Comic Book Corner — The Return of Secret Six, Grimm Fairy Tales, and Groot!

Secret Six #1 cover, copyright DC Comics. The question “What is the Secret?” is a literal one in the book.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, we welcome the return of the Secret Six, learn the history behind Grimm Fairy Tales‘ “Krampus,” and read an entire comic with “I am Groot” as the only dialogue.

Dakster Sullivan — Grimm Fairy Tales Holiday Edition 2104 by Anne Toole with art by Butch Mapa

Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Holiday Edition  Image: Zenescope
Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Holiday Edition. Image: Zenescope.

Grimm Fairy Tales Holiday Edition 2014 is really cool and gives readers an insight into the history of the Krampus and his role in the Grimm world. Sela takes center stage this year, as Shang tells the students about the creature who kills children during the holiday season. It’s kind of touching, in a Grimm Fairy Tales way.

It’s a story that shows what it means to be a parent and what the death of your child can drive you to.

The new direction the Grimm Fairy Tales series has taken has been a fun and refreshing ride, compared to the stories they used to turn out. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend you do.

Age recommendation: 17+

Corrina — Secret Six #1 by Gail Simone, Ken Lashley, and Drew Geraci; Gotham by Midnight #1 by Ray Fawkes and Ben Templesmith

Of the titles lost in the reboot of the DC Comics universe several years ago, Secret Six may have had the most fervent fanbase. Simone’s collection of losers, villains, and just plain odd characters made for compelling drama. These people wanted to do the right thing, especially by their teammates, but often had little conception of what that “right thing” meant. Still, they ended up a family, if a dysfunctional one.

Now they’re back. Some of them, anyway, and trapped (quite literally) inside a box, fighting each other and fighting a deadly countdown. Catman has the spotlight for the issue, as he’s grabbed and dumped in said box that also holds several characters created by Simone: the assassin Strix, the surly and powerful teenager Black Alice, the female Ventriloquist, and a couple that seem to be original to this issue. As I jokingly said to Simone on Twitter, this issue is better than canned beer and sliced bread at the same time. Lashley’s art is gritty and makes terrific use of shadows to increase the rising menace.

My only complaint? The issue is too short and by the time the reader realizes just how bad the situation is, the issue ends on a cliffhanger. Argh.

Age Recommendation: 12 +

Gotham by Midnight #1 cover by Ben Templesmith. Copyright DC Comics.

The Bat-office continued their hot streak last week with the release of the creepy and compelling Gotham by Midnight, which focuses on the supernatural threats to Gotham. This reads like an independent comic rather than a mainstream superhero title, and the reason is largely Templesmith’s moody and stylistic panels, something with part of them deliberately murky or even undone to simulate the menace just lurking out of sight.

The setup is that someone from Gotham Police Department’s Internal Affairs has come to shut down the special unit, lead by Jim Corrigan, who’s also secretly the supernatural spirit of vengeance called The Spectre. In the meantime, the team investigates a crime that Corrigan can sense is supernatural in nature: the disappearance of a number of children.

Age Recommendation: 15 + for mood, not gore, and for children in danger.

Lisa Tate — Rocket Raccoon #5 bySkottie Young

Rocket Raccoon #5  Image: Marvel Comics
Rocket Raccoon #5. Image: Marvel Comics.

Artist Skottie Young answers the question “is a comic consisting almost entirely of one phrase worth reading, much less worth the $4 cover price?” If that phrase is “I am Groot,” yes it is.

Written by Young with artwork by him and Jake Parker, this Marvel stand-alone story is purely for fun. Readers don’t need to have read any previous Rocket Raccoon or Guardians of the Galaxy titles to fully understand, appreciate, and enjoy this tale.

Slightly embarrassed and disgruntled to retell a story about the search for treasure to a group of eager young space scouts, Rocket tells Groot to share the story himself. Groot takes on the task with gusto. The “Groot-speak” becomes such a part of the comic, even the background signage gets overtaken by it with delightful results. There’s also a brief comic cameo, but I won’t give away who it is.

Young’s infectious style is at its best in this story and is so filled with character, charm, and details, I almost found myself wanting to hug the issue when I finished. I also read this aloud to my five-year-old and finding different ways to say “I am Groot” to fit the story had us both laughing at the end. If there’s any furry little militant mammal and his sentient tree friend who can bridge the generation gap, it’s Rocket and Groot, and this is the issue that completely nails it.
Age Recommendation: Teen (although this one shot is suitable for all ages)

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Action Comics #37
Aquaman And The Others #8
Batman Essentials Batman Hush #1
Batman Eternal #35
Batman The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Vol. 1 TP
Detective Comics #37
Earth 2 #29
Earth 2 World’s End #9
Fairest #32
Flash Season Zero #3
Gotham Academy #3 GM
Grayson #5
Green Arrow #37
Green Lantern #37
Hinterkind #13
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Three #5
Justice League 3000 #12
Lobo #3
Looney Tunes #222
Marshal Law TP
Movement Vol. 2 Fighting For The Future TP
Names #4 (Of 9)
New 52 Futures End #31
New 52 Futures End Vol. 1 TP
Nightwing Vol. 1 Bludhaven TP
Pride Of Baghdad Deluxe Edition HC
Red Lanterns Vol. 5 Atrocities TP
Secret Six #1 New Series
Sinestro #7
Swamp Thing #37
Wolf Moon #1 (Of 6) New Mini-Series
All-New X-Factor #17
Angela Asgard’s Assassin #1 New Series
Axis Revolutions #3 (Of 4)
Captain America Peggy Carter Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 (One Shot)
Captain America The Trial Of Captain America Omnibus HC
Captain America Vol. 3 Loose Nuke TP
Deadpool #38
Death Of Wolverine The Weapon X Program #3 (Of 5)
Guardians 3000 #3
Hulk #9
Inhuman #9
Invaders Classic The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
Iron Fist The Living Weapon #7
Legendary Star-Lord #6 GM
Men Of Wrath By Jason Aaron #3 (Of 5)
Thanos A God Up There Listening HC
Thanos Vs Hulk #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
X-Men Inferno Prologue HC
Young Avengers By Kieron Gillen And Jamie McKelvie Omnibus HC
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Adventures In Oz Vol. 1 TP
G.I. JOE The Complete Collection Vol. 6 HC
X-Files Season 10 #19 GM
Alien Vs Predator Fire And Stone #3 (Of 4)
Angel And Faith Season 10 #9
Essential Kurtzman Vol. 1 Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book HC
Ghost #10
Ghost Fleet #2
Hellboy And The B.P.R.D. #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
Mighty TP
New Lone Wolf And Cub Vol. 3 TP
Tiger Lung HC

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading