Search Results for Less than hero
Less Than Hero #3
I officially really, really like this book. Even though it’s been months since I read the last issue, all the characters in here are familiar and distinguishable, which is a considerable achievement considering that huge cast of characters. In this one, as you can see from that fantastic cover, The Punk’s girlfriend has been impregnated, and everything else that’s been going on is coming to a head, as #4 is the last issue of the series. They better keep this up with another title, as they’ll be sorely missed if they just quit altogether. There are very few characters more quotable than The Punk, and I think you should find them out for yourselves, as this book has funny or insightful stuff on literally every page. $3, I guess you could wait for the last issue to have the whole story collected in one edition, but the covers are worth the price of admission in my book…
Less Than Hero #2
This is a preview edition, meaning that any complaints I might have about the art looking awfully scrunched up are useless, as I’m sure it was eventually put into a larger edition. Everything is noticeably starting to come together in this issue. The characters are starting to become incredibly unique, the art looks great (except for the fact that it needs a little room to breathe, but see the first sentence), and the dialogue is phenomenal. All kinds of quotable stuff in here, but I’ll just put up a good sample and let you check it out. I can see why they’d want to rush to get a preview edition out for SPX, as people reading this are much more likely to get hooked on this story than people reading the first issue. This is probably $3 and you’re not likely to find a smarter and more realistic superhero story. I almost hate saying that because I’ve gotten pretty sick of the “real people with super powers!” idea, but I promise that this is worth a look. Come on don’t you trust me?
Less Than Hero #1
I’m breaking with tradition here and putting the back cover up instead of the front. Why? Well, it’s better than the front cover, frankly, and I thought it would help anybody who’s reading this to refer back to this synopsis to try and figure out what the hell’s going on. This is the first issue of a projected 12-parter, so I’m going to reserve judgment on the storyline. I didn’t get what was going on, but that’s because there are all kinds of characters, they’re all kind of thrown at you without an introduction, and I think they were trying to introduce too much in too small of a time. Still, points for ambition, and it might all come together beautifully. That being said, it’s time to start complaining. I don’t know what it is that some people have against punctuation, but, seriously, use it. Plenty of sentences in here where it just went on and on and it’s not like I can say anything about that but doesn’t it help to have a comma here and there to break up the sentence throw a little inflection into it do you know what I mean? Ahem. Also, for some reason a lot of the “n”s were backwards. Not sure if that was a stylistic thing or just a screw-up, but it stopped me in my tracks and I think that’s a bad thing. All that bitching aside, it wasn’t a bad first issue at all. Tony was obviously influenced by a lot of the great older artists and the book looks incredible, even if I couldn’t tell what exactly the superhero guy looked like until the full page spread. The writing is solid and the dialogue is believable and funny, for the most part. Look, my only major complaint is that they should have taken their time, maybe putting only one character per issue for a while. Sure, that was probably impossible due to finances, but putting out a few minis before this might not have been a bad idea. Anyway, this is $3 and worth a look, although you might want to wait a few issues to you can have a fair shake at figuring out what’s going on. Send them an e-mail…
Less Than Hero #4
Here it is, the last issue of the Less Than Hero series. Before anyone gets sad, they say that they’re hard at work on a new series, so more is on the way. That’s great news as far as I’m concerned, as this is the first superhero series to hook me since… geez, does Preacher count? No? Concrete? Whatever the case, it’s been a while. The reason this one hooked me so thoroughly is that, even though there are costumes, dorky names and fight scenes, this is mostly about the people. And the first scenes, when they’re cool enough. This is the end of the story of this series, so I don’t want to give too much away (as I’m demanding that everyone at least look at an issue of this), but this has one of the best fight scenes involving a whole town that I’ve ever seen. OK, The Sleeper (the main villain here) has made everyone in San Francisco fall asleep, and when people fall asleep they fall under his complete control. The Punk, as he can’t sleep because of the accident that gave him his powers, is all that’s stopping The Sleeper from having complete control of the town. Citizens are thrown at him in a never-ending wave of carnage that has to be seen to be believed. This is $3.25 (I think it’s a little bit heftier than the other issues) and these two should be able to take over the world in the next few years, if they keep this kind of pace up. Contact info is up there, send them some love!
