Review! IN THE DARK a Horror Anthology

Drawn from a wide range of inspirations, stories reminiscent of childhood campfire tales, or Lovecraft-esque, or teenage action influenced and featuring creepy kids, self-sacrifice, monster hunters, petty revenge or something more existential, good people going bad, and bad kids going good from the tampering of horrific entities. What if the reason that jerk always checks his phone so much is that he needs to know when he’s going to change into a horrific beast? Nothing is as it seems here IN THE DARK.

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Among my faves:

The Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley penned story Guilloteens a punk rock Buffy homage with a Scooby gang monsterhunters and on one night they find a house being used by were-wizards for nefarious reasons. Were-wizards. So cool. Cute characters and extra blood spatters made awesome by artist Christian Wildgoose.

All Things Through Me by Mike Oliveri, artist Mike Henderson follows the son of a fallen priest who can communicate with the dead and has a knack for possession on a house call in a small town and stumbles on something local law enforcement would rather he hadn’t.

When the Rain Comes by Steve Niles is a creepfest about repercussions of fearing what you don’t understand. Damien Worm’s super creepy art is killer here, cloudy scratches, scribbled silhouettes capture the essence of the mysterious creatures that come forth to a farmhouse after a flood.

The Body by Tim Seeley, art by Stephen Green, mixes urban violence with a supernatural avenger.

Final Meal by Christopher Sebela and Zack Soto makes me glad to be vegan after reading this eerie tale about feeling like a God on the top of the food chain following a sad character who can’t get enough of sucking life from between his teeth.

The One That Got Away, written by Scott Snyder (who, y’know, writes both metropolis and Gotham’s heroic dudes) plays off our expectations when a young boy is approached by a knife wielding character.

Brian Keene’s The Lost Valley of the Dead is set in a wild West zombie plague. Tadd Galusha brings it with well drawn zombie animals sporting dripping fangs and exposed ribs. In trying to escape the disease they find a hidden entrance to a world of dinosaurs ..things get even crazier when the T-Rex ingests the zombie coyotes. Zombie freaking dinosaurs.

Swan Song by Rachel Deering takes a break from the plethora of werewolves and features a gorgeous vampire and the dashing would be hero who unknowingly unleashes a monster.

Extra treats- faux vintage ads and page 185’s horror trivia crossword! I’m thinking about sending $3.25 to get my “Creature in a Crate”.

Whether you like your villains internal, supernatural or humanly homicidal and your main characters twisted, teenaged, tragic or triumphant and your settings futuristic, realistic or rustic IN THE DARK has something for you. If you didn’t get in on the ground floor for this one order one from your local comic shop, IDW is printing and shipping this rad compilation soon.

Army of Darkness vs Hack/Slash #6

This series was wrought with delays, employed immature tropes and the last issue annoyed me to no end. But this was the last issue and I’d pressed on this long. So after Cassie betrayed Ash and left him in ancient Greece, what would become of her?

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Cassie takes on Britt Cilentro and heads back to the Ig’nant Mime Squad concert where overweight and underwashed teens had their sodas spiked and turned into Black Paladin stab happy dombies (that’s a demon-zombie, kids). This issue really tugged at my heart strings, Cassie is willing to cross time and space, fight deadites, cult leaders, suped up GI Joe wannabes and more to save Vlad from his fate. So she goes back to where Vlad died. But Ash, in a moment of maturity tells Cassie that he’s been down this road. But some other awful thing always happens. If she saves Vlad; what if she doesn’t marry Margaret and adopt Sandra? What if she has a whole different life that no one else remembers? 

And Cassie listens, and she doesn’t save Vlad. And she goes home with her wife and Ash babysits while they see the new Denzel movie. 

So I give Tim Seeley credit. Because he’d really lost me with #5. I was PISSED. Here’s the thing, though; it didn’t feel totally authentic until Ash asked Cassie to call him if she and Margaret ever wanted to make a reverse Oreo. 

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That’s Tim Seeley’s cover. None of that happened. But metaphorically it makes perfect sense.

Comicbook Catch-up Extravaganza! Numero Dos!

Featuring Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash #5, Lazarus #6, Ms. Marvel #1

Army of Darkness vs Hack/Slash #5

I’ve really enjoyed this series. Despite the chronic late release of the issues it really maintained momentum for me because I loved LOVED seeing Ash and Cassie play off of eachother. The 2 badasses breaking heads with their unconventional weapons, enemies and friends from each series. Fun. Good. This one flew in the frigging face of all of that. The end of last issue featured their hook-up. Cassie’s in a committed relationship with Margaret- so one of two things spring to mind for me: 1) she’s trying to confuse Ash or 2) the writer is a shallow idiot who thinks bisexuals are all sluts. Either way she’s deceitful. 

