Archive for the ‘Trades’ Category

Superman: New Krypton Vol. 3

April 5, 2010 | Trades

Superman: New Krypton Vol. 3 James Robinson, Greg Rucka, Pete Woods DC Comics $29.99/$24.99 US (Hardcover) **** (out of five) There are 100,000 people with the powers of Superman now taking up residence just a stone’s throw away from Earth — however only one of them truly concerns the Man of Steel. The appointment of his father’s old nemesis, General Zod, as leader of New Krypton’s military is enough to get Superman to drop everything in his adopted home in Metropolis (leaving an old friend in his place, as seen in Superman: Mon-El) and set up residence with the rest of the remaining survivors of his doomed homeworld in the city of Kandor. The result, in this third collection of the epic and enjoyable New Krypton storyline, is a new life, a new job and plenty of culture shock for Earth’s mightiest hero. Co-writers James Robinson and Greg Rucka, along with artist Pete Woods, immerse Superman in a fantastic new world full of wonders and dangers as he is drafted into the military as Commander Kal-El and is forced to walk a fine line with Zod as his boss. With a showdown looming and intrigue swirling, this book sees one man being sentenced to death and the other gunned down. But which is which?

Oracle: The Cure

April 1, 2010 | Trades

Oracle: The Cure Tony Bedard, Kevin Vanhook, Claude St. Aubin, Julian Lopez, Fernando Pasarin DC Comics $22.99/$17.99 US (Paperback) *** (out of five) Oracle has fought alongside some of the most powerful heroes on the planet in battles big and small. Now it’s time for this Bird of Prey to fly alone. In her role as the DC Universe’s top source for meta-human intel, Barbara Gordon — the original Batgirl before being shot and paralyzed from the waist down by the Joker — has seen a disturbing power emerging. The Calculator, once an obscure super-crook, has assumed the role of counterpoint to Oracle, doling out all the essential facts to the bad guys — for a price. The two have squared off in the virtual arena before, with Oracle always coming out on top. But Calculator has a few new tricks up his sleeve. He’s more powerful than ever before and he’s combing the Internet to find the ultimate power — one he believes can heal the sick (like his comatose teenage daughter), but truthfully could kill millions. Spinning out of the end of the popular Batman spin-off series, Birds of Prey, Oracle: The Cure, finally gives this great character the spotlight and brings this simmering ying-yang conflict with Calculator to a head. The conclusion of this brief volume, while a little rushed, helps chart an interesting path for both the hero and the villain.

PVP Levels Up

March 29, 2010 | Trades

PVP Levels Up Scott Kurtz Image Comics $14.99 US (Paperback) **** (out of five) PVP is one of the best webcomics around because it’s just really, really funny. Of course it’s even better if you’re a fan of Starbucks, iPhones, World of Warcraft, Back to the Future, the Dukes of Hazzard, ’70s cop movies, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Friends, Star Trek, the Fantastic Four, Star Wars, Anime, Halo 3 and Twizzlers (mmmm… Twizzlers) — all of which are mixed into the strips in Levels Up, the seventh collection of Scott Kurtz’s classic strip from Featuring every PVP laugh from 2007, this volume continues to bring the funny, courtesy the fictional staff at PVP magazine — Cole (the beloved boss), Brent (the Apple-obsessed quipster), Jade (the hottest nerdcore chick ever), Francis (the 16-year-old gaming guru) and Skull (the nicest big, blue troll you’ll ever meet). Highlights of this seventh collection include the origin of the Brent’s nemesis, the Giant Panda; the return of Kringus, the evil Christmas tree (a.k.a. Scratch Fury, Skull’s super-intelligent cat); a murder mystery; and a long-awaited engagement — in true nerd style.

Superman: Mon-El Vol. 1

March 25, 2010 | Trades

Superman: Mon-El Vol. 1 James Robinson, Renato Guedes, Jose Wilson Magalhaes DC Comics $29.99/$24.99 US (Hardcover) *** 1/2 (out of five) Mon-El has had years to prepare for his death, but that doesn’t make the reality of it any easier to take. After spending countless years in the negative zone after contracting lead poisoning, a fatal condition for he and his fellow Daxamites, this future Legionnaire finds himself thrust back to reality after his haven/prison begins to implode. Fortunately, fellow hero Superman is there with a mysterious elixir (sent from the future by Brainiac 5 of the Legion of Super-Heroes) and suddenly Mon-El is a free man with his life ahead of him. For a little while anyway. Mon-El’s newfound freedom is short-lived as the Man of Steel has a very special job for him: His. Tying into the sprawling New Krypton story arc running through all the “Super-books” of late, this volume focuses in on how this once-isolated hero deals with his freedom, and the responsibility of protecting the planet while Superman is taking care of business on his reborn world. Things get even more interesting when writer James Robinson, ably aided by artists Renato Guedes and Jose Wilson Magalhaes, throws in the curveball of Mon-El learning he, once again, is dying. This fascinating exploration of how a hero deals with the notion of impending death (even though faithful DC Comics readers know he can’t really snuff it, as he’s destined to be a big part of the Legion in 1,000 years or so) makes this volume a well-worthy read.

