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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Fresh Pulp

    Summer is typically a dry time for comics. Publishers tend to focus their attention on events like Comic-Con, a convention for fans, and summer movies. The result: original comic releases are few and far between. After summer theater blockbusters like “”Spider-Man 3,”” “”Silver Surfer,”” “”Transformers”” and the end of Marvel’s “”Civil War”” comic event, the summer of 2007 has been drier than the Incredible Hulk’s sense of humor.

    There have been some gems, however. Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith’s “”Fell”” lived up to the hype, and what’s been released so far of “”World War Hulk”” looks to be amazing. In addition to those, here are a couple of page-turners that have hit the stores over the past few weeks that readers should grab.

    If you’re not familiar with the “”100 Bullets”” series, you probably want to pick up a copy of the first trade paperback “”First Shot, Last Call”” before you start with this 11th installment. The series is nearing its end and ultimately will consist of – fittingly – 100 comic books, divided over 13 trade paperbacks.

    “”100 Bullets”” has been praised everywhere from major newspapers to trade magazines and its noir-esque themes have inspired countless movies, songs and other graphic novels.

    “”100 Bullets: Once Upon a Crime””
    Vertigo comics
    4 stars

    “”Once Upon a Crime”” lives up to the legacy of previous installments, though it is more confusing. But this can be expected as the series comes to an end and early storylines have started to collide with the current ones.

    The learning curve is also harsh for readers who skip the comic releases and wait for them to be collated in graphic novel form. If you haven’t been keeping up with the comics, you may want to read over the 10th book, “”Decayed,”” as a refresher, because writer Azzarello doesn’t sacrifice any pages to catch readers up on the plot.

    But as soon as readers do catch up, Azzarello throws in the most shocking twist of the series and – if you know “”100 Bullets”” – you know that means somebody’s getting killed.

    The trade paperback also features an amazing forward by Tom Fontana, creator of the HBO prison drama “”Oz,”” which is worth the purchase on its own. In his anatomy of the bullet, Fontanta contributes a surprisingly powerful insight into the use of guns within societies.

    If you’re new to “”100 Bullets,”” start at the beginning, and in a few months you’ll find yourself caught up and ready to open “”Once Upon a Crime.”” You may have a hole in your wallet, but it will be worth it.

    The title here is pretty self-explanatory; Marvel superheroes become rabid zombies.

    The concept makes for a great read and, though “”Marvel Zombies”” doesn’t devour all of its potential, it certainly takes a big bite.

    “”Marvel Zombies””
    Marvel comicx
    4 stars

    All of the Marvel favorites make an appearance in this book, aside from lame-ities like the Fantastic Four and Ghost Rider.

    The story picks up with Magneto running from a platoon of zombified heroes. In this alternate universe there’s no stodgy stereotypes of good and bad, just people running for their lives and zombies trying to eat them.

    Some of the strongest superheroes prove useless in their zombie form; the once agile Spider-Man has a broken leg and needs to piggyback from place to place, and the Hulk finds his stomach exploding every time he turns back into Bruce Banner.

    The novel does have a tedious side plot with the Black Panther and some other superheroes no one has ever heard of, but it does help pace the head-munching gore. The plot’s very linear, but “”Marvel Zombies”” proves you can make a good graphic novel by stringing together enough good ideas.

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