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Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen #1 (of 5)
John Layman, Tom Peyer, Jim Massey, Scott Chantler, Robbi Rodriguez
**** (out of five)
Attention Colbert Nation: The Tek Jansen comic book is finally here — and solar plexus it’s good!
Faithful followers of Emmy Award-nominated The Colbert Report will no doubt be familiar with host Stephen Colbert’s beloved science-fiction alter ego — an intergalactic swashbuckling — and hilariously violent — hero who’s animated and written adventures have developed a cult-like following on the ’Net.
This breakout debut comic adventure contains two tales of Tek (say that five times fast), opening with Invasion Of The Optiklons, written by John Layman and Tom Peyer and illustrated by Scott Chantler of Waterloo, Ont., which sees our hero follow his somewhat warped instincts about an offer of utopia from an alien race — only to create a colossal intergalactic incident.
The backup story, Horn Like Me, written by Jim Massey and drawn by Robbi Rodriguez, humourously spoofs John Howard Griffin’s classic 1961 book Black Like Me and sees Tek go undercover inside an alien race that is divided between those who have horns and those who don’t. Can Tek help start social reforms that will bring together these divided people or will he just blast everybody in sight and let the cards fall where they may?
Top all this off with an awesome alternate cover by John Cassiday (Astonishing X-Men, Planetary) and Tek Jansen’s a Colbert Nation must have.
Gotham Central: Dead Robin
Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, Kano, Stefano Gaudiano
$21.99/$17.99 US (Paperback)
The Gotham City Police Department’s major crimes unit has seen some of the most stunning, horrific crimes in history unfold on their streets — but that still can’t prepare them for the most shocking case of them all: The murder of one of their own.
DC Comics’ answer to The Shield, NYPD Blue and the myriad other popular TV cop shows, Gotham Central has always done an incredible job of showing what life could be like for a police force in a world that contains superheroes and super-villains.
In their final story (the series ended in spring 2006 due in part to slow issue sales and the departure of co-writer Ed Brubaker to rival Marvel Comics) the major crimes unit are reeling after Det. Crispus Allen is gunned down.
His longtime partner, Det. Renee Montoya is sure she knows who did it —corrupt crime scene investigator Jim Corrigan — but can she prove it before he walks or will she have to take matters into her own hands?
Also in this collection: Batman’s sidekick Robin, or someone dressed exactly like him, is found dead in a Gotham City alley. What’s GCPD supposed to do when a hero dies?
Gotham Central was one of the most unique and compelling series of this decade and this collection perfectly summarizes exactly why that is and why it is missed by so many.
Invincible Vol. 8: My Favorite Martian
Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley
$14.99 US (Paperback)
To quote John “Hannibal” Smith: “I love it when a plan comes together.”
Writer Robert Kirkman has a rare but fantastic ability to juggle plot threads (one he shares with luminaries like Marv Wolfman (The New Teen Titans) and Geoff Johns (The Flash, Teen Titans) and though it sometimes takes months or years, faithful readers of his series, Invincible, are always rewarded.
In My Favorite Martian, the eighth soft-cover collection of this hot monthly series, Kirkman, along with fantastic artist Ryan Ottley, sews up a thread he’s had hanging out there for two years as the parasitic alien sequids — a race teen hero Mark Grayson, A.K.A. Invincible first encountered back in Vol. 4 — finally make their move towards earth.
Mark and a group of fellow heroes, including incognito Martian, the Shapesmith, head into space to intercept the sequids before they can enslave the human race.
Meanwhile, back on the home front, Mark’s girlfriend Amber is getting fed up with his long absences just as another girl makes a move on our hero.
Invincible continues to be the hand’s-down best super-hero comic out there and if you’re not reading it monthly, you should definitely give these volumes a look.
$17.99 US (Paperback)
Doug TenNapel is truly the master of blending genres.
He’s proved it by mixing cats, dogs and giant robots in Gear and cowboys, robots and Sasquatch in Iron West and now he’s done it again in Black Cherry, with the mob, aliens and Catholicism.