How many times can DJ Cat Gosshie save the day? However many times you’ve guessed, it’s probably going to be more. He (or she) is a hero! Things start off with Gosshie selling his LP’s on the street; we are shown early on that he is a fair street merchant, stopping someone from accidentally paying him too much money for an LP. Next is an impossible traffic jam after an accident. What can DJ Gosshie do, how can he help? Well, different LP’s have different colors, and those colors can be used to help direct traffic. From here all this cat wants to do is to take a nice peaceful nap while listening to his music, but then a woman and her baby come along to screw that up. Can he solve this problem as well? Well, yeah. Spoilers! There are two more calamities yet to come, one of which the cat is well equipped to solve on his own, and the other which involves, well, water. And everybody knows water is not a thing that cats like. So how does he solve that one? Obviously you’ll have to read this to find out! I’m hopelessly biased towards almost all comics that involve cats as heroes (there are more than you’d think!), so I’m not the most objective voice here, but this one was a blast all the way through. Quick on his feet, willing to help everyone regardless of personal opinion, while still managing to maintain that certain catness all the way through. Give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed. $7
French Lessons #1
Most people out there who’ve rented apartments have at least one story about a horrible roommate. Sometimes it’s some random stranger who you were forced to live with out of convenience, sometimes (and this is the worst case scenario) it’s somebody you’ve known and trusted for years and they suddenly become a rampaging asshole/lunatic. My last roommate in Champaign certainly fit that bill, as he went gradually insane. Unlike this comic, however, I was never threatened with physical violence, or at least not until I was safely out of his house and he knew that he would probably never have to make good on his threats. He was a real hero! Anyway, enough about me. I’m rambling, believe it or not, to make a point. Some of the best comics for me are the ones that I can personally relate to, and at least try to learn something from. This one certainly fits the bill, and it was even based in Chicago. It looks like he’s planning on doing these on a number of different subjects, but he certainly has my support. Oh, the synopsis, in case I went around it without actually telling it: Dale moves to Chicago and basically only knows one person, the old friend that he moves in with. Said friend goes insane, threatening physical violence, and Dale moves in with another friend. He goes back to the apartment to get the rest of this stuff to find… but why ruin it? It’s a good read, and it says a lot about the value of true friends (and they’re harder to come by than you might think) in more ways than one. Here’s an e-mail address, this is $4 because it’s huge!
Doctor Leviathan #1 Now Available!Â $3.99
Sometimes my willingness to accept anything for the store gets me in trouble.Â Looking at that cover, I was already willing to trash this, as blood n’ guts generally isn’t my thing in comics, which is odd, as I’m all about it in movies.Â Anyway, right away this seemed different from the norm.Â The first five pages are giant splashes of a large group of villains standing around, looking menacing.Â This could be awful, granted, but there was enough distinction between these characters that made me sit back and give it a chance.Â The story is that a young girl has been kidnapped by a group of villains, led by a villain who apparently can’t die (and doesn’t mind bugs crawling all over his face), Siege.Â It turns out that Siege wants revenge for the death of three of his men, who were put to death after killing around 23,000 people.Â No, the man does not skimp on the details here, going into graphic detail of what a giant and an Electro clone (who looks like Mysterio, oddly enough) could do to a town if they were lunatics.Â Siege, after telling that story, sets his men on the girl and they tear her apart… but she doesn’t die.Â In fact, nothing that they do seems to kill her, and what follows then is a pile of sheer carnage.Â This, finally, is when we’re introduced to our hero Doctor Leviathan, but then only briefly, and we’re left with a heap of questions.Â Look, if you’re not into this sort of thing you probably stopped reading when you saw the cover.Â If you’re willing to keep an open mind, there is potential here.Â Granted, James will have to work past his obsession with having everything going on in front of a featureless white background, and some of that dialogue is downright dopey.Â Still, his website says that he has eight (!) issues done already, so there should be plenty of chances to see where this goes from here in the near future.Â It may turn into a Faust clone, or it may get repetitive in a hurry.Â There’s also the minor fact that most of that fascinating array of villains was gutted (um, spoiler alert), so I guess he’s going to have to come up with a new pile of bad guys.Â Judging from the imagination shown in those first five pages, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.Â $3.99
