Archive for May, 2006

Concrete Vol. 7: The Human Dilemma

May 22, 2006 | Trades

Concrete Vol. 7: The Human Dilemma Paul Chadwick Dark Horse Books $12.95 (Paperback) ***** (out of five) Trapped in a hulking stone body after being kidnapped by aliens, Ron Lithgow has had some interesting jobs over the past 20 years, including adventurer, stuntman and environmental activist. But he’s never done anything quite as odd or compelling as the job he takes in The Human Dilemma: an advocate for childlessness. With wit, subtlety and the fruits of painstaking research clearly evident, Paul Chadwick crafts yet another classic Concrete story, showing again why he is hands-down the best writer/illustrator in comics.

Every Girl Is The End Of The World To Me

May 22, 2006 | Comics, Trades

Every Girl Is The End Of The World To Me Jeffrey Brown Top Shelf Productions $8 US (Paperbacks) **** 1/2 (out of five) Fans of Jeffrey Brown know that he’s a really sensitive guy. He’s written and illustrated three previous semi-autobiographical books about his up-and-down relationships with women, from first kisses to last tears. But Every Girl… is perhaps Brown’s most telling and insightful story yet. Taking place over three cold winter weeks a couple of years ago, Brown shows the complexity of being a co-worker, friend, lover and more with the various women in his life and how easy it can be to love them.

100 Bullets: Strychnine Lives

May 22, 2006 | Trades

100 Bullets: Strychnine Lives Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso Vertigo/DC Comics $19.99/$14.99 US (Paperback) **** (out of five) Brian Azzarello is a phenomenal writer with a gift for making every character he creates — even the most reprehensible killer — likeable. Just never get attached to them, because in 100 Bullets, you never know who’s going to bite it next. This latest collection of comicdom’s top crime-noir title sees the body count pile up as the war between the powerful Trust and their former enforcer Agent Graves heats up. Longtime readers will be shocked again by who’s just a memory by the end of this one.

Conan Vol. 3: Tower Of The Elephant And Other Stories

May 22, 2006 | Trades

Conan Vol. 3: Tower Of The Elephant And Other Stories Kurt Busiek, Cary Nord Dark Horse Books $24.95 US (Hardcover) **** (out of five) What happens when Conan wakes up on the wrong side of the bed? It’s not exaggeration to say that heads will roll. When everyone’s favourite sword-wielding Cimmerian awakens after a night of debauchery to find he’s been robbed, he sets out to get his revenge — on anyone or anything that gets in his way! This third collection of the monthly Conan series from the dynamic team of writer Kurt Busiek and Canadian artist Cary Nord is terrific adventure.

Girls Vol. 2

May 22, 2006 | Trades

Girls Vol. 2 The Luna Brothers Image Comics $14.99 US (Paperback) *** ½ (out of five) Things have gone from bad to worse in Pennystown. As if the threat of beautiful naked girls trying to murder all the women in town wasn’t bad enough, now the townsfolk know they’re trapped — and the girls are closing in. And what’s happening to the bodies of those the girls have already slain? Girls is fun, fast-paced and slick storytelling, courtesy of Jonathan and Joshua Luna.

Ex Machina Vol. 3

May 22, 2006 | Trades

Ex Machina Vol. 3 Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris Wildstorm/DC Comics $17.50/$12.99 US (Paperback) *** ½ (out of five) Mitchell Hundred was the only super-hero in the world — and he retired and is now the mayor of New York City. So who’s that masked man flying around and zapping crooks? As Hundred takes a well-intentioned, but doomed, turn at jury duty, his bodyguard and his former mentor seek the truth behind the mystery man’s identity. Are both missions destined to end on bloodshed? Writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Tony Harris continue to crank out one of the most compelling comics around.

Sam & Twitch: The Brian Michael Bendis Collection

May 8, 2006 | Trades

Sam & Twitch: The Brian Michael Bendis Collection Image Comics $28.75/$24.95 US (Paperback) **** (out of five) Now: Brian Michael Bendis is Mr. Marvel after writing the adventures of almost all of the comic book giant’s major characters at different times over the past five years. Then: Bendis is still cutting his teeth as a comic book writer when infamous creator Todd McFarlane, enamoured by Bendis’ book Torso, offers him a shot at penning the tales of a couple of Spawn spin-off characters, Sam & Twitch. Back in 1999, there wasn’t much love left for Spawn or its characters (McFarlane had left the book and sales began to sag), and Bendis was a little-known quantity. But in what has now become a Bendis trademark, he made the most of what he had and through great characterization and dialogue turned a tale of two down-on-their-luck cops into comic book gold. This first (and hopefully not the last) new collection of Bendis’ Sam & Twitch stories sees the duo embroiled in a mystery that involves duplicated body parts, disappearing hitmen, a killer flu bug, corrupt cops and a shocking betrayal. If you love Bendis’ work, this one is a must.

Cry Yourself To Sleep

May 8, 2006 | Comics, Trades

Cry Yourself To Sleep Jeremy Tinder Top Shelf Productions $7 US (Paperback) *** 1/2 (out of five) It seems like the entire universe is against you when you’re a young person. Or rabbit. Or robot. Cry Yourself To Sleep examines the peaks and valleys of your adulthood through the lives of three characters: Andy, a frustrated novelist/video store clerk; Jim, a rabbit recently fired from his fast-food job; and The Robot, a soulless machine that is hoping to mend his ways. Creator Jeremy Tinder manages some great pacing in this 88-page book and hits on some resonating points that most of us have gone through such as self doubt, self loathing, and, eventually, self betterment. Cry Yourself To Sleep will either hit so close to home that you’ll want to go and quit your minimum-wage job and tell your parents off or get down on your knees and thank goodness you don’t feel that way anymore.

The Tourist

May 8, 2006 | Trades

The Tourist Brian Wood, Toby Cypress Image Comics $9.99 US (Paperback) ** 1/2 (out of five) His 2005 series Demo was great and his new ones Local and DMZ are kicking butt. But what do all these Brian Wood-written comics have in common? Great artists. The Tourist…? Not so much. While Wood’s story about Moss, a former U.S. special-forces soldier-turned drug smuggler hiding out in a small Scottish town, is pretty good (even with the total lack of any accents or colloquialisms from the natives), the art of Toby Cypress is just too rough to make this book bearable. It is simply far too rudimentary, especially in the scenes of budding love between Moss and Julie, the local café owner where all emotion is lost. Fans of Wood’s stories may want to pick this one up for a different type of tale from him, but you may have to grit your teeth to do it.

Ed & Red’s Comic Strip

May 8, 2006 | Comics

Ed & Red’s Comic Strip Hot Tub Press $4 **** (out of five) Promotional comics, as a rule, generally suck. Whether for a business, a product or a person, they just tend to come off as transparent shilling swill that, in the end, has little relevance for readers. That said — Ed The Sock’s comic rocks. In Ed & Red’s Comic strip, seven creators (eight if you count the covers) give us six different looks at the famous cigar-chomping footwear and his dazzling partner Liana K, all with a wink and a laugh. Noted names like Ho Che Anderson and Dave Sim and up-and-comers like Tyrone McCarthy, Zach Warton and Sean Ward all combine to create a unique homage to one of late night TV’s guiltiest pleasures.