Horror Comics Weekly: Sundowners, Nightworld, Outcast & More

We got a double dose of comics for you guys this week. Pretty much all around, we get continuations of established series and miniseries. While Baltimore and The Goon hold steady with a solid entry of old school horror fun, Nailbiter and Star Spangled Stories stand out as truly enjoyable entries into their universe. All around, it’s a great couple of weeks for horror fans.

Baltimore-The-Witch-of-Harju-2-coverBaltimore: The Witch of Harju #2 (of 4)

Written by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden

Art by Peter Bergtin

Published by Dark Horse Comics

Called it. Last issue it was mentioned that zombies were apparently introduced but something much more grim was at heart and Baltimore wastes no time in turning the ordinary into extraordinary. Issue two introduces us to the titular Witch of Harju as well as her Satanic origin and hints at a much deeper, darker evil.Golden and Mignola have taken a tale that has been told and retold a hundred times and instead of retreading old territory, they have spliced together monster and mythologies to create a fast paced, bloody world that is enjoyable to read through. Perhaps the only shortcoming of the title is how little we know of Baltimore, proving himself and his motley group of fighters just vessels to destroy monsters.

Bergtin steps his game up and matches the quick pace that Golden and Mignola set with their writing. Baltimore is a solid title that is ramping up for an epic conclusion.

21203The Goon: Occasion of Revenge #2 (of 4)

Written by Eric Powell

Art by Eric Powell

Published by Dark Horse Comics

The Goon is pulp horror at it’s best. It would have fit right in with the hard boiled detective novels of the thirties and forties. It’s beautifully illustrated, bruising thugs, busty dames and terrifying monsters. Issue two takes a step back to tell more of a third person narrative of the fight between The Goon and friends against the Coven.

It’s a neat way to introduce us to some of the background characters, move the plot forward at a succinct pace, and still keep things interesting. Powell makes The Goon truly enjoyable by keeping things simple. He gives it to you straight all while using detective slang and presents it in a sepia toned horror comedy romp. He does a great job at using the breaks in the comic, presented as parts, to employ different methods of telling his stories. The background story of The Daisy stands out as the most intricate part but wraps neatly into the whole. The Goon realizes he needs to rally some help and in part four, he gets it, so it will be fun to see where issue three takes us.

26118Sundowners #1-4

Written by Tim Seeley

Art by Jim Terry

Published by Dark Horse Comics

Tim Seeley might not be a household name but if you’re a comic book fan, it’s definitely a name you recognize. Seeley created the incredibly popular indie comic Hack/Slash, a love letter to horror, and has been one of the biggest backbones to creator owned success in the industry. He also writes the insanely addicting Revival over at Image. And now coming this August, he’s introducing readers to a world that mixes horror and superheroes, a sub-genre that isn’t as explored as we all wish it would be.

Teaming up with Jim Terry, legendary artist behind cult classic The Crow, Seeley is building a new world with Lovecraftian influences and home grown heroes. And yours truly was lucky enough to read the first four issues before they found their way to print.Sundowners is a term for people who believe they are superheroes, basically a support group for wannabes, and the adventures that ensue when one of these groups is attacked late one night and are forced to be the heroes they claim to already be.

The story is fun, introducing us to a pack of underdogs you can’t help but root for, including a woman who believes that the more often she sins, the more powerful she becomes, and a strange enigmatic Rorschach-lite that seems to be the only real hero in the bunch. Behind the scenes the reader is clued into a dangerous underbelly of satanic rituals and otherworldly demons and by the time issue four ends, things had really started to escalate to fever pitch tensions.  It’s a well written original that delves into unexplored territory. It blends conventional genres into a new amalgam of the two and keeps you hooked with it’s smart down to earth writing and gritty art. Make sure to keep an eye out for Sundowners this month, hitting in August, published by the horror loving folks at Dark Horse Comics.

4048410-0b+ssws_cv2_1_25_varStar Spangled War Stories #2

Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray

Art by Scott Hampton

Published by DC Comics

Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray know how to have some fun with a comic. War Stories isn’t tied in with anything else in the DCU (fingers crossed, the last page teases that possibility) and is all about a zombie kicking ass as a covert secret agent for the U.S. government trying to prevent rednecks from infecting the nation with a secret virus. And yes, while that sounds like the plot of a horrible B-movie, it plays out perfectly on the page.

G.I. Zombie shows off his smarts in the issue, not just his usefulness as an undead regenerating government agent and it’s definitely got a Mission: Impossible vibe going for it.Hampton nails the visuals, from the gritty swamp dwellers to the not quite dead G.I., and his backgrounds of the South in all of it’s marshy goodness are a perfect backdrop for the story at hand. It’s a story where you don’t have to worry too much about the outcome and you can enjoy some campy DC lore.

Drumhellar_08-1Drumhellar #8

Written by Alex Link

Art by Riley Rossmo

Published by Image Comics

I’m afraid that this week is going to be my last review of Drumhellar so I’m going to keep it short and sweet. I’ve said it in literally almost every of the comic I’ve done, it is gorgeous. The art, the coloring, the panel work and lines. Immaculate. An amazing comic through and through. However, this story is one of the weirdest, most jumbled things I have ever read.

