Before I start talking about all the new comics I picked up yesterday, I just want to clarify that the sealed border between Callan and Maltak has nothing to do with either Israel's wall on its border nor the proposed wall between the United States and Mexico. The inspiration for the sealed border was taken more from old Ravenloft books than from the news.
Anyway. On to this week's new comics that I bought!
Ghost Rider #6 begins to reveal how poor Johnny Blaze got sent to Hell in the first place. The story is compelling and unravels at a nice pace, but the guest artist they brought in for this and next issue just makes Johnny, Ghost Rider and Lucifer look really, really awkward. I'm not enjoying the art much, but the story has me hooked.
Tales of the Unexpected #3 has been the best of the mini-series so far. The tale with The Spectre is just as gruesome as the previous two, but this one focuses more on character and the grim transformation that The Spectre's host is going through. Doctor Thirteen's part of this issue not only features a vampire and a flying pirate ghost ship, but talking nazi gorillas! Even if you don't read this whole mini-series, this issue alone has been worth it.
The Spirit #1 launched this week, written and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke. This was a great opening issue. Lots of fast-paced action, great dialogue, and flavored with just the right amount of old-school masked crimefighting goodness. I have a good feeling about this one, and I highly recommend picking this one up in the name of good old-fashioned comic bookery.
Martian Manhunter #5 continues to show off just how freaking awesome J'onn J'onzz is. I mean, really. How have I missed out on this alien powerhouse for so long? In this issue the plot continues to thicken around the last Martians under his protection. While this was a great issue that touched on the lost Martian culture and customs, I would've loved to actually see Martian Manhunter kick the combined butts of Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Vixen, Zatanna and Black Canary. Damn.
And speaking of Green Lantern, Vixen and Black Canary, they show off their stuff against the Starro-controlled baddies in Justice League of America #4. It looks like the team is finally coming together, and while I had some initial doubts about the new lineup, they're quickly disappearing. Newcomers are getting the spotlight and shining. I'm particularly happy about the addition of Hawkgirl. Now I just have to wait for Hawkman's return to the JSA.
The Trials of Shazam! #4 was delayed last month, and unfortunately the artwork in the second half of this issue looked like it was seriously rushed. Which is a shame because I've enjoyed Howard Porter's work on this series. Still, the story is great and the trials continue. While I personally could've done without the "current events" turn this current trial has taken, the twist is decidedly arcane and thoroughly enjoyable.
And last but not least, it's week thirty-two of the captivating 52. This week's issue primarily focuses on Ralph Dibny's story, which has become my favorite in this terrific weekly. He gets some help from one of the Chinese superheroes, who all have hero names that I absolutely love for no explicable reason. "Accomplished Perfect Physician." Awesome. Ralph's story is a mysterious and sad pilgrimmage based on undying love for his late wife. I am such a sap for this sort of thing.