Man. These books showed up for October, I’ll tell you what. This week was dark, people. I mean, really, on every level. Witness:
NEONOMICON #2 – I read this last, by candlelight, just like the previous issue. Moore’s got the headliner spot anytime he shows up. But ah God, just . . . it was very well written. That’s what’s so horrifying about it. Moore does such an effective job of bypassing all your defenses and dialing you right into his characters’ heads (and, yeah, here, bodies) that what transpires in the back half of the issue is all the more just scratch-out-your-eyes unbearable, because these are not images on a two-dimensional plane, these are really people and what’s happening to them should not be happening to anyone. It’s not so bad, not AS bad, just to describe the plot after the fact to somebody, you know, I mean, at this point, we’re all pretty jaded. How many SAWs have they made now? But right there in the middle of it, when those characters are breathing and screaming and begging, incarnate from the spellcraft of the Great Wizard of Northampton, man, that shit sticks with you and it is not a good thing. I really spent most of Thursday trying to wipe the images from my mind, not as much what was on the page but the business that my mind filled in in the gutters. The work of Jacen Burrows’s career, mind you. Wondering what could possibly be on the slate for the back half of this series. But, I can wait. You boys take your time, there.
THE BOYS #47—And then Ennis just gives us both barrels. That cover is much more of a damn shame after reading the issue. Everything in here makes perfect sense. Old Butcher came off as a few shades less subtle than I expected, especially given the deft touch he had with events last month, but I guess Hughie’s not exactly really paying attention at the moment. Nice bit juggling the scale there, we care so much more what’s going on with two people at a park than every superhero holding a clandestine stratospheric meeting, didn’t even realize we didn’t make it back up there until some time after finishing the issue. Sorry not to see Robertson hammering these nails into place on a coffin he did so much to build, but you can’t find fault with Braun. A riveting read, month in, month out.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #37—No! Xander & Dawn, don’t you realize that you are in the middle of a Whedon season finale? If there is one thing you never never do at that time, it’s nose up against the satisfying end of a character arc or, really, declare your undying affection for someone who might be your true love, and you really really don’t want to be talking about just getting away from all of this and on with the rest of your lives, just after this last mission is over. I like the retcon on the Season One Big Bad being the Hellmouth’s protector. If they’re not messing with us, nice of them to knock any speculation I might have re: the majority of this post by showing us the cover for next month, and, really, putting that on the cover in the first place. I swear to God, these people.
AMERICAN VAMPIRE #7—This continues to be an excellent read even without any help from up north. No shortcuts here, just solid character work grafting vampire mythos onto actual history with Rafael Albuquerque destroying page after page. Was feeling all right hitting this at $4 a pop, delighted they’re rolling it back after I guess the next couple of issues.
HOUSE OF MYSTERY #30—Um. I’m not even sure what happened. But this series is still killing it after two and a half years and I think we might have gotten the best story-within-a-story yet. All praise be to Sturges.
BLACKEST NIGHT #9/BRIGHTEST DAY #11—But so you see? Two Vertigos, THE BOYS, BUFFY, all pretty creepy stuff. I figured the one bright patch would, you know, be this. Cue the inexplicable and completely uncalled for return of the Black Lanterns. Um, this might have been a little cooler or more jawdropping if the thing with them hadn’t just gotten resolved like in this same calendar year. As little as I really care about the participants of both conflicts in this issue, it was an entertaining enough read. Looks like I’ll probably hang out for the back half of this one, unlike that old JUSTICE LEAGUE book, the title of which I’m not even going to spell all the way out again.
BEST OF WEEK: S.H.I.E.L.D. #4—Ah, a mainline of the good stuff. This is another one of those that’re going to read so much better in trade, just because every single advertisement is an affront against whatever page of sequentials it’s opposite. Were Newton and da Vinci speaking in actual Egyptian hieroglyphics? Would love to know what they were saying. And, uh, what the words sounded like. We finally get to find out how the world does in fact end, information it’s been strongly implied since the first issue that somebody actually has. Does that last scene make Nostradamus the Big Bad? Loved the starbirth of that baby Celestial. Am just horribly impressed with every aspect of this series. Weaver is a force.