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Reviews: Ultimates, Zero Girl.
3.31.2004 by Scott, every Thursday.

Looks like I can get two columns out in rapid succession! Is this setting up some dangerous precedent? Well, probably not. But you take what you can get in this line of work, and that means a holiday weekend and no system problems at my job, so I must kill the time somehow. Mix that in with a dose of inspiration and boom 500-1000 words easy.

This time around, I figured I would just go over a few books I've been reading over the past little while, share my thoughts and feelings on them, and make some kind of clever comment towards the end of the article, which will either fail to entertain you or go right over your non-fanboy head (I have yet to decide which).

Thanks to the wonderful and bouncy Marc, I was able to read through his copy of “Zero Girl”, by Sam Keith. Keith is best know for his book “The Maxx”, which gained a cult following and was made into an animated series on MTV (or was that the other way around?) in the mid-nineties, about a, uh, crazy guy in a purple suit and his social worker. “Zero Girl”, which Keith states is his most deeply personal work to date, is about a teenage girl who's feet secrete a magical protective fluid when she's embarrassed. I think Sam Keith has led a very bizarre life. Anyway, this girl, Amy Smootster, believes that circles protect her, squares are out to get her, she can talk to slugs, and her guidance counselor is desperately in love with her. She's either very special or a complete nutbar, and by the end of the book, well, you still won't be too sure which. Keith also pencils the book, and the art in it is very similar to that of “The Maxx”, sketchy and a little abstract, so fans of his work should know what to expect. All in all, I liked this book, but I also started it knowing that Keith is a special kind of writer and that this was not spandex-fare. If you like the weird, then this is, well, the weird.

To balance out the bizarre, I, as usual, have been reading “New X-Men” by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. A recent story arc, entitled “Murder at the Mansion”, has a member of the team brutally killed, and everyone in the school is a suspect. To solve this case and to keep it all “in house”, the X-Men call in their resident cop, Lucas Bishop. Along with his assistant, Sage, they work on the clues, question the suspects, and generally piss everyone there off. The story is good, and everyone else who's been reading the book in my circle has a theory on what happened, all of them different. Two issues into the story and everyone's guessing “whodunit?” I like this creative team's run on the X-Men. It has been original and fun and twisted.

Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's “The Ultimates” is such a good book, and would be great if it weren't for one thing, its inability to meet deadlines. With the current issues already delayed several weeks, a book I'd very much like to discuss has yet to be released. “Bah!” for late books.

Lastly and a blast form the past, I picked up one of my all time favorite comics, in “Marvel Two in One” Annual #7, starring the ever lovin' blue eyed Thing, of Fantastic Four fame. The Story is called “And They Will Call Him Champion”, written by long-time Marvel writer/editor, Tom Defalco. This story, it is important to note, is not a work of literary mastery or cutting edge fiction. DeFalco is not Frank Miller, Alan Moore, of Neil Gaiman. He doesn't try to be either. He just writes a story about super heroes doing super things, and in this book, he does it better than anyone else. This book, sitting in back issue bins all over the world, is a secret gem of super hero goodness, and usually will only set you back about a toonie. A supremely powerful being comes to Earth to challenge our strongest heroes to a boxing match and gauge our fighting spirit. If it doesn't meet his standards, then he'll mercifully end our existence. Heroes Thor, Hulk, Namor, Wonder Man, Saskewatch, Doc Samson, and the Thing are chosen to fight for earth. One at a time they fight in the squared circle at Madison Square Gardens. It is such a good book. Go take a look for this one.

Well, that's what I've been flipping through. Hope you found all this insightful and/or entertaining. Well, at least time consuming. I know, I aim high.

-Scott MacIver

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