The Whistling Skull #2 (March – 2013 – DC)

The Whistling Skull #2

The Whistling Skull is awesome, but it seems like each issue is trying to bite off more than it can chew.  In each twenty four page issue they are trying to cram a little bit of four different story lines in.  As a consequence each story line just isn’t moving along that quickly.  This is only the second issue though, so it may be growing pains of a new title.  Only problem with that, is that this isn’t supposed to be ongoing, it only has a five issue run.  I’m sure this is all planned out, but right now it seems like they won’t get to the end, by the end.

The first of the stories that they are trying to tell takes place in Japan.  The JSA including skull are trapped in some kind of crazy battle with some kind of villains.  Last issue there was a giant mech.  This issue Skull is trapped in a coffin with some kind of critter.

Skip to next story line.  The Skeleton are trying to determine whether or not to announce that The Whistling Skull is dead in Asia somewhere.  The rest of his team has been recovered, but they are thinking that he is dead.

Skip to next story line, and this is the main story line.  Back in a European village Skull and his “simple” partner are investigating the disappearances that are happening in the little town.  To that end they decide to go see the traveling circus that is in town.  This isn’t a circus with animals and clowns though.  It is more a traveling freak show that terrifies poor Nigel.  He runs from the tent and we…

Skip to the next story line.  We are in the past again where we learn more about the origins of Nigel and Williams friendship.  Nigel is simple and slow, and doesn’t ever defend himself against the bullies that are always picking on him.  William wants to help him understand that he is bigger and stronger than the people that are picking on him.  Nigel is willing to stand up for himself with Williams encouragement.

Back tot he main story line.  The two heroes go into the woods surrounding the village in the hopes of finding out what is happening with the disappearances.  They run into some kids that are fleeing for their lives, and Skull shoots the perpetrator, who looks stunningly like one of the freaks from the freak show.

The writing is a bit scatter brain sometimes, but it seems like B. Clay Moore has a handle on what is going on.  I’m hopeful that by the end of the five issue run we will have a really clear picture of what is going on.  Tony Harris continues to provide some of the most amazing and visceral art that I have seen in a comic in a while, and that is a big part of what keeps this title so great to me.  Visually this book is a treat.

Next Time:  Swamp Thing #1


Darkhold #3 (December – 1992 – Marvel)

Darkhold #3

As the Darkhold Redeemers are saved by a mysterious benefactor, one Modred the Mystic, and he has a tale to tell.  A tale all about his journey with the Darkhold, lost love and the birth of his enormous magical powers.  So in the wake of their previous escapade with a gamma bomb and one of the pages of the dark hold, Modred whisks the away from the ground zero of that battle to safety of Louise Hasting’s office, where Vicki Montesi has another premonition about the location of a Darkhold page that is about to be used.

Meanwhile across the country, Wanda Maximoff, AKA The Scarlet Witch has opened a portal to something dark, something that chooses to posses her.  A dark god named Chthon, the deity behind the Darkhold itself.  Things are moving forward and the Darkhold Redeemers have to get to the page before it is used.

Unfortunately they are to late.  In Perfection, South Carolina Aurora Poule is give a choice, by The Other, between being beautiful and having her revenge on those that have hurt her.  She chooses to be beautiful, to move forward, but the people of the town won’t let her.  Soon they are taunting her she again becomes the victim of rape at the hands of town jocks.  Returning to her home she tells The Other that she would like her revenge.  Creatures are released upon the town.

Right around that time the Darkhold Redemers arrive to find the page and search the town to find out what is going on.  Sam fights off monsters but still seems to think that there is no such thing as the paranormal, but then is confronted by an old enemy returned, Sabertooth.

This is a decent one off issue, and it starts to really move the over arching story of the Darkhold forward by digging into Modred’s saga and giving a little more page time the Darkhold cult that seems to be working behind the scenes either controlling the dwarf who is handing out the pages or tracking him.

The art in this issue maintains that dark and heavy black tone of the first two issues (this time worked out with a little more fine detail by Tony Harris who went on to do Whistling Skull).  This is a pretty bleak issue, and like a lot of the issues of Darkhold it isn’t afraid to deal with some pretty serious subject matter.  Rape and cover up in a small town, pretty serious shit, and this doesn’t have any “Mature Content” tags anywhere on it.

This is still one of my favorite titles from the 90’s and the Midnight Sons, and it is really fun re-reading them.

Next Time:  Morbius: The Living Vampire #2


The Whistling Skull #1 (February – 2013 – DC)

The Whistling Skull #1

One thing that I love about comics is that you often can judge a book by its cover.  Which is pretty much what I did with The Whistling Skull.  I saw it sitting on the shelf at my local comic shop (well technically I saw issue #2 and then asked if they had #1 as well), and after a brief conversation with the guy I always talk to about comics there, I was picking it up.

Well so here is the breakdown of what attracted me to the cover.  First off the hero is apparently some kind of steampunk skeleton.  Second his cohorts on the cover are the awesome kind of old school superheroes that I don’t dislike nearly as much as the spandex and logo chest class.  Third the color is just so lurid and vivid.  Amazing.

The inside looks just as good, with art from Tony Harris (who did the art in Darkhold #3 which I will be reviewing soon) there is a feeling of deep seeded decay in everything.  Everything is wrinkled, scrapped and dinged up.

The story is interesting too.  Told by R. Clay Moore in a series of flash backs and flash forwards you find that out Nigel (aka Knuckles) and William (aka Whistling Skull) have been friends since childhood with William always looking out for a very slow Nigel.  They are a duo of crime fighters that work for something called Skeleton.  This is an interesting introduction to the characters because there are just things not explained, like you should know what is going on right off of the bat.  Problem is, from what I can tell the JSA has a fairly limited back story, and The Whistling Skull isn’t in much of it.  So I’m kind of learning what is going on while I read.

I like it, and have been gobbling up the issues as they come out.  I’m thinking that by the time I get to the end of the six issue miniseries, I’ll be hanging out hoping for more.  I just want to know more about Skeleton and The Whistling Skull.

Next Time:  The Strange Adventures of H. P. Lovecraft #1