2012 Memorable Moment: Rick Slate’s Heart of Darkness

Whoa.

Whoa.

Comics-wise, 2012 was a year of ups and downs. My relationship with superhero comics was troubled because I felt so disconnected from some, emphasis on some, of the newly established DC universe. I’m still a little sad about it, especially since I tried so hard to embrace the changes instead of naysaying. The silver lining is that it freed up time and money for some new titles that helped to rekindle my excitement about Wednesdays.

One of them was Vertigo’s excellent Punk Rock Jesus. Girls Gone Geek is sharing our annual rundown of the moments in comics and geek culture that delighted, shocked and outraged, and we’re kicking off with a scene from PRJ that surely left many readers speechless. Continue reading

Comic Judgment: Triple Play

Here’s the lowdown on the three best comics I read last week:

Punk Rock Jesus #4
I half expected Jesus to drop the mic and walk off the stage after that scalding final panel in Sean Murphy’s Punk Rock Jesus #4, which took the pull list prize last week. Batman #13 may have been the big draw, but PRJ is the one that really leaves a mark. Now a teen, Chris — the so-called clone of Jesus Christ — can only stand by and watch as the horrible J2 reality show franchise delivers his poor mother a final, crushing blow. Afterward, you can see in him the same dead-eyed grief that haunted his security guard, Thomas, an ex-IRA terrorist who witnessed horrible violence as a boy. Chris takes refuge in punk rock albums and extreme cardio, and he then fully rejects the dogma that has defined his existence. It’s goodbye, Bible; hello, Sex Pistols and Richard Dawkins. Let’s just say that Chris goes way off script and makes his feelings about religion and his followers scathingly clear in the most memorable scene of the week. Jesus has left the building. Grade: A+

Batman #13
The Joker has one of the scariest faces in comics, but he’s even more terrifying when you can’t really see him. In the first chapter of “Death of the Family,” we catch only glimpses of Batman’s nemesis as he makes a methodical, chilling comeback. A shoe here. A blood-splattered glove there. A cackle in the dark as victim after victim suffers off-camera. I doubt poor Jim Gordon will ever have a sound night’s sleep again after hearing the Joker’s startling commentary about where the commissioner stashes his cigarettes. This is a horror show in the making, and Snyder-Capullo deliver a perfectly paced, chilling first act. The “Tease” backup story, in which Mr. J. tests the depths of Harley Quinn’s loyalty, made my skin crawl right up until the last second. Grade: A

Halloween Eve (one-shot)
Image one-shot Halloween Eve is like candy. Its pleasures are brief, colorful and ultimately quite sweet. Brandon Montclare’s story focuses on the cranky Eve, a costume shop employee who loathes Halloween. When Eve falls asleep in the shop the night before Halloween, she plunges into a topsy-turvy fantasy world where every day is the one she hates most. Montclare’s story is charming, but it’s Amy Reeder’s art that dazzles. Reeder illustrated and colored the comic, and each panel is luminous and lovingly detailed. Her rendering of each character, especially the expressive Eve, is perfect. Plus, the magical aspects of the story give her a lot of room to play. Halloween Eve is a treat, one that’s appropriate and appealing for tween readers and up. Grade: B+

Punk Rock Jesus Rocks

Punk Rock Jesus #2
Written and Illustrated by Sean Murphy
Lettering by Todd Klein
Published by Vertigo

How do you follow an indelible first issue that ended with the kind of stunning, did-that-just-happen moment that sends readers into a texting frenzy? In the case of Punk Rock Jesus, a comic you really ought to be reading, writer/artist Sean Murphy more than delivers on the promise of an exceptional, bruising introduction. This six-issue series has ambition to spare, and it’s shaping up to be one of the most memorable comics of the year. Continue reading