Sometimes my willingness to accept anything for the store gets me in trouble. Looking at that cover, I was already willing to trash this, as blood n’ guts generally isn’t my thing in comics, which is odd, as I’m all about it in movies. Anyway, right away this seemed different from the norm. The first five pages are giant splashes of a large group of villains standing around, looking menacing. This could be awful, granted, but there was enough distinction between these characters that made me sit back and give it a chance. The story is that a young girl has been kidnapped by a group of villains, led by a villain who apparently can’t die (and doesn’t mind bugs crawling all over his face), Siege. It turns out that Siege wants revenge for the death of three of his men, who were put to death after killing around 23,000 people. No, the man does not skimp on the details here, going into graphic detail of what a giant and anElectro clone (who looks like Mysterio , oddly enough) could do to a town if they were lunatics. Siege, after telling that story, sets his men on the girl and they tear her apart… but she doesn’t die. In fact, nothing that they do seems to kill her, and what follows then is a pile of sheer carnage. This, finally, is when we’re introduced to our hero Doctor Leviathan, but then only briefly, and we’re left with a heap of questions. Look, if you’re not into this sort of thing you probably stopped reading when you saw the cover. If you’re willing to keep an open mind, there is potential here. Granted, James will have to work past his obsession with having everything going on in front of a featureless white background, and some of that dialogue is downright dopey. Still, his website says that he has eight (!) issues done already, so there should be plenty of chances to see where this goes from here in the near future. It may turn into a Faust clone, or it may get repetitive in a hurry. There’s also the minor fact that most of that fascinating array of villains was gutted (um, spoiler alert), so I guess he’s going to have to come up with a new pile of bad guys. Judging from the imagination shown in those first five pages, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
I just reviewed the last issue (#4) of the Less Than Hero series. Also, as far as all the problems go, the webmaster (not me, the other guy) has hit a rough patch at work, but he’s going as fast as he can, so it might be a couple of days yet before everything is fixed. The (unrelated) good news is that I’m getting word from a bunch of folks that they’re going to send comics for the online store, so the selection there should increase substantially in the next few weeks. Also, I’m getting reports that finding the review is still a major pain, so here’s the easiest way that I know to get there under the current set-up: go to the search bar, type in "Jason McNamara" and click on it. Sorry, this will all be so very much easier soon…
Looks like I have a bit of a Goiter gap (I didn’t pick up #4 or 5) on this here website, proving once again that it’s not possible for one person to follow every single comic artist that’s worthwhile, or even most of them, or even more than a few of them. Once again, if there’s a single billionaire reading this that wants to give me a measly few million dollars to do all this full time until I drop, I’m ready at any time. Anyway! The earlier issues of Goiter were solid, but this seems like a leap up in quality. Several stories in here, in a comic that’s the size of a regular comic book, so the whole thing feels a bit nostalgic. Until you see the (perfectly reasonable) price tag of $8, which kills that nostalgia dead. Stories include a mopey man who learns quite a bit about the history of pilates, the terrifying feeling of watching your dog run away from you after they get off their leash and not knowing if you’ll ever see them again in one piece, the spectacularly questionable viewing habits of a young Josh and his mother, and finally the bulk of the comic. This one is grim, and just barely fiction, in that Black Mirror “if this isn’t happening exactly this way right now, just give it a few years” kind of way. Our hero is a worker drone in an Amazon warehouse (in all but name), where every aspect of his job and life are monitored. Sleep patterns, television habits, recreational activities, all are monitored and all are factored in whenever a dip in performance is detected. It’s hard to read because (outside of a few fantastical elements) Amazon is already doing at least half of this to their workers, and we’re all just waiting for confirmation that an Alexa in the house is basically a license to spy. Terrifying but engrossing, that’s what I’d call that story, and you might as well read up on it, as it’s the likely future for all of us. Unless climate change gets us first. On that cheery note, better wrap things up, so yes, I’d absolutely recommend this comic, and it doesn’t seem to be connected to past issues, so don’t worry about being lost. $8
Who out there has played a Sims game? Or one of the equivalent games that asks you to control the lives of various avatars that generally do nothing more complex than what you do in an average day? Well, this one is for you! This starts off with a misdirect, as we’re introduced in the game to what appears to be our hero. Well, surprise, our hero is being controlled by somebody else! The mundane tasks that the avatar was doing are then carried out in real life by the player, and the juxtaposition of the two of them really brings home the banality of his “life” (and the question of why he feels compelled to play out the same events on the screen). Still, it wouldn’t be much of a comic if that’s all that happened, so eventually the player has to make a trip to the grocery store. While he’s out he runs into either an old girlfriend or somebody he has an interest in (it’s not spelled out), and his first foray into live human interaction in possibly several days goes quite poorly. But that’s OK! When real life goes wrong, he always has the simulation. There were some creepy bits, but generally of the “harmless creepy” category, as no humans were harmed. Maybe call it a cautionary tale of playing too much Sims? Sure, let’s go with that. It’s an oddly compelling story, considering how little actually happens. Give it a shot, you can’t go wrong with mini kus! $7
