Coming from the days when John was a permanent fixture of the DCU, I should welcome this, yet for some reason I have reservations. John has made his home at Vertigo, in fact he defined Vertigo alongside Swampy and the Sandman.
Now thanks to that trio, the lines between Vertigo and the DCU have always been blurred, and one can ask if the ‘Mature Readers’ title actually means a great deal in today’s marketplace? However, I think it does. It meant enough for it to be created in the first place; and similar thoughts led to the creation of the Justice League as the original Golden Age Heroes were abandoned after the (admittedly ill-guided) assault on the comics industry in Seduction Of The Innocent.
Now I am sure younger readers will eventually gravitate towards the Mature Readers titles as they become older, but do we really want to send those younger readers into the Vertigo back issue bins? Parental Guidance is advised.
As for my second selection is a title from last week. Thinking of the great storm in the Fifties that also focused of the horror comics of the time, such as E.C.; offerings that seem remarkably tame by today’s standards; I found that same nostalgia in IDW’s recent release – That Hellbound Train.
One problem that EC stories had is that they were so very short. Make no mistake; alongside the word ‘Hell’ in the title, this is an old style horror tale. Dave Wachter’s art suits the story perfectly and more importantly, is close enough to that same old style we grew to love.
As a first issue, we have a traditional orphan background set up of the character, and on the last page, our character makes a deal with the devil that makes me wonder – what on Earth does he want that for? Can he cheat the master of deception?
The entire will to follow the story hangs on the cliff-hanger, and I for one am sold. I want to see where Robert Bloch takes this title. What seemed standard fare in the first few pages grabbed me. If you see a copy on the shelves, get it.