THE GOLEM’S VOICE by David G. Klein is set in 1943 Prague, as pre-teen Yakob becomes separated from his family as they’re deported to a concentration camp. Wandering into the synagogue of Rabbi Judah ben Loew, Yakob reanimates the Golem and uses him to protect a small band of refugees in the nearby woods. Meanwhile, a German commander seeks to capture the Golem, learn its secrets and exploit its power for the Reich. This is okay, but suffers from having too many deus ex machina moments (ben Loew’s spirit intervening to move the plot along).
THE SCENT OF MAY RAIN (done as a Kickstarter) by Mark O. Stack and Ray Epstein with Kaylee Rowena on art worked a great deal better; it’s also unusual in having a new golem rather than resurrecting the Golem of Prague. In 1920, a Jewish professor brings a female golem to life because his little girl needs a mother. She’s bound to serve and obey, but at the same time she has her own independent spirit, which leads to her becoming the superhero Amazon in WW II (an obvious hat tip to Wonder Woman being born from clay). But what does she truly want for herself? A lesbian golem freedom fighter/mother stands out from the pack, and it’s actually good as well as unusual.
THE TERRIFICS: Meet the Terrifics by Jeff Lemire and various artists was DC’s attempt to riff on the Fantastic Four (I believe this came out when Disney didn’t have film rights to the FF so like the X-Men the comics pushed them aside). Mr. Terrific, Phantom Girl, Metamorpho and Plastic Man are bound together as a team when energy from the Dark Multiverse makes it impossible for them to stay far apart. Can they work together? Can they find a solution? Who is this Tom Strong sending them warnings (I must admit I feel sorry for Alan Moore at seeing yet another of his creations brought into the DCU)? I wasn’t blown away, but I’ll buy V2 eventually.
SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen? by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber is a frustrating book. The premise is that Jimmy — largely the same goofball as the Silver Age, though with a wealthier family — has become the Daily Planet’s financial lifeline due to the insane online traffic generated by his nutty adventures. Then someone kills him, but why? Is it the wife he acquired during a drunken party in Gorilla City? Luthor? Can he survive long enough to find out?
It’s a great premise and the plot is fun, but the execution suffers. Fraction’s writing is way too cute and this bounces around in time to the point Pulp Fiction looks linear. AQUAMAN: Deadly Waters by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo collects the final run of Aquaman’s Silver Age serie. Aquaman gets trapped in a subatomic universe, meets Deadman, fights off aliens, thwarts a deranged millionaire and battles a reckless superhero in Detroit, all with some wild art by Aparo, who seems to be channeling Ditko in some of the subatomic scenes. I really dislike that Mera gets to do nothing but wring her hands and worry (as I’ve mentioned before, Dick Giordano sidelined her as soon as he became editor) but overall this was a good volume (courtesy of my bro, as a Christmas gift). Steve Skeates subsequently adapted an unused Aquaman script for another comics company and gave the last Aquaman issue a sequel at Marvel to boot.
#SFWApro. Covers top to bottom by Rowena, Curt Swan and Nicholas Cardy. All rights remain with current holders.