The duo get to Ancient Greece, turns out Britt the cult leader went back in time and met with Akakios who was an alchemist and “created the principals that the cult followed” and icing on the cherry hate cake? He killed Cassie’s old partner Vlad. They throw a wild party in Ancient Greece to attract Akakios and his cult and deadites and they burn ’em to a crisp. Cassie goes berserker and beelines for Akakios himself, “Changing the past is bad” Ash says, Cassie KO’s him and he knows he’s been played. But not only did she play Ash…she played Margaret. To “Bring back the only thing she ever loved. Vlad.” 

WHAT THEE FUCK?

Thankfully, issue 6 is the last. Because fuck all that shit. Ash and Cassie are now enemies at odds for possession of the Necronomicon.

Ms. Marvel #1

Kamala Khan, teenage supe, writer of Avengers fanfic, shapeshifter and Muslim. Her family is varying degrees of assimilating and she just wants to be a “regular teen” like her classmates and go to parties. So she sneaks out to a party with boys and booze on the waterfront. Her BFF Bruno tries to get her out of there, and she’s all “MYOB” and storms off.. then a crazy for starts to permeate the area. Kamala Khan gets KO’d and has a drugged out dream about the Avengers, and her homegirl, Captain Marvel. And she wishes, “I want to be beautiful and awesome and butt kicking and less complicated. I want to be you.” And Carol Danvers says, “All right, kid. As fate would have it, you’re about to get the kind of total reboot most people only dream about.”

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Epic debut. Kudos to G. Willow Wilson for calling out concern trolls and stereotypes. So pumped to find out what’s up with the fog, or what’s up with Captain Marvel being her fairy godmother. I repurposed that photo from Jeremy Roberts’s deviantart. http://jprart.deviantart.com/art/All-New-Ms-Marvel-412376037

Lazarus #6

Flashback again, to mini-Forever doing pushups on her thumbs and conjugating Latin verbs, she’s taking her training with Marisol too far.

In the present she wakes up to an alarm, takes her regimen and then she receives the text again. “He is not your father, this is not your family.” Joanna is still sporting a black eye and playing innocent. Flash to Montana, we see the family whose home was destroyed. The cost to rebuild will have them taxed out for the foreseeable future. Back in LA, a woman propositions the guards in exchange for food and others break in and set up a device to hack the keypad. They steal canisters of acetylene. Forever catches them in the act, but she directs her wrath at the guards taking advantage of a hungry woman. Forever asks her where the others have taken the canisters. And the Barrets leave Montana for Denver in hopes that their children can work for the Carlyles. Will this play an integral role? Will they start an uprising? Will Forever discover what’s really happening outside of her family? So many questions. 

Rucka has built this insane world. It’s bleak, it’s dark… and sadly, it’s very very real. Carlyles have infinite wealth and resources and meanwhile we see families giving up all they’ve got, their time, their dignity, their land, their children, they sell themselves out. It’s very blood and guts, but no major revelations this issue.

Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash #3

It took super long for this to come out and then I waited a week and a half to pick it up. Was it worth the wait?

Yessir.

Issue three gets a new voice, that of Cassie Hack, serial killer killer. The final girl. 

The cult priestess is selling off the Necronomicon before Cassie and Ash come around.She sells it to a Mr. Raash, and offers him a deal -a huge discount in return for vanquishing “a skinny goth chick and a chinny pervert.” He accepts the deal and sets off with 3 deadly soldiers (and of course reads a page from the book of the dead to supe them up a bit.”

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Meanwhile, our heroes are socking it to mini-clones and what not. And we’re reminded why Cassie is along for the ride when she receives a call from her partner, Margaret, and baby Sandra. They go stay in a hotel and go to their separate rooms and not too long after they are attacked by the most “alive” seeming deadites yet. A woman who looks like a panther, a well armed man with a snake tongue AND the world’s only Arctic Ninja. 

Instead of getting their heads blown off, Cassie reads some pages from the book of the dead. -Now how that works without absolutely heinous repercussions? I don’t know.

It’s a fun issue and I like having Cassie as the narrator this time. Seeing her opinion of Ash their friendship was awesome (and there were some mini-clones pandering to those who think they should be more than friends), and Margret making an appearance to remind us that Cassie is doing this for her fam. Definitely the best one yet.

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Check out Variant Cover B (my personal fave) by Ben Templesmith, artist of 30 Days of Night. 

I’m really hoping the next issue of this doesn’t take as long to come out.