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The Best Comics in August Part 1: Barack Obama as Superman

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Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Look for Part 2 tomorrow.

The Fade Out: To me Ed Brubaker is like Led Zeppelin; I fully recognize the inherent genius of his work and 99 percent of the time I still can't stand it. It's weird, became I read a Brubaker comic and I can see the quality and brilliance, and I just still don't like it.

Fade Out is the one percent.

It's another noir tale from Brubaker, but this time around he has enough mix of old Hollywood setting and a perpetually drunk and amnesiac screenwriter/reprobate that it's much easier to dive into. If I had to put a finger on what I don't like about Brubaker's stories it's that he is just too damned dedicated to the mystery aspect and tends to lose me before a book's end. Fade Out is much more straightforward. You don't know who killed actress Valerie Sommers, but the rest of the cast falls nicely into place and doesn't require a ton of different threads to keep track of.

Rating: 7 of 10

Cyclops #4: I've honestly enjoyed Cyclops as the new Magneto more than I ever enjoyed him as a hero. It's hard to get behind the angst of a guy with a hot girlfriend that can shoot lasers out of his eyes. His "curse" is offset by sweet shades. No one feels bad for you dude.

Here we're dealing with the time-transplanted young Scott Summers, who is now on a galaxy quest with his dad Corsair, who is not dead again for... it really doesn't matter the reason. Anyway, the two bond while stranded on a planet with Corsair's supply of live-saving drugs running out. Chris Summers decides to use his remaining time alive to try and help his son avoid becoming the man he eventually would.

It's actually eerily good stuff. The sword fighting lessons that Corsair gives Scott are very reminiscent of the training his older version gave Hope Summers back when the whole Avengers vs. X-Men thing was beginning to heat up. Both show Scott as someone that has secretly struggled his whole life with what it means to be a force for justice. In essence, he's everything that Superman tries to be, and this is a great new exploration of that.

Rating: 9 of 10

Outcast #3: Pretend for a moment that The Exorcist and Regan MacNeil were real. If there really was a demonic possession like that two things would become very clear. The first is that someone that had gone through such an experience would have very valuable information. The second is that it would probably mess them up very badly.

That's what happened to out hero Kyle, and as a sad, somewhat broken young man he's being drawn into investigations involving other demonic entities. The book is frightening and bloody, full of the darkest parts of the human heart. Kyle is forlornly dragged kicking and screaming into the fight, and his opponents are, if you'll pardon the joke, legion.

Word is that Cinemax is already looking to shoot a pilot for Outcast so I'd catch up on this right now if I were you. It's terrifying and great.

Rating: 9 of 10

This story continues on the next page.

Multiveristy #1: OK, Grant Morrison is onto something that will forever change DC Comics. Multiversity is on track to be the new Kingdom Come and oh boy is a doozy.

Across the multiverse a new threat is taking out the monitors, god-like beings that watch for threats that endanger the lines between one universe and another. The last of these falls in battle with a hopeless, nihilistic force called The Gentry, and sends Earth-7's last hero Thunderer to safety.

Back at the monitor's base, he uses a machine to summon a hero each from the 52 universes. We get a Superman who is in his civilian identity the first black president of the United States. Joining him is Captain Carrot (A cartoon rabbit), a young gay version of the Flash called the Red Racer, Aqua Woman, Dino Cop, and in an awesome cameo Bloodwynd (A former secret identity of Martian Manhunter).

Interspersed with all that is the idea that the book itself that you're reading is in fact the gateway to the Gentry's entry into the world. So not only is it a thought provoking, brilliant big battle story, but it's also basically the comic book Necronomicon. There's never been anything quite like it, and it's a must-read.

Rating: 10 of 10

Low #2: Rick Remender's Low is another book I think we'll be redefining comics and science fiction itself. It's got the grand, epic feel of Dune, but captured with Greg Tochhini's one of a kind art.

Last month we saw the bright spots of the last of a family of navigators who were ambushed by pirates and left for dead. Only matriarch Stehl survives. Her husband dies badly and her daughters are taken. Alone, she tries to continue on in hope of finding a new place for their dying population to settle.

This month we see her son Marik, who was left behind on the fatal trip and now serves as a guard. He's a cruel, ruthless man who seeks justice but has no qualms about using drugs to better block out life in sessions with prostitutes... who he doesn't pay. Morally twisted and devoid of his mother's optimism, he gets flung down a path of bloody revenge even as Stehl tries to convince him of the possibility of salvation.

It's bleak stuff thus far, but the book ends with a glimmer of light. If there wasn't so much honest love on the page it would be depressing as hell. That love is there though, and it lifts you up.

Rating: 9 of 10

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

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