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

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for Friday, September 25, 2009


Two first issues from Radical Comics:

Incarnate [$4.99] is a three-issue series written by Nick Simmons, son of Gene Simmons of KISS fame and one of the stars of "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" on the A&E network. The Revenants are nigh-immortal predators who have been preying on humanity for ages. Some among them have been worshiped as gods and all have believed they could only be harmed by one of their own. But, now, mankind has found a way to kill them, and their arrogant supremacy is coming to an end.

Simmons' writing is entertaining. However, his story, at least in this first issue, lacks any character on which I can hang my "cheer them on" hat. The Revenants are mildly interesting, but they are part and parcel of the overdone vampire/zombie craze sweeping too much of our popular media. They aren't even remotely likeable, and I'll enjoy watching them meet their ends. Most of the soldiers who oppose them are cannon fodder and seemingly too stupid to realize they've been sent into battle to die. The leader of the soldiers, who may not be human, isn't any more likeable than the Revenants. He's definitely okay with using humans as cannon fodder and seems to be motivated by his desire for immortal bloodshed. In short, I don't like any character in this issue.

Dubbed American manga in some press releases, Incarnate is drawn in a lively style by Simmons. It's a nice break from the painted art found in most Radical comic books, but it's not enough to lift this debut issue beyond two out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony


Hercules: The Knives of Kush #1 [$2.99] picks up the adventures of Hercules and his companions from the less-than-happy conclusion of their time in Thrace. In this first of five issues, writer Steve Moore does a terrific job expressing their despondent mood, though he does take it a touch too far when their ship is overtaken by a pirate vessel. It wasn't realistic for Hercules to wait until the pirates had slaughtered every one but him and his companions before taking arms against them.

Shipwrecked in Egypt, Hercules chooses honest mercenary work over thievery. With the land in a state of civil war, his group signs on as visible bodyguards of the newest royal wife and her husband's clandestine operatives. This is an intriguing setting and scenario for the story, with the first issue ending on an appropriately dire note. With first-rate art by Chis Bolson and colorist Doug Sirois, this issue earns an impressive four Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony



It's true. Your beloved Tipster twitters. My "twit" name is TonyIsabella and I started posting on May 28. Here are some of my favorite tweets...

Bad enough the Cavs lost, but, in the game's final minutes, did TNT have to run a clip of Cleveland's past sports disappointments? Bastards! (5/31)

Received a much overdue check earlier this week and am now watching it disappear as I pay bills. I will write for money. (6/3)

Running errands: bank, library, secret government organization. Whoops! Shouldn't have mentioned that last one. Now I have to kill you. (6/4)

Went to dentist, had bad reaction to happy gas, sent home. And the gas had always been my favorite part of going to the dentist. (6/5)

My son is done with finals and heading home. He should be here in two hours. I guess I should move the comic boxes out of his room. (6/12)

Keep paper by your bed to write down anything you come up with before going to sleep. Have fun in morning deciphering it. (6/19)

In retrospect, telling that caller from the NRA to go "F" herself might not have been my wisest course of action. (6/20)

Too much good food and company. Am about to collapse into a short hairy blob of contentment. (6/21)

The bear definitely got me yesterday. Today...I hope to get the bear. It's the frickin' circle of life! (6/24)

I went to a draw with the bear today, but, tomorrow, I'm gonna kick his Yogi butt all over the place. It's on! (6/24)

Y'know what would make me happy right now? No, really, do you? Because I've been working on that for three days now and I got nothing. (6/28)

The Sci-Fi Channel, which regularly shows Boa Vs. Python, is now called SyFy. It's a pretentious little bitch with delusions of grandeur. (7/8)

I want a network called The Cheese Channel which shows nothing but movies like Boa Vs. Python. I'd watch it all the time. (7/8)

You know what's old? People wanting you to befriend their fictional characters. I have my own imaginary friends. I don't need yours. (7/9)

Wrote a third column. Now...TV, ice cream, and then bed. Until my cat wakes me up at 5:20 am to let me know there are birds in our yard. (7/12)

If contacted by Rick Olney, research him before responding. In my 37 years in comics, he's one of the worst people I've met. (7/17)

My daughter Kelly had all four wisdom teeth removed. There will be much consuming of ice cream, milkshakes and soup this weekend. (7/25)

I'm looking deep into my soul. I think I left my car keys there. (7/28)

Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco to the Phillies. Because we just don't give a flying f--- anymore. (7/29)

If God really wants to punish Vick, He'll make him play for the Cleveland Browns. (7/31)

When I line up a bunch of "twits" like this, it sort of reads like the parody of this column that Gail Simone wrote several years back. She's not just a great writer. She's psychic!

Anyway, this is the kind of stuff you're missing if you're not following me on Twitter. I'll post more of my "twits" when next I feel this lazy.

In the meantime, thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back on Monday with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 09/24/2009 | 09/25/2009 | 09/28/2009 >>

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.

Please send material you would like me to review to:

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