Ghostbusters Get Real #1 (2015)

Here’s a batch of books that’s been sitting in one of my nightstands since I first bought them all of three years ago… crazy how time slips by, but I’m finally getting to it, and it was well worth the wait!

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#spoilers

The tale begins in the realm of the cartoon, Ghostbusters Get Real, where the boys save a witch doctor from the ghost of her relative. Not long after they come face to face with a living statue of Atlas. The witch doctor, seeing the Ghostbusters in such trouble, intervenes by casting a spell to protect them at the precise moment Atlas moves to strike, and so they are sent into the universe of the IDW Ghostbusters.

There’s a bunch of hoodoo with the villain, Proteus, and how he’s vowed vengeance against the Ghostbusters, but he’s still behind in the IDW universe so we don’t have to worry about him much right now.

The more important part is when the Real Ghostbusters come to HQ and accidentally set Slimer loose (I’m not up-to-date on IDW’s Ghostbusters, but I understand that Slimer in that universe is not as friendly as he is in the cartoon). They easily trap the green sucker and that’s when the IDW Ghostbusters show up. We get the usual word play and fan service of the initial crossover, and it all ends with Janine telling them that there’s a Poltergeist in the Bronx that needs dealing with.

Two things I really enjoyed about this book were the art and the TMNT reference. For the art, I loved the retro cartoon portion, but what I was more impressed by was how I very much missed the switch-over to the IDW universe. It wasn’t until they reached Slimer that I became aware of the different look of it all. Maybe I’m just stupid, or maybe I was just sucked into the story – I’m for the latter.

Then there was the reference to the Turtles. They literally show off the inter-dimensional door the Turtles used to make it home during the Ghostbusters/TMNT crossover, so it was really cool to see such a blatant callback. It’s rich fan service that makes me giddy like a school boy.

Looking forward to reading the rest of this.

TL;DR Score: It brings new meaning to the phrase: “Who you gonna call?”

Superman #4 (2018)

This was a kick-ass issue – finally, the rematch with Rogal Zarr.

#spoilers

We hit the ground running with Superman and Rogal meeting head-to-head above Earth’s atmosphere. Rogal has an army of freaks at his call along with Jax-Ur. The fighting gets intense for Supes as he’s knocked back down to Earth and beaten into the ground.

Meanwhile, the Atom devises a plan to save Earth – by shrinking it down in order to pull it out of the Phantom Zone. It all goes well, even though Superman remains trapped in the Zone in order to keep all the prisoners off of Earth.

There’s a cool scene laced in during Superman’s struggle on Earth where we flashback to him and Jon in a junkyard. Jon’s angry about all the gossip and negative press against him and his father and feels the urge to take extreme actions against them, but Superman being the great dad that he is talks the boy down. He talks about having the urge to “pop Batman’s head off” from time to time, but the fact remains that Batman ends up alright and doing the right thing.

It’s all a lesson in being smart and not just throwing your fists at someone just because you’re angry or emotional. It’s an interesting parallel to Superman battling Rogal, which is arguably a fight born of hatred, and you have to wonder if Superman will cross that line with him, but I think as long as he holds on to his family he’ll always steer right.

TL;DR Score: Bendis can sure as hell write a convincing, fast-paced, thriller of an issue. Seriously.

The Legion of Monsters #1 (1975)

Picked this one out from the Marvel Unlimited library. I assume what I read was an incomplete copy since there was no Dracula portion (likely due to copyright), but that’s fine. What I did read was quite good.

#spoilers

First up is the Frankenstein Monster, in a contemporary tale where he stumbles upon a costume party in pursuit of his “Princess.” It’s a tender tale of the Monster simply looking for belonging and nearly finding it, making friends with both the Princess and a “Wolf Man.” Unfortunately, the Monster is deceived by a man dressed as a Jester and fails to save the Princess from being murdered, and so goes into a frenzy and wanders off alone.

