The 6/4 Comics Stack: The X-Men vs. the Pork Chop Express

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 8:00 am

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This week, we answer the burning questions:

Is Batman ready to meet the Green Hornet (again)? Do we need a Big Trouble in Little China comic? Is there anything less intimidating than a serial killer with the nickname "nailbiter?"

Yes. YES. And there's always the Tooth Fairy.

A Batman comic by Kevin Smith is coming to the shelves the same week the X-Men head to Africa. And I can not stress again: the Pork Chop Express is back on the road, baby.

It's a packed week for comics, meaning it's a packed week for the Comics Stack. So head on inside and give 'er a read!



Nailbiter #2 (Image Comics)

Less-than-threatening lead killer name aside, Nailbiter has an intriguing premise: what if there were a town that had a propensity for creating notorious serial killers?

I had a peek at the first issue last month, and while some of the procedural aspects were a little rough and on the nose (writer Joshua Williamson needs to pull back the throttle on the expository dialog), there's that palpable "ick" factor which propels the story along.

A quick note: stop saying the weird towns in your stories are inspired by Twin Peaks. The feel of Lynch's show was as much about its soap operatic origins as it was about murderous spirits and dancing dream midgets. Just writing everyone as cray-cray doesn't do it.

Get Nailbiter via comiXology.

Witchblade #175 (Image Comics)

I think last year was the first time I'd ever read a Witchblade comic. And Marc Silvestri's corner of the Image Universe has always struck me as one that gets away with the busy, cheesecake aesthetic of being an occasionally raw-ass horror comic that plays with a very broad take on Biblical mythology.

So it's not about the one thing, it's about a lot of other things, and those things are interesting enough to propel the aesthetic of the book. More importantly, Sara has never really struck me as a character being self-consciously written as a "female hero": she's a tough cop who has some supernatural shenanigans going on and the writers who've come after Silverstri (notably Ron Marz, who seems to have had the most substantial tenure with the character) have focused on the character bits rather than the salacious bits.

So happy birthday, Witchblade. You're still weird but kind of interesting, and I respect that.

Get Witchblade #175 via comiXology:

Amazing X-Men Annual #1

I caught Days of Future Past twice, and the first time around, didn't notice that Halle Berry actually has lines. A second viewing confirmed that she has something like two lines. I think one or two of them have muted/low audio. Since most, if not all, of the primary cast of mutants will have to be recast in the '80s-set X-Men: Apocalypse, here's hoping Storm will be front and center, as the franchise gets a light reboot.

That's probably not really at all relevant to this annual, which takes the X-Men to Africa to deal with a death in her character's family. Also, someone or something tries to kill them while they're there. I sincerely hope Storm throws lightning at it.

Get the Amazing X-Men Annual #1 via comiXology.

Toshiro TP (Dark Horse Comics)

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The words "Victorian steampunk story with a clockwork samurai" seem like the kind of vomit-encrusted word salad that gives us concepts and designs instead of stories, but Xeric Grant winner Jai Nitz, who wrote Toshiro, can get the benefit of the doubt. And "horrors too dark for mankind" are, coincidentally, my favorite kinds of horrors, as the titular samurai goes on a quest to kill a soul-stealing jellyfish.

What's that? The jellyfish makes zombies? Well, I'm out.

Get Toshiro from Dark Horse Digital.

Batman '66 Meets Green Hornet #1 (DC Comics)

Did you know that Burt Ward, the actor who played Robin in the Batman series, was terrified of Bruce Lee? I kind of want that to somehow be in the continuity of Batman '66 Meets Green Hornet, which is a direct continuation of the TV crossover.

Kevin Smith is joined by Ralph Garman and I'm going to avoid making any jokes about delays on this planned 6-issue miniseries from the perpetually tardy Smith. I mean, except for that one, but that wasn't even a joke. More an observation about a lack of jokes.

Speaking of a lack of jokes, I'm curious about the script for this one. Batman '66 has been getting a lot of love for nailing the camp aspect of the show on the comics page, but I haven't seen anything from Smith that indicates that he's able to handle the kind of gentle goofiness of the source material. But the guy has amassed an audience and they will read/watch whatever he puts out, so here we are.

Get Batman '66 Meets Green Hornet #1 via comiXology.

Big Trouble in Little China #1 (Boom! Studios)

Nostalgia is a hell of a thing (I'd normally complain), but who am I kidding? I still love John Carpenter's ode to late '70s sword on a wire films and '30s pulp, and can we just say that before both men die, Kurt Russell and Carpenter need to work together again?

The uncertain fate of hero Jack Burton at the end of the film has lived in my head as one of those things best left to the imagination. What happened with the monster beneath the truck? Why did Jack disappear? Was there not a single annoying Kim Cattrall performance in the '80s?

Writing the new comic for Boom!, The Goon creator Eric Powell might just be the perfect match for the material. The Sixth Gun artist Brian Churilla is handling the interiors, making me think that even if you can't go home again - shut up, yes you can, this is Big Trouble in Little China we're talking about.

Get Big Trouble in Little China #1 from comiXology.

Those are my picks for the week. What's on your list?

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