New Comic Book Day: Pinheads of the Multiversity - UNITE!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 8:00 am

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Somehow, this week's installment of New Comic Book Day ended up being kind of horror-heavy. I make no apologies.

It's a weird week, because there are some weird books out. Some, like Grant Morrison's Multiversity, I half never expected to see on shelves (but I'm excited beyond all reason that it exists); others, like BOOM! Studio's Hellraiser: Bestiary attempt to create canon in a non-continuity book that will nevertheless have impact on upcoming issues of the ongoing, because man, the last 20 years of movies have been awful. Okay, sure, whatever.

Oh, and The Strain enters its final act, Stray Bullets: Killers enters at turning point, and I added a couple of kids comics because it can't all be blood, guts, and meta stories, right?



Samurai Jack #11 (IDW Publishing)

When I was a kid, Quantum Leap used to cause me a kind of low-grade anxiety. I mean, sure, Sam Becket's adventures through time were interesting and all, and who doesn't love the Bakula, but the idea of being trapped in history with no way home would stress me out in some weird way. The worst were those episodes where he'd either meet someone from his past or almost make it back home and I'd just feel so terrible for the guy.

So here's me confessing that there's something similar at play with Samurai Jack, although it's for the kids and a little softer - plus Jack is stuck in one specific time and not bouncing around various eras. But Jim Zub is the kind of writer to wring just enough anxiety out of that kind of story for his pint-sized audience while still creating a thrilling adventure.

Oh, and another layer of stress: in order to return home, our favorite badass samurai might have to give up the magical sword that's helped him survive (and is the one thing that he can use against Aku, the book's villain). So thanks for giving me night sweats, Samurai Jack. Well played.

You can buy Samurai Jack #11 via comiXology.

Adventure Time #31 (Boom! Studios)

Hell, you want to talk stress? Lemongrab is stress. This month's issue of the BOOM! series focuses on the weirdo Duke and how Jake and Finn will have to stop him from making things "acceptable" in the kingdom.

For non-fans of the show, Lemongrab's whole thing is that he's this bitter, lemon-headed dictator who once formed his own kingdom where he devoured his own gentle clone and enslaved the residents, but was untouchable thanks to a treaty with Prince Bubblegum. See this video around the 1:20 mark or the true depths of his crazy.

The comic's a cool place for BOOM! to explore some of these characters, although I'm not sure if this issue will take place around or after some of the recent events in the cartoon (where things went bad for Lemongrab in a satisfyingly big way). But if there's a chance Finn and Jake might be able to rough him up a bit, then this issue is going to be worth checking out.

You can buy Adventure Time #31 from comiXology.

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Hellraiser: Bestiary #1 (Boom! Studios)

Speaking of BOOM! books adding to an existing mythology: taken alongside the movies, the Hellraiser franchise feels almost beyond repair. I haven't been keeping up with the new comic series (which sees Ashley Laurence's character from the first film becoming the new leader of the Cenobites somehow), but there are maybe one and a half good movies (the second movie has both fantastic visuals and a story that retroactively damages the first movie), and for years, studios have been trying to resurrect Pinhead and the gang for new, possibly PG-13 found-footage nonsense.

Hell, it got so bad that actor Doug Bradley refused to be in the most recent direct-to-DVD disasterpiece because seriously, fuck Dimension Films.

That little chunk of history is me saying that there are Hellraiser comics out there and statistically, they can't be the worst thing the series has produced if you're into that sort of thing.

You can buy Hellraiser: Bestiary #1 via comiXology.

Stray Bullets: Killers #6 (Image Comics)

This is a series that doesn't work for me serially. I actually dig its lead character, sometimes girl-on-the-run Virginia Applejack, but writer David Lapham's script feels suited for a complete and collected tale. It's like breaking up a movie into six 20-minute parts, and it really disrupts the flow of the story in a serious way for me.

Killers has felt a little like Lapham's Vertigo OGN, Silverfish and that's not a bad thing - it's just that stop and start pacing of a monthly book that kind of kills it (pun intended).

Which sucks, because I really, really like Killers and I like Lapham and Image getting my money for Stray Bullets stories.

As an aside: Image, I will give you more of my monies - big monies - for oversized Artist's Edition style Stray Bullets reprints like the El Capitan hardcovers. Please note that for future reference.

You can buy Stray Bullets: Killers #6 from comiXology.

The Strain: Night Eternal #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

I don't believe in guilty pleasures (because if you're feeling guilty about your pleasures then what the actual hell is the point), but if I subscribed to that idiotic phrase, the equally idiotic The Strain would be right there at the top of my list alongside putting peanut butter on things that should not have peanut butter on them.

That last part had nothing to do with my junk unless you thought it was funnier that way, in which case that had everything to do with my junk.

Anyway, now I'm getting my "vampires take the world" via the FX series and kind of avoiding the comics since they're well, well ahead of the show, but it's nice to know that co-creators del Toro and Hogan weren't shy about pulling the trigger on the vampire-pocalypse. Because I don't think I could survive multiple seasons of the boring domestic goings-on of CDC investigator Ephraim Badwig (Corey Stoll, normally pretty good in things).

Oh, and there's totally a scene in one of this season's episodes where a guy's penis falls off his body and into a toilet, making this week's New Comic Book Day list the most genital-centric so far.

You can buy The Strain: Night Eternal #1 via Dark Horse Digital.

The Multiversity #1 (DC Comics)

I have no idea what the hell is going on in the preview for the first issue of The Multiversity that's floating around courtesy of DC and I think that's maybe why I'm excited.

DC has mastered the incoherent, sprawling mess since Countdown was farted into our eyes a few years ago, but Grant Morrison's pop incoherence is my favorite kind of incoherence: even when he's trading in disjointed, seemingly unconnected word soup, he's doing it with a level of sincerity and love for the material that's hard not to grab onto as well.

To this day, I still can't tell you what Final Crisis is about, yet it'll rank up there with one of my favorite event stories of the last decade (it also took Batman off the board for a minute and thank the New Gods, because that guy needed a break). With Multiversity, Morrison is being allowed to toy with the 52 alternate universes of the DCU and there's very little more exciting to me in comics than Morrison being allowed to exercise his Elseworlds fetish (plus no-one does it better).

Will it be bold, and full of big ideas? Probably. Will it make a whole lot of sense? All signs point to "probably not." Will DC promptly ignore everything that happened in it within two years? Ha, trick question: of course they will.

You can buy The Multiversity #1 via comiXology.

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

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