Subway Shorts – A Kick in the Pants

Our first look at the most recent slate of comics includes the first issue of a new book based in the Black Hammer universe – Sherlock Frankenstein & the Legion of Evil – along with the latest issues of Nightwing from DC Comics and Kill Or Be Killed from Image.

Nightwing 31
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Miguel Mendoca, Diana E. Conesa and Chris Sotomayor 

Seeley’s run on Nightwing is quickly coming to a close, and with the latest story arc, he brings the book back to its first few issues as Rebirth began. Dick Grayson is now dealing with the Raptor again, a man who was supposed to mentor him to be an assassin for the Court of Owls. He’s also worked with the new Blockbuster to get some intel on his bird-based adversary.

His connection to Blockbuster ended up really hurting him, as you can see in the image above, as his current costumed partner with benefits, Huntress, wasn’t too pleased about being led around by a crime boss. I guess that takes care of any questions about his sleeping with Huntress while smooching her Birds of Prey boss over in BATGIRL

Let’s not forget about his most recent ex-girlfriend, former criminal The Defacer, who seems like she’s about to get wrapped up in Raptor’s claws soon. Mr. Grayson has a complicated love life.

The last 15 or 16 months of Nightwing hasn’t produced many bad issues or any bad arcs, really, and this is no different. It’s a shame to see Seeley go soon.

Sherlock Frankenstein & The Legion of Evil 1
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by David Rubin and Dave Stewart 

Jeff Lemire is expanding the universe of his amazing Black Hammer book from the farm where the former heroes live with this new book, which brings us back to Spiral City. The daughter of the Black Hammer, Lucy, has been featured in recent issues of the main book, having appeared on the farm trying to figure out what happened to her dad and his colleagues. But in this book, we get the chance to see what led up to that.

Lucy, a budding journalist, is determined to find one of her dad’s enemies, Sherlock Frankenstein. We’ve already met Sherlock in the pages of Black Hammer, a nemesis of Golden Gail who turned into Gail’s lover as they got older. But he’s considered one of the worst criminals the world has ever seen, until he went legit. And then he disappeared. So Lucy decides to start at the top in her search for her dad.

Alright, maybe not RIGHT at the top. But he was pretty close. Manaconda is a great name. So is Cthu-Lou – we’re apparently getting more of him next month.

I can’t recall reading a comic written by Jeff Lemire that I didn’t enjoy. The first issue of Sherlock Frankenstein is set up with an intriguing presence and a good hook as the issues final pages reveal a shocking fact from a villain named Grimjim. Sherlock Frankenstein hasn’t been seen in years because he’s no longer in the city. He’s not even on this plane of existence.

Well, that was unexpected.

I’m definitely intrigued by where the story is going and I can’t wait for more here. As Black Hammer takes a bit of a sabbatical, the Sherlock Frankenstein miniseries should be a good replacement.

Kill Or Be Killed 13
Written by Ed Brubaker 
Art by Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser

The latest saga from the creators Criminal and Fatale started as crime drama with elements of the supernatural that shifted deftly into the psychological over the last couple of issues, as the series lead, Dylan, learned that the demon that has been forcing him to kill once a month also seemed to plague his father.

Dylan continues to find the demon as a featured character in his father’s artwork, and his family’s troubled history gets more complicated. Dylan’s attempted suicide kicked off this story, and we quickly learned that his father actually did kill himself. Here, we discover Dylan’s father had a son from a previous marriage that also killed himself. Is the demon a sign of a family issue that’s going down the lineage? Or is the demon a repressed memory from Dylan’s youth that manifests when he’s off his medication?

Either way, Dylan doesn’t seem to be giving up his vigilante antics and killing bad guys in the city. As the latest issue closes, Brubaker has brought the story around to where we started in the first issue, before Dylan started telling his story. I doubt we’re completely finished with the flashbacks to what’s come before, as Dylan constantly refers to himself as a terrible narrator, but that’s OK. I’m intrigued as to his family backstory.

At this point, Kill Or Be Killed can go in any number of directions, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to Dylan next.