I've noticed that there's a bit of a backlash going on among the movers and shakers in the comics blogosphere against the current craze for all things zombie. Personally I'm not sure why everybody is getting their knickers in such a twist. Sure the latest installment of Marvel Zombies wasn't that great, and no, I personally wouldn't want to put either of these on my mantelpiece...
But if someone else wants to then I say cool, it's no weirder than surrounding yourself with statues of gollum or Captain America is it?. As for the comics...bring me more! Especially if they're as good as Black Gas.
There aren't many bleaker or more unrelentingly violent comics out there than Black Gas, a zombie book that showcases the darkest parts of Warren Ellis's twisted imagination. I've been following it since the beginning and believe me it's nasty.
Issue #2 of volume #2 plumbs new depths of grim despair. It contains crazed zombie joyriders, collapsing buildings, a gory twist in the tail and the greatest line EVER to appear in a zombie comic...
Mmmm. Nice image.
With suitably dark artwork and colouring by Max Fiumara and Andrew Dalhouse complementing Ellis's warped story perfectly, this is a really good horror comic which I'll be sad to see come to an end next issue.
It's not my favourite read of the week though. That honour goes to the zombie-free Brian Bendis book Ultimate Spider-Man #109.
Ultimate Fantastic Four and Ultimate X-Men are both failing to impress at the moment and The Ultimates was rendered nigh on unreadable by its constant delays, so Ultimate Spider-Man has been the only thing keeping the Ultimate Universe from disappearing off my radar. Its still the Ultimate flagship and I think issue #109 might be my favourite issue of the entire run.
The Ultimate Knights arc has been building beautifully and really starts to pay off this issue with a great spin on Kingpin that, in the best traditions of Ultimate Spidey, alludes to classic Marvel tales of yesteryear while still seeming fresh.
Bagley's art is slicker than ever and any sadness about him leaving the book after the next issue is tempered by the knowledge that a) he's going out on a high and b) he's being replaced by the genius that is Stuart Immonen. Marvellous.
Marvel Adventures continues to push the right buttons, I realise that I'm always banging on about how good Jeff Parker's scripts are, but respect also has to go out to the rest of the team on the book, in particular penciller Leonard Kirk who draws a mean superhero comic. When push comes to shove though it's Parker's gags which keep me coming back for more. Highlight of this issue? This line from The Puppet Master...
Issue two of Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer continues to clobber readers over the head with every fantasy cliche out there. Strangely amidst all the Conanesque sword and sorcery, several of the leading protagonists have started to talk like 21st century gamers, peppering their speeches with phrases like...
Uhhm, yeah dude. Radical.
Also on my list this week. Ultimates #13 (which will go in the to read pile), Outsiders #47, Checkmate #14, Batman #665 (which really wasn't very good) and 2000AD prog#1537 which is saved from being a very bad issue by a poignant little Nikolai Dante story. Detonator X is also half decent, but the Judge Dredd offering is pretty darn poor, Twisted Tales reads like a filler from a 1980's issue of House of Mystery and Sinister Dexter is just not my cup of tea. Sorry.