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Tried and New
7.8.2003 by Scott, every Thursday.

Hello and welcome back. I know that as of late a lot of my reviews have been pretty run of the mill, just me going over my favorite title again and again, so on my last stop to the shop, I decided to try and spice things up a bit and pick up some books i don't normally read or haven't ever read. I picked up Mike Mingola's “Hellboy: Waking the Devil” trade, Larry Hama's “G.I.Joe Front line” trade and Erik Larsen's “Savage Dragon: Possessed” and “Savage Dragon: Revenge”. Not an X-Man in the bunch. Pretty Impressive, no?

Okay, so first I munched through the Savage Dragon books, with forwards by letterer Chris Eliopolis in “Possessed”, and Larsen himself in “Revenge”. As a side note, I've been reading the forwards in trades as of late. Sometimes they're nothing but fluff, sometimes they don't do the book justice, and others, they lend an interesting perspective to the book. I especially enjoy those written by creators themselves, as I did with Larsen's in “Revenge”. Larsen has always given me the impression that he is a fan who had the talent and drive to end up in the industry and make them himself. I assume he sits at home and reads comics on his day off, and gets excited about them. anyways, back to the books. For those of you who don't know, the Savage Dragon is a big green guy, with a fin on his head, who's a cop in Chicago. He's super strong, has a healing factor that lets him re-grow limbs, and a love/death relationship with the ladies. Dragon was a title that I picked up in high school, but it just sort of faded away, and I never really picked it up again. So I saw these 2 books, and decided to give them a go. I liked them both. While Dragon is not an all ages book, with sexual contact and gore galore, it is still a light hearted romp with fun and funny characters. Original is how I would rate this title in one word, and Larsen's books are definitely worth picking up.

I first saw some of Mike Mingola's work in some early issues of Marvel's “X-Force”, where Rob Liefeld was the regular penciller, and Mingola was his fill in. Talk about hype versus talent here. Next I saw his working a DC Elseworlds story entitled ”Gotham by Gaslight”, a story of a 19th Century Batman hunting Jack the Ripper. I was quite impressed with Mingola's style, which with deem and heavy shadows makes it look as if it were carved rather than drawn. In “Hellboy: Waking the Devil”, he again showcases his style, pushing it even further. A story of a demon, Hellboy, who works with a clandestine organization to eliminate supernatural threats and protect the public from harm, Mingola writes as well as pencils this book. Dark, gritty, bloody are all good words to describe this book. Another one would be good. It was a fine read. I'm hooked on this book, and next week, I'll be placing the orders for the rest of the trades. So, that means, you should read them too.

Lastly, “G.I.Joe: Front line” marks Larry Hama's return to writing the Joes, after a huge run when the title was under the Marvel banner. His story here, entitled “The Mission That Never Was”, dives back to 1995, with Joes Duke, Hawk, Stalker, Gung-Ho, Scarlett and Snake-Eyes on their last mission before the team was disbanded. It's sort of a “fill in the gaps” story, between the old Marvel series and the new Devil's Due book. Hama created many of the Joes for Hasbro, so he has a great grasp on the characters, and he is a veteran writer who's been in the biz for years upon years. This stuff is some of his better work, and even though he's been out of the Joe game for almost a decade, he hasn't lost his touch. All in all, this book is a fun romp, but difficult to get into if you're not a fan and haven't been reading the new regular series.

While I didn't go way out to the fringe with those buys, I did get out of my comfortable shell of JLA, Ultimates, and X-Men. It was a good experience and I have nothing to terrible to say about anything I've read this week. My apologies to all the readers looking for scathing reviews, but this stuff was all pretty good. Stay tuned for next time, I'll be talking about, *dun dun DUN!* ... well, more comics.

Scott MacIver

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