Real Vol. 1

By Takehiko Inoue
224 pages, black and white
Published by Viz

It’s hard to miss that I’m a big fan of Takehiko Inoue’s Vagabond, his re-telling of the life of Miyamato Musashi. As a result, there was no doubt in my mind that his other ongoing series, Real, would also be on my to-buy list. It’s not the first time Inoue tackled basketball—before Vagabond his series Slam Dunk was a huge hit in Japan (and is set to be reissued in English from Viz later this year)—so the fact that he was coming back to the subject immediately grabbed my attention. And now that I’ve read the first volume? It simultaneously is and isn’t what I had expected.

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Invincible Iron Man #1-4

Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Salvador Larroca
32 pages, color
Published by Marvel Comics

It took me almost a month to get around to seeing the Iron Man movie. The character’s just never been that terribly interesting to me; there just was never quite that hook that grabbed my attention and imagination for more than a few minutes. So when I finally did see the film (due to all the positive word-of-mouth), I was very pleasantly surprised by the amount of fun I had seeing it. That’s actually also how I feel about Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca’s take on the character with their new series The Invincible Iron Man. It’s only taken me four months, but I finally sat down and read them—and I’m actually really looking forward to the fifth issue.

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Criminal Vol. 2 #4

Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Sean Phillips
40 pages, color
Published by Marvel Comics

There are some books on the market that I think people take for granted—it’s out there, it’s entertaining, it will be waiting for you whenever you’re ready for another dose. So often, though, those books are the ones that people should be talking up a lot more. Books like Criminal aren’t just something you should stop by and read every once in a while, they’re books that you should celebrate every time a new issue hits the stands. With Criminal Vol. 2 #4 now out, it’s the start of a brand-new story—so what are you waiting for?

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Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard

Written by Eddie Campbell and Dan Best
Art by Eddie Campbell
128 pages, color
Published by First Second Books

One of the best things about Eddie Campbell is that, as a creator, I never feel like he’s fallen into a rut. Each new project always seems very different from the previous one, trying out new ideas and storytelling tactics. Sure enough, his and Dan Best’s new book, The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard, is completely different from the last book of Campbell’s I read. And in some ways, I think it’s my favorite book from Campbell in a long while.

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Paris

Written by Andi Watson
Art by Simon Gane
144 pages, black and white
Published by SLG Publishing

For someone who loves most of Andi Watson’s creations, I really have no idea why it’s taken me this long to finally read Paris. It’s been a strange sort of blind spot amidst books like Breakfast After Noon, Slow News Day, or Glister. And now that I’ve read it? I must admit that it wasn’t at all what I was expecting from Watson.

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Supernatural Law #45

By Batton Lash
32 pages, black and white
Published by Exhibit A Press

If you’ve ever read Batton Lash’s Supernatural Law before, you’ll know that over the years Lash has parodied a wide variety of subjects; horror movies, comic books, and the real world are all places that Lash has alluded to with his characters that are inevitably represented by Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd in the courtroom. You can imagine my surprise, then, when the new Supernatural Law showed up with the Toxic Avenger. Not a parody, not a thinly disguised version, but the real thing. And you know what? It made me wish that Lash could do this more often.

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Stinky

By Eleanor Davis
40 pages, color
Published by Toon Books

The best kind of children’s book is one that adults can enjoy equally. Reading Eleanor Davis’s Stinky, the newest addition to the Toon Books line, I can’t help but feel that Davis would agree. When I was reading Stinky, my initial thought was how much I’d have loved this book as a child. My second thought was how much I was enjoying it as an adult.

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Hulk #5

Written by Jeph Loeb
Penciled by Ed McGuinness
Inked by Mark Farmer
32 pages, color
Published by Marvel Comics

I have to give Marvel Comics credit, hiring Greg Pak to write The Incredible Hulk a few years ago was fairly genius. His "Planet Hulk" story grabbed readers, when under a lesser hand it might have scared them away. The World War Hulk mini-series follow-up was tense, exciting, and wonderfully over-the-top in places. And now? Well, actually, he’s not writing The Incredible Hulk any more, he’s writing the enjoyable Incredible Hercules. Instead, Jeph Loeb now writes the all-new Hulk series. And all of those adjectives I used to describe Incredible Hulk? Well, I suppose "over-the-top" at least applies.

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Vix! #1

Written by Rantz A. Hoseley
Art by Matthew Humphreys
28 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

If you ask people what super-power they’d like to have the most, flying tops the vast majority of lists. It’s easy to imagine why; being able to just glide through the air is something that would have so many possibilities, as well as being something that will definitely be out of our personal reach for a long time to come (if ever). When it comes to Rantz A. Hoseley and Matthew Humphreys’s Vix!, getting that desire the fly out there is definitely the high point of the book.

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Toto!: The Wonderful Adventure Vol. 1

By Yuko Osada
208 pages, black and white
Published by Del Rey

I think it was the cover of Toto!: The Wonderful Adventure that instantly grabbed my attention. It’s simple enough, a young boy pulling a pair of goggles on, with a dog on his shoulder, a map on his back, and the background being a map as well. But I have to give Yuko Osada credit, that was just enough that made me want to see more, promising some sort of rollicking adventure within its pages. And happily, that’s exactly what you find here.

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