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Old-school heroes join forces in the Absolute edition of Kingdom Come.




Absolute Kingdom Come

Author: Mark Waid

Publisher: DC Comics

Price: $100/$75 US (Hardcover)

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



To kill or not to kill? That was the question on the minds of many a comic book creator in the mid-1990s, the height of the “grim ‘n’ gritty” era, where characters like the Punisher, Wolverine and Lobo were gleefully gunning down or carving up their enemies.


But some creators, notably writer Mark Waid and artist Alex Ross, questioned where the über-violent path led, and with a wistful eye to the Golden Age of comics wondered what characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other DC Comics stalwarts would do in the face of this escalating brutality.


The result is Kingdom Come, one of the most influential and impressive miniseries of that decade — a perfect pairing of Waid’s shameless love for all things DC and Ross’ breathtaking true-to-life comic book paintings.


The series follows doubting Pastor Norman McCay as he is taken on an Ebenezer Scrooge-esque journey to bear witness to the inevitable conflict that is coming between the older heroes and the new.


On the 10th anniversary of the series’ release, DC gives readers an Absolute treat with a glorious over-sized edition packed to the brim with over 100 pages of sketches, drafts, notes and more to get inside this epic tale and its creation.






Kickback

Author: David Lloyd

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Price: $12.95 US (Hardcover)

****



The first time I flipped through Kickback it didn’t make much sense to me.


Of course, creator David Lloyd (V For Vendetta) was showing me the original French edition, so I guess I’ll just have to be forgiven for forgetting so much of my high school education.


On that April day, the earnest and very likable Lloyd told me that his latest work would be given the English edition he’d originally intended by the end of the summer and asked me to tell everyone about it.


So here goes: Joe Canelli is a police detective with a couple of big mysteries to solve.


The first is to figure out who slaughtered a local drug czar and his gang, a move that’s sparked panic in all areas of the underworld.


The second is a recurring dream, possibly of something from his long-forgotten childhood.


With beautiful use of colours and inks, Lloyd takes Canelli on a high-speed trip through the filthiest tenements and the darkest recesses of his mind in an effort that reminds us why this creator is one of the greats.






Night Trippers

Mark Ricketts & Micah Farritor

Image Comics

$16.99 US

*** 1/2



Sex, blood and rock ‘n’ roll — that’s what England was all about in Night Trippers’ swingin’ 60s.


The vampire set secretly rule the cities, not so much in that ancient cult of evil kind of way, more in a corporate sense.


Darien Pendragon, a very old bloodsucker indeed, controls the way people look, the way they dress and even the music they listen to — and he thinks he may have just found the next big thing.


Enter Dorothy “Dot” Pryce, a full-time nurse who gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, but rather than ending up as a snack, becomes England’s new “It” girl.


Meanwhile, a rock lyric-quoting vampire slayer, dubbed the Chelsea Killer, is slashing his way towards a showdown with Pendragon.


So whose side will the seemingly innocent Dot be on when the final conflict comes?


Writer Mark Ricketts and artist Micah Farritor have a smashing time mixing laughs and gore in this inventive new book.






Concrete Vol. 6: Strange Armor

Paul Chadwick

Dark Horse Books

$12.95 US (Paperback)

*** 1/2



It is the great Concrete movie that never was.


While the tale of how speechwriter Ron Lithgow was kidnapped by aliens and had his brain inserted into a hulking, gray rock body had been told before, creator Paul Chadwick was never entirely happy with it.


So in the grand tradition of many comic books (and most notably in Hollywood films), Chadwick went back 10 years later and retold the story the way he felt it should be told.


The inspiration? — The creator’s screenplay for the aborted Concrete feature film.


Some changes are more dramatic than others (and it’s up to the individual reader to decide which you prefer), but either way, Strange Armor now stands as the definitive Concrete origin story and an essential in modern post-superhero comics.



jonathan.kuehlein@metronews.ca

 
 
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