Alien Nine Vol. 1

By Hitoshi Tomizawa
224 pages, black and white
Published by CPM Manga

One gets the impression that Tomizawa has seen one too many “cute girls save the world” stories. That’s my reasoning for the thought process behind Alien Nine, at any rate. At a casual glance, it looks like your typical entry in that genre, with 6th graders and matching outfits and evil aliens. It’s when you start adding in the revulsion factor, though, that one first gets the hint that this is not quite what you were expecting, here…

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B.P.R.D.: The Soul of Venice

Written by Miles Gunter and Michael Avon Oeming, with Mike Mignola
Art by Michael Avon Oeming
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

What happens when you’ve got more cool characters and ideas than you know what to do with? In the case of Mike Mignola, it seems, you let some other talented creators play with them. That’s what goes on with the Hellboy supporting cast when the lead character isn’t around, in Dark Horse’s recent B.P.R.D. mini-series and one-shots. And when you see who’s on board for the one-shots, well, you’ll see why any Hellboy fan still needs to get these.

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Strangehaven #15

By Gary Spencer Millidge
32 pages, black and white
Published by Abiogenesis Press

Good things come to those who wait. There are some books for which a new issue is reason to celebrate, like Jason Lutes’s Berlin or Daniel Clowes’s Eightball. Another book that’s definitely on that list is Gary Spencer Millidge’s Strangehaven; if a trade-off for a speedy frequency is intensely high quality, I don’t mind that one bit. It just makes the payoff all the sweeter.

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Ranma 1/2 Vol. 1

By Rumiko Takahashi
312 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

If you had to pick Japanese comic book superstar Rumiko Takahashi’s greatest success, I think most would agree that it’s Ranma 1/2. With 34 collected volumes of comics, to say nothing of the 7-season/143-episode animated series, and multiple theatrical and direct-to-video stories, there’s a whole lot of Ranma 1/2 material out there. It’s best to start at the beginning, though, and with Viz’s new edition of Ranma 1/2 having just hit stores, there’s never been a better time to take a look at what started it all.

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