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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “X, Y and DMZ”

    The fall comic season is getting off to a huge start this year as the hangover from summer begins to wear off. Some of the best series have begun releasing trade paperbacks, and authors are getting their first chance to test their ability, with new series and adaptations hitting store shelves on a regular basis.

    Here are some graphic novels that readers will enjoy and that comic enthusiasts have probably already bought.

    The “”X-23″” series uses the same formula found in TV shows like “”Alias”” and “”Dark Angel””: Take the lovable girl next door and raise her from birth as a super-assassin. But this comic adds an extra explosive element. This super heroine is part of the Weapon X program, and is of the same lineage as legendary comic badass, Wolverine. She’s got an adamantium skeleton, retractable claws and a penchant for killing.

    If the formula alone wasn’t enough to sell comics, the art and story arc, which send her toward a showdown with the claw-brandishing X-Man himself, should make this comic a solid buy. Fans of Buffy and Wolverine alike will find “”Target X”” worth reading.

    “”X-23: Target X””
    Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost Mike Choi, Sonia Oback
    4 stars!
    List Price $15.99,

    The plot follows X-23 as she breaks free from the facility where she’s being held and attempts to start a new life as a normal teenager. Finding it tough to fit in as a normal girl with mutant powers, she soon attracts the attention of her former captors. Realizing her dream of living a normal life is hopeless, her path ultimately leads her to a showdown with the original Weapon-X, Wolverine.

    “”Target X”” tends to become a little too teeny for brief spurts but then uses it as juxtaposition for the meaty violence. The illustrations are great, but the difference between Mike Choi’s and Sonia Oback’s styles proves a distraction from page to page. However, the blips in the story and the sometimes sporadic art won’t pull readers out of a solid comic.

    “”Y: The Last Man”” is one of the great graphic novel series to spring up over the past decade that is helping turn comics into a legitimate literary form. “”Y”” follows Yorick Brown, who, after a deadly virus sweeps the planet, is the last man on earth. The virus wipes out every male animal, with the exception of Yorick’s pet monkey, Ampersand.

    The series (now on its ninth trade paperback) is more than just a man and his monkey. “”Y: The Last Man”” is one of the most engrossing, award-winning series in publication.

    The most recent chapter of the series, “”Motherland,”” continues the trend and brings the larger story all the more close to a conclusion.

    “”Y: The Last Man: Motherland””
    Brian K. Vaughan/Pia Guerra
    4 stars!
    List Price $14.99,

    In a huge event, Yorick finds himself face to face with the person responsible for spreading the virus. The book also pits Yorick’s bodyguard, Agent 355, against her deadliest foe yet, the Japanese assassin Toyota. Naming characters isn’t Brian K. Vaughan’s strongpoint, but the intricate plot and world he has crafted more than make up for it.

    The art in “”Motherland,”” and throughout the series, is nothing special but does a great job of aiding the story. Pia Guerra also helps balance the look of series, giving it a more epicene look than most comics.

    Readers of “”Y”” might already have “”Motherland”” in their library, but the book serves as one more reason newcomers to comics should invest in the series.

    “”DMZ,”” which stands for “”de-militarized zone,”” follows the inhabitants of Manhattan in modern-day civil war. The events are chronicled by young photojournalist Matty Roth, who after a helicopter accident finds himself stranded in the heart of New York.

    “”Public Works”” is the third installment of the series and, sadly, continues the departure from the gritty realism found in the first book. The dynamic love interest of the first novel (who was uprooted and replaced by a big-boobed blonde newscaster) has been once again pushed aside for another 36-24-36. This is a trend all too common in the comic world and it’s upsetting to see a good graphic novel like “”DMZ”” slip into a comic clichǸ.

    Roth has also become somewhat of a stereotype himself. His human flaws and naivety have been slightly erased – in their place, a steadfast, muscular hero.

    Although the characters seem to be changing at a rapid pace, the DMZ world is still intact, luckily for readers. The backing plot places Roth in an undercover investigative role, exposing a Halliburton-esque company reconstructing war-torn Manhattan. The story is solid and keeps readers interested when Roth is absent.

    “”DMZ: Public Works””
    Brian Wood/Riccardo Burchielli
    3 1/2 stars
    List Price $12.99,

    “”Public Works”” works as a late introduction to the “”DMZ”” world and as a substantial third chapter. However, the downward trend seen in the past two trade paperbacks leaves an ominous outlook for the future of the series.

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