Mafioso Eddie Paretti gets stuck between a rock and a hard place as he’s looking for cash to pay off a rather sizable debt. His boss’ No. 1 rival hires him to pull an “easy” inside job by stealing a dead body out of his employer’s freezer.
Of course the whole plan goes wrong when it turns out the body is actually that of an alien being— a very-much-alive alien being!
Now Eddie’s in a jam — does he give this curious visitor, nicknamed Harold Mars, back to his boss, to the rival mob head or return him to the Catholic parish where Harold’s studying to become a priest?
And who exactly is Black Cherry and will she make up Eddie’s mind for him?
There’s sex, violence, horror, aliens and Jesus — yep, TenNapel’s back and as good as ever.
Crossing Midnight Vol. 1: Cut Here
Mike Carey, Jim Fern, Mark Pennington
$11.99/$9.99 US (Paperback)
Kai and Toshi Hara are twins — but they couldn’t be more different.
Toshi, born eight minutes after her brother at seven minutes past midnight in the city of Nagasaki, Japan, shockingly finds out when she’s a little girl that she cannot be stabbed or cut.
After she’s grown to become a typical rebellious teenager, a mysterious man named Aratsu claiming to be the lord of knives visits Toshi and he tells her she is to be his servant to pay a debt for a prayer made long ago by her father.
When she refuses, Aratsu makes her and her family pay a high price and warns her he’ll be back two more times for her to change her mind — or there’ll be hell to pay.
As Toshi searches for a way to keep the lord of knives away, Kai, her much more cautious sibling, is visited by other spirits who warn him of the dangers that exist if his sister does cross over to Aratsu’s world.
The twins manage to survive their second encounter with Aratsu pretty much unscathed, but when the third visit ends in tragedy, Toshi bargains her freedom for another’s life and is taken away to another world.
Can Toshi find her way out before she becomes the slave Aratsu wants? And how far will Kai go to get his sister back?
Writer extraordinaire Mike Carey (Lucifer, Hellblazer) and talented artist Jim Fern (Fables) deftly examine the world of Japanese folklore and magic in this gripping new series which just may be the next big thing from Vertigo.
The Astounding Wolf-Man Director’s Cut #1
Robert Kirkman, Jason Howard
Hmmm… $4.25 or free? Decisions, decisions.
The Astounding Wolf-Man #1 was Image Comics’ Free Comic Book Day title this year and many people took advantage of that to scoop up the debut issue of popular writer Robert Kirkman’s new ongoing series.
Those who missed the boat get a second shot with this director’s cut, which is a bit of a misnomer as the story is exactly as it appeared in the free edition and the only extra is a sketchbook by series artist Jason Howard.
Still, if you didn’t get the freebee, The Astounding Wolf-Man #1, which sees millionaire businessman Gary Hampton dealing with the fact he’s become a lycanthrope, is well worth scooping up. Kirkman (Invincible, The Walking Dead, Irredeemable Ant-Man) is one of the top writing talents in comics today and you’re likely to be getting in on the ground floor of the next big thing.
Repo #1 (of 5)
Rick Spears, Rob G
Emil and KD are repo men and they’ve just been handed the job of a lifetime — one that could make them rich or get them killed.
In a future filled with flying cars, buildings on the moon (and a totalitarian police force that won’t hesitate to kill civilians to stop crimes), the repo business is booming — literally.
After a hovercar that Emil and KD are sent to retrieve turns out to be packed with explosives detonates right in front of them, they head back to the office empty handed. They quickly put their dibs in on the next job that comes in and hit the jackpot with a gig to catch an escaped clone worth a fortune.
Of course a job this big will lure all kinds of unsavoury elements out of the woodwork, making Emil and KD’s job that much more deadly.
The creative team of Rick Spears and Rob G (Teenagers From Mars) has developed a fast-paced and fun new world worth keeping an eye on.