You know, after doing this for almost 20 years you’d think I’d have a better sense by now of the best point in a review to address some nitpicks when I mostly love the book in question. Ah well, I’m bound to figure this stuff out sooner or later, right? Anyway, overall there’s a whole lot to like about this book. It’s the tale of a young Colombian kid who’s going through some big changes in his life, told over the course of a single year. It starts in the summer, with our hero being completely directionless in life, up to and including not being sure if he even wants to live any more. The fall has him gain said clear direction in his life, but it puts him in direct conflict with his parents. Winter has his being forced to face up to his previous choices and the consequences of his lifestyle, and they were some doozies. Finally summer shows him making some further changes, even leaving things off on a hopeful note. That’s as vague as I could make things, otherwise known as my best attempt to avoid spoilers. The dialogue is genuine and heartfelt, the characters each had distinctive voices by the end, and the occasional dreaminess of the artwork perfectly suited the action. That being said, I did have a few questions/comments. I get why he chose the four season structure (it really nailed down a timeline), but I don’t think it was necessary. The changes this kid went through are more like what other people in similar circumstances would go through over the course of several years, to the point where I actually double checked after it was over that it really was supposed to be set in a single year. Let that sucker breathe, is what I’m saying. His choice to leave the dialogue with the parents in Spanish was bold, and an excellent chance for me to test my Spanish skills (both better than I expected and not good enough to follow everything), but the effect is that it leaves some conversations behind. Generally you could get enough information through context clues (this being a visual medium and all), but that climactic final conversation was 80% (or so) lost on me. John seems relatively new to comics (his first book in his store is from 2015, which is not to say that I’m not completely wrong and he had been making minis for a decade before that), but this book is showing off some serious skills. And, as always, I’m some crank on the internet, so all nitpicks should be read with that knowledge in mind. Check it out, it’s well worth a look. $20
This is one of those books where there’s no chance at all that my words could ever do it justice, so if you’re one of those people who just take my word on comics recommendations (do people like that exist?), just go ahead and buy this already. If you hate it, never trust me again! There, easy. For the rest of of you, this comic doesn’t have a conventional narrative, and it’s amazing. The conceit is that this is a catalog of books available with the Marchenoir character. Every other page has the title of an imagined book, and opposite of that page is a wordless full page spread depicting some of the hypothetical action in that book. I picked the two samples more or less at random; there’s actually less going on here than there are in most of these two page stories. Even so, one look at that second page should give you some idea of how much detail A. put into each of these images. We see the trail that the villain left behind, we see our heroes trying to track him down (along with what each of them is using), and we get a peek into his home or office. All of these stories come after 8 pages of introductions to the various heroes and villains that populate this world, and I could have happily used any of those pages for samples, as the amount of information he’s able to pack into a paragraph or two combined with an image is stunning. Normally this is the point where I’d say something like “some of these stories are better than others” but really, they’re all pretty damned amazing. The fact that I got lost flipping through this book once again just now really proves that point; it really is just that engrossing. Which, again, is odd for a book with little to no narrative flow. But oh, that cast of characters! I’d buy a full book with any of these characters and any of those titles, sight unseen, after reading this. Check it out, there’s very little chance that you’ll be disappointed. $20
Is Brian the most prolific comic artist going today? Is there a contest for that sort of thing? There’s not (that I know of), but he’d have to be high up the list. Brian sent me a few new comics recently, as I’ve somehow missed him at the last couple of local comic conventions. He sent a few issues of this comic along, and when I went to link to his website I saw that he already has ten issues done. 10! Granted, these are 8 page minis, but that’s still a better pace than a lot of artists, and he’s also always working on other comics. Does it seem like I’m stalling a bit on the actual review? Yeah, that’s probably because I am. This one starts off with a perfume ad that morphs into two people having sex. They get interrupted when our hero (I’m assuming) has to leave because his ride for work has arrived. They get into a brief argument, as the woman thinks that his female ride was hitting on him, and that’s that. If that makes it seem like everything is simple and straightforward, it’s really not. Everybody in this town has gotten plastic surgery, meaning all the women look the same and so do all the men. I’m curious to dig into this and see where it goes from here, as I already have a lot of questions. Which means that a first issue did its job, and this is one of those rare first issues where you already know there’s plenty out that’s already completed. I’m assuming this one will have significantly less punching than his Ruffians series, but who knows? Check it out, maybe buy a few issues while you’re at it to see where this is headed. $2
