Sylvia Faust #1

Written by Jason Henderson
Art by Greg Scott
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

It may sound silly, but sometimes all you need is a good title to get a reader’s attention. Jason Henderson certainly found that in Sylvia Faust. Faust alone brings up memories of Dr. Faustus and his deal to sell his soul to the devil, but somehow the name Sylvia being attached adds a certain level of class and style to it. With that alone, I felt like I just had to give the book a try.

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Imadoki! Vol. 1

By Y Watase
200 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

Long-time readers of these reviews might have figured out by now that I’m a big fan of Yu Watase. From her most famous series Fushigi Yugi, to more recent books like Ceres, Celestial Legend and Alice 19th, if a new Watase series is released in English, I’m ready to take a look. Her new series Imadoki! (which means “Nowadays”) really surprised me, though, because there’s one thing that sets it apart from the other Watase series released in English. Unlike all of her other books, Imadoki! is set entirely in the real world.

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Books of Magick: Life During Wartime #1-2

Story by Si Spencer and Neil Gaiman
Written by Si Spencer
Art by Dean Ormston
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

What do you do when one of your flagship books is, well, flagging? The Books of Magic started as a mini-series written by Neil Gaiman, introducing Tim Hunter as the world’s most powerful magician provided he headed down that path. Next was a 75-issue Books of Magic series written by John Ney Rieber and Peter Gross, and the Hunter: The Age of Magic series helmed by Dylan Horrocks. And for a while… nothing. Now Gaiman’s come back to the fold to help give a new series its initial push out of the gate, but is it too late for Tim Hunter to make a return?

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Fade from Grace #1

Written by Gabriel Benson
Art by Jeff Amano
32 pages, color
Published by Beckett Comics

Beckett Comics opened its doors with low priced comics offering a wide variety of subject material; movie tie-ins (Terminator 3), post-apocalyptic gang warfare (Ruule), and western-meets-fairy tale (The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty). Now with their new book, Fade from Grace, it looks like they’ve got a superhero book. But is it just more of the same?

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Manhunter #1

Written by Marc Andreyko
Penciled by Jesus Saiz
Inked by Jimmy Palmiotti
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

I have a confession to make. A couple of months ago, I saw the solicitation for Manhunter while writing Things to Come for Ninth Art and I almost completely wrote the series off. Then I took a look at the creative team and I had to reconsider. Marc Andreyko’s writing on Case Files: Sam & Twitch and The Lost is rated high with me, and the Jesus Saiz and Jimmy Palmiotti art team was strong on Midnight, Mass and 21 Down. So I promised to take a look at the series and see if these three could make me a believer.

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Ojo #1

Written by Sam Kieth
Art by Sam Kieth with Alex Pardee
32 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

Sam Kieth is probably best known for his comic The Maxx (or perhaps being the penciler for the first five issues of The Sandman), but he’s done his share of other comic books in recent days. Books like Zero Girl, Four Women, and Scratch are just a few of his recent projects—but out of all of his books in the past couple of years, I think my favorite based just on the first issue has got to be Ojo.

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Monkey & Spoon

By Simone Lia
112 pages, blue and white
Published by AdHouse Books

“Can a MONKEY love a SPOON? …and visa versa?” That’s the back cover text to Simone Lia’s Monkey & Spoon, her graphic novel from AdHouse Books. It’s a question that really begs another one, though: how on Earth can anyone resist buying something with that tagline?

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Ursula

By Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba
72 pages, black and white
Published by AiT/PlanetLar

Everyone’s familiar with the genre commonly known as the love story. Books, movies, comics, music… there isn’t a form of art that doesn’t have the love story. What that means, though, is that as a creator you’ve got to keep a love story fresh and original or you risk losing a jaded audience. I think that’s what grabbed my attention the most about Ursula—it takes the traditional love story and really tries to do something very different with it.

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Family Reunion

Written by Sean Stewart
Art by Steve Lieber
8 pages, black and white
Distributed by Small Beer Press

I’d heard of Sean Stewart’s novels before Family Reunion came across my desk, but I must admit that I’ve never actually read them. I’d heard rave reviews for Mockingbird and Galveston, but like so many other books they were in a little mental file I like to call “I really should get around to this one of these days.” But then Stewart wrote Family Reunion, an 8-page comic illustrated by Steve Lieber that ties into Stewart’s new novel Perfect Circle. And the result? Well, let’s just say that two weeks later I had a copy of Perfect Circle in my hot little hands.

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Scott Pilgrim Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life

By Bryan Lee O’Malley
168 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

Last December, I read Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Lost at Sea and was blown away by what I found. Up until then I’d only encountered O’Malley as an artist for other people’s stories, not as a writer/artist in his own right. By the time I was done reading Lost at Sea I already knew that it would be on my “Best of 2003″ list, easily. This actually made me a little nervous to read the first volume of Scott Pilgrim, O’Malley’s new series. Would it be able to hold up to the high expectations that Lost at Sea had placed on any future works of O’Malley’s? Or was I doomed for an inevitable disappointment?

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