Weekly Hit (and Miss) List: 11/7/2011

by Ben Peirce

The Weekly Hit (and Miss) List is a rundown of the best and worst things I read this week regardless of their original publication date. It doesn’t have to be new – just new to me.


Joker | DC | Brian Azzarello (w), Lee Bermejo (a)

As comicbook collectors we can acquire quite a bit of paper. The bookshelves in our various man caves and comic rooms are packed with all walks of trades, hardcovers omnibuses and essentials and we have long boxes stashed away in every conceivable nook and cranny in our homes. There comes a time in every collectors life when they say, “what am I gonna do with all this stuff?” So it’s validating when you can pull something off the shelf and revisit it with the same enthusiasm as when you first read it. Such was the case this weekend when I re-read Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo’s original graphic novel, Joker. I talked this book up quite a bit when it first came out and even awarded it my OGN of the year in the 2008 Minty Awards. I’m happy to say that it held up very well on the re-read and I think this is one of those evergreen titles that you can get some enjoyment from every year or so or hand off to someone who may be looking to get into comics.  Joker is a self-contained story that follows the clown prince of crime through the eyes of henchman, Johnny Frost. There are guest appearances from many of Gotham’s all-stars of the underworld. Bermejo plays with the looks of classic villains like Penguin, Killer Croc and the Ridler but the characterizations are true to form. The art switches between a traditional comicbook style and a fully paited look to distinguish the moments when narrator Johnny Frost becomes fully immersed in the Joker’s world. Joker is certainly a mature readers book with over-the-top violence and sexual situations. But if you enjoy that type of thing, it’s a great book and deserving of a place on your bookshelf. BUY IT

Editor’s Note: Lee Bermejo has followed Joker up with a new graphic novel done in a similar painted style and the same visual depiction of Gotham City. Batman: Noel is on shelves this week.


Bite Club: Vampire Crime Unit #1-5 | Vertigo | Howard Chaykin & David Tischman (w), David Hahn (a)

One of the first articles we wrote on nearmintcomicshow.com was a comparison with the Vertigo miniseries, Bite Club and the then-brand-new HBO series, True Blood. The original Bite Club mini was a pretty cool take on a world in which vampires were publicly known accepted into mainstream culture. It follows the rise and fall of the Del Torro clan a vampire crime family dealing dangerously in the synthetic vampire drug, Plasmagoria. It did a nice job of presenting the vampire culture and their impact in Miami. It wasn’t trailblazing by any means, but it was unique enough to warrant a place in the well-trod landscape of vampire fiction. I can’t say the same for the 2006 follow-up, Bite Club: Vampire Crime Unit, which failed to capture the spark of the original series.  The creative team is the same and David Hahn’s art remains sharp and engaging. But the story in V.C.U. is a pretty lifeless walk through typical mob/cop drama. The vampire element becomes an unimportant background element to the story leaving the whole thing feeling uninspired and tedious. You’ll find both miniseries packaged together in The Complete Bite Club trade paperback, which you’re bound to find for $5 at your next convention.  It’s worth picking up if you want to be your own judge but for my money Bite Clib V.C.U. was a sequel that didn’t need to be. BUY IT

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