Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spider

Black Widow Volume 1: S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Most Wanted by Mark Waid & Chris Samnee. Marvel, 2016. 9780785199755.

black-widow-1Contains Black Widow #1 – #6.

Many comics have borrowed the cinematic action style of comics that Darwin Cooke perfected in Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score. (In fact, some pages from Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye run may have one-upped it, though they feel a little grittier.) But only Waid and Samnee seem able to equal Cooke’s sense of fun despite this story’s life-or-death stakes.

The opening sequence is really all you need to hear about to know if you want to read it. Black Widow wades through S.H.I.E.L.D agents trying to stop her from leaving what appears to be an office building. After a fight she drops a bomb, blowing her out a window, which reveals that she’s falling from a helicarrier 40,000 feet in the air without a parachute. Does she panic? No. She has a plan. And those agents in flying cars and with rocket packs are part of it. It’s a ballet that ends perfectly and elegantly. And it’s all because someone is blackmailing her by threatening to reveal her secrets.

B-movie Brood

American Blood by Benjamin Marra. Fantagraphics, 2016. 240pp. 9781606999523.

american-bloodThis is tasteless, B-movie madness in the best sense of the word, a collection of comic book length work by the creator of Terror Assaulter: O.M.W.O.T. reproduced, for some reason, in purple ink. You’ll find something to love here if you find joy any of the following: the most tasteless blaxploitation films, The Ripping Friends, the more tasteless episodes of Ren & Stimpy, Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit, Blade, Korgoth of Barbaria,  Steel Dawn, The Blood of Heroes, the wooden dialogue in Krull , the carnage in Django Unchained, and big-haired porn of the 70s. (If you only like some of those things, you’re going to find something objectionable.)

Sarah: This is like a tasting menu of the tasteless and/or the start of a really fun theme party!

Here’s the back cover, which serves as a more specific pitch for each of the stories in the book. (Click on it for a larger image.)