Foolkiller: White Angels: I was hesitant to give this series a shot when the first mini came about. Foolkiller isn’t a character that can be made into something memorable too easily. In the mainstream Marvel comics that he first appeared in, he was just a crazy man with a big hat and a disintegration gun. Seriously. He killed “fools” or those that he deemed as consisting of behavior that was foolish. He wasn’t a hero remotely (barely even an anti-hero), but he was also not really a villain. Frankly, the irony was that he acted like a fool and many different people carried his legacy on since, y’know, the character kept getting killed off. Flashforward to a year ago when novelist Greg Hurwitz was interested in writing comics at Marvel. He apparently was extremely interested in the Punisher, but at the time Garth Ennis’ truly superior run was still underway in Marvel’s MAX line of comics. The editors proposed taking the Foolkiller character and seeing if Hurwitz could do anything with him. Hurwitz, reluctantly up for a challenge, came up with a fresh take on the character: vigilante performance artist. It actually worked. The first Foolkiller series was gritty, dark, and violent following a protagonist that was governed by his own moral code and hunting down those he deemed unworthy to live for their crimes, punishing them in creatively gruesome ways and displaying them for all the world to see as the fools they were. Imagine the Joker as a good guy and you’ve pretty much got the new Foolkiller. The Foolkiller: White Angels series was another adventure of Foolkiller taking on the bad guys, this time white supremacists in LA. The added bonus was that since Hurwitz had proven himself on the title, the editors gave him a crack at adding the Punisher as a costar for half the issues. The story has simple villains and a pretty straightforward arc with minimal surprises, but really, do you actually need any? Good Rated R fun for all.
Perhapanauts vol. 3: Todd Dezago and Craig Rousseau created the Perhapanauts way back in 2005 and published the initial issues through Dark Horse Comics. It’s a shame that no one read this book at that time since it is extremely well-done and fun. I personally didn’t hear about it until the late Mike Weiringo posted a sketch of the characters on his blog and gave a shout-out to the creators and said that people should give it a shot. The next Wednesday at my shop, I grabbed the first trade and was hooked. The characters were fun, the art was simple but clean and well done, and the story of a group of paranormal investigators (who were in turn made up of the paranormal) was played more for the Challengers of the Unknown than Hellboy that it was able to stand on its own. With volume 3, the title has moved to Image comics and you can tell the creators are very excited about this. Image has done a rather large advertising push for the book and has also packed this trade with enough bonus features to make fans new and old feel justified in their purchase.
Dan Dare Omnibus: Apparently, Dan Dare is the biggest thing ever in England. Twice as awesome as America’s Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers and also twice as old and timely. I’d heard the name one or two times when imported comic book talent would talk about work they’d done before breaking in with the Big Two (Marvel and DC), but I’d never really read anything about the actual character. Well, there I was talking to my local comic shop owner and he noticed I was a huge Garth Ennis fan. “Do you like his war comics?” he asks. “Yup. Totally love his war comics and really anything he does that isn’t over-the-top gore or toilet humor,” I reply. “Well, what if I could give you a Garth Ennis war comic set in space that hits all the same highlights of his best stuff?” Lo and behold, the Dan Dare Omnibus from the issues published by the now defunct Virgin Comics and republished in trade form by Devil’s Due Publishing. Ennis infuses every scene with the grit and intensity of a WWII film and keeps the dialogue and action uber-tight. Gary Erskine takes the art reins and turns in some of his best work pretty much showing off how he and Chris Weston are some of the best British artists out there (Weston doesn’t contribute to this book, but Erskine’s style is eerily similar to his). While there are nods to what I’m assuming are the classic characters and relationships that were present in previous versions, I was able to follow the arcs with ease and didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything that was integral. Effectively, this is the Battlestar: Galactica equivalent in updates for the Dan Dare property. It’s the complete story, so enjoy.