Truth, Justin And The American Way

Aaron Williams, Scott Kurtz, Guiseppe Ferrario

Image Comics

$14.99 US (Paperback)

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

 




There’s gunplay, fisticuffs, abundant use of alcohol and plenty of other adult-type stuff in Truth, Justin And The American Way, but that’s not the reason why you should be at least 25 to read it.


The reality is that while this silly and superb miniseries — written by Aaron Williams and PVP creator Scott Kurtz and wonderfully illustrated by Italy’s Guiseppe Ferrario — is packed with enough laughs and action for anyone to enjoy, it’s homage to the 80s that might be wasted on those too young to remember living through the decade.


First off, there are guest appearances by darned near every major TV and film character of the time, from the Six Million Dollar Man to the Dukes Of Hazzard to T.J. Hooker and Alice.


There’s also the undeniable similarity to the cult-classic 80’s series, The Greatest American Hero (and the book’s antagonist bears a striking resemblance to one of the show’s star’s, Robert Culp).


For those who don’t have vivid memories of the “me” decade, TJ&AW is still fun look at the lengths a man will go to impress a woman and a classic “loser overcomes the odds” tale.


It’ll just be a little funnier for us fogies.









Avril Lavigne’s Make 5 Wishes

Camilla d’Errico, Joshua Dysart

Del Rey Manga

$16/$12.95 US (Paperback)

*** 1/2





If you were to offer any Avril Lavigne fan five wishes, chances are that meeting the Canadian rock star in person is high on the list.


As a matter of fact, a quick look at a bunch of posts at www.make5wishes.comreveals that this is, in fact, the case.


But Hana, the star of the new manga book, Avril Lavigne’s Make 5 Wishes, doesn’t make that wish when she really is given a quartet of whatever she wants — because she sees Avril all the time.


The Napanee, Ont., rock princess is Hana’s imaginary friend and conscience in the book, which follows the sometimes-lonely life of a teen girl and the lengths she’ll go to in order to break out of her dreary routine.


When Hana goes online and orders a package guaranteed to make her dreams come true, she gets far more than she bargained for. Can Avril help keep her on the right path?


Strangely compelling stuff from the creative team of Camilla d’Errico and Joshua Dysart (with a little help from Avril).









Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy

Joe Kubert

DC Comics

$21.99/$17.99 US (Paperback)

****





Sgt. Rock and the soldiers of Easy Company know war is hell, but they never imagined a mission that would get them so close to it.


Legendary writer/artist Joe Kubert returns to the characters that made him a comic book icon with a smart and sensitive story that sees them caught between German and Soviet forces on a mission that could change history.


As Rock and his crew battle through Eastern Europe in 1943, they face enemies on all sides — and from above as the cold and snow of winter loom — as they try to deliver a mysterious package to its extraction point.


And while they’ve been on plenty of missions and seen death in spades, nothing can prepare them for what they find in the cold wasteland.


Nobody tells war stories like Joe Kubert and getting to read fresh material from this 80-year-old creator is an amazing treat.









Loveless Vol. 2: Thicker Than Blackwater

Brian Azzarello, Marcello Frusin, Danijel Zezelj, Werther Dell’edera

Vertigo/DC Comics

$17.99/$14.99 US (Paperback)

*** 1/2





Wes Cutter’s done a darned fine job of pissing off nearly every person in the town of Blackwater.


And he’s only just begun.


Cutter is just settling into his new job and the most unwelcome sheriff in the post-civil war West — thanks to an appointment by the Northern Lawson Company — when two locals are found hacked to pieces in a murder reminiscent of a slaughter Cutter was part of during the war.


So on top of being thought of as a Yankee-loving turncoat and ne’er-do-well, now folks are thinking he’s a murderer.


Not quite what he and his wife, Ruth, had in mind when they set out to make the people of Blackwater pay for the crimes of the past.


Writer Brian Azzarello and artists Marcelo Frusin, Danijel Zezelj and Werther Dell’edera make sure Loveless continues to be the most wonderfully seedy and sordid Western comic around.









Cross Bronx

Michael Avon Oeming, Ivan Brandon

Image Comics

$14.99 US (Paperback)

****





There’re dead bodies everywhere, piles of parts and brains and blood and while Det. Rafael Aponte has a pretty good idea who’s slaughtering gang-bangers all over the Bronx, the answer is impossible.


Or is it?


Aponte and his partner, Tico Velez, track the murder weapon from the first killings back to a cop who was killed in the line of duty. When they track down the cop’s widow, she reveals her 19-year-old daughter, Maria, was recently kidnapped, raped and hurled out of a moving car onto the Cross Bronx Expressway, leaving her paraplegic and in a coma.


Making matters more confusing is the fact the murderer Aponte and Velez are looking for fits Maria’s description.


Blending the best cop dramas and adding a twist of the supernatural, co-creators Michael Avon Oeming (Powers, Thor) and Ivan Brandon (NYC Mech) deliver a truly engrossing and compelling crime book.









Robin: Wanted

Adam Beechen, Freddie Williams II, Karl Kerschl

DC Comics

$15.99/$12.99 US (Paperback)

****





Robin’s in for the weirdest week of his life — one that sees an old friend become a new enemy and an old enemy become, well, sort of a friend.


