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Blood in the Gutters: Crime Comics for October 26th, 2011
Rolling into your local comics shop this week: Jonah Hex and the dreariness (in more than one way) of Jack the Ripper; Dash Bad Horse gets even more mired in the rez; Matt Murdock fights for the little guy; and the Clown Prince of Crime gets an expensive hardcover.
All-Star Western #2—The most missed (by me, anyways) casualty of DC’s New 52 is Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s Jonah Hex, the best spaghetti western you could buy in any format for the last five years. A good western is basically a good crime story, and the last five years of comics from this team has proven that. It seems the editorial sense is still there in this book, Jonah Hex’s heir apparent, so they still basically want the book to be a crime comic. Sad part is, so far, by plopping Jonah Hex down in a Victorian-era Gotham City murder mystery, they’ve gone and given us yet another Jack the Ripper kind of book. I’ll give this book the arc at least before I decide whether to ditch it, but I can already tell you that Eric Powell and Kyle Hotz do this exact same mash-up much better in their Billy the Kid’s Old-Timey Oddities books.
Scalped #53— I dunno about you, but I never fail to be blown away by this book. Not unlike Duane Swierczynski, Jason Aaron seems to enjoy a sadistic glee when it comes to putting his protagonists between rocks and hard places. Lately, the antagonists haven’t fared any better, what with Red Crow finally being betrayed by his right-hand man, Shunka. That’s what happens when you try to go straight, Chief. Add to that a cracker-jack sheriff also trying to crack the law-breakin’ whip, and you’ve got a pressure cooker set on “explode.”
Daredevil #5—Mark Waid is an avowed DC guy, so I’m always a little nervous when he works for Marvel. But that is really silly of me, since Waid is also a consummate professional and very rarely fails to deliver the goods. Among Waid’s talents is writing very good Doyle-esque mysteries (see his Ruse or The Unknown books), and in Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson, he’s got a nice Holmes/Watson team ready to go. Personally, I still feel the events of last year’s Shadowland cross-over have been a bit glossed-over to make way for this return to a “classic” Daredevil, but I am still quite enjoying this book, as should any of those phantom “new readers” out there, unadorned as this book is with massive back-story.
The Joker: A Visual History of the Clown Prince of Crime—From Daniel Wallace, author of The Marvel Encyclopedia and the questions for the Star Wars Trivial Pursuit game, comes this over-sized hardcover about everybody’s favorite playing card-based homicidal maniac. This guy Wallace seems to have the pedigree for the material, but at a retail price of fifty big ones, methinks only the real die-hards are gonna be buying this one (Of course, throwing around some review copies of this might not be a bad idea, hint, hint). I feel Alan Moore has kinda ruined this character for me, as few stories have had the oomph of his and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke (an image from which graces the cover of this book), but Ed Brubaker and Doug Mahnke’s The Man Who Laughs comes close. Still and all, an enduring character and an endearing character, the Joker certainly deserves his popularity.