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Blood In The Gutters: Week’s New Crime Comics – Dicks, Mr. Hyde, Torpedo, Thief of Thieves
This week, available at your local comic book retailer: Belfast’s most (off-)color P.I.’s; yet another Victorian retread; hardboiled New York as only Europeans can do it; Kirkman attempts to steal my heart; also, rest in peace, Francis.
Dicks #1 color edition–Well, I suppose this is what I get for being such a die-hard Garth Ennis loyalist. The misadventures of Irish private investigators, Dougie and Ivor, are back in a brand-new book that’s already been released. Back in ’97, Caliber Press brought us Dicks, featuring two supporting characters from Ennis’ debut book, Troubled Souls, with art by long-time collaborator John McCrea. Now fifteen years later, Avatar is re-releasing the books in full-color and “re-mastered” (whatever the hell that means). I’m pretty sure I have all this Caliber stuff in trade format, but these reprints are to lead up to brand-new stories featuring these two Belfast boys, with what are sure to be brand-new dirty jokes. So yeah, probably for Ennis completists like myself only, but if you wanna see the “lighter” side of Garth Ennis, pick this up.
The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde trade paperback–This collected edition of the Dark Horse mini-series sounds interesting for a minute, until one reflects that this Jack the Ripper stuff has been done to death (ha), not to mention the whole Victorian thing. Whenever anyone gets a hold of these old properties in any medium (comics, films, TV), the risk is run that we’ll get another steaming pile like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie. And given that this was written by Cole Haddon, who is mostly a screenwriter, in conjunction with Skydance Productions, who optioned the book before the first issue even hit the stands. Nothing really wrong, I guess, with using comics to farm for movies, as long as the comics can stand on their own. And I’m on the fence with this one. A Scotland Yard inspector attempts to solve the Jack the Ripper murders while paired with Dr. Henry Jekyll, and naturally the good doctor’s alter-ego ends up squaring off against the elusive Jack. I dunno, might be worth a glance. You already know that Alan Moore has pretty much done the definitive comics versions of both characters, so I won’t bother to mention it here.
Torpedo volume 4 hardcover–IDW continues to reprint the essentials and to put even more strain on my comics budget. I have yet to buy any of these, crossing my fingers that they’ll eventually be in somewhat easier to afford softcover editions, but this is the real shit here. Begun in Spain in the early 1980s by writer Enrique Sánchez Abulí, the series was originally drawn by comics legend Alex Toth (rest his soul). But apparently Toth began to feel uncomfortable with the material and pulled out, to be replaced by Spanish artist Jordi Bernet. And with no disrespect intended towards Mr. Toth, this could not have been a better decision. Bernet is simply one of the finest cartoonists working, and the fact that he is not a household name in America as he appears to be in Europe is beyond perplexing to me. As near as I can tell, these are the first American editions of this series, or at the very least, the first unabridged and complete editions. Either way, let’s both you and me put these at the top of our must-buy lists, shall we?
Thief of Thieves #1–I’ve always had kind of a problem with Robert Kirkman’s work. I find The Walking Dead to be grossly overrated, and that goes double for those Marvel Zombies books. I’ve enjoyed a stand-alone story by him here and there, and that Ant-Man book he did for a minute was good for a chuckle. But that’s about it. However, this new book from Image might just change all that, especially as it has art by Angeltown‘s Shawn Martinbrough. The story revolves around a master thief whose chickens are finally coming home to roost, and I recall being quite intrigued by the few pages of a sneak-peek when Previews ran the solicit for this book. So fingers crossed.
And of course, this week features the final issue of PunisherMAX, by writer Jason Aaron and artist Steve Dillon, the best Punisher book since Garth Ennis turned in his last script. I’ll let the final Dave Johnson cover speak for the book itself: