So after my recent Great B.P.R.D. Reread Project (status: complete; next Great Reread Project yet to be decided) and the issue numbering concerns thereof, I thought I should mention that this new Abe Sapien #1, “An All New Ongoing Series” as it says there, is in fact, according to the inside front cover, #11 in the overall history of Abe Sapien solo series and / or one-shots. So:
Anyway, the series takes off from recent events in the B.P.R.D. comics, following the even-further mutated Abe as he eludes his former pals at the Bureau. I don’t know if this is really a good jumping-on point for new readers…dialogue-driven exposition for recent Hellboy-Universe-Events-That-Don’t-Really-Involve-Hellboy, in particular Abe’s recent changes, catches folks up, but it seems more like preaching to the converted rather than its own thing. This may just be symptomatic of the series’ origins in B.P.R.D. and the ongoing circumstances there, and it feels more like another B.P.R.D. mini rather than an Abe Sapien solo title. We’ll see what happens once the series begins to form its own identity a few issues down the road.
As I said on Twitter yesterday, I was bracing myself to read a Thanos story that didn’t involve Jim Starlin somehow, but so far Jason Aaron and Simone Bianchi aren’t doing too bad a job telling the adventures of Li’l Thanos. It lacks the inherent weirdness of Starlin’s storytelling, and thus is a more conventional “here are the bad things that formed this bad guy” tale. Still, it’s a solid enough introduction to the character, and will likely make a nice trade paperback (or, more likely, hardcover) to sell to the curious once Marvel’s Phase Two films (presumably involving Thanos) start making more of an impact.
It’s Hulk versus Thor as drawn by Walt Simonson. If reading that sentence doesn’t make you immediately pull out your wallet and start throwing money at the computer screen, well, I don’t know that I can help you. But pick up that money and go throw it at Ye Olde Local Comic Booke Seller instead, because publishers getting Simonson to draw comics is a behavior I’d like to encourage. And things look like they really begin to pick up in Part the Second, so jump on now, he said like the funnybook salesman he is.
This is probably the first of the New 52 Swamp Thing comics to feel like an old Swamp Thing comic. In particular, like the Alan Moore or Rick Veitch issues where Swamp Thing would encounter some established bit of the DC Universe and we’re suddenly given a new and almost certainly creepy take on it. Well, that was then, this is now, and it’s hard to do a creepy take on a character like the Scarecrow when the trend lately in the Bat-books has been to make things especially weird and creepy in the first place. Instead, the fun here is in Swamp Thing’s reaction and interaction with the Scarecrow, rather than any kind of dramatic reinterpretation.
Also, new writer Charles Soule takes a few panels to explain the deal with Swamp Thing’s New 52 status quo, his relation to the previous Alec Holland-less Swamp Thing, recent events in the comic, and so on. Probably a good issue to sample if you’ve been tempted, but didn’t want to jump into the middle of the 300-part “Rotworld” crossover.
It’s Popeye and Barney Google! CRISIS OF GRANDPA’S INFINITE COMIC STRIPS! I actually didn’t get into this issue as much as past installments of this series…Barney Google isn’t a strip character for whom I have any particular affinity, and the horseracing gags weren’t really my thing. But, even an issue of Popeye that doesn’t quite butter my bread is still a whole lot better than just about anything else, so I ain’t complainin’. Plus, series writer Roger Langridge takes on the art chores yet again and everything looks flawless and beautiful…and Langridge even gives us a boxing back-up story starring Swee’pea, and it’s plenty cute.
And for the digital comic inclined, there’s Task Force Rad Squad. Click the link, pay what you want (or even nothing at all, but c’mon, give ‘em a buck at least) and download in your choice of format. It reminds me of late ’80s/early ’90s crazy indie comics…I sort of get a Tank Girl vibe off it, but maybe that’s just me. Anyway, it’s lots of fun packed into 36 pages, and you get a sizable preview prior to throwing your money down. Go check it out, and tell ‘em Mike sent you. If they ask “who’s Mike?” just say “you know, Mike” and that should do it.