“Robert Kirkman should stop wasting time with The Walking Dead and write more Super Dinosaur.” – Logan
The quote above comes not from X-Men stalwart Wolverine, but from my nine-year-old nephew; he’s a huge fan of Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard’s Super Dinosaur comic, which showcases the adventures of young Derek Dynamo and Derek’s best friend, Super Dinosaur. Logan’s comment was prompted by his frustration with the chronic delays on his favorite series; the comic doesn’t always come out on a monthly schedule, and one time Logan had to wait four months between issues. That’s a long time for an adult to wait on a monthly comic; it’s an eternity for a nine-year-old.
This week I considered changing my column name from Who’s There? to Another Image Book. Here I am again preaching to my favorite community about my favorite publisher. I know everyone’s wallet is getting tight and the last thing you need is another awesome book contending for a pull list spot. However it is this comic book enthusiast’s obligation to inform you, my friends, about the fantastic Image books you should be reading. Image has many big name titles like Saga, East of West, Jupiter’s Legacy and Walking Dead. Most readers know what these books are and know of Image because of these titles. Image has brought in some big name creators to produce big name books but they also bring in new talent and showcase some up and comers. Sometimes these lesser known creators don’t generate a lot of buzz for their books and these titles can quickly fall by the waste side. I learned my lesson months ago that with Image books I always pick up a #1 issue because you never know what gem you might get. Honestly this habit started after I read Manifest Destiny #1 back in November. It was the surprise issue of the month for me and a delight to read. I can see this story failing in the wrong hands but Chris Dingess is an up and coming star. I am in complete awe of his writing on this book. It is so stealthily funny and refreshingly witty. I usually have a hard time picking this book up and reading it, for whatever reason, but as soon as I do I get hooked in right away. The smooth writing of the book grabs a hold of my head, right behind the neck and pulls me in. I wonder if Chris Dingess believes in the power of positive thinking? If he doesn’t maybe he should start, because naming his book Manifest Destiny and having issue #1 go to a fourth printing makes for a hell of a dinner conversation.
Just as father Aaron and sons Mikey and Brennan continue on their runaway journey towards a cross dimensional mage, so does Brithright journey towards the top of my monthly stack. Upon first glance this issue seems a little dry but that is only because Mikey doesn’t destroy anyone with his freakish strength and ridiculous weapons. However despite the lack of barbarian strength this issue contains a lot of great character moments and a pretty exciting battle with a Razorbeast. I enjoyed the opening of the issue the most. Mother Wendy enters their house and realizes that Aaron, Brennan and Mikey have already come and gone. She is filled with sadness and begins to break down. But she quickly pulls herself together and realizes if dad is just going to be the “fun dad” like always then it is mothers job to clean up their mess. It was a nice little character piece, you can see that even under the toughest of times a mother will grizzly bear up when the safety of her children are at stake.
As Mikey, Brennan and Aaron travel on to find the mage Mikey tells the story of his first encounter with a Razorbeast, which we have been following in parallel to this story in previous issues. The fight with the Razorbeast is also a nice character moment both for young Mikey and for his protective friends. None of these children helping Mikey seems to believe that he is the one that will grow up to save them all. However when push comes to shove and they are being attacked by a Razorbeast they all pitch in to protect this chosen one. Mikey also has his first scene of heroism. He sees his friends risking their life for him and either he gets caught up in the action or he really starts to believe in himself. Either way it produces the first heroic moment for young Mikey as he stands up to the Razorbeast where we are all left with such an agonizing cliff hanger.
Issue #4 of Birthright didn’t have the POW of the previous issues but all around was a very solid read. Issue #4 takes the time to give us a few character moments while still keeping the issue exiting and fast paced. An excellent issue.
I am a big fan of the stories that Joshua Williamson can come up with. The first volume of Ghosted was one of my favourite trades of 2013. However sometimes the problem with inventive ideas is that when the original arc is over it becomes very difficult to keep the readers attention as you try and switch gears in the story. So far this is not the case with Nailbiter. Williamson has come up with another great idea, a small town that has produced many of the worlds worst serial killers, known as the Buckaroo Butchers. The mysterious series has been packed with classic horror twists and turns. It has even provided the necessary jumpy and squeamish scenes that a great horror book should have.
Although there are a few tiny hints dropped I would say on the whole this issue didn’t get us any closer to finding out the mystery of the Buckaroo Butchers. I don’t think that hinders this issue one bit though, because instead we got a look at a few affected citizens. Last issue we were put on the track that the bees in the town might have something to do with the Buckaroo Butchers. In issue #9 the bees do brutally kill a man, which I have now realized is a top ten fear of mine, but the issue is more centred around the citizens of the town. Williamson explores a plot line that takes us away from the Buckaroo Butchers and focuses on how the citizens of Buckaroo start to lose their minds knowing they come from a town that manufactures the most dangerous people in the world.
Put yourself in the town school bus driver’s shoes. You have had the same job for 40 years and you have seen child after child get on your bus and then years later kill countless innocent people. Eventually that school bus driver is going to snap and those kids better hope they slept in and missed the bus that day, or else they may never grow up to kill dozens of people.
Williamson is doing a great job with Nailbiter. He has a fantastic horror idea which he is keeping true to classic horror plot lines but at the same time injecting fresh and new ideas. I’m enjoying Nailbiter a lot, you should too.