Paul goes fishing


Creator: Michel Rabagliati

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Price: $19.95 CAN/US (Paperback)

**** ½ (out of five)

There is a remarkable complexity belied by the simple title of Michel Rabagliati's Paul Goes Fishing. This entrancing semi-autobiographical book, the fourth in the "Paul" series which was originally published in September 2006 in French by Editions de la Pastèque as Paul à la pêche, is centred around a young Quebecois couple, Paul and Lucie, who leave the hustle and bustle of Montreal behind for a week's vacation at a fishing camp along with Lucie's sister and her family.

But more than just the expected digression into the wonders (or nightmares) of nature and the thrill (or agony) of angling, Paul Goes Fishing is about some extremely heartfelt reminisces about growing up as a straight-D student, the pitfalls of globalization, the surprising cost of the computer age and, most importantly, family - both having one and starting one. With a clean and increasingly elegant cartooning style that is somewhat reminiscent of Seth (Palookaville), Rabagliati continues to add to his credentials as one of the top creators in Canada.

Scalped Vol. 2: Casino Boogie

Creators: Jason Aaron, R.M. Guéra

Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics

Price: $23.99/$19.99 US (Hardcover)


The opening of the Crazy Horse Casino promised to be one hell of a night on the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation — and it delivered on everything expected and more.

The night featured a gun battle in a chicken coop, a fistfight in a bullfighting ring, the theft of Merle Haggard’s tour bus and the murder of a key figure on the “rez.”

In this second volume of this outstanding Vertigo series, writer Jason Aaron tells the story of opening night six different times from six points of view.

The perspectives include those of tribal leader Lincoln Red Crow, whose life has been building to this day, when all his past crimes were to be vindicated; Dashiell Bad Horse, an FBI agent undercover back in the place where he was raised and looking to take out Red Crow; Gina Bad Horse, Dash’s mom, who’s been fighting to keep the casino from opening; and Diesel Engine, a 1/16th Kickapoo with something to prove.

Building on the gripping foundation laid in the first volume, Aaron, with help from the gritty art of R.M. Guéra, has helped Scalped stake a claim to being the next great Vertigo series.

Justice League Of America: The Lightning Saga

Brad Meltzer, Geoff Johns, Ed Benes, Dale Eaglesham, Gene Ha, Shane Davis, Fernando Pasarin

DC Comics

$29.99/$24.99 US (Hardcover)


It was the team-up event of year.

No, not the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America. Frankly, those two super-groups get together a little too often for it to be something special anymore.

It takes something a little extra to add some sizzle.

Something like having two of the world's top comic book writers collaborate on the story.

Having Brad Meltzer (Identity Crisis) and Geoff Johns (Infinite Crisis) working together on a five-part story that blends the JLA, the JSA and the 31st-century Legion of Super-Heroes together in an adventure that is sure to have long-lasting repercussions for the DC Universe is something very special indeed.

Mix in some sublime art from the like of Ed Benes and Canadian Dale Eaglesham and it goes up an even higher notch into a book that simply every DC Comics fan should read.

Harley Quinn: Preludes And Knock-Knock Jokes

Karl Kesel, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson

DC Comics

$29.99/$24.99 US (Hardcover)


From vamp to villainess to would-be hero, Harley Quinn sure has come a long way over the years.

Originally created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm as a character for Batman: The Animated Series, Harley's role as the over-the-top vamp alongside the Joker quickly earned her a place in the hearts of scores of fanboys. She became so popular, in fact, that the powers-that-be at DC Comics decided to write her into continuity - a very rare feat indeed!

While she made an impression with a few early appearances, Harley Quinn, A.K.A. Harleen Quinzel, didn't really take that next step until she stepped out from behind the shadow of her "puddin", the Joker, in the first issue of this collection of the first seven issues of her own series.

Writer Karl Kesel, with a great deal of assistance from the incomparable husband/wife art team of Terry and Rachel Dodson, really captures Harley's wild impetuousness as she breaks out on her own and finds mirth and mayhem in Gotham City pulling off crazy crimes, including the ultimate B&E of Wayne Manor!

It's about time this series, which first saw print in 2000, started getting collected and hopefully Preludes And Knock-Knock Jokes is just volume 1 of many to come.

Wonder Woman: Amazons Attack!

Will Pfeifer, Pete Woods

DC Comics

$29.99/$24.99 US (Hardcover)

*** ½

Tens of thousands of sword-wielding, super-strong Amazons, backed by magical creatures and protected by the power of one of the most evil sorceresses in the world have declared war on America.

Good thing the U.S. has more superheroes per capita than anywhere else on Earth.

When Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, discovers that her daughter Diana, A.K.A. Wonder Woman, has been captured by the U.S. (as seen in Wonder Woman: Love & War), she decides to do every thing in her power to set her free. This begins with an invasion of Washington, D.C., continues with attacks in California and the mid-West and includes not one, but two deadly alliances with former enemies of the Amazons.

Meanwhile, Wonder Woman and the rest of the heroes are trying to save lives, stop the female warriors' advance and figure out exactly who's the person behind all this chaos.

Amazons Attack, written by Will Pfeifer (Catwoman) and illustrated by Pete Woods (Action Comics), is a bit like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. There's a lot going on that, in the end, doesn't really add up to much. It is, however, yet another piece in the puzzle of DC's upcoming epic, Final Crisis, and as such may be considered required reading.

Batman: Rules Of Engagement

Andy Diggle, Whilce Portacio, Richard Friend

DC Comics

$29.99/$24.99 US (Hardcover)

*** ½

Bruce Wayne, A.K.A. Batman, is a master martial artist and detective and one of the smartest people in the world.

Lex Luthor is a master manipulator, criminal and also one of the smartest people in the world.

When both men's corporations vie for a huge military contract, they find themselves both as friendly rivals in the boardrooms and as combatants as hero and villain as Lex unleashed a nefarious plot to destroy his competition.

Collecting the first six issues of Batman: Confidential, written by Andy Diggle (Hellblazer, The Losers) with art by Whilce Portacio (Wetworks) and Richard Friend, this adventure is set early in the Dark Knight's career before Bruce Wayne had an answer for every situation and teaches him a hard lesson about men with power and how they can abuse it.

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