Variant Covers: Riding The Current of Viking Thunder
Amidst a general sense of post-gym stank and a pile of funny books among my computer desk rubble, I bring to thee this week’s edition of Variant Covers. This week is a welcome respite to my wallet-rapery, the line looking a little thin, but I welcome it. After knuckling down and crushing most of my backlog since you’ve last been corrupted by my interwebs babbling, I’m finally caught up on the various titles I read. As always, these are the comics that caught my eyes, and as us fanboys are bound by various eccentricities and allegiances, I suspect your pull-list may be vastly different. I welcome it, and hope you drop your comic purchases in the comment box.
Thor: The Mighty Avenger #3
Roger Langridge and Christopher Samnee are putting together something special on this rather unassuming title. I caught wind of it a couple of months ago, and was finally able to put the first two issues in my grimy paws last week. It’s legit, yo. As Marvel is understandably ramping up the amount of Thor titles on the market in lieu of his movie droppin’ next year, it’s awesome to see they’re filling these titles with writers and artists that are talented as funk.
Langridge is telling the origin story of our Strapping Young Lad of Thunder with an elegant simplicity. You walk through the still-new realm of Midgard with Thor, as he comes to grips with the notion that he has been banished by Poppa Odin. And god dammit, the way it is told is simply fun. Not enough comics can just grab you and take you on (what is thus far) a light-hearted romp. I don’t want to call it a simple tale, since it is written in a way that can convey some really deep mythology and strife in a way that’s accessible and enjoyable like woah. We have enough angst and existential brooding in our comics, and fuck if i don’t enjoy it. But this comic is a nice reprieve from the rain that drizzles on so many comic book characters’ miserable existences.
Not to be forgotten are Samnee’s pencils which echo the simple attractiveness of the plot. I haven’t been aquainted with Samnee before, but I’ve already fallen in love with his crisp, cartoony drawings, and his clean use of panels.
Langridge and Samnee are telling an extremely enjoyable tale with a clarity in plot and visuals that is far too exceptional in the shit I read.
Dig on it.
Re-re-recommendation: Baltimore: The Plague Ships #1
Often I’m just pimpin’ or bitchin’ about comic books coming out the week proper. But this week and subsequently in days yet to apparate, I’m going to drop some recommendations on you. Especially in weeks like this where despite there bein’ some comics droppin that I’m stoked on, there’s nothing that bares need for trumpets or gunshots.
So word, you should be reading Baltimore: The Plague Ships #1. It came out last week, and it’s by Mike Mignola, the mind behind Hellboy. The first issue is little more than table-setting for the series, but god damn if we ain’t getting some tasty biscuits on that fucking table. Set within France during what should have been World War I, the title centers around Lord Baltimore, a peg-legged bad ass and his search for a particular vampire.
It’s worth mentioning that it seems France is overrun with zombies, bats, and other undead flesh-rotting horror. Like Thor, it is strikingly simple in its plot, but it features a ominous universe of stabbery and death, and I’m sold on it. It’s a light read, and it probably won’t change you, unless you like penning alt-history, but you’ll be entertained while you’re marching through it.
I’m using this platform to voice that I continue to find the Superman title a miserable pot of fucking boredom. Intrigued enough to check out J. Michael’s first issue, I was bored within moments. The concept of having Superman walking across America to reconnect with his human roots is hackneyed enough to begin with, and the idea that we’re getting twelve fucking issues of it is enough to kill any interest I had in the storyline.
But wait, there’s more! Check out the awkward and cliche use of Superman rocking an iPhone on the cover of the comic book.
I don’t know man, just ain’t feeling it.
There’s ways to keep Superman grounded in humanity without having him take on cumbersome march through the country. And for that matter, I’ve always found that Clark Kent simply doesn’t lose his humanity, and if anything, it has been the chain around his neck. That’s just me though, I could be wrong. Maybe he needs to hike the Appalachians and tweet about it.
Psst! Would you like to know a secret? Northlanders is easily my most anticipated comic book this week. Leagues ahead of a lot of other things I fully expect to dig on. Why bury it down here then? Simple: I inter-moan about this comic book with a frequency that is completely unhealthy. No really, I fucking love it. So don’t mistake me mentioning this comic book last as an indication that it is somehow inferior to the other titles I mentioned.
By god! It’s fucking fantastic. Here’s a recipe for rock: one serving of Viking ass-kicking and killing, one serving of fucking, and two servings of unobtrusive but equally prominent criticisms of organized religion and missionaries. It’s so god damn fantastic that you don’t realize amidst the hatchet-head-buryings that there’s an incredibly incisive take on Christianity.
You’ll like this title if you enjoy things. I promise.
What are you guys diggin’ on this week? I didn’t mention Incredible Iron Man, which I’m in love with. Fraction dude, you bring heat. And then there’s Brian Wood’s other book, DMZ, which is always incredible, as well as Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet, which you could get me to buy at gunblade point.