Hellboy: Darkness Calls #1-3

Written by Mike Mignola
Art by Duncan Fegredo
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

When Mike Mignola announced two years ago at the end of the Hellboy: The Island mini-series that he was handing over the art chores on his signature character, the news was a little worrisome. Half of the appeal of Hellboy has always been the creepy atmosphere that Mignola’s art creates, and with that gone, would the book have the same punch to it? Well, aside from a small half-by-Mignola, half-by-Richard-Corben mini-series from last year, Hellboy: Darkness Calls is the first major Hellboy project to have someone else drawing Mignola’s scripts—and having reached its halfway point, thankfully all of my worries appeared to be for naught.

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Clubbing

Written by Andi Watson
Art by Josh Howard
176 pages, black and white
Published by Minx/DC Comics

With DC Comics’s new Minx line, the closest the imprint seems to get to a trade dress is having covers be a mixture of photographs and drawn art. Looking closely at Clubbing, the book mixes the London club scene with the pastoral hills of England’s Lake District. It’s a bit of a mish-mash of a cover, the two pictures and the piece of Josh Howard art not working very well together, looking like it’s trying for several different feels and not succeeding at any of them. And, unfortunately, that’s also a pretty good synopsis for the book itself.

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Re-Gifters

Written by Mike Carey
Penciled by Sonny Liew
Inked by Marc Hempel
176 pages, black and white
Published by Minx/DC Comics

One of my absolute favorite books of 2004 was My Faith in Frankie by Mike Carey, Sonny Liew, and Marc Hempel, a fun story about friendship, love, and personal gods. When I’d heard that they were teaming up to create Re-Gifters, a graphic novel about martial arts and crushes, I was cautiously optimistic. It’s easy to get one’s hopes up a little too high based on past successes; after my large expectations were created, would a book about a girl living in Los Angeles studying hapkido still be able to make me happy?

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Plain Janes

Written by Cecil Castellucci
Art by Jim Rugg
176 pages, black and white
Published by Minx/DC Comics

There’s a big difference between a plot synopsis and the actual finished product. So often, the two end up mismatched, with one of them being lackluster and the other being fantastic. Ideally, you want the two to be on equal footing, but in the case of books like Cecil Castellucci’s and Jim Rugg’s The Plain Janes that’s not always the end result. For what was the big initial launch book for DC Comics’s new Minx line, that can be a little worrisome, because no matter if it was the idea or the execution that fell down, somewhere along the way you run the risk of scaring off potential readers.

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Miki Falls Vol. 1: Spring

By Mark Crilley
176 pages, black and white
Published by HarperTeen

Some might say that Mark Crilley’s been poised for success for over a decade now. His break-out comic series Akiko always showed those rare qualities in English-language comics that ultimately made Japanese imports so popular: a female protagonist, adventure, and a certain level of a delicate sensibility. His new series for HarperTeen, Miki Falls, takes that one step further—and while it may not have been his explicit goal, I can’t help but think that this book is probably the closest I’ve seen in a domestic release that fits seamlessly into the Japanese comic book culture while still maintaining the creator’s own unique voice.

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