Pull! — final comics for this year. Because it’s NYE y’all!

Okay, I’m half asleep because the Insomnia Fairy decided to pay me a visit this morning.  You know when you’re wide awake when your eyes are closed, but totally sleepy when they’re open?  Yeah.  Anyway, here’s the last passel of library/catching up for the year.  Wow.  2011 zipped by.

Resolution?  Read more comics, of course.  And get more sleep, apparently.  Onward!

Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories

A collection of stories from the Web, previous material (the Dr Horrible one-shot) and a new story, this is a quick read geared towards fans of the Web series, Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. If you haven’t seen it yet? Seriously? SERIOUSLY? But really, if you haven’t, you won’t get much out of this. This volume assumes knowledge of the characters and the plot of the Webisodes.

The intro, written by the creators of this book, is a hoot, but the stories themselves are so-so. Still, I got a fannish thrill reading more about these characters, especially Penny. The best story here is “The Evil League of Evil”, about the E. L. E. and their nefarious plans to run amok when the superheroes go on retreat.

If there’s gonna be a sequel though? There’s gotta be a bit more substance. Hard to pull off with the Webisodes wrapping up things pretty well. For fans only.  Sorry.

Clive Barker’s HELLRAISER: Pursuit of the Flesh

This is the first time Clive Barker has dipped back in to the Hellraiser mythology, and the first time in comic book form. Pityit starts off with a great deal of muddled storytelling, because things pick up quite nicely as it goes on and folks who decide not to bother early on will miss out on a good thing. The premise is awesome; Pinhead, bored with the work of torture (nobody seems to have the  je ne sais quoi of exquisite pain anymore, so sad), decides to try to become human. This pulls in Kirsty Cotton and a bunch of…survivors of the Lament Configuration? Not sure exactly. Chapter 3 is the start of the explaining.

Barker is excellent at tickling the back of your brain and then letting you have it with both barrels. He weaves a much finer tale than any of the Hellraiser sequels. Not that that’s difficult, but he shows you how much better those sequels could have been in the hands of the master.  Pursuit of the Flesh compiles issues 1-4. I found myself turning the last page of chapter 4 and thinking “wait, that’s it? NOOOOO! ” Luckily, there’s some cool art from Barker (is there anything that man can’t do?) to wrap up this volume.  A troubled start, but all in all the makings of an amazing new series.

28 Days Later Volume 3: Hot Zone

Da-yam. Never trust the Government when a deadly virus that makes lunatic killers out of about 99% of the population hits the street y’all. Selena and the survivors of the ill-fated journalist mission for truth in the infected ravaged U. K. are doing the best they can to survive. No small trick, since one of them is now blind.

That’s the least of their problems in Hot Zone. An out of control forest fire not only threatens to end their quest for safety, it sends hordes of infected towards them. And let’s just say that the U. S. troops they encounter ain’t worried about our survivors welfare.

Tons of great action (once they left the safety of the house in Bend In The Road, you’d expect as much), and much like The Walking Dead, don’t pin your hopes on everyone surviving.  Counting the seconds ’til the library opens so I can grab Volume 4!

Batman: The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul

Oh how I love that this volume has an introduction to the main cast of characters! That makes readers that don’t know all the ins & outs of the Batman (like me) feel at home from the first panel. You know which Robin we’re talking about, and what ties everyone has to each other. Score!

As Ra’s Al Ghul’s daughter/Batman’s former squeeze Talia tells her young son Damian the story of her father, I eagerly snapped up the intel.  It’s an interesting story, and the exposition goes down smooth.  Plus, the artwork by a veritable Justice League of pencilers make the already fascinating story that much more enjoyable. A good story with tons of “whoa!”? Worth the time spent. Definitely.

Gotta love when characters pinpoint superhero psychoses, and there are a few good zingers here.  “Why is facing psychopathic super villains so much easier than facing your own emotions?” Because he’s Batman, baby.

The final chapter’s artwork is clunky in comparison to the others, but hey, writing with Grant Morrison? Gotta expect a few second bests from the other folks here & there.

Oh, and it ends on Christmas. Making it a perfect double date with….

Batman: Noël

“If you had the chance to change…to get it right…would you fight for it? “

This is a fantastic riff on A Christmas Carol, and one that fits perfectly into the world of Gotham.  Seen through the eyes of Bob Crachit, a poor man who has turned to some easy money in order to survive, Batman ain’t exactly the conquering hero.  Bruce Wayne is a Gotham City Scrooge; a wealthy man who has forgotten humanity in his quest to beat down the bad guys in a cape and cowl.  Now he’s a man that thinks of nothing more than “decreasing the surplus criminal population “.  Shades of Christmases past, present and future?  Got ’em: Robin as Marley, the ghost that hopes to change the life of Bruce Wayne before it’s too late. Catwoman as Christmas Past, Superman as Christmas Present…and the third? Well, wait and see.

Written, drawn and inked by Lee Bermejo, the same writer as the Joker.  Gorgeous art (plus, this Alfred looks a bit like John Waters, which is very cool indeed) and the colors by Barbara Ciardo are perfect for this tale.  Noël is about as perfect a one-shot as you can get, and is required reading for any fan of the Bat.  This will be added to my usual slate of Christmas must-dos.  I’ma need a copy of this for keepsies.

And on that note, Happy New Year!!!!

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