Some quick comic thoughts, trade paperback edition

Brief, but probably spoilery thoughts. You've been warned.

A.L.I.E.E.E.N.
by Lewis Trondheim - I said before that even if I don't necessarily like everything First Second Books publishes, at least it's all interesting. Well, "interesting" is one of the only two positive things I can say about this book. The other is that the little alien characters are very well-designed and cute. At least until the butt of one of 'em (whose eyes had already been gouged out, mind you) starts spewing forth a river of poo. The stories all interconnect with each other in clever ways (There, that's three positive things! Go me!), but honestly, this is little more than Happy Tree Friends for the Euro comics crowd. So if terrible things happening to adorable creatures is your thing, this is probably the book for you. Otherwise, just go read The Professor's Daughter or American Born Chinese again. You'll be glad you did.

Smoke and Mirror - Generational super-hero story from writer Chuck Satterlee and a couple of different artists, none of whom I can remember right now because I don't have the book in front of me. The title characters are the inheritors of the legacies of a 1940s crimefighting duo, Mr. Smoke (a mystic) and Miss Mirror (a speedster). The new Smoke is a lawyer who only recently developed any sort of conscience, and Mirror is a brash Hot Topic worshipper, and of course, they're alternately repulsed by and attracted to one another. Nothing terribly new storywise, the romance feels a little forced, and the ending recalls a famous Star Trek episode (I won't say which one, because that would give it all away), but it's a fun story that's a nice little Valentine to both Golden and Silver Age comics, and I think we could use a little more of that these days, so I'm looking forward to what comes next.

The Lexian Chronicles: Full Circle Volume 1 - Beginning of an adaptation of a fantasy novel of the same name. Haven't read it, so I don't know how good or accurate an adaptation it is, but this held my interest. I'm not a big fantasy fan, so I figure that's something in its favor right there. It's the story of Reena, 13 year old daughter of a tribal chieftain who's a bit of an outcast among the other children, seeing as she's smarter, tougher, and more resourceful than just about everyone. She discovers an ancient cave containing long-lost runes telling the history of her people and gets dragged into her father's dealings with a just-returned enemy tribe... and that's it for this volume, really. There isn't a definitive end to a story arc so much as a stopping point. I realize this is the beginning of a larger story, but still, I want to feel like I'm reading an entire story even within that framework, too, if it's being collected. The artwork by Inaki Miranda is the real star here, though, reminding me of Mike Wieringo or Chris Sprouse artwork, with a bit of manga influence thrown in for good measure. It's vaguely cartoony, but never distractingly so. And refreshingly, the main character actually looks like a 13 year old girl instead of a Victoria's Secret model trying and failing to pass as 13, so that's a welcome change from the norm. He's a real find, and I'll definitely search out his work in the future.

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