Since this book came out in 2012, has this really been lost among the comic stacks here for 7 years, or did Joseph include it with some more recent review comics? A peek behind the curtain, just in case anybody still somehow had the idea that I was organized. I think he sent it fairly recently, but who knows? The archivist is imaginary, which makes it hard to keep track of such things. Anyway, this is the story of The Vole with No Name breaking into the Scum Hive to steal a priceless sword. The first half of the book has exactly three spoken words and it does an excellent job of showing our hero sneaking into this place and the various pitfalls he encounters along the way. The rest of the is a desperate attempt to escape, primarily from a very large sentient jar full of brains. It’s more nimble than you’d think! There’s also a brief story in the back of the book dealing with a vole and his son picking berries. They discover a human skull (from ages ago when all the humans were killed; haven’t you been reading his comics?) and get into a discussion about what happened to them and death in general. It’s a thoroughly engaging comic all around, give it a shot why don’t you? $3
Trolls: Operation Great Wall
This issue is a little less completely insane than the last one I read, but considering the fact that that was about a drunken party in an airport (among other places), there was bound to be at least a slight return to “normal.” Although you can look at the sample image below and see that there’s no such thing as a normal, quiet day in this world. We join our heroes in the Honolulu airport, where they’re casually chatting about Wayward’s girlfriend and what he can possibly see in her. She’s a bit on the dramatic side and comes from a conservative family. After nearly getting into an accident her parents take her to China, the Great Wall specifically (title might have given that away, huh?), and our heroes decide that they have to rescue her. But they’re air traffic controllers, not pilots, so you can probably guess how well that turned out. The rest of the comic has hijinx all over the place, what with the international incident and all. It also has an appearance by a former president, which isn’t the president I would have guessed in a comic with “wall” in the title. The previous issue may have this one beat for pure insanity, but this is quite the enjoyable read too.
As always, the temptation with a review for a mini kus book is to just post the snippet of text on the back of the comic and call it a day. That’s usually more succinct than what I do here, and often more descriptive. But what’s the fun in that? This is the story of an unsettled man who starts off his tale by talking about how he feels the most like himself while he’s traveling. From there we see how miserable he is at home, how he goes about an average day, and how he always feels like he’s waiting for something to happen, but has no idea what that might be. After a fair amount of self reflection, our hero discovers a talking mirror in his apartment. This mirror, at the very least, offers a change of pace from what our hero is used to, so eventually he accepts it as an agent of change and steps inside. Oh, didn’t I mention that the mirror was also a portal? Anyway, I’m getting into spoiler territory if I go even a little bit further, so I’ll leave the rest of it up to you. If you’re thinking “I’ve read dozens of ‘the author is existentially bored/unsettled stories'” and are wondering if there’s anything unique that this one brings to the table, yes, there is! I just can’t tell you here. It’s all about perspective and trying to learn the right lessons from the greats who came before. $6
The mystery of the missing two issues of Konehedz is revealed! Right there on the cover, actually, making it one of the quickest mystery reveals possible. And something I would have known if I had looked at it before I reviewed the last issue, but these things happen. This one picks up right after #1 (and after one of the more thorough and comprehensive recaps I’ve ever seen, so kudos to Mark for that; seriously, you could miss the first issue entirely and know exactly what’s happening here), with our heroes getting off the boat and confronting… a giant eyeball fish monster? Something along those lines. They find its weakness quickly, then run into zombies (?) with pincers, who may or may not be hostile, but our heroes ripping an arm off of one of them decides that allegiance for them. More chaos, more monsters, and one of our heroes discovers a giant robot suit. And yeah, you’d damn well better believe that the next several pages involve that giant monster suit causing all sorts of havoc. Eventually they meet some friendly aliens, or at least not outwardly hostile aliens, so they follow a series of them to their leader. Which is where we finally get some answers, but I’m not going to tell you them here. One quibble: Mark really needs to work on his spelling. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just the occasional word here and there, but there’s some long chunks of text towards the end and he misspells several words in most of the text boxes. The quality of his artwork improves as the issue goes on, and spelling words correctly is much easier and quicker than drawing, so… don’t do that! Or do it less, at least. That goes for all you young (or older and spelling impaired) comics artists out there: have somebody else read it over if you have to, but it’s an easy fix. That was a longer digression than I intended, and it really didn’t do much to lower my enjoyment of the book (not much cause for words in some of those glorious fight scenes, after all), which is still very much worth you checking out. Large portions of this one are even in full color! $3
