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Viper Comics

Viper 1
Viper 2

Written and Drawn by Wes Molebash

Wes Molebash’s YOU’LL HAVE THAT has been one of the best webcomics running, for quite some time now. The folks at Viper have already published two collections, but in an effort to get more people looking at this excellent strip, they have now produced this traditional pamphlet comic that serves as sort of a “best of” and an introduction to those who might have been wary of spending money on a trade paperback first. However, anyone smart enough to pick up this book will go searching for those two trade paperbacks, I have no doubt.

HAVE is the story of a young married couple, Andy and Katie, and the development of their relationship. Andy’s a bit of a dork who carries some deep worries that he married over his station and Katie may eventually figure that out. Katie is a smart and driven woman who has seen herself get a little shaky as she adjusts to getting married. But they love each other immensely, and you never doubt that even a little bit.

Molebash has a very pleasant and simple artistic style that’s easy to look at on the page (or screen), and he continues to grow stronger in his grasp of timing out the gags in a three or four panel strip. This is a good book for strip and floppy fans alike. Buy it

Marc Mason

Written by Jason Burns and Drawn by Various

When last we left Twigs Dupree, he has used his… unusual abilities to aide the mysterious Agent Armstrong in defeating a nasty cult leader and murderer. Oh- Twigs’ abilities? He’s functionally immortal. Blow his brains out, cut off his limbs, set him on fire… he’ll come back from it (even if it takes a while). Now, he finds himself in the crosshairs of a very bad man known as… Very Bad Man. It seems that Twigs’ secret is out, and that ain’t so good. Therefore, Very Bad Man has put his army of beautiful women robots on Twigs’ trail, hoping to end him for good. Even with the assistance of Armstrong, can he hope to defeat the deadly barrage of girly-looking flesh? Hey- the book just got optioned by Hollywood- what do you think?

That isn’t really a spoiler, of course. A book like THE EXPENDABLE ONE is all about the journey, not the destination. What makes it such a fun read is seeing how many different ways that Burns can come up with to shoot, dismember, and generally humiliate his character. And that’s also what makes Armstrong such a great foil for Twigs; she barely cares about him, but she gives him just enough help to keep going and to look as bad as he possibly can in any situation. It’s just good comedy.

Only one thing holds this second helping of EXPENDABLE back from being just as good as the first one, and it’s the art. Three different guys take a crack at the guts of the story, and while there’s an effort made to bring some consistency to it, it doesn’t quite come together that way. Still, the story is enough of a hoot to give an unabashed recommendation, along with one to pick up volume one as well. Good, clean, nasty fun.

Marc Mason

Written by Dale Mettam and Leslie Nichols and Drawn by Drew Moss and Courtney Huddleston

Buddy Neben either has the easiest or most difficult job in the world. He’s the personal assistant to Ace Masterson, the man also known as Major Hero, the world’s greatest super guy. He’s also now the keeper of Major Hero’s biggest secret: he has no idea who he is.

Thanks to a nasty fall, every time Ace falls asleep, he wakes up a blank slate with no memory of his identity, powers, or anything else. So Neben must work to make sure that he acclimates to life and battling villainy every morning. Which gives him control of one of the world’s greatest weapons. On the flip side, it also makes him the babysitter of a complete nincompoop. Of course, considering that, before the accident, Masterson was a complete and total dickhead, Neben is fairly pleased with how things have turned out.

SIDEKICKIN’ HERO is a pretty cute book, easy on the eyes and ears, and littered with some genuine chuckles. There are actually two stories in the comic, one featuring Masterson in his current state, and one detailing the accident that took his memory. And while the second story is important for establishing just how much of a shit Ace was before the memory loss, the lead story is much more fun, showing how Buddy must get him awake and moving to tackle a supervillain who’s come hunting for Major Hero. It’s really quite delightful.

Fun idea, solid execution- worth your yanqui dollars.

Marc Mason

DEAD @17 #4
Written and Drawn by Josh Howard

Asia continues to battle her destiny, as well as creepy crawlies, while we learn the current fate of one of the original DEAD characters early on in issue four of the ongoing series. Hazy returns, seeming to have fallen quite far from where her life was when Nara died- she’s stripping at a local club. But a good fighter in the war against evil can’t hide forever, and the nasty beasties have tracked her down, too. Clearly, somebody is going to die- and when Asia finds out exactly how she survived, everyone is in for the surprise of their lives.

One quick note before I fully jump in- DEAD @17 needs a front-cover recap. I went looking for issue three and it doesn’t look like I ever got it, which means I was fully jumping into the story without any clue or remembrance of who some of the characters were. To entice new readers, or keeping lax readers in the fold, that sort of information is imperative. Jim Shooter said it best: every comic is somebody’s first. Therefore, it should be set up so that it isn’t their last.

That said, this was easily the best of the current DEAD series so far. There’s an actual element of tragedy to it that surprised me. I had fully invested and gotten behind what seemed to be Howard’s direction and ideas for this new book, but he pulled a fast one with the final page of this one. And Asia, who began the book as a petulant and obnoxious girl, truly came into herself as a character by the end of the issue, and I realized just how much I liked her at this point. Nicely done by Josh Howard, there.

The cliffhanger is one that will excite readers who have stuck with Howard since the very beginning, and will keep me amongst the faithful readership. Fine work.

Marc Mason

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