Before reviewing this comic, I didn't realize that it took place in the world of Black Hammer. I actually thought to myself, ah, a Jeff Lemire book that’s not Black Hammer. The refreshing part of this is that, so far, it doesn’t connect back to our main heroes of Spiral City, but only deals with thematic similarity.
I love Cthulu and the madness-drenched horror that’s spilled down from H.P. Lovecraft. Add a Nazi twist, along with elements of a romantic adventure, and you've got The Secret Land.
I’ve been following Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden’s expanded Outerverse series with interest and curiosity. Where is all of this going? I wonder. A slew of new characters are being introduced, some known characters are being brought back, and all of the stories tend to follow a certain map: Ur-witches show up and cause mischief and our heroes bat them away. Even more than Hellboy, this feels like an ongoing serial which makes sense since most of it takes place during WWII. Even the title feels like a 1940s/50s serial.
BRZRKR has been really interesting. Created by Keanu Reeves and written by both Reeves and Matt Kindt (who is one of my favorite comic book writers), they are telling the story of someone who cannot die and has for the extent of his life (70,000 years or so) been a weapon used for violence. Now, he wants to die, and modern medicine is trying to help him in exchange for . . . ya know . . . creating a super army based on him. Like modern military medicine does.
The creators of this series realize that they can’t go to the same trough every time. So, when they hit a certain sequence - an absolutely vital sequence not only in the story, but in Erica’s development as a child when inducted into the Order of St George - they had to make it feel different. Um . . . holy crap, did they make the right decision.
There wasn’t so much a story within Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory, so much as there was a string of confrontations, but because the dog characters were so charming and the monsters so interesting (based on Japanese folklore), I found myself engaged from beginning to end.
I wanted to write a review of The Secret Land #1. I had a little extra time one day, and I decided to read it. The title didn’t really grab me, but the book itself did. I was engaged in this love story between two people who had played different parts in World War II, but were still active even though the war was over. She was going undercover, and he was going out to sea. They have a special connection, inexplicable really, so some months later when he gets word that she’s died, he knows it can’t be true, even though he’s devastated. And he’s correct: She’s taken to a secret island, where the remaining Nazis (Yes, there are always remaining Nazis.) are trying to gain some kind of weird, H.P. Lovecraftian power.
Cullen Bunn is one of the most well-known horror writers in comic books today, and his stories are dramatic. They tend to be pretty serious and very rarely indulge in humor, which is what makes this issue of Black Hammer: Visions such a delight. Cthu-Lou is one of the more genuinely ridiculous creations from the Black Hammer-verse which also makes him one of the most joyful. He’s a blue-collar plumber with the head of a Cthulu monster. There was also Cthu-Louise who was equally as delightful.
James Tynion IV isn’t holding back. He continues to litter Wynd with more and more characters, and each and every one of those characters has their own individual motivations that then draw in more complicated factors. He isn’t just telling a story; he’s filling a keg with powder. It’s actually an accident that I used that metaphor, as one of the characters in the script specifically talks about lighting a fuse. This explosion is going to be pretty big.
One of my favorite things about Hellboy is that he has a talent for understatement in almost blue-collar kind of way. He doesn’t curse or swear, he’s just over it. He’s a working stiff who just happens to be a demon.