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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kameelman #1 - From 2003

Zack is the first transgenic clone and able to morph his body into other human forms and experience the emotions of those around him. What distinguishes him from a million other superheroes is that he isn't a superhero. He's just a weird, teenage kid in high school who's world is girls, electronic gadgets, music and, most importantly, relationships. That's right. Kameelman is Archie Comics without Archie's cuteness, which is its saving grace.

Its other recommendation is that this teenage world reads and feels real, which is no slight accomplishment in any medium. Loneliness and social awkwardness are common. Talent does not always win. Much of the culture seems superfluous but still of intense importance. Not everyone is pretty. Bullies often win.

This title's only weakness is the wholly unnecessary 'transgenic clone' shtick.

Well drawn and well written, Kameelman is recommended for teens.

Kameelman #1/$2.99 & 32 pgs. from AI Oregon/words: T-Bone; art: Ron Randall/sold in comics shops and at

Review by Michael Vance

The Interman - From 2003

Van Meach does jobs for people; hard-to-do jobs. In fact, he has a reputation for doing the impossible, like recovering the nosecone of a downed satellite from the ocean floor, with no help or equipment. Or, single handedly rescuing an expedition team from K2, the world's most savage mountain.

You see, Van is...special. He's an "adapter," the result of a genetics experiment, co-sponsored by five countries, which took place in the '60s. The project was meant to create agents who could "re-write their own DNA," and Van was a successful product. Now, however, he's being hunted by the forces responsible for his creation; he's a loose end, an agent unaccountable to them, and they mean to see that he's "shut down."

With the help of the famous naturalist Dr. Richard Keele, and an international hit man, simply called "Outcault," Van seeks to evade his pursuers, come "above ground," and find his "sister;" the only other operative created by the Interman project.

Creator, writer and artist Jeff Parker has a winner on his hands. Winning writing has created three-dimensional characters that are complex and full of surprises. Van is a powerful force, uncomfortable with abilities that are still a mystery to him.

Outcault is a savvy, secretive man, who, despite his aid, is still an unknown quantity whom Meach is wary of trusting completely. Then, there's May, the other product of Project: Interman; what is her secret? Will she be an ally to Meach, or his most dangerous foe?

Yes, winning writing has created great characters, and a nail-biting plot.

Winning art is the icing on the cake. Bold lines, expressive characters and beautifully rendered settings make this work almost as much fun to look at as it is to read. Almost. I've always believed that the best comics are story-driven; The Interman only bolsters that opinion.

The Interman is highly recommended for all but the youngest of readers, find it at comic shops, online auctions, or at

The Interman, published by Octopus, 128 pages, $19.95.

Review by Mark Allen

Gordon of Gotham - From 2003

Those who are even remotely familiar with the Batman character will probably have heard of Commissioner James Gordon. A tough-as-nails veteran cop, he plays a prominent role in the Batman mythos, as the caped crusader's friend and ally. And, while he's been spotlighted, to some extent, in the past, it may never have been done quite so well as in D.C.'s four-issue mini series, Gordon of Gotham, published in 1998.

While set in Batman's world, however, this is no super hero tale; it is a gritty, entertaining cop yarn, sure to please the most demanding fan of that genre.

In the story, the reader is taken back to Gordon's days as a young officer on the Chicago Police Force. Suspecting a fellow officer of involvement in illegal activities, he begins to dig for evidence, and becomes the target of said officer and his cohorts. Add to all of this an international assassin, who seems to have a penchant for saving Gordon's life, and becomes "the one that got away," and you have the makings of an engrossing read, with an element of redemption for the hero.

Writer Denny O'Neil, one of the best known Bat-scribes in comics, does a wonderful job of bringing all of the above elements together into an intelligent and involving adventure. His characterization and dialogue are involving and believable. Meanwhile, artists Dick Giordano and Klaus Janson (also veterans of the world of Batman) provide the perfect dramatic style for such a tale; realistic and forbidding, with great shadowing and plenty of impressively-jawed bad guys.

Best of all, I found every issue in my favorite comic shop's bargain bin. These days, fans really can't afford to overlook the potential of the 25 cent box.

Gordon of Gotham is recommended for those who enjoy good police drama and adventure. Find it in the back issue section of your comic shop, or at your favorite online auction site.

Gordon of Gotham, published by D.C. Comics, 32 pages; back issues, so prices vary.

Review by Mark Allen