August 6th, 2009
One gag order, coming up (From Secret Six #3)Cat catches Bat (From Secret Six #2)
Unlike other men (From Secret Six #4)Ah geez (From Secret Six #9)

Secret Six is the first on-going series in a string of supervillain team comic books written by Gail Simone, with pencils by Nicola Scott. Just as the mini-series that predate it (Villains United, Secret Six), Secret Six takes place in the main DC Universe.

Secret Six is a freelance team of six supervillains. The team was originally formed out of necessity when they refused to join and subsequently opposed Lex Luthor’s Secrey Society of Super Villains (see: Villains United). The Secret Six henceforth operate as a neutral team-for-hire, willing to take on jobs of any nature in the name of mutual self interest. Over the group’s history, its mainstay members have been Catman, Deadshot, Scandal Savage, and Ragdoll. The remaining spots on the team have been… fluid, to say the least. Former tenants include Cheschire, Knockout, a Parademon, Mad Hatter, Doctor Psycho, Fiddler, and Harley Quinn. The current team’s cast, however, is comprised of the aforementioned mainstays in addition to Bane (the supervillain who famously broke Batman’s back), and Jeannette (a Simone / Scott creation).

Make no mistake: every member of Secret Six is a miscreant. Some of them enjoy killing more than others, but not one of them is innocent; they’ve all got demons. None of them will lose sleep over a few dead bodies, if a situation calls for some. But due to Gail Simone’s unrivaled ability to understand and bring to the forefront the character within a character, you will sympathize with every one of them.

June 4th, 2009
The immaculate cover of House of Mystery #1A page from House of Mystery #1
A page from House of Mystery #2A page from House of Mystery #6

House of Mystery is an occult-horror comic published by DC Comics under the Vertigo label. Originally appearing in the 1950s and then again in the 1980s, House of Mystery laid dormant for years until writers Matthew Sturges (Shadowpact, Blue Beetle) and Bill Willingham (Fables) revived the series once again in 2008.

The House of Mystery is a place filled with interesting people. These are people from all walks of life, from all times — and timelines. Bethany “Fig” Keeler is one such person. She, like The House’s other residents, would like nothing more than to go back to their previous lives, but she is trapped. There are attempts at escaping made, but the harsh truth is that their only means of egress is when a mysterious man simply called “The Coachman” arrives at the front gates, in his own timing, to take them away. So the occupants of The House of Mystery, along with The House’s numerous visitors, must resign themselves to drinking their days and nights away in the bar room, where the drinks are free, so long as you have a story to share. And herein lies what makes The House of Mystery, as a comic book, so special: the stories. Sturges, Willingham, and/or the occasional guest writer, treat us to an average of two sub-stories per issues. Representing genres including fantasy, horror, science fiction, or sometimes even autobiographical accounts of events in the various characters’ lives, these stories have the capacity to disgust, frighten, fascinate, sadden, and warm the hearts of readers.

Though there is much history behind the House of Mystery series to which I am, regrettably, largely ignorant, I’ve absolutely loved each and every issue of this latest incarnation. The over-arching storyline is almost completely auxiliary to the sub-stories told by the characters in each issue, though that’s not to say I find the pages in between uninteresting. The whole book is magical. Even the paper used in printing feels right; I only hope that it’s also being used in the trade paperback collections being published, of which there are two, so far. “Room and Boredom” collects issues #1 – 5 while “Love Stories for Dead People” collects #6 – 10.

May 7th, 2009

Dear Billy Vol. 1 TPB CoverDear Billy is the second of three, three-issue historical-fiction comics that Garth Ennis has written for his “Battlefields” series. Published by Dynamite Entertainment, Dear Billy features Peter Snjeberg on page-to-page art, with cover art by John Cassaday and Gary Leach.

Dear Billy is a story set during World War 2 and narrated by its protagonist Carrie Sutton in the form of a letter. Sombre pencils from Peter Snejbjerg do well to set the tone for Dear Billy as Carrie tells the tale of her first-hand experiences of the hardship of war, not as a soldier or a lonely wife or girlfriend back home, but as a survivor. She tells the story of her silent suffering, her loneliness, her vengeance, her shame, her love, and of Britishness.

I don’t have much more to add in the way of personal commentary on Dear Billy. As was the case with The Night Witches (whose story is unrelated to Dear Billy’s, by the way), Garth Ennis has not disappointed me with a war story of his yet. One thing I will say is that I’d be hard pressed to name a book that I’ve read wherein its characters are drawn with such deliberately chilling facial expressions. I may give DC’s The Mighty another try after seeing Peter Snejbjerg’s work in Dear Billy.

DoSu TeamDoSu Team


March 30th, 2009

Air #7Issue #7 of Air was released on the week of March 18th for only $1. I looked around online and saw that it had been marketed as a good jumping on point for new readers. Before I dive in to this issue, I thought that I should post about this special price. I wish that I could have posted about the $1 issue before it came out, but I’m sure copies are still available for that price at your local comic shop, if not online. Do check it out.

December 11th, 2008

Air is a creator-owned comic published under DC Comic’s Vertigo label and written by G. Willow Wilson with art by M.K. Perker. I believe this is the second time this team has collaborated on a comic, with the first time being on the Vertigo series Cairo.

Air #1 coverAir introduces us to an airline stewardess in a post-9/11 world named Blythe. Blythe probably shouldn’t be a stewardess; she’s so deathly afraid of flying that she has to take medication in order to keep from losing her shit on the job. Her world gets turned upside down on the day she checks the bags of a mysterious man with fleeting accents and half a dozen names. Is he friend, foe, or just a nobody? Throw in a belligerent German passenger, Blythe’s best friend Fletcher, an anti-terrorism organization called The Etesian Front, and G. Willow Wilson’s four-year road map for the series, and you’ve got Air.

Despite dealing with as serious a subject matter as international terrorism, Air manages to be romantic and whimsical, and in no small part due to the art. Turkish artist M.K. Perker has created a fan out of me with his unique style. Characters have long and well-defined features that lend themselves to conveying emotion through body language and facial expressions. This allows for a character’s demeanor to be read without words, though there are plenty of them.

Conversations in Air, however fictitious certain scenarios may be, feel real and natural. Plot also flows naturally from panel to panel, page to page, and so far for each of the four issues always a scene with something new, abstract and wonderful that catches me off guard. I love it. It’s a breath of fresh… gas.

As Air is only on issue four, your local comic shop would be the best place to find it., the shop I use, still shows all four issues in stock on its website. A trade paperback collecting the first five issues will be coming out in March of 2009.

PseudoKnightMichael JT Smith


April 21st, 2008