Just in time for Halloween, a new issue of this amusing horror title arrives in my mailbox. The main story is “The Tell-Tale Black Cask of Usher” written, pencilled and lettered by Dean Motter, inks by Alex Ogle, colors by Julie Barclay. Motter manages to combine at least a dozen Poe stories in this humorous adventure of the author himself. “What will turn up next?” I kept wondering, and each page brought a new smile even while the story itself is full of horror for the protagonist. Nicely done.
Hunt Emerson returns with more of “Poe and the Black Cat,” a funny two-pager along the lines of “Spy Vs. Spy,” and the issue is filled out by some illustrated poems and a text story. Oh, and a great cover that has nothing to do with the contents, continuing that Ahoy tradition.
This is another fill-in issue of sorts, a departure from the main story and characters, though written by regular Simon Spurrier. The artist is named only Dani. I quite like the art this time. Very different from Evely, loose but with strong skill beneath it.
We are brought to a meeting of a support group in Brighton, England for mythological entities who are nearly forgotten. They are fading away, and not happy about it. Parallels are clear to many other kinds of fading traditions in British society. For instance, The Green Man, once a fertility symbol and pagan nature god, has been reduced to a beer-swilling Charlie because he’s mainly remembered on signs for pubs. The viewpoint character is Nikki, a sea goddess whose idea of fun is pulling swimmers to their deaths, but when she tries that now…it doesn’t work at all. One of the group declares they need to be seen to be remembered, and suggests an LGBTQ parade as the place to do it. Will that help them stay around?
The writing on this issue reminds me more of Neil Gaiman in tone than anything in the title so far, a neat blend of melancholy for lost things, humor, human insight, and obscure myth. It worked perfectly for me.
In some cases I’ve found it’s possible to enjoy the hell out of a series without really following the big picture. The overall plot of this comic is quite complicated, involving multiple universes, new-to-us Green Lanterns from some of them, also alternate versions of heroes like Superman, likewise an alternate Star Sapphire, a golden giant guarding a lonely outpost, Sinestro, and a hideous villain. The art, coloring and lettering are excellent, the characters’ dialogue is entertaining, the relationships and personalities are appealing. So what if I’ve lost track of the structure? This is the penultimate issue of this version of GREEN LANTERN. I look forward to what comes next.
The story being told here is chopped into short vignettes of two to six pages. It covers a lot of ground, from ancestors of Jimmy Olsen and Lex Luthor in the frontier town that would become Metropolis, to Luthor and Lois Lane in the present, to friends of Jimmy facing death and more. Each vignette starts with an overblown caption in the style of the old comics, but laced with absurdity and humor. The vignettes themselves tend to be more serious, especially for Jimmy himself, though there is certainly a funny side to them. Metamorpho and Jimmy bringing the above seen Decoy Corpse into Jim’s apartment, for instance, and what happens immediately after. There are elements of farce and parody, but Jimmy takes it all quite seriously, as he must to make it funny. I don’t always get the jokes, I suspect, but I’m enjoying the ride all the same.
Comics today are written in story arcs that can be neatly published in standard-size collections. This issue finishes the second story arc of the title. As a continuing series, a story arc should appear to have a beginning and an end allowing closure, but leave room and teasers for more issues. The arc has focused on the search for Dream (Daniel), who went to the waking world, had an affair that ended badly, and then on to other realms such as Faery and Hell. The characters Dora and Matthew the raven have been tasked with finding him, using Dora’s innate ability to travel to any realm. They were given the task by the current ruler of The Dreaming, a strangely moth-like being who is also said to be a machine intelligence.
Sensing change and a vacuum of power, emissaries of other realms have gathered at the gates of Dream, where Abel and the moth creature must deal with them. Some of them would take The Dreaming for their own, by force if necessary. Meanwhile, Lucien has been brought back to The Dreaming, but is very ill, and Dora and Matthew have returned with their report. Elsewhere, men who have brought about the current situation are scheming.
Not a bad issue, some things of interest happen, but I don’t think the illusion of closure is very well served by Spurrier’s script this time. It was not satisfying on that level. Still, recommended.