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Another huge week for horror fans in the wide world of comics.  This was a big quality week though with some fantastic books.  Here's what I read this week!

 

 

The Darkness 104 01 The Darkness #104
Published by Top Cow Productions
Written by Ron Marz
Illustrated by Jeremy Haun
$2.99, 32 Pages

Jackie Estacado's world is literally coming apart at the seams.  He spent so much time and effort in crafting the perfect existence for him and his family, but he didn't account for the Darkness and how it would react to this new position of power.  Separated from its host, the Darkness is somehow even more evil.  Jackie was able to keep it in check before and he still can to an extent, but it's clearly pushing the boundaries of its prison and really messing with the guy's life.  It's like it's striking back at Jackie for trying to get rid of it. 

As if being stuck in a constant struggle against his inner -- and now outer -- demons wasn't enough, Jackie has to deal with a rival mob boss that's looking for revenge.  Everything in this man's life is reaching a breaking point and it's only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down.

Jeremy Haun has been killing it on this book.  The characters look like your everyday people which makes the bizarre stuff like the disgusting rash that spreads up Hope's arm seem all the more unnatural.  It's unsettling when you see this young girl playing with these disturbing mutant kittens like it's no big deal.  In addition to that, there's a scene towards the end of the issue where Jackie loses his shit.  He falls into an uncontrollable fit of rage and things get bloody...real bloody.  There's a page that's presented without a single word.  Jackie does all the talking he needs with his fists as he beats the living crap out of someone.  The images are visceral and full of hate.  Keep in mind, all this is happening when Jackie is separated from the Darkness so it's not even like he can say that he was influenced in this beating.  This is all him.

In some ways, reading this relaunch of The Darkness is like watching a train wreck.  I'm not saying that like the book itself is a train wreck.  What I mean is that I can't help but look away.  It's very clear that Jackie's experiment with reality will not end well.  There's no happily ever after here.  This is going to end in tears and blood.

Grades:

 


Overall: Fourandahalfstars

 

 

Alabaster Wolves 3 01 Alabaster: Wolves #3
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Caitlin R. Kiernan
Illustrated by Steve Lieber
$3.50, 32 Pages

After nearly dying in a church fire, Dancy Flammarion wakes up to find that she's been saved by the ghost of the werewolf she killed in the first issue of the series.  The wolf aims to collect on the debt owed to her and a life is something that's not easily repaid.  Dancy explains some back story about how she came into possession of an old shirt with the name "Culhurch" embroidered on the front.  It's a tale of desperation -- which is something that I've come to expect from Alabaster: Wolves -- and involves an evil and misguided man. 

Dancy is well known in the supernatural community now.  Word has spread that she's out to kill monsters, guided by the flaming sword of an incredibly creepy four faced angel.  She adheres to a strict belief of right and wrong which is why she feels compelled to repay her debt to the ghost.  She can't not do it, even if she's still unsure of the lycanthrope spirit's motives.  From the looks of things, Dancy is being pulled towards whomever turned this woman into a werewolf to begin with.

Steve Lieber's art continues to capture that desolate feeling that flows from every pore of Caitlin R. Kiernan's story.  Dancy's pale, yet dirt-stained face is full of emotion.  She's angry and confused and she's tired of being pushed around, but she can never turn away from her morals.  Later on, she encounters a caged woman and the look of sadness on this lady's face is heartbreaking.  Lieber manages to say so much about her situation in her eyes that Kiernan doesn't have to go into her backstory at all. 

It should also be noted that Greg Ruth's cover is awesome.  Dancy's depicted with a giant panther engulfing her head and she doesn't seem to care.  It's a great image.

Grades:

 


Overall: Fourandahalfstars

 

 

Pick Of The Week

Baltimore Dr Leskovars Remedy 1 01
Baltimore: Dr. Leskovar's Remedy #1
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
Illustrated by Ben Stenbeck
$3.50, 32 Pages

The most hardcore vampire hunter that's ever lived returns to the funny books.  In case you forgot, Lord Baltimore survived a massacre in World War I as vampires tore through his squad.  The head bloodsucker then killed his family and he's been looking for revenge ever since.  He also has a peg leg. 

Dr. Leskovar's Remedy opens up in a peaceful fishing village in Croatia.  Baltimore literally crash lands right on the shore just after a strange monster tore apart his plane and ate the pilot.  In typical badass fashion, the guy killed the beast and took down the plane, then got out and shot the thing to make sure it was dead.  When Baltimore awakens, he finds that the area has been plagued with vampires and a doctor in the area is trying to find a cure.  Unfortunately, he's grown mad and needs more vampires to experiment on, so he's been picking up villagers to convert.  Conveniently, his shop is on the way on Baltimore's path to vengeance.

