire (W), Dean Ormston (A) • Dark Horse Comics, $3.99
– Paul Mirek
Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #3
When last we saw the intrepid Cave Carson, he had just re-appropriated his old ride, the Mighty Mole MK 2, from his shady employers and was attempting to rescue his daughter Chloe, when her pursuers transformed into a gargantuan monster in the middle of high-speed car chase. Talk about a cliffhanger! Now, Cave along with Chloe and his colleague Jack Wheeler aka the Wild Dog, must embark on a new adventure to locate the lost city of Muldroog.
Gerard Way’s Young Animal imprint is a true beast, offering readers fun and exciting new takes on obscure, often forgotten characters from the DC vaults. So far, Cave Carson is the best of a strong stable of titles, thanks in large part to its witty dialogue and Oeming’s slick, kinetic artwork. Plus, the book co-stars Wild Dog! Need we say more? Go buy it already…
Gerard Way & Jonathan Rivera (W), Michael Avon Oeming (A) • DC Comics/Young Animal, $3.99
– Jason Wilkins
Dead Inside #1
Anyone interested in prison dramas and detective stories would be hard pressed to find a better series to jump onto than this new crime thriller by John Arcudi (B.P.R.D, Rumble) and Toni Fejzula (Lobster Johnson, Veil).
Detective Linda Caruso is tasked with the unenviable job of solving crimes that take place inside county jails. You’d think it couldn’t be all that bad with the suspects already locked up, but when the security cameras mysteriously go down during a murder and then someone tampers with the evidence, Caruso begins to suspect she’s trying to crack a case that no one wants solved.
You can read an interview with Dead Inside writer John Arcudi at Broken Frontier here.
John Arcudi (W), Toni Fejzula (A) • Dark Horse Comics, $3.99
– Tyler Chin-Tanner
Power Man and Iron Fist: Sweet Christmas Annual #1
From the old Marvel Giant Superhero Holiday Grab-Bag treasuries to DC’s similar Christmas with the Super-Heroes anthologies there’s a tradition of festive fun with the capes and cowls brigade that is very hard to resist. This week sees that classic Marvel double act of Luke Cage and Iron Fist getting in on the act in a seasonal special that hearkens back to Cage’s early days with its wittily constructed subtitle.
Indeed it’s been those echoes of the past that have made the monthly PM/IF revival such a critical success over the last few months. Walker and regular artist Sanford Greene have given us a series that never forgets the characters’ rich histories but has been unafraid to bring them into a more contemporary setting thematically.
It’s easy to say that if you’re not picking Power Man and Iron Fist up then you’re missing one of the best Marvel books on the shelves at the moment but it’s also a stark reality. This self-contained one-shot could be an ideal jumping-on point for the uninitiated.
David F. Walker (W), Scott Hepburn (A) • Marvel Comics, $4.99
– Andy Oliver