Marvels Project #1-2

Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Steve Epting
32 pages, color
Published by Marvel

I picked up The Marvels Project #1-2 without knowing a single thing about the comic, save its creative team. Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s work on Captain America was enough of a selling point for me that a new collaboration by the pair seemed like a must-buy item. What I found was a story set in the late ’30s, as America was not yet plunged into World War II and the original Human Torch was being created. As someone whose main exposure to Marvel comics set in that era is Marvels #1, though? I’m utterly enthralled.

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Awakening Vol. 1

Written by Nick Tapalansky
Art by Alex Eckman-Lawn
144 pages, color
Published by Archaia

I think it’s safe to say, at this point, that everywhere you turn there’s a new zombie-related story being told. Movies, books, television shows, comics, video games, even works of classic literature are all being invaded by the walking dead. What that means, though, is that you really need to stand apart from everyone else if you’re going to try and spring a zombie story on your audience. Or at least, that’s the common train of thought. The thing is, I’m growing increasingly convinced that people are concentrating so much on the twist that they are losing sight of just telling a solid story.

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Ball Peen Hammer

Written by Adam Rapp
Art by George O’Connor
144 pages, color
Published by First Second Books

I have to hand it to Adam Rapp. When I first picked up Ball Peen Hammer, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d never seen anything by him before (even though he’s written novels, plays, and directed films), so I was going into the story blindly. And with hindsight, the book’s cover did warn me somewhat of the experience to come, with its stark black cover and single, slightly disturbing image. But by the time I was done with Ball Peen Hammer, I felt somewhat stunned, as if I’d gotten on a familiar bus route and somehow ended up in Hell.

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Modesty Blaise: The Lady Killers

Written by Peter O’Donnell
Art by Neville Colvin
104 pages, black and white
Published by Titan Books

It’s been well over a decade since a friend of mine lent me some dog-eared, beaten up Modesty Blaise reprints. I’d never heard of Peter O’Donnell’s femme fatale at the time, but they were a fun, pulpy group of adventures that let a woman kick butt as well (and better) than her male counterparts. What I didn’t know until just recently, though, was that Titan Books started a definitive Modesty Blaise collected series just a few years ago, and it’s already up to fifteen volumes. Reading Modesty Blaise: The Lady Killers now not only lets me flash back to the fun experience of reading some similar stories all those years ago, but I now also have a greater appreciation for O’Donnell’s writing.

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Young Lovecraft Vol. 1

Written by Jose Oliver
Art by Bartolo Torres
104 pages, black and white
Published by Kettledrummer Books and Diabolo Ediciones S.L.

I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for young and cute characters running into the ancient gods of H.P. Lovecraft’s creation. There’s something funny about kids encountering Cthulhu or Yog-Sothoth, in all their hideous glory. That’s why I absolutely could not pass up Young Lovecraft, because it felt almost like someone had created a comic strip with me especially in mind.

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Fantastic Four #570

Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Dale Eaglesham
32 pages, color
Published by Marvel Comics

I can’t remember the last time I read Fantastic Four on an ongoing basis. It was probably back when Walter Simonson wrote the book, and that run ended in 1991. I’ve certainly heard good things about some of the runs over the years since then, but it hasn’t been until Jonathan Hickman took over that I’ve decided to give the title another stab. Hickman’s work on books like Pax Romana and Secret Warriors promised, if nothing else, that it wouldn’t just be more of the same old superheroics.

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GrimJack: The Manx Cat #1

Written by John Ostrander
Art by Timothy Truman
32 pages, color
Published by IDW

It’s been a few years since John Ostrander and Timothy Truman ventured into the world of GrimJack, right? When IDW began their Legend of GrimJack reprint series in 2005, accompanying it was a GrimJack: Killer Instinct mini-series. Since then, it’s just been reprints; or at least, that’s what I’d thought. Turns out has run an entire new GrimJack story online since then, one that they and IDW are now bringing into print. It seemed like a good a time as any to check back into the city of Cynosure and see just what Ostrander and Truman have done while I wasn’t looking.

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Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute

By Jarrett J. Krosoczka
96 pages, two-color
Published by Alfred A. Knopf

It’s possible to not be the target audience for a book and still appreciate what it’s aiming for. That’s definitely the case with Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s Lunch Lady books, aimed squarely at younger readers. As an adult, you might look at the books and say, "I’m too old for these." I don’t think it’s fair to dismiss them out of hand, though. Sure, they’re juvenile and silly, but I think if you let your inner child out, there’s a lot of fun to be had in these books.

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