Headlines   2003 Review Index   September 3, 2003
Suspended Animation &

Michael Vance

Mark Allen

Michael Vance Books

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The Interman

      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 www.theinterman.com.

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

     Review by Mark Allen

Supreme: The Return
     Stand back; I'm going to gush.

     For foreign readers, "to gush" means I'm going to use superlatives about Supreme: The Return.

     First, younger comics readers must prepare themselves for a shock. There was a time, the 1950s and 1960s, in which comic books were fun. That doesn't mean they were better than today's fare, it means they were different. Supreme is of that time. So am I.

     Let's get the art critique out of the way. Because of multiple artists, the visual quality of Supreme varies but is more than sufficient throughout and often excellent. In addition, flashback sequences in which old art styles are imitated are a hoot and a half. For foreign readers, "hoot..." means they add to the fun.

     Next, plot. There is too much of it to review here because Supreme is packed with plot, and imagination and epic spectacle. It may shock some younger readers that 'in the day' entire stories were told in eight pages!!! This reprint that emulates those stories is 252 pages. WOW!!

     So, what is Supreme about? It's about the rich and wonderfully creative world of Superma....Supreme, a super-hero who can do almost anything, and does it. It's about an older, simpler style of comics that concentrated on entertaining story and art. It's about super-men and super-women and super-dogs and their super adventures, and super-villains and super-civilizations and a thing long forgotten called the "Sense of Wonder". For younger readers, Sense of Wonder means saying WOW!!! after reading a title.

     And it means fun, fun, fun until your daddy takes this title away.

     This collection reprints the final ten issues of the series published in '96-'97. Supreme earns the highest accolades for readers who love the '50s--'60s, and very high recommendation for anyone reading comics for fun.

     Supreme: The Return/$24.95 from Checker/words: Alan Moore; art: Rick Veitch, Chris Sprouse, Jim Starlin, Gill Kane/sold at comics stores and sales@checkerbpg.com.

     Review by Michael Vance

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