Things get off to a bizarre start with someone framing Robin for the murder of Batgirl (not really her, but someone in her costume) and a citywide manhunt to bring the Boy Wonder to justice. As he works to prove his innocence, the hero quickly realizes the only way he’ll be able to prove his innocence is to find his friend. But where is the real Batgirl?


Meanwhile, a face from the past with ties to Robin’s father’s murder comes to town looking for the hero’s help. But can the Boy Wonder put aside his feelings about his dad’s death long enough to save the city from a deadly attack?


Robin was one of the few “One Year Later” comics that DC nailed on the first try and the creative team of writer Adam Beechen (Teen Titans), Freddie Williams II (Seven Soldiers) and Karl Kerschl (Adventures Of Superman) have quickly taken the Boy Wonder to new heights.









Batman: Detective

Paul Dini, Royal McGraw, Don Kramer, J.H. Williams III, Joe Benitez, Marcos Marz

DC Comics

$17.99/$14.99 US (Paperback)

****





Say goodbye to Batman: Superhero and welcome back The Dark Knight Detective.


As part of DC’s “One Year Later” event, which saw many its monthly series fast forward 365 days, the company handed the reigns of one of its longest-running series, Detective Comics, starring Batman, over to a man who’s come to learn a lot about the character over the past decade, Paul Dini.


Dini, the Emmy Award-winning writer behind the highly popular Batman: The Animated Series, quickly gets the Dark Knight back to his roots with a series of stand-alone issues each featuring a different crime for the great detective to solve.


The result is some of the best Bat-stories in recent memory fantastically drawn by artists Don Kramer, J.H. Williams III, Joe Benitez and Marcos Marz.









Green Arrow: Crawling Through The Wreckage

Judd Winick, Scott McDaniel, Andy Owens

DC Comics

$15.99/$12.99 US (Paperback)

*** 1/2





They took him out and blew up half his city — now Oliver Queen’s got two ways to get even.


As the vigilante/superhero Green Arrow, Queen helps clean up the streets after a devastating attack by several of his enemies left many homeless and tore the economic heart out of his beloved Star City.


And to spur that economy, millionaire Oliver Queen has become Mayor Queen and is actively finding ways to revitalize the community — including rejecting a multi-billion dollar project that would have turned the city into nothing but condos and casinos and would further wound the poorest locals.


That rejection leads to the hiring of an assassin to “take care” of the mayor and the would-be murderer in question just happens to be Green Arrow’s old nemesis, Deathstroke.


Can the hero save the mayor from the world’s deadliest killer and still manage to keep his identity safe?


This first “One Year Later” Green Arrow book by writer Judd Winick (Outsiders) and the art team of Scott McDaniel (Nightwing) and Andy Owens (Batman), is clearly a response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and while it’s hard to swallow the slightly preachy message, watching GA and Deathstroke go toe-to-toe for 22 pages is worth buying any book.









Secret Six: Six Degrees Of Devastation

Gail Simone, Brad Walker, Jimmy Palmiotti

DC Comics

$17.99/$14.99 US (Paperback)

*** 1/2





They bucked the system and made enemies of over 200 of the world’s nastiest villains.


You had to know payback was coming.


That doesn’t make matters any easier when the Secret Six — Catman, Deadshot, Ragdoll, Knockout and Scandal (their sixth member Parademon died just prior to Infinite Crisis) — start finding themselves staring down the barrels of assassin’s guns.


Managing to survive the first salvo pretty much intact, the big question this team of rogues has is: Which one of those hundreds of baddies ordered the hits?


The answer and the true reasons behind it will open many old wounds and definitely adds some new ones in this fast-paced sequel to the highly popular Villains United, courtesy writer Gail Simone (Birds Of Prey) and artists Brad Walker and Jimmy Palmiotti.









Shadowpact: The Pentacle Plot

Bill Willingham, Cory Walker, Steve Scott, Tom Derenick, Shawn McManus

DC Comics

$17.99/$14.99 US (Paperback)

***





Someone’s sealed off the town of Riverrock, Wyoming, in a sphere of blood.


Superman can’t see through it, nor punch through it and Green Lantern can’t power through it, either.


Must be magic. And magic means it’s time to call in DC’s newest super-team, Shadowpact.


Spinning out of the pages of Day Of Vengeance and Infinite Crisis, this new magic-themed squad — made up of Blue Devil, Ragman, Nightmaster, Enchantress, Nightshade and (thanks again DC) Detective Chimp — gets the unenviable task of going inside the bubble (thanks to a little help from the Phantom Stranger) and figuring out who’s responsible and stopping them.


What they’ll face inside and the consequences of stopping the people behind it will come with a heavy price.


Award-winning writer Bill Willingham (Fables) continues to pen Shadowpact’s adventures, while being joined by a slew of artists including Cory Walker, Steve Scott, Tom Derenick and Shawn McManus, which makes for a mildly disjointed, but not unpleasant first volume of this new series.




jonathan.kuehlein@metronews.ca

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