Book Article

Comics 101

EW reviews the latest in comics -- We take a closer look at ''Common Foe,'' ''Smoke,'' ''The Rabbi’s Cat,'' and ''The Ride''

EW reviews the latest in comics

COMMON FOE (Desperado, $3.50) Combat makes strange bedfellows — particularly if you're an American WWII platoon allied with Nazis when demon vampires start spilling out of a pit in your battle zone. Writers Keith Giffen and Shannon Denton craft a rat-a-tat narrative that puts the spotlight on artist Jean-Jacques Dzialowski, who delivers a hint of Joe Kubert's scraggly Sgt. Rock style. Still, after two issues of mostly table-setting skirmishing, we're wondering when all hell is gonna break loose. BTom Russo

THE RABBI'S CAT (Pantheon, $21.95) The narrator of Joann Sfar's visually exciting but narratively flimsy comic is a gaunt gray cat with enormous acid-green eyes who lives with an Algerian rabbi and his voluptuous daughter. After eating a parrot, the cat acquires — then loses — the gift of speech; the rabbi worries about losing his job. Despite some wonderful, richly colored drawings, the pointless, disjointed plot makes this an intriguing novelty rather than a must-read volume. B-Jennifer Reese

SMOKE (IDW, $7.49) Writer Alex de Campi and artist Igor Kordey seem intent on evoking Alan Moore's richly textured dystopian visions, from a backdrop reminiscent of V for Vendetta to a smiley-face-in-riot-gear cover echoing Watchmen. Set in 2012 London, the three-issue tale focuses on an albino covert operative shadowing shadow governments and quashing terrorists. Smoke's big picture is at times hazy, but the details — like hostage-crisis commemorative T-shirts — merit a look. BTom Russo

THE RIDE (Image, $9.99) There is something undeniably captivating about balls-to-the-wall pulp storytelling. And that's just what The Ride is: a B&W anthology revolving around a mint '68 Camaro and the many, many ways people are killing around, by, or because of it. Like any anthology, some of the stories misfire, but when they hit (like ''Language Barrier,'' told almost entirely in Chinese, and ''Wheels of Change, Act II,'' starring Brian Stelfreeze's deliciously depraved art), they hit hard. A-Marc Bernardin

Originally posted Aug 05, 2005 Published in issue #833 Aug 12, 2005 Order article reprints