Afterwards is the origin of the Manphibian (our resident Creature from the Black Lagoon). He basically comes crawling out of an oil well and all hell breaks loose. There’s the Oil Tycoon who’s a controlling husband and when his wife gets caught in all the hoopla of the monster attack he becomes revenge-fueled. There’s a whole part to the plot where there’s two Manphibians and it’s all about our hero taking his revenge on the other and it’s a little weird, but it’s still okay. Point is that by the end both Manphibian and the Tycoon are driven to track down each other a la Banner and McGee.

It was cool. From what I understand the concept of the Legion of Monsters evolved into a far more Marvel-ized iteration, but the promise here is all too intriguing. I’ll have to check out the other titles if I can. All in all though these two stories are very old school, telling deep, soulful tales of wronged “monsters.” Another check for the list of comics for fans of the classic monsters.

TL;DR Score: The Karloff and Chaney nods were a very nice touch.

Jughead: The Hunger #1 (2017)

This is the first of the Archie horror books I’ve read. I’ve always had a spot for Archie in my library (mostly as a bathroom read), and I grew up on the show “Archie’s Weird Mysteries,” so it’s kind of surprising I haven’t gotten to these books sooner.

#spoilers

I didn’t read the one-shot that precedes this book, but they recap it quickly enough. Essentially Jughead found out that his family is a long line of werewolves and his transformation had finally come to term. He also found out that Betty and all the Coopers are werewolf hunters, and so went on the run after he pretty much killed most of the Riverdale regulars, his most recent kill being Reggie. Unfortunately, it turns out that Reggie isn’t dead and has become a werewolf himself.

In the meanwhile Jughead is working at a circus where he chains himself up every night to avoid hurting people. Betty on the other hand is in pursuit of Jughead with Archie in tow. They end up teaming with Betty’s cousin Bo who has come to essentially toughen Archie up for the trials ahead.

Jughead wakes up in the lion cage and finds out he butchered a girl named Abbey he had just met, furthermore deducing that someone had set him loose the night before. Seeing no other choice Jughead hits the road again.

Lastly, Veronica is visited by Reggie in the night in full wolf form for a chilling cliffhanger.

It’s fun. What can I say? Seeing the Riverdale crew tossed into the horror genre is awesome and is a nice spin on the mythos. I think killing off most of the characters so early is kind of unfortunate in the long run, but who knows. I really like Frank Tieri; he’s a great writer with a solid sense of humor and it’s always a treat to find a book he’s had a hand in. I’m definitely eager to see where this story goes from here.

TL;DR Score: WereJug? JugWolf? Either way, he makes a great monster.

Batman Damned Book One (2018)

Just read that new Bat-book that everybody’s talking about and… Damn.

I honestly don’t know.

#spoilers

It’s a weird book. Bermejo’s art is stunning to look at and Azzarello writes a fast-paced narrative so you’re constantly turning pages and never actually feel bored, but it’s kinda weird stuff.

The gist of it is that Batman is sort of on the run, because Joker has been found dead and everything is in an uproar. Oh, and Constantine narrates/guest stars (kinda like Batman’s own Christmas ghost) and there’s weird flashbacks to Bruce as a kid where his Dad is a jerk and a child-like Enchantress is screwing with his head. I honestly can’t tell if it’s flashbacks, nightmares, mind games or what. It’s all pretty dense.

Damned is a book you kind of need to interpret for yourself. I’m willing to check out more of it, because again it moves fast and is gorgeous to look at. Furthermore, as DC’s flagship Black Label book, I’m curious to see where they’ll go with such boundaries.

Yes – you see Batman’s dick in this book, a few times actually, but they don’t necessarily flaunt it. Honestly I thought it was neat, sort of like an adult “everybody poops.” Seeing Batman’s junk oddly enough reminds you that he’s a man in the end, stripped naked and exposed. It was just very real, you know? I don’t know. It is what it is. I have a weird way of absorbing the little things…. Or the big things I suppose… Maybe DC was just looking to be gratuitous and flashy.