The Cleaners Vol. 1: Absent Bodies

March 22, 2010 | Trades

The Cleaners Vol. 1: Absent Bodies Mark Wheaton, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Rahsan Ekedal Dark Horse Books $14.95 US (Paperback) **** (out of five) The phrase “it’s a dirty job, but someone's got to do it” sums up Robert Bellarmine’s rather gruesome life quite nicely. Considering Bellarmine’s job is cleaning up trauma scenes — you know, blood splattered walls, floors, fences, roads and anything else the sticky red stuff gets on when spraying out of people — dirty might be a bit of an understatement. However, Bellarmine has more than collecting cash for cleaning up messes on his agenda. He and his team of “cleaners” are also on the trail of some other folks interested in the contents of people’s veins: Vampires. With one of the freshest takes on the mythos in many years — a fine mix of Joss Whedon’s Angel and CSI — writers Mark Wheaton and Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Rahsan Ekedal have created a book that is insightful, thoroughly creepy and very likely to snowball into something big.

The Unwritten Vol. 1

February 22, 2010 | Trades

The Unwritten Vol. 1 Mike Carey, Peter Gross Vertigo $12.99/$9.99 U.S. (Paperback) **** 1/2 (out of five) The lines between reality and the world of literature blur in spectacular ways in The Unwritten Vol. 1, as Tom Taylor, whose father wrote the world's most widely read fantasy novels featuring a boy wizard named Tommy Taylor, begins to suspect his dad’s stories may be more truth than fiction. The Unwritten is true comic book genius from Mike Carey and Peter Gross, the creators of the critically acclaimed Vertigo series, Lucifer.

The Walking Dead Vol. 11: Fear The Hunters

February 22, 2010 | Trades

The Walking Dead Vol. 11: Fear The Hunters Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn Image Comics $14.99 U.S. (Paperback) **** (out of five) The Walking Dead is set to burst into the mainstream after being recently greenlit as a new pilot (written by The Shawshank Redemption's Frank Darabond) for AMC. In the meantime, fans of this chilling and undeniably engrossing series have The Walking Dead Vol. 11: Fear the Hunters, which sees the small group trying to survive all the flesh-hungry zombies roaming around run into a new problem: Cannibals.

Green Lantern: Agent Orange

February 1, 2010 | Trades

Green Lantern: Agent Orange Geoff Johns, Philip Tan, Jonathan Glapion DC Comics $24.99/$19.99 US (Hardcover) **** 1/2 (out of five) Green Lantern Hal Jordan has witnessed firsthand the immense power of rings fueled by rage, fear, passion, hope and will. None of them could prepare him for the insatiable power of greed. Following up the shocking events of Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns, Jordan finds himself, much against his will, belonging to two lantern corps. In addition to his usual willpower fueled green ring, Jordan now sports a blue ring of hope, the only cure for his recent possession by a red ring of rage. While the new bauble helps boost the power of his original immensely, it simply won’t come off until he truly feels hope — something that doesn’t come very easily after an ancient enemy of the Green Lantern Corps’ creators, the Guardians of the Galaxy, suddenly reappears after countless millennia in hiding sporting an orange power ring fuelled by avarice. Writer Geoff Johns and artist Philip Tan add another really interesting colour to the spectrum of power and superbly set the stage for the mega-crossover series, Blackest Night, currently raging across the DC Universe.

Groom Lake

January 29, 2010 | Trades

Groom Lake Chris Ryall, Ben Templesmith IDW Publishing $19.99 U.S. (Paperback) **** (out of five) Karl Bauer’s life changed forever when his dad vanished off the face of the earth one night. It got even more complicated when Barnabus Bauer returned sporting two extra arms, three extra mouths and a mess of tentacles and proceeded to blow up all over him. Groom Lake, the brainchild of IDW boss Chris Ryall and stalwart artist Ben Templesmith, is a fine blend of hick humour, superb sci-fi and black comedy as Karl quickly discovers a hidden world filled with oddball aliens and government goons — all of whom have an unhealthy interest in his crotch. Upon learning his privates could be used to produce a weapon of mass destruction (some might argue the contents of most men’s pants already are), Karl escapes with the help of a cynical government employee (and a lovely one at that); a chain-smoking, big-eyed, sex-crazed alien; two blobs that can disintegrate almost anything; a pair of senile E.T.s; and a giant evil robot. The ensuing race, with Karl and his companions set to turn the unsuspecting world on its ear and the aforementioned government goons trying to stop them, is as fun a trip as you’ll have in comics all year.

Teen Titans: Deathtrap

January 7, 2010 | Trades

Teen Titans: Deathtrap Sean McKeever, Marv Wolfman, Angel Unzueta, Tom Lyle, Fernando Dagnino DC Comics $18.99/$14.99 US (Paperback) ** ½ (out of five) A former Titan has crossed the line and has got to face justice. The question is: Will it be Titans justice or Vigilante justice? Deathtrap, a seven-part crossover between Teen Titans, Titans and DC’s new Vigilante series, follows hot on the heels of Titans Vol. 2: Lockdown, as one-time hero, Jericho, continues to lose his mind as he steps up his ruthless attacks on his former teammates, while the collateral damage earns him the ire of New York City’s newest gun-toting crime fighter. Unfortunately, what could have been an epic showdown comes off disjointed as it skips from series to series and creative team to creative team and relies far too much on fans having read other issues in order to follow along. Only a rather nasty twist ending keeps Deathtrap from being a book you should totally disavow knowledge of — a rare thing from the usually solid Titans franchise.