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  COMIC REVIEWS FOR THE MONTH OF: JULY 2002
  X-MEN UNLIMITED #37
Writer:  Kaare Andrews  Artist:  Various
Review By: Larry "Bocepheus" Evans
Publisher: Marvel Comics   Shipped On: 073102
MSRP: $3.50 each (15% OFF during it's 1st Week of release only at Alternate Reality!)
MARVEL'S SYNOPSIS:
A young boy who possesses unimaginable power has fallen under the thrall of a religious zealot seeking to eradicate the stain of mutantkind from our world -- and every other! Together, the two open a gateway that thrusts countless version of the X-Men across multiple dimensions against one another in all-out war! It's Wolverine vs. Wolverine vs. Wolverine ad infinitum! Can Professor Xavier and Kitty Pryde save themselves and the boy -- and what are they willing to sacrifice to do so?
BO'S REVIEW:
This issue makes the beginning of some changes to the BI-monthly X-title. For one, starting in September this book will become monthly. Secondly, the stories seen within will focus on current continuity instead of being short stories that add nothing to the palate of the characters.

The tale told here is a book length one written and partially drawn by cover artist Kaare Andrews. He has enlisted the help of artists Dave McCaig, Mike (Herobear and the Kid) Kunkel, Joshua (Meridien) Middleton, Troy (Trout) Nixey and Skotte Young. These are all artists accustomed to working on independent titles so the book also serves as an audition tape for Marvel and other publishers.
 
The story involves a kid named Hatch who exists between worlds and is connected to former New Mutant Illiana Rasputin. Hatch's abilities are tapped into by long time baddie Mephisto and this creates a number of duplicate X-Men who arrive here in order to destroy the world.
 
The varying art styles help the story move along swiftly. Styles range from highly detailed to glamorously rough. The change in focus to this title could move it from the "I guess I can get this next week" file to "This sucker may sell out right away" file pretty darn quickly.
  HELLBLAZER #174
Writer:  Brian Azzarello  Artist:  Marcelo Frusin
Review By: Larry "Bocepheus" Evans
Publisher: DC/Vertigo Comics   Shipped On: 073102
MSRP: .$2.50 each (15% OFF during it's 1st Week of release only at Alternate Reality!)
DC/VERTIGO' SYNOPSIS:
The conclusion to "Ashes and Dust." FBI Agent Frank Turro's investigation into the death of John Constantine comes to a grisly end as he confronts the tragic individual responsible, but not before friends, enemies, and lovers from Constantine's past converge on the insane scene. Question is, are they there to pay their respects, or dance on his grave?
BO'S REVIEW:
Brian Azzarello's last issue of Hellblazer was over a month late but it's still cool. In this arc John Constantine is supposed to be dead but with Constantine you can never be too sure.
We have seen the charred remains of what was supposed to have been John. We have heard stories of what happened in the rich folks sex club that he and millionaire S.W. Manor visited every night. Problem is, this is Constantine we are talking about and that means there's always a trick up his sleeve.

Azzarello creations Detective Turro and Havlik are on the way to Manor's estate even though they know he can't be touched. Inside Manor's a priest; the man himself and a small boy are inside listening to the tale of how Constantine came into Manor's life. Add to this a lot of blood, kinky sex and cigarette smoke and Azzarello's run is over.

I remember when it was announced that an American would be writing this title. Everyone was shocked out of their Mylar's and when the character was taken to America you the grumbling became even louder. But once the issues showed up everyone got quiet and started recommending this book to their friends.

Marcello Frusin will remain on the title for new writer Mike (Lucifer) Carey who will take John back home to England. Carey has huge shoes to fill.
  Y THE LAST MAN #1
Writer:  Brian K. Vaughn  Artists:  Pia Guerra/Jose Marzan, Jr.
Review By: Larry "Bocepheus" Evans
Publisher: DC/Vertigo Comics   Shipped On: 071702
MSRP: .$2.95 each (15% OFF during it's 1st Week of release only at Alternate Reality!)
DC/VERTIGO' SYNOPSIS:
Suddenly - and without warning - a mysterious plague kills every living creature on the planet with a Y-chromosome. Every male...except for amateur escape artist Yorick Brown. How will this lone remaining male (not counting Ampersand, Yorick's surly helper-monkey) be used and exploited by world powers hoping to repopulate their empires? And will he ever find his missing girlfriend and one true love, an exchange student trapped in Australia? Action, science fiction, horror, romance, humor, and social commentary collide in this new kind of thriller for the next generation of VERTIGO.
BO'S REVIEW:
Yorick Brown is the last man on Earth. How he came to be the last man is told in a story that begins and ends in the present with a few loops along the way.
 