Ben Stenbeck manages to collect so much into each panel of this comic.  It's almost storyboarded like a movie with these occasional stolen glimpses at Baltimore, giving you a peek into his tortured soul.  Then it'll flash back to a scene of him fighting a beast or a huge vampire, reminding you of the life he leads.  The vampires themselves are pretty terrifying in Dr. Leskovar's Remedy.  They're mutated, so they're not your everyday bloodsuckers.  These things are hulking monsters with long spindly fingers at the end of disjointed limbs.  That doesn't bother Baltimore though.  Just more things to kill. 

I can't stress enough how completely balls-to-the-wall tough Baltimore is.  This guy doesn't owe anything to these people that he's just met.  After crashes a plane at the edge of their village, he up and leaves the next day but makes it clear that the doctor is on his way.  He never says that he'll help them, but he kills monsters and this man is certainly one of them.  If you're tired of sparkly vampires, read Baltimore: Dr. Leskovar's Remedy.  Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden have brought the terror back to vampire lore.

Grades:

 


Overall: Fivestars

 

 

Bprd Hell On Earth The Devils Engine 2 01 B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: The Devil's Engine #2
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Illustrated by Tyler Crook
$3.50, 24 Pages

B.P.R.D. field agent Andrew Devon narrowly escaped death by train explosion thanks to the doom-predicting young woman known as Fenix.  Unfortunately this has left them stranded in the middle of Nowhere, USA, without a sign of civilization for as far as the eye can see.  To make matters worse, they also have giant monsters stalking them.  The phrase "out of the frying pan and into the fire" works well here.

In addition to all this, we're given a brief peek into a story involving mega corporation Zinco. I know next to nothing about this, but they're up to something and they might be working against the B.P.R.D., which makes sense because it's not like that organization has enough to worry about with Hell on Earth or anything.

The art from Tyler Crook is very casual. The opening scenes of Devon and Fenix playing fetch with her dog in the desert lure you into a false sense of security.  They're alive, unlike everyone else that was on the train, but maybe things aren't so bad.  It isn't until they stumble upon a big rig and what's left of its driver that things get amped up.  That's when Crook pulls the trigger and goes all out on the horror.  These monsters are terrifying. They look like a cross between a hammerhead shark and a giant spider that's made of bones.

Every time I think that the situation in B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth can't get any worse, Mignola and John Arcudi throw in something else to make it more dire.  I don't know if the world is ending or if it's already over.  These people are just trying to pick up the pieces, but there's just so much working against them. 

Grades:

 


Overall: Threeandahalfstars

 

 

Ragemoor 4 01 Ragemoor #4
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Jan Strnad
Illustrated by Richard Corben
$3.50, 26 Pages

The epic saga of Ragemoor comes to a close this month.  The living castle is quiet, which is never a good thing.  Herbert is stuck in a bout of depression as his love Anoria was swallowed up by the grounds with her love Tristano.  Ragemoor needs an heir, though, and it will get one by any means necessary.  What follows is a disturbing trip through madness as Herbert struggles against the castle and its servants.  I don't want to spoil anything here, but if you had any doubts that this place was messed up, they will be put to rest by the time you finish this issue.

Of course, it wouldn't be an unsettling story without some equally unsettling artwork.  Richard Corben provides the illustrations for Jan Strnad's plot.  Delivered in black and white, the pencils help cement the old horror movie vibe that Ragemoor can emanate.  I could easily see Herbert played by Vincent Price.  The creatures that he encounters in this issue are the kind of things that can haunt your nightmares. 

Ragemoor delved into some really strange places throughout its brief run.  Through its ups and downs, it had an ever-present sense of terror.  It was the kind that creeps in around you and catches you off guard when the real crazy stuff starts. 

Grades:

 


Overall: Threeandahalfstars

 

 

Nancy In Hell On Earth 3 01 Nancy in Hell on Earth #3
Published by Image Comics
Written by El Torres
Illustrated by Enrique Lopez Lorenzana
$2.99, 32 Pages

This is the Apocalypse, bitch.  That's right on the cover of the latest issue of Nancy in Hell on Earth and it sums up what you need to know getting into it.  The angels of heaven are tearing the world apart as they battle horrifying creatures from hell. Our girl Nancy is right in the middle of it and she's pissed.  She does what any other tough-as-nails broad would do in her situation: She puts on her gloves, picks up her chainsaw, and leads an army to stop all this shit.

This book is like a grindhouse movie on a huge world-ending level.  That should be pretty obvious from the cover of this issue, which is a throwback to the movie posters of old, complete with fold marks.  Admittedly, I felt like I was missing a few pieces of information with the story, but that's probably because it's been awhile since the previous issue was on stands.  With a book like this, you kind of have to just go with it. 

It's easy to do that with the artwork.  Enrique Lopez Lorenzana is crazy talented and it shows.  Even when someone is writhing in agony, they still look beautifully rendered.  This book is filled with cheesecake though.  All of the angels are gorgeous naked women so you can't throw a rock without hitting a boob.  What's funny is that despite the fact that there are boobs aplenty, Lorenzana got creative to avoid showing the other lady bits.  Characters are conveniently holding a parchment or standing in just the right spot so that another angel's sword or wingspan is blocking the area.  If that wasn't enough for you, he also put in a number of cameos from the horror and cult cinema world.  I spotted Danny Trejo, Quentin Tarantino, and that weird bald guy from The Hills Have Eyes amongst the twelve prisoners that are following Lucifer into battle.

