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Best Comics of January Part 1: The Red Skull With Professor X Mind-Powers... We're So @#$%-ed!

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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.

Chew #31

Tony Chu is an FDA agent who has the ability to get psychic impressions by consuming things, including pieces of corpses. He's like Ned from Pushing Daisies, but gross because John Layman thought him up. Nonetheless, it's a good book that manages to be both poignant and ridiculous at the same time, all Asian stereotypes about honor mixing with cybernetic FDA cops kicking ass in order to take down a dangerous diet drink company that is really a front for an egg cult. If you're missing the violent irreverence of Sam Keith, I would definitely pick up Chew, and #31 is a great place to start.

Rating: 7 of 10

Uncanny Avengers #003

The Red Skull has returned with his dreams of an Eternal Reich, but now he possesses the telepathic powers of Professor X. He descends onto New York City inciting a race riot against mutants that the new mixed team of X-Men and Avengers is almost powerless to stop. Even Thor finds himself beaten and in thrall to the terrifying power the Skull now wields. It's an almost perfect superhero story that involves just the right amount of punching and depth. Old school has never been more fun.

Rating: 8 of 10

Green Lantern #16

A young, troubled Lebanese man named Simon Baz is our latest Green lantern, having received the merged power rings of Hal Jordan and Sinestro when they were sucked into a dead realm by Black Hand. Initially, the book was little more than a tired '90s-style re-imaging seeking to make a statement about overcoming racial fear, and Baz was eye-rollingly "gritty." The storyline has picked up nicely, though, with the promise of huge secrets about the Lantern Corps being discovered by Jordan and Sinestro while Baz does the unthinkable and heals a dying friend with the power of his ring. There may be more to the new GL than I initially thought.

Rating: 7 of 10

Sword & Sorcery #4

Don't laugh, but I always got a kick out of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld comics. It might have something to do with the fact that as a kid I thought She-Ra was actually the better show, or it maybe that I just have a thing for chicks with swords. Either way, it was nice to see her return in the pages of Justice League Dark, and she does wonders in a few pages by carving a greedy corporate sorceress several new assholes after she tries to steal her powers. Where it lacks genius, John Constantine shores up the weak spots.

The second feature, Stalker, the Man Without a Soul is less engaging. It's little more than the Kratos story from God of War, and Kratos did it better.

Rating: 5 of 10

The Legend of Luther Strode #1

Luther Strode gained superhuman strength, speed, and durability from a Hercules Method ad in the back of a comic book. By now he has become a legendary, murderous boogeyman in the world. It's amazing the way he is portrayed in the first issue of the proposed six. It's honestly as if Jason Vorhees was somehow a good guy. Same senseless torture and gore, same unbelievable durability, but firmly aligned towards eradicating the worst of society. Beautiful, brutal book.

Rating: 7 of 10

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