Steven W. Alloway

Steven W. Alloway (292)

And so we continue with the further adventures of the Man of the Atom: mild-mannered nuclear research scientist Dr. Solar, victim of a freak nuclear reactor accident which left him able to feed on nuclear energy and transmute it into any form he can imagine. Most often, this means light waves, radio waves, or electricity, but also includes a host of other things, including elements on the periodic table. That’s right, it’s another collection from Dark Horse of awesomely cheesy '60s comics—probably my favorite kind. This one collects Issues #23-31 of Doctor Solar.

The story continues of Frank, the former government superhero who’s now willing to do whatever it takes to recover his daughter from that same government. In the last issue, we saw him betray, torture, and brutally kill his former partner from the old days in order to get information. This issue opens on a scene from those old days and shows us the kind of bond, the kind of friendship, that they had back then. Seeing the two of them interact, joke around, and help each other out really heightens the gruesome violence we saw last issue. After that camaraderie, how did it ever come to this?

This issue of Bullet Gal is another sidetrack from the main story. Previously, series creator Andrez Bergen did this in Issue #5 to give us the origin of Brigit, the murderous French femme fatale. This time, it’s to give us the origin of Heropa, the city where they all live—or are programmed into.

If I had to describe The Spartak Trigger (and, as it happens, I do—that’s the nature of reviews), I would say that it’s a good book disguised as a bad book. At first glance, everything about this book says that you should hate it. The protagonist is not just thoroughly unlikeable but actively loathsome. The plot is thin and far fetched. Perhaps worst of all, it employs a number of hackneyed tropes and devices throughout and resolves plot conflicts with coincidences that strain credulity even for fiction.

However, what sets The Spartak Trigger apart from a hundred third-rate spy novels is that it KNOWS all of this about itself and wears these flaws on its sleeve. And, underneath it all, the book is actually really well written, to the point where I didn’t want to put it down.

At the very beginning, Rocket Salvage reminds me a little bit of Tom Slick. For those who don’t remember, it was a cartoon about a hotshot auto racer and his wacky adventures in various races. This comic starts out similarly. Primo Rocket is the fastest man alive, preparing for his next race, where he stands poised to break the all-time racing record.

The first thing you need to know about Outcasts of Jupiter is that it does not actually take place on Jupiter. Jupiter evidently refers to a character in the world where the comic takes place. The comic is actually set in Morocco in the year 3125, which is very nearly as cool as taking place on Jupiter, if not more so.

What makes Cloaks such a compelling comic is its sense of realism. Our hero, Adam, is a young magician turned secret agent who pulls off a number of seemingly impossible feats—not just on stage, but in the field. Everything he does, though, comes with a detailed explanation of the principles of magic, from card tricks to escape artistry to mentalism and how they apply to this particular situation. It’s still not exactly what I’d call realistic, but those real-world principles that require tangible, real-world training are so much more interesting than the standard “gadget for every situation” spy stories that we’re used to.

The time travel story from Bliss on Tap Publishing continues. Bliss on Tap’s comics tend to be just a bit strange, and often abstract. It can be a bit confusing at times, but even if you don’t always follow the story, it’s still fun to read.

A few weeks ago, I reviewed a collection of Superman comics and discussed the possibility and implications of Superman being a god on Earth. The Mighty explores this same possibility, though in a much darker way.

It’s the Christmas issue of Bullet Gal, and so of course, we begin with our heroine lying bleeding on the ground after being shot. By now, we should know to expect nothing less of Andrez Bergen’s gritty noir comic. Of course, it’s not exactly a Christmas-themed issue, but it does feature a Santa hat on the front cover.

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