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BO'S WEDNESDAY HEADS UP: 100406

"BOCEPHEUS"
"These reviews are based on the Sneak Peek titles sent out by Marvel & Image (DC no longer sends them out). It's not everything that's shipping for the week, but it is a real good cross-section of this weeks releases. Check the bottom of the page (after you read my reviews) for a link to some SNEAKY PEEKIES of future titles"
BOOK OF THE WEEK: CRIMINAL #1 (of 4)
Comic Review by:
Larry "Bocepheus" Evans
Writer: Ed Brubaker,  Artist: Sean Philip

The latest Icon book is from the team that did Sleeper for Wildstorm. The new title involves a crew planning a major heist but we begin five years earlier on a bank robbery gone bad involving Leo, our main character. We meet him in the now as he is working on a job as he is being watched by an old friend giving his partner a lesson on what pros do. They have a job that he would be perfect for, naturally but he hasn’t been the same since the job we saw in the opening. Brubaker shows us how Leo is trying to get into a regular life but he has problems with a senile partner of his dead father but we know that that’s not going to happen which makes the story even better. We are introduced to all the players in this dark game as the issue flows until a grim conclusion that suggests things are going to get worse for Leo. This isn’t going to be a huge seller but the Icon titles don’t have to deal with the numbers that regular titles have to. Each issue will include a text piece that goes along with the noir genre. Expect this to do extremely well in trade format and in regular bookstores.

MSRP: $2.99,
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MARVEL ROUND UP…
Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man #20 has the Frankenstein Monster, Spidey and Hawkeye hanging out and tossing jokes out like candy…Marvel Team-Up #25 ends the series and has more heroes than you can shake a stick at (and why someone is shaking sticks at stuff is beyond me) within the contents of it’s pages. We get a page from Robert Kirkman thanking the artists who worked on the book as well as Speedball, Speedball and more Speedball…Amazing Spider-Girl #0 is a recap of what has happened before in the cancelled book to set us up for the launch of the new Spider-Girl series. I cant say that the new edition will sell better than the old one did but at least the book will get more publicity…The Incredible Hulk #99 takes up where we left off with the band of misfits that are following the Hulk dealing with all those spikes that were dropped on them at the end of #98. We get a change in status for one character right before the major battle we have been working toward since Hulk was dropped in the middle of all this-Hulk versus the Red King…Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #13 concludes the Mysterio story and reveals something about Miss Arrow that comes completely out of left field. Todd Nauck actually works well here and the Peter David story is cool…Agents of Atlas #3 (of 6) tells the story of the first Marvel Boy while trying very hard not to show Venus’ chest. We see that the Yellow Claw is still around and discover something at the bottom of the sea that makes us and the team drop our jaws…X-Men: Phoenix-Warsong #2(of 5) seems to suggest that the Cuckoos are more complicated than we thought they were. The last page suggests very bad things are going to happen unless they are stopped…Beyond #4 (of 6) makes the Space Phantom a major villain between jokes and asides tossed out like Chiclets from the new writer of Fantastic Four Dwayne McDuffie. The natural assumption from looking at the Phantom is he/it cannot be taken seriously but here he becomes a villain that most heroes would have a hard time dealing with…Doctor Strange: The Oath #1 (of 5) starts out in the waiting room of the Night Nurse where Iron Fist and Arana wait to be helped right before Wong brings in the wounded Dr. Strange to her door. As he is being dealt with we see the villain behind Doc getting shot (well, we see his agent as he sits in the shadows) before getting a version of Doc that actually makes him more of a regular guy. Brian Vaughan and Batgirl’s Marcos Martin give us a first issue that makes us hate the wait for the second one…Irredeemable Ant-Man #1 from the team of Robert Kirkman and Phil Hester is one of the densest issues I have ever seen. In the space of one issue we meet the men who share the new Ant-Man suit, get a perfect insight into their characters, see Hank Pym look for someone who can wear his suit and see what may happen when a hero saves a pretty girl. Most of the pages are composed of 12-14 panel grids so Hester works his butt off here to tell the story.  

IMAGE ROUND UP…
PVP #28 is a book that I cant even begin to care about so forgive me if I pass on this title…Strange Girl #11 would be helped immensely if it wasn’t so poorly drawn. The story is actually pretty interesting but the art by Nick Stakal is so muted and muggy that it distracts from it. If there was ever a book that needed an inker this is one…Shadowhawk #15 is another book that has art that takes away from the story. The cover suggests a romance comic and the interior has Rebound and Shadowhawk hook up after dealing with the villain Zombie. If the issue looked as good as the cover then I could recommend it more…Fear Agent #8 comes out the week after it was announced that the book is moving over to Dark Horse. The issue mixes a western with Heath being out in space getting his swerve on with Mara. The beginning is connected with the remainder of the story but after reading it I almost wish the entire issue stayed with the western angle. This is all part of Heath getting his stuff together and becoming the character he has been in the early issues and I admit that I had little interest in the title when it started but now find it one of the best books out there. The second story is well drawn by Paul Renauld…Elephantmen #3 has a very Kirbyesque story drawn by Godland’s Tom Scioli to begin with and a nice little tale drawn by regular artist Moritat that shows Hip in an alley recovering with the help of a cute medical tech…Cross Bronx #2 (of 4) if you can believe it is better than the first issue. We learn more about the cops involved while seeing just what they are up against on the last pages. There are more rejection letters from Mike Oeming’s past included to show that you have to keep plugging away to make it in comics.

DC LOOK BACK…
This was the first week that DC hasn’t sent out any sneak peeks since they considered it not cost effective to take books that are just sitting there at the printer and send them out with the regular books so that you could look at them in the store and go “Man, I am going to pick this up”. So while DC cuts off their noses to spite their faces this space will be filled with a review of one of the best books DC shipped for the previous week. This week we get Blue Beetle #7 which explains what happened to the new Beetle during Infinite Crisis after he got his powers. We see him interact with the DC heroes during his missing year as he and his family (along with the tattooed guy who knows more than he is telling) visit and try to figure out just what is happening with him. At the end we are left with two questions-who built the armor and what is going to happen when they realize someone is wearing it?
"See, I told you I'd be down here. We've got a bunch of SNEAKY PEEKIES of future MARVEL, DC and IMAGE titles right HERE"

All Books/Characters pictured herein are © Copyright 2006 by their respective owners. No rights given or implied by Alternate Reality, Incorporated.

Reviews © 2006 Alternate Reality, Inc.

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