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Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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for Monday, June 29, 2009

She Hulk Vol 8

I'm suffering from "battle fatigue" brought on by my reading every Secret Invasion trade paperback that crossed my path. It doesn't seem possible I haven't read them all, but the coming of She-Hulk Vol. 8: Secret Invasion [Marvel; $14.99] prompted me to check my "Comics In Your Future" lists and learn there are still several I haven't read. War is hell.

The volume reprints She-Hulk #31-33 and X-Factor #33-34, all written by Peter David with art by Vincenzo Cucca on the former and Larry Stroman/Jon Sibal on the latter. A joke-y "previously in" page isn't helpful in bringing new readers up to speed. David does a better job in the stories themselves.

X-Factor has relocated to Detroit with one of their number - Darwin - being led around by a faux Longshot who is actually some big shot Skrull religious icon. She-Hulk and Skrull sidekick Jazinda are after the Holy Skrull. In one of those typical Marvel super-hero misunderstandings that are no longer the slightest bit interesting, the heroes end up fighting each other. Yawn.

From these stories, I get the impression She-Hulk has been knocked around physically and psychologically by the never-ending parade of Marvel Universe events. She's definitely not as fun as she used to be, which is a loss for the MU. I liked the X-Factor heroes somewhat better, though the behind-the-scenes intrigue with government bully Valerie Cooper left me cold. Maybe under the new administration we will see comic books with some government types who aren't total creeps.

The SI storyline didn't excite me either. Where the original Super-Skrull has been played well in other recent Marvel books - I never know which side he's actually on - he just seems random in this particular storyline.

The art? Stroman's is ugly. Cucca's is okay. Neither left much of an impression on me.

The stories in She-Hulk Vol. 8: Secret Invasion aren't bad comics, but neither are they very good comics. As such, the volume earns a disappointing two out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony

With the dogged determination of a soldier who doesn't know when to stop fighting, I've requested the remaining Secret Invasion trades from my library. Of them, I'm most looking forward to the Franklin Richards and Mini-Marvels spoofs. Keep watching the skies and this column for those reviews.

Lost Kisses

Now for something different, albeit not in a good way...

I received review copies of three mini-comics from Silber Media and they are so "mini" that I'm not even sure they will be visible on the scan I'm including with today's column. They measure about two inches high and about an inch and three-quarters wide and my first reaction to them was "why?" But I'll discuss their format after I consider their content.

Lost Kisses #7 and #8 ($1 each) by Brian John Mitchell are stick-figure comics apparently autobiographical in nature. The 44-panel comics comprise a two-issue tale of the narrator's mixed feelings about an ex-lover. The writing itself is pretty good. For what it is, so is the stick-figure art.

Worms #3 ($1) by Mitchell and artist Kimberlee Traub is a boringly "arty" coming-of-age tale about a girl facing changes in her life. Traub's art does not serve the story well.

Lost Kisses suffers from its format. It's difficult to hold these too-mini mini-comics in one's hands...and I have very tiny hands. Trying to appreciate Mitchell's stick-figure art in this size can cause eyestrain. Under normal circumstances - such as presenting the story in a sane format - I'd be giving Lost Kisses a higher score than the puny one out of five Tonys it receives here.


Worms #3 receives no Tonys whatsoever.

No Tonys

For more information on these mini-comics, go to:



Today's your last day to vote on our current Tony Polls questions. You can do so by going to:

Because last week turned out to be a lot more busy/stressful than anticipated, I'm taking a week off from the Tony Polls to recharge my balloting batteries. Your assistance in this area would be greatly appreciated.

Our most successful Tony Polls ever was the "They're Not Dead Yet! Comics Idol" competition in which you voted on which 1970s comics writers you'd like to see back writing their signature features on a regular basis. I'd like to do a 1980s version of the same competition and hereby solicit your suggestions for candidates for same. However, please confine your writer suggestions to non-creator-owned properties under the presumption that writers who own their signature features can return to them more or less whenever they choose to.

I'd also like to do a "Greatest Comics Team" ever competition. The team can consist of any two people, be they writer and artist, penciler and inker, writer and editor, editor and publisher, or any other combination you can think of. But it has to be two people. No solo acts. No trios.

In addition to the above requests, I am totally open to other poll questions suggestions from my readers, especially if you can include between 2-20 choices for each questions. Send any and all suggestions to be at:

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 06/26/2009 | 06/29/2009 | 06/30/2009 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

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Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.

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