You know what has long been missing from any conversation about legalizing marijuana? Nuance. That’s a societal (human?) failing on many issues, like gun control, abortion, climate change, etc. For most of these subjects there’s SOME middle ground to be had, but because of the political environment in this country honest conversations about these topics are impossible. And by “political environment” I mostly mean “Republicans;” let’s be real here. Anyway, this comic is about marijuana and I’m drifting into a political rant, so don’t mind me. What Mister V has done such a wonderful job conveying in these two volumes has been the nuances of the debate. In the first volume V (or do I call him Mister for short?), desperate for some relief from his irritable bowel syndrome, finally went with medical marijuana and dipped his toes into his options for staying supplied. Frankly, he could have used a “previously in volume one” summary somewhere; it’s never a good idea to count on the long term memory of stoners to stay fresh on all the details from a previous volume. Stereotype alert, I know, but it’s a good idea for all comics series. Anyway, in this volume we get to see our hero as he tells the parents of his wife about his pot use (always fascinating to see former hippies become moral scolds on the subject now), his misadventures in trying to get medical marijuana, the hoops he had to jump through to renew his license, and his journey to finally becoming more or less a pot connoisseur. Most stories I’ve seen about legalized weed tend to end right about when it gets legalized (at least for medical purposes), but V shows that that is not remotely where the story ends. He also tells the tale about a former co-worker who worked for her company for 20 years (and was demonstrably one of the best people on staff) and was unceremoniously fired after a different co-worker complained about this lady smoking pot. For her own medical situation. In a state where such a thing is legal. So yeah, there’s a long way to go before we can claim to be remotely civilized about this subject as a society, and we just elected the most famous con man in the country as president, so it seems likely that things will get worse before they get better. In so, so many ways; maybe this is why I’m on the constant verge of a political rant these days. Still, leaving all that aside, this is a thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking tale of a guy who is just trying to get some relief in his life and the various ways that his life throws up roadblocks to keep that from being remotely easy to do. He even managed to end this volume (the second of three) on a cliffhanger, one that leaves more questions than answers, so I’m very curious to see how he wraps all this up. Even if you’re not a fan of weed you could learn a lot from these books, and if you’re one of the moral scolds in question there is really a lot you could learn from these books. $10
Billy Demon Slayer: Complete Series 2 Collection
It’s a little hilarious to go back through my old reviews of this series, note how many times I said I was going to go back and read the series in a chunk (as I reviewed the issues more or less when they came out and forgot a lot of the details between issues), and then somehow I never reviewed the final issue. Or I never got it? Nah, I’ll go ahead and blame me for dropping the ball on that one. Anyway, I was right: this series makes a whole lot more sense when it’s read all at once. Which is the nature of serialized comics, and most people don’t read as many comics as somebody who reviews them does, meaning that they have an easier time keeping all the little details straight. Anyway! For those of you who haven’t read this series (or those reviews when they came out a few years ago), this is the second series, meaning things start off with a recap of what happened in the first series. It was pretty comprehensive, and the only thing I really felt like I was missing out on was some of the more obscure cameos. In this complete volume we start off with a flashback to a couple of swords that are obviously going to be crucial later on, then jump back into life that has more or less gone back to normal after the events of the first series. But things don’t stay normal, as we get a killer hamster to start off with and it’s quickly followed by a mysterious (and, in a hilarious recurring gag, obviously stinky) fog envelops the town and turns almost everybody evil. We even lose our hero for a bit there in the middle, although I’m not going to spell out what that means exactly. Things get pretty dark in this series, but there are quips throughout and (from the afterward) it’s clear that the first series was much more lighthearted and this one ended up darker because that’s just where the story was naturally headed. Buffy and the Evil Dead series were obvious influences, but those are two pretty great influences to have. If you enjoyed those two universes, you’re going to find plenty to love in here. My only complaint is that the two friends of Billy were barely characters at all, which lessened some of their struggles, but again that’s most likely on me for not reading the first series. Other than that I pretty much loved this book. $25