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Hernandez brothers collections a true comic delight

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Heartbreak Soup

Creator: Gilbert Hernandez

Fantagraphics Books

$14.95 US (Paperback)

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








Maggie The Mechanic

Creator: Jaime Hernandez

Fantagraphics Books

$14.95 US (Paperback)

**** 1/2





There’s an interesting recurring discussion that knowledgeable comic book fans like to have with one another. It begins with: “Who’s your favourite Hernandez brother?”


The answer to this question is rarely brief, often very personal and reflects very much upon what kind of person they are and what kind of life they’ve led.


This is how deeply rooted in comic culture Gibert and Jaime Hernandez’s book Love & Rockets has become over the last quarter century.


Trying to choose between Jaime’s poignant Locas stories, which follow the wild lives of one-time punks and sometimes lovers Margarita "Maggie" Chascarrillo and Esperanza "Hopey" Glass and Gilbert’s moving tales of the people of the fictional Central American village of Palomar can be as painful as choosing your favourite child.


For those not yet able to throw their two cents into these discussions, the 25th anniversary of Los Bros Hernandez’s series has yielded two new affordable, chronological collections.


Heartbreak Soup is the first of two volumes that will be released in 2007 that contain Gilbert’s sweeping Palomar stories, featuring a fascinating cast of characters that are so well developed that you might come to think of their village as a real place.


Maggie The Mechanic, one of three Locas books coming this year, takes readers back to when Jaime was trying hard to fuse sci-fi, post-punk culture and Chicano life into a single book. Watching this idea, along with Jaime’s art style, evolve is a true comic delight.









Brit Vol. 1: Old Soldier

Creators: Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Cliff Rathburn

Image Comics

$17.99 US (Paperback)

****





OK, so unless you’re a comic fan who’s been living under a rock for the past few years (or your mom’s basement) you’ve got to know who Robert Kirkman is by now.


Kirkman has been tearing up the comic industry by writing, well, almost everything. He’s perhaps best known for his awesome original series Invincible and The Walking Dead at Image Comics, but he’s also knocking reader’s socks off with tales in Ultimate X-Men, Marvel Team-Up, The Irredeemable Ant-Man, Marvel Zombies and more.


Well somewhat lost in the shuffle of all those titles is a very fine creation that Kirkman, along with artists Tony Moore and Cliff Rathburn released called simply, Brit.


Set in the same world as Invincible, this series follows the adventures of an aging indestructible government agent whose everyday routine of battling alien monsters and hulking terrors is shaken when his superiors decide he might be worth more to them if they dissect him and see how he ticks.


Full of over-the-top violence and humour, Brit is classic Kirkman and too much fun to miss a second time.









Red String

Gina Biggs

Dark Horse Books

$9.95 US (Paperback)

*** 1/2





The Red String of destiny has taken quite a while to lead Gina Biggs from webcomics to print.


Biggs’ series Red String began online at www.strawberrycomics.comway back in May 2003 and is now has a devoted readership that eagerly awaits each new page when they are updated three times a week.


The series follows the life of Japanese high schooler Miharu Ogawa, whose world gets turned upside down when her parents inform her that she has an arranged marriage.


Miharu’s life gets even more confusing when she then meets a wonderful guy and starts falling for him.


Will the red string that ties two people destined to be together link her to him? Or does is connect her to this mysterious fiancé?


Red String is fun and romantic comic-of-age story full of fun twists and turns. Hopefully this new print edition will give even more attention to Biggs’ fine work.









Superman: Back In Action

Kurt Busiek, Fabian Nicieza, Pete Woods

DC Comics

$19.99/$14.99 US (Paperback)

*** 1/2





It’s the team up that Superman fans have been waiting years for.


Alien invaders are plundering earth of its rarest treasures and to stop them, the Man Of Steel is aided by, no not the Justice League, nope not the Justice Society, Teen Titans or Outsiders, either.


Actually, um, let’s see there’s Nightwing, Firestorm, ummm, that new Aquaman, and, uh, Shockrocket, along with, Live Wire, the Veteran and… Blue Jay?


OK, so World’s Finest it ain’t, but this odd band of heroes actually makes sense when it all comes together in this brief three-issue arc of Action Comics.


As a bonus (that is, to pad this trade and make it worth the money) there are three classic Superman stories from the now-defunct DC Comics Presents, featuring team ups with the original Firestorm, the Metal Men and Deadman.


All in all, this is one action-packed little collection.









Dynamo 5 #1

Jay Faerber, Mahmud A. Asrar

Image Comics

$4.05/$3.50 US

****





Captain Dynamo was a remarkable hero who spent his life protecting the people of Tower City.


Turns out he was also a bit of a man-whore.


After the good captain’s death, his widow Maddie Warner discovers her late husband’s little black book, filled with the names and dates of his conquests throughout the years.


As the bad guys in Tower City begin to take advantage of its hero’s death, Maddie does a little digging and discovers that her husband’s trysts have resulted in at least five illegitimate kids, now all in their late teens and 20s.


She quickly rounds them up, doses them with the same radiation that unlocked her husband’s powers, and voila: Dynamo 5 is born!


Now all these super-siblings have got to do is figure out how to work as a team fast enough to save the city from being overrun by evil.


Writer Jay Faerber (Noble Causes) and artist Mahmud A. Asrar have a great concept here and a fantastic first issue has laid the groundwork for what could be the sleeper super-hero series of 2007.




jonathan.kuehlein@metronews.ca

 
 
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