Catwoman: The Replacements
Will Pfeifer, David Lopez, Alvaro Lopez
**** (out of five)
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One of the most powerful forces of nature is the ferocity of a mother protecting her young.
That makes it something awesome to see what happens when a couple of crooks try to come between Catwoman and her new kitten.
One of the most shocking revelations of DC Comics’ 2006 One Year Later event, which saw series fast forward 365 days and take their heroes and heroines to very different places, was that Selina Kyle, A.K.A. Catwoman is now a mommy.
On top of that, Selina has recruited her friend Holly to be the new female feline hero for the streets of Gotham City and she’s being targeted both for revenge by a killer and investigated by the cops for murder — both for Selina’s actions over a year ago.
When the killer and his accomplice find out where Selina lives and take her baby girl hostage they learn the lessons of nature the hard way. But after already committing one act of vengeance, will Selina kill again to protect her child and her secrets?
Oh yeah, and just who is that baby’s daddy?
Thanks to writer Will Pfeifer and artists David and Alvaro Lopez, Catwoman is definitely one of the most intriguing One Year Later titles and very much worth picking up in this collection.
PVP Goes Bananas
$12.99 US (Paperback)
PVP may be one of the funniest web comics around, but there is also a much deeper side to it.
Oh sure, there’s video game, sci-fi and pop culture gags galore, but above all, PVP is about teaching readers to watch out for the dangers in the world.
This fourth collection of the monthly Image Comics series, for example, warns of the perils of the flirty-ness of your girlfriend’s (sometimes hotter) sister, the risks of growing a big, fat moustache and how caffeine, no matter how much fun it is being up 22 hours a day, is a drug.
In between all those informative allegories, creator Scott Kurtz manages to pack in enough gaming geek gags, sexual snickers and gas-related guffaws to make this book essential reading for anyone who needs to get their laugh on.
Superman: Camelot Falls
Kurt Busiek, Carlos Pacheco, Jesus Merino
$23.99/$19.99 US (Hardcover)
The old adage that “all good things must come to an end” is a lesson Superman is learning the hard way.
Having recently regained his formidable powers after losing them for a year after the events of DC Comics’ mega-crossover series Infinite Crisis, The Man Of Steel is glad to be able to make a difference again.
He’s back to saving Metropolis on a daily basis and doesn’t hesitate to travel half way around the world to Kazakhstan to face a deadly new alien foe in order to save an old friend’s life.
But when the ancient sorcerer Arion appears before Superman with a vision of a bleak and brutal future for all humankind — including all of Clark Kent’s friends and loved ones — he is forced to question everything he stands for.
Can he let the forces of darkness win the smaller battles so that humanity can win the big ones? Can he let civilization fall?
Kurt Busiek creates a superb quandary for the world’s greatest superhero, while Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino deliver some equally high-impact art.
Firestorm The Nuclear Man: Reborn
Stuart Moore, Jamal Igle, Keith Champagne
$17.99/$14.99 US (Paperback)
Dead man walking.
No matter how good or bad (and it’s not too bad) this new volume of Firestorm is it’s hard to ignore the fact the series has already been cancelled.
Sure, the team up of the new Nuclear Man, Jason Rusch, and longtime Firestorm ally Lorraine Reilly, A.K.A. Firehawk, is an interesting twist, as is their search for the missing Professor Martin Stein — one half of the original Firestorm (he’s a merged being, in case you didn’t know).
Heck, even the why-didn’t-they-think-off-that-sooner team up of super-villains Killer Frost and Mr. Freeze was decent.
Still, you can’t escape that voice in your head that points out that this book collects issues #23-27 of a series that will be toasted by issue #35.
It seems like too little effort, too late to drum up any interest in a half-decent character.
Oh well, I’m sure he’ll turn up in some team book sooner or later.
Nightwing: Brothers In Blood
Bruce Jones, Joe Dodd, Paco Diaz, Robert Teranishi, Bit
$17.99/$14.99 US (Paperback)
Thump! Thump! Thump!
That is the sound of my head against the nearest wall, upon reading this latest — and it’s fair to say worst ever — take on Nightwing.
Infinite Crisis saw the total annihilation of Dick Grayson’s adopted hometown of Blüdhaven, so where do we find him One Year Later? In New York City, picking up nameless women in bars and growing his hair out again.
That is until, for some reason, Batman’s other former Boy Wonder, Jason Todd, shows up sporting a Nightwing costume and killing would-be bad guys.
Now how writer Bruce Jones was able to convince the powers-that-be at DC to take the fairly cool new villainous creation they had in Jason, A.K.A. The Red Hood, and have him go all Single White Female on Nightwing is beyond me. But needless to say the whole thing plays out embarrassingly badly.
I’m going to file this collection away and not think of it ever again while waiting patiently for the first collection of comics icon Marv Wolfman’s new run on the series to get released.
Star Wars: Empire Vol. 7 — The Wrong Side Of The War
Welles Hartley, John Jackson Miller, Davidé Fabbri, Brian Ching, Christian Dalla Vecchia
Dark Horse Books
$17.95 US (Paperback)
Luke Skywalker always did what he was told.
When his friends went of to the academy to become pilots, he stayed behind on Tatooine to keep working on his aunt and uncle’s moisture farm — dreaming of the day when he’d be free to have far off adventures among the stars.
And so the story goes that Luke eventually earned that freedom and lived those dreams — but what ever became of those friends of his?
Longtime readers of Dark Horse Comics’ monthly series Star Wars: Empire, which was recently re-dubbed Star Wars: Rebellion, have long been aware of the life of Imperial Lt. Janek Sunber, better known as Luke’s boyhood friend Tank.
Sunber’s tales of emotional conflict during life in the trenches of the Imperial forces have made for terrific reading over the run of the series, but as the path towards the series changeover was laid, it could only come with the inevitable meeting of these former friends, now entrenched on opposite sides of a galactic conflict.
The Wrong Side Of The War, written by Welles Hartley and John Jackson Miller, does a really solid job of showing how people can become entrenched in their ideals, even if they’re clearly the wrong ones, and makes for a great segue to Rebellion.
After The Cape #1 (of 3)
Howard Wong, Jim Valentino, Marco Rudy
Captain Gravity’s love for the bottle has gotten him plastered to the floor.
It was a love so great that it cost him his career as a superhero and if he’s not careful, will cost him even more.
Now Ethan Falls has not only lost his ability to put on the tights and cape, but has sunk so low that he’s masterminding bank robberies in order to dupe his wife and young sons into thinking he could be holding down a full-time job instead of crawling in and out of a bar every day.
Worst of all, someone has found out his secret and wants a piece of the action.
Writers Howard Wong and Jim Valentino, along with artist Marco Rudy, have crafted a gripping examination of alcoholism and its effects with a story that finds out just how far the mighty can fall.
Bomb Queen III: The Good, The Bad & The Lovely #1 (of 4)
Jim Robinson, Jim Valentino
It’s really hard not to like Bomb Queen.
The comics are so wonderfully unabashed, with gratuitous nudity, vulgarity and violence blended together in a delicious frappe of comicy goodness.
As this third miniseries begins, there’s a vicious rumour going around that super-heroes are looking to move into the villainous Bomb Queen’s turf of New Port City just as a nasty new assassin starts taking shots at her majesty’s head.
Think that all sounds nutty? Just wait until the reluctant heroine Blacklight comes to town.
Here’s to Jim “Don’t Call Me Jimmie” Robinson and Jim Valentino for making Bomb Queen the hands-down best T&A with explosions book on the market today.