House of Mystery #6, by Matthew Sturges, Tony Rossi, Luca Akins
So I was skimming this in a shop, and I thought "Wow, pirates", and then I thought "hey, some of the pirates are Furries", so I decided that I had better buy it. I've never seen this title before, it seems partly to be some people stuck in a mysterious house somewhere, with other parts of the story being flashback. It seems a bit like the kind of wooo, spooky stuff you expect from Vertigo, making me wonder if it is some kind of Sandman spin-off. Whatever, I found it entertaining enough and intend to give the next issue a go.
It comes with a preview of a new title, Unknown Soldier, which seems to be some revival of a "classic" DC character. I found the preview interesting, because it is set in a part of Africa where bad things are happening. Unlike that dreadfully emo Superman story from a while back, this is set in very specific location (northern Uganda), and I reckon the title will gain strength from that engagement with actual real-world issues, as opposed to focussing on a nebulous and eternally fucked up "Africa".
Batman # 680, by Grant Morrison, Tony Daniel, and Sandu Florea
This odd story continues, with a Batman going off the deep end big-time finding himself up against The Joker – oh noes! As is the way of these things, The Joker seems to be trying to make the Batman go mental, while various shady characters look on in fascination. As is also the way of things, there is a great OMG WTF twist ending to this, so I can't wait for the next issue.
Four Eyes #1, by Joe Kelly, Max Fiumara, and Nestor Pereya
This is a new title from Image, set during the Great Depression, with resonances for how we will all be living in the near future. However, something is a bit different to how the historical record portrays the 1930s – in Four Eyes, as people queue at New York soup kitchens, dragons fly overhead. For as yet unexplained reasons, dragons have reappeared in the world, and though large and terrifying these strange creatures largely leave people alone. People, however, have taken to trapping dragons and training them to fight each other to provide a cruel spectacle for a desperate public. The main character is the young son of a guy who steals baby dragons for the dragon fights.
This is an odd book, playing its outlandish central premise entirely straight, giving the reader a very evocative portrait of Depression-era America. The art is striking too, reminding me a bit of Sam Keith's work, though it still has its own originality. I look forward to seeing how this oddity develops.