Weekly Wanderlust – Shipped January 16, 2013

billy_loch4Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and the Orm of Loch Ness
Dark Horse Comics
(w) Eric Powell w/ Tracy Marsh
(a) Kyle Hotz

FC 32 pgs $3.50

The creator of The Goon, one of my favorite ongoing series, and artist Kyle Hotz decided to team Billy the Kid of western legend with sideshow freaks and set them on a series of self-contained adventures in which they fight and protect other grotesqueries. Each features a title that is a mouthful, beginning always with Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities.

The Orm of Loch Ness comes to an end and it does so in a way that holds true to the tone of this particular adventure. There is always violence and dread in these comics, but those are usually tempered by Billy’s tom-foolery. That comedy, I found, has all but disappeared. The result is a tense read with ghastly shocks throughout.

I’m not complaining. (Chad Boudreau)

cap3Captain America #3
Marvel Comics
(w) Rick Remender
(a) John Romita Jr. & Klaus Janson

FC 32 pgs w/ ads $2.99

Recently re-launched as part of Marvel Now, the gritty and brooding Captain America of 2012 and earlier has been replaced with science adventures. This tonal shift has been difficult for me to handle, and with the third issue now behind me I still cannot embrace the change.

Rick Remender does sci-fi action well. His Fear Agent is one of my favorite modern comic series. His End League, with its mix of heroes and villains, sci-fi and traditional super-heroics, now reads like a tryout for this very Captain America. But, for me, I can’t get behind this version of Cap.

In this issue, Zola messes with Captain America big-time in Dimension Z. (Chad Boudreau)

comeback3Comeback #3
Image Comics
(w) Ed Brisson
(a) Michael Walsh

FC, 32 pgs $3.50

Time travel tales are tough because the audience is sure to test the story’s logic. For me, I’m game to roll with time travel as long as the creators stick to their own logic. In Comeback, writer Ed Brisson does not dig deeply into the how and why of time travel. He presents it as truth, an illegal product of his present-day feeling future. Wise move, Brisson. You give me nothing to pick at. I get to focus on your story and its characters.

In Comeback, agents of Reconnect will, for a substantial fee, travel into the recent past, rescue someone from death, and bring them to the present where they are reunited with the loved one that paid for the service. Those supposedly happy people are then given new identities and are left to continue their lives.

In the present, agent Seth discovered a horrible truth about Reconnect. In the past, his present self has informed his past self about the dangers of Reconnect. Now Seth is on the run in the past, stuck with a woman his present self saved, a woman that does not want to return to the husband that paid to have her saved. In issue #3, the FBI and Reconnect want to get their hands on the rogue agent, each for different reasons, and past-Seth waits for present-Seth to return and tell him what to do next. Trying to make sense of this terrible turn of events is Seth’s time-travelling partner Mark.

Brisson has a great ear for dialogue and knows how to pace a story. Partnered with artist Michael Walsh, who is sure to catch a lot of attention for his work on Comeback, Brisson delivers a A+ thriller that just so happens to feature time travel. (Chad Boudreau)

todd1Todd The Ugliest Kid on Earth #1
Image Comics
(w) Ken Kristensen
(a) M. K. Perker

FC, 32 pgs $2.99

Little boy Todd is so ugly his parents make him wear a paper bag on his head. He is so ugly a maniac killer won’t kill him. “I only kill beautiful children,” says the battle-axe wielding killer, clutching his eyes.

These two revelations about Todd The Ugliest Kid on Earth might make you smile, might make you laugh, or might make you cringe uncomfortably. Or you might do all three.

This dark comedic tone is found throughout issue #1 by Ken Kristensen and M. K. Perker. I have to admit, I wasn’t ready for it. By the last page, I was mildly disturbed, feeling uncomfortable, but intrigued nonetheless.

I reckon Kristensen and Perker would call that a successful debut. (Chad Boudreau)

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