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The Adventures of Apocalypse Al #1
Delaying The End of the World With A Smile

A bloated world-devouring demon looms over the Hollywood sign as a maniacal necromancer monologues. It's almost over for the tired, put-upon redhead in the duster as she faces the apocalypse. Like us, she's been here before. And thankfully, she knows how to stop an apocalypse before anybody is the wiser.

That's just in the first few pages of the latest offering from J. Michael Straczynski's "Joe's Comics," a supernatural comedy that JMS admits isn't the kind of thing you'd expect from him.

But as an artistic stretch, it's not bad. Private Investigator Allison Carter follows in the family footsteps of stopping the End of the World, and takes it all in stride. Though the narrative makes a point of her being the first woman to be given the job, it seems more a minor detail than anything that makes her better or worse suited for it. It's kind of refreshing that she just is.

Oh, and she also happens to be good at it, since, obviously, the world has not ended.

Al has a pretty good cast of characters, too, that aren't quite what you expect. As often happens in a good P.I. story, she has an older detective advising her, except that he died a while back and has been cursed to walk the earth. No word yet on if his worms and maggots count as "word on the street."

When Al really needs information, she visits her local homeless prophet who, like any real Cassandra, cannot control what he sees. Al has to sift through many mundane prophecies before she can get to something useful.

And then comes that offer she probably cannot refuse...

JMS handles it with a sense of fun, though some elements admittedly feel familiar (though not like a familiar). He's also got a great artist in Sid Kotian, who can handle the grotesque and the silly with equal gravity. Kotian also has good layout skills, and so far pretty interesting character design. With coloring by Bill Farmer, the whole thing takes a breezy approach to the apocalypse.

For a book with such dark tones, it has exactly the right light touch.


Find this book and, of course, any comics you like at your local comics shop. We recommend Earth-2 Comics in Northridge, Earth-2 Comics in Sherman Oaks, Illusive Comics & Games, Hijinx Comics and The Comic Bug -- and many, many more in a neighborhood near you.

Derek McCaw



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