The Reading Pile – Week 5

In this issue we take a look at Doomsday Clock, Bone Parrish, Oblivion Song, Redneck, A Walk Through Hell and Harley Quinn. Let’s go!

A Walk Through Hell 1, Aftershock Comics, 5/16/2018
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Goran Sudzuka

In this book, we’re immediately thrown into a gun violence at the mall scenario and then two pages of panels illustrating Twitter social media interactions related to gun control, race of the victims and the kind of online bickering these kinds of debates inspire as a police detective drives to work. I hate stuff like this in comics and I’m sorry to say it ruined the book for me. To continue, it’s a cop story where two detectives are eventually investigating a strange, seemingly, supernatural occurrence in a warehouse. 

I wanted to like this, there is a decent hook at the end, but there were just too many elements at the beginning that annoyed me. The great Clint Joslin is digging this book, so I may have to give subsequent issues a try. 2.5/5

Oblivion Song 5, Image Comics, 7/11/2018
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Goran Sudzuka

This is the third Robert Kirkman title I’ve reviewed this month and I think this title has a lot going for it. 

This gist of this title is the “Transference” occurred outside Philadelphia creating an apocalyptic region called Oblivion. The area is mutated and is inhabited by monsters and people, of course. One of the main protagonists, Nathan, is obsessed with finding his brother among the survivors. We also see the lives of folks who have returned from Oblivion and their struggles with returning to some kind of normalcy.

So, yeah, I like this title. It’s really easy to read and I’m curious about what will happen next. Lorenzo De Felici’s art is pretty stylized and I had a real hard time, at first, with how he draws people (they all have a wrinkled, constipated look to their faces), but I’m getting over that. He’s great with the monsters and different environs. 3.5/5

Harley Quinn 46, DC Comics, 7/18/2018
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: John Timms

Wasn’t sure I was going to review a Harley book in this column, but with the announcement of The Batman Animated Series on Blu Ray this week I couldn’t resist.

If I’m being honest, I don’t know many people who like this book. So don’t kill me, but I think this title is a lot of fun. Harley’s companions in these stories include her 4 foot tall landlord; who is a Glen Danzig parody named Tony, a roller derby team she has joined, a Deadpool parody named the Red Tool, her parents, a stuffed beaver she frequently talks to (cue “is she talking to her beaver?” jokes) and her “Gang of Harleys.” Oh, Power Girl, Poison Ivy and Catwoman make appearances as well.

The book is lightweight, popcorn fluff and I get why many don’t have any patience for it. I, myself, could do without the Gang of Harleys. Having said that, Harley’s origins are in humor and ridiculousness and I find this title to be very much in step with that. I love psychopath Harley too, Grant Morrison’s The Clown at Midnight (Batman 663, DC Comics) being one of my favorite stories, but this book gets some love from me. 3/5

Bone Parish 1, BOOM! Studios, 7/25/2018
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Jonas Scharf

Ok, another first issue I’m not exactly digging. Ash is a drug from bones of the deceased that is life changing and I guess I should have known from the basic synopsis I wouldn’t like this. Just not really into stories about drug use and those who are trafficking them.

Wait a second, I’m about half way through the book, and, wow, I like this. I love New Orleans and this takes place there. There is a tangible “creep” factor to this title and the art is trippy and ooooohhhh this page makes me smile.

I like it when a title surprises me and this did exactly that. Cullen Bunn knows his craft and I’ll end this with that. 3.5/5

Doomsday Clock 6, DC Comics, 7/25/2018
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank

We’re at the half way mark with this series and if you’re reading Doomsday Clock I don’t need to tell you the delayed schedule of this book makes it real hard to follow. Still, when a new issue comes out it feels like a big deal. I enjoyed the hell out of this when reading it.

This issue is all about Erika/Marrionett, who damn well looks like a Multiverse Harley Quinn (or sister, or something), and Maez/Mime, her companion. We learn their backstory, what broke them and they interact with Joker the whole issue. It’s really delicious even though I’m not entirely sure what the parts as a whole will be. Props to Gary Frank for making this feel like The Watchmen; it’s a beautiful book. 4/5

Redneck 13, Image Comics, 7/25/2018
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Lisandro Estherren

It seems like everyone loves everything Donny Cates does. Not me and I don’t say that trying to be a contrarian. I LOVED God Country, which was my first exposure to him and also the title that garnered him a ton of attention. Well, I’ve not been as impressed with subsequent titles, quite the opposite, actually. But I do like Redneck.

It’s a cool little title about a family of vampires in Austin, TX. My only qualms are with the art. I’m not necessarily adverse to simpler styles of art, like Cliff Chiang, if they are interesting and serve the story. But the art in this…it’s just there’s lots of characters with similar features and it can be hard to tell one character from the other. That’s a serious detriment! I do like this book, however. 3/5

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