Nostalgia Over Hell Fighters and a Barbarian Monster Puncher

New Comic Book Day highlights some of the best books released that week.


Here we are once again, a little bit poorer but a whole lot happier. Sure I can’t afford my electricity bill, but who needs that sorcery anyway? New Comic Book Day has arrived and this week I seem to be obsessed with fighting, mostly, creatures of hell.

Hellboy-CoverHellboy: Beyond the Fences #1

Written By: Mike Mignola & Chris Roberson
Art By: Paolo Rivera
Cover Art: Paolo Rivera
Published: February 24, 2016 by Dark Horse Comics

Legacy is one of the most intriguing aspects of comics. Characters with decades of history, all giving and adding something to the newest generations of stories. They’ve reinvented themselves numerous times while still holding true to their roots. Never losing touch with iconic stories, but always venturing into new avenues, classic characters have to adapt. Few comics, outside of the Big 2, have managed to build upon rich a legacy in the way Hellboy has over the years.

Hellboy: Beyond the Fences is exactly what I wanted in a Hellboy book. They manage to keep the iconic aspects while adapting to something new. I’ve wanted to delve into a Hellboy book for quite some time, but wanted something fresh. Beyond the Fences has given me that chance, and honestly, it delivered every ounce of nostalgia I wanted, while also reminding me, this isn’t exactly the Hellboy of twenty years ago.

 

Spawn-261-CoverSpawn #261

Written By: Todd McFarlane & Erik Larsen
Art By: Erik Larsen & Todd McFarlane
Published: February 24, 2016 by Image Comics

Apparently, I have a need for stories involving the beratement of demons, and even the Devil himself, this week. First, as you just read, was Hellboy: a literal demon who enjoys punching other demons and hell creatures. Now I talk about Spawn: a soldier killed and resurrected after he agrees to wear a symbiotic hell-suit to wage war against heaven’s armies.

I’ve been a pretty big fan of Spawn, going all the way back to it’s introduction in 1992. My copy of issue one, with pages breaking away due to how many times I’ve flipped through it, is one of my most beloved comics. Now, imagine if you will, how my fandom reacted a couple months ago when news of Erik Larsen joining the Spawn creative team hit. My inner twelve-year-old self squealed harmoniously, then fainted for roughly three-and-half minutes.

With this week’s issue being the third of Erik’s contributions, as a long time fan, I can easily say that he’s brought something special back to the series. Having read the book for so long, there have been brief periods when my obsession would plateau. Yet, this 90’s powerhouse combo of Larsen/McFarlane has breathed new life into both this comic, and this fan. Art, story, pacing, everything feels like a reemergence of its glory days, and my twelve-year-old self can’t be happier.

 

Strayer-2-CoverStrayer #2

Written By: Justin Jordan
Art By: Juan Gedeon
Cover Art By: Juan Gedeon
Published: February 24, 2016 by Aftershock Comics

I’m not sure I can talk about Aftershock Comics enough right now. In under four months time they’ve managed to create an almost obsessive fan out of me. How? I’m not completely sure. It might be due to the fact that their comics are hitting me in all my favorite geeky bits. Maybe it’s because I’m thrilled to see another independent publisher producing books that push the comic genre in new directions. Who knows? What I can be sure of is, Strayer #2 was this weeks must buy.

The first issue of Strayer did everything a first issue needs to do (I even wrote about it here). I mean, what’s not to like about a barbarian, monster hunter for hire? Yet, that premise alone isn’t enough to carry a book into deep numbers. A “monster of the week” title would get boring, as they always do. So, where book one brought us introduction, book two delivers both a glimpse at the big picture, and development of this stories first arc.

After burning through its pages this afternoon, all I’ll say is that my wallet is already preparing itself for book three.

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