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Best Comics in January: Finally the 2nd Issue of After Twilight and a New Twelve

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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. Sorry we're a bit late, and double sorry that we dropped the ball on picking up the book for Scarlet Spider #1 set right here in Houston before it sold out. We've got a second run copy reserved for us to cover next month.

Magic: The Gathering #1

Even though we don't play M:tG anymore since it became clear that highly competitive card games do more damage to a marriage than alcoholism, we still keep up with the novels as the storytelling aspect juts gets better and better. The new comic series that ties into the latest release involves a Planeswalker returning to Ravnica, the planet-wide city plane that was one of our favorites storywise. This is issue does little but introduce us to our hero, Dack, and he does nothing really but spend every page running away, but it's got some potential.

Rating: 5 of 10

The Twelve #9

The Twelve is a brilliant comic from J. Michael Straczynski that involves twelve of Marvel's earliest mystery men who were put into suspended animation by Nazis and forgotten about. Resurrected in the modern era they deal with culture shock and the sudden turn by one of their own that begins murdering them. Please read this book instead of whatever awful thing DC is going to do with the Watchmen previews.

Rating: 9 of 10

Locke & Key: Clockworks #4

We've fallen far behind in Locke & Key, and that is shameful since Joe Hill is one of the greatest writers alive, period. Set in a house of secrets where children can use keys of immense power to alter the universe, our heroes decide to open a forbidden door in hopes of using the skins of demons to forge more keys. This goes about as well as you expect. Fascinating, brilliant, and mindbending... we need to catch up soon.

Rating: 8 of 10

Fatale #1

New pulp comics are always a bit hit or miss, but Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have done a bang up job with Fatale. Think Lauren Bacall in the Big Sleep if she was also the Highlander, and you've got something of the plot. There's crazed cults, beautiful women, and a whole lot of mystery going on in the modern noir classic.

Rating: 7 of 10

After Twilight #2

After months of waiting, finally we get the second installment of Gary Watson's comic version of his dystopian film set in a Texas that has seceded and become a radical Christian nation. Douglas Brown's art remains reason alone to pick up the book, with his ability to capture barely repressed sexuality and oppressive brutality in perfect measure. The only downside to the book was a complete lack of tension if you've seen the film, but it was great to get some more of Jen and her sister's backstories set during the "purification" of the state.

Rating: 8 of 10

Winter Soldier #1

If you're a violent ex-sidekick, we will like your comic book. That probably says something bad about us. Bucky Barnes is officially dead, and now he's basically Jason Bourne with a cybernetic arm and the Black Widow as a sidekick. They're on a mission to retrieve other ex-Soviet Cold War operatives that were left in the same suspended animation that preserved Barnes as the Winter Soldier. We got a big kick out of the book's action, the moodiness of Barnes, and the fact that a machine gun-wielding gorilla is involved. Our only complaint is that Marvel seems to be overusing Black Widow lately, but she stays pretty fresh.

Rating: 7 of 10

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