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Amulet holds mass appeal

<p>Emily has had a very hard life for someone so young — and she has no idea just how much harder it’s going to get.</p>







Amulet Book 1: The Stonekeeper

Kazu Kibuishi

Graphix/Scholastic

$9.99 CAN/US (Paperback)

**** 1/2 (out of five)





Emily has had a very hard life for someone so young — and she has no idea just how much harder it’s going to get.





After surviving a tragic car accident that cost her father’s life, Em, her brother, Navin, and their mom, Karen, move out of the city to the small town of Norlen, to a house that once belonged to Karen’s great-grandfather, Silas.





The children are fascinated by Silas’ eccentric inventions and as they explore their new home, Em discovers a strange necklace that seems almost… alive.





That night, the trio is awoken by strange noises coming from the basement and Karen goes to investigate. Instead of finding a trapped wild animal, she finds herself snatched up by a hulking, tentacled creature and whisked away through a mysterious door in the basement.





When the kids follow, they are shocked to find themselves in a puzzling new world where they quickly find danger at every turn as they search frantically to find their mom.





Luckily, they aren’t completely alone in this new land, as they soon discover there are many creatures there to help them — including an unexpectedly familiar face.





Creator Kazu Kibuishi, contributor and editor for the engaging anthology series, Flight, takes his work to an all-new level with Amulet.





Filled with astonishing creatures and a captivating and lavish world that could have sprung from the mind of Miyazaki, Kibuishi’s Amulet is one of those truly rare graphic novels that can be read and enjoyed by anyone.








Tales Of The Batman: Tim Sale

Tim Sale, Darwyn Cooke, Alan Grant, Kelley Puckett, James Robinson

DC Comics

$36.99/$29.99 US (Hardcover)

****





Tim Sale does more than just supply art for TV shows.





Before he became the resident artist for the red-hot program, Heroes, Sale was an award-winning comic book artist.





His collaborations with writer Jeph Loeb, including Batman: The Long Halloween, Batman: Dark Victory, Spider-Man: Blue, Daredevil: Yellow and Hulk: Gray, are some of the finest work the medium has produced over the past decade or so.





Of course, he was a pretty darned good artist long before that.





While The Long Halloween and Dark Victory immediately spring to mind when the words “Tim Sale” and “Batman” come up, the artist has already taken a few stabs at this iconic character long before either of those two stories and now readers can get them all in one place.





Tales Of The Batman: Tim Sale contains a handful of diverse stories, from the bemusing Madmen Across The Water, focusing on a group of Batman’s mortal enemies who end up forming a prison softball team, to the tragic Blades, about a the rise and fall of a new would-be hero for Gotham City and The Misfits, revealing a plot by a quartet of B-list bad guys looking to make it to the big time.





Being able to look back and see Sale’s art style evolve is a true treat and it’s easy to see how someone so talented could go on to greatness.








Indiana Jones Omnibus Vol. 1

Dark Horse Books

$24.95 US (Paperback)

*** 1/2





Cue the stirring John Williams soundtrack and get ready for the long-awaited return of adventuring archeologist Indiana Jones.





With the highly anticipated new film, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull set to hit theatres on May 22, 2008, there’s sure to be a glut of merchandizing coming over the next few months from toys to games to clothing and more.





Dark Horse Comics has decided to get a jump on the competition by releasing the Indiana Jones Omnibus Vol. 1, collecting three miniseries originally published in the early 1990s: Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis, Indiana Jones: Thunder In The Orient and Indiana Jones And The Arms Of Gold.





As usual, Jones’ adventures in pursuit of some long lost ancient treasure are epic, taking him from the chilling cold of Iceland to the watery depths of the Mediterranean and the lush jungles of South America.





Sadly, none of these tales quite holds up to the classic trilogy (but, then what can?), though they are certain to spark feelings of nostalgia and to keep fans of Indiana Jones amused as they while away the time until May 22.








Bomb Queen III: Bombshell

Jimmie Robinson, Jim Valentino

Image Comics

$14.99 US (Paperback)

*** 1/2





Bomb Queen has been targeted for death — and she’s having a blast.





The beloved-yet-villainous ruler of New Port City, the only place in America to ban super-heroes, is hot on the trail of the gun-toting Red Cross, when the would-be assassin simply disappears.





Turns out Red Cross has got some big time allies in the rookie heroine, Blacklight, and Shadowhawk’s girlfriend, Jennifer, who has some very personal reasons for intervening.





The only problem is that Bomb Queen, in all her vulgar and vivacious glory, isn’t known for giving up easily and the path out of New Port City promises to be a tough one for the good guys.





Creator Jimmie Robinson, with some help from Jim Valentino, delivers yet another volume of the same winning formula for Bomb Queen: Boobs plus bombs equals fun.








The Flash, The Fastest Man Alive Vol. 2: Full Throttle

Marc Guggenheim, Tony Daniel, Art Thibert, Danny Bilson, Paul DeMeo, Ron Adrian, Andy Kuhn, Paco Diaz, Mark Waid, Karl Kerschl

DC Comics

$15.99/$12.99 US (Paperback)

****





He went by several different names over the years, but Bart Allen died as The Flash.





When he suffered a serious injury while working with the Teen Titans a few years ago, Bart transformed himself from the childish Impulse, to the slightly more serious, Kid Flash.





After his predecessor, Wally West, disappeared during the events of 2006’s Infinite Crisis, Bart stepped up and donned the red and gold of The Flash.





The decision to pass the torch didn’t sit well with a lot of fans. They didn’t like the move and went on comic book message boards all over the Web with ways to get him out of that suit.





Little did they know that DC Comics’ editors had a plan all along.





They had built Bart up to greatness only to knock him down and help set the stage for future events.





And so it was that The Flash’s Rogues — Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, the Trickster, the Pied Piper and Heat Wave — led by Bart’s evil clone, Inertia, killed the hero.





No matter what you thought of the decision to make Bart into The Flash, he went out as a first-class hero.





Kudos to writer Mark Guggenheim and his collaborators for giving a classy and compelling send off to an interesting character that will be missed.








Justice League Elite Vol. 2

Joe Kelly, Doug Mahnke, Tom Nguyen

DC Comics

$23.99/$19.99 US (Paperback)

*** 1/2





Justice League Elite are going undercover and they’ll need to prove their rep — even if it means taking out members of the Justice Society of America to do it!





A new type of drug has hit the streets and it’s like no high like ever before. It seems to be a mix of heroin and an unknown alien ingredient.





When the members of Justice League Elite, the shady covert ops squad of the world’s greatest super-hero team, decide to track down the root of this new drug, they’re forced to get deep inside the criminal organization, a move that brings them into conflict with the JSA.





Can they win the battle and end the war on this drug or will their cover be blown sky high?





The second, and final, half of Joe Kelly, Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen’s Justice League Elite, originally published back in 2005, is finally collected and it sees the nasty side the Justice League go out with a bang.




jonathan.kuehlein@metronews.ca


 
 
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