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Jessica’s 50-year journey

This week's comic review: Jessica Farm Vol. 1, The Exterminators Vol. 4: Crossfire And Collateral, Booster Gold: 52 Pick-Up, Superman/Batman: Torment, Nixon’s Pals and Outsiders: Five Of A Kind<br />


Jessica Farm Vol. 1
Author: John Simmons
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Price: $14.95 US (Paperback)

**** (out of five)




Comic book creators truly are vagabonds nowadays.


More and more in recent years, they work on a series for six or 12
months and then scurry off to the next book. This leaves readers to
deal with either the end of a favourite monthly release or a new
direction under a different writer and/or artist.


Fewer and fewer creators are willing to spend a few years really
developing a book and its characters, like Brian Azzarello and Eduardo
Risso and their 100 issues of 100 Bullets or Brian Bendis and Mark
Bagley on Ultimate Spider-Man.


So to hear that Josh Simmons plans to work on his book, Jessica Farm, for the next 50 years is pretty shocking.


Simmons, who enjoyed some critical success with his recent debut
graphic novel, House, began Jessica Farm in January 2000 with a single
page. Since then he has written and drawn one page a month and he plans
to continue this pace for 50 years in total, releasing 96-page volumes
every eight years until he completes a 600-page story.


As for the content of this first volume, Jessica Farm is a very nice
girl who lives in a very odd place. Her wonderfully quirky house is
filled with secret spaces and hidden residents — from a friendly
talking monkey to an angry nipple-twisting old man — and this first
book follows Jessica’s adventures on a not-so-simple trip downstairs on
Christmas morning.


Jessica Farm is ambitious and entertaining and it might just have you thinking ahead to the spring of 2016 for volume 2.

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The Exterminators Vol. 4: Crossfire And Collateral
Author: Simon Oliver, Darick Robertson, Ty Templeton
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics
Price: $16.99/$14.99 US (Paperback)
**** (out of five)

They’ve beaten an army of skittering cockroaches before, but the exterminators at Bug-Bee-Gone have never faced anything like a legion of Mayan hissers.

One of the nastiest adult-oriented series around turns the action up yet another notch as noted bug killer Henry James and his friends at this L.A.-based pest-control company come face to face with a bug that is rumoured to have brought down an entire ancient civilization.

Worse yet, their old nemesis Kheperon, apparently a reincarnated Egyptian god of bugs, is the one leading the hissers into battle, looking to see to it that the exterminators are the ones about to get gassed.

This series comes to an end with June’s issue #30 and Crossfire And Collateral — featuring fine art by Toronto native Ty Templeton — sets the stage nicely for the ultimate battle between humans and insects.

-

Booster Gold: 52 Pick-Up
Author: Geoff Johns, Jeff Katz, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $27.99/$24.99 US (Hardcover)
*** 1/2 (out of five)

Booster Gold is a jerk.

At least that’s what he needs people to believe.

The star of the acclaimed weekly series 52 finally gets his own monthly book again — for the first time since the 80s — and he looks like he’s finally got it made. After years of being reduced to being a laughing stock for his unrepentant greed and selfishness, Booster is on the cusp of a dream: Getting invited back to being a member of the Justice League of America.

There’s just one problem: Booster may have to turn down JLA membership in order to fight a more important battle — one against someone set to alter time to eliminate Earth’s greatest heroes. And worse still for the diehard showman, he may have to keep it a secret.

Comic writer extraordinaire Geoff Johns (Green Lantern, Justice Society Of America), newcomer Jeff Katz, Booster’s creator Dan Jurgens and fellow artist Norm Rapmund team up to deliver a solid rebirth for this golden hero with a new series that tiptoes behind the scenes of the DC Universe, delivering action, laughs and much more.

-

Superman/Batman: Torment
Author: Alan Burnett, Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $22.99/$19.99 US (Hardcover)
*** 1/2 (out of five)

Superman may be brain dead and Batman is so in love that he’s having a tough time caring.

No, it’s not some strange alternate-universe story, it’s just two elements in Torment, the latest team-up adventure between the Man Of Steel and the Dark Knight.

When a strange piece of technology is stolen from one of Lex Luthor’s labs by Batman’s foe, Killer Croc, the heroes’ curiousity is piqued. But when Superman first starts acting erratically, then disappears, the Dark Knight’s investigation leads him someplace he never expected: On the other side of the galaxy and in the arms of a beautiful newfound ally that he quickly starts falling for.

Can Batman retain his infamous self control long enough to rescue his Kryptonian friend from a fate worse than death?

With ties to last year’s action-packed miniseries, The Death Of The New Gods and to this year’s expected blockbuster, Final Crisis, Torment is a big piece of the DC Universe puzzle and well worth checking out.

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Nixon’s Pals
Author: Joe Casey, Chris Burnham
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $12.99 US (Paperback)
*** 1/2 (out of five)

Parole officer Nixon Cooper has always tried to treat his cases with dignity and humanity — even if some of them may not qualify as human anymore.

Nixon’s job of keeping track of metahuman parolees has always been tough, but things get much tougher when one of them decides to make things personal and sets out to destroy his caseworker’s life.

Meanwhile, Nixon’s also got to try and keep a bunch of would-be reformed crooks from slipping back down a dark path, including an ex-hitman who’s been contracted to kill the man Nixon knows is sleeping with his wife!

Full of bizarre-yet-likable characters and featuring a fast-moving and well-constructed plot by writer Joe Casey (Godland) and impressive art by Chris Burnham, Nixon’s Pals is a very fine example of quality super-hero crime noir.

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Outsiders: Five Of A Kind
Author: Tony Bedard, Marc Andreyko, Nunzio DeFillipis, Christina Weir, G. Willow Wilson, Mike W. Barr, Josh Middleton, Freddie Williams II, Koi Turnbull, Matthew Clark, Ron Randall, Kevin Sharpe, Cliff Richards
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $17.99/$14.99 US (Paperback)
*** (out of five)

Dark times are coming in the DC Universe and Batman has decided to load up for the pending battles.

After his former protégé, Nightwing, decided to relinquish command of the vigilante team, the Outsiders, the Dark Knight steps in and quickly begins the process of figuring out who should stay and who should go.

And some of the decisions may just shock you.

Through a series of team-up missions with current and prospective members, Batman assembles a new squad of heroes — one perfectly suited to his needs and that isn’t afraid to make some tough choices.

An impressive list of creators collaborated to deliver this hit-and-miss six-issue lead in to the all-new Batman And The Outsiders series.

 
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