Reviews Around The Horn: Short Stacks

Quick hit reviews from the stacks of new comic books out this week. There's a new judge in town.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Judge Dredd #1

LOT of books in a week. Always is, and we can't cover them all. But, in the interest of covering many, here are some condensed bullet point reviews of a handful of new books – some of which we should be thankful for, some of which… not so much, maybe.


JUDGE DREDD #1 (W: Duane Swiercynski, A: Nelson Daniel, Paul Gulacy)

The latest attempt to import the most popular British comic book character ever comes from IDW, and it's not bad. Perhaps I don't have the proper street cred to be steeped in 2000 A.D. lore (and feel free to condescend to me if you do and you have unkind things to say about this book), but it's a nice start, with a satirical Robocop-esque feel to the Mega City One society – complete with either incompetent or impudent security robots frustrating their owners. The lowliest of robots ditching off duties has a ripple effect that screws up society for the elites, and it may be building towards something bigger than Dredd getting facefuls of tomato. S'alright.



COMEBACK #1 (W: Ed Brisson, A: Michael Walsh)

An Image comic which seems to have much in common with the movie Looper, as in the process of time travel seems to be a service provided to those of questionable character and perhaps for unsavory purposes. We open with a guy being kidnapped by a pair of agents to be forcibly transported 62 days into his future, only to have him bubble-up and explode in a pulpy mess once he does. Then, your average doughy business type hires a squinty-eyed hardass to save his wife's life. Back to agents Mark and Seth, who learn that the bubble-up guy was likely hiding a tumor, and apparently time travel with tumors is a no-no. Then they get assigned the same case as Squinty. Jump to Squinty, who then seems to be following up on Mark and Seth's first case in a different way – and possibly out to kill the guy instead.  So… yeah, time travel confusion, and Walsh's art works well, even though it feels like the same style that's in every third book these days. It's cool enough to warrent a look, though. I'll be getting #2.



NUMBER 13 #0 (W: David Walker, A: Robert Love)

A young boy with a 13 on his head is wandering through a wasteland looking for his father and comprehending little of his surroundings. He saves a three-eyed girl named Lorna from an ogre with his super robo-death-machine powers, and then gives her a cool artificial leg, but when she takes him back to meet her burly hooded father, he's grateful, but quickly turns on the boy. Apparently, 13 is a threat, created by some Dr. Who-looking hipster – and at this point I'm completely thrown out of the book due to the use of 'suppose' where the word 'supposed' is supposed to go. I blame Britney Spears for ruining everybody's understanding of that word. Eventually, though, I check back in, and I like how imaginative this world is, complete with chattering flying robot eyeballs and a slew of funky looking creature/bots of which 13 seems to be a lost member. It also seems that Dr. Who dude created a plague that turned humanity into mutants, went insane trying to cure it with artificial/human hybrids, and by "cure" he means "kill everybody." This story first ran in Dark Horse Presents, and a miniseries is to follow. It's freaky enough to warrant further investigation. Just… come on, writers. You're supposed to know how to conjugate the verb 'suppose.' 



CLONE #1 (W: David Schulner, A: Juan Jose Ryp)

What do you do when you're about to go to work and suddenly you find a bloodied, dying guy who looks just like you in your kitchen – looking like something you just had a nightmare about? Well, you get very confused. Clone is pretty high-octane, dropping us right in the middle of a crazy plot we don't yet understand – Luke Taylor apparently has many clones of himself running around, some good and some bad, and one of them abducts his pregnant wife Amelia. Luke runs off after her, while a black-leather lady shows up and saves the bloody clone, who is apparently named Foss. It's all very fuzzy at this point, but hey, clones! The art is okay, mildly unpleasant at times as I'm not a big fan of Ryp's puffy faces, but solid at other points. The energy in this book is great, though, and it's got enough inertia to take us to the next issue.



SUPURBIA #1 (W: Grace Randolph, A: Russel Dauterman)

Earlier this year, the Supurbia miniseries made a splashy, trashy soap opera out of the private lives of superheroes, and it was a good deal of fun. Now, we've got an ongoing with the same creative team, opening with the Superman allegory Sovereign – who is a public hero and a private dick, and I'm not talkin' detective – threatening Lois Lane, er, Haley Harper against writing a tell-all book about the private dick part, which she's dead set on doing because he dumped her, and then snuck supervillain Hella Heart out of jail to be his pseudo-concubine. Then there's Batu (Wonder Woman) trying to deal with the idea that her son has the power she thought belonged to her daughter and likely about to do it in a scary way. Then Night Fox (Batman) having an extramarital affair with Agent Twilight (Nightwing) – it's all very juicy. The art is a bit hit and miss for me, but the story and satire is good enough to keep me on board.



THE SPIDER #6 (W: David Liss, A: Colton Worley)

I really want to like this book. I like Liss, I like the hero in question, but it all comes down to how off-putting Worley's artwork is. It appears to mostly be him photoshopping images of his friends into each role, and even if that's not actually his process, it really detracts from the coolness of the dark noir setting and the awesome look of The Spider. The lead bad guy in this issue looks like some hipster/stoner dingus, Richard Wentworth himself looks like a 19-year-old poser, and it just feels wrong enough to undercut the effectiveness of any story trying to be told here. Yet, I keep buying it, because I figure it HAS to get cool eventually. That's how much I want to like The Spider.



MIND THE GAP #6 (W: Jim McCann, A: Rodin Esquejo)

Business is finally picking up in this interesting series about a girl named Elle who is stuck in a coma and living a confused existence in a netherworld called The Garden while she and her real-world friends try to figure out who put her there. Her boyfriend Dane has been arrested in a witch hunt orchestrated by Elle's nasty mother, but Elle has an advantage, in that she can apparently jump into the bodies of brain-dead people who are not yet technically all the way dead (MOSTLY dead?). #6 focuses on her attempts to inhabit a 10-year-old girl who was pushed down the stairs by her jerk brother and died too soon… and now, it seems all the people in the hospital, her friends and doctors, are having their minds blown while they witness it happening. McCann's dialogue is occasionally a little groan-worthy when it tries to be clever with it, but Esquejo's solid artwork carries the story and delivers enough impact to keep us hooked.