Archive for March, 2010

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.