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Comics Reviews: ''Proof,'' ''The Exterminators''

''The X-Files'' meets T.S. Eliot in this promising new comic-book series. Plus: Reviews of ''The Exterminators,'' ''Moon Knight,'' ''The End League,'' and ''Cover Girl''

PROOF
Alexander Grecian and Riley Rossmo
(Monthly; issue Nos. 1-3 are on sale now)
The mythical Sasquatch exists for sure in Proof — but he wears shoes (albeit size 29), has strong opinions about ugly sweaters, and goes by the less-than-monstery handle of John Prufrock. In fact, this particular bigfoot is a government agent tasked with tracking down other legendary creatures. At the top of his thingies-to-capture list in this debut five-issue arc? The human-skin-wearing chupacabra. FOR FANS OF… The X-Files. DOES IT DELIVER? Though the dynamic between Prufrock and his new partner, FBI-er Ginger Brown, might be too Mulder-and-Scully for comfort, most of Grecian’s writing displays a wit and intelligence that’s far from limited to naming his hero after the subject of T.S. Eliot’s poem ”The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” The work of artist Rossmo, meanwhile, ranges from the nicely fantastical to, when required, the memorably gruesome (did we mention that chupacabra is the Ralph Lauren of human-skin suits?). The droll, visceral result makes Grecian’s announcement in the first issue — that he has five years’ worth of Proof continuity already plotted out — seem much more like a promise than a threat. B+
— Clark Collis

THE EXTERMINATORS
Simon Oliver and Tony Moore
(Monthly; issue No. 25 is on sale now)
If there were an award for most improved continuing series, The Exterminators would get my vote. After a clunky start, Oliver and Moore have worked out their storytelling kinks and are really clicking as a creative team. The series is about a bizarre, bug-killing business staffed with some truly colorful characters, including Henry, an everyman ex-con with a complicated love life; Stretch, a philosophizing Buddhist cowboy; and Saloth, a mad-scientist insecticide expert with a haunted past. Their adventures in exterminating are set in a squalid Los Angeles overrun by mysterious mutant cockroaches and threatened by a conspiracy to resurrect an ancient badass god named Atan. Oliver’s dialogue is filthy-funny, while Moore’s art is whimsically seedy. It’s creepy, crass, head-shaking fun. FOR FANS OF… Preacher; R-rated Mark Millar (Wanted); Kevin Smith; and Divine-era John Waters. DOES IT DELIVER? Issue 25 starts a new storyline that’s as good a place as any for first-time readers to jump on the bandwagon (and none too soon, since the series will be ending after issue 30). Though, newcomers beware: It’s a showcase for the comics’ most outrageous character, AJ — a vile, booger-eating, sex-addicted, gap-toothed ex-Marine being pursued by not only by Atan, who covets AJ’s body, but also by a very frisky King Tut, who also wants his body (if you know what we mean). Be prepared to laugh — and feel mildly queasy afterward. B+ — Jeff Jensen

NEXT PAGE: Reviews of Moon Knight, The End League, and Cover Girl

Originally posted January 16 2008 — 12:00 AM EST

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