Nancy in Hell on Earth is over-the-top violence on an apocalyptic scale.  It doesn't take itself too seriously, so it's able to be what most comics should be: fun. 

Grades:

 


Overall: Threeandahalfstars

 

 

Grim Leaper 2 01 Grim Leaper #2
Published by Image Comics
Written by Kurtis Wiebe
Illustrated by Alusio C. Santos
$3.50, 32 Pages

The strangest love story I've ever seen gets a little weirder this month.  Lou and Ella attempt to track each other down as their minds have taken over the bodies of new people after they were both horrifically killed last time.  Neither of them has any idea why they're constantly being reincarnated, but they've found a kindred spirits in one another.

I love the concept of Grim Leaper, but I'm concerned that we won't get the full story in the four planned issues.  This is a heavy concept that has left a lot of questions so far.  What's up with the haunted painting that eats Lou every time he comes back to earth?  Why do they keep dying?  Why did Lou zap into the body of a married man this time instead of a lonely single guy like every one before him?

When it comes to gruesome death scenes, you will not find better than those of Alusio C. Santos.  There are a few downright horrific kills in this issue that are elaborate, gory, and really funny.  It's like watching a Final Destination movie and trying to guess how the person is going to die.  You'll always end up surprised by just how insane and bloody the death will be. 

Grades:

 


Overall: Threestars

 

 

Mars Attacks 1 01 Mars Attacks #1
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by John Layman
Illustrated by John McCrea
$3.99, 26 Pages

I know that Mars Attacks was around ages ago, but I don't know much about it outside of the Tim Burton movie from 1996.  Creepy aliens attack the earth with ray guns capable of incinerating a human being in an instant.  I didn't know why.  John Layman has started to tell me though.  It seems back in the '60s a small group of Martians crash land in some podunk town in Middle America.  Instead of realizing what a scientific breakthrough this was, they do what any ignorant people would do and sell it to the local freak show.  Chaos ensues.  People die and years later the planet is invaded.  It's a tale as old as time.

As Mars Attacks is owned by Topps (the trading card company), each section of the comic is introduced with a card-like image.  It gives the book a nostalgic feel.  Speaking of which, John McCrea amps that up with his '60s era America.  I also love the way that he draws the Martians.  They have this crazed look to them.  They're never calm.  They're in a state of constant surprise and/or anger. 

Mars Attacks looks to be another fun title which I'm glad to see.  Layman is no stranger to amusing comics as he also writes Chew for Image, which is an absolute blast.  I'm interested to see where this book goes and with the flashes between the past and the present, it'll be a great ride to see how one leads to another.

Grades:

 


Overall: Threeandahalfstars

 

 

Also on stands this week but not on my reading list at this time were the following!

 

  • Dark Horse Presents #13 (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Dominique Laveau Voodoo Child #4 (Vertigo)
  • Hellblazer #292 (Vertigo)
  • Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: Fool Moon #6 (Dynamite Entertainment)
  • Vampirella vs Dracula #5 (Dynamite Entertainment)
  • Eternal Descent #5 (IDW Publishing)
  • Ghostbusters #10 (IDW Publishing)
  • Godzilla #2 (IDW Publishing)
  • True Blood #2 (IDW Publishing)
  • Chew #27.1 Second Helping Edition (Image Comics)
  • Rebel Blood #4 (Image Comics)
  • Reed Gunther #10 (Image Comics)
  • Walking Dead #99 (Image Comics)
  • Crossed Badlands #8 (Avatar Press)
  • Planet of the Apes #15 (BOOM! Studios)
  • Grimm Fairy Tales Angel One Shot (Zenescope Entertainment)

 

And in graphic novel news...

 

  • Angel And Faith: Vol 1 - Live Through This (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Frankenstein Agent Of S.H.A.D.E.: Vol 1 - War Of The Monsters (DC Comics)
  • Hellblazer: Vol 3 - The Fear Machine New Edition (Vertigo)
  • Godzilla: Legends (IDW Publishing)
  • Illustrated Masques (IDW Publishing)
  • Lovecraft Library: Vol 2 - Call Of Cthulhu And Other Mythos Tales (IDW Publishing)
  • Mars Attacks Classics: Vol 1 (IDW Publishing)
  • Spawn Origins Collection: Vol 15 (Image Comics)
  • Kade Mourning Sun (Arcana Studios)
  • Grimm Fairy Tales: Vol 3 New Printing (Zenescope Entertainment)
  • Grimm Fairy Tales: Vol 5 New Printing (Zenescope Entertainment)

 

Lots of comics for horror fans.  You've heard my thoughts on this week's titles, but I want to know what was in your pull list.  Let me know in the comments!

 

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Want to comment on this? You can leave one below or head over to the HorrorTalk Review Forum.

 

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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