Steeple vol. 2: The Silvery Moon
Well, this is a pleasant surprise! I thoroughly enjoyed John Allison’s miniseries about young curate Billie who came to the English coastal town of Tredregyn only to get involved with its weirder side. The parts that involved sea monsters, windmills calling forth the rapture, and the local Church of Satan. Were I to sum up Billie’s adventures in a single word, then that word would be “delightful” as Allison’s quirky deadpan humor mixed very well with his offbeat plots, and his strong attention to characterization kept things endearing rather than annoying.
Vol. 1 was also graced with an extra four-page epilogue which was disappointing because it felt like Allison was trying to offer closure to a series that we likely wouldn’t see any more of. I was very glad to be proven wrong about that when I saw vol. 2 in these solicitations, though. Even if it’s just the back half of a planned ten-issue run (that is going straight-to-trade because publishing the single issues is unprofitable) I’m glad we’re getting more of “Steeple.” Particularly since one of the advertised plots involves Billie trying to arrange a Saturnalia truce between the Churches of England and Satan, which I’m sure will wind up being delightful for all parties involved.
Norse Mythology II #1: P. Craig Russell’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel gets another volume. Unlike “American Gods,” I haven’t actually read this novel. So the odds of me picking it up are greater. Actually they should be great in general since Dark Horse has established a reasonably high bar of quality when it comes to providing adaptations of Gaiman’s prose works. Of which another one is on the way later this year from “Troll Bridge” and “Snow, Glass, Apples” adapter Colleen Doran.
Black Hammer Reborn #1: Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s “Black Hammer” series got a lot of mileage and Eisner awards by revisiting the tropes established in comics from DC and Marvel. It’s also currently sitting in my “To Sell” pile for when I finally make it down to Book Off again. “Reborn,” however, looks to embrace another familiar comic trope: The years-later sequel nobody asked for! It’s twenty years later and Lucy, the daughter of the original Black Hammer who eventually took up his mantle, hasn’t been a hero in just as long. Her life is also falling apart too, which presents the perfect time for her to become Black Hammer again and maybe doom the world as a result. Newcomer Caitlin Yarsky provides the art and I’m sure she’ll do a good job as “Black Hammer” has never been hurting for good artists. That said, Lemire could’ve got Bryan Hitch, Stuart Immonen, or Stjepan Sejic to draw this and I still wouldn’t consider picking returning to this version of the world he created.
The Worst Dudes #1: This is the series you get when you throw together a drugged-up backup dancer, a dirty cop, and an angsty adolescent god and send them on a cosmic quest for a missing pop star. “Generally loathsome behavior” is but one of the vices proudly promoted on the cover of this series and I can’t help but want to support a series like that! This comes to us from artist Tony Gregori and writer Aubrey Sitterson. If you read that last name and thought, “Wait a second… isn’t he the guy who wrote ‘No One Left to Fight?’” Then that means you probably listened to the podcast I did last year with Rob and Myron, because it turns out that series wasn’t as popular as I thought it was. With artist Fico Ossio now working for DC and Sitterson having moved on to this, it seems unlikely that the cliffhanger at the end of that series will ever be resolved. Which is a damn shame.
Parasomnia #1 (of 4): It’s one thing for an old man to brave a nightmarish dreamscape to rescue his son. However, this guy really drew the short straw as he’s also going to have to go up against a ruthless cult bent on breaking down the barrier between dreams and reality as well. This comes to us from writer Cullen Bunn and artist Andrea Mutti, two of the most B-list creators out there. By that I mean both creators have done solid work over the years, but nothing that you could really call great. I’m sure this will be fine too, given their track record. I just don’t think it’ll be the breakout success that either of them arguably deserve after all this time.
The Secret Land #1 (of 4): Hitler’s dead but there’s something hungry waiting for the people who have come to seek out his last bastion at the end of the world. Which is probably Antarctica given all the ice on the cover of this issue. Oh, and there’s a soldier fighting in the Pacific who thinks his fiancee is dead, but she’s actually leading the team to the above-mentioned bastion. Which means that there are two separate stories being told in this miniseries? Or has her fiancee been fighting in the Pacific unaware of her death, only to be reunited with her as he’s been put on her team to lead them to said bastion? They’re both together on the cover, so I’m kind of confuse by what’s actually meant to be going on in this story. Cristofer Emgard and Tomas Aira write and illustrate, respectively, and here’s hoping the actual story of this series makes more sense than the solicitation text here.
Crimson Flower: This is a series about a government plot to weaponize Russian folk tales to create trained assassins and the woman using those tales to cope with an unimaginable loss who wants to blow the whole thing wide open. It may sound ridiculous, until you realize that this miniseries is written by Matt Kindt, who routinely delivered outlandish setups like that in “Mind MGMT.” For all I know, this could’ve been something he wanted to do in that series and never got around to. Now he’s teamed up with artist Matt Lesniewski and regardless of the miniseries’ origins, we’re getting what sounds like an oddball winner or an embarrassing mistake for all involved.
Far Cry: Rite of Passage #2 (of 3): Yup, that’s Pagan Min on the cover. Does anybody now want to take bets on whether Joseph Seed will be the focus of the final issue next month? Anyone?
What’s Michael Fatcat Collection vol. 2: I thought I had missed this after it was originally solicited last year. At least it’s coming out in August, along with the latest omnibus edition of “Gantz” and the first “Vampire Hunter D” novel omnibus. That’s right, this is a month where all of the manga offerings from Dark Horse are repackagings of their backlist. Let’s hope next month will be different.