Best Comics of January Part 2: The Joker Tops Caligula
Once a month the amazing staff at 8th Dimension Comics selects a pile of the best new releases for us to peruse and judge.
At the expense of sounding like a killjoy, a lot of the "shocking" things we know about the Ceasers is about as real as what we know about Barack Obama from the National Inquirer. I'm not saying there isn't a grain of truth in some of it, but holy hell do they build a fucked up looking pearl around it. Caligula reimagines the infamous ruler as a demonic entity, and basically uses its pages to see just how far in the sex and depraved monster pit they can go. It's boxed by a pretty good detective story, but that doesn't change the fact that it's still just pulp, and clichéd pulp at that.
Rating: 4 of 10
If you were to ask me if Before Watchmen was better than Watchmen I would say no. I wouldn't even say it was equal. It is, very, very good, though, and I feel that having that impossible legacy has made the various books the best they can be. They both keep faith with the source material and realize the futility of trying to match it. The result is both faithful and daring. Darwyn Cooke does wonders with the unseen parts of Hooded Justice and Hollis Mason's story, and the lays out the horrible joke of the world that made the Comedian the man he was with exquisite timing. Be glad these characters have gotten a chance to shine once more.
Rating: 8 of 10
It's been a while since I checked in on Conan as a pirate. He's still sailing the world with his queen doing murder and just all around having a good time. Though he does spend pages doing impressive murder, the bulk of the story is his lamentation for his deathly ill lover... and a fear that no man, not even Conan, is capable of facing. If anyone out there in Hollywood is listening, this is a really great adventure tale that would make a fine movie. Until then, you could do a lot worse than getting into Conan at this point.
Rating: 7 of 10