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Comic Book Trades: Iron West, Maiden of Steel and more

<p>Preston Struck is a no-good, lily-livered coward. He’s also a cheat and a crook, but that’s beside the point.</p>



Iron West

Doug TenNapel

Image Comics

$14.99 US (Paperback)

**** (out of five)


Preston Struck is a no-good, lily-livered coward.


He’s also a cheat and a crook, but that’s beside the point.


But the hero of Iron West just can’t seem to do the wrong thing when the heat is on and the getting is good.


Nope, Struck just can’t help but stick his neck out and help try to save the day when a band of gun-toting robots set their sights on taking over the sleepy little California town of Twain Harte.


Of course, he can’t save the whole town by himself, so Struck joins forces with — you guessed it — robot Indians, Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster!


Doug TenNapel, designer of the legendary 1990s video game Earthworm Jim — along with the terrific graphic novels Earthboy Jacobus and Tommysaurus Rex — gives us a fun-filled and farcical trip back to the Old West in an adventure that proves that you don’t always have to be good to do good.




Supergirl: Power

DC Comics

$19.99/$14.99 US (Paperback)

*** 1/2 (out of five)


Ah, Supergirl.


Hmmm… how do I cut through all the clever subtext and figure out why this series is so appealing? Let’s see, it’s the adventures of a leggy blonde fighting crime in a crop top and miniskirt — drawn by one of the most talented artists in the industry, Ian Churchill.


Well, I guess we’re there.


The latest incarnation of the Maiden Of Might, Superman’s long-lost cousin Kara Zor-El — who burst onto the scene a couple of years ago in the pages of Superman/Batman, courtesy writer Jeph Loeb and artist Michael Turner — soars into here own series and, sure enough, straight into trouble.


Kara runs the gauntlet of super-villainy in this story and with guest stars galore, including the Teen Titans, the Justice Society, the Justice League and the Outsiders, she figures out just who is trying to make her new life on earth a living hell and sets up a knock-down, drag out battle to the finish — with herself!




Legion Of Super-Heroes Vol. 2: Death Of A Dream

DC Comics

$19.99/$14.99 US (Paperback)

**** (out of five)


This new Legion Of Super-Heroes series may just be the perfect comic book expression of teen angst.


The adventures of DC Comics’ 31st Century heroes continues with a look at the danger of cliques, how the government oppresses teens and the beginnings of young love.


As the simmering feud between team leader Cosmic Boy and his rival Brainaic 5 heats up, Legion members start to choose sides, while their efforts to warn the galactic government about an imminent invasion are met with scoffs.


When the invasion comes (we told you so!) the Legion is divided and dejected and the costs of war prove heavy, but you should never underestimate the power of a group of motivated teens.


Writer Mark Waid, along with artist Barry Kitson, do a wonderful job of balancing some very universal teen problems with the, um, problems in the Legion’s universe and come away with a highly compelling new series.




Fear Agent Vol. 1: Re-ignition

Image Comics

$9.99 US (Paperback)

**** (out of five)


Heath Huston doesn’t seem to have a heck of a lot of luck.


In just the first four issues of his tight new series Fear Agent, this good ’ol boy alien exterminator gets mauled by Neanderthal-type creatures, has his arm frozen solid, nearly gets blow up about five times, loses his best friend (his spaceship), gets harpooned and stomped on by a giant robot.


But he just keeps on kickin’ … butt!


Rick Remender, the writer behind some of the freshest books coming out from Image these days — including Strange Girl and Sea Of Red, teams with artist Tony Moore, best known for The Walking Dead, to bring us a solid mix of sci-fi, horror and humour.


Fear Agent is one of the best new series of 2006 and it keeps getting better every month. Get on board now with this collection and you can tell all your friends how you picked a winner so early.




Concrete Vol. 5: Think Like A Mountain

Paul Chadwick

Dark Horse Books

$12.95 US (Paperback)

**** (out of five)


There’s nothing like a Concrete book to challenge your perceptions.


Think Like A Mountain, originally published in the mid-1990s, is a classic example of how creator Paul Chadwick uses the medium of comic books to deliver resonating messages.


In this collection, Concrete — everyman Ron Lithgow, trapped in a huge stone body after being abducted by aliens — signs on to write a story about Earth First! and eco-terrorism. But after seeing firsthand the damage being done to the environment, in this case old-growth forest, Concrete must decide whether to involve himself in the cause, or to be as impassive as a mountain.


Think Like A Mountain, the fifth in a new seven-volume collection of Concrete books, is packed with insight and information gleaned through Chadwick’s countless hours of research, but maintains a smooth and seamless story that is hard to dismiss.




Superman: Strange Attractors

DC Comics

$19.99/$14.99 US (Paperback)

*** 1/2 (out of five)


It’s not often that the Man Of Steel has an opponent he can really go toe-to-toe with.


But then that’s kind of a good thing.


In Strange Attractors, a collection of Action Comics issues leading into DC Comics’ recent Infinite Crisis mega-crossover, Superman is forced into battle with the nebulous Black Adam, a man who straddles a razor-thin line between hero and villain.


But even when he lets loose with all his might, can Supes stop a being who is his physical equal?


Also in this enjoyable volume by writer Gail Simone (Bird Of Prey) and classic Superman creator John Byrne: Supes faces a villain on the run … from himself, and the evil Dr. Psycho, egomaniacal Queen Of Fables and the smoking hot Livewire all show up to run the Man Of Steel through a vicious gauntlet.




jonathan.kuehlein@metronews.ca

 
 
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