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BO'S WEDNESDAY HEADS UP: 120606

"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: NEWUNVERSAL #1
Comic Review by:
Larry "Bocepheus" Evans
Writer: Warren Ellis,  Artist: Salvador Larroca

One of the new concepts created by former Marvel Editor In Chief Jim Shooter was the New Universe. Like the Ultimate Universe the heroes in the NU lived in their own world but the formation of the NU was due to something called the White Event. Earlier this year Marvel did a series of one shots starring most of the heroes of the NU but here Warren Ellis and Salvador Larroca have been given carte blanche to take the busted toy and turn it into something that kids will want to play with again. Here we will see all the creations interact and the title will have no specific star. Ellis sets the reset button as we observe that Justice has a bullet in his head, Starbrand is stoned next to a beautiful girl and others lead normal lives. As the aftereffect of the arrival of a space ship (yes, he shows us what the White Event was caused by) we are left wondering what the strange symbol is seen near Ken Connell (Starbrand) and on his hand while archaeologists uncover an ancient tomb. This version of Justice is an earthbound version of the Spectre but the change makes perfect sense and leads me to believe that he could be the breakout star of the fledgling title. Larroca has made another adjustment to his style and his art has returned to the outright gorgeous status that it once was before he began tinkering with it long ago. There are some characters that we haven’t seen yet but I would expect to see them shortly. I would also be willing to bet that Kickers. Inc isn’t going to be one of them.

MSRP: $2.99,
1st DAY SALE Price: $1.79 (That's 40% OFF, Wednesday Only!)
Alternate Reality Price:
$2.54 (That's 15% OFF, All This Week!)
DC STORY REVIEW: CROSSING MIDNIGHT #1
Comic Review by:
Larry "Bocepheus" Evans
Writer: Mike Carey,  Artist: Jim Fern

I could have gone on and on why the last issue of Warlord shipped this week but why beat the hell out of a horse that was dead long before it left the stables. Instead I’ll look at the first issue of Mike Carey’s new Vertigo title Crossing Midnight. The new monthly is drawn by Jim Fern who hasn’t the most dramatic of styles but with this title that may not have worked anyway. The protagonists here are a Japanese brother and sister, one normal and the other not so much. Toshi, the sister was born eight minutes after her brother at 12:07 AM and her life may be the result of a prayer to an ancient god. We watch the two grow up in this issue and see that she cannot be hurt and discover that she has to pay a price for her life. That will be the content that drives this series. Using Japan as a location will allow Carey to have the title stand apart from most. It also allows him to explore the Japanese culture and its ingrained myths and horrors. The issue is well written as we should expect and I can see steady if not spectacular sales for the book.

