Thursday, July 15, 2004

Quick comic reviews!
Star Wars Tales #20
I grew up reading Marvel's old "Star Wars" comics, but I really don't follow most of the ones being published today. However, I had to check out the latest issue of this anthology series, because it gathers together some of alternative comics' biggest names -- Gilbert Hernandez, Bob Fingerman, James Kochalka -- for irreverent takes on the "Star Wars" icons. It's a fun-packed book, much less hit-or-miss than these anthologies typically are. The emphasis is on "loser" characters -- there's several Jar Jar Binks stories here. Highlights for me included Tony Millionaire's tale of Jar Jar Binks and his father -- turns out his family think Jar Jar's as much of an idiot as the rest of us, Kochalka's awesome tale of "Melvin Fett," Boba's loser cousin, and Fingerman's tale of "Fred Jawa, Consumer Advocate!" A couple of the stories are played straighter, such as Hernandez's "Young Lando Calrissian" and Rick Geary's Luke Skywalker tale, but they're all well done. If you're a "Star Wars" fan of old looking for a fun spin on the movies, this is a decent anthology to pick up. Docked a bit for a ridiculously high $6 price tag for 64 pages, though. Grade: B+

X-Statix #24
Man, am I going to miss this series, ending at #26. The gonzo wicked stepchild of the X-Men line has been a witty, wacky satire of superheroes and fame, but it couldn't last forever. This is part four of the ongoing "X-Statix vs. Avengers" story, which gives creators Peter Milligan and Mike Allred a chance to put their spin on "reg'lar" superheroes. It's been standard hero vs. hero plotlines, as both teams struggle to find pieces of Doop's brain (if you don't know, don't worry about it). But Milligan's ultra-hip style makes old new -- this issue features X-Statix's "Mr. Sensitive" versus Iron Man, and it's hysterical. The two heroes face off and confront their demons at a French nudist camp. There's nudity, one-liners and more in this send-up that sums up everything I've loved about "X-Statix." Oh, and there's also a French villain called "Surrender Monkey." Further proof the best comix never last. Grade: A

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