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Best Comics in February Part 1: The Wisdom of Ralph Wiggum, and Glenn Beck's Ethnic Spidey Nightmare

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Once a month the amazing staff at 8th Dimension Comics selects a pile of the best new releases for us to peruse and judge. It's a big selection this month so we'll be splitting it into two parts. Tune in tomorrow for part two.

Ralph Wiggum #1

Though Ralph Wiggum is one of the greatest Simpsons characters of all time, we're not sure if an entire comic really was the best way to go. He's much better off in small doses uttering non sequiturs that baffle and delight. Maybe a weekly comic strip would be more his speed, though we'll admit we spent 15 happy minutes engrossed in his prison riot Where's Ralph? puzzle.

Rating: 5 of 10

Daredevil #9

We haven't been following the latest run of Daredevil too closely, though we like the idea of Matt Murdoch's heroic career being something of an open tabloid secret. It's an interesting take on the alter-ego mystique. We've been seeing ads for this issue for some time, and now we know that it involves Daredevil descending under New York to find out why the Mole Man is robbing graves. The answer seems to be to dance with a blond corpse like Tom Petty in the "Mary Jane's Last Dance" video.

Rating: 6 of 10
The Flash #6

Flash remains one of those comics that tend to get ridiculous, but when it settles into an old-school superhero approach, it does it better than anyone else. #6 deals with the return of Captain Cold, now able to generate his freezing powers without technology. He's out for revenge on the Flash, who apparently caused a massive EMP explosion that resulted in the slow death of his sister when her cancer treatments couldn't be performed.

A new wrinkle is the limit being placed on Flash's powers. Overuse causes massive rips in space/time, and a meter that reads countdowns to him during the course of his battle ensures that the fastest man alive is always in a race that he can still lose. Fantastic storytelling.

Rating: 8 of 10

All-New Spider-Man #7

Well, it's here. The transition in Ultimate Comics from that honky Peter Parker into the new Spider-Man Miles Morales of the dangerously non-white visage that Glenn Beck so eloquently warned us was a plot by Barack Obama to, uh... something.

You know what? It's really cool. It actually is a Spider-Man for a new generation, and watching Morales ease into his role as a superhero is a tremendously enjoyable ride. In a way, it's about feeling you have to live up to expectations, and how you do that while being your own man. It's about what Spider-Man always was about: growing up and accepting responsibility. Parker would be proud.

Rating: 7 of 10

Princeless #1-4

The initial four-part miniseries of Princeless is now complete, and it's one of the most fun books we've ever read. The book turns the typical princess-in-a-tower story completely on its head by having a feisty damsel in distress team up with her guard dragon to rescue her sisters from the tyranny of the monarchy system under her cruel father. There's plenty of hilarious social commentary and humorous action, but all that pales next to Princess Adrienne's half-dwarf sidekick Bedelia.

Bedelia has spent her life secretly supporting her drunken blacksmith father, and when Adrienne drops into her shop (Through the roof) she quickly becomes an irrepressible source of arms, hammer blows, and brilliant one-liners. We hope to one day be able to use her quote, "I'm getting my tools. Be naked by the time I come back."

Rating: 10 of 10

Transformers #1

The latest series from IDW has the Transformers returned to their home planet of Cybertron, currently being run in a provisional government by Bumblebee. The Decepticons have been implanted with explody-head chips and turned loose as peace keepers. It's a surprisingly political book that deals with an area of total lawlessness in the aftermath of war, kind of like what living in Uganda must be like. It's short on action, but there is the promise of some dark intrigue where before there were just toys.

Rating: 6 of 10

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