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Aquaman #2
writer: Rick Veitch
artists: Yvel Guichet and Mark Propst

Okay, this issue Veitch has made the Atlanteans a bit unreasonable, even by their own laws. It turns out that perhaps Aquaman has been railroaded by Rodunn, or as Marvel likes to call him, Attuma. Though it probably comes as no surprise, the door is cracked open for his return to Atlantis.

Luckily, Veitch has also made sure that door is far, far away. For now, his main concern is in the human side of Aquaman's heritage, and it's a pretty good question: just what did happen to the lighthouse keeper who named him Arthur?

Guichet and Propst provide some dynamic art, and it works well in the high adventure sections. But everybody either grimaces, looks surprised, or grimaces in surprise.


Daredevil #41
writer: Brian Michael Bendis
artist: Alex Maleev

For 25 cents, fans of this book get a lot. A potential new love interest for Daredevil shows up, herself blind and already interesting. Someone starts moving in on the ruins of the Kingpin's empire. And of course, Maleev keeps on doing his gorgeous art. It's nice to have him back.

However, much as we'd like to think so, the temporary cut in price is not a thank you to those of us who have been into this book for a while. It's a marketing measure to bring in new readers. Though it's fairly accessible, a lot of this new arc's events play out of things that have been going on for a while. And if somebody were to pick this up because the movie trailer had him jazzed, it may be confusing to him. The real book for a movie tie-in is Ultimate Daredevil & Elektra.

And yet, in recent years, The Owl has become a more formidable-seeming villain, and certainly more savage. Bendis pulls no punches on this, and that may keep people hooked.

My only real complaint, and maybe I'm alone on this, is that I don't remember Daredevil ever swearing before, and for some reason, it really bothers me that it does. Criminals, no problem. Characters in MAX books, sure. But here it seems like Bendis is just looking for a reaction rather than being true to the character.


Fables #9
writer: Bill Willingham
artists: Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha

Not even Tex Avery imagined Goldilocks as a gun-toting revolutionary, but Willingham makes it work. Aiding her is the very much turncoat Rose Red, not so much interested in ideals as just sticking it to her sister. But even with this "Animal Farm" arc drawing to a close, their motivations remain elusive, but not frustratingly so.

It's hard to be frustrated when you get distracted by a gun-toting playing card and a flying monkey begging to drive.

Willingham and his art team strike the perfect balance between violent satire and the fairy tale feeling. Thankfully, the covers are foreboding enough that nobody will accidentally buy this book for their kids, because its insides do look playful.

The hype is everywhere on this book, but let me add to it yet again: Fables is an unexpected must-read book.


Green Arrow #20
writer: Brad Meltzer
artists: Phil Hester and Ande Parks

If Green Arrow has any iconic moments, Meltzer has managed to touch them all in his short stay on this book. Though we still don't understand why, he throws in the final one this month by finding the truck from the classic "Hard Traveling Heroes" Neal Adams days.

But ah, what's in that truck? Ollie keeps his real goal secret from Roy Harper, and its existence sort of messes up Green Lantern continuity. So if you're a fan of Kyle Rayner, just move along, there's nothing to see here.

What there is to see is great characterization, and the usual solid art from the Hester and Parks team. What Meltzer does extremely well (like Smith before him) is play with just how much older everybody is than we want to think. While I may not buy this is the same Green Arrow who played a big role in The Obsidian Age, it's definitely the one Geoff Johns used in the pages of Hawkman. Even if he hadn't died and come back, he'd still be a hero who had been around the block a time or two.

Whatever it is he has in mind, it's going to be a doozy.


Hawkman #11
writer: Geoff Johns
artists: Rags Morales and Michael Bair

It may not be obvious, but this is one well-designed title. The writing has all the breathless intensity of old pulp magazines, full of high adventure and discoveries of lost civilizations. (Battling yetis? Right out of the thirties.) Matching it are beautifully painted covers that could fit on a book called Hawkman's Startling Adventures Magazine.

Inside, Bair and Morales have returned the character to his Golden Age roots as an Alex Raymond swipe. And I mean that with respect. This is classic illustration. All three elements merge into a comic book that could have existed in an earlier time, except that nobody had ever managed to get all these elements right at once.

And somehow, without anybody really raising a fuss, Johns keeps managing to bring back aspects of the Thanagarian Hawkman. This issue marks the rediscovery of the Absorbascon, which seems to play a different role here than pre-Crisis. But as Holy Grails or Macguffins go, it's still a pretty good one.

One mystery that's glaring (but obviously, we'll solve it in due time) is that two people are running around claiming to be the reincarnation of Hath-Set, the mortal (immortal?) enemy of the Hawks. Either there's going to be trouble when they meet, or this book is secretly going to delve further into Hypertime. Or maybe, just maybe, reincarnation is not what it claims to be.


Derek McCaw


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