Sunday, July 21, 2024

LARRY JOHNSON'S TALES OF THE BROKEN B #5: THE CHILLING TALE OF NINA

I adore Larry Johnson's Tales of the Broken B. (If you don't believe me, check out my December 2023 post.)  

Johnson's saga has a Dark Shadows/Twilight Zone vibe, in that the Broken B Ranch is a magnet for strange entities and odd circumstances. Clyde Brittle and Ernie Malone are its inadvertent protagonists and deal with the visiting strangeness much like cowpoke equivalents to Carl Kolchak,  Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

For #5, we're treated to Clyde and Ernie's lovesick pal, Billy DeGroot, whose betrothed, Nina, has jilted him ... or so it seems. After some intense brawling and deep lament between Billy and Clyde, Nina at long last appears, but her missing period holds a creepy connection to the accursed Dead Man's Swamp. When Billy discovers the truth, it's as woeful as it's haunting.   


Johnson's storytelling creates a weird yet palpable ambiance for this chilling chapter, in which he mounts identifiable characters within a suspenseful context. His vibrant artwork also brings the events to idiosyncratic life, establishing "Nina" as Broken B's most startling (if not touching) fable to date. 

To purchase Tales of the Broken B #5, send $6.50 via Paypal to LewBrown1@verizon.net. Broken B #5 will make you darn tootin' pleased you took the initiative. 

Friday, July 19, 2024

PIN-UP TIME: SHERILYN FENN

 

THE CRIMSON NUN: FORTIER, THOMAS & BELCHER

Inspired by Ben Dunn's Warrior Nun (a cult favorite of the 1990s), as well as the legend of Joan of Arc and some good ol' Catholic know-how, writer Ron Fortier's The Crimson Nun blazes onto the scene with sizzling action, enhanced with breathtaking artwork by Jesse Thomas and spiffy lettering by Mike Belcher. 

For Fortier's first, Crimson Nun installment, "Rebellion," readers are transported to Paris 1431, on the final day of Saint Joan's life, where she is burned at the stake and her body deposited into the Seine, only to be retrieved through surreptitious means.  

The story then shifts to a mysterious locale in 1938, where the vile Black Cardinal and his creepy acolytes, assisted by their Nazi ally, Agent Dietrich, have crucified the original Crimson Nun, Alicia Smith. It doesn't take long before a bodacious avenger intervenes to save Smith--and Hallelujah!--it's none other than the next-generation Crimson Nun, Gabrielle Cauxvette, who administers combative skills that'll make one's head spin!

Future chapters of Fortier's saga will explain Cauxvette's amazing advent, along with her connection to Pope Pius XI. For now, the initial exploit satisfies as a taut blend of old-world ambiance combined with 1930s intrigue. Moreover, Issue #1 shows that evildoers should take heed or else face the righteous wrath of this striking, holy crusader.  

Be on the lookout for The Crimson Nun #1 from Indy Comics. It's way too great a blessing to ignore!

Thursday, July 18, 2024

FOR THE FUN OF IT:

THE BOYS: SEASON 4 (FURTHER REFLECTION)

Amazon/Dynamite's The Boys: Season 4 has ended, with the world still on the brink and situations far more antithetical than foreseen, even with the big (but sure, it was gonna happen), Soldier Boy cameo. 

Anyhoo, here we get Firecracker, who's designed in such a way that she shouldn't be an anti-Semite, and yet for whatever wacko cause, she is. Then there's Sister Sage, the evident, most intelligent person in the whole, wide world, who cites global warming as (ahem) legitimate. Plus, we get all that mean-for-the-sake-of-mean, anti-pro-Christmas derision; and what's the deal with VP Victoria Neuman: good, bad or neither? On the other hand, why bother considering the impetuous outcome? 

Okay, the overlapping contradictions and subsequent (on-purpose?) confusion is the series' novelty (I guess), but the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink excess (and intermittent means to deride one and all) blurs clarity, and I do believe that even the most irreverent sagas need clarity (case in point, all those swell, John Waters movies). 

Maybe the hatching of clarity rests with Butcher, Mother's Milk, Hughie, Kimiko and Frenchie (i.e. their anti-Vought, Supe-eradicating mission), and depending on the day, the new, hot-headed Starlight, ambivalent Homelander Jr. and the "redemptive" A-Train, who, after all, did get that much needed, Vought juice for Hughie's dying dad and even intervened when the Deep and Noir II attacked; and yet we all know the age-old saying about good deeds. All the same, when it comes to just the founding Boys, it's as topsy-turvy in its open-endedness, though I must admit, that revelation on Monkey was a clever (SPOILER), Beautiful Mind twist. 

Too bad such clever twists are few and far between, and that's because The Boys' "bathroom" humor has taken precedence over the saga's Brightburn context. That Webweaver, loft segment was downright repugnant, and holy smokes, the bit with Hughie disguised as Webweaver and forced by Tek Knight to fart on a chocolate cake was, well, I don't know what the hell it was, but I could have done without it. Even more troubling was Homelander's "One More Pallbearer" roundup: identifiable at the vengeful outset, but then dear, effing Lord! (For certain and from this point on, I'll never trust anyone who offers me a piece of Fudgie the Whale.)

The bottom line: For a show that's supposed to be all-inclusive in its comeuppances and (even more so) carnal preferences, I often feel left out. I'd be pleased as Punch if (before or after whatever superfluous shenanigans might be dealt) there came a Starlight, full frontal. I mean, I appreciate that imposter, rearview shot in Season 4's near-finale, but a flipside glimpse (whether it be the genuine Annie January or an amazing, Who Goes There? doppelganger) would be way nicer. Ah, that's probably too much to ask considering the saga's hip-and-cool, pro-"woke" parameters, and yet for any old, forgotten, Playboy/Penthouse fan, it sure would hit the spot.