This is a superb collection of creepy tales from a master storyteller.
It’s worth emphasising that these stories reside far more on the creepy side of horror, as opposed to gore. As such, due to Corben’s skill in weaving them, they can really mess with your head.
Choosing to use black and white art for the great majority of the collection, Corben demonstrates very effectively how it can be every bit the equal of full colour art and even, when properly used, superior. Every carefully constructed page is pretty much a masterpiece:
The volume itself is an excellent quality, big standard size hardback from DHC. It goes very nicely with Corben’s 2014 work Spirits of the Dead.
Scarlet Traces: Volume Two (2000AD)
I was inclined to be critical of 2000AD for bundling The Great Game story, a reprint for me, with the new Cold War arc, however, the latter accounts for the far greater part of this volume so it’s better than I thought.
The story itself? Cold War is a superb continuation that sets up even more ambitious future tales that I hope they get the opportunity to tell.
There’s something about Edgington and D’Isreali, the two work together exceedingly well, thus their collaborations are always worth checking out, this is no exception.
I’m a bit too fond of this GIF but there are times when it is most fitting:
And this is one of those times. Granted, it all has to pay off in Doomsday Clock and this adds another piece of the puzzle and indeed pressure onto that story.
One of the best aspects of this is that the story has the globe erupting in chaos, more than anyone could deal with - even Superman. So Jurgens does this brilliant two-pager that has Superman saving people while summarising what everyone else is doing in various locations. It’s a really neat touch.
As to the how the book deals with the revelation of Oz’s identitym develops and concludes, along with the cliffhanger resolution - DC should avoid the temptation to double-up on this, just start AC OHC3 with #993, reduce the price if you have to - is very, very smart. On the face of it Oz’s motivation isn’t entirely lacking in plausibility, but only in the final confrontation does the more elaborate truth come out, which in turns points Superman towards his destiny of Doomsday Clock.
There’s also a well-done Superman / Lex team-up come punch-up that avoids taking the obvious or expected route.
For anyone who’s been enjoying DC’s output, this is essential. The OHC is good quality, the lenticular cover on top is a bonus. Get it.
Secret Weapons OHC
On the face of it, this is pretty pricey for a 4-issue OHC, but once you understand it has pages like this of wonderfully constructed panels:
Your outlook changes, as the extra page space really show it off very well.
There have been screenwriters who have tried their hand at comics but I don’t think anyone has nailed it quite like Arrival’s Eric Heisserer. Combined with Allen’s incredible dense yet clear pages, he packs a lot into each issue, so much so this feels and reads as more than a 4-issue arc.
Whether you read this as the paperback or OHC - ensure you take a look at it.
It’s also much stronger than the Divinity Trilogy OHC, which tended to lose steam as it went along. If they can keep to the standard they’ve set here, this’ll be a book to watch.
Valiant are really good with that, even with their big crossovers I noticed they structure them cleverly with different perspectives so you can easily get away with just following the one book if you want.
Argh, I knew all the overdue new listings would appear the day I didn’t bother to look. There are loads of surprising titles in that list.
Wasn’t that universally panned?
X-Men Classic seems like something people have wanted for a while.
X-Men Epic Volume 3
Hulk Epic Volume 3
Mutant X? Really? This is on my “so reviled it has to be worth a look” list and has been for years.
Dr Strange Epic volume 1
A Quasar trade?! That perfectly follows on from the Quasar Classic v1 that was published 6 years ago and never followed up?
Only two years late for Agents of SHIELD series 4 synergy!
I thought the reprint of the Omnibus had killed this. Huzzah!
The blurb says this also contains a “never-before-published” Dr Druid story (#1-4) but I’m sure I’ve heard people talk about Ellis’ Druid before now.
West Coast Avengers Epic v1. I had wondered if this series would make it into Epics too. Bodes well for Spectacular Spider-Man at some point.
I’ve been looking recently at picking up the Ultimate Edition trades, which I never got around to buying apart from v5, but they’re long OOP and ridiculously expensive, so this is great! I’m taking full credit for this, after suggesting to Marvel on Twitter that they reprint this to go with the new ongoing. There is absolutely no disputing that whoever runs their Twitter account saw my tweet and passed it up the chain to make this happen.
Another Darkhold book? Odd.
Thor Epic v5, which is the tail end of the Lee/Kirby era.