Our man spends most of the story talking to his girlfriend long distance as other characters are introduced; one of which is his Congresswoman Mom. Brian Vaughan bounces us all over the world and as zero hour comes to play he gives us a hint of how all this came to be. The slow passage of time that leads up to a single gunshot does his story proud and allows us to absorb the tale.

This is the kind of title that could serve to drag Vertigo out of the creative doldrums indicative of the Karen Berger editorial era. Despite the goofy name, Yorick is a strong character with an offbeat sense of humor. Vaughan could have made him a jerk but he must have realized that if we couldn't relate to him then we wouldn't be coming around for more issues.

His choice of artist is newcomer Pia Guerra. She has a simple style that makes you comfortable. Flashy art would have been a distraction considering the subject matter. J.G. Jones will do the covers for this quite intriguing series.
  HIP FLASK UNNATURAL SELECTION #1
Writer:  Richard Starkings  Artist:  Ladronn
Review By: Larry "Bocepheus" Evans
Publisher: Active Images   Shipped On: 071702
MSRP: .$2.99 each (15% OFF during it's 1st Week of release only at Alternate Reality!)
ACTIVE IMAGES' SYNOPSIS:
The continuing adventures of Hip Flask, Comicraft's grim yet affable hippopotamime hero! Somewhere in the African desert, a group of geneticists led by Kazushi Nikken has conducted unholy experiments involving both human and animal DNA. This is the story of the birth of Hieronymous Flask, and his eventual liberation from the torturous world of Mappo. Catch up on all 3 available volumes today!
BO'S REVIEW:
Since leaving his exclusive Marvel contract Jose Ladronn has been keeping somewhat of a low profile. His buddy Joe Casey, who he had worked with on a great Cable run that audiences mostly ignored decided he wanted to work with him on something and that something, is this.

The character of Hip Flask was something that the lettering folks Comiccraft used to sell fonts in the back of Image Comics. He was a hippo private detective that we just saw in the ads then someone said "Wouldn't this make a cool comic? " and that brings us here.

This one shot tells us where the hippo came from and how he landed on Earth. Flask comes from a futuristic world intent on genetically engineering slaves for cheap labor. Our hero escapes and crashes on our planet (I assume) where he will evade capture and have great adventures.

The buzz on this book was atmospheric and this time the buzz was correct. Ladronn goes insane here with his art. He is moving away from aping Jack Kirby and actually developing a style of his own. His stuff is way over the top and each page makes your jaw drop.
  BEAUTIFUL KILLER #1 (Of 3)
Writer:  Jimmy Palmiotti Artist:  Phil Noto
Review By: Larry "Bocepheus" Evans
Publisher: Black Bull Comics,   Shipped On: 071002
MSRP: .$2.99 each (15% OFF during it's 1st Week of release only at Alternate Reality!)
BLACK BULL'S SYNOPSIS:
Meet 19 year-old, Brigit Cole, the albino daughter of two expert secret agents, Anna and Kingsley Cole. Birgit's whole life has been lived in seclusion, as her parents are both wanted agents. They have trained Brigit in all of the tricks of the spy trade-disguises, marksmanship, computer science and survival skills. They have also set up plans to provide Brigit with hidden bank accounts, contacts, disguises and gear all in preparation for the inevitable day when they are finally tracked down.
BO'S REVIEW:
Everybody knows (or should) who Jimmy Palmiotti is-inker supreme, novice writer, former co-editor of Marvel Knights, main squeeze of penciller Amanda Connor. Phil Noto, however, isn't as well known. He is primarily a cover artist. Most notably the cover artist for Birds of Prey, so if you don't buy that series he's a mystery to you. This project may change that.
 
Killer is both a serious version of Codename: Knockout and a less serious version of Queen & Country. The Beautiful one is the daughter of spies (ala the TV series Alias) who were betrayed by the people they assumed could be trusted. She, of course, is after revenge and Palmiotti presents her to us in order to get us into the series with a maximum of questions. He guesses that we will be so intrigued that we'll pick up the second issue in September to get answers to our questions. It's a damn good guess.
 
Noto's pencils are very distinctive. He is aware that his panels have backgrounds but focuses our eyes on the foregrounds since they're filled with action. This gives the title a stylistic quality that separates it from other titles.
 
My biggest problem with this series isn't the series itself but the company that publishes it, Black Bull. There is no sense of the purpose behind the line. So far we've had science fiction, religious satire, horror and now spies. These guys need to pick a genre and stick to it.

All Books/Characters pictured herein are Copyright 2002 by their respective owners. No rights given or implied by Alternate Reality, Incorporated.

Reviews 2009 Alternate Reality, Inc.

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