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Red Moon

Carlos Trillo and Eduardo Risso, trans. by Zeliko Medic. Dark Horse, $24.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-61655-447-7

These four tales feature the adventures of Moon and her friend Antolin, making for a fast-paced youthful fantasy adventure. When Moon’s father, the Lord of Burien, is arrested by an invading army, she and her new friend Antolin set out to save him and restore peace to her land. Assisting them is Bran, Moon’s invisible friend, whose powers are considerable, as well as a troupe of strange characters—a cat trainer, a tightrope walker, and a human pyramid comprising quintuplets. Writer Trillo (Vampire Boy) and artist Risso (100 Bullets) work well together; the quick pace of Trillo’s narrative is matched by Risso’s sure-fire shot selection. It’s easy to see why the latter has won so many awards for his art, as he always seems to find the perfect angle for the reader to watch the unfolding action, imparting a visual energy to the narrative. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/26/2014 | Details & Permalink

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Superman/Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Power Couple

Charles Soule and Tony S. Daniel. DC Comics, $24.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-4012-4898-7

Forget Lois Lane—these days, Superman only has eyes for Princess Diana of Themyscira. Writer Soule (Swamp Thing) and artist Daniel (Detective Comics) have taken over the romantic subplot that spun out of the Justice League series. The super couple must try to keep their relationship secret while saving the world from threats from the Phantom Zone, but their privacy comes crashing down when photos of their first kiss are leaked on the Internet—a twist somewhat prescient of the recent celebrity hacking outrage. But the focus is clearly on action, as Daniel remains DC’s go-to artist for glorious widescreen panels of superhuman punch-fests. Soule keeps things from seeming too mindless with clever dialogue (and mildly steamy PG romance) for both Clark and Diana, and adds in delicious meddling from the Greek god Apollo for a classical flourish. Letterer Carlos Mangual also deserves kudos for wrangling Soule’s sometimes overly wordy script into neat speech bubbles. The plot gets muddled and then abandoned toward the end, but that doesn’t stop the book’s first arc from being an enjoyable spandex romp. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/26/2014 | Details & Permalink

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Finder: Third World

Carla Speed McNeil. Dark Horse, $19.99 (184p) ISBN 978-1-61655-467-5

The newest volume of McNeil’s elaborate SF/mythology saga—and the first of the series printed in full color—features the titular finder Jaeger Ayers, whose keen sense of direction makes him a natural in his newest short-lived occupation as a courier. Jaeger specializes in delivering unusually mysterious and arcane packages and people, as well as dreams and ideas. McNeil’s solid mix of mythology, cyberpunk, and incisive personality gives her worldbuilding an edge: Jaeger’s journey becomes an exploratory travelogue. The short, anecdotal stories that begin the volume gradually blend into a longer narrative that explores Jaeger’s past, forming a hallucinatory fable about his ritual role as a Sin-Eater for his aboriginal native people. McNeil’s naturalistic dialogue and her lithe, expressively drawn characters highlight her impressive art chops, and the short tales have a kinetic immediacy, while the longer ones have a slow, dreamlike pace. Brilliant coloring by Jenn Manley Lee and Bill Mudron renders the black-and-white world of previous volumes into vibrant neighborhoods and vistas alternately energetic, moody, psychedelic, and unearthly. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/26/2014 | Details & Permalink

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Copra: Round One

Michel Fiffe. Bergen Street (bergenstreet-comics.com), $19.95 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-9895066-3-2

Superhero team tropes are viewed through an indie comics lens in this small press effort that is both a throwback and a look forward at contemporary genre blurring in comics. Fiffe (The Ultimates) wrote, drew, colored, and lettered 12 issues of this dense, action-packed tale in a year, trying to “break through the [Jack] Kirby Zone” by turning out comics in a fast but confident manner. The result is somewhere between Suicide Squad (the original inspiration) and early issues of Love and Rockets. COPRA is a team of misfit supermercenaries who get double-crossed on a mission to retrieve the skull of a long-dead foe that has a powerful lightning bolt embedded in it. After half the team is wiped out, the survivors are off on a cosmic caper that never lets up. Created at a fever pace, Fiffe’s latest manages to put that energy on the page. The art is a lively blend of angular Ditko fight scenes and Kirby explosions, captured with scratchy ink lines and hand-lettered sound effects. Fiffe sometimes gets a little carried away with action at the expense of exposition, but the book is so deliriously fun no one will complain. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/26/2014 | Details & Permalink

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