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BO'S WEDNESDAY HEADS UP: 121306

"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: SPIRIT #1
Comic Review by:
Larry "Bocepheus" Evans
Writer:
Darwyn Cooke,  Artist: J. Bone

This follows the Batman/Spirit crossover seen a few short weeks back. This time around the title will be done by New Frontier’s Darwyn Cooke and his partner J. Bone. The story involves a kidnapped TV news anchor about to start a major expose on crime. She is grabbed on air which makes things even more dramatic. We follow the rescue attempt happily as Ginger Coffee prattles on while the Spirit tries to save her. Cooke tells the story in a series of tightly penciled pages and keeps the banter flying. We marvel here at the danger as we feel sorry for the former Denny Colt as he tries to save a woman who comes off as more of a news robot that someone who is close to death. Cooke has the characters down perfectly (we do not see Ellen Dolan here) and his take on Ebony is completely not offensive at all. You would imagine that Frank Miller will use a similar view on the character that always made me wince when I picked up the reprints of the Will Eisner tales from Kitchen Sink back when comic shops used cigar boxes as cash registers. Cooke has major affection for the character and it shows here. All of the stories in this series will be self contained as the Eisner stories were. I can’t say that this title will be a massive seller since it appeals directly to older readers but fans of New Frontier may wander over and make this a solid, if not spectacular seller for DC.

MSRP: $2.99,
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MARVEL ROUND UP…
Amazing Spider-Girl #3 continues the revival of the temporarily dead character in an issue that balances multiple stories while introducing a cold themed villain. Tom DeFalco really sets up the fact that May Parker’s life is a bit overcomplicated now with a school election, keeping her dad in the dark about her still playing Spider-Girl and dealing with the new threat…Avengers Next #3 (of 5) has the team deal with the threat of a reactivated Ultron. Kevin Masterson is still being held hostage but he is trying to get thru to Warp before it’s too late. Eventually we get a huge fight scene and as solution but considering there are 2 issues left we should have known that nothing would be easy. BTW, here is where we learn who the old man is that is working along with Ulik…Wolverine #49 is a winter themed extra sized issue from the team of Rob (Classwar) Williams and Lawrence Campbell. Like most of us do Wolverine tends to do his Xmas shopping at the last minute (I haven’t bought one gift yet) and here he finds himself in a store looking for presents. Here as he gets some goodies he bumps into a Paris Hilton clone who is shopping with her bodyguards in tow who are the target of a group called Black Christmas. Williams is basically doing Die Hard with Logan (and the first two films happened at Christmas) but it works because the story has a dark quality to it that shows that he can be tossed into any situation and work. The art isn’t flashy or dazzling but it doesn’t need to be because it fits the tone of the issue…one of the most consistent good reads is X-Factor and #14 continues that string. Last issue the team got their heads shrunk by Doc Samson and here we see the aftermath. Monet and Siryn are ticked that Jamie (actually one or more of his duplicates) has slept with both of them so we deal with that right away before getting into all the other developments from last issue before Jamie takes a trip to SHIELD to pick up a copy. There are some hilarious moments here as well as a tender one involving Guido and this is just the start of an arc so expect more fun and Hydra to boot…X-Men: Phoenix #4 (of 5) has a cover that shows the White Queen in a motherly mood and it’s a damn good Marc Silvestri cover. The interior deals with the fact that one of the Cuckoos, Celeste has been taken over by the Phoenix. While the team tries to handle all that we learn that John Sublime had been working on Weapon XIV and that’s where the test tube babies came from. This all ties together in the end and the last page suggests the X-Men are severely screwed but we have to see how they get out of that next issue in the conclusion to the limited series…Ghost Rider #6 has guest art by legend Richard Corben. The arc started here looks back into Johnny’s past and a decision he made that isn’t a good one. We start with him interrupting a baptism that is more of an execution and that allows Corben to go to town with some Rider/demon fighting. The art is different from what we expect but it’s pretty cool to see Corben doing a book that we could have never imagined him do when he first showed up in comics…New X-Men #33 begins Mercury Falling, the next four issue arc from the book that has become one of the best out there. We see here how out of control Hellion’s powers have become and also see that he has an admirer. There is some fallout from the team going off and taking on Nimrod but the bulk of the issue is there to show us that X-23 has baggage that comes back in a major way as she and Mercury have coffee. Paco Medina’s art seems to be getting better with each passing issue and the writers (Kyle & Yost) have become one of the best writing teams out there…X-23 #1 (of 4) has the same team (with Mike Choi on art) tell the story of what happened to the Wolverine byproduct during her lost years. We begin with X-23 at fifteen before returning to the Facility where we see her training at the age of eleven. In a sequence of perfectly drawn pages we see that she is as her ‘father’ is, very good at what she does. As she is asked who she is we dance back and forth thru time to see her life on the hunt and an attempt to be ‘normal’. The story is tight and on the last page we see that she came across a certain star spangled Avenger while out there making her way back to the X-mansion…Bullet Points #2 (of 5) shows us what happened to Peter Parker in this version of the Marvel Universe. Here he and not Bruce Banner was caught in the gamma bomb explosion. That means that he is now the Hulk and the first transformation is seen here in a sequence that seems inspired by the movie. We also see what has happened to Steve Rogers after his involvement in the Iron Man project has concluded as he talks with scientist Reed Richards, who has yet to go off into space in a rocket. The Tommy Edwards art is top shelf here which provides a perfect compliment to the story.

IMAGE ROUND UP…
Battle Pope #12 has our gun toting pontiff trying to get some grocery shopping done and doing a few things that I would bet he isn’t supposed to be doing in the parking lot. While all this is going on he is the subject of much discussion before he and his buddies get attacked by a giant robot. Things go pretty good before the big guy upstairs decides to have a chat at the worst possible moment of a damn funny issue…Strange Girl also makes it up to #12 this week. We start out with a dream of domestic bliss before reality smacks our heroine in the ass and we get back to the world she actually lives in. We get a tour of a city that isn’t real before things get really bad for our magical one. This book would be easier to get into if not for the muddy art style of Nick Stakal…Fear Agent #9 is still three months behind but at least the book has found itself on some sort of schedule. Heath arrives on another weird planet trying to follow a mission statement that seems more likely to get him killed again than accomplishing anything. We watch him kick major portions of squid-like ass before some people show up that raise one hell of a question. The short story that follows is a beautifully drawn tale by Micah Farritor involving the world’s most dangerous health inspector, Heath…Girls #20 continues the final arc of the series. Last issue, Barbara was killed and here we see what happens to her body (it is not pretty) as the tension between the town’s women seems to be getting higher. The men in town aren’t feeling any better either (especially Lester who loses something very close to him) but we get a hint that the ‘girls’ may not be as bad as we thought thru a dream. I don’t know where the Luna Brothers are going to leave us when this series is all over but I have enjoyed the ride.
 
"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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