Either way, Book One is a strange and unusual start to what could be an interesting new era for DC and Batman. Looking forward to more.

TL;DR Score: Yeah… Batman’s packing…

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #7 (2017)

I’ve been getting caught up on the recent Scarlet Spider series and so far I’m really digging it. This particular issue really stood out for me, because it touches on some very interesting topics.

#spoilers

In short the entirety of the issue is a long conversation between Ben Reilly and Death. She basically takes issue with him on account of the fact that he has died the most out of anybody in existence. Apparently when people die their souls pass to a realm where they’re all a bunch of glowing orbs, but for Ben’s his has been broken down and beaten to the point that if he dies one more time and comes back he will be a heartless and evil bastard to the core.

So essentially the mission statement now is that Ben has to work on reclaiming the purity of his soul by doing good.

The thing that raises a question for me is the fact that Ben Reilly dying and then cloning himself counts as one soul connected. If that’s the case shouldn’t he technically be part of Peter Parker’s soul? The only way I can rationalize it is that Ben Reilly exists as his own soul, because he was alive at the same time as Peter Parker…? Like if Pete has died and then Ben was brought to life he would’ve taken up the totem, but was forced into manifesting his own soul because Peter’s was occupied. Which means the only way Ben’s soul carries over is if he’s dead completely and not cloning himself while alive, meaning there could be other Ben Reilly souls out there…

Yeah, it makes me think. I like it though, because the concept serves well as a running objective for Ben. I like to think that this whole “save my soul” bit is still happening in the current issues. I just think it crosses another complex line in the realm of clones.

And if I’m to put anything in writing, I’ve never taken issue with the Clone Saga. It’s a weird enough chapter in Spidey’s mythos that I might block it out when reading and thinking about the web-head, but when it shows itself I don’t shy away.

TL;DR Score: Looooove that cover.

Broken Moon #4 (2015)

The grand finale! The ultimate battle between Werewolves, Frankensteins, Vampires, and Humans!

#spoilers

The book starts with a brief exchange where we get the unveiling of Franken-Wolf. Good, wholesome, brain-damaged humor right here.

The rest is pretty much history. The amassed force of monsters move on to Vamp City and go into all out war. The Man and Woman end up taking it upon themselves to free the slaves and take down the big bad Orlok-Vamp (by way of strapping explosives to his torso while he’s distracted).

But the real reason they win? Are you ready for this?

An army of disgruntled Gillmen show up. It feels a little like a deus ex machina, but it’s slightly valid. They do iterate through the prior issues that there could be other monsters out there, so it would make sense that if vampires were suddenly polluting the ocean on a massive scale any dwellers there wouldn’t take it kindly. I’m okay with it. It’s a little lazy but hey, I love me some monsters, so bring on all the monsters.

And that’s basically it. There. Broken Moon. It’s a fun book, and can be tackled within one sitting if you have the time or care for it. Jones’ art is worth it alone. It’s so rich and gothic and wonderful. I’d be curious to know what a six issue stretch would’ve played out like (there’s sketches for two additional covers in the back of the book so I’d say that was the original intent), but I guess we’ll never know.

If you like the classic monsters and have a taste for a modern post-apocalyptic spin, give Broken Moon a try.

TL;DR Score: I’m a little peeved Franken-Wolf didn’t get a moment of glory on the battlefield… I demand a spin-off.

Broken Moon #3 (2015)

Things start gearing up for the grand finale, with a little bit of insanity and the good ol’ ultraviolence.

#spoilers

We open with a couple fleeing Vamp City with their infant child and come across the enormous pipe dumping glowing green sludge into the ocean. The husband in his cowardice ends up being disintegrated by the sludge, leaving the wife and child to be recaptured by the vampires.