And while the story is interesting and would essentially require a guidebook to make sense of, it has strayed far from the realm of horror and essentially turned itself into a pure psychological trip. I can’t make heads or tails of it considering Drum himself has many holes in his memories. So keep reading readers, Rossmo deserves the attention, but keep your thinking caps on.

Outcast_03-1Outcast #3

Written by Robert Kirkman

Art by Paul Azaceta

Published by Image Comics

Outcast definitely has a bit of a slow burn going for it but that’s not a bad thing. Kirkman throws a hook in with the first four pages, a bloody one at that, and it wraps back around to the end of the issue and gives us our new character, Detective Luke Masters.

Kyle is starting to open up a little, keeping his aged neighbor Norville company on a hard day, and our favorite reverend starts to show his back story.It’s easy to see why Outcast has already been picked up for a television series. The atmosphere is dark, it has gravitas, with every panel and page you feel like the worst could happen.

While Kirkman is owed a nod for that, Azaceta creates the real tension with his amazing layouts and art. His character reactions, down to the most minute of details, allow us to connect on a much more personal level with the characters.Something evil is creeping and Outcast will keep you on the edge of your seat with poignant writing and talented artistry.

Revival_23-1Revival #23

Written by Tim Seeley

Art by Mike Norton

Published by Image Comics

Issue 23 wraps up a number of things while also opening a few new doors. Dana Cypress finally finishes up her work in New York and a few loose ends in Wisconsin tie themselves up as well. We get a big reveal as to what exactly the glowing monster that is tied to the Revival may be up to and the baby glowing monster finds itself a new home.

And while these loose ends are tied up, Revival is still a bit much to handle sometimes. We have at least four intersecting plotlines in this issue and things just keep getting weirder and weirder. The supporting cast is growing with the inclusion of May Tao, an old friend of Dana Cypress and her sister.

Things are about to get a lot more complicated for Em, as a wrench is thrown into her already screwed up life plans, and Edmund Holt seems like he has something up his sleeve as well. I trust Seeley and Norton can handle the enormity of their story now but only time will tell.

SQUIDDER3_DavidStoupakisThe Squidder #3 (of 4)

Written by Ben Templesmith

Art by Ben Templesmith

Published by IDW Comics

Things go from wordy to weird real quick in The Squidder. I really appreciate the art in the comic, Templesmith is a mastermind, but his story has issues. The pacing is off, the narrative is jumbled, and the mythology is lost on the reader.

The best parts of the comic come when Squidder and his accomplices are tearing things to pieces and for pure grindhouse appeal, a female gives birth to a sword immediately after making love with our hero.

Yeah, things get pretty whacky.We are given a glimpse into the origin of the Squidder, even his real name (Jack), but as previously mentioned it’s like Templesmith is telling us a story without any sort of background. Squid-mothers and bio weapons and plague camps are all words tossed around that are never really given much definition and while we get a vague illustration we are mostly kept in the dark. We’re three issues deep now and issue four promises to be a no holds barred knock-em-out gore fest so it’s worth it to stay in it for the long haul now.

Nailbiter_05-1Nailbiter #5

Written by Joshua Williamson

Art by Mike Henderson

Published by Image Comics

Williamson is crafting such a perfectly strange town with Buckaroo. This is the best thing Stephen King never wrote. Issue fives is carrying a lot of the momentum from four with it and a lot is going on. Crane and Finch are a great partnership, Crane is a wonderful female lead who can kick a lot of ass.

While our leads are progressing with developing repertoire and chemistry, our supporting cast is getting more interesting with reveals of Edward “Nailbiter” Warren and Alice, the town teen badass. A new Butcher makes his way into the pages as well and mixes things up a bit. Henderson is a perfect partner for Williamson, his cartoon style adds brevity to an otherwise very grim subject, similar to the experience hand of Rob Guillory from Chew.

His kineticism and front person perspectives are truly unique to him. Nailbiter has its foot on the pedal now and it seems like this is a nonstop thrill ride from here on out.

STK650372Nightworld #2 (of 4)

Written by Adam McGovern

Art by Paolo Leonori

Published by Image Comics

This comic is about as crazy as it gets so it’s nice that the first page literally breaks down the entire synopsis for you. In brief form, the demon Plenilunio is looking for a Soul Key to save his wife from a living death, and fighting underworld middle manager Underboss, warrior queen Hellena and her pet dragon, and the infernal teen Hotspot to find it.

Plenilunio gets a step closer to unlocking the mystery of how to wake his wife and one of the baddies turns a little less evil in this go round. I can’t tell you how fun this comic is. Bright colors. ’50s and ’60s slang abound. Garish costumes that you can’t help but love. The characters each have their own voice, the writing is a true call back to the golden age, and the story is a superhero romance.

We haven’t seen that in decades. This comic is a lost form of art. I can’t help but love it.


Marvel and DC