Deathlok the Destroyer #1

Written by Charlie Huston
Art by Lan Medina
32 pages, color
Published by Marvel Comics

Just how many times can Marvel revamp a character concept? The original Deathlok dates back to the 1970s, a cyborg warrior from the future. Since then we’ve had a new Deathlok in the early ’90s helmed by Dwayne McDuffie, Gregory Wright, and Jackson Guice (that I still remember fondly), and the late ’90s had yet another Deathlok in Marvel’s M-Tech line in a series that lasted less than a full year. But now there’s another attempt to do something with the basic character idea, under the Marvel Knights imprint. And while this Deathlok the Destroyer looks beautiful, the story itself is an unfortunate combination of predictable and slow.

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Akira Vol. 1

By Katsuhiro Otomo
368 pages, black and white
Published by Kodansha Comics

Reading Akira makes me feel a little old. It probably has to do with first encountering Akira 20 years ago, early on in Marvel’s colored reprints of Katsuhiro Otomo’s epic. From there, Dark Horse eventually reprinted the series as six "phone book" sized paperbacks around the turn of the century. Now, Japanese mega-publisher Kodansha is kicking off its own official North American publishing imprint, Kodansha Comics, and they’re using Akira as one of their first two books. While the content is still sound, in terms of actual production it’s a little surprising in places.

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Stumptown #1

Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Matthew Southworth
40 pages, color
Published by Oni Press

If I had to try and sum up my general feeling about the premiere issue of Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth’s Stumptown in just a handful of words, I suspect it would involve, "Back to basics Rucka." Rucka’s career in comics started just over a decade ago with Whiteout, and while he’s tackled his fair share of comics since then in a wide variety of genres, it’s the mystery/investigative/thriller genres that he’s forever associated with in my head. Stumptown goes back to those roots, and I don’t think it’s a small coincidence that (along with his current run on Detective Comics) it’s one of his strongest comics in years.

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Monsters

By Ken Dahl
208 pages, black and white
Published by Secret Acres

What do you know about herpes? Some readers might know that it’s a disease that almost three-quarters of Americans have, and it’s incurable. Except, of course, there’s more to it than just that. If you finish reading Ken Dahl’s Monsters with nothing more than a better understanding of what herpes really is and how it can effect you, that’s a good start. With his semi-autobiographical graphic novel, though, Dahl does more than just simply educate about the herpes simplex virus. Instead, it’s a harrowing—and in places extremely uncomplimentary—journey into his own psyche.

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