Meanwhile, in the town of Frankenstein, Victor basically says “screw you” to everyone in their goal to stop the vampires, believing he owes nothing to anyone. The man, woman, and Lead Wolf offer Jack Show Frankenstein to come see the city and the pollution for himself, and he agrees. They leave the rest of the werewolves in the town, and so a fight breaks out between them and the Frankensteins. In the midst of this, the Lead Wolf’s jerk of a right-hand man gets taken by Victor and experimented on.

The four heroes come to the outskirts of Vamp City where they find a group of humans (the mother and infant amongst them) being taken back to the city. Jack Show Frankenstein leaps into action and tears the vampires to a bloody pulp. He then tells the others that he will convince the others to join the fight.

Upon returning to Frankenville, the Jack Show is outraged when he discovers that Victor has butchered one of the werewolves. He chews him out and then leaves, taking the rest of the Frankensteins with him.

See? A little more going on in this issue; not much, but something. This isn’t a Pulitzer or literary masterpiece we’re reading here, but it is a fun little read.

TL;DR Score: Frankenwolf? I’m sold.

Broken Moon #2 (2015)

Issue two is a little slower than the first, but it does well in setting up what’s to follow, with a few cool bits along the way.

#spoilers

We pick up moments after where we left off and thus find ourselves in the midst of a vicious brawl between werewolves and vampires. It’s bloody and violent and too too short. The werewolves come out on top and make friendly with the humans.

Meanwhile, back in Vamp City, we’re introduced to the Count Orlok-esque vampire leader. He gets a little anxious to get the pipes pumping into the ocean to further the pollution of the world and that’s about it apart from killing one of his servants because that’s what cold leaders do.

Back with our heroes there’s some campfire chit-chat where the Wolf Leader suggests finding more help to storm the vampire stronghold, specifically help from other creatures of the night. They set out in search of a rumored village and cross paths with a jack show closely resembling the Frankenstein Monster, who then leads the troop to his village teeming with like beings, as well as a stitched up Victor Frankenstein playing god in his lab.

Like I said, it’s a slower chapter, but all considered it’s still a fun and quick read, especially how it so swiftly expands the mythos of this world without feeling to outrageous.

TL;DR Score: If there’s an ace in the hole for this book it’s the army of Frankensteins.

Broken Moon #1 (2015)

Broken Moon is a nice little gem from the realm of horror fantasy. I haven’t delved too far into this area of the genre of comic books, but I find for the odd one that I do pick out I’ve usually picked right. As a big horror/monster buff this one really called to me and rightfully so. Apart from being contained to a mere four issues there’s not a whole lot wrong with this book for me, it’s fun and intuitive and leaves me wanting more, but altogether satisfied.

 

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#spoilers

The premise of this book is that in the near-ish future the people of Earth look to the moon for colonizing, but somewhere along the way war erupts and the Moon is literally left broken and causes the rest of Earth to suffer from the fallout. This makes way for monsters and the things that go bump in the night to emerge after hiding away from humans for centuries, the head of this takeover being the Vampires.

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Then the real story starts. A woman breaks free from a Vampire stronghold and is rescued by a man on a motorcycle. Through a little exposition we learn what seems pretty obvious: Vampires are breeding/bleeding humans for their own sustenance, as well as enslaving them to build factories designed simply to block out the sun through immense pollution.

We then get introduced to the werewolves. A pack of them are chasing down a loner, but are stopped by their leader, a very Wolf Man looking kind of guy who preaches about not needing human blood and that his brethren are foolishly falling into stereotypes. It’s neat, because in this iteration if a werewolf truly succumbs to their change they became literal wolves, while the former simply remains half man half wolf. I like it. The loner then explains that he was trying to escape the vampires, a troop of them that we see are flying-rocket-bat-ship-things. More cool stuff.

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The flying-rocket-bat-ship-things then attack the small group of rebels we met earlier, leaving it down to the man and woman escaping on motorcycle again (Nitpick #1: we still don’t know these peoples’ names and I don’t even remember what they actually are even after reading the book). They escape only to become cornered by the ravenous wolves.

TL;DR Score: Solid start, and some really captivating artwork!