MSRP: $2.99,
Alternate Reality Price:
$2.54 (That's 15% OFF, All This Week!)
MARVEL ROUND UP…Agents of Atlas #5 (of 6) continues where we left off last issue when we learned that one of the members of the team is working for who used to be the Yellow Claw. Here we see the team fighting the inside person while at the same time we get the full history of Venus in a selection of pages that probably took Leonard Kirk a week to draw. The stuff we see here is absolutely beautiful and I have to wonder why DC let Kirk go over to Marvel. Jeff Parker’s retro styled story is one of the best of this year’s revivals…Spider-Man/Power Pack #2 (of 4) has more fun for the kids to enjoy. Last issue Spidey was turned into a kid the same age as the Power brood and in the conclusion he and the team take on Sandman after Peter gets a new costume. The issue just breezes along…the Marvel Holiday Special has inside its pages three new holiday related stories. The first is a framing story surrounding a Christmas party being held by AIM that has two non dumb costumed employees finding attraction. We get a Fin Fang Foom tale that guest stars Doctor Strange sidekick Wong that has the dragon getting over a cold and trying to be left alone. The Mikes, Carey and Perkins then give us a Xmas tale that has Ben Grimm hanging around the Baxter Building and taking on Annihilus. The last page is hilarious. We finish up by including a remembrance from editor Ralph Macchio that shows us covers from Holiday Specials past…Beyond #6 (of 6) finishes the successful limited series that got Dwayne McDuffie the regular writing gig on Fantastic Four after JMS leaves to do Thor. The last issue is narrated by the Watcher and he silently observes the aftermath of Henry Pym taking out all his teammates in order to win the game. We see here who is really behind all this and one of the team makes the ultimate sacrifice to help his partners (you didn’t really think Henry would kill his teammates, did you?). The last page tells us that the story we have read is over but something we think is final may not be…Doctor Strange: The Oath #3 (of 5) reveals who the villains are behind the attack on the good doctor and their identity comes out of left field. It is many of the surprises Brian K. Vaughn and Marcos Martin spring on us during the issue. It’s as if they were magicians themselves since they show us one thing then pop another out on us to keep us entertained as we read. The limited series up to this point has been very well done but even with that we see that Doc is best in small doses and has no real need for an ongoing title. He hasn’t been able to sustain one before and I think Marvel may have finally figured that out…Incredible Hulk #101 moves us closer to the end of the Greg Pak mega storyline and the beginning of World War Hulk. We discover here that the Hulk isn’t who everyone on the planet thought he was but learn how he got there. The art is a mix between Carlo Pagulayan and Gary Frank. The mix is smooth and not distracting even though the two do have different styles. We get an idea how the Hulk is going to get back to Earth right before the Emperor arrives to take his revenge all gussied up in a flame throwing power suit. This arc seems to be barreling quickly to its conclusion and some major fights which is interesting because we have gotten some great battle sequences already…New Excalibur #14 has the Juggernaut make his way back to Korea where he will arrive at the Temple of Cyttorak to regain what he has lost. His teammates are following him and Frank Tieri uses this to show that the team has unresolved issues that may serve to change the membership at some point. Of course, Cain Marko’s inner voice is talking to him to remind him of what he once was but the issue ends with a huge surprise that actually makes perfect sense. Tieri is filling in for the once ailing Chris Claremont but his run on this new title has been pretty cool…Stan Lee Meets Silver Surfer has tales from Stan and Mike Wieringo then Paul Jenkins and Mark Buckingham. Stan pokes fun at the fact that when he wrote the Surfer he spouted speeches that were at the time different but could be considered annoying to some. Galactus is the one who plucks Stan out of his office to see what he can do with the Surfer and his preaching but it doesn’t work in a funny story. The Jenkins/Buckingham story shows how Jenkins was inspired by Stan’s work and it gives Buckingham a chance to draw a lot of Marvel characters including the Sentry. The two page tale here is from Indy creator Jacob Chabot and has the Marvel villains crash one of Stan’s parties. The classic story included is from Silver Surfer #14, Volume 1…Uncanny X-Men #481 has a few surprises but actually serves to move the epic along. We see what is happening with Professor X (and his former girlfriend) while the team gets ready to take on the entire Shi’ar Empire. Most of the issue fills in character development and tells us more about Korvus’ history while teasing the arrival of the Starjammers next issue.

IMAGE ROUND UP…
The terribly delayed Night Club #4 arrives on the racks this week and if you have forgotten what the book was about then join the rest of the world, The Mike Baron written limited series involves a ragged group of folks invited to a party held by the Devil in disguise. When we start here the President is declaring martial law (the Devil wants to take over the world thru him) and the Club is trying to stop this even though they are trapped in the underworld. Naturally everything ends well but the limited series killed itself with lateness so I wonder who cares other than Baron’s immediate family…The Nightly News #2 continues the unique looking tile from Jonathan Hickman. In this offering we see our cover boy, Jones at trial for killing Allen Kite, who we met last issue. The story here is incredibly dense and when reading the book you have to pay complete attention to it or you will miss something, I had to read it a few times just to see if I knew what was going on. The book is daring and different so let’s see how long Image is willing to play this before folding their hand and waiting for someone to make it into a TV show…Cross Bronx #4 (of 4) completes its run this week. Detective Aponte continues to follow the trail of bodies left by the spirit of the comatose girl Marta even though he doesn’t exactly understand how she is getting revenge. We do get a resolution here to the story but there is room for another tale if the creative team is willing to bring back Aponte…Invincible #37 juggles a number of stories within the pages which range from Robot going to the movies, Mark saving the day and getting a lecture about his attendance, jealousy and a job offer to a villain along with the usual short fun Capes story…The Walking Dead #33 continues where we left off last issue with Michone confronting the Governor before escaping the prison. If you are squeamish about violence then you need to pass this offering by because she tortures him in ways that you wouldn’t believe. The whole issue is a gut punch from start to finish but wraps everything up to lead us back in the world and on the run…Meltdown #1 (of 2) is an oversized limited series that actually comes off as something you would expect from DC. The issue begins prior to the death of our hero, Cal. We then go to his confrontation with the villain Maelstrom before getting Cal’s history. We see that he has had powers since birth (imagine the Human Torch on crack) and see that his powers are growing at a rate that will kill him in less than a week. Writer David Schwartz and artist Sean Wang show his life before, during and possibly at the end of it before we are left at the place we started at. I was impressed with what I read